We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.
The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.
The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.
Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.
In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.
He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of the September 11 attacks.
This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.
We have highlighted key sections of this interview.
It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.
Michel Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014
Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin
Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.
The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.
Following is the interview in full detail:
Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?
Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.
I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.
Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.
There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?
Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .
The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.
However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .
Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.
According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.
Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.
They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.
Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.
Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?
Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?
Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.
We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.
Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?
Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom.This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.
Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.
Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.
Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?
Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.
The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.
Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?
Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.
These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.
Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?
Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.
Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?
Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.
Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001
Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller
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The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history. a decisive watershed, a breaking point. Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.
September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society.
A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.
Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” were set in motion.
9/11 was also a stepping stone towards the relentless repeal of civil liberties, the militarization of law enforcement and the inauguration of “Police State USA”.
September 11, 2001 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest.
At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.
CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey, without mentioning Afghanistan, pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”
That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.
The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage war on Afghanistan on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”. Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11.
In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country in Central Asia of 30 million people.
The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.
Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.
The 9/11 Commission Report has largely upheld the “outside enemy” mythology, heralding Al Qaeda as the “mastermind” organization behind the 9/11 attacks.
The official 9/11 narrative has not only distorted the causes underling the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, it has also erased the historical record of US covert support to international terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and “Western Civilization” are threatened.
Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “war on terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.
After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive Al Qaeda “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.
The 911 Reader is composed of a carefully selected collection of key articles published by Global Research in the course of the last eleven years.
9/11 was an important landmark for Global Research. Our website was launched on September 9, 2001, two days prior to 9/11. Our coverage of 9/11 was initiated on September 12, 2001.
Within this collection of more than 60 chapters, we have included several important reports from our archives, published by Global Research in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. These articles provide a focus on issues pertaining to the 9/11 Timeline, foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the attack on the Pentagon, the issue of insider trading on Wall Street in the days preceding 9/11 pointing to foreknowledge of the attacks.
What prevails is a complex web of lies and fabrications, pertaining to various dimensions of the 9/11 tragedy. The falsehoods contained in the official 9/11 narrative are manifold, extending from the affirmation that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind, to the assertion by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that the WTC buildings collapsed due to the impacts of fire. (see Part III).
Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?
Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?
According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last eleven years.
DAN RATHER. As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.
This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
The foregoing CBS report which is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:
1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;
2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.
U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld: “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.
October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan
The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.
Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.
This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.
On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.
Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.
The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.
Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset
Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.
Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.
“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)
”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.
In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era, US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.
In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.
Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)
VIDEO (30 Sec.)
The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings
Based on the findings of Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was not caused by fire resulting from the crash of the planes:
In more than 100 steel-framed, high-rise fires (most of them very hot, very large and very long-lasting), not one has collapsed, ever. So it behooves all of us, as your own former chief of NIST’s Fire Science Division, Dr. James Quintiere, said, “to look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of these collapses.”
Let’s start with temperatures – 1,340° F. temperatures, recorded in thermal images of the surface of the World Trade Center rubble pile a week after 9/11 by NASA’s AVIRIS equipment on USGS overflights. Such temperatures cannot be achieved by oxygen-starved hydrocarbon fires. Such fires burn at only 600 to 800° F. Remember, there was no fire on the top of the pile. The source of this incredible heat was therefore below the surface of the rubble, where it must have been far hotter than 1,340 degrees.
Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., who was hired for the Building 7 cleanup, said that “molten steel was found at 7 WTC.” Leslie Robertson, World Trade Center structural engineer, stated that on October 5, “21 days after the attacks, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running.” Fire department personnel, recorded on video, reported seeing “molten steel running down the channel rails… like you’re in a foundry – like lava from a volcano.” Joe O’Toole, a Bronx firefighter, saw a crane lifting a steel beam vertically from deep within a pile. He said “it was dripping from the molten steel.” Bart Voorsanger, an architect hired to save “relics from the rubble,” stated about the multi-ton “meteorite” that it was a “fused element of molten steel and concrete.”
Steel melts at about 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit, about twice the temperature of the World Trade Center Tower 1 and 2 fires as estimated by NIST. So what melted the steel?
Appendix C of FEMA’s BPAT Report documents steel samples showing rapid oxidation, sulfidation, and intergranular melting. A liquid eutectic mixture, including sulfur from an unknown source, caused intense corrosion of the steel, gaping holes in wide flange beams, and the thinning of half-inch-thick flanges to almost razor-sharpness in the World Trade Center 7 steel. The New York Times called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”
NIST left all of this crucial forensic evidence out of its report. Why? Because it didn’t fit in with the official conspiracy theory.
Last year, physicist Steven Jones, two other physicists, and a geologist analyzed the slag at the ends of the beams and in the samples of the previously molten metal. They found iron, aluminum, sulfur, manganese and fluorine – the chemical evidence of thermate, a high-tech incendiary cutting charge used by the military to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter. The by-product of the thermate reaction is molten iron! There’s no other possible source for all the molten iron that was found. One of thermate’s key ingredients is sulfur, which can form the liquid eutectic that FEMA found and lower the melting point of steel.
In addition, World Trade Center 7′s catastrophic structural failure showed every characteristic of explosive, controlled demolition. … The destruction began suddenly at the base of the building. Several first responders reported explosions occurring about a second before the collapse. There was the symmetrical, near-free-fall speed of collapse, through the path of greatest resistance – with 40,000 tons of steel designed to resist this load – straight down into its own footprint. This requires that all the columns have to fail within a fraction of a second of each other – perimeter columns as well as core columns. There was also the appearance of mistimed explosions (squibs?) at the upper seven floors on the network video recordings of the collapse. And we have expert testimony from a European demolitions expert, Danny Jowenko, who said “This is controlled demolition… a team of experts did this… This is professional work, without any doubt.”
Fire cannot produce these effects. Fire produces large, gradual deformations and asymmetrical collapses. Thermate can produce all of these effects used in conjunction with linear shaped charges. If the thermate is formed into ultra-fine particles, as has been accomplished at Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is called super-thermate, and is very explosive.(Richard Gage, January 2008)
The following AE911Truth Video provides irrefutable evidence that the WTC center towers were brought down through controlled demolition.
According to David Ray Griffin: “The official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse—never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York City—never.” (See David Ray Griffin).
According to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, based on solid scientific analysis and evidence, the collapse of the WTC towers was engineered through controlled demolition. While AE11Truth does not speculate on who might be behind the conspiracy to bring down the WTC buildings, they nonetheless suggest that the carrying out such an operation would require a carefully planned course of action with prior access to the buildings as well as an advanced level of expertise in the use of explosives, etc.
The Collapse of WTC Building Seven
The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed. The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7. CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event. (See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)
CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.
Coverup and Complicity
The 911 Reader presents factual information and analysis which points to cover-up and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
This body of articles by prominent authors, scholars, architects, engineers, largely refutes the official narrative of the 9/11 Commission Report, which is reviewed in Part IV. It dispels the notion that America was attacked on September 11, 2001 on the orders of Osama bin Laden.
This is a central issue because US military doctrine since 9/11 has been predicated on “defending the American Homeland” against Islamic terrorists as well as waging pre-emptive wars against Al Qaeda and its various “state sponsors”. Afghanistan was bombed and invaded as part of the “war on terrorism”. In March 2003, Iraq was also invaded.
Fiction prevails over reality. For propaganda to be effective, public opinion must firmly endorse the official 9/11 narrative to the effect that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. A well organized structure of media disinformation (Part XI) is required to reach this objective. Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend also requires defying as well smearing the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Throughout the post 9/11 era, a panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.
In turn, 9/11, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council.
September 11 and Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.
What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.
With September 11 there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because 9/11 as well as Al Qaeda have evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.
Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.
Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.
Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?
People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!
The routine use of 9/11 and Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.
All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.
The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks
9/11 mythology has been a mainstay of war propaganda. In the course of 2002, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. While Washington’s official position was that Saddam Hussein was not behind the 9/11 attacks, insinuations abounded both in presidential speeches as well as in the Western media. According to Bush, in an October 2002 press conference:
The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. .,.. We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability — even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source [Iraq], that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002)
Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.
In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, in February 2003, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime. The implication of Colin’s Powell’s assertions, which were totally fabricated, was that Saddam Hussein and an Al Qaeda affiliated organization had joined hands in the production of WMD in Northern Iraq and that the Hussein government was a “state sponsor” of terrorism.
The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.
Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11
In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the same alleged “state sponsorship” of terrorism accusations emerged in relation to Iran.
In December 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran was condemned by a Manhattan court, for its alleged role in supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.
The investigation into Tehran’s alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission “regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers”. The 91/11 Commission’s recommendation was that the this “apparent link” required “further investigation by the U.S. government.” (9/11 Commission Report , p. 241). (See Iran 911 Case ).
In the December 2011 court judgment (Havlish v. Iran) “U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case”.
