HALLOWEEN – TRICK OR TREAT?

On the 31st October each year the ritual of Halloween is celebrated with little or no thought for its origins which lie in the belief that at this time there is a thinning of the veils between the manifest and the astral worlds.  Many  continue to take advantage of this window of opportunity maintaining their traditions of communicating with the spirits of those who have departed this world.  For some this is a positive act of remembrance, for others an opportunity to interact with negative forces. In either case  we are engaging our psychic energy to create a connection, linking the physical and astral realms and should be aware of the inherent vulnerability and need for respect.

OPENING THE DOORS TO THE ASTRAL

The latest scientific research confirms that our thoughts create our environment moment to moment.  We might therefore pause to consider before opening psychic portals by engaging in seemingly innocuous activities which focus on the astral.  Might we in fact unwittingly invite guests of the discarnate variety as we stumble into their domain.  Few of us would open our door to a stranger of questionable character late at night, yet we open the energetic doors to admit frequencies and personalities some of which are at best dubious and at worst potentially hostile.   Whether we accept or deny the reality of dimensions beyond the physical they will continue to exist along with those who inhabit them.   Skepticism is healthy but should be coupled with respect for what we do not fully understand.

Numerous research programmes have determined that consciousness survives the body,  an evolutionary journey which is continuous.  We are the same the moment after we leave the body as we were in life; consciousness, whether in the body or discarnate, evolves in response to our desires and motives.   This should lead us to the conclusion that  just as in the physical reality there are people we would wish to spend time with and others we would hope not to meet on a dark night, discernment is needed if we venture across the threshold of awareness. Here we might pause to consider the significance of auric fields, both the personal electromagnetic energy fields which surround us and the non-local fields normally beyond our conscious perception.  Those able to perceive non physical realms and spheres through clairvoyant, clairaudient and clairsentient faculties, also perceive the conscious personalities who inhabit them.

Since ‘Halloween’ does indeed present us with a ‘thinning of the veils’ why not use the opportunity positively to link to symbolic images associated with the higher vibration, encouraging our children to enjoy their parties, dressing up as elves, fairies, angels, devas, a Mage or Star Ship commander!  The phenomenon of the Harry Potter books has tapped into the natural interest in the supernatural shared by all children, sadly the focus is on manipulation, sometimes blurring the definition between positive and negative forces.

Halloween is a perfect opportunity to remind children of the need for energy awareness.  They will enjoy using the simple Emerald Alignment exercise to feel safe and protected; it is free, quick and easy to use.

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Never Take Sweets From Strangers

TRICK OR TREAT?

How strange that on one specific night of the year, during the hours of darkness, we  allow our children to dress up in costumes which make them unrecognisable, encouraging them to knock on the doors of strangers, often without parental supervision, to  ask for sweets. The ‘trick or treating”   of Halloween is perceived as harmless fun, an opportunity to engage in shared community activities with little or no perception of the potential dangers. Today many US States have passed legislation to ensure that registered pedophiles remain in their homes during Halloween when they are not allowed to give candy to children. New York’s  “Halloween: Zero Tolerance”  law allows state investigators to make unannounced home visits, curfew checks, and phone calls to enforce the laws. In most states violation may incur a felony charge punishable by up to three years in prison. Just as we would not allow our children to venture out alone and unprotected in every day life, we should not invite the attention of those whose motives and intentions may be questionable – whether they reside in this world or another.

We have forgotten the origin and significance of the 2000 year old Celtic pagan festival which was a celebration of natural cycles; a thanksgiving for harvest in preparation for the coming of winter. The festivities also marked the division between the spirit world and our own, it was believed that on this night the veils between the worlds was thinned making communication with departed souls easier.

Halloween has its roots in Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) the Celtic festival celebrated on November 1st, the day which marked the seasonal division of the year between light and darkness. The Celts followed a lunar calendar and festivities began on the eve before, October 31st.  Deceased family and friends were remembered and honoured on this day;  with an awareness that this day unfortunately also allowed other malevolent entities of the spirit world to cross over into the physical. Bonfires were therefore  lit, with torchlight processions of masked revellers wearing costumes depicting the beings who inhabit the underworld. These were worn as a means of disguise in the hope that any unfriendly spirits they might meet would be tricked into believing they were ghosts, ghouls, goblins etc.

The later Christian association comes from the 7th century when All Saints Day was established by Pope Boniface lV  to honour the departed saints of the church. Initially observed on May 13th. the feast day was moved to in the 9th century to November 1st by Pope Gregory lll ,  supposedly in an effort to integrate pre Christian pagan calendars. October 31st was then designated All Hallows Eve (eventually Halloween) a time to pray for the souls of the departed who had not yet entered heaven. Still later, pagan ritual was modified to a more acceptable form, children would dress up and go from door to door asking for ‘soul cakes’ in return for praying for the departed souls, the origin of ‘trick or treat’. The combination of pagan/Christian festival continues today in the more extreme form as in Mexico’s “Los Dias de los Muertos” (The Days of the Dead) when souls are invited to step over the threshold.

What we might ask has this got to do with a 21st century secular holiday? For the atheist or for those who consider a belief in the paranormal to be nothing more than the remnant of superstition. the answer is ‘Nothing’.  Others retain if not a conviction then  a healthy respect for the possibility that we are a soul with a body rather than simply a body with a mind.  Halloween provides an opportunity to pause to consider the potential dimensions beyond the physical realm and those who may inhabit them.

White witchcraft or ritualized magic is the belief in the manipulation of natural forces for benevolent purposes eg healing, it has millions of adherents throughout the world.Today white witches continue to celebrate Samhain a major pagan religious festival on November 1st, commencing on 31st October. There is another form of ritualized magic which is far from benevolent. Satanism is a perversion of the healing arts, the worship of the ‘devil’ (deified evil) as a personification of the ego, which denies God in any form, elevating man as the supreme expression of consciousness. The anti Christ focus of the ‘black mass’ inverts the symbolism and artifacts of the Christian mass as a means of magnifying and directing cosmic forces. Satanic ritual has historically involved both human and animal sacrifice which continues among some adherents today, it has been linked to human trafficking, particularly of children. No surprise then that Halloween remains an important date in their calendar.

IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS – IT SIMPLY MAKES US MORE VULNERABLE.

 Before we send our children out to have fun, dressed as vampires, ghouls and devils we might pause to consider the astral forces which do not dissolve, simply because we do not believe in their existence. We have the choice to  align to positive or negative force fields and aspects of consciousness and also  to reject them. As in all things decision requires informed choice. It is for each of us to decide whether or not we believe in supernatural forces or a spirit world. If we do, we must surely question whether or not the festival of Halloween potentially opens a portal between the worlds as our ancestors believed.   For those with clairvoyant vision entities are all too real and operate in accordance with natural law – ‘like attracts like’.  This might help us decide what costume we might choose to dress our child in. The increased awareness that consciousness is multi dimensional leads us to a fascinating study of paranormal realms and spheres and the journey of the soul. To be of value it should be more than an academic study, the knowledge should be applied.

