Morales made unforced errors: Bolivia’s Foreseeable Coup

By Ron Ridenour

Did a coup d´état take place in Bolivia with the removal of President Evo Morales? Certainly, an internal coup was a major cause, along with a rebellion calling for Morales’ resignation. When the commander of the armed forces, backed by many generals, publically calls for the president to abdicate, that is an internal coup. Did the US orchestrate this coup? Well, it would be nothing new.

The 1823 “Monroe Doctrine” asserted that Latin America belonged in the US’s backyard. read more

Which Would You Prefer–Nuclear War or Climate Catastrophe?

To:      The people of the world

From:  The Joint Public Relations Department of the Great Powers

The world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, and other heroic rulers of our glorious nations.  Not only are they hard at work making their respective countries great again, but they are providing you, the people of the world, with a choice between two opportunities for mass death and destruction.

Throughout the broad sweep read more

Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib and the Rise of Extremism in Iraq

October 28, 2019

Yesterday morning, President Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi and three of his children.

President Trump said Al-Baghdadi, the founder of ISIS, was fleeing U.S. military forces, in a tunnel, and then killed himself by detonating a suicide vest he wore.

In 2004, Al-Baghdadi had been captured by U.S. forces and, for ten months, imprisoned in both Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca.

I visited Camp Bucca in January, 2004 when, still under construction, the Camp was a network read more

Drones and the weapons of the future must be regulated: Donald Trump and the New, New World Order

By John Grant

“When the going gets weird, the weird go pro.” 

                           — Hunter Thompson

For weeks, I’ve been reading New York Times stories that, as a military veteran of the anti-war movement for the past 35 years, really blow my mind. For one thing, President Trump is in a domestic, political war with what he and his allies call “the deep state” — a conspiratorial construction that comes out of the far left. To really understand the true weirdness of the moment, one has to appreciate what it means to feel like a Cassandra in the anti-war movement. Cassandra was a mythic Greek character who spurned the sexual advances of Apollo, who in this case was the Harvey Weinstein of Greek mythology. Cassandra was a serious person with serious things to say. The ego-bruised Apollo proceeded to get revenge by pulling strings as a god so that, in the future, Cassandra would have the power of truthful prophecy but — and this is the kicker — no one would pay any attention to her. Today we’d say her voice was marginalized, the condition the antiwar left has been relegated to in the United States since the Vietnam War.

Over the past few months President Donald Trump has unilaterally by Tweet and telephone begun to dismantle US military involvement in the Middle East. The irony is amazing, because in a general, overarching narrative sense, this is what the marginalized antiwar movement has been trying to do for decades. Of course, it’s an act of violence to do this by unannounced fiat after a debacle has been running full speed on empty for decades; sitting on his bed at dawn dictating to “his generals” with the grace and intelligence of the proverbial bull in a china shop is not prudent or compassionate foreign policy reform.

Peace and Justice is what drives the anti-war movement in its advocacy of alternatives to war and violence in places like the Middle East and SW Asia; the point is, in the long run, diplomacy is better than shock & awe bombing campaigns. On the other hand, Mr. Trump is driven by Power and Greed, often on a personal basis. If the anti-war left had had more say in US foreign policy, there would have been no invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq; the Taliban and Saddam Hussein would have had to survive — or perish — on their own. Despite what the war-mongers might say, no one can know how things would have turned out if a more thoughtful policy had been applied. Certainly, something should have been done to address the downing of the World Trade Towers. But such long-term-stupid debacles? There had to be a better, more constructive way.

Trump’s Middle East/SW Asia withdrawal is still a work in process. Who can really know what goes on under that wispy head of orange hair? Consistency is not the man’s strength…

 

For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/donald-trump-and-the-new-new-world-order/

 

Trident is the Crime – Kathy Kelly

October 25, 2019

On October 24, following a three-day trial in Brunswick, GA, seven Catholic Workers who acted to disarm a nuclear submarine base were convicted on three felony counts and one misdemeanor. The defendants face 20 years in prison, yet they emerged from their trial seeming quite ready for next steps in their ongoing witness. Steve Kelly, a Jesuit priest who has already spent ten years in prison for protesting nuclear weapons, returned, in shackles, to the local jail. Because of an outstanding warrant, Steve has been locked up for over eighteen months, since the day of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 action.

On that day, April 4, 2018, the group had entered a U.S. Navy Submarine base which is a home port for the Trident nuclear missile fleet. Just one of those nuclear missiles, if launched, would cause 1,825 times more damage than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Plowshares activists aimed to expose illegal and immoral weapons that threaten all life on earth.

