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Journalist Katie Halper censored and fired for telling the truth about Israeli apartheid
Kevin Reed, WSWS, Oct 5 2022

On Sep 28, left-wing independent journalist and podcaster Katie Halper was censored and fired by the Washington newspaper The Hill for a video monologue she delivered two days earlier defending Michigan US Representative Rashida Tlaib’s recent characterization of Israel as an “apartheid government.” The WSWS condemns the censorship and firing of Katie Halper by The Hill. It must be opposed by the working class and all defenders of free speech as an attack on basic democratic rights. In a blog post on Oct 3, Halper explained that she had recorded the op-ed video for The Hill TV show “Rising,” a program to which she had contributed as a guest host for three years. She wrote:

The Hill refused to publish my piece on their YouTube channel. When I pushed back and respectfully urged them to reconsider, they not only fired me as a guest host but told me I was no longer needed as a weekly guest.

Halper further explained that “the higher ups at The Hill and at NexStar media, which recently bought The Hill,” blocked the video from being published despite the efforts of producers to “do the right thing.” She subsequently went to the independent media outlet Breakthrough News to have the video comment published on YouTube. At the heart of the censorship of Halper is fear within the imperialist ruling establishment that the long-standing lie equating opposition to the racist apartheid repression of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza by the Israeli government with “anti-Semitism” is not being accepted by growing numbers of people around the world. As Halper explained in a statement about her censorship and firing by The Hill to the WSWS:

It’s dangerous and wrong to conflate anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel. It trivialized actual anti-Semitism.

In her censored op-ed video, Halper used a clip of CNN anchor Jake Tapper saying that Tlaib had been criticized “for what several of her Jewish colleagues have deemed anti-Semitic comments” that the congresswoman made in an online forum sponsored by Americans for Justice in Palestine Action. Tapper’s clip contains Tlaib’s statement in which she said:

I want you all to know that among progressives it has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel’s apartheid government. And we will continue to push back and not accept this idea that you can be ‘progressive except for Palestine.’

Tapper then went on to say that Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL “slammed the comments” of Tlaib, because “Israel does not have an apartheid government,” and quoted a tweet from Greenblatt asserting that Tlaib was telling “American Jews that they need to pass an anti-Zionist litmus test to participate in progressive spaces.” Tapper also quoted statements of Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz calling Tlaib’s comments “outrageous” and “nothing short of anti-Semitic.” In her censored 12-minute video, Halper delivered a devastating exposure of the lying claim by Greenblatt and Wasserman Schultz supported by Tapper, that Tlaib was anti-Semitic for calling Israel an apartheid state. She said:

I understand that Greenblatt and perhaps Tapper feel like Israel is not an apartheid state, but unfortunately for them, apartheid isn’t about your feelings. It’s about facts.

Halper then went on to provide a historical review of the term, going back to the 1973 UN international convention that referred to the “crime of apartheid” as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” She also quoted the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which defined apartheid as “inhumane acts of a character” that are “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Halper went through the history of Israeli apartheid policies against the Palestinians, beginning with “The Law of Return” of 1950, which grants “anyone with one Jewish grandparent” the right to move to Israel and automatically become a citizen of the country along with his or her spouse, even if the spouse is not Jewish. She said:

Palestinians, of course, lack that right. The Israeli Citizenship Law of 1952 deprived Palestinian refugees and their descendants of legal status, the right to return and all other rights in their homeland. It also defined Palestinians present in Israel as ‘Israeli citizens,’ without a nationality and group rights.

Halper also gave a lengthy list of organizations and individuals, including video clips of their statements, both within Israel itself and internationally who have declared the Israeli government to be an apartheid regime. Prominent on the list was Nelson Mandela, who, in 1997, said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” The attempt to silence Katie Halper comes at a time of intensifying international crisis and fear within the US ruling establishment that anyone challenging the lie that opposition to the criminal policies of Israel is anti-Semitism will gain a following in the public. Therefore, the corporate and financial interests at Nexstar Media Group, the $3b media empire based in Irving, Texas that owns The Hill, moved swiftly to prevent Halper’s views from making their way onto its morning news program. Meanwhile, the US political and media establishment downplays the fact that the Republican Party, the military-intelligence apparatus and police forces around the country are full of fascists and anti-Semites, as evidenced by the participants in the attempted coup in Washington on Jan 6 2021, and that the American government is financing and arming Ukrainian neo-Nazis in the US-NATO war against Russia. While the WSWS has a well-documented record of political opposition to Representative Tlaib, who is a Democratic Party politician and member of the pseudo-left DSA, we defend her right to speak out about the Israeli government and its crimes against the Palestinians. Rashida Tlaib and the other members of what is known as “the Squad” in the US House of Representatives, including Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, have been the target of repeated racist comments, xenophobic attacks and death threats from far-right individuals and fascist political groups since they were elected in 2018.