‘There are more things in heaven and Earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’                                                                                                           William Shakespeare

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KURDISH ALLIES – A pocket History for Trump

IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS THE KURDS, ALLIES OF THE  UNITED STATES, LOST 11,000 OF THEIR SOLDIERS IN SYRIA.  THERE WERE  6  AMERICAN FATALITIES.

Despite Pentagon and US Intelligence disapproval, the President of the United States ordered the withdrawal of US military troops stationed on the Syrian-Turkey border, effectively abandoning their former allies. President Trump warned Turkey  not to invade the region being held by the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces.  Turkey attacked the SDF within 24 hours of US military withdrawal from the region.

“I said to my Generals why should we be fighting for Syria and Assad,  to protect the land of our enemy?  Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China or Napoleon Bonaparte…   ‘the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out”.

‘I HOPE THEY ALL DO GREAT, WE ARE 7,000 MILES AWAY’

TRUMPS  ‘FORTRESS AMERICA’  IS AN ILLUSION EVERYONE ELSE RECOGNISES –  Abandoned by their US allies the Kurdish forces have now struck a deal with President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government, which is supported by Russia, to fight against Turkey. There is evidence that the Kurdish forces  are no longer able to guard  the 70,000 ISIS prisoners  and their families who have been seen fleeing their former detention camps. It is anticipated that they will regroup to reconstitute ISIS forces.

 

TURKEY HOSTS 3.58 MILLION SYRIAN REFUGEES, THE WORLD’S LARGEST REFUGEE POPULATION. Prime Minister Erdogan is intent on establishing a “safe zone” in northern Syria.  This would have the dual purpose of repatriating  as many as 3 million Syrian refugees from Turkey while providing a buffer zone to stop Kurdish militants from approaching the southern border of Turkey.

 

SO WHO ARE THE KURDS?

“The land of Karda” is mentioned on a Sumerian clay tablet dated to the 3rd millennium B.C. The Kurdish region of Iran has been a part of the Persian Empire since ancient times. Kurds are an Iranian ethnic group native to a mountainous region of Western Asia known as Kurdistan, which spans south eastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. The Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group in West Asia after the Arabs, Persians, and Turks. Numerically, the Kurds are estimated to number between 30 and 45 million with an estimated 2 million dispersed Kurdish refugees. Most Kurds are either bilingual or multilingual, those in diaspora communities often speak three or more languages.They speak their native Kurdish and the  language of their respective nation of origin, such as Arabic, Persian, and Turkish as a second language.  Kurds  practice diverse religious beliefs, the majority following Islam, other faiths include Zoroastrianism,Yarsanism, Yazidism, and Christianity.

Kurds were well integrated in the Iranian political life  of various governments, the Kurdish community also thrived over the centuries as a generally peaceful and well-integrated part of Turkish society. Hostilities erupted  in the 20th century with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the  emergence of a new secular Turkish State, resulting in the loss of the western portion of Kurdistan. In the summer of 1917, up to 700,000 Kurds were forcibly deported  by the Turks from their ancestral lands and dispersed in small pockets of exiled communities, almost half of them perished.

At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, as the victorious allies reshaped the post war Middle East, Tehran demanded restoration of all lost territories including Turkish Kurdistan. The demands were rejected by the Western powers. In 1920 the Allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the Treaty of Sevres. Three years later the Republic of Turkey was declared and the Treaty of Lausanne set the boundaries of modern Turkey, no  provision was made for the promised Kurdish State, leaving Kurds with minority status in their respective countries. The Kurds have been fighting for their homeland ever since.The area has since been divided by modern Turkey, Syria and Iraq, fuelling nationalism, rebellions and conflict in those regions. 

ELIMINATING CULTURAL IDENTITY

Several large scale Kurdish revolts in 1925, 1930 and 1938 were suppressed by the Turkish government. Following a military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life. There is ongoing discrimination today against Kurdish society. The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan”, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government. Many people who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned.The Kurds are still not allowed a primary education in their mother tongue and they don’t have a right to self-determination, even though Turkey has signed the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The  PKK, Kurdistan Workers’ Party  is a Kurdish militant organization which has waged an armed struggle against the Turkish state for cultural and political rights and self-determination for the Kurds. Turkey’s military allies the US, the EU, and NATO label the PKK as a terrorist organization while  the UN, Switzerland , Russia China and India have refused to add the PKK to their terrorist list with some offering support.

As world leaders and American Senators unite in condemnation of the withdrawal,  the military confrontation escalates, Donald Trumps predictable solution ‘in his great and unmatched wisdom’ is to threaten to destroy the economy of Turkey. Meanwhile the world awaits the pending Impeachment of the ‘Godfather’ who is America’s President .

 

 

 

See also:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Syrian_Civil_War#Overall_deaths

LINES IN THE SAND – Who created the Middle East?

HEBREW V ARABIC – Language as a Tool of Oppression

EPSTEIN – SEX TRAFFICKING – Victim to Co Conspirator

JUDGE ORDERS  HUGE CACHE OF COURT DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE SEX TRAFFICKING COURT CASE BROUGHT BY VIRGINIA ROBERTS  GIUFFRE AGAINST JEFFREY EPSTEIN IN 2015 TO BE UNSEALED.  HOURS LATER EPSTEIN WAS FOUND UNRESPONSIVE IN HIS MANHATTAN JAIL CELL, THE DEATH ATTRIBUTED TO SUICIDE.

The papers are expected to reveal the names of numerous men in powerful positions including politicians, academics, financiers and royalty.  There is reason to suppose that some people wanted Epstein dead, causing the suicide verdict  to be questioned. The FBI have opened an investigation into the long list of reported irregularities and  system failures inside the Manhattan jail which include malfunctioning security cameras, guards falling asleep and screams coming from Epstein’s cell prior to his body being found..

The previous case against Epstein collapsed when he accepted an unusually generous plea deal of 13 months, pleading guilty to soliciting a minor, avoiding federal  prosecution for the sexual abuse and trafficking of under age girls. Epstein was permitted to spend 12 hours a day, six days a week at an office rather than the county jail. Attorney Bradley Turner alleged that Epstein ‘engaged in improper sexual contact’ during his sentence. Two women have stated that at the age of 18 they were brought to Epstein’s office where sexual encounters took place with Epstein naked except for a court ordered ankle monitor. Records of work release visitor logs have gone missing.

EPSTEIN, A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER WAS ALLOWED 90 PRISON VISITS WITH A WOMAN IDENTIFIED BY PALM BEACH POLICE AS HIS UNDERAGE RAPE VICTIM.

Virginia Giuffre maintains that Epstein’s friend Ghislane Maxwell functioned as a madame, procuring under age girls for sexual exploitation by Epstein.  Giuffre was recruited to train as a masseuse while she worked at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort owned by President Donald Trump, where her father had a job in maintenance. Giuffre says the massage work proved to be just a cover for sex work and that she was ‘lent out’ to and ordered to have sex with other high profile men, named in the indictment. The financier used his vast wealth to seduce under age girls, offering to pay for school, to pay rent or to help with their careers. It is alleged that Epstein and Maxwell trafficked girls around the world for the sexual gratification of the power elite, suggesting a blackmail operation. 

