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Emergency Forum: No More War Crimes! Economic Development, Not Depopulation!

Nov. 26, 2023 (EIRNS)—What follows are the opening remarks to the Emergency Forum: No More War Crimes! Economic Development, Not Depopulation! Speakers were Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Ray McGovern, and Vanessa Beeley. The forum included a special dialogue with Dr. Akiko Mikamo, showing her film “8:15 Hiroshima: From Father to Daughter” which is neither recorded and will not be transcribed.

ANASTASIA BATTLE: Welcome everyone. This is the very special international meeting of Humanity for Peace. This is an emergency forum titled “No More War Crimes! Economic Development, Not Depopulation!” We’ll have a couple of special guests joining us today—Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Ray McGovern. We’ll also have a special showing of an excellent documentary titled “8:15 Hiroshima: From Father to Daughter.”

To start off our meeting, we wanted to bring you something beautiful. This is from Mozart’s 

Requiem, which was done by the Humanity for Peace Chorus on August 6th. This was a concert done after a really successful international demonstration at the UN. This was on the anniversary of the day Hiroshima was bombed by a nuclear bomb. This was an expression that this can never happen again; this must never happen again; and we need to recognize what nuclear really means and honor those who were lost in this very tragic and quite frankly disgusting bombing that happened. With that, I’d like to bring up the portion of it called the Kyrie of Mozart’s 

Requiem from that concert on August 6th.

BATTLE: This was conducted by a very famous Turkish conductor, Maestro Gürer Aykal. He’s a really fantastic, sweet, and beautiful person. I’m very grateful that he offered his conducting skills for this really beautiful concert. I think it sets a really great tone for what we’re going to be doing today at this meeting.

We will have people from all over the world speaking today, and if you would like to ask a question, raise your hand using that option, and we’ll open up the chat during the Q&A. I will now pass it over to my co-host, Dennis Speed, of the Schiller Institute.

DENNIS SPEED: I want to thank everybody for joining us today. As we begin today, we want to recognize that this past weekend has marked a pivotal and tragic event in American and world history. That was the assassination of the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 60 years ago by interests which have been being discussed extensively. They originate in the City of London, and in the United States itself, not with a foreign power.

The Schiller Institute, which participated in the Requiem performance you just saw from this past August, 10 years ago organized Requiem performances in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. But I’d like to pose something to you in this context that I’d like you to think about throughout the entirety of today’s proceedings. This is a reflection on the Kennedy assassination from the former Attorney General of the United States, Ramsey Clark. He was talking about a visit that he had paid to the Kennedy Center in the aftermath of the assassination. He said:

“There are sayings around the Kennedy Center, carved above the marble above the colonnades when you walk in. And on the backside toward the Potomac, there’s one; it’s a quote from President Kennedy that says: ‘I look forward to the day when America is no longer afraid of grace and beauty.’ And I thought immediately when he was shot, that that’s why he was shot. We are afraid of grace and beauty.”

I want you to think about that, and why we would have started as we did. The matter we want to take up is truly ugly, truly disgusting; but at the same time has to be fully confronted.

I want to call people’s attention to the fact that on November 5th there was an article that came out in 

Politico magazine, which was titled, “Israel Minister Suspended after Calling Nuking Gaza an Option.” Here’s the particular quote:

“Israel’s Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu was suspended indefinitely after he said in an interview that dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip was ‘one of the possibilities,’…”

It would supremely irresponsible to not take that statement seriously, because already the bombs dropped so far on Gaza since October 7th—well over 30,000 tons detonated by the Israeli Defense Forces—exceed the bomb tonnage dropped in the most lethal air raids of the Second World War, including Hamburg, Dresden, and the Tokyo firebombing. War crimes are afoot. This past week, foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Turkiye, Indonesia, Nigeria, as well as the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and the Ambassador of Qatar, went out and visited with China, Russia, the U.K., and France; all permanent members of the UN Security Council. In fact, President Macron did meet with them; the others were meetings done with the respective foreign ministers of China, Russia, and the U.K. But the delegation, which came from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, decided to skip a visit to the United States.

However, let’s be clear about a couple of things that we want to understand about this situation. China was the first destination, and in August China had brokered a peace deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This was talked about in the United States by an organization called the United States Institute of Peace. They said that this was “a diplomatic win for China, as it increasingly seeks to present an alternative vision to the U.S.-led global order.” Well, the question is, what is that global order? Is it the order that we are seeing right now in Gaza? Is that what it is? Is it what we’re seeing in the West Bank? Is it what we’re seeing in terms of the NATO war with Ukraine? Clearly, the challenge to that world order is one that should be made by people of good will all over the world.

Many people have been involved in the process of organizing today’s event. But the person who had initiated the conception of putting together the International Peace Coalition organization in particular, was Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder and chairwoman of the Schiller Institute. It’s always my honor to introduce her. Here she is to present the keynote for our presentation today.

