Former Russian spy-turned-UK-spy Sergei Skripal was apparently poisoned earlier this month in the UK. British Prime Minister Theresa May wasted no time in blaming the Russian government and its president, Vladimir Putin personally. Although signatories of the Chemical Weapons Convention must provide samples and evidence when requesting clarification on such matters — and are given ten days to do so – Prime Minister May demanded that Russia prove itself not guilty under a 24 hour deadline and refused to hand over any evidence. Why not follow the rules? Is this a false flag to feed the Russiphobia that is rampant? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Dale Sprusansky: Our next speaker is discussing the topic of Christian Zionism. For those of you who don’t know, Christian Zionism is the belief that the establishment of the modern state of Israel in the Holy Land is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and thus deserves unrelenting support from Christians. When President Donald Trump announced in December his intention to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, many attributed his decision to the power of Christian Zionists, who are a key Trump constituency and have a powerful and devoted member in Vice President Mike Pence. But just how powerful the Christian Zionists are is up for debate, and we will address that today.
There are also theological questions about Christian Zionism and the extent to which it is a legitimate interpretation of scripture and the extent to which it is heretical. I like that word. Finally, questions as to how it started, where is it going, and who is challenging the evangelical community.
To discuss this today, we have Thomas Getman. He is a partner in a private consulting group that specializes in international, United Nations, and nongovernmental organization affairs. He got his start in South Africa, in fighting for justice there, and later discovered the Palestine issue. He has worked primarily, as many of you know, for World Vision, where he worked continuously for Palestinian issues in the West Bank and Gaza.
With that, I would like to introduce him to discuss Christian Zionism.
Thomas Getman: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks to the wonderful organization of our sponsoring groups and for your being here to discuss these important issues with us.
As the resident theologian today, I must tell you that, particularly this morning, I was reminded that we operate within a very secular climate – but we also operate in an aura of the creation ordinances. And sometimes that’s forgotten. I cut my eyeteeth on human rights in the Middle East because the likes of [Archbishop Desmond] Tutu and [Rev. Allan] Boesak and [Rev.] Beyers Naudé and people like that said to me, if I really wanted to prove my bona fides in terms of human rights, I should turn my eyes to the Palestinians. I really am grateful for that, because I was, truth be told, a complicit evangelical Zionist – like the polling data today showed – but unwittingly. I didn’t even know what it meant.
Every now and again I look over my dad’s letters from World War II. He was attached to an armored headquarters company that didn’t go overseas, but he had friends who did serve in Europe during and after the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944. Also, he had two brothers, one who served in Europe attached to a quartermaster (logistics) company in the Army, the other who served in the Pacific as a Marine.
Reading my dad’s letters and those from his friends and brothers, you get a sense of the costs of war. They mention friends who’ve been killed or wounded in action; for example, a soldier who lost both his legs when his tank ran over a mine. (His fellow soldiers took up a collection for him.) They talk about strange things they’ve seen overseas, e.g. German buzz bombs or V-1 rockets, a crude version of today’s cruise missiles. They look forward to furloughs and trips to cities such as Paris. They talk about bad weather: cold, snow, mud. They talk about women (my dad’s brother, Gino, met a Belgian girl that he wanted to marry, but it was not to be). But perhaps most of all, they look forward to the war’s end and express a universal desire to ditch the military for civilian life.
Four Hours in My Lai is a 1989 television documentary made by Yorkshire Television concerning the 1968 My Lai Massacre by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. The film includes interviews with soldiers at the massacre, and the later trials of those involved. The film won an International Emmy Award for Best Documentary.
The documentary tells the story of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, from their training through deployment in South Vietnam. It interviews former U.S. servicemen and massacre survivors; both describe the background of the area near the village of My Lai. The documentary also shows photographs of U.S. servicemen torturing civilians before the massacre and tells of U.S. servicemen raping South Vietnamese women and children prior to the massacre. After the massacre, the trials of the soldiers at My Lai are examined. The documentary also aired on the PBS series Frontline as “Remember My Lai”.
Grant Smith: Our next speaker is Ali Abunimah. He’s been an active part of the movement for justice in Palestine for 20 years. He’s a journalist and the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, which is a widely acclaimed publication. It’s a non-profit independent online publication focusing on Palestine.
A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Chicago, he is a frequent speaker on the Middle East, contributing regularly to numerous publications. He is the recipient of the 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship.
If you’re a reader of The Electronic Intifada or get the digest via e-mail, it quickly becomes quite obvious that covering censorship, debunking disinformation, and providing insights that are available nowhere else is really what it’s all about.
He’s the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and The Battle for Justice in Palestine. He will be available to sign both during the reception.
Before he comes up, I just want to remind you again, please send up the question cards. We’ll categorize them and get through them efficiently. And that reception is going to be a very, very big deal this year, so make sure you don’t just jump in the car and run away at 5 o’clock. You need to stay for the reception. So please welcome Ali Abunimah.
Ali Abunimah: Thank you. All right. Are you going to run that timer with 18 minutes on it? I received a letter several weeks ago from Grant informing me that I had 18 minutes to speak. I had never seen such a precise organization. Now it’s running. It’s very intimidating. Right.
Well, I’m delighted to be here and among so many people who have been working hundreds of years, collectively – maybe thousands of years – on this issue, and a real depth of knowledge and commitment. I’m very glad to be among you.
The title of the talk is really just to let me kind of have a starting point to say whatever I want. But of course it’s a good starting point, because here in Washington, a city I very rarely travel to, Russiagate is all the rage. If you turn on the television or look at The New York Times or MSNBC or CNN, that’s all they talk about. Of course, now, more than a year into the Russiagate hysteria, there’s nothing to the central narrative that there was collusion between Donald Trump and his team and Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. I think Hillary Clinton was very capable – in fact, I don’t want to take credit away from her – she was entirely capable of losing that election on her own.
Zaid Jilani reports that the U.S. military has no idea what missions are carried out in Yemen by the coalition planes that they refuel:
In a surprising admission on Tuesday, the head of U.S. Central Command – which oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia – admitted that the Pentagon doesn’t know a whole lot about the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen that the United States is supporting through intelligence, munitions, and refueling.
U.S. CENTCOM Cmdr. Gen. Joseph Votel made the admission in response to questions from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“General Votel, does CENTCOM track the purpose of the missions it is refueling? In other words, where a U.S.-refueled aircraft is going, what targets it strikes, and the result of the mission?” Warren asked.
“Senator, we do not,” Votel replied.
If the U.S. military doesn’t track what the coalition planes do after they are refueled, it can’t honestly claim that it isn’t aiding and abetting coalition violations of international law. They don’t know what the coalition planes they refuel do later on, and perhaps they don’t want to know. If the U.S. isn’t tracking how our assistance is used, it isn’t credible to say that our government is using that assistance to change the coalition’s conduct of the war for the better. The U.S. is blindly enabling indiscriminate coalition bombing without making any effort to understand the effects of our support.