US military intervention in the post-world war two period: Professor Ralph M. Coury

July 10, 2018


In the Financial Times, Ralph M. Coury, Professor Emeritus of History, Fairfield University, UC, briefly comments on Martin Wolf’s description of US military intervention in the post-world war two period, carried out in order to serve its interests while providing “beneficial ends” more broadly, as merely being “big mistakes”: (Trump’s war on the liberal world order, July 4).

He adds that Wolf’s description hardly does justice to the significance of such operations. In addition to these formally acknowledged military interventions were other ‘integral components’:

  • coups d’état,
  • assassinations,
  • proxy wars,
  • the sponsorship of internal rebellions against popular governments,
  • sanctions
  • and interference in elections.

All promoted “an imperialist, hegemonic structure whose masters were hardly inhibited by humanitarian restraints when their domination was threatened”.

Readers who – like the editor – have not been aware of Professor Coury’s work will find an online search rewarding. In lighter vein see a short video: From America to Uzbekistan!





Peaceful resistance

October 24, 2017

 Tokyo’s Mitsukoshi department store has withdrawn Israeli settlement products

The American Herald Tribune reports that earlier this month, the hundred year old store was scheduled to host an event featuring Israeli wines, including wines made in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen land – see United Nations’ reaffirmation in 2016. After Japanese civil society raised concerns, Mitsukoshi shortened the event and removed all wines which Palestine Forum Japan activists indicated were made in Israeli settlements. A spokesperson for Japan’s Palestine Forum said:

“We warmly welcome this principled decision by Mitsukoshi department store to pull products made in illegal Israeli settlements from its shelves. By refusing to sell these products, the store is complying with international law and Japanese foreign policy. It is also respecting human rights and advancing justice and peace.

“Mitsukoshi’s action serves as a model to other Japanese companies trading with those in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied land. Japanese companies must immediately end their complicity in Israeli violations of human rights by stopping all trade and cooperation with Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid, or increasingly face both reputational damage and financial losses”.

Simulation of an Israeli checkpoint outside Muji store

The Jerusalem Post recalls that the first protest of this kind was held in 2010, when civil organisations in Japan, including the Palestine Forum Japan, campaigned for seven months against the plan of Muji, a Japanese retail chain, to open stores in Israel – a plan which was eventually cancelled.

Last year the Israeli embassy in Japan had been planning to hold an Israel Wine Seminar at the Osaka Office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). Some of the Israeli wineries attending were located in or used grapes from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank or the Golan Heights.

Palestine Forum Japan sent a fax to JETRO about providing their facilities for the promotion of illegal settlement businesses and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry informed Palestine Forum Japan that the Ministry had advised JETRO of the significant legal and moral risks associated with promoting illegal settlement businesses as outlined by the United Nations Human Rights Council. JETRO staff called Palestine Forum Japan and informed them that they would be withdrawing from the event which would not be going ahead at JETRO’s facilities.

In July 2017, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a warning on its website, advising that “settlement activities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are in violation of international law, and one must be aware of the financial, reputational and legal risks when involved with economic activities in these areas.”

In September the Boycott, divestment and sanctions website reported that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was beginning to send letters to 150 companies in Israel and around the globe, warning them that they could be added to a database of complicit companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements based in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Japanese BDS activists are calling on the Japanese government to implement sanctions against Israel until the military occupation is ended, Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy equal rights and Palestinian refugees are permitted to return to their homes and their land.




Speaking out against the ‘apartheid’ perpetrated against Palestinians

February 2, 2017


CNN reports that amid the evacuation of Amona, Naftali Bennett — the Jewish Home party leader and education minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government — told his supporters: “From the ruins of Amona we will move to build a new settlement. From this mountain we will move towards applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria”.

A few months ago in the Friend, Miles Fielding wrote:

Following on from Don Mason’s excellent letter, ‘Re-defining anti-Semitism’ (23 September), I am extremely disturbed by the current attempts by the pro-Israel lobby to change the meaning of the word ‘antiSemitism’.

Anti-Semitism is described in the English dictionary as ‘…a hostility towards or discrimination against Jewish people’.

This is far removed from speaking out against Israel and those who have a Zionist ideology.

Speaking out against the ‘apartheid’ perpetrated against Palestinians by the Israelis is no worse than speaking out against the apartheid that used to be present in South Africa and which, thankfully, is no longer in existence.

The pro-Israel lobby in Britain and, indeed, across the world is in the process of trying to redefine the phrase anti-Semitism in an attempt to gag any open criticism, and this cannot be allowed to happen.