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: First, let me greet all of you wherever you may be watching to and listening to this program. I think this is very urgent, because we are engaged in the effort to increase the mobilization of the International Peace Coalition and make it grow until we have brought the world away from the present course. It is very clear that there is a very great danger that the continuation of the present geopolitical policies will lead to a catastrophe much worse but like the movie we are going to show in a little while; namely, a thermonuclear war which would end life on Earth. If not in the short term, the danger for sure is there in the medium or long term. Because if the present idea that we are engaged in a fight between two blocs—on the one side NATO, on the other side the growing BRICS combination of states—it will lead with absolute certainty to the extinction of civilization. Only an in-depth mobilization of the population, most importantly in the United States but also naturally in Europe and all the countries of the Global South, is important to escalate until we have the force to implement the solutions; which do exist.

One extremely important component of this fight is the fight of whether the truth will be told about all of these conflicts, or whether it will be a narrative which is tailored in such a way as to legitimize this war policy. Let me start with the two regional wars which are going on, but let me say from the beginning that as important as the war in Gaza and the war in Ukraine are for all the people involved—the Russians, the Ukrainians, the NATO troops, the Israeli forces, the Palestinians—we should absolutely keep in mind that these two conflicts or wars which have their very specific histories, nevertheless, right now are simply pawns in the larger fight between these two systems.

Let me start with a few words about the situation in Gaza. We have now the second day of the truce in Gaza, which has been basically forced on Israel because Netanyahu had originally said that there would no negotiation until Hamas is completely destroyed and all hostages are freed. Obviously, it was a combination of the worldwide mobilizations and demonstrations in all the Islamic countries, but also in many cities in the United States and the streets of Europe. And naturally what the Chinese media called the “great power” influence; meaning the meeting between President Xi Jinping and Biden in San Francisco, and a lot of diplomatic activities. Dennis already mentioned the delegations of the OIC and the Arab League going to China, Moscow, London, Paris, and some of them going to Washington. All of that is definitely an influence, but the danger is that these four days will be over on Tuesday, and there is the extreme danger that the war will continue. And that in a situation where it is unbelievable what is happening. The good thing, if there is anything good in a nightmare of this dimension, is that the world public could see with their own eyes at least glimpses of the degree of destruction in Gaza, of the enormous plight of the Palestinians. 2.3 million people in cold weather and rain, almost no housing left, no food, no water, no medical supplies. And that has been going on for many weeks. Now people have been pushed to the south; many of them are gathering near the Hafah crossing. It is an unbelievable situation, which has been called by many human rights organizations ethnic cleansing, genocide; that Gaza is being turned into a complete wasteland, which is the intention. The idea is to make it impossible for people to live there, at least no Palestinians.

It is now also becoming clear that the whole narrative that the Al-Shifa hospital was really the place where the headquarters of Hamas was supposed to be in a tunnel system underneath, and that Hamas was using the Palestinian population as a human shield, has turned out to be a lie. There are also reports now that the IDF [Israeli Defense Force] knew that the actual headquarters of Hamas was in another place, 8.5 kilometers distant. So, this is a situation where the truth is coming out. One important statement was made by António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who said in a very emotional speech that the attack by Hamas on October 7th did not happen in a vacuum. This caused a completely hysterical reaction by the backers of Israel, the United States, Germany. Why was the reaction so hysterical? Because it punctured the Israeli narrative that this was all a sudden attack.

The diplomatic mission that was mentioned accomplished a very important thing. You have two countries—China, which made the proposal that an immediate two-state solution for the Palestinians must be put on the agenda in the context of a more general Middle East peace conference. We are mobilizing today and in these days of the truce to get as many forces as possible to back up the idea that only a peace conference can really resolve the situation. When the delegation arrived in Moscow, apparently there also Russia announced that they are preparing a new security architecture for the entire Middle East. That is something that my late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, already proposed in 1975 when he proposed an Oasis Plan. This would be an economic development plan, greening the deserts, but the Oasis idea being a symbol that the oasis is manmade, and you can make the deserts green with modern technologies. You can have industry, agriculture, infrastructure, to have a real economic development plan for all of Southwest Asia as the only way to get peace. This is important, and it’s important that many people are picking up on this idea, which we have also published already.

The situation in the United States—and everybody knows that Israel would never do what they are doing without the full backing of the United States. Biden is facing re-election, and he has to worry about the fact that there is a vast majority of the U.S. population in favor of a ceasefire for Gaza. There are now a growing number of cities that have passed resolutions—Seattle, Atlanta, Detroit, and many others. Therefore, I can only appeal to the people watching from the United States, but also from Europe, to go into the streets and fight for the Middle East peace conference and security architecture and the Oasis Plan. Confront your politicians with this so we get a growing mobilization to put this on the table.