They had spent two years in prayerful preparation for their action. Two of them, Mark Colville and Liz McAlister, spent most of the months before their trial began in the Glynn County jail. Three others, Martha Hennessy, Carmen Trotta and Clare Grady wore “ankle monitors” and were subject to strict curfews for many months while they engaged in outreach and prepared for trial. Because federal law requires 60 – 90 days before sentencing, to allow for background checks, the seven probably won’t be sentenced before late December.

My colleague Brian Terrell, who attended all of the trial, described the chief prosecutor as a bully. In a series of accusations, this prosecutor claimed that Clare Grady and her co-defendants believed themselves to be “a law unto themselves.” Clare calmly pointed out that “the egregious use of weapons is bullying, not the painted peace messages.”

Emerging from the courthouse, the defendants and their lawyers earnestly thanked  the numerous supporters who had filled the courtroom, the overflow court room and the sidewalks outside the court. Bill Quigley, the main lawyer for the defense, thanked the defendants for their efforts to save “all of our lives,” noting the jury was not allowed to hear about weapons with enough power to destroy life on earth as we know it. Liz Mc Alister, who with Phil Berrigan had helped found the Plowshares movement, turned 79 years old while in jail. She thanked supporters but also urged people to be active in opposing nuclear weapons and the abuses of the U.S. prison system.

When I learned of the jury’s verdict, I had just signed a post card to Steve Kelly. The Glynn County jail only allows correspondence crammed into one side of a pre-stamped 3 x 5 post card. In tiny cursive, I told him about events in Kashmir where the Muslim majority has engaged in 80 days of civil resistance to the Indian government’s abrogation of  two articles of the Indian constitution which allowed Kashmiris a measure of autonomy. India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed states, have twice gone to war over control of Kashmir. It’s a deeply disconcerting flashpoint representing the possibility of nuclear armed states triggering an exchange of bombs which could cause a nuclear winter, mass starvation and widespread, long-lasting environmental destruction.

Some years ago, Steve and I had participated in a delegation to visit human rights advocates in Pakistan, and I recall marveling at Steve’s grasp of the nuclear threat manifested in conflict between India and Pakistan. Yet he and his companions have clearly asserted that U.S. possession of nuclear weapons already robs the poorest people on the planet of resources needed for food, shelter and housing.

After learning the verdict I wrote a second card, telling Steve that we who love him long for his release, but know we must also be guided by his choice to remain silent in the court. Steve believes the U.S. nuclear weapon arsenal should be tried in the court of public opinion. He says the U.S. legal system protects those who maintain and build the criminal, deadly arsenal of nuclear weapons. Inside the court, people didn’t hear Steve’s strong, clear voice. His friends can’t help but imagine the sound of shackles hitting the floor of the Glynn County jail, followed by heavy doors clanging as Steve and other prisoners are ordered into their cells

In 1897, from England’s Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde wrote a letter, entitled “De Profundis.” He was serving the final four months of a two-year sentence to hard labor. One of his main jailers was certain he would never survive the harsh conditions. Wilde found himself transformed during the prison time, and he developed a profound understanding of human suffering. “Where there is sorrow,” Wilde wrote, “there is holy ground.”

The U.S. nuclear weapon arsenal creates anguish, fear and futility worldwide. Yet “holy ground” exists as activists work toward abolition of nuclear weapons.

Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org)

Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition – Kathy Kelly

October 20, 2019

My friend Marianne Goldscheider, who is 87, suffered a broken hip in July, 2018 and then, in June 2019, it happened again. When she broke her hip the first time, she was running, with her son, on a football field. After the second break, when she fell in her kitchen, she recalls her only desire as she was placed on a stretcher. “I just wanted ‘the right pill,’” she says. She wished she could end her life. Marianne says her Catholic friends, who live nearby in the New York Catholic Worker community, persuaded her not to give up. They’ve long admired her tenacity, and over the years many have learned from her history as a survivor of the Nazi regime who was forced to flee Germany. Recalling her entry to the United States, Marianne jokes she may have been one of the only displaced persons who arrived in the United States carrying her skis. Yet she also carried deep anxieties, the “angst,” she says, of her generation. She still wonders about German people in the military and the aristocracy who knew Hitler was mad and, yet, didn’t try to stop him. “When and how,” she wonders, “do human beings get beyond all reasoning?”