US sends hundreds of armored vehicles to Ukraine as offensive continues
Andre Damon, WSWS, Oct 5 2022

A Maxxpro mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle

As the Ukrainian military continued its rapid advances along multiple fronts, the White House announced another massive arms shipment for the war against Russia, sending over 200 armored vehicles in its latest arms shipment. Along with the armored vehicles, the US announced the shipment of four HIMARS long-range missile systems, 16 m777 howitzers, together with 500 “Excalibur” long-range guided artillery shells. Ukrainian forces continued their advance on two fronts Tuesday, leading Russian forces to retreat in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as well as the Kherson region to the south. Speaking Tuesday night, Zelensky said:

This week alone dozens of population centers have been liberated. These are in Kherson, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions all together. This is far from a complete list. Our soldiers do not stop.

Sergei Kuzan, an adviser to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, told the Financial Times:

Russian forces are not operating in a coordinated fashion because we chose the right tactics to destroy their communications and supply lines.

In the preceding weeks, Ukrainian forces had destroyed command centers, resupply lines and weapons depots, in some cases dozens of miles behind the Russian front. In a Pentagon briefing Monday, a senior military official made clear that the free operation of Ukrainian long-range missiles were made possible by Ukrainian/NATO air superiority over the contented regions of Ukraine employing advanced anti-aircraft systems from the US and NATO. The official said:

It is a contested environment in the air and predominantly Russian forces, as, again, you highlight them, launching munitions from safe zones, so to speak, right over Russian-held territory or not too far from the border to try to evade Ukrainian air defenses.

The latest advances follow the capture of Lyman, a strategic transit hub in the north of Donetsk, where Russian forces staged a disorganized retreat, and were reportedly killed in large numbers by Ukrainian forces as they were retreating. A Western official told by the WaPo:

All Russian forces withdrew in poor order, suffering high casualties from artillery fire as they attempted to leave. In Kharkiv, troops received an order to cede the territory. But in Lyman, we think that the Russian troops retreated despite orders to defend and remain.

The AP reported that Russian troops left the bodies of their comrades lying in the streets as they retreated, and AP photographers documented the bodies of Russian soldiers being torn apart by animals. The advances by Ukrainian forces continued as Russia struggled to train and mobilize the hundreds of thousands of reservists it had called up two weeks ago, amid widespread reports that troops were not provided uniforms, supplies or body armor. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia had called up 200k men out of a planned total of 300k. By contrast, the US media reports that over 400k people had fled the country since then. Mobilized soldiers reportedly have to purchase their own uniforms and a first-aid kit. The WaPo wrote:

Prices of bulletproof vests have dramatically increased in Russia over the past two weeks, with some stores hiking up the prices by more than ten times. In total, a soldier looking to purchase a full uniform appropriate for fighting in Ukraine would have to spend roughly $3k out of pocket.

As this military debacle was unfolding, Russia’s upper house of parliament approved the annexations of four Ukraine regions, despite the fact that the Russian military was rapidly losing ground and Kremlin Spokesperson Dimitri Peskov could not specify what the borders of the annexed territories actually were earlier this week. The EU escalated its economic war against Russia, with Politico reporting that EU ambassadors have reached an agreement to place a price cap on sales of Russian oil. On Monday, the UNGA will meet and is expected to vote on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukraine territories. Over the past week, multiple Russian officials have stated that Russia would use nuclear weapons to defend the territories newly annexed by Russia. In what was perhaps the most chilling development of the past 24 hours, a US DoD official refused to deny reports that a train from a unit of the Russian military charged with handling nuclear weapons was making its way toward the front. During Monday’s Pentagon briefing, a reporter from NPR asked:

The Times of London is reporting that a train operated by what they call the Secretive Nuclear Division in Russia is heading towards Ukraine. Are you guys seeing any movement of any nuclear arsenal?

The official replied:

Tom, I’m aware of those press reports. I don’t have anything on that.

A follow-up question in the briefing from the Economist asked:

You said you’d seen nothing that compels you to change your posture, which is not quite the same as saying that you’ve seen no movement of nuclear related forces by Russia. There’s also, apart from the report of the 12th main directorate, there’s also a report of a Russian submarine the Belgorod diving in the White Sea, perhaps to test the Poseidon torpedo. Do you have any information on that?

The US official again refused to issue a denial, saying:

No, I don’t have any information to provide on that. And again, I know it’s not a satisfying answer other than to say, again, we have not changed our posture.