According to the plaintiffs attorneys “Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. Citing their national security and intelligence experts, the attorneys explained “how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”)”. Iran and Hezbollah allegedly provided “training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings.” (See Iran 911 Case ).
This judicial procedure is nothing more than another vicious weapon in the fabricated “War on Terror” to be used against another Muslim country, with a view to destabilizing Iran as well as justifying ongoing military threats. It also says a lot more about the people behind the lawsuit than about the accused. The expert witnesses who testified against Iran are very active in warmongering neocon circles. They belong to a web of architects of the 21st century Middle-Eastern wars, ranging from high profile propagandists to intelligence and military officers, including former U.S. officials.
Ironically, while Washington accuses Iran and Afghanistan of supporting terrorism, the historical record and evidence indelibly point to the “state sponsorship” of Al Qaeda by the CIA, MI6 and their counterparts in Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Al Qaeda death squads have been recruited to wage America’s humanitarian wars throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
In Syria Al Qaeda units were recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command: “Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels.” (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/ Debkafile, August 31, 2011).
In Libya, jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:
Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region. http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-and-natos-pan-arab-terrorist-blitzkrieg/
Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader
In Part I, the 911 Reader provides a review of what happened on the morning of 9/11, at the White House, on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, at Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM), What was the response of the US Air Force in the immediate wake of the attacks? Part II focusses on “What Happened on the Planes” as described in the 9/11 Commission Report.
Part III sheds light on what caused the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. It also challenges the official narrative with regard to the attack on the Pentagon.
Part IV reviews and refutes the findings of the 9/11 Commission Report.
Part V focusses on the issue of foreknowledge by Western intelligence agencies. Part VI examines the issue of how foreknowledge of the attacks was used as an instrument of insider trading on airline stocks in the days preceding September 11, 2001. The bonanza financial gains resulting from insurance claims to the leaseholders of the WTC buildings is also examined.
Part VII focusses on the history and central role of Al Qaeda as a US intelligence asset. Since the Soviet-Afghan war, US intelligence has supported the formation of various jihadist organizations. An understanding of this history is crucial in refuting the official 9/11 narrative which claims that Al Qaeda, was behind the attacks.
Part VIII centers on the life and death of 9/11 “Terror Mastermind” Osama bin Laden, who was recruited by the CIA in the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. This section also includes an analysis of the mysterious death of Osama bin Laden, allegedly executed by US Navy Seals in a suburb of Islamabad in May 2011.
Part IX focusses on “False Flags” and the Pentagon’s “Second 9/11″. Part X examines the issue of “Deep Events” with contributions by renowned scholars Peter Dale Scott and Daniele Ganser.
Part XI examines the structure of 9/11 propaganda which consists in “creating” as well “perpetuating” a “9/11 Legend”. How is this achieved? Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda, the alleged 9/11 Mastermind is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events.
Part XII focusses on the practice of 9/11 Justice directed against the alleged culprits of the 9/11 attacks.
The legitimacy of 9/11 propaganda requires fabricating “convincing evidence” and “proof” that those who are accused actually carried out the attacks. Sentencing of Muslims detained in Guantanamo is part of war propaganda. It depicts innocent men who are accused of the 9/11 attacks, based on confessions acquired through systematic torture throughout their detention.
Part XIII focusses on 9/11 Truth. The objective of 9/11 Truth is to ultimately dismantle the propaganda apparatus which is manipulating the human mindset. The 9/11 Reader concludes with a retrospective view of 9/11 ten years later.
Timeline: What Happened on the Morning of September 11, 2001
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
“Foreknowledge” and “Failure to act” upholds the notion that the terrorist attacks (“act of war”) “waged by Muslims against America” are real, when all the facts and findings point towards coverup and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
The main justification for waging this war has been totally fabricated. The American people have been deliberately and consciously misled by their government into supporting a major military adventure which affects our collective future.
9/11 Ringleader connected to secret Pentagon operation
- by Dr. Daniele Ganser – 2005-08-27
Atta was connected to a secret operation of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the US. A top secret Pentagon project code-named Able Danger identified Atta and 3 other 9/11 hijackers as members of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the attacks.
According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.
On August 28 Sheikh Said Afandi, acknowledged spiritual leader of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Dagestan, was assassinated. A jihadist female suicide bomber managed to enter his house and detonate an explosive device.
The murder target had been carefully selected. Sheikh Afandi, a seventy-five-year old Sufi Muslim leader, had played the critical role in attempting to bring about reconciliation in Dagestan between jihadist Salafi Sunni Muslims and other factions, many of whom in Dagestan see themselves as followers of Sufi. With no replacement of his moral stature and respect visible, authorities fear possible outbreak of religious war in the tiny Russian autonomous republic.
The police reported that the assassin was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam and was linked to an Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist insurgency against Russia and regional governments loyal to Moscow in the autonomous republics and across the volatile Muslim-populated North Caucasus region.
Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990. Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a real sense, as Russian security services clearly understand, if they don’t succeed in stopping the Jihadists insurgency in Syria, it will come home to them via the Caucasus.
The latest Salafist murders of Sufi and other moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus are apparently part of what is becoming ever clearer as perhaps the most dangerous US intelligence operation ever—playing globally with Muslim fundamentalism.
Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.
Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus
Following the dissolution of the USSR, radical Afghanistani Mujahadeen, Islamists from Saudi Arabia, from Turkey, Pakistan and other Islamic countries flooded into the Muslim regions of the former USSR. One of the best-organized of these was the Gülen Movement of Fethullah Gülen, leader of a global network of Islamic schools and reported to be the major policy influence on Turkey’s Erdogan AKP party.
Gülen was quick to establish The International Dagestani-Turkish College in Dagestan. During the chaotic days after the Soviet collapse, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation officially registered and permitted unfettered activity for a variety of Islamic foundations and organizations. These included the League of the Islamic World, the World Muslim Youth Assembly, the reportedly Al-Qaeda friendly Saudi foundation ‘Ibrahim ben Abd al-Aziz al-Ibrahim.’ The blacklist also included Al-Haramein a Saudi foundation reported tied to Al-Qaeda, and IHH,  a Turkish organization banned in Germany, that allegedly raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, and was charged by French intelligence of ties to Al Qaeda. Many of these charities were covers for fundamentalist Salafists with their own special agenda.
As many of the foreign Islamists in Chechnya and Dagestan were found involved in fomenting the regional unrest and civil war, Russian authorities withdrew permission of most to run schools and institutions. Throughout the North Caucasus at the time of the Chechyn war in the late 1990’s, there were more than two dozen Islamic institutes, some 200 madrassas and numerous maktabas (Koranic study schools) present at almost all mosques.
The International Dagestani-Turkish College was one that was forced to close its doors in Dagestan. The College was run by the Fethullah Gülen organization.
At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists.  It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.
By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda, unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. 
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Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition
Salafism, known in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism, is a fundamentalist strain of Islam which drew world attention and became notorious in March 2001 just weeks before the attacks of September 11. That was when the Salafist Taliban government in Afghanistan willfully dynamited and destroyed the historic gigantic Buddhas of Bamiyan on the ancient Silk Road, religious statues dating from the 6th Century. The Taliban Salafist leaders also banned as “un-islamic” all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.
Afghani sources reported that the order to destroy the Buddhas was made by Saudi-born jihadist Wahhabite, Osama bin Laden, who ultimately convinced Mullah Omar, Taliban supreme leader at the time to execute the act.
Before and…After Salafist Taliban …
While Sufis incorporate the worship of saints and theatrical ceremonial prayers into their practice, Salafis condemn as idolatry any non-traditional forms of worship. They also call for the establishment of Islamic political rule and strict Sharia law. Sufism is home to the great spiritual and musical heritage of Islam, said by Islamic scholars to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, going back centuries.
As one Sufi scholar described the core of Sufism, “While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise–after death and the ‘Final Judgment’– Sufis believe as well that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness–while one is alive. Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes with such intimacy with God, Sufis assert, is the very purpose of the creation. Here they mention the hadith qudsi in which God states, ‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known, so I created the creation in order to be known.’ Hence for the Sufis there is already a momentum, a continuous attraction on their hearts exerted by God, pulling them, in love, towards God.” 
The mystical Islamic current of Sufism and its striving to become close to or one with God is in stark contrast to the Jihadist Salafi or Wahhabi current that is armed with deadly weapons, preaches a false doctrine of jihad, and a perverse sense of martyrdom, committing countless acts of violence. Little wonder that the victims of Salafist Jihads are mostly other pacific forms of Islam including most especially Sufis.
The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.
Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.
Salafism and the CIA
The existence of the so-called jihadist Salafi brand of Islam in Dagestan is quite recent. It has also been deliberately imported. Salafism is sometimes also called the name of the older Saudi-centered Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a minority originally-Bedouin form of the faith originating within Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia since the 1700’s.
Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism give the following description of Saudi conditions under the rigid Wahhabi brand of Islam:
“Women living under Saudi rule must wear the abaya, or total body cloak, and niqab, the face veil; they have limited opportunities for schooling and careers; they are prohibited from driving vehicles; are banned from social contact with men not relatives, and all personal activity must be supervised including opening bank accounts, by a male family member or “guardian.” These Wahhabi rules are enforced by a mutawiyin, or morals militia, also known as “the religious police,” officially designated the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) who patrol Saudi cities, armed with leather-covered sticks which they freely used against those they considered wayward. They raid homes looking for alcohol and drugs, and harassed non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as believers in other faiths.” 
It’s widely reported that the obscenely opulent and morally-perhaps-not-entirely-of- the-highest-standards Saudi Royal Family made a Faustian deal with Wahhabite leaders. The deal supposedly, was that the Wahhabists are free to export their fanatical brand of Islam around to the Islamic populations of the world in return for agreeing to leave the Saudi Royals alone. There are, however, other dark and dirty spoons stirring the Wahhabite-Salafist Saudi stew.
Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden. 
During the Third Reich, Hitler Germany had supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the British in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Marc Erikson describes the Nazi roots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thus:
…as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and ’40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and “supreme guide” Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini.
After the defeat of Germany, British Intelligence moved in to take over control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ultimately, for financial and other reasons, the British decided to hand their assets within the Muslim Brotherhood over to their CIA colleagues in the 1950s. 
According to former US Justice Department Nazi researcher John Loftus, “during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Dr Abdullah Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism.” 
“Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” 
Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.
The most bizarre and alarming feature of the US-financed regime changes set into motion in 2010, which have led to the destruction of the secular Arab regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muhammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the secular regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, and which have wreaked savage destruction across the Middle East, especially in the past eighteen months in Syria, is the pattern of emerging power grabs by representatives of the murky Salafist Muslim Brotherhood.
By informed accounts, a Saudi-financed Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood dominates the members of the exile Syrian National Council that is backed by the US State Department’s Secretary Clinton and by Hollande’s France. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is tied, not surprisingly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohammed Morsi who recently in a meeting of the Non-Aligned in Iran called openly for the removal of Syria’s Assad, a logical step if his Muslim Brothers in the present Syrian National Council are to take the reins of power. The Saudis are also rumored to have financed the ascent to power in Tunisia of the governing Islamist Ennahda Party, and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. 
Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror
Indicative of the true agenda of this Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadists today is the fact that once they have power, they drop the veil of moderation and reconciliation and reveal their violently intolerant roots. This is visible in Egypt today under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.
Unreported in mainstream Western media to date are alarming direct reports from Christian missionary organizations in Egypt that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to drop the veil of “moderation and conciliation” and show its brutal totalitarian Salafist colors, much as Khomeini’s radical Sharia forces did in Iran after taking control in 1979-81.
In a letter distributed by the Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a Christian Egyptian missionary wrote that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood “announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn’t win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq. Yesterday they began by killing two believers in el Sharqiya because of this,” the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
This report came only weeks after Egyptian State TV (under Morsi’s control) showed ghastly video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims. The footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat. As one man was heard chanting Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity, another man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts. In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that, “soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches.” Many Muslims, the letter claimed, “also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it’s theirs now.” 
Already in 2011 Morsi’s Salafist followers began attacking and destroying Sufi mosques across Egypt. According to the authoritative newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian), 16 historic mosques in Alexandria belonging to Sufi orders have been marked for destruction by so-called ‘Salafis’. Alexandria has 40 mosques associated with Sufis, and is the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups. Half a million Sufis live in the city, out of a municipal total of four million people. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.
Notably, the so-called “democratically elected” regime in Libya following the toppling of Mohamar Qaddafi by NATO bombs in 2011, has also been zealous in destroying Sufi mosques and places of worhip. In August this year, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern” at the destruction by Islamic Jihadists of Sufi sites in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli and urged perpetrators to “cease the destruction immediately.”  Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. 
The explosive cocktail of violence inherent in allowing the rise to power of Salafist Islamists across the Middle East was clear to see, symbolically enough on the night of September 11,th when a mob of angry supporters of the fanatical Salafist group, Ansar Al-Sharia, murdered the US Ambassador to Libya and three US diplomats, burning the US Consulate in Bengazi to the ground in protest over a YouTube release of a film by an American filmmaker showing the Prophet Mohammed indulging in multiple sex affairs and casting doubt on his role as God’s messenger. Ironically that US Ambassador had played a key role in toppling Qaddafi and opening the door to the Salafist takeover in Libya. At the same time angry mobs of thousands of Salafists surrounded the US Embassy in Cairo in protest to the US film. 
Ansar Al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic law” in Arabic) reportedly is a spinoff of Al-Qaeda and claims organizations across the Middle East from Yemen to Tunisia to Iraq, Egypt and Libya. Ansar al-Sharia says it is reproducing the model of Sharia or strict Islamic law espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq. The core of the group are jihadists who came out of an “Islamic state”, either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.
The deliberate detonation now of a new round of Salafist fundamentalist Jihad terror inside Muslim regions of the Russian Caucasus is exquisitely timed politically to put maximum pressure at home on the government of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Putin and the Russian Government are the strongest and most essential backer of the current Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and for Russia as well the maintenance of Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base at Syria’s Tartus port is vital strategically. At the same time, Obama’s sly message to Medvedev to wait until Obama’s re-election to evaluate US intent towards Russia and Putin’s cryptic recent comment that a compromise with a re-elected President Obama might be possible, but not with a President Romney,  indicate that the Washington “stick-and-carrot” or hard cop-soft cop tactics with Moscow might tempt Russia to sacrifice major geopolitical alliances, perhaps even that special close and recent geopolitical alliance with China. Were that to happen, the World might witness a “reset” in US-Russian relations with catastrophic consequences for world peace.
F. William Engdahl* is the author ofFull Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
 Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in
 UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQI29011E.shtml. The UN statement reads: “Doku Khamatovich Umarov was listed on 10 March 2011 pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Islamic Jihad Group (QE.I.119.05), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (QE.I.10.01), Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) (QE.R.100.03) and Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11).”
 David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/world/europe/putin-calls-missile-deal-more-likely-if-obama-wins.html. According to an interview Putin gave on Moscow’s state-owned RT TV, Herszenhorn reports, “Mr. Putin said he believed that if Mr. Obama is re-elected in November, a compromise could be reached on the contentious issue of American plans for a missile defense system in Europe, which Russia has strongly opposed. On the other hand, Mr. Putin said, if Mr. Romney becomes president, Moscow’s fears about the missile system — that it is, despite American assurances, actually directed against Russia — would almost certainly prove true.
“Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if current President Obama is re-elected for a second term? Theoretically, yes,” Mr. Putin said, according to the official transcript posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. “But this isn’t just about President Obama. “For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere,” Mr. Putin continued. “I met him recently on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a very honest man, and that he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”
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A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:
“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”
What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.
As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:
Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.
“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “
“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.
Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”
LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.
A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”
It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.
French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.
Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.
NEW YORK – USA – In a remarkable admission by former Nixon era Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, reveals what is happening at the moment in the world and particularly the Middle East. [please note this is a SATIRE, which in many regards says the truth regarding the current situation, the interview is fiction, it never took place, some of the quotes are from Henry Kissinger]
Speaking from his luxurious Manhattan apartment, the elder statesman, who will be 89 in May, is all too forward with his analysis of the current situation in the world forum of Geo-politics and economics.
“The United States is bating China and Russia, and the final nail in the coffin will be Iran, which is, of course, the main target of Israel. We have allowed China to increase their military strength and Russia to recover from Sovietization, to give them a false sense of bravado, this will create an all together faster demise for them. We’re like the sharp shooter daring the noob to pick up the gun, and when they try, it’s bang bang. The coming war will will be so severe that only one superpower can win, and that’s us folks. This is why the EU is in such a hurry to form a complete superstate because they know what is coming, and to survive, Europe will have to be one whole cohesive state. Their urgency tells me that they know full well that the big showdown is upon us. O how I have dreamed of this delightful moment.”
“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”
Mr Kissinger then added: “If you are an ordinary person, then you can prepare yourself for war by moving to the countryside and building a farm, but you must take guns with you, as the hordes of starving will be roaming. Also, even though the elite will have their safe havens and specialist shelters, they must be just as careful during the war as the ordinary civilians, because their shelters can still be compromised.”