Marianne is deeply disturbed by the madness of maintaining nuclear weapons arsenals and believes such weapons threaten planetary survival. She worries that, similar to the 1930s, citizens of countries possessing nuclear weapons sleepwalk toward utter disaster.

On April 4, 2018, several of Marianne’s close friends from the New York Catholic Worker community became part of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 by entering the U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine base in King’s Bay, GA and performing a traditional Plowshares action. Guided by lines from Scripture urging people to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks,” they prayed, reflected and then symbolically disarmed the Trident nuclear submarine site. The Kings Bay is home port to six nuclear armed Trident ballistic missile submarines with the combined explosive power of over 1825 Hiroshima bombs. One of the banners  they hung read “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide.”

Referring to this sign, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, said the banner “is exactly right.” In an October 18 endorsement, he called their actions “necessary to avert a much greater evil.”

In late September, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, alarmed over the increasing danger nuclear weapons pose, urged the Government of Canada to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted at the UN in 2017. The Canadian bishops issued their statement on September 26, the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. In it, they note the  Vatican has already signed and ratified the Treaty. “The ashes of World War I and the centenary of its armistice,” wrote Pope Francis, “should teach us that future acts of aggression are not deterred by the law of fear, but rather by the power of calm reason that encourages dialogue and mutual understanding as a means of resolving differences.”

The seven defendants, in everyday life, practice nonviolence while serving people who are often the least cared for in our society. Like Marianne, I have known each defendant for close to four decades. They have risked their lives, safety and health in numerous actions of civil disobedience. When imprisoned, they write and speak of the cruel abuse of human beings and the racist, primitive nature of the United States prison-industrial complex. They’ve also chosen to visit or live in war zones, providing witness on behalf of people trapped under bombardment. They live simply, share resources and strive to help build a better world.

Nevertheless, beginning Monday, they will face serious criminal charges and potentially harsh sentences for their action at Kings Bay.

Marianne anxiously awaits their trial. “Why,” she asks, “isn’t there more coverage?”

One of the defendants, Rev. Steve Kelly, SJ, a Jesuit priest, referred to himself in a recent letter as “a tenuous voice in the wilderness.” He further explained that he is among the wilderness of the incarcerated, “two and a quarter million folks comprising the human warehouses in the empire.” Steve has been imprisoned in the Glynn County jail since April 4, 2018.

His letter continues:

And your presence today clearly demonstrates that while you can jail the resisters you cannot destroy the resistance. In this advent of our trial, we have a blue-ribbon legal team to whom I’m sure you’ll show your

read more

By Dave Lindorff

 

Something very unusual happened on Thursday, Oct. 17. The New York Times suddenly ran an article on its opinion page explaining how to cut $300 billion from the $1-trillion military budget — enough, the article explained, to fund Bernie Sanders’ proposed program for an expanded Medicare program to cover all Americans without raising a dime in new taxes.

The article, written by Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ National Priorities Project, explained that by shifting the US diplomatic and military strategy from one of confrontation, endless wars, expansive overseas basing, and unilateralism to one of diplomacy, a pull-back from foreign bases and global deployments, with a concomitant reduction in the  nation’s 2.4 million-person military could be accomplished with no threat to US national security.

Koshgarian’s opinion article actually listed the cuts that could be made, attaching a dollar value to each one. Examples were:

 

  1. End the practice of supplemental appropriations for war funding, much of which is actually used for more spending on other unintended military

read more

The United States Air Force at Incirlik, Our National “Black Eye”

Current events concerning Turkey and the Kurds in Syria remind me of a conversation I had with a US Air Force colonel almost 17 years ago in a courtroom in Des Moines. To refresh my memory, I dug deep into my closet and dusted off the transcript of the case, “STATE OF IOWA, plaintiff vs. CHRISTINE GAUNT et al.,” in which I was a defendant, heard in February, 2003, the month before the US invasion of Iraq. The following quotes from that dialogue are verbatim per the transcript.

The case concerned an alleged trespass at the headquarters of the 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard, based at Des Moines International civilian airport, on October 26, 2002. Activists from around Iowa blocked the gates of the base in protest of the 132nd’s participation in Operation Northern Watch, the no-fly zone over northern Iraq imposed by the US after the Gulf War that lasted until the Iraq War in 2003. Pilots and crews of the Guard’s F-16 fleet went to Turkey to participate in patrolling northern Iraq or to Kuwait to patrol in Operation Southern Watch for a month during most of the years those no-fly zones were in place.