 In a 2015 lawsuit, Giuffre stated that she was recruited by Maxwell to have sex with Prince Andrew three times, including one orgy, stating: ‘He was an abuser, he was a participant’.   Tony Figueroa, Epstein’s former bodyguard who once dated Giuffre, also testified under oath that she had “sounded scared” about what would happen if she said no to sex with Prince Andrew. Johanna Sjoberg in her sworn testimony as a witness described an interaction she had with Prince Andrew stating he allegedly posed for a photo with Giuffre and Sjoberg in which he placed his hands on Sjoberg’s breasts.

Prince Andrew maintained his friendship with Epstein even after his conviction as a sex offender. The royal prince and Buckingham Palace have issued repeated denials of all claims of sexual misconduct, however there have been previous questionable links to royal association with convicted pedophiles. 

Rinaldo Rizzo, a house manager for Ghislane Maxwell’s friend Eva Dubin, stated he witnessed a 15-year-old Swedish girl become visibly upset, “shaking uncontrollably” when she told him how Maxwell demanded she have sex with Epstein while on an island. When she refused Maxwell took her passport and threatened her.  Sjoberg also recalled being punished after giving Epstein a sexual massage in which he did not orgasm, according to the records.

PROSECUTORS CLAIM EPSTEIN RELIED ON THE LOYALTY AND ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS OF HIS EMPLOYEES TO RECRUIT NEW GIRLS, TURNING VICTIMS CAUGHT IN HIS WEB INTO RECRUITERS.

Nadia Markincova was brought to the US by Epstein at the age of 15. A victim report states that ‘Epstein had purchased Marcinkova from her family in Yugoslavia,’  ‘Epstein bragged he brought her into the United States to be his Yugoslavian sex slave’. He was careful to keep her off any flight manifests until after her 18th birthday.  She participated in sex acts with other victims over a prolonged period and like many victims of sexual abuse she later assisted in procuring girls for Epstein according to court documents. Initially Detective Recarey never sought to charge Marcinkova, likely on account of this information and her age.  A few years later however, Marcinkova was seen as a predator and not a victim by prosecutors, they only agreed to grant her immunity as part of Epstein’s plea deal. There was no mention or record that anyone sought to discuss the rape and abuse Marcinkova endured, or tried to help her seek monetary damages from her rapist

SEXUAL ABUSE IS A COMPLEX ISSUE, COMPOUNDED WHERE VICTIMS ARE UNDER THE AGE OF CONSENT.

The involvement of women as co conspirators in recruiting and coaxing victims into dangerous situations, is a deliberate, effective ploy, designed to create the illusion of safety and acceptable behaviour. Encouraging sexually abusive behaviours in front of, or at the same time as the male abuser, blurs the perception of immature individuals in considering whether this was consensual or sexual assault. Co conspirators  may themselves become perpetrators, engaging in the sexual deviancy and using coercion and manipulation.The question of whether to prosecute someone who both suffered abuse and aided their abuser’s criminal activity is a complex one for law enforcement officials, say attorneys familiar with such cases. 

Public perception of accusers who have benefitted financially or materially from the abuser is often skewed, the abuse viewed as an agreement beneficial to both.  However these women approached girls in various places including near their schools, offering them the opportunity to make money by giving what they described as massages to an older man. They arranged transportation to Epstein’s residences for girls who were too young to drive themselves and handed cash payments to the girls after their encounters with Epstein.

This goes to the very core of what constitutes sexual abuse of minors, deemed to be under the protection of the law because of their vulnerability.The long term psychological trauma inflicted upon minors includes the distortion of values, often leaving them permanently vulnerable to further victimisation. How much greater the confusion created by those hiding behind positions of power and privilege in society.

THEIR GREATEST WEAPON IS SECRECY AND THE KNOWLEDGE

THAT VICTIMS WILL NOT BE BELIEVED.

 “I think the nature of this kind of abuse is that you’re conditioned to be silenced, to be isolated, secretive and shameful,”   Anouska De Georgiou, one of Epstein’s accusers.

See: FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES – Protecting Pedophiles

BREXIT TO BACKSTOP – Preserving the Status Quo

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THE POLITICAL QUAGMIRE NOW CHALLENGING LEADERS OF THE  EU AND THE  UK, DEMONSTRATES THE HISTORICAL CONSEQUENCE OF CONTROLLING A COUNTRY FOR THE ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION OF THE NATIVE PEOPLE AND THEIR LAND.

The Partition of Ireland  in 1921 created the invisible border which divides rivers, fields and houses, only the road signs written in English or Gaelic remind you that it separates one nation but two countries and two cultures. An estimated 30,000 people pass through 300 crossings daily. Current negotiations threaten much more than a return to border controls and Custom checks, the pending withdrawal of the UK from the EU threatens the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 which ensured power sharing by Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Brexit negotiators intent on securing binding agreements acceptable to all, are mindful of border sensitivities and the sectarian divisions which the Good Friday Agreement largely resolved.

The culture and ethnicity of a nation is carried in its DNA,  Ireland was ruled by England for 800 years but fiercely resisted all attempts at Anglicisation. Partition of any country is an acknowledgement of failure to reconcile irrevocable differences, the Partition of Ireland arose out of a policy of religious persecution, colonisation and land dispossession over centuries. The imposition of Protestant domination by British colonists upon a predominantly Roman Catholic population resulted in Irish resistance and eventual Civil War.  The Easter Rising of 1916 by Irish Nationalists seeking independence was violently suppressed by the British government, fomenting opposition and decades of fighting. Under Partition the island of Ireland became the Irish Free State. With 92.6% of the islands population Catholic, the mainly Protestant population of 6 northern counties chose to opt out of the Agreement as anticipated, remaining as part of the United Kingdom with England, Scotland and Wales.

The stated aim of the eventual reunification of Ireland was never achieved, leading to continued conflict. In 1948 under a new Constitution the Irish Free State was named Ireland (‘Eire’ meaning Homeland) and finally gained full independence as a sovereign State and was  accepted into the United Nations in 1955.  Under the  Belfast Agreement,the Irish and British governments agreed that the status of Northern Ireland will not change without the consent of a majority of its population. In the event of a hard Brexit polls have shown that support for Irish unity would dramatically rise creating a potential threat to the continued unity of the UK. 

In 1973, Ireland joined the European Economic Community, initially a trading forum, later to become the EU, requiring loss of sovereignty of its members. Major investment from the European Economic Community, led to the emergence of one of the world’s highest economic growth rates, the ‘ Celtic Tiger’, attracting mass immigration from Asia and Eastern Europe. The new found prosperity ended abruptly in 2008 with the collapse of the global banking system as Ireland entered a recession. Emigration soared and the unemployment rate rose from 4.2% in 2007 to 14.6% by 2012, leading to the largest banking bailout for any country in history

In Northern Island where the Protestant majority held power, catholics were disenfranchised, resulting in violent conflict from the 1970s to the 1990s.  The border region of Londonderry became the focus of ‘the Troubles’ between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) seeking unification of Ireland and the Unionists loyal to the British Crown, resulting in occupation by the  British army in an attempt to restore order.