Let me quickly mention the second war—the one in Ukraine. In the United States in particular, and here and there also in Europe, even the mainstream media are admitting that Ukraine lost the war; that the U.S. has not allocated additional money in their budget so that the supply of arms is becoming a small trickle. Germany, which is now claiming that they want to double the funding for sending weapons to Ukraine, however is confronted with a massive bankruptcy of their economy, so it is doubtful that this can really go through the way some warmongers are planning it. Naturally, the story here also as in Gaza on October 6th, the story that there was an unprovoked war not to be upheld any longer. There is general recognition that it was the broken promises of NATO not to expand to the east by one inch which caused the prehistory of the Ukraine war. That it was the Orange attempted coup in 2004; that it was for sure the Western instigated and financed Maidan putsch, and there is an incredible effort right now to realize the history by saying that Russia started the war in 2014 by leaving out completely the fact that it was a fascist coup to which Russia reacted with the developments in Crimea and later the Donbas. Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko have all admitted that they only pretended to be in favor of the Minsk Accord to give the Ukrainians more time to be trained up to the level of NATO troops. Therefore the prehistory of what happened on Feb. 22, 2022, has to be taken into account. To understand all of this in the right context, one has to look at the larger strategic setting.

Now, let me brief you about something which, even if it pertains to the specifics of the German situation, I think it gives the whole story away in a very useful way for the international audience to reflect about it. Recently, the Defense Minister of Germany Boris Pistorius in a speech made maybe a slip of the tongue, maybe it was intended, but he said that the key task was to make Germany “war ready.” Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about why Germany has to back up Israel without any questions asked because of the Holocaust. We should remind ourselves of the German history when the German Defense Minister is again saying Germany must be made “war ready.” It’s not just Israel we have to think about, we have to think about the German history. I’m appealing to everybody to call people in Germany and tell them to get off this course. What is this all about? I started to look in the strategic discussion of what is behind this Pistorius remark, and there is a broad discussion among the think tanks and certain so-called analysts and moderators and talk shows which basically best expressed in a paper published by the 

German Council on Foreign Relations, the DGAP, in a policy brief which says that there needs to be a quantum leap in the mentality and the whole armament policy of Germany. That there must be an increase in the military production, a real war economy; there must be a massive increase in the number of soldiers serving in the Bundeswehr. And thirdly, there must be an absolute mentality shift in the attitude of the population to this militarization of Germany, because Germany must develop as quickly as possible the most powerful and most combative modern army of NATO in Europe. Then they propose not only that military production has to be massively beefed up; there is no money for that, because everything else will be cut. All the social costs—health care, education, infrastructure, everything will be cut, except this military buildup is intended.

How do you get a mentality change in the population which the young people don’t know history so well anymore, but in the older generations there are still some people who know what it meant that Dresden was bombed to the ground in a firestorm; that Cologne was flat; many other cities were rubble fields. They have a memory if they didn’t experience it themselves, they know it from the history and the stories of their grandparents who told them. So, there is a need to get the population to accept that war should be fought on German ground again. What this paper then says is that to get such a mentality change, everybody from 18 to 65 should be forced to serve for one year; until age 35 in the military, and if you are 36-65, you have to serve one year in any function which is an auxiliary function to this effort.

And the debate about this has to go into all pores of society—the sport clubs, the schools, the universities, the state parliaments, city councils and so forth. Every single entity in which social life is taking place has to become accustomed to this future militarization of Germany because people have to be trained to accept some time in the future that through German villages and towns again, tanks will drive to the East. Even if there is then combat, that injured troops will come full of blood and they have accept to live with these pictures again. That is all in this paper. Then, one of the authors, a guy called Christian Mölling, never heard of him before and probably should be forgotten as soon as possible again, just had a 22-minute interview in the top evening TV show, “ZDF Heute,” (ZDF Today), in which he develops at great length what is really at stake.

First, he assumes or charges that the real goal of Russia is the coming war with NATO; but no proof. Let me just say this in parentheses, the British have also put out a new white paper on China, in which they basically say the same thing. In Mölling’s case, NATO supposedly says Russia is the biggest threat to all of NATO. This British paper says the same thing about China. The reality is that it is not true, let me just interject this here. You should ask yourself why is it that the Global South countries, who are by far the global majority, have a completely different attitude to Russia and China? They regard these two countries as friends that are helping them to overcome their under-development and end colonialism after 600 years for the first time. Just do not fall for these narratives, because they have a geopolitical intention.

So, he says Russia, when the Ukraine war ends—he doesn’t want to touch the fact that the war was lost in Ukraine for NATO, as all these other wars; the Vietnam War for the U.S., Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. All these wars were lost, but he doesn’t discuss that. He says when the Ukraine war ends, then Russia will build up its full military strength. And since it needs probably 6-10 years to do so, NATO must immediately start this arms race, given the fact that Russia is already at least one step ahead, maybe two or three. The Russian population is more willing to give up their living standard for the military than in the West; therefore one has to be prepared. Sooner or later, Russia will invade the Baltics. Look at the trouble already at the Finnish border, not mentioning that the Finns just joined NATO in the sixth NATO expansion to the East, prolonging the Russia-NATO border by 1300 km. It’s as though Russia and China would move to the Mexican-American border, but he doesn’t mention that at all.