Miles Fielding Brigflatts Meeting, Cumbria (presently attending Forres Meeting, Moray): the Friend, 7 October 2016

The latest ‘sovereign’ development:





Beware the exaggerated portrayal of Russia as the unprovoked aggressor and the fragile western alliance as innocent defenders

October 21, 2016

In the FT, Professor Robert H. Wade, LSE Professor of Political Economy,comments on a reference in an article by Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former US permanent representative to NATO.


Daalder argues that Russian president Vladimir Putin “needs the antagonism of the west to protect his standing at home”, and therefore acts as the unprovoked aggressor in order both to generate that antagonism and to expand the boundaries of Russia’s territorial control. Daalder therefore advocates that the west must strengthen the western alliance’s military forces around Russia (“The best answer to Russian aggression is containment”).

Wade questions Daalder’s statement that “the core of our strength is western unity”: stating that “In fact, western unity is fragile”. As Mr Putin needs the antagonism of the west to protect his standing at home, so the west needs the antagonism of Russia (helped by China) to glue the fractious alliance together.

Intelligence of the ‘dubious, politically ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘justify’ the US-led attack on Iraq’

The western exaggeration of the Russian government’s role in the civil war in Ukraine is cited by Wade and we are informed that eight retired US intelligence analysts wrote a letter to German chancellor Angela Merkel in August 2014 warning her that the intelligence supporting the accusation of a major Russian invasion of Ukraine “seems to be of the same dubious, politically ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘justify’ the US-led attack on Iraq”.

He warns Western voters and taxpayers to be wary of western governments’ exaggerated portrayal of Russia as the unprovoked aggressor and themselves as innocent defenders, which serves to fortify the fragile western alliance.

And adds that it also satisfies the arms industry, for which weapons systems against threatening states are much more profitable than those against terrorists . . . advising that if the aim is genuinely to curb Russian aggression, western states and NATO have to be less aggressive towards Russia.




People from these countries visited the site this week

October 19, 2016





Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko: for more than 27 years, quiet symbols of a now pacifist nation

August 12, 2016

A televised speech by Emperor Akihito of Japan is being described by the country’s media as his final act of resistance against the prime minister, a bid to halt the return to Japan’s aggressive pre-war attitudes and policies as Japan’s remilitarization is steadily underway with a revived weapons industry and rising armaments sales.


The emperor remembers the war and its aftermath first hand and was thought to be making a lightly veiled reference to these issues in some passages: “I have considered that the first and foremost duty of the Emperor is to pray for peace and the happiness of all the people. At the same time, I also believe that in some cases it is essential to stand by the people, listen to their voices, and be close to them in their thoughts.”

Mari Yamamoto in the IAC/InterActiveCorp’s Newsweek/Daily Beast notes that in recent years, the emperor’s speeches and those of Crown Prince Naruhito have been studied for their sentiments on the importance of pacifism and the post-war constitution:

“They have remembered honestly Japan’s crimes during the war, and voiced subtle opposition to the renewed militarism of the current administration” 

japan article 9 graphicShe adds that the Emperor and his wife, Empress Michiko, have reigned more than 27 years as quiet symbols of a pacifist nation, living voices reminding the Japanese people of the horrific past that the country endured and that Imperial Japan imposed on others, whereas Prime Minister Abe and his political allies have long derided Japan’s constitution as a humiliation imposed upon the Japanese people by the United States occupation government, impinging on “basic human rights.”

On his birthday in 2013, the Emperor said: “After the war, Japan was occupied by the Allied forces and, based on peace and democracy as values to be upheld, established the Constitution of Japan, undertook various reforms and built the foundation of Japan that we know today. I have profound gratitude for the efforts made by the Japanese people at the time, who helped reconstruct and improve the country devastated by the war. I also feel that we must not forget the help extended to us in those days by Americans with an understanding of Japan and Japanese culture.”

Abe’s visit to the shrine and the problems surrounding it were taken up in the 2015 US government report, Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress (PDF). The Imperial Family, even during the previous emperor’s reign came to an end, stopped paying their respects after fourteen convicted war criminals were enshrined in 1978. Neither the current emperor nor the crown prince has visited Yasukuni since.

In recent years, the Royal Couple have visited the sites where Japanese soldiers died overseas, expressing their condolences also to the foreign nationals killed in the war, but in contrast Abe and many in his party are known supporters of the Yasukuni Shrine where Japan’s convicted war criminals such as Hideki Tojo are remembered.

“Everything the Emperor says is correct,” said the acting head of Nippon Kaigi, Tadae Takubo, in a press conference last month – a pronouncement which puts Abe and his cabinet in a difficult position.

Will he retire and see his wishes respected in a pacifist Japan,  with a constitution that guarantees basic human rights and renounces war?



Jeremy can wear both poppies

September 15, 2015