THE BELFAST AGREEMENT signed on Good Friday of 1998 was a peace initiative which assured both Unionists and Nationalists control of limited areas of government. However breakdowns in trust involving outstanding issues, including “decommissioning” of paramilitary weapons, policing reform and the removal of British army bases continued. There has been no Northern Ireland government for the past 2 years, with policy decisions made in London.

HOW DID RELIGOUS CONTROL COME TO DIVIDE THE ISLAND OF IRELAND?

  • The island of Ireland originally comprised many small kingdoms, territories (known as túatha) governed by chieftains.  In 1169 a mercenary army of the English King Henry ll landed in Ireland at the request of the ousted Irish King of Leinster….they never left. This marked the beginning of 800 years of English military and political involvement in Ireland. The first Lord of Ireland, King John, demanded that the many Irish kings swore fealty to him, granting lands to the English military invaders.
  • By 1492 the European colonisation of America meant that Ireland now occupied a position of strategic importance. Ireland became a battleground between the Catholic and Protestant nations of Europe for control of the north Atlantic sea routes to America. King Henry VIII of England decided to bring Ireland under Crown control, proclaiming  himself King of Ireland in 1541. Along with subsequent English monarchs he granted land, titles and property rights to wealthy English absentee landlords and to Gaelic chieftains loyal to the Crown. In the reign of Elizabeth1st, the Irish aristocracy were required to pledge allegiance to the Crown. The Anglo Irish landowners who had settled in Ireland were increasingly resentful of England’s domination becoming ‘more Irish than the Irish’ and identified as Irish nationalists.
  • From the mid 16th century to the early 17th century The Irish were displaced through a policy of land confiscation and colonisation by the English Crown, known as Plantation. This involved the arrival of thousands of English and Scottish Protestants who became the ruling class. Many were absentee landlords, residing in England, whose loyalty was basically to England. Power was held by a small group of Anglo-Irish families who owned most of the farmland, with the work done by Catholic peasants. The Irish Rebellion of 1641 attempted to seize control  to  force concessions for Catholics, thousands of Protestant colonists were killed or expelled from their homes. The Rebellion failed, resulting in  the collapse of Gaelic Ireland and its incorporation within the British Empire. As retribution for the rebellion most of the remaining lands owned by Irish Catholics were confiscated and given to British settlers.
  • In 1654 the British parliament gave Oliver Cromwell, the Protestant Lord Protector of England, a free hand to banish Irish “undesirables”. Cromwell led the most brutal phase of a war in which the Irish were dehumanised by the English,  More than a half of Ireland’s pre-war population was killed or exiled as  slaves.  Catholics throughout the Irish countryside were rounded up and placed   on ships bound for the Caribbean, mainly the island of Barbados, where many died  due to harsh conditions. By 1655,  50,000 political prisoners had been forcibly shipped to Barbados and into indentured servitude.

  The annual commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne of 1690, unfathomable to most onlookers, is marked by marching bands of the Orange Order.  It remains a border flash point for religious sectarianism  between Catholics and Protestants  today, with Catholics viewing the parades as provocative. The celebration marks a point in English history when a Protestant system of monarchy was deemed to be under threat.  King James ll was the last Catholic king of England, the birth of his son assured a Catholic ascendancy. James was supported by Irish catholics seeking to reverse the land confiscations of former monarchs, sparking a revolution. James fled the country and was deposed, the Dutch Prince, William of Orange acceding to the throne. In a last effort to regain his crown, the armies of James met William at the River Boyne in Northern Ireland, where James was outnumbered and defeated. The reign of King William lll secured a Protestant monarchy and the preservation of English power in Ireland.

By the 1780s the Irish Parliament became independent but remained under the supervision of the the king and his Privy Council. Land ownership remained a central issue, some 10,000 English families owned practically all the farmland in Ireland, with absentee landlords, permanent residents of England renting land out to Irish tenant farmers, who suffered violence and eviction when they were unable to pay their rents.  The Rebellion of 1798 followed. In 1800 the Irish and the British parliaments created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Catholics however were not granted full rights until 1829.

In 1845 the catastrophe of the Great Famine struck Ireland, over a million people died of starvation, as a direct result of the English Free Trade policy. Produce of Ireland including the thousands of tons of grain that could have saved them was instead shipped out of the country to England. In addition over a million refugees fled the country, mainly to America, to avoid disease and starvation. Starving Irish people were forced to work on public projects before they could receive food donated by the English government.

Attempts to break away from Britain continued, the Home Rule Act 1914 was won but suspended with the outbreak of WW1. In 1916 the Easter Rising carried out by members of the Irish Volunteers, the socialist Irish Citizen Army was violently suppressed, turning public opinion against the British establishment. By 1917 a series of Land Acts enabled Irish peasantry to buy back their land previously confiscated by the English, by means of agreed long term loans, providing small parcels of land to grow fruit and vegetables,  This strategy of ”killing Home Rule by kindness”  ended the era of the absentee landlord.

IN THE 1919 ELECTIONS SINN FEIN, THE PARTY OF THE REBELS, WON THREE QUARTERS OF ALL SEATS IN A 32 COUNTY IRISH REPUBLIC, BEGINNING THE TRANSITION TO A FULLY INDEPENDENT STATE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

A POCKET HISTORY OF CENTRAL AMERICA FOR TRUMP

‘WE ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU WERE THERE’

As Americans currently grapple with the sense of being overwhelmed by a sea of immigrants,  the refrain “We are here because you were there” reminds us of the cause and inevitable consequence of colonisation and uninvited incursion into other lands. The safety of its citizens is the primary responsibility of every government and few would argue that this should not include the security of its borders. The question of how they are secured and why, is the factor now dividing America. 

Successful immigration is entirely dependent upon acceptance and assimilation and this takes time. Opposition to immigrants includes numbers, timing, employment prospects, ethnic differences, race and religion and political ideology.  Any of these can be used to instil fear, the threat that the host community will be overwhelmed and irrevocably changed, because social change is an inherent aspect of immigration. When viewed positively this is seen as enriching communities through diversity, with cultural traditions maintained and encouraged. In general people prefer to remain within their home countries if basic needs are met and opportunities are available. Mass migration is always triggered by a threat to survival.

It is no coincidence that many seeking refuge are coming from Central American countries, the Northern Triangle of  Guatamala, El Slavadore and Honduras, followed by Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and Belize. These countries endured colonisation under the Spanish from the 1500s with the British and the Spanish later fighting for control until the British  turned their attention to colonisation of North America and Canada. In 1823 the United Provinces of Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador) gained independence from Mexico, each achieving independence  in the 1830s. Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 declared the U.S.’s right to exercise an “international police power” in Latin America, the US has influenced the region ever since. 

The World Bank estimates that close to 60% of people in Honduras and Gutamala live in poverty.  In 2016 alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted nearly 46,900 unaccompanied children and more than 70,400 family units from El Salvador.  While poverty and injustice remain the key reason to abandon homeland and family to trek across countries and sometimes continents in search of something more, a terrifying spectre of unimaginable violence is emerging as a primary cause.   Gang violence and drugs cartels control communities throughout Central America, with an estimated   65,000 active gang members supported by a network of hundreds of thousands. Salvadorian boys as young as 12 are forcibly recruited to gang membership, with girls forced into becoming sex slaves. Both genders are prostituted, their families are threatened with death if they refuse to join the gangs. Lack of a warm welcome is insufficient to deter those fleeing such horror, their primary focus is to remove their children before they are victimised.