Then, he basically says this is why NATO must build up everything massively, because we have seen there was not ammunition for Ukraine. Basically Germany will become the hub for this deployment. He says the war started in 2014, so here goes the story about the unprovoked war. And the population has to accept this, and therefore, we have to build up a military-industrial landscape. Then the moderator asks him, “So, [audio glitch] coming from between BRICS and NATO is inevitable and will happen?” He says, yes, we have to make a decision. Will we go for risk, or security? We have to choose security. The danger is that Russia will try to divide the NATO countries and grab some of them. If we then throw them to them like food for animals, a very nasty formulation in German, then it’s too late and the West will lose.

This is obviously just a reflection, because the German Council on Foreign Relations, not by accident, has a similarity to the New York Council on Foreign Relations. They are basically the sibling of this institution. That is clearly what is behind those forces that think that Russia has to be ruined—as Baerbock has said many times; that China must be contained, which is impossible because China already is the strongest economic power and bypassed the United States in actual physical economic power. So, this is a course of absolute disaster, and it will end up like Hiroshima if we don’t change.

Now, how do we change this? First of all, we have to counter this narrative that Russia is such a monster intending to take over the world, because it’s not true. It is not true that China is trying to replace the imperial United States, because China has no such intentions. Both of these countries want to have a system as it is represented in the BRICS, which is based on sovereignty, respect for others’ social systems, non-interference in internal affairs; basically, the UN Charter and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. I think the only way we can prevent this present constellation from ending up in a catastrophe is that we have to convince the populations of Europe and the United States that we have to cooperate with the BRICS-Plus, the Global Majority of the world, and that we have to move as quickly as possible to set up a new international security and development architecture which takes into account the security and development interests of every single country on the planet. I wrote 

Ten Principles, which would be the beginning of a discussion of what such an architecture could look like. I think this is the most urgent task; that we tell people that there is an alternative to military buildup and confrontation. Like in the Peace of Westphalia, it is possible to come up with a set of principles which allow for the interest of every country to be taken care of. That is the only way in which we will get out of this crisis.

So, I appeal to you. We have to have a new financial system, because the present trans-Atlantic financial system is in a very advanced state of its own demise. We are sitting on a powder keg of $4 quadrillion in outstanding derivatives. U.S. banks alone are sitting on several hundred billion dollars of unrealized losses which are a powder keg which can explode at any moment. So, we need a new financial architecture, a new credit system, which should then be the basis to finance the overcoming of poverty, of under development, of building a health care system in every country on the planet, of developing infrastructure as a precondition for industrialization and agriculture in every country on the planet. We should join hands and forces to overcome the relics of colonialism in the southern hemisphere and the countries of the Global South. If we put this on the table, there is a way out of this situation. Nobody is losing, except maybe some speculators in the military-industrial complex, but we can also transform these military-industrial complexes into useful production of physical goods which are for the common good of the people.

I think that is the program, and we have to get an earnest discussion about it, because without such an intervention—and I’m appealing in this in particular to forces in the Global South—to help us to get the people in Europe and the United States to understand that the countries of the Global South are not the enemy. But that we need to build a world in which we all can live. This is the big moral test of humanity. Can we, as the only intelligent creative species, give ourselves an order which allows the long-term survival of us all? Thank you.

SPEED: Thank you, Helga. You can find out more about Helga and what she has to say on the 

Schiller Institute YouTube channel, where she does a weekly webcast with Harley Schlanger, as well as the website.

Our next speaker is Ray McGovern, co-founder of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; a CIA analyst for 27 years, and a proud thorn in the side of duplicity and injustice. Ray, glad you’re here.

RAY MCGOVERN: Thank you, Dennis. Let me start by congratulating Helga for that good round-up of where we are today, sad as it is. I’d like to focus in on Gaza; I’d like to focus in on the well-known fact that without U.S. support, Israel could not do what it’s doing in Gaza. What it’s doing in Gaza is a textbook case of genocide.

What do I mean by U.S. support? About 20 years ago, when Bibi Netanyahu was in the living room of one of his constituents, he decided to lay it all out there. He said, “Turn that video machine off.” The fellow forgot, and so we know exactly what Bibi Netanyahu said. He said—let me quote, I transcribed it. “The Americans can be very easily moved, moved in the right direction. 80% of the Americans support us; it’s absurd.” Well, is it still the case that 80% of the Americans support genocide? We have to make clear that it is not. It is no longer even close to 80%, despite the Zionist influence in the administration, in the Congress, and in the media. It’s a tall hill to climb, but we’re doing it. I’ve been at demonstrations here in a small town called Raleigh, North Carolina. Thousands of people, most of them with only a tenuous connection with Palestine, but a big deep connection with justice.

What I’d like to do is tell you of an experience that Veterans for Peace, a group that I am proud to belong to, experienced when we went to the Occupied West Bank in Palestine six years ago. I’m going to show a couple of clips. One pretty much begins in the living room of a man named Bassam[ph] Tamimi. His daughter is Ahed Tamimi, and she’s more prominent and popular and well-known because of what she did in the face of the Israeli soldiers. I mention that because what follows our program here is a film about a father-daughter relationship; it seems to me the same as between Bassam and Ahed. Nine of us, the delegation from Veterans for Peace, are in Bassam’s living room there, and the discussion turns to what the protesters against occupation and specifically what the young children suffer and what the very brave women do to stop it. May we have this first clip now? It’s only three minutes, so if you fall asleep, you’ll miss the whole clip.