After pausing for a few minutes to collect his thoughts, Mr Kissinger, carried on:
“We told the military that we would have to take over seven Middle Eastern countries for their resources and they have nearly completed their job. We all know what I think of the military, but I have to say they have obeyed orders superfluously this time. It is just that last stepping stone, i.e. Iran which will really tip the balance. How long can China and Russia stand by and watch America clean up? The great Russian bear and Chinese sickle will be roused from their slumber and this is when Israel will have to fight with all its might and weapons to kill as many Arabs as it can. Hopefully if all goes well, half the Middle East will be Israeli. Our young have been trained well for the last decade or so on combat console games, it was interesting to see the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 game, which mirrors exactly what is to come in the near future with its predictive programming. Our young, in the US and West, are prepared because they have been programmed to be good soldiers, cannon fodder, and when they will be ordered to go out into the streets and fight those crazy Chins and Russkies, they will obey their orders. Out of the ashes we shall build a new society, there will only be one superpower left, and that one will be the global government that wins. Don’t forget, the United States, has the best weapons, we have stuff that no other nation has, and we will introduce those weapons to the world when the time is right.”
End of interview. Our reporter is ushered out of the room by Kissinger’s minder.
This article was first published on August 31, 2008.
1947 to 1951, FRANCE
According to Alfred W. McCoy in The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, CIA arms, money, and disinformation enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrestle control of labor unions from the Communist Party. The Corsicans gained political influence and control over the docks — ideal conditions for cementing a long-term partnership with mafia drug distributors, which turned Marseille into the postwar heroin capital of the Western world. Marseille’s first heroin laboratones were opened in 1951, only months after the Corsicans took over the waterfront.
EARLY 1950s, SOUTHEAST ASIA
The Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA to wage war against Communist China, became the opium barons of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand and Laos), the world’s largest source of opium and heroin. Air America, the ClA’s principal airline proprietary, flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia. (See Christopher Robbins, Air America, Avon Books, 1985, chapter 9)
1950s to early 1970s, INDOCHINA During U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. Many Gl’s in Vietnam became addicts. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was used to refine heroin. After a decade of American military intervention, Southeast Asia had become the source of 70 percent of the world’s illicit opium and the major supplier of raw materials for America’s booming heroin market.
The Nugan Hand Bank of Sydney was a CIA bank in all but name. Among its officers were a network of US generals, admirals and CIA men, including fommer CIA Director William Colby, who was also one of its lawyers. With branches in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America and the U.S., Nugan Hand Bank financed drug trafficking, money laundering and international arms dealings. In 1980, amidst several mysterious deaths, the bank collapsed, $50 million in debt. (See Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA, W.W. Norton & Co., 1 987.)
1970s and 1980s, PANAMA
For more than a decade, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Noriega facilitated ”guns-for-drugs” flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, as well as safe havens for drug cartel otficials, and discreet banking facilities. U.S. officials, including then-ClA Director William Webster and several DEA officers, sent Noriega letters of praise for efforts to thwart drug trafficking (albeit only against competitors of his Medellin Cartel patrons). The U.S. government only turned against Noriega, invading Panama in December 1989 and kidnapping the general once they discovered he was providing intelligence and services to the Cubans and Sandinistas. Ironically drug trafficking through Panama increased after the US invasion. (John Dinges, Our Man in Panama, Random House, 1991; National Security Archive Documentation Packet The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations.)
1980s, CENTRAL AMERICA
The San Jose Mercury News series documents just one thread of the interwoven operations linking the CIA, the contras and the cocaine cartels. Obsessed with overthrowing the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, Reagan administration officials tolerated drug trafficking as long as the traffickers gave support to the contras. In 1989, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations (the Kerry committee) concluded a three-year investigation by stating:
“There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual Contras, Contra suppliers, Contra pilots mercenaries who worked with the Contras, and Contra supporters throughout the region…. U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war efforts against Nicaragua…. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. govemment had intormation regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter…. Senior U S policy makers were nit immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras’ funding problems.” (Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, a Report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and Intemational Operations, 1989)
In Costa Rica, which served as the “Southern Front” for the contras (Honduras being the Northern Front), there were several different ClA-contra networks involved in drug trafficking. In addition to those servicing the Meneses-Blandon operation detailed by the Mercury News, and Noriega’s operation, there was CIA operative John Hull, whose farms along Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua were the main staging area for the contras. Hull and other ClA-connected contra supporters and pilots teamed up with George Morales, a major Miami-based Colombian drug trafficker who later admitted to giving $3 million in cash and several planes to contra leaders. In 1989, after the Costa Rica government indicted Hull for drug trafficking, a DEA-hired plane clandestinely and illegally flew the CIA operative to Miami, via Haiti. The US repeatedly thwarted Costa Rican efforts to extradite Hull back to Costa Rica to stand trial. Another Costa Rican-based drug ring involved a group of Cuban Amencans whom the CIA had hired as military trainers for the contras. Many had long been involved with the CIA and drug trafficking They used contra planes and a Costa Rican-based shnmp company, which laundered money for the CIA, to move cocaine to the U.S. Costa Rica was not the only route. Guatemala, whose military intelligence service — closely associated with the CIA — harbored many drug traffickers, according to the DEA, was another way station along the cocaine highway.
Additionally, the Medellin Cartel’s Miami accountant, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, testified that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through long-time CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who was based at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador. The contras provided both protection and infrastructure (planes, pilots, airstrips, warehouses, front companies and banks) to these ClA-linked drug networks. At least four transport companies under investigation for drug trafficking received US govemment contracts to carry non-lethal supplies to the contras. Southern Air Transport, “formerly” ClA-owned, and later under Pentagon contract, was involved in the drug running as well. Cocaine-laden planes flew to Florida, Texas, Louisiana and other locations, including several militarv bases Designated as ‘Contra Craft,” these shipments were not to be inspected. When some authority wasn’t clued in and made an arrest, powerful strings were pulled on behalf of dropping the case, acquittal, reduced sentence, or deportation.
1980s to early 1990s, AFGHANISTAN
ClA-supported Moujahedeen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported govemment and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society. The Agency’s principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading druglords and leading heroin refiner. CIA supplied trucks and mules, which had carried arms into Afghanistan, were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan Pakistan border. The output provided up to one half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. US officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operabon because of a desire not to offend their Pakistani and Afghan allies. In 1993, an official of the DEA called Afghanistan the new Colombia of the drug world.
MlD-1980s to early 199Os, HAITI
While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients’ drug trafficking. In 1986, the Agency added some more names to its payroll by creating a new Haitian organization, the National Intelligence Service (SIN). SIN was purportedly created to fight the cocaine trade, though SIN officers themselves engaged in the trafficking, a trade aided and abetted by some of the Haitian military and political leaders.
William Blum is author of Killing Hope: U.S Military and CIA Interventions Since World War ll available from Common Courage Press, P.O. Box 702, Monroe, Maine, 04951
It has been said that birds of a feather flock together, and proof of that statement can be seen in the fact that terrorist sympathizer John McCain was recently forced to act as Knight in Shining Armor for famed mass murderer Henry Kissinger as the latter was attempting to give yet another speech to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Kissinger’s arrival, as well as the beginning of his speech, was interrupted by protesters from Code Pink, who attempted to list off the crimes of Henry Kissinger but were unable to continue their presentation for the requisite number of days it would take to do so due to the fact that Capitol Hill police were called in to remove them.
McCain, always a friend to those who have committed or are doing their best to commit atrocities on a mass scale, erupted in typical angry fashion screaming at protesters, “You know, you’re going to have to shut up, or I’m going to have you arrested.” As the protesters were being removed, McCain also screamed, “Get out of here you low-life scum.”
McCain went on to apologize to Kissinger by stating that “Dr. Kissinger, I hope on behalf of all of the members of this committee on both sides of the aisle — in fact, from all of my colleagues, I’d like to apologize for allowing such disgraceful behavior towards a man who served his country with the greatest distinction. I apologize profusely.”
Many Americans, particularly Vietnam veterans, however, may indeed remember “such disgraceful behavior towards a man who served his country with the greatest distinction” taking place in the Capitol on a number of occasions.
Indeed, the performance of John McCain standing in front of Congress and arguing against any further investigation or revelation of whether or not American POWs were still being held in Vietnam, would certainly count as one such instance.
Yet, while McCain’s support of the Vietnam war, Iraq War, Syrian War, Libyan war, and virtually every war that was ever waged and those that ever will be waged upon the face of the earth, has resulted in the death of millions of people, McCain found himself in the presence of one of the true kings of killing in Henry Kissinger.
Indeed, Kissinger is one of the true living figures whose feet most psychopathic killers the world over still long to kneel at.
It is thus not surprising that McCain would come to the aid of Kissinger so readily. In fact, it is not surprising that, after all these years and all these crimes against humanity, that Kissinger would be addressing such an important Congressional committee. Nor is it surprising that this committee boasts yet another criminal, terrorist supporter, insidious color revolution operative, and traitor like John McCain.
The only surprising aspect of the whole affair was that the protesters were allowed to stay for as long as they did.