WALLS, FENCES AND BORDER CONTROLS WILL PROVE INEFFECTUAL IN HOLDING BACK THE DESPERATE TIDE OF HUMANITY FLEEING FOR SURVIVAL UNLESS THE CAUSE IS ACKNOWLEDGED AND ADDRESSED.

  • Democracy and stability in the region have been undermined by a century of colonial rule followed by US backed military coups’ which have created vacuums of power filled by paramilitary alliances and drug cartels.
  • A Free Trade Agreement between the US, the Dominican Republic and five Central American countries restructured the regions economy, giving global multinationals increased influence over domestic trade and regulatory protections.
  • Huge trade imbalances have resulted in economic dependence upon the United States which repeatedly threatens and imposes sanctions. 
  • In 2014, the US threatened to withhold almost $300 million worth of developmental aid, unless Al Salvadore ended preference for locally sourced corn and bean seeds under its Family Agriculture Plan.

EL SALVADORE:  In 1932,  peasants rebelled  against the ruling families. The United States and Britain owned the  the majority of coffee plantations and railways controlling exports and sent naval support to quell the rebellion. Some 40,000 rebels were killed in the conflict.  In 1944, a popular bloodless revolution ousted the government, coup and counter coup followed. In the Kennedy era of 1960, the US supported a right wing coup and secretly opposed holding free elections in Nicaragua.  A US funded Civil War raged between 1980 and 1992, with the US administration training Salvadoran death squads who in 1981 went on to commit a civilian massacre in the village of El Mozote, killing at least 733 unarmed civilians including children. The UN  states 85% of civilian deaths were committed by the Salvadoran military and the death squads. Under the tariff reduction model of CAFTA-DR, all U.S. industrial and commercial goods enter El Salvador duty free, creating impossible conditions for domestic industry to compete. As of 2016, the country had a negative trade balance of $4.18 billion.

NICARAGUA:  US Marines had occupied Nicaragua to protect US interests since the country’s civil war of 1912. In 1927 a major peasant uprising led by Sandino ‘the general of the people’ was launched by landless peasants, against both the U.S. occupation and the Nicaraguan establishment.  In 1933, the U.S. Marines withdrew leaving the National Guard in charge of elections. Somoza Garcia, the head of the National Guard, murdered the opposition leader and assumed the presidency establishing a US supported dictatorship which his family controlled until 1979.  A popular uprising ‘The Sandanista Peoples Revolution’ overthrew the corrupt Samoza government which had stolen millions of dollars  given in aid for earthquake victims.  As the ‘Sandanista’s sought to establish governance, the Carter administration moved quickly to support remaining Somoza loyalists with financial and material aid. The Ronald Reagan presidency directly funded support to an anti-Sandinista group, called the Contras. When this was prohibited by Congress, Reagan continued the funding through covert arms sales.  (i.e. Iran-Contra scandal).

The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America:  In 1986 the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in favour of Nicaragua and against the United States. The ICJ held that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the Contras in their rebellion against the Nicaraguan government and by mining mining Nicaragua’s harbours. They ordered the United States to compensate Nicaraguans for acts of terrorism committed during the Reagan administration. The United States refused to participate in the proceedings, stating that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to hear the case after the Court had rejected their argument.  The Court found in its verdict that the United States was “in breach of its obligations under customary international law not to use force against another State”, “not to intervene in its affairs”, “not to violate its sovereignty“, “not to interrupt peaceful maritime commerce”.  Although the Court called on the United States to “cease and to refrain” from the unlawful use of force against Nicaragua under customary international law and ordered it to pay reparations, the United States refused to comply. When Nicaragua appealed to the UN in 1986, the United Nations General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution by a vote of 94-3 urging the U.S. to comply.  It did not and as a permanent member of the Security Council, the U.S. has been able to block any enforcement mechanism attempted by Nicaragua.

THE MYTH OF ‘AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM’  (THAT AMERICA IS UNIQUELY VIRTUOUS AND DESTINED AND ENTITLED  TO PLAY A PRE-EMINENT ROLE ON THE WORLD STAGE)  CAN BE LIKENED TO THE EUROPEAN  BELIEF IN COLONISATION.

EACH LED TO THE RISE OF EMPIRE, CORPORATE PLUNDERING AND MILITARY INTERVENTION IN NATION STATES.  EMPIRES ALWAYS FALL BUT AT THE POINT OF DECLINE ARE BLINDED BY THEIR CERTAINTY THAT GOD IS ON THEIR SIDE.

See :  Days of Revolt: America’s Death Squads:  https://youtu.be/TN6InTMWt7Q

See:  America The Beauitiful

 

 

 

 

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AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL?

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

THE WORDS HAVE A HOLLOW RING TODAY as the world views the horrific photograph of a little girl not yet 2, clutching her father, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, as both were swept to their deaths in the Rio Grande in an effort to seek asylum. Their mother Tania Vanessa Avalos, 21 watched as they drowned. The family  made their way to Mexico from El Salvadore, then spent the last two months in a migrant camp waiting for an appointment to apply for asylum to enter the US. A shelter director said that only 40 to 45 asylum interviews were being conducted there each week while there are 800 to 1,700 names on the waiting list. Ramirez became frustrated by the delay and decided to attempt to swim across the river. He deposited his daughter on the far bank and went back to assist his wife to cross but the child became confused and followed her father back into the water. Both drowned in the strong undercurrents as he tried to save her.

Desperate migrants continue to heed that call to ‘enter the golden door’ only to end up incarcerated in camps or turned around. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  is unable to process the thousands fleeing violence and economic hardship, many from Latin American countries affected by gang violence and poverty. The number of children separated from their families and held in camps at the end of 2018 was estimated at 15,000, the accurate figure today is unknown with many of the children unaccounted for.

The US government went to federal court this week to argue that it is not required to give detained migrant children toothbrushes, soap, towels, showers or an opportunity to sleep inside Border Patrol detention facilities. Government lawyers described the temporary detention facilities as “safe and sanitary” despite the deaths of at least six child migrants  since September, mostly after falling ill at detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley.  Last month, in the largest temporary detention center in McAllen, Tex., CBP had to quarantine 32 migrants who were diagnosed with the flu, soon after a 16-year-old boy from Guatemala died. He had been diagnosed with the flu at the same overcrowded facility where dozens of migrants are held behind chain-link fences in pens, sleeping on mats on the concrete floor with aluminium foil blankets. The children complain they are unable to sleep because lights are kept on at all time.

IS AMERICA IN DENIAL? WHAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE MORAL AND SOCIAL DECLINE – COULD IT BE GREED – A RELUCTANCE TO SHARE?