[video]

[Subtitle] The Tamimi family and their village of Nabi Saleh have been leaders in resisting Israeli occupation but have suffered tremendously for their efforts.

MALE VOICE: You’re beautiful; wonderful. You are a great hero; yes, you are. [clapping]

[McGovern playing a video on his phone of Israeli soldiers grabbing a little Palestinian boy with a cast on his arm and in a sling.]

MIKE HANES [Force Recon Marine, Iraq War]: I saw the soldier. Was he trying to take your son?

BASSAM TAMIMI: We have a demonstration. Then we come to the hill here. Then the soldiers were hiding around us.

VIDEO—Soldier is grabbing the boy and forcing him to the ground. A little girl, his sister, is yelling at them.

BASSAM TAMIMI: He had a broken hand, because they shoot him before, two days of this by a rubber bullet.

VIDEO—Israeli soldier yelling at the sister who is trying to help the boy, “Get the fuck off of him!”

TAMIMI: They said he throw stones. How he throw stones with a broken hand?

HANES: He was how old?

TAMIMI: He was 11 years old.

HANES: They can arrest you at 11 years old?

TAMIMI: Yeah, they can.

VIDEO—Mother is grabbing the soldier from behind, yelling “My son! My son!” Sister is holding on to the boy, trying to get him away from the soldier. Other women come to help.

TAMIMI: They catch Mahmoud, and they took him for five months in jail, seven months in jail, and this boy who you see. We have the youngest prisoners now with 13 years old, they give him three years in jail.

MCGOVERN: 13, and he gets three years in jail.

TAMIMI: Yeah.

FEMALE AMERICAN: You were a big rock star when you were on tour, because of this video.

TAMIMI: The price is high. When you lose part of your family, it’s not easy to say it’s famous or not. It’s important to be famous or not. The wars show that we are still under occupation. We need a lot of time to reach our goal. That means a lot of suffering and means a lot of losing. For that, the future is not easy for us. [end video]

MCGOVERN: That was Bassam Tamimi. I asked him after seeing that video, “Bassam, your sons, one of them is in prison, another has had his leg shot and has to limp for the rest of his life. Your brother-in-law was killed with a rifle shot just outside your door here. How can you allow your children to keep this up?” He looked at me like I was from Mars or maybe Saturn, far away. He said, “Ray, are you asking me to stop my children from fighting for freedom? Freedom from Occupation?” I swallowed. Footnote here: Bassam is now in jail; he was arrested last week. So is Ahed, his daughter. We’ll see more of them in the next clip, which will show what happened after we had a demonstration, that is, simply walking down the road and stopping at a trail, and the settlers came. They beat up the women who were with us, and they beat up the women press who were with us. Then, they went after the small guys, they never touched Matthew Ho, who’s about 6-foot-4. It was really a terrific example of how cowardly these people were, and as we climbed back up the hill, I heard shots I hadn’t heard in 40 years. I said, “Are those rifle shots?” The Iraqi and Afghan veterans who were with us said, “Yeah, Ray; get your head down, for God’s sake! Those are rifles whooshing over us.”

What you’re about to see is after that event. The Israeli Army was not satisfied with defending the settlers who came armed; each of them had a side arm, some had rifles. But they came up and pursued the little kids into Nabisallah, the name of the town where we were staying with the Tamimi family. So, the next clip will show that, and then we’ll have just a few more comments.

[video]

TAMIMI: It’s a good experience for you to come and see and touch; know the meaning of the Occupation. It’s not the war, it’s life.

AMERICAN: It is, it’s a life.

TAMIMI: How this generation, how they deal.

AMERICAN: These here, are the bravest people I’ve ever seen. These are the bravest people I’ve ever seen. Your children are the bravest people I’ve ever seen.

MCGOVERN: We won again! [High-fives] Way to go, man!

FEMALE AMERICAN: When we were putting this together, we thought it was really important for the group to get a really good sense of the nonviolent resistance, and the persistence and the dedication and the long-term steadfastness of the Palestinians in keeping to this nonviolent resistance in the face of really brutal Occupation; in the face of a lot of guns; in the face of tear gas; in the face of racism. Their refusal to be drawn into that, and how they manage every day to keep getting up and doing this work when the forces of Occupation and oppression are coming down on them. [end video]

MCGOVERN: So, what you’ve just seen, and what has been going on on the West Bank for decades, is what I would call slow genocide. They go in every week to some village, and they pluck out some young kid, and they put him in jail. “Eleven years old” I asked Bassam, “they can arrest and put in jail an 11-year old?” Yeah, they can. And a 13-year old got three years. That’s what’s going on here. That’s what we have to stop. The overt genocide actively advertised by Israeli leaders is so blatant that it’s up to us to do more than just write articles as I do, participate in demonstrations as I do. We have to do more.

