An incisive new report released by researchers affiliated with Rutgers University lays out in detail the many ways in which the U.S. political establishment has instrumentalized anti-Muslim bigotry and disingenuously redefined the idea of “antisemitism” in order to defuse criticisms of the Israeli government and justify dehumanizing policies toward Palestinians. Titled “Presumptively Antisemitic: Islamophobic Tropes in the Palestine-Israel Discourse,” the 68-page report offers a thorough examination of how the domestic foreign policy establishment and the associated Israel lobby employ Islamophobia as a tool of ideological legitimation.
US State Department
The headline is provocative: “The Kremlin’s Efforts to Covertly Spread Disinformation in Latin America.” This was a statement on the US State Department website, posted on November 7, 2023. The United States government accused two companies—Social Design Agency and Structura National Technologies—of being the main agents of what it alleged is Russian-backed disinformation. The statement named the heads of both of the firms, Ilya Gambashidze of Social Design Agency and Nikolay Tupkin of Structura. On July 28, 2023, the European Union sanctioned several Russian individuals and firms, including SDA and Structura.
On March 17, the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, introduced an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Llova-Belova. The warrant, which accused Putin and Lolva-Belova of conducting the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children to a “network of camps” across the Russian Federation, inspired a wave of incendiary commentary in the West. US Sen. Lindsey Graham, perhaps the most aggressive cheerleader in Congress for war with Russia, proclaimed: “The ICC has an arrest warrant for Putin because he has organized the kidnapping of at least 16,000 Ukrainian children from their families and sent them to Russia.
Twenty years ago on this coming weekend, I was in Mongolia as the Deputy US Ambassador. After writing a Dissent Cable in early March 2003 on the pending U.S. war on Iraq to my boss Secretary of State Colin Powell, I made the decision to resign from the U.S. government as it was poised to invade, occupy and destroy the sovereign state of Iraq. I was one of three U.S. diplomats who resigned—Brady Kiesling and John Brown resigned before me. For months, the Bush administration attempted to get the U.S. public to believe that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction and therefore was a threat to the United States and the international community.
For the last 3 months, more than 1,000 Honduran construction workers building the new United States embassy in Tegucigalpa have been striking against Alabama-based mega-prison contractor B.L. Harbert and their ultimate employer, the U.S. State Department, to demand safe working conditions, job security and fair compensation in compliance with Honduran labor law. Join the DSA International Committee and DSA Labor for a bilingual webinar to hear directly from the striking workers in Honduras, co-sponsored by US- and Honduras-based solidarity organizations. We seek to create opportunities for relationships to grow between the striking workers, Honduran civil society, and solidarity organizations around the Americas, and for workers in Honduras and the United States to hear directly from each other.
You may have noticed: the Blob is back. Beneath a veneer of gender and racial diversity, the Biden national security team consists of seasoned operatives who earned their spurs in Washington long before Donald Trump showed up to spoil the party. So, if you’re looking for fresh faces at the departments of state or defense, the National Security Council or the various intelligence agencies, you’ll have to search pretty hard. Ditto, if you’re looking for fresh insights. In Washington, members of the foreign policy establishment recite stale bromides, even as they divert attention from a dead past to which they remain devoted. The boss shows them how it’s done. Just two weeks into his presidency, Joe Biden visited the State Department to give American diplomats their marching orders.
The reliance on military instruments of power to implement foreign policy has expanded the role of the Department of Defense at the expense of the Department of State. The State Department’s budget is less than one-tenth of the defense budget, and smaller than the budget of the intelligence community. There are more soldiers and sailors in military marching bands than there are Foreign Service Officers. The decline of the Agency for International Development, and President Bill Clinton’s dissolution of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the United States Information Service have contributed to the overall decline of civilian influence in national security policy.
Powerful. That’s how I’d describe today’s episode. A deep dive into the mind of COL(R) Larry Wilkerson, his career as a U.S. Army officer to include combat in Vietnam, his close professional relationship with Colin Powell, his time at the State Department during the Bush II era, his thoughts on various conflicts to include Iraq and Syria, and his thoughts on the murder of George Floyd amidst the COVID-19 era. Lawrence Wilkerson’s last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff (2002-05), Associate Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02).
The government of Venezuela is celebrating after thwarting another foreign-backed coup attempt Sunday, just two days after self-declared another coup attempt by “Interim President” Juan Guaidó ended in total failure. A flotilla of small speed boats filled with up to 300 paramilitary units, sailed from their training ground in Colombia heading for a port near the country’s capital Caracas, from where they were aiming to kickstart an insurrection. They confidently predicted they would be in the Miraflores presidential palace within 96 hours. However, the mission went spectacularly wrong almost immediately, as they were intercepted by the Venezuelan Navy, who reportedly killed at least eight in the fighting at sea, capturing many others.
On March 31, the US Secretary of State issued a press statement proposing a “pathway” by which all Venezuelans would live happily ever after, at least that is what Mike Pompeo seems to wish. He “call[s] on all Venezuelans, whether military or civilian, young or old, of all ideological tendencies and party affiliations, to consider this framework carefully and seriously.” The 13-point document was posted on the US State Department website with the title “Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela”. Let’s take a serious look at it. An initial major observation can be made even before reading the 13 paragraphs. If this is a proposal meant as a recommendation to resolve an impasse between parties, it will not accomplish its goal because no “serious” proposal can be made unilaterally and much less by a non-friendly government.
By Malcolm Byrne for National Security Archive. The State Department today released a long-awaited “retrospective” volume of declassified U.S. government documents on the 1953 coup in Iran. The volume includes fascinating details on Iranian, American and British planning and implementation of the covert operation, as well as information about U.S. contacts with key figures such as Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani, and insights into U.S. concerns about the growing influence of communist Tudeh Party. The publication is the culmination of decades of internal debates and public controversy after a previous official collection omitted all references to the role of American and British intelligence in the ouster of Iran’s then-prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq. For decades, neither the U.S. nor the British governments would acknowledge their part in Mosaddeq’s overthrow, even though a detailed account appeared as early as 1954 in The Saturday Evening Post, and since then CIA and MI6 veterans of the coup have published memoirs detailing their activities.