Today more than 1 in 8 Americans are immigrants and almost all are descended from immigrants. Less than 2% of the population have Native American ancestors. Life expectancy in the US ranks 39th in the world at 79.5 but has been falling for the past three years due to rising suicide figures not seen since WW2.
CDC: US Suicide Rates Highest Since WWII, Native Americans Most Affected | Newsmax.com  Although the US has the largest economy in the world it does not have the highest GDP per capita, ranking 19th behind small countries like Luxembourg.  In the most recent World Happiness Report the US ranks 15th out of 30 countries scored. For the Ramirez parents and hundreds of thousands like them it still outranks the horrors of their homeland. 

 

Animated Map Shows History Of Immigration To The US- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe79i1mu-mc

 

BLAMED, SHAMED AND SILENCED – SEXUAL ABUSE OF NUNS BY PRIESTS

1994  A VATICAN COMMISSIONED REPORT CONFIRMED SEXUAL ABUSE OF NUNS BY PRIESTS IN 22 COUNTRIES…. IT WAS COVERED UP.

Sister Maura O’Donoghue, an Irish nun and medical doctor with 45 years experience, compiled a report into nuns being sexually abused by priests. The report based upon reliable disclosure by priests, doctors and others was never released.  Sister O’Donoghue had documented that sexual abuse of nuns by priests was taking place in Botswana, Burundi, Colombia, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tonga, Uganda, the United States, Zambia, Zaire and Zimbabwe.  Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Religious Life was briefed on its content February 18th,1995 by Sister Donaghue. Details of that meeting and her report appear in the US weekly the National Catholic Reporter.

  • In the report she linked the alleged sexual abuse of nuns in Africa to the AIDS epidemic there, quoting one religious superior who was approached by priests requesting that sisters be made available for sex. When this was refused, the priests said they would have to go to local women and could get AIDS.
  • She referred to a 1988 incident in Malawi where 29 nuns in one congregation had been made pregnant by diocesan priests; when the women complained to the Archbishop, they were replaced.
  • A priest who took a nun for an abortion during which the sister died, officiated at the nun’s requiem Mass.

The report resurfaced in 2001 and was published by the Irish Times. The secretary-general of the Conference of Religious of Ireland, was bemused and said no such allegations or complaints had been received. “However, if Sister Maura O’Donoghue had evidence of the occurrence of such abusive behaviour then it was appropriate she should report it to the Vatican.”  The Vatican spokesperson, Dr Joachim Navarro-Valls, confirmed that “the problem is known about’…’but restricted to a certain geographical area”. This was understood to be Africa.

A SONG COMES TO MIND…   “ROUND, LIKE A CIRCLE IN A SPIRAL, LIKE A WHEEL WITHIN A WHEEL… NEVER ENDING OR BEGINNING ON AN EVER SPINNING WHEEL….”

In February 2019 Following a new expose’ in the Vatican women’s publication ‘Women Church World’, Pope Francis publicly acknowledged for the first time, the long history of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and clergy, saying: “It’s true,” …“There are priests and bishops who have done that.” Francis spoke about a case in which Pope Benedict dissolved an order of nuns “because a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder.”

Iris Wagner, a former German nun,now a theologian has spoken of her terror when a superior of the Order entered her room one night and raped her. Feeling she would not be believed she did not report this. Years later when she did tell her Superior, she was blamed and asked if she had used contraceptives. When she was later appointed to a senior position in Rome she was groomed by Herman Geissler, a priest in The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the organisation which investigates accusations of child abuse. She reported a series of sexual assaults in the confessional and when no action was taken she disclosed the story at the Rome meeting in 2018. Geissler resigned on the grounds of ill health; an investigation found that he had acted inappropriately but he was not removed from his job. On May 17th 2019 The Vatican Supreme Court announced that he had been acquitted of making sexual advances in the confessional. (The priest who raped Iris Wagner is still ordained and living in a religious community with young women.)

Dr Rocio Figueroa Alvea,  a former nun, left her Order and is now a theologian and Lecturer. At the age of 15 she  was abused by her Confessor, German Doig who, began touching her inappropriately during spiritual direction classes. Confused she felt unable to disclose the abuse. She later started a womens branch and was sent to Rome, there she met a priest to whom she was able to speak for the first time, about her ordeal. While working in the Vatican, she was asked by the Founder of her Order, Luis Fernando Figari, to help prepare the process of beatification for Doig, her former abuser, who had died in 2001. During investigations, she discovered that Doig had been a serial sexual perpetrator. She confronted Figari who told her, “You are a liar, you seduced him” .. ‘You are forbidden to speak”. She was ordered by Figari, to step down from her Vatican role due to “illness” She spoke to a cardinal she was close to, telling  him everything she had discovered. The cardinal gave her two options: either leave the community or stay and be a “silent soldier”.  Continuing her investigation she traced victims of the Founder and uncovered a network of abusers, leaders in the community. Along with other survivors, she reported this to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, to the Secretary of State and to a host of other Vatican departments but received no reply. In 2015 she published a ‘whistle blowers’ book documenting the abuse. Only then did the Vatican order investigation. In 2017 they found that Figari “sexually assaulted at least one child, manipulated, sexually abused or harmed several other young people and physically or psychologically abused dozens of others”. He denied the charges and was ordered by the Vatican to “live a life of prayer” in Rome.

When Indian Bishop Mulakkal was accused of raping a Catholic nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016, the rape was reported  to 3 bishops, a cardinal and 2 auxilliaries but no action was taken. Sister Anupama and four of her companions led protests demanding his arrest. Mulakkal, 54, a senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy and head of its Jalandhar diocese denied the charge.He is currently out on bail as the case is being heard in court. According to Sister Anupama,  the  ‘Save our Sisters’  (SOS) forum at Kochi’s Vanchi square last year has resulted in victimisation, an act of vengeance by the church. The sisters no longer feel safe.

Nuns are speaking of systemic abuse with priestly grooming tactics e.g. comments such as “I’m showing you God’s love’ as an example of clericalism laying claim to entitlement. An  immunised clergy exerting financial control and spiritual authority over dependent consecrated nuns.

CLUE: VENEZUELA HAS THE LARGEST OIL RESERVES IN THE WORLD


OVERT AND COVERT US INTERVENTION HAS TOPPLED A SERIES OF LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENTS IN THE LATIN AMERICAN REGION SINCE THE 1950s. GUATEMALA, PANAMA, NICARAGUA, HONDURAS AND EL SALVADOR HAVE ALL BEEN INVADED BY THE UNITED STATES  WHICH IRONICALLY IS NOW ‘INVADED’ BY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DISPLACED PEOPLE FLEEING THEIR RAVAGED COUNTRIES.

The political manoeuvring by the most powerful nations on the world stage as they align with and against Venezuela should remind us of the self interest and the all too familiar strategy of divide and conquer previously witnessed in the Middle East and currently being  played out in Latin America.  Russia, China and others jostle for position to ensure their stake in that country’s natural mineral wealth and oil, as America attempts to grab the world’s greatest source of oil in its “backyard”, 

Comparison of current oil reserves

  • Venezuela –     300,878 million barrels
  • Saudi Arabia –  266,455 million barrels. …
  • Canada –         169,709 million barrels. …
  • Iran –               158,400 million barrels. …
  • Iraq –               142,503 million barrels. …
  • Kuwait –          101,500 million barrels. …
  • UA Emirates –   97,800 million barrels. …
  • Russia –            80,000 million barrels. …
  • Libya –              48,363 million barrels. …
  • United States – 39,230 million barrels.

In the idealised vision of a globalised economy all nations are able to freely negotiate their best interests in equitable markets in a spirit of mutual cooperation and respect. The reality  is that the nature of a dominating force is expansionism, the method being to apply pressure, making demands which can not be met. The aim is acquiescence, capitulation and finally submission to the greater power. Today the US increasingly imposes sanctions, the equivalent of a medieval siege, on nations who refuse to comply with their directives. The strategy is played out in the guise of negotiation through trade wars with an ever present threat of military incursion.

The sovereign nations of Latin America, formerly European colonies particularly of Spain, gained independence  in the 19th century.  They include:  Uruguay 1811, Argentina 1816, Chile 1818, Columbia 1819, Venezuela 1821, El Salvadore 1821, Honduras 1821, Nicaragua 1821, Ecuador 1822,  Bolivia 1825, Mexico 1920 and Panama in 1903.  The United States the United States  unofficially regards parts of Latin America as within its sphere of influence and increasingly used military force  to secure the success of governments sympathetic to it. By 1934, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti had all been partially occupied by US forces at some point.  US domination of Latin American countries was eventually opposed by indigenous leaders intent on loosening Washington control and achieving a fairer redistribution of the continent’s natural wealth. The U.S. turned against the regimes it helped install when they began pursuing policies counter to U.S. diplomatic and business interests

Populist movements across Latin America instigated revolutionary reforms, gaining freedom from successive military dictatorships.

  •  In 1948 Dictator Marcos Perez Jiminez overthrew the democratically elected Venezuelan government in a  coup d’etat, ten years of military government followed. In 1950, when the global economy was struggling to recover from World War II, oil-rich Venezuela was the world’s fourth-wealthiest country.  The Venezuelan economy flourished as the American oil industry, supported by the government, exploited the vast oil resources.  Perez personally received a portion of the profits from oil companies, Mobil, Exon and others along with the  ‘Legion of Merit’ from President Nixon  in 1954 for services rendered.1958 a further coup de’tat with Oil and steel nationalized in 1973.
  • 1983/4 Falling global oil prices generated unrest and cuts in welfare spending. 1989  Carlos Andres Perez, elected President, launched an austerity programme  with an IMF loan. Riots, martial law and a general strike followed with hundreds killed in street fighting. Perez impeached on corruption charges 1993-1995.
  • 1998 Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela by a landslide on a manifesto of land and wealth redistribution. The South American country began to reassert sovereignty over its oil reserves, challenging U.S. economic interests . The Chávez administration overturned the privatisation of the state-owned oil company, eventually doubling the country’s GDP. The oil revenues were used to fund social programs aimed at fostering human development in areas such as health, education, employment, housing, technology, culture and pensions and land redistribution. Chavez extended power and communal authority to the indigenous, mestizos and Afro-Venezuelans, living in shacks in the barrios.

Unprecedented Socialist achievements  brought social justice and pride to millions of people. However land reforms and redistribution of wealth posed a threat to the wealthy and challenged  US expansionist plans for Latin America.  In eight years, Chavez won eight elections and referendums: a world record, he was electorally the most popular politician in the world. Venezuela’s democratic record and human rights legislation,  food programmes, healthcare initiatives, poverty reduction and a national literacy programme went largely unreported in the West due to a campaign of media lies and distortion.

Venezuelan President-Elect Hugo Chavez, left, shakes hands with former President Jimmy Carter in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Dec. 7, 1998. Six years after leading a bloody coup attempt, Chavez rode a wave of fierce public discontent to win Venezuela’s presidency by the largest margin in 40 years. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Former President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Centre is a respected monitor of elections around the world stated: “Of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored…I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”  By way of contrast, said Carter, the US election system, with its emphasis on campaign money, “is one of the worst”.

 In 200l Chávez became highly critical of the Bush administration and U.S economic foreign policy with regard to Iraq, Haiti, Kosovo and the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and other areas.

  • Reports of failed assassination attempts and a 2002 Washington-backed coup to overthrow President Hugo Chávez resulted in mass demonstration by hundreds of thousands from the barrios insisting the army remained loyal to Chavez who was returned to power. 
  • Following his re-election in 2006, Chavez nationalised oil, steel, cement and banking assets. Economic sanctions quickly followed leaving Venezuela struggling to secure enough investment and technical expertise to unlock valuable resources.
  • In 2011 Chavaz repatriated around 160 tonnes of Venezuelan assets in gold from banks in the United States and Europe.

When the Venezuelan government announced that the nation’s oil reserves had surpassed that of the previous world leader, Saudi Arabia, American sanctions were immediately increased. A former adviser to the U.S. Departments of State, Energy and Defense described the significant shift as ‘irrelevant’ explaining:   “ So long as there’s no capital flowing into the upstream in Venezuela, especially capital by the companies that have the technology to develop the heavy oil reserves it will remain irrelevant’

The void left by the death of Hugo Chavaz in 2013 could not be filled. His successor Nicolas Meduro has presided over Venezuela as the global slide in the price of oil caused hyper inflation in a society that imports almost all its food. Venezuela’s access to the US-dominated international financial system was blocked. The collapse of oil prices since 2014 and Washington’s “sanctions” against Venezuela, have caused the loss of at least $6 billion in Venezuela’s revenue since 2017, including  $2 billion worth of imported medicines.  In 2018, Maduro was re-elected President despite a tactical boycott by the opposition winning 67.84 per cent of the vote.  In January 2019 President Trump unexpectedly placed further economic oil sanctions on Venezuela aimed at toppling President Nicolás Maduro, exports plunged and banking froze. It was announced that $7 Billion in assets was immediately blocked with a further export loss of  $11 billion anticipated over the coming year. The further sanctions made it virtually impossible for the Venezuela government to take the measures necessary to eliminate hyperinflation or recover from a deep depression. Such measures would include debt restructuring, and creating a new exchange rate system  in which the currency would normally be pegged to the dollar.

Both Chavaz and Meduro have been criticised for their lack of foresight in prioritising social welfare programmes while  neglecting to diversify the economy which could not be sustained when oil prices fell. Crippling sanctions and the Moduro government ‘s failure to manage the economy along with accusations of corruption and human rights abuses have led to the disintegration of Venezuela. In 2018, the UN indicated that between 2015 and 2017, 3.7 million in the Venezuelan population were undernourished. In 2016, maternal mortality rose 65 percent and infant mortality rose 30 percent in just one year.  In the face of a massive exodus of 3.4 million Venezuelans the Maduro government fearful of strings attached to international Aid programmes has denied the humanitarian crisis and is largely to blame for the lack of a coordinated international response.

By recognizing the self appointed Juan Guaido, the National Assembly leader, as the legitimate president of Venezuela, the Trump administration acknowledged a parallel government. This support comes with strings, a broader trade agreement and specific benefits for American oil companies like Chevron and Halliburton, already located in Venezuela. 