The reality is captured by this headline in a recent article on 

Consortium News: “Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Biden know that if they lose the American people, they are both in serious trouble.” Well, they’re losing the American people. I don’t think 80% of the American people support Netanyahu in what he’s doing now. It’s a textbook case of genocide. It’s against the Geneva Convention; it’s so manifest that it appears on our TV screen, and the President apparently will say on Tuesday, “Go ahead; defeat Hamas.” If that means killing another 5,000 Palestinian children, well you know …

So, what we have to do is something more than make speeches; something more than what we’ve been doing. We need to organize, organize, organize. That means that if you only have two friends who feel as strongly as you do, you get together with them and you figure out what you can do. Because we can all do something. Now, as an example of a laudable writing that just came out a day or two ago after seven weeks of slaughter in Gaza, one author wrote a letter to Biden. He said, “Your unqualified support for what the Israeli leaders have announced openly as their determination to slaughter unlimited numbers of Palestinian civilians constitutes the crime of all crimes defined in international law; the crime of genocide. It makes every American complicit to the extent that you do not, that we do not, that I do not directly and actively oppose such policies.” I’m going to quote my favorite rabbi, Abraham Heschel, who said, “When such crimes take place, few are guilty, but all are responsible. Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.”

So, we have examples of very brave, very nonviolent Palestinian citizens on the West Bank where slow genocide is taking place. We have examples in Gaza of fast genocide, with half the population already routed from their homes, moving to the south Gaza. So, are we going to do? Well, we need to get out there, folks, and before Tuesday if you can. You know, to those who think you can’t change things, LBJ was going to even worse in Vietnam. Now, let’s see, was there a genocide in Vietnam? Hunh; MacNamara, the Secretary of Defense at the time, said that 3 million Vietnamese died in that war. Oh, 6 million in the Holocaust genocide; does it have to be 6 million? I’m not trying to be funny here. Three million is quite enough, and after World War II, the law was written to include part of an ethnic group. Three million Vietnamese; 2 million in Gaza. Is that genocide? Of course it’s genocide under international law.

My point is simply this. We stopped the Vietnam War; it was later than we hoped, but we stopped it. How did we stop it? We shouted, “Hey, Hey, LBJ! How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?” Real loud. We know now, from revealed documents, that that had an effect. That prevented LBJ from going north into North Vietnam and getting China, almost certainly involved.

So what do we need to do today? Well, it occurred to me, we have to have a new slogan, and here’s what I’d suggest: “Ho! Ho! Sleepy Joe! Genocide Has Got To Go!” Everybody—“Ho! Ho! Sleepy Joe! Genocide Has Got To Go!”

If we don’t do it, nobody else is going to do it. Bibi Netanyahu cannot do it without the support of the American people. He’s probably depending on American people just watching TV and cheering for their favorite football team. We’re not going to do that this time; we’re not going to say “Hey, hey LBJ! How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?” we’re going to say “Ho! Ho! Sleepy Joe! Genocide Has Got To Go!” Thank you very much.

SPEED: Thank you, Ray. We’ve just heard Ray McGovern, co-founder of Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and also a member of Veterans for Peace. And you can find more of 

Ray McGovern on his website and also on the 

X social media.

Our next speaker is 

Vanessa Beeley. Vanessa is an independent journalist and photographer, who’s worked extensively in the Middle East, on the ground in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Palestine, while also covering the conflict in Yemen, since 2015. So, Vanessa.

VANESSA BEELEY: Hi, thank you so much. It was really impressive to listen to all the speakers so far. I’m not going to claim to have any big, revolutionary solutions to what is happening. But what I can do, maybe, is bring a perspective from on the ground. I’ve been living in Damascus for almost five years now, working here for seven years, witnessing, of course, the neocolonialist project to overthrow the Syria government and to destabilize Syria, partition Syria, and now, of course, we’re seeing the genocide which I don’t think has actually really stopped since 1948, since the Nakba—it’s just had peaks and troughs. But it’s being what I sometimes call the “trickle genocide,” an ongoing ethnic cleansing and land-grab—of course, the most well known being in 1967, when the West Bank and Gaza were effectively annexed, and the Golan territories that belonged to Syria, and are recognized as Syrian territories, but are still occupied by the Zionist entity.

So, coming to Gaza, to give an idea of the devastation: 36,000 injured, 20,000 dead, according to a 

Euro-med Monitor report today, and that includes 8,100 children. It’s very hard to say that number, without taking a sharp intake of breath: 8,100 children dead. Many others, of course, still buried under the rubble, after Israel has bombed the civil defense units, the paramedics, and destroyed the equipment they need in order to dig bodies out of the rubble. And, of course, we’re seeing now civilians during the four-day ceasefire, although in the north the ceasefire only lasts from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.; in the south there is, allegedly, a full ceasefire, although there are reports of Israeli drones overhead in the south even now.