One of the witnesses called by the state was Colonel Douglas Pierce, Vice Commander of the Iowa Air National Guard. Until a few weeks before our protest, Col. Pierce was commander of the 132nd and had personally led several deployments of the Iowa Air Guard to Operation Northern Watch.

Under direct questioning by the prosecutor, Col. Pierce described how the 132nd was under federal control as part of the US Air Force while posted overseas and how the no-fly zones were authorized and conducted under a United Nations resolution. The resolution that Col. Pierce cited did not exist. Secretary General of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali insisted that the no-fly zones were “illegal”, but US government and the Air Force often used this fiction to justify their almost daily incursions into Iraqi airspace that often resulted in civilian casualties.

Another fiction that Col. Pierce swore to under oath is the purpose of the no-fly zone. Defending myself, I had the opportunity to cross examine the Colonel, “Do you have any knowledge of what the purpose of that no-fly zone—the northern watch is?” Predictably, Colonel Pierce testified according to the official narrative: “Primary Purpose is, obviously, to reinforce the no-fly zone in northern Iraq and primarily to keep Saddam Hussein from attacking the Kurds who live in northern Iraq in which he had done on numerous occasions prior to the establishment of those no-fly zones.”

The base of operations for the US Air Force patrols over Iraq was Incirlik Air Base, the colonel affirmed. “So this Incirlik Air Base is – whose air base is it?” I asked. “Is it the United States air base?” “No. It belongs to Turkey,” he answered. “There are Turkish forces there too?” “Yes sir.”

“Have US Air Force enforcement of no-fly zones ever been interrupted so that the Turkish Air Force can go into Iraq and bomb Kurdish cities there?” I asked. “I don’t have personal knowledge of that,” Col. Pierce replied, followed by an eloquent and perfect example of Orwellian doublespeak: “All I can tell you is that our activities in northern Iraq have been restricted when supposedly events like that took place. And the reason our activities were restricted is that they didn’t want to have any black eye, if you will, on the United States or UN forces that they could accuse us of doing that if that’s what they did.”

What the colonel told the court in is that he did not know about the Turkish Air Force bombing Kurds in the very zone he swore that the US Air Force was there to protect, but he testified that when, not if but when, “supposedly events like that took place,” US Air Force activities in the zone were restricted. And the reason for that restriction was “they (the US and UN) didn’t want to have any black eye” for anything that the Turkish forces did to the Kurds.

“So if I got this right,” I asked just to be sure, “the watch is primarily to protect the Kurds. However, the watch is lowered when Turkey wishes to attack the Kurds, is that correct?” Col. Pierce had no answer, but taking a cue from the Nuremberg trials he demurred: “You are asking me to make foreign policy decisions, and that’s well above my pay grade.” Rather than allow proceedings to edge any nearer to the truth, the prosecutor intervened, “Objection, Your Honor” and the judge complied, “Okay, I’ll sustain that objection.”

The “green light” that the US regularly gave Turkish armed forces to attack Kurdish communities in northern Iraq during the years of Operation Northern Watch has recently allowed Turkish forces into northern Syria to attack Kurds there previously under US protection. As President Trump understands the situation at present, using the language of ethnic cleansing, “they (Turkey) had to have it cleaned out.” Trump, in his cynical callousness toward the Kurds, stands in illustrious company. It was not Saddam Hussein who first used chemical weapons against the Kurds of northern Iraq (with assistance and approval of the US). That distinction belongs to Winston Churchill, who as Britain’s Secretary for War and Air in 1920 answered his critics: “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against primitive tribes.”

Incirlik Air Base is again in the news. On Wednesday, October 16, President Trump publicly affirmed the open secret that the US, in a NATO nuclear sharing agreement, has up to 50 B61 nuclear bombs stored in bunkers at Incirlik. In these tense times, Trump was asked, are those nuclear warheads safe? Whereas Douglas Pierce, Vice Commander of the Iowa Air National Guard testifying in court in 2003, had to stick to the official narrative that Incirlik “belongs to Turkey,” Trump is under no such restraints and was able to boast about Incirlik as our own: “We’re confident, and we have a great — a great air base there, a very powerful air base. That air base alone can take anyplace. It’s a large, powerful air base.”