President Meduros’ request to the Bank of England January 2019 to withdraw $1.2 billion of Venezuelas gold reserves  held by the bank was denied. This follows lobbying  by  U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton  to help cut off the regime from its overseas assets.  U.S. officials confirmed this is an attempt to steer Venezuela’s  overseas assets to Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America program at the Wilson Center commented:  “The Trump administration is looking to absolutely cripple the Venezuelan economy in the hopes that the level of pain will lead to cracks in the armed forces or otherwise result in regime change,”   Should this occur this  will be “the 68th overthrow of a sovereign government by the United States, most of them democracies”.(John Pilger)

AS THE WORLD OBSERVES AMERICA’S OUTRAGE AT THE POSSIBILITY THAT RUSSIA ATTEMPTED TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 US  ELECTION PROCESS, THE HYPOCRISY OF US MEDDLING APPEARS LOST ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

 

 

 

A POCKET HISTORY OF THE GOLAN HEIGHTS FOR TRUMP

IN FORMALLY RECOGNISING ISRAELI CONTROL OVER THE  GOLAN HEIGHTS  DONALD TRUMP HAS ACHIEVED THE IMPOSSIBLE – UNITING VIRTUALLY EVERY NATION IN THEIR OPPOSITION AND CONCERN FOR THE OUTCOME.

In the 1940s, Britain secretly advocated the creation of a Greater Syrian state that would secure Britain preferential status in military, economic and cultural matters. France and the United States opposed British hegemony in the region, which eventually led to the creation of Israel on 14 May 1948. 

  • 1948 The  First Arab–Israeli War, was fought between the newly declared State of Israel and a military coalition of 5 Arab nations which rejected the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine. Israelis call it “the war of independence”; Arabs call it the “nakba” or the catastrophe.
  • 1956 The second Arab-Israeli war broke out when Israel, Britain and France launched a joint attack against Egypt aimed at regime change and deposing Abdul Nasser the country’s leader.
  • 1967 Israel launched preemptive attacks on Egypt, Jordan and Syria, unleashing the June War, that resulted in the Israeli occupation of what remained of historic Palestine. Israel subsequently captured and occupied the West Bank and Gaza, capturing East Jerusalem from the Jordanians and the Golan Heights from Syria. The displacement of civilian populations resulting from the war had long-term consequences, as 300,000 Palestinians fled the West Bank and about 100,000 Syrians left the Golan Heights. Israel began to settle the occupied Golan Heights almost immediately, directly flouting international law.
  • 1973 Syria tried to retake the Golan Heights during the ‘Yom Kippur ‘war.  Egyptian and Syrian armies, with advanced Soviet weapons, launched a two-front offensive on Israel, from the north and the south. Despite inflicting heavy losses on Israeli forces, the surprise assault failed. Both countries signed an armistice in 1974 and a UN observer force has been in place on the ceasefire line since.

The UN Security Council Resolution 242 passed in 1967 called on Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967 including the Golan Heights.  UN Resolution 338 adopted on October 22, 1973 reaffirmed the 1967 Resolution. Despite international condemnation Israel continues to build settlements on all occupied land, a well recognised strategy of  ‘sovereignty by stealth’.

AS SYRIA  LIES IN RUINS AND OTHERS CONTINUE TO SHAPE ITS DESTINY  IT IS TIMELY TO CONSIDER THE UNSAVOURY HISTORY WHICH LED US TO THIS POINT.

Damascus is considered to be the oldest permanently settled city in the world today.  The importance of Syria’s strategic location is illustrated by the repeated invasion and capture by foreign dominating powers. Syria has been fought over by foreign empires including Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonian Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Turks, British, and French. St Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, establishing the first Christian church at Antioch in the first century. From AD 324 many Christians migrated due to the divisions occurring within various Christian sects. Following the Muslim Arab conquest of AD 635 most Syrians became Muslim and Arabic replaced Aramaic. Throughout its centuries of rule, the Muslim Ottoman Empire was comprised of groups of Orthodox, Catholic, and other Christians; Alawis, Ismailis, and other Shia Muslims. Yazidis, Kurds, Jews, and Druze lived in neighbourhoods in the various cities and towns alongside Sunni Muslim Arabs.  Non-Muslim communities adhered to their own cultural traditions dress and customs and spoke their own languages, the allegiance was to the village or city and to ethnic heritage.

THE INFLUENCE OF WESTERN POWERS IN ‘NATION BUILDING’ PAYS LITTLE HEED TO THE CULTURE AND TRADITIONS OF THE EAST AND LESS TO CONSEQUENCES.

During the First World War, Great Britain and France were at war with the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which had sided with Germany and Austria. The  notorious Sykes-Picot Agreement made between Britain and France divided the Middle East between the two colonial powers. Britain subsequently made other conflicting deals,  leaders of the Arab revolt were promised an Independent Arab State in repayment for support in overthrowing the Ottomons but Britain reneged on the agreement. In May 1919 the French and British Prime Ministers met to decide their respective claims to territories or spheres of influence in the Middle East.They decided that in return for a British guarantee of French control in Syria, the British would be given a mandate over Mosul and Palestine. 

The long promised and short lived Arab Kingdom of Syria which emerged in 1920 died at birth. France was determined to retain control and invaded, imposing regime change on the Damascus government, making Syria a de facto colony of France, supposedly under the “mandate” of the League of Nations. The terms of the mandate required France to prepare Syria for independence, but the French showed little intention. The next three years were spent conquering the country and reformulating the territory. A policy was implemented of changing the social and cultural orientation by supplanting the common language Arabic, with French and making French customs and law primary. Catholicism was promoted as a means to undermine Islam, and to favor minorities as a means to control the Muslim majority, the aim being to establish a Christian-dominated viable state.

Constitutions were proclaimed periodically, only to be revoked, and independence was promised time after time. By 1921 Syria was divided into detached administrative units. The French created a “Greater” Lebanon from two Lebanon and Beirut, to establish an anchor in an otherwise hostile area. When the division inevitably failed, the autonomies were transformed into the Mandatory Syrian Republic in 1930. In 1933 when France attempted to impose a treaty of independence heavily prejudiced in favor of France, riots and demonstrations brought the economy to a standstill.

In 1936, the Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence was signed, due to the French fear of being outflanked by Nazi Germany, if France relinquished its colonies in the Middle East.  However lingering colonialist inclinations  led France to reconsider its promises and it refused to ratify the treaty. With the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of the Vichy government until the British and Free French invaded and occupied the country in July 1941. Syria proclaimed its independence again in 1941 but it wasn’t until 1st January 1944, that it was recognized as an independent republic. On 29th May 1945, France  bombed Damascus and tried to arrest its democratically elected leaders. When the UN officially came into existence on 24th October 1945 the Syrian Prime Minister was at the founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco, presenting Syria’s claim for independence from the French Mandate. The French mandate for both Syria and Lebanon was legally terminated on that date and full independence attained.

The al-Assad family  has ruled Syria since Hafez al-Assad became President of Syria in 1971 and established an authoritarian government. After his death in 2000, his son Bashar Assad succeeded him… and the rest as they say is history.

See also: Jerusalem – A pocket history for Trump