1.5 million displaced: That’s more than half the population of Gaza, in a strip of land that is 40 km by 12 km. I was there in 2012, during the Israeli aggression in November of that year. What has happened in the last six weeks, I can’t even imagine—even though I lived under the aggression for one week in 2012, I can’t even imagine what the Gazan people were enduring during the last six weeks. And as you mentioned, the sheer tonnage of explosives that have been dropped on Gaza in six weeks outstrips those that we used, I believe, in Hiroshima.

46,000 homes were destroyed; 234,000 are damaged. 88 mosques destroyed and 3 churches damaged: This is a very important point to make, because, while the West and Israel portray the resistance very much as an Islamist front, comparing them, of course, to ISIS—although the irony of this is that ISIS is, in reality, a proxy of the U.S. alliance, including Israel, in Syria—and [ISIS] has been triggered since Oct. 7 to carry out intensive and vicious attacks on Syrian Arab Army and civilian positions trying to reclaim the territory around … the gas pipelines basically that they lost in 2015, when Russia intervened and pushed ISIS back out of the central areas of Syria. So, whilst Israel and the U.S. are comparing Hamas to ISIS, they are effectively supporting, promoting, arming and equipping ISIS, and weaponizing them inside Syria; so that is an ultimate irony for me.

The reality is that the resistance goes way beyond Hamas: Every single person in Gaza and in the West Bank, as Ray so eloquently pointed out, is resistant to the apartheid, oppressive regime and occupation. The collective punishment of the Palestinian people, the ongoing ethnic cleansing, the mass detention, particularly of children; the sexual abuse of children in prisons; the torture of prisoners, particularly that has been ongoing since Oct. 7 and has resulted in the deaths of prisoners and the ongoing torture of prisoners despite the release of some of them in exchange for the Israeli hostages, that were being held in relative comfort, and were actually being protected by the resistance factions against the Israeli Hannibal doctrine, which is effectively to destroy their own hostages. We’re hearing now, the truth coming out, even about the Oct. 7, the fact that it was Israeli Apache helicopters and tanks that did the greatest amount of damage against Israeli civilians. I believe the helicopters were attacking more than 360 targets over a period of 4 hours, and the footage that was released of the ultima demonstrate that the deaths and the incineration of bodies could not have been caused by the resistance factions, it must have been caused by the Apache helicopters.

Coming back to the resistance factions, the point that I want to make is that you have 17 resistance factions alone in Gaza, you have multiple others in the West Bank. The there is no Hamas in West Bank, and yet the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians on the West Bank has been ongoing, also, and increasing since Oct. 7, with destruction of infrastructure, mosques, schools, mass detentions—I think more than 3,000 have been arrested; I could be wrong on that. I’m quoting again from figures from Euro-med Monitor. Disappeared bodies from the north of Gaza and again, Euro-med Monitor is accusing the Israelis of potential organ theft from these disappeared bodies. Mass graves in Gaza of bodies that are now being found, decomposed on the roads of northern Gaza after the Israelis left injured Gazans to bleed out and to die on the road, and prevented paramedics and family members going to get the bodies.

So quite extraordinary scenes that we’re seeing, and yes, I don’t think it’s something that any of us should look back on later on in life, and believe that we were complicit through our silence. We all have a responsibility to speak out against the horrendous scenes that we’re seeing, not on an hourly basis but on a minute by minute basis.

I wanted to focus basically on what the situation is here, in the Middle East. We know that Hezbollah has been very much occupying the Israeli forces in the north, while containing the conflict, not allowing it to escalate because it’s well known in the region, particularly in Syria, Lebanon and in Iran, that the agenda of the West, of the U.S.—and I’m talking bipartisan, I’m not only talking Joe Biden; I will come on to Kennedy Jr.’s statement in a minute, which demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans are for escalation.

What the resistance factions in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon in particular are trying to do, are trying to contain the conflict, while helping or assisting Palestinian resistance factions to the best of their ability. So Hezbollah have been occupying a large number of Israeli forces and brigades in the north, preventing them drawing and entering the battle on the ground in Gaza.

Syria itself has opened up the front in southern Syria for Palestinian factions to target the Israeli settlement in the Golan territories. That is ongoing, and of course Syria has been receiving increased bombardment from Israel as a result. Just this afternoon, the Damascus civilian airport was bombed again and put out of action. It hadn’t been operating for a few weeks since the previous Israeli attacks on both Aleppo and Damascus airport. Aleppo is still out of operation. Damascus is again out of operation after today’s attacks around 3 or 4 o’clock this afternoon. So a southern front has been opened up on Syria territory to target the Israeli settlements in the Golan. There have been direct confrontations between the Syrian Arab Army and U.S. occupation forces, particularly in the northeast; 15 missiles were fired by the Syrian Arab Army directly at the Conoco illegal base that is occupying the Conoco gas field. 6 American personnel were killed in that attack; they were killed in the command center within the base itself, and the Syrian Arab Army has been engaging directly with U.S. forces. That’s a significant development. At the same time, what they’ve been doing is expanding the area for the Islamic resistance to effectively target U.S. bases in Iraq and inside Syria. And I believe, there’s around 56 American forces have been killed in these attacks.