The number of overseas US military bases, estimated at more than 800 in some 70 countries, is hard to gauge, given that they often are camouflaged as bases of the host country. The constitution of Honduras, for one example, does not permit a foreign military presence and officially, no US troops are based there. Under a “hand shake” agreement with the US, however, Palmerola Air Base today unofficially houses some 600 US troops, down from a peak of thousands in the 1980s. In violation of Irish neutrality, the civilian airport at Shannon is a virtual US air base, with more than 3 million US soldiers and their weapons having passed through since 2001. Menwith Hill, in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, officially a Royal Air Force Base, is the nerve center of the US National Security Agency’s full spectrum surveillance and targeted assassination programs with only a token RAF presence. The US has the same nuclear sharing arrangement under which US nuclear warheads are maintained in Turkey with five other NATO member nations. No nation hosts a US military base without surrendering its sovereignty and its integrity to some extent.

Trump’s confidence is well placed. Along with Incirlik, the US has many “great” and “very powerful” military bases around the world. In 2003, Col. Pierce’s courtroom testimony revealed the purpose behind this great game of smoke and mirrors: it is to keep the US from getting a “black eye,” so that no one “could accuse us of doing that if that’s what they did.”

Trump says that “We’re getting out of the endless wars” but that is a lie. While exposing the Kurds to Turkish aggression, roughly 1,000 U.S. troops remain in Syria and there are 5,000 troops across the border in Iraq. Now Trump is sending 1,800 more US troops to Saudi Arabia.

Trump is already claiming his place in history now for a cease fire that Turkey says isn’t one. “And you know what? Civilization is very happy. It’s a great thing for civilization,” he boasts. “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people,” said the historian Howard Zinn, and there is no lie that can cover the black eye of US complicity in genocide.

Speaking Truth to Empire

Wednesday, October 16 – 3:00 to 3:30 pm On“Speaking Truth to Empire” on KFCF 88.1 independently owned and locally operated since 1975 in Fresno, Dan Yaseen interviews David Swanson, an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is the director of WorldBeyondWar.org.  He is the author of several books. Swanson has spoken on variety of topics related to war and peace all over the United States and in many countries. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. They will talk about an anti-war conference called ‘NoWar2019 Pathways to Peace’ that took place on October 5 and 6 in Limerick, Ireland organized by World Beyond War.

Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen

by Kathy Kelly

October 16, 2019

Writing about his visit to the world’s largest weapons bazaar, held in London during October, Arron Merat describes reading this slogan emblazoned above Raytheon’s stall: “Strike with Creativity.” Raytheon manufactures Paveway laser-guided bombs, fragments of which have been found in the wreckage of schools, hospitals, and markets across Yemen. How can a weapons manufacturer that causes such death, bloodshed, and misery lay claim to creativity?

Greta Thunberg, sitting alone outside her school as she initiated a movement of climate strikes, could properly invoke the words “Strike with Creativity.” She inspired Friday classroom walkouts, worldwide, by young people protesting destruction and death caused by climate catastrophe. Her admirable goal is to save the planet by promoting such strikes.

Coming from Raytheon, the words “Strike with Creativity” sound chilling, -grotesque.

Consider the Raytheon weapons now demolishing Yemen. Fragments of Raytheon and other U.S. manufactured weapons dot blast sites where Yemeni survivors struggle to collect body parts and scattered bits of clothing, which are needed to compile lists of the dead.

In September, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) hit a detention center in the Dhamar governorate, in the northern highlands of Yemen with seven airstrikes that killed at least 100 people and “pulverized” the area, according to Bethan McKernan, reporting for The Guardian. “It took five days to remove all the bodies impaled on metalwork ripped from the walls in the blasts,” she wrote.

After the attack, McKernan interviewed Adel, a 22-year-old security guard employed at the site. His brother, Ahmed, also a guard, was among those killed. Adel pointed to a blanket, visible on the second floor of a building where the guards had slept. “You can see Ahmed’s blue blanket up there,” said Adel. “There were 200 people here but now it’s just ghosts.”

Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Saudi-led coalition bombarding and blockading Yemen have killed tens of thousands, wrecking the country’s already enfeebled infrastructure and bringing Yemen to the brink of a famine that may kill millions. President Trump signaled additional support for Saudi Arabia on October 11 when the U.S. military announced it would send thousands more troops to the kingdom, bringing the number of U.S. troops there to 14,000.

Just as Greta Thunberg insists adults must become intensely aware of details and possible solutions regarding the climate catastrophe, people in the U.S. should learn about ways to end economic as well as military war waged against Yemen. For us to understand why Yemenis would link together in the loose coalition of fighters called Huthis requires deepening awareness of how financial institutions, in attempting to gain control of valuable resources, have pushed farmers and villagers across Yemen into debt and desperation. Isa Blumi writes about this sordid history in his 2018 book, Destroying Yemen, What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us about the World.