In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, Republican representative Mike Turner called on the US to alter its nuclear posture, declaring:

This administration needs to step up its game on missile defense. We have assets in Europe and we need to engage them so that we can provide protection to our allies. The administration needs to begin to deploy and activate our missile defense systems, so at least we can look to Europe, and say we’re going to be using these resources to provide some protection, should Putin decide to use weapons of mass destruction.

In the face of the clearly mounting nuclear danger, the WaPo rejected any efforts by the US to negotiate an end to the conflict, declaring:

Putin flirts with a dance of death. The only sane thing (for him) to do is stand down and end this needless war.

The global strike wave and the crisis of revolutionary leadership
Eric London, WSWS, Oct 5 2022

A protest in downtown Beirut, Sep 26 2022. (Photo: Bilal Hussein)

Across the world, a surge of working-class opposition to inequality and capitalist exploitation is developing in the form of strikes and protests. The growth of the class struggle comes after three years of a global pandemic that has needlessly claimed the lives of tens of millions of people, and seven months into a war in Ukraine that has fueled starvation, poverty and inflation for billions more. It is this objective movement that has the power to take control out of the hands of the imperialist madmen driving the world toward the nuclear abyss and to inaugurate a new era of socialist equality. The international working class has tremendous potential power, but to unlock this power it must break free from the stranglehold of the trade unions and obtain consciousness of its role as the revolutionary social force. The trade unions, which serve as instruments of imperialism, are working in every country with the corporations and capitalist parties to suppress this growing movement and to isolate the most militant struggles. The fight to break their stranglehold is a political struggle that requires political leadership. Everywhere the working class is fighting back against inflation and the spiraling cost of living, greatly exacerbated by the US/NATO war against Russia in Ukraine. In Argentina, 5.6k tire workers at Bridgestone and Pirelli have affected the entire country’s auto production after launching a powerful strike against the corporations and the pro-corporate unions. In Haiti, strikes and mass demonstrations are continuing for the seventh week as the country’s infrastructure essentially collapses and workers die of thirst, starvation, violence, coronavirus and now cholera.

The class struggle is developing across Africa, population 1.5b. In South Africa, a general strike appears to be developing as tens of thousands of workers plan to shut down the country’s railroads and ports on Thursday after the state-owned Transnet company offered wage increases of just 1.5%. In July, South Africa’s former president Thabo Mbeki predicted an “Arab Spring-type uprising” in the country. In Tunisia, where protestors sparked the Arab Spring uprising 11 years ago, the head of the UGTT union warned that it will be unable to prevent mass strikes in the weeks ahead against IMF austerity measures. Air traffic controllers are currently on strike in 18 African countries, including Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Côte D’Ivoire. Strikes are taking place across the Middle East and Asia, including Iran, where workers’ protests are coinciding with widespread demonstrations over the brutal police murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for wearing a hijab “improperly.” In neighboring Iraq, large protests took place across the country over the weekend in response to growing inequality and poverty worsened by decades of US war and occupation. In Lebanon, a national teachers strike is taking place as demonstrators stormed into four banks demanding their deposits. A Beirut woman became a national hero after she broke into a bank with a fake pistol to demand that she be allowed to withdraw her own money to pay for her 23-year-old sister’s cancer treatment. In Sri Lanka, strikes and protests by agricultural and industrial workers continue to envelop the island.

Powerful strike movements are also developing in the centers of world imperialism. As governments pour billions and billions of dollars into fueling the NATO war against Russia, masses of people in cities like London, Berlin and Paris confront intolerable conditions, exacerbated by the rising cost of living. In France, ongoing strikes by energy workers have shut 60% of the country’s oil refining capacity. A quarter of a million workers struck last week against the cost of living. In the UK, strikes by 170k railroad workers, postal workers, dockworkers in Liverpool and Felixstowe, and other sections of the working class have broken out in defiance of efforts by the British ruling class to use the death of QE2 to effect “national unity.” In Germany, warning strikes are developing as the contracts for 7m workers expire simultaneously and protests grow over the cost of living. A strike wave of teachers is sweeping Europe, including in Germany, Greece, Norway, Kosovo, Hungary and Serbia. Rail workers are also on strike in Belgium. In Canada, 55k education support staff are preparing to strike against the Ford government’s austerity regime.

The development of the class struggle in the US, cockpit of world imperialist reaction, is particularly significant. After decades in which the AFL-CIO has artificially suppressed the class struggle, workers are confronting these massive union bureaucracies and striving for a path to carry their struggles forward. Over 125k railroad workers are eager to strike and have begun to hold independent protests against the railroad unions, which are conspiring with the rail carriers to block a strike that would effectively shut down the US economy. Strikes are developing across the northeast among drivers and warehouse workers employed by Sysco, with the Teamsters warning that “this could spread.” Grocery store workers employed by Kroger in Columbus, Ohio recently rejected a pro-corporate deal reached by the United Food and Commercial Workers for the third time and are currently being forced to vote on the same contract a fourth time. On the West Coast, 25k dockworkers have been working without a contract since June, while the contracts for 50k California university employees and 50k Southern California grocery workers are expiring. Amazon workers at JFK8 in Staten Island walked out spontaneously yesterday after management attempted to send them back into a facility that was partially on fire. According to Cornell University, there were 180 strikes involving 80k workers in the first half of 2022, triple the number of workers who struck in the first half of 2021. Johnnie Kallas, director of Cornell’s labor action tracker, told The Guardian:

Strikes appear to be increasing as we head into the fall.

As winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, analysts are predicting a further explosion of the class struggle. Verisk Maplecroft warned in September:

The world is facing an unprecedented rise in civil unrest as governments of all stripes grapple with the impacts of inflation on the price of staple foods and energy.

The World Economic Forum reported last week:

Real wages are declining and social unrest is on the rise. Further spending is constrained or impossible, with some governments running out of fiscal space, reducing their ability to manage the cost of living crisis.

In other words, while the capitalist governments spent trillions to bail out the banks and corporations after the 2008 financial crash and again in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, it is impossible to even heat the homes of workers in the world’s richest countries during the winter. This movement has the power to stop the imperialist war, to implement policies necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 once and for all, and redistribute the world’s wealth to meet the human needs of the international working class. But the spontaneous development of the class struggle is not enough to break the decades-long suppression of the workers’ movement by the trade union bureaucracies. This requires political leadership. In the founding document of the Fourth International, Leon Trotsky wrote:

The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.

This is as true today as it was in 1938, on the eve of WW2. The working class is larger and more technologically advanced than ever before. But the task of workers engaged in each struggle is to broaden their fight, to tap into the immense social power of the international working class by unifying with other sections in struggle, to win allies among the mass of workers who are not organized in trade unions, and to reach across national boundaries in common struggle against transnational corporations. This means directing the struggles consciously as struggles not against this employer or that politician, but against the capitalist system as a whole. This is the purpose of the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees (IWA-RFC), founded by the International Committee of the Fourth International in May 2021, which aims to coordinate and draw together all the disparate struggles of the international working class into one unified world movement. Above all, what is needed is the building of a socialist leadership to direct the emerging struggles in the direction of a challenge to the capitalist system and imperialist war.

A History of US threats to use nuclear weapons
David North, WSWS, Oct 5 2022

The Biden administration and the media present Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in response to military setbacks as an unprecedented break with long-established and hitherto unquestioned rules of international statecraft. This narrative is a lie. In fact, the US and other imperialist powers have not only considered on several critical occasions using nuclear weapons to reverse military defeats. They have directly threatened to drop atom bombs in order to extract concessions from their enemies. There are the well-documented demands of General Douglas MacArthur for the dropping of nuclear bombs on China, President Eisenhower’s weighing of France’s request for the detonation of nuclear devices at Dien Bien Phu, and President Kennedy’s threats during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Far less known and even more serious were the use of nuclear threats by President Nixon against the USSR and Vietnam. Operation Giant Lance was initiated on Oct 27 1969 to force a settlement of the Vietnam War on terms favorable to the US. Nixon authorized a squadron of 18 B-52 bombers to patrol the Arctic polar ice caps and escalate the nuclear threat, to coerce both the Soviet Union and North Vietnam to agree on favorable terms with the US, and conclusively end the Vietnam War. Nixon made use of what was referred to as the “madman” tactic to convince the Soviet Union that he was capable of ordering a nuclear strike.

Another operation related to Giant Lance was “Duck Hook.” Its purpose was to force North Vietnam to accept US terms for ending the war, using the threat of a massive nuclear strike. Wikipedia states that Duck Hook called for the nuclear bombing of military targets throughout North Vietnam. This included the saturation bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, the bombing of dikes to destroy the food supply of much of the population of North Vietnam, air strikes against North Vietnam’s northeast line of communications as well as passes and bridges at the Chinese border. Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s criminal accomplice, told the president that the US had to be prepared to use nuclear weapons. In a memo to Nixon, Kissinger wrote:

To achieve its full effect on Hanoi’s thinking, the action must be brutal.

Eventually, because of doubts about its strategic effectiveness and fear of a violent popular reaction, Duck Hook was not implemented. But Nixon continued to threaten Vietnam and the Soviet Union with nuclear war. This history proves that:

  1. The claims that Putin is breaking a previously unquestioned taboo on the use of nuclear weapons are fraudulent.
  2. The US, if confronted with the prospect of military defeat, would certainly resort to nuclear warfare.

Knowing that the US would use nuclear weapons if confronted with a desperate military situation, the Biden administration’s relentless efforts to push Putin into a corner and force capitulation are totally reckless.

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