Or was the most surprising aspect that there were protesters to begin with?
U.S. Army General John F. Campbell speaks Dec 8, 2014 at North Kabul Afghanistan International Airport, Afghanistan. (Photo: ResoluteSupportMedia/flickr/public domain)
In an unprecedented blackout, top U.S. military officials have quietly classified key information about how they are spending the over $65 billion dollars appropriated since 2002 to train Afghan forces.
New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg, who broke the story in the press on Thursday, explained, “until this month the American-led coalition regularly shared details on how the money was being put to use and on the Afghan forces’ progress.”
However, this information has been suddenly declared off-limits, meaning that over 100 critical aspects of U.S. policy in Afghanistan are shielded from public disclosure. These include:
How much money the U.S. spends on weapons and equipment for the Afghan National Army.
The total dollars the U.S. spends on salaries for Afghan national police.
The number of active Afghan military and police personnel.
Full details about U.S. training programs for Afghan forces.
A report released this week by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko states, “The classification of this volume of data for SIGAR’s quarterly report is unprecedented.”
“The decision leaves SIGAR for the first time in six years unable to publicly report on most of the U.S.-taxpayer-funded efforts to build, train, equip, and sustain the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces),” the report continues.
Addressing the Inspector General, Gen. John F. Campbell, the U.S. commander of coalition forces, claimed that classification is necessary to “protect the lives of those individuals who could be put at risk by the release of sensitive information.”
But Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, pointed out, “The General did not explain how budget and contracting information, among other routine data, could be used to sharpen attacks against allied forces.”
“For years, this kind of information has been available,” Aftergood toldFrontline. “It’s not just a particular fact or figure that’s being classified, but whole categories of previously public information. That is both stunning and disturbing.”
Others drew their own conclusions:
Failure in training Afghan military forces is so epic (and costly) that U.S. has decided to make it classified: http://t.co/79ioEOpIUW
The U.S. military is pulling the veil over this information at a time when the United States is locking in at least another decade of war in the country and publicly claiming that its strategy centers on the training and building of Afghan forces. The Obama administration is expected to request for the 2016 budget at least $42 billion for the war in Afghanistan, signaling the long-term nature of U.S. military entanglement in the country.
The new classifications, furthermore, come at an especially dangerous time for Afghan people. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), 2014 was the deadliest year on record for Afghan civilians since the global body began making reports in 2009.
Relatives of journalists who were killed during Israel’s summer attack on Gaza protest in front of the United Nations’ Gaza City headquarters in September 2014. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)
Maysoon Abu Hayyin is not sure how she will provide for her one-year-old daughter Lana.
In July last year, Maysoon’s husband Ziad — a freelance journalist and online editor for the al-Kitaab newspaper — was killed during Israel’s attack on Gaza. Ziad had some money saved, yet Maysoon has not yet been granted authorization to access his bank account.
Maysoon, 22, was living with Ziad and Lana in the Shujaiya district of Gaza City. As Israeli forces launched widespread indiscriminate attacks in the area, Maysoon fled with her daughter to Egypt.
“When everyone fled, he stayed behind to do some work,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “He told us he’d come join us a few days later, but he couldn’t find transportation.”
Four days later Maysoon learned of her husband’s death while watching the news. Ziad was killed when Israel shelled his family’s home in Shujaiya. Ziad’s grandfather and cousin also died under the rubble.
“I was shocked,” she said, pausing, “and devastated.”
“Bloodiest year” for media workers
A total of 2,257 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s summer assault on Gaza, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA. Of that number, OCHAestimates 1,563 were civilians, including 563 children.
Entire neighborhoods throughout Gaza were left flattened, and Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and other civilian infrastructure. In the Abu Hayyin family’s neighborhood of Shujaiya, homes were turned into massive piles of busted concrete and torn steel.
According to the Gaza Centre for Media Freedom, 2014 was the “bloodiest year” in history for Palestinian media workers. The watchdog group recorded 295 Israeli press violations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
Sixteen press workers — fifteen Palestinians and one Italian — were killed by Israel during the attack on Gaza.
Although Maysoon received a one-time sum from al-Kitaab for her late husband’s final paycheck, she later learned that she will not receive regular financial compensation.
“There just isn’t any money,” she explained.
Because al-Kitaab is affiliated with the Islamic University of Gaza, Maysoon has been granted a scholarship to study math and hopes that she will find work in order to take care of her daughter.
“Lana looks like her father very much,” she noted. “He was a good man. I never knew anyone so perfectly fitted for his job. He loved it.”
Ezz Zanoun, a freelance photojournalist whose work has frequently appeared on The Electronic Intifada, was one of dozens of Palestinian media workers injured during Israel’s assault on Gaza. “I luckily only had light injuries, but I was hurt several times,” he told The Electronic Intifada.
According to statistics provided to The Electronic Intifada by the Gaza Centre for Media Freedom, at least twenty-eight journalists dressed in press garb were seriously injured by Israeli forces in the course of their work.
“During the war, I had to carry all my equipment at all times,” Zanoun said. “[Palestinian] journalists are always aware that they may not return home to their wives or children because they live the massacres they are covering.”
Zanoun, who taught himself photography while covering Israeli attacks on Gaza, said: “The Israelis don’t consider [Palestinian] journalists. They attack us and shoot at us just like everyone else.”
The hardest part of covering the attack, he explained, “is hearing each day that another journalist was hurt or killed. And when we cover massacres and arrive at areas with martyrs, the first thing I think of is my family and how it could happen to them at any time.”
“I always thought I’d be next to die,” he said of last year’s onslaught. “The sound of [Israeli] rockets and bombs never stopped.”
Zanoun’s photography will be presented in an exhibition in Gaza City this week. “It is a collection of fourteen photographs that show the dangers journalists face in Gaza, especially during wartime.”
In addition to the record number of fatalities and injuries among media workers, rights groups have accused Israel of targeting media offices during the fighting in places across the narrow coastal enclave. At least seventeen offices were directly struck by shelling or missiles, according to the Gaza Centre for Media Freedom.
Muhammad Thuraya, news director of the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV, recalled the channel’s long history of being targeted by Israeli forces, particularly during the three major offensives against Gaza since 2008.
“The [Israeli] enemy attacks the entire Palestinian people and all of the Palestinian media, but there is always a focus on al-Aqsa,” Thuraya told The Electronic Intifada. “Just like the schools and the hospitals Israel has targeted, al-Aqsa TV was repeatedly directly targeted during the 2014 aggression.”
Thuraya added that Israeli forces directly struck five al-Aqsa TV offices and a storage unit last summer. Sameh al-Aryan, an al-Aqsa TV photographer, was killed on 30 July when Israel bombed the Shujaiya market.
Rami Rayan, his cousin, also a journalist, died in the same attack.
Ahmed Nasser, another al-Aqsa TV photographer, was injured when Israeli forcestargeted the Italian Tower in Gaza City on 26 August.
Journalists in the occupied West Bank are also targeted by Israel.
Mustafa al-Khawaja, an al-Aqsa TV correspondent, was arrested by Israeli forces in October and detained for fifty days.
During one of al-Khawaja’s hearings, an Israeli prosecutor said that al-Aqsa TV has been considered an “illegal terrorist organization” since the beginning of October.
According to MADA, this is perhaps the first time that a media outlet has been classified by Israel as a terrorist group.
Nonetheless, al-Aqsa TV employees have also been the target of deadly attacks in the past. Two al-Aqsa TV journalists — Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama — werekilled by Israel during its eight-day war on Gaza in November 2012.
Israel and the United States “treat us as a terrorist channel because we protect [Palestine] with our voices, through news and pictures,” Thuraya of al-Aqsa TV said. “They attack us on social media — Facebook, YouTube, Twitter — and [Israel] attacks us with weapons.”
Patrick O. Strickland is an independent journalist and regular contributor to The Electronic Intifada. Find his reportage at www.postrickland.com. Follow him on Twitter:@P_Strickland_
On January 22nd, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News (Murdoch founded it, his son James headed it for a while, and their 21st Century Fox owns “a controlling stake” in it) telecast a puff-piece for Ukraine’s right-wing extremists, several times calling them “heroes” to “patriotic” Ukrainians. This segment of their documentary series “Ross Kemp: Extreme World,” was titled “Ukraine: The Rise of The Right.”
In it, Ukraine’s “far right” are described as being patriots who are protecting all of Ukraine from a Russian invasion, and who are therefore being increasingly admired by Ukrainians. It says: “The ultras [ultra-rightists] are actually patriotic young people who are ready to fight — not only on the Maidan, but also at the war for our land. … These men — seen now by many as heroes — are fighting for the Azov Battalion in Mariupol, Maryinka and Iliovaisk.”