At the same time, we’ve seen Yemen declare the Red Sea a no go area for Israeli shipping. We’ve seen the seizure of one Israeli ship already, and there are reports that another ship has been taken by the National Salvation Coalition Government in Sanaa.

President Assad at the Emergency Arab Summit, alongside Palestine, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Libya, and Yemen put forward a proposal which included:

  1. preventing the use of U.S. bases and allied military basis in Arab countries to supply Israel with weapons and ammunitions
  2. freezing Arab diplomatic, economic, security and military relations with Israel
  3. threatening to use oil and Arab economic capabilities to apply pressure to end the aggression
  4. prevent Israeli civil aviation access to Arab airspace
  5. forming an Arab ministerial committee that will travel immediately to New York, Washington, Brussels, Geneva, London and Paris, to stop the Israeli aggression.

Sadly, the countries that voted against it, and effectively vetoed it, were Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Mauritania.

But I wanted to point out what President Assad said during this speech, which was probably one of the most powerful speeches at the summit, and I’ll quote from him now. “By our will only, by the overwhelming popular public opinion in our countries, with the new reality imposed by the Palestinian resistance in our region, we possess those tools. Let us use them and let us take advantage of the global transformation that has opened for us political doors that have been closed for decades, so that we can enter through them, and change the equation, and let the precious souls who rose in Palestinian be a rewarding price for achieving what we were unable to do in the past, and what we must accomplish in the present and in the future.”

I think this is a very important statement, because what Assad I think is referring to is the Global South pivot to the East, towards China and Russia, and the emerging power of Russia and China, in partnership with the Global South, which of course is anathema to the U.S. alliance that is looking only for a unipolar world, with them having supremacy over the world resources. And that is what brings me onto a recent statement that Robert Kennedy, Jr. made regarding Israel. And I think this is key to what we’re fighting against, because there is no compassion, even from Kennedy for the Israeli people or for the Palestinian people. Helga, you referred to what is happening, these people being used as pawns: While I don’t want to denigrate the historical context with what is happening in Palestine, I agree that for the ruling predator class, people of any nation are dispensable, and I think Kennedy’s statement makes that very clear, for me at least. So he said: "Israel is critical and the reason it’s critical is because it’s a bulwark for us in the Middle East. It is always like having an aircraft carrier in the Middle East: It’s our oldest ally, it’s been our ally for 75 years. It’s been an incredible ally for us in terms of the technology exchange, and building the Iron Zone which we have paid a lot for has taught enormously about how to defend ourselves against missile attack. That military expenditure, 75% goes to U.S. companies under the agreement under the MOU.

“If you look at what’s happening in the Middle East now, the closest allies for Iran are Russia and China. Iran also controls all of Venezuela’s oil. Hezbollah is in Venezuela”—I haven’t verified that—"they have propped up the Maduro regime and so they control that oil supply.

“BRICS: Saudi Arabia is now joining BRICS, so those countries will control 90% of the oil in our world. If Israel disappears the vacuum in the Middle East, Israel is our ambassador, our beachhead in the Middle East. It gives us ears and eyes in the Middle East. It gives us intelligence, the capacity to influence affairs in the Middle East. If Israel disappeared, Russia and China would be controlling the Middle East and would control 90% of the world’s oil supply, and that would be cataclysmic for U.S. national security.”

For me, this statement is on a par with Trump saying the only reason they had troops in Syria was to take the oil fields. This is pure, naked honesty from Kennedy, and as despicable as it is, this is honest.

And so, finally, I want to end on the question of the nuclear threat, and you mentioned the Heritage Minister talking about “nuking Gaza.” But I also want to mention the fact that there are another kind of underground tunnels in the desert of a much more dangerous kind: First in 1958, and just about 53 miles from Gaza, there’s a complex now called the Shimon Peres Measure Nuclear Research Center, where at least 80 thermonuclear weapons have been developed. This facility underwent a major renovation just two years ago. And to this day, writes Joshua Frank, Israel has never openly admitted possessing such weaponry, and yet, has consistently refused to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit this secretive site.

And I finally just want to finish the “Colin Powell moments” that we’ve seen during the genocide of Palestine by Israel since Oct. 7. First of all, Theodor Herzog claimed and held up the instruction manual that Hamas had a chemical weapons instruction manual from al-Qaeda—interesting, again, because Israel supported, provided weapons for, and hospital treatment for al-Qaeda in Syria. And then, his second claim was than an Arabic 

Mein Kampf had been found, that was also in the possession of Hamas.

But on a more serious note, I do feel that there is a very high risk of there being an orchestrated false-flag event, potentially in the U.S., to escalate events in the region, and effectively long-term to take us to war with Iran, which of course was predicted by Gen. Wesley Clark. So I think we are in a very, very dangerous tipping point. I think the Middle Eastern regional resistance axis countries are well aware of that, and are trying to manage the conflict the best they can.

Thank you very much for listening.

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