Blumi details how Yemen’s society, largely independent and agrarian, became a guinea pig for International Monetary Fund (IMF) “development projects” which, based on strikingly colonialist theories of  modernization, crushed grassroots institutions and amounted to “cost-effective ways of prying Yemen’s wealth out of its peoples’ hands.”

Local Development Associations, for example, were formed during the 1970s to help people hang on to their land, cooperatively determine what crops they would grow and decide how they would use the profits. But U.S. Agency for International Development “experts” pressured these groups to instead produce “cash crops strictly meant for export.”

“After all,” Blumi writes, “with the right kind of cash crop and the use of American labor-saving technology, pesticides and fertilizers included, Yemen’s villagers were no longer needed in the fields. Alternatively, they could work in cities in sweatshops producing clothes for a global market or the soon booming oil and gas projects.”

Blumi’s book documents the fiercely stubborn creativity with which, decade by decade, Yemenis kept surprising the West, exploring and pursuing countermeasures to resist its exploitative control, and risking the West’s destructive anger.

Yemenis resisted U.N. and IMF prescriptions of global integration and debt peonage. When farmers desperate for cash went to work in, for instance, Saudi Arabia, “they consistently sent remittances home to families that saved the cash and invested in local projects, using local bank transfers.” Imams and village leaders encouraged people to resist imperialist “modernization” projects, knowing that the West’s preferred “modern” role for them was as wage slaves with no hope of developing a better future.

The “Huthi” movement began when Husayn al-Huthi, an opponent of Yemen’s dictatorial (and Western-allied) Saleh regime, tried to defend the water and land rights of locals in the Sa’adah province in northwestern Yemen. Sharing what was then a porous and informal border with the KSA, they often found themselves in disputes with Saudi border patrols. They also resisted ‘structural adjustment’ demands by the IMF to privatize some of Yemen’s best farming and grazing land. When the dictator Saleh made criminal concessions to the KSA, al-Huthi and his followers persisted with protests. Each new confrontation won over thousands of people, eventually spreading beyond Sa’adah.

Blumi cites numerous instances in which Yemen’s economic assets were pillaged, with Saleh’s approval, by “well-heeled global financial interests” who now designate Saleh’s successor Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as Yemen’s “internationally recognized government.” Hadi governs from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, due to a stunning lack of Yemeni support.

In 2008, an extremely wealthy member of the bin Laden family aimed to build a bridge across the mouth of the Red Sea from Yemen to Djibouti. The project could generate hundreds of billions for investors, and quicken the process of exploitative modernization; but it would also require building railways and roads where there are only villages now. People living along the coastline of the Red Sea would be in the way.

Since 2015, fighting has been concentrated in this area, called the Tihama. Control of the coastline would also allow financial takeover of potentially profitable Yemeni fisheries. Blumi says billions of dollars of annual income are at stake, noting with irony that a war causing starvation is being waged, in part, to gain control over food assets.

A recent United Nations report says that Yemen is now “on course to become the world’s poorest country” with 79 percent of the population living under the poverty line and 65 percent classified as “extremely poor.” The Yemen Data Project estimated 600 civilian structures have been destroyed, monthly, in Yemen, mostly by airstrikes.

“Staple food items are now on average 150 per cent higher than before the crisis escalated,” says a 2019 report by the Norwegian Refugee Council. “Teachers, health workers and civil servants in the northern parts of the country haven’t been paid in years,” according to the same report.

Mainstream media reports could convince concerned onlookers that Yemenis have been particularly vulnerable to violence and war because they are socially and economically backward, having failed to modernize. Blumi insists we recognize the guilt of financial elites from multiple countries within and beyond the Gulf states as well as institutions within the World Bank, the IMF and the UN. It’s wrong to blame “eighty percent of a country’s population currently being starved to death”

Here in the United States, news commentators discussing the Trump impeachment story liken the breaking developments to “bombshell after bombshell.” In Yemen, real and horribly modern bombshells, made in the United States, kill and maim Yemeni civilians, including children, every day.

Greta Thunberg continues calling us to join her on an unfamiliar, unprecedented, and arduous path to change course as our world careens toward terrifying devastation. We’re offered a chance to resist destructive, albeit “modern” means of exploiting the planet’s resources. A true strike for creativity, necessarily challenging militarism and greed, will help prevent the hellish work of destroying Yemen.

Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org)

A version of this article was first published in The Progressive online magazine.

Map credit: Political Geography Now