The message is that whereas these far-rightists were previously despised, they now are widely respected: “Just a few years ago they were on the fringes of society — shunned for their violent behaviour and xenophobic beliefs, but since the 2014 Maidan revolution — and the subsequent fighting against pro-Russian groups — their popularity has grown.”
In the segment here, the presenter, Ross Kemp, says, at 15:25, that, Ukraine “faces the threat of a full-scale Russian invasion. NATO has called the crisis in Ukraine, the biggest threat to European security since World War Two. Amidst this chaos, volunteer far-right battalions have put up some of the strongest resistance.” He then notes that the city of Mariupol in Ukraine’s southeast “is currently being defended by a right-wing militia called the Azov Battalion.”
Ross Kemp is then in Mariupol, where he says: “Just to give you an idea of how vulnerable this city is, in the distance is Russia, all the way along there [and he points at the supposedly feared Russia]. … In May of 2014, Mariupol was one of several cities seized by pro-Russia separatists. … How did a predominantly far-right militia[Azov] end up defending one of Ukraine’s most important cities? … The fight to defend Mariupol has made the[Azov] Battalion specialists in urban warfare. The majority are ordinary Ukrainians united by a sense of patriotism[he doesn’t say ‘nationalism,’ but ‘patriotism,’ so as to give it an attractive odor].”
He also doesn’t deny that “some” of the Azov fighters are White-supremacists (they make it too obvious). At 20:25, he says: “But there’s an altogether darker ideology that unites some Azov members.” A swastika is shown; then an Azov fighter is interviewed saying, ‘’’It’s a war with Russia.’” The idea Rupert Murdoch’s man Kemp wants to convey here is that these fighters are “patriots,” who are “volunteering” to “defend” Ukraine against “pro-Russians”and against “Russian troops” (he uses that phrase though there’s actually no sign of any of those). He ignores that Obama’s team had taken over Ukraine during a coup which was long in the planning and which used the public “Maidan” anti-corruption demonstrations as merely a ‘democratic’ PR backdrop. In fact, here is the U.S. State Department’s Victoria Nuland, telling the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, on 4 February 2014, whom he is to place at the top of the post-coup Government; and, when the coup occurred, this “Yats” was indeed the person who became appointed 22 days later. No hint of such background is given in Rupert Murdoch’s ‘news’ (propaganda) report.
At 30:20, Ross Kemp says:
“Since February of 2014, Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists have been locked in a bloody battle for control of towns in the east. [Actually, the civil war had started not in February 2014, such as he says, but on 9 May 2014. The Obama coup had occurred in February 2014, overthrowing the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, for whom more than 70% of the residents in southeastern Ukraine had voted; and the civil war didn’t start till May because it wasn’t clear till May that the newly installed Government wanted the residents in the southeast to die or else to flee to Russia — to be gone from Ukraine. Obama didn’t want them voting in any future Ukrainian national elections, because that would jeopardize the lasting-power of his coup-Government.] This is the town hall of Mariupol. Five months ago, Russian separatists stormed this building. … The Russian supporters were made to leave, but when they did, they torched it.”
[He’s there trying to convey the idea that “Russian supporters” had torched the town hall in Mariupol. But, actually, it wasn’t the “town hall”; it was the police station; and there’s no indication that the locals had torched it. Instead: On 9 May 2014, which is the very day that Ukraine’s civil war started throughout southeastern Ukraine (in response to the May 2nd massacre in Odessa), the local police force refused to take commands from the invading Ukrainian Government troops of western Ukraine, who were then entering Mariupol to take the city over. Anti-coup people entered the building in order to occupy it, and a battle ensued between the Kiev troops and the Mariupol locals. The locals were driven out by Ukraine’s military; and the police station was torched, but no one knows by whom.
Here is video of the police station on fire, on 9 May 2014.
Here is a detailed description and another actual video of the burning; and the description that’s given, which comes from a resident there, makes clear that the invading troops burned the building down because the local police refused to accept the authority of the newly imposed Government. But the “town hall” also had been involved in Ukraine’s invasion.
Here is a Reuters article on 7 May 2014, reporting that “Ukrainian forces seized the rebel-held city hall in the eastern port city of Mariupol overnight, driving out pro-Russian activists, then withdrew, making no attempt to hold onto the building, witnesses said. .... Witnesses said the soldiers left after smashing furniture and office equipment.” Maybe they burned it later. The vandals were the haters — the very people whom Ross Kemp so obviously admires. In any case, what Kemp is saying about the event is almost certainly false. He pretends to be a videographer, but his video presents no evidence — merely assertions by Ukrainian Government officials and soldiers.]
Here and here and here are how what Kemp fearsomely calls the “pro-Russian separatists” (or, as Reuters had referred to them, ‘activists’) in Mariupol first encountered the Obama-coup-regime’s troops, as those troops invaded Mariupol slaughtering residents on 9 May 2014. And here is what had happened at the largest southeastern city, Donetsk, just three days earlier, on May 6th. That Donetsk video refers to the Ukrainian oligarch or aristocrat Kolomoysky. He was the man who had financed the massacre on May 2nd of entirely peaceful anti-coup demonstrators in Odessa — the massacre that had actually caused the people in the other rejectionist cities to become separatists. It caused some southeastern areas to go all the way to refusing to accept the Obama-installed coup-government at Kiev, and to establish instead their own independent nation, in order to protect themselves from the (it had by then become blatantly clear) rabidly anti-Russian racist-fascists, or nazis, whom Obama had placed into power in Kiev. Obama needed the May 2nd massacre in order to terrorize the people in the southeast so as to cause them to form their own government to protect themselves from it, thus enabling the ‘legitimate’ Government (the one that Obama had just installed in his actually illegal coup) to call them ‘Terrorists’ and so to have an excuse to bomb and drive them out, so as to eliminate the residents in the pro-Yanukovych area, so that no similar
At 31:30, Ross Kemp says: “After months of attacks, Kalinovka [he pronounced it ‘Kalikovka’] is a ghost town. All of the houses have been abandoned here.” He doesn’t even care to mention why the surviving residents had left: Ukraine’s troops had been shelling, bombing, and shooting at them, so survivors fled into the separatist-controlled area, or else into Russia.
At 33.00, he’s at the border heading into Donbass (the separatist-controlled region), and is told by the nazi troops to go back from whence he came, because press presence might draw fire from pro-Russian snipers just beyond that demarcation-line — which is just a lie, but the sucker or propagandist apparently took everything that these fascists told him as being the gospel truth, and he was basically a mere video stenographer for these nazis anyway, not a real journalist (who questions everything).
So: Ross Kemp went back to Mariupol. He didn’t even care to get the opponents’ side of this war. The nazis told him to go back to Mariupol, so he did. This is Rupert Murdoch’s ‘news’ operation: one-sided ‘news’ only. (Any intelligent person who watched the ‘documentary’ up to that point, had to recognize by now that this was really no ‘news report’ at all, but pure war-propaganda. Even if that fact hadn’t become blatant before, it now became blatant.)
At 39.00, Kemp says: “The city [Mariupol] formed its own militia because of the threat posed by Russian separatists and, the Russian Federation.” An interviewed Ukrainian official, a woman, tells him that “Russian troops … systematically destroyed” the city. She calls herself a “nationalist.” No evidence is presented — and none is asked for — to support her “Russian troops” allegation. He just accepts everything she tells him.
At 41.30, he says: “You can see why regiments like the Azov Battalion and other far-right battalions are gaining support here. Because they’re volunteers who are making the ultimate sacrifice to defend the city. And so people here are rallying to their cause.” Actually, most of the “people here” must both hate and fear the nazis. The residents know that they’ll be killed if they express any support whatsoever for the anti-coup, or anti-‘Maidan,’ side. To a ‘reporter’ like Kemp, it makes no difference what the reality of or for the residents there is.
In other words: This documentary by Rupert Murdoch’s Sky ‘News’ is just pro-nazi propaganda, which conflates “nationalism” with patriotism, and which presents nazis as being heroes, instead of as being the rabid anti-democratic bigots that they actually are.
The Obama-installed coup-government was assigned by Obama, and by the IMF, to exterminate as many of the residents in the Donbass region of southeast Ukraine as possible, because 90% of these residents had voted for the very man, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama’s nazis overthrew on 22 February 2014. (The dark purple region on that map, in the far east of Ukraine, is the area that had voted at least 90% for Yanukovych; and it’s the area that broke away from Ukraine in May 2014 and is being bombed by Obama’s Ukrainian forces. That area was traditionally called “Donbass,” but many of its inhabitants now call themselves “Novorossiyans,” or new Russians, because they want to be part of Russia, which their region used to be part of.) So, this Government sent these nazis in, to finish the job, for Obama and for their own oligarchs.
Do the viewers of Sky ‘News’ want to know any of that background? Apparently not — after all, they are viewers of Sky ‘News.’ They are fascists, and many of them are like Obama’s team: they are nazis — racist fascists. (Most of those viewers probably just call themselves “conservative.” Of course, they won’t acknowledge that Obama too is “conservative.”)
That video was called “Part 2” of Kemp’s propaganda-film about how heroic Ukraine’s nazis are. Here is “Episode 1” (or “Part 1,” as alternatively tagged). Most of it is actually the same video and text, except organized differently (placing the emphasis upon the failure of the post-coup Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to be sufficiently nazi to satisfy these ‘patriots’).
When ‘right’ and ‘left’ merge and become one, at nazi (i.e., racist-fascist), such as does occur in the top aristocratic circle (especially regarding Ukraine), then what authentic meaning remains to standard political debate? What does the public then know of ‘democracy’? How is democracy then even possible? It’s not. (And that linked-to scientific study, specifically of the U.S., proves that the U.S. is not a democracy. But this problem is far broader thanmerely the U.S.)
Perhaps wealth-inequality is getting to be so extreme as to close out even the possibility of democracy. Let’s not fool ourselves about how big the challenge is; it’s enormous:
On 9 October 2013, Credit Suisse issued their Global Wealth Report 2013, authored by Anthony Shorrocks, Jim Davies, and Rodrigo Lluberasis. It reported that the world’s richest 0.7% owned 13.67 times as much as did the world’s poorest 68.7%. That super-rich 0.7% (each with net-worths above $50,000,000) owned 41% of this planet’s private assets. The world’s richest 8.4% owned 83.3%. The world’s richest 31.3% owned 97%. So: the bottom 68.7% owned just 3%. (All of these findings are calculated from the data shown on page 22.) Overall, the share of global wealth was “barely 1% for the bottom half of all adults” worldwide (see page 4). Furthermore, economic mobility into and out of the billionaire class, during the latest ten-year period (2000-2010), was low: only 24% entered or left the class during the decade (see page 28).
According to Vilfredo Pareto, who was the father of today’s ‘welfare’ economics and also the “Karl Marx of fascism” (and also Benito Mussolini’s personal teacher), there is no rational basis for economists to consider any of this extreme wealth-inequality to be sub-“optimal.”
No wonder aristocrats favor such a ‘free market’ (and such an economic theory).
But it won’t do Ukrainians any good, and it’s slaughtering the people in Donbass. However, any of that richest 0.7% who care enough, one way or the other, about what’s happening there, are promoting the nazis, who are doing those aristocrats’ dirty-work, regardless of whether nazi bigots are aware of the fact, or even care whom they’re actually serving, or why. Any of those nazis who are in the bottom 68.7% of the world’s wealth-pyramid — the people who collectively own just 3% of the world’s private wealth — are probably driven more by their hatred than by their greed, anyway. They’re like sleepwalkers, or robots. Push their psychological buttons, and they’re on, “for the cause.” True-believers, in some Big Lie or other. And, so, they ‘volunteer’ their services far cheaper than do people who actually care. (Most of their payment comes to them in the form of the personal pride they get, for their race and nation. It doesn’t come out of any aristocrat’s hide.) In that sense, they value themselves appropriately: dirt-cheap. (Of course, they don’t understand this.) They’re a bargain for their unrecognized masters, who push true-believers’ buttons by hiring propagandists such as Ross Kemp.
But, as for the residents in Donbass: these people are total victims in all of this.
Rupert Murdoch, the global media mogul who is now a kingmaker in American politics, was brought into those power circles by lawyer/activist Roy Cohn who arranged Murdoch’s first Oval Office meeting with President Ronald Reagan in 1983, according to documents released by Reagan’s presidential library.
“I had one interest when Tom [Bolan] and I first brought Rupert Murdoch and Governor Reagan together – and that was that at least one major publisher in this country … would become and remain pro-Reagan,” Cohn wrote in a Jan. 27, 1983 letter to senior White House aides Edwin Meese, James Baker and Michael Deaver. “Mr. Murdoch has performed to the limit up through and including today.”
The letter noted that Murdoch then owned the “New York Post – over one million, third largest and largest afternoon; New York Magazine; Village Voice; San Antonio Express; Houston Ring papers; and now the Boston Herald; and internationally influential London Times, etc.” Cohn sent the letter nine days after Murdoch met Reagan in the Oval Office along with Cohn, his legal partner Thomas Bolan, and U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick.
In a photograph of the Jan. 18, 1983 meeting, Cohn is shown standing and leaning toward Reagan who is seated next to Murdoch. Following that meeting, Murdoch became involved in a privately funded propaganda project to help sell Reagan’s hard-line Central American policies, according to other documents. That PR operation was overseen by senior CIA propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. and CIA Director William Casey, but the details of Murdoch’s role remain sketchy partly because some of the records are still classified more than three decades later.
President Reagan meets with publisher Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick and lawyers Roy Cohn and Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)
However, at my request, the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, released a batch of documents about Roy Cohn’s contacts with the Reagan White House. Most of the documents revealed a warm personal relationship between Cohn and Reagan, with exchanges of effusive compliments, handwritten thank-you notes and birthday greetings.
Both Cohn and Reagan got their starts in politics during the anti-communist purges in the 1950s, Cohn as Sen. Joe McCarthy’s chief counsel and Reagan as a witness against alleged communists in Hollywood. Cohn, a hardball political player, built his reputation as both an anti-communist and anti-gay crusader who aggressively interrogated witnesses during the Red Scare and the Lavender Scare, claiming that the U.S. government was infiltrated by communists and homosexuals who threatened the nation’s security.
Cohn’s high-profile role in the McCarthy hearings ultimately ended when he was forced to resign over charges that he targeted the U.S. Army for an anti-communist purge because it had refused to give preferential treatment to one of his close associates, G. David Shine. Though Cohn denied he was romantically involved with Shine – and a homosexual relationship was never proven – Cohn’s own homosexuality became publicly known after he underwent treatment for AIDS in the 1980s, leading to his death in 1986.
However, in the years before he died, Cohn gained some measure of revenge against his liberal enemies by helping to elect Ronald Reagan. Roger Stone, another Cohn associate, has asserted that – at Cohn’s initiative – he delivered an apparent bribe to a leader of New York’s Liberal Party in 1980 to arrange the endorsement of independent candidate John Anderson, who then siphoned off 7.5 percent of the vote and opened the way for Reagan to carry New York against President Jimmy Carter.
Stone described the transaction in a 2007 article by Matt Labash in The Weekly Standard, with Stone noting that he was speaking only after the statute of limitation on bribery had run. Stone described a discussion with Cohn about a $125,000 cash payment “to grease the skids” for the Liberal Party’s endorsement of Anderson and then recounted Cohn’s instructions that he deliver a suitcase to a law office two days before the Liberal Party, indeed, did endorse Anderson.
Cohn’s Murdoch Ties
Whatever Reagan’s personal knowledge of that scheme, the conservative Republican President subsequently lavished favors on Cohn, including invitations to White House events, personal thank-you notes and friendly birthday wishes. But perhaps nothing was more important to Reagan than Cohn’s ability to deliver Murdoch, then an Australian citizen, as a stalwart media ally.
According to the documents from the Reagan library, Cohn’s relationship with Murdoch apparently developed around their mutual commitment to Israel. For instance, one set of documents described Cohn’s intervention with Reagan to get the President to praise Murdoch’s 1982 receipt of an award from the American Jewish Congress as its first “Communications Man of the Year.”
Handwritten notes cite Murdoch’s “steadfast support of Israel + free + outspoken support of free press” and point to Cohn as the contact. On April 20, 1982, Reagan extended his and his wife Nancy’s congratulations to Murdoch.
Cohn, a notable socialite, further ingratiated himself to Reagan’s insiders by co-hosting a lunch on June 28, 1982, for USIA Director Wick, which also counted as guests Roger Stone and the New York Post’s Niles Lathem, according to a document.
By late 1982, the Reagan administration was gearing up for an expanded propaganda push in support of the President’s hard-line policies in Central America, including support for the Salvadoran and Guatemalan militaries – both notorious for their human rights violations – and for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels who also were gaining an unsavory reputation for acts of terrorism and brutality.
This PR campaign was spearheaded by CIA Director Casey and Raymond, one of the CIA’s top covert operation specialists who was transferred to the National Security Council staff to minimize legal concerns about the CIA violating its charter which bars influencing the American public. To further shield the CIA from possible fallout from this domestic propaganda operation, Casey and Raymond sought to arrange private financing to pay for some activities.
On Jan. 13, 1983, NSC Advisor William Clark noted in a memo to Reagan the need for non-governmental money to advance the PR project. “We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding,” Clark wrote, as cited in an unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation. Clark then told the President that “Charlie Wick has offered to take the lead. We may have to call on you to meet with a group of potential donors.”
Five days later, on Jan. 18, 1983, Roy Cohn accompanied Rupert Murdoch into the Oval Office for a face-to-face meeting with President Reagan and USIA Director Wick.
Nine days later, in the Jan. 27, 1983 letter to Meese, Baker and Deaver – written on the letterhead of the Saxe, Bacon & Bolan law firm – Cohn hailed the success of Murdoch’s “warm meeting with the President and the goodwill created by Charlie Wick’s dinner.”
Murdoch’s Thin Skin
But Cohn also passed on Murdoch’s annoyance at “consistent slights that have been dealt to Niles Lathem, the head of the News Media (Murdoch) bureau in Washington, while the Reagan haters on TV and in the media have the run of the place.”
Cohn complained that Reagan, during a trip to Boston on Jan. 26, 1983, had ignored Murdoch’s offer
“to turn the Boston Herald over to him. … Mr. Murdoch himself placed calls to Michael Deaver and to a Mr. Michael McManus [a deputy assistant to the President], none of which were ever returned to him. One of his editors at the Boston Herald was told that the President ‘had no time for them.’”
“Mr. Murdoch has been deeply disturbed at what he regards as a failure to stand by some basics in the President’s original program, which he believes to be correct. His advice is consistently sought by Mrs. [British Prime Minister Margaret] Thatcher and Prime Minister [Malcolm] Fraser of Australia, in both of which countries he owns extensive media interests. he is not the kind who is offended when his advice is not taken but he does appreciate being treated courteously and having at least the same courtesies extended to his Washington reporters as seem to be heaped upon the opposition.
“He is hurt at the way the Boston matter was handled and there is just so much that Tom [Bolan] and I can do. Because I believe that the total support and loyalty of at least one major publishing chain in this nation is of key importance to the President, and because of our admiration and affection for the President, I thought I would be less than forthright if I did not bring this situation to the attention of the three of you.
“I know how hectic things are there but if there is time for the enemy there must be just a little time for at least a thoughtful handling of a friend – unlike what happened in Boston.”
The letter got the attention of the three senior White House aides, with Reagan’s chief of staff Baker writing a note to Deaver, “why don’t we have someone draft a response from the 3 of us. Can you arrange?”
On Feb. 4, 1983, McManus, the deputy assistant to the President, offered an apology to Cohn:
“we were all sorry about the confusion surrounding a possible Presidential visit to the Boston Herald. We are all aware of the very positive nature of such a visit. Unfortunately the request came in after the visit had been planned and the President’s schedule was full. …
“I also called Mr. Murdoch as you suggested, explained the situation to him and apologized for any confusion. I am sure you are aware of our continued high regard for Mr. Murdoch personally and our appreciation of the importance of what he is doing.”
Despite the fulsome apology, Cohn continued to complain about perceived slights against Murdoch’s publications. In an April 28, 1983 letter, Cohn told Wick:
“I write you in desperation, because you have always recognized the importance to the President of Rupert Murdoch, probably the world’s most powerful publisher, whose papers played a key role in carrying close states for Ronald Reagan in 1980 … But all of our hard work to get the Murdoch papers an even break with those that opposed Reagan – some in vicious terms – comes to naught – because there are some people in the White House who don’t have the sense to know friends from enemies.”
Cohn expressed Murdoch’s dismay that Reagan, during a speech in New York, seemed to favor the New York Daily News over the New York Post, saying
“in remarks prepared for and delivered by the President not once but twice … the President asked people to follow the fight against crime by reading the Daily News. The Post people walked out. … The News supported [George H.W.] Bush over Reagan, and then barely squeaked out an endorsement over Carter as the lesser of evils. The Post and the other Murdoch papers gave their blood on a daily basis for Ronald Reagan, and I know Bill Casey, Roger Stone, Tom Bolan, etc. will confirm that without the Post, Reagan could not have carried New York. …
“To say that all the good you tried to do, and I tried to do, and the President did in his meeting with Rupert has been severely damaged by this second insult, is an understatement. As of now, tempers are so hot that I would wait for things to cool off. … I believe in Ronald Reagan – and it hurts me to see him victimized this way from within. How many of these screw-ups can he survive?”
In a May 2, 1983 addendum to the complaint, Cohn added:
“The lead News opinion column every Sunday is written by Ken Auletta, a consistent attacker of the President, and the one who just spearheaded the drive against Ken Adelman’s confirmation, carrying it to the point of personally appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to call Ken a liar. With friends like the News, the President does not need enemies.”
On the same day that Cohn fired off the complaint about Auletta, Murdoch served as an honorary chairman of a testimonial dinner in honor of Cohn sponsored by the B’nai B’rith Banking and Finance Lodge and the Banking and Finance Division of State of Israel Bonds. President Reagan sent a congratulatory telegram to Cohn.
Despite Cohn’s complaints about the alleged slights to Murdoch, the Australian media magnate appears to have pitched in to help the Casey-Raymond outreach program for Reagan’s Central American policies. Documents released during the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987 and later from the Reagan library indicate that Murdoch was soon viewed as a source for the private funding.
On May 20, 1983, the longtime CIA propagandist Raymond, from his perch inside the NSC, wrote that $400,000 had been raised from private donors brought to the White House situation room by USIA Director Wick, with the funds divided among several organizations including the right-wing Accuracy in Media and the neoconservative Freedom House (which later denied receiving White House money, though it made little sense that Raymond would lie in an internal memo).
As the White House continued to cultivate its ties to Murdoch, Reagan held a second Oval Office meeting with Murdoch — on July 7, 1983 — who was accompanied by Charles Douglas-Home, the editor of Murdoch’s flagship UK newspaper, the London Times.
President Ronald Reagan meets with Charles Douglas-Home, editor of London Times, and its publisher Rupert Murdoch in the Oval Office on July 7, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)
In an Aug. 9, 1983 memo summing up the results of a Casey-organized meeting with five leading ad executives regarding how to “sell” Reagan’s aggressive policies in Central America, Raymond referred to Murdoch as if he were one of the benefactors helping out. In a memo to Clark, entitled “Private Sector Support for Central American Program,” Raymond criticized a more traditional White House outreach program headed by Faith Whittlesey as “preaching to the converted.”
Raymond told Clark that the new project would involve a more comprehensive approach aimed at persuading a majority of Americans to back Reagan’s Central American policies. “We must move out into the middle sector of the American public and draw them into the ‘support’ column,” Raymond wrote. “A second package of proposals deal with means to market the issue, largely considering steps utilizing public relations specialists – or similar professionals – to help transmit the message.”
To improve the project’s chances for success, Raymond wrote, “we recommended funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center. Wick, via Murdoch, may be able to draw down added funds for this effort.”
Raymond included similar information in a separate memo to Wick in which Raymond noted that “via Murdock [sic] may be able to draw down added funds” to support the initiative. (Raymond later told me that he was referring to Rupert Murdoch.)
In a March 7, 1984 memo about the “‘Private Funders’ Project,” Raymond referred to Murdoch again in discussing a request for money from longtime CIA-connected journalist Brian Crozier, who was “looking for private sector funding to work on the question of ‘anti-Americanism’ overseas.”
“I am pursuaded [sic] it is a significant long term problem. It is also the kind of thing that Ruppert [sic] and Jimmy might respond positively to. Please look over the stack [of papers from Crozier] and lets [sic] discuss if and when there might be further discussion with our friends.”
Crozier, who died in 2012, had a long history of operating in the shadowy world of CIA propaganda. He was director of Forum World Features, which was set up in 1966 by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which received covert funding from the CIA. Crozier also acknowledged in his memoir keeping some of his best stories for the CIA.
At least one other document related to Murdoch’s work with USIA Director Wick remains classified, according to the National Archives. Murdoch’s News Corp. has not responded to several requests for comment about the Reagan-era documents.
According to the new documents released by the Reagan library, Reagan and Cohn continued to exchange mutual praise, sometimes in handwritten messages. On March 28, 1985, Cohn sent Reagan a handwritten letter thanking the President for contributing a video tribute in support of Cohn’s receipt of the Americanism Award from the Young Republicans.
“I count many blessings, but none more meaningful than the privilege of living through the Ronald Reagan era – which represents everything I have loved since I joined the Justice Department at age 19 – our great country, and the opportunity it offers for the election of a man of your greatness to lead it.”
In his own hand, Reagan drafted the reply, writing: “I know I’m sending a thank you in answer to a thank you but in this case it’s to express to you appreciation for your generous words. You were more than kind.”
The last dated communication from Reagan to Cohn in the files was a “Get-Well message” on Nov. 22, 1985, saying: “I just learned that you are being sent home from the hospital tomorrow. Nancy and I are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. May our Lord bless you with courage and strength. Take care and know that you have our concern.”
At the time, Cohn was suffering from AIDS, though he claimed that his illness was liver cancer. He died on Aug. 2, 1986, due to complications from AIDS, the disease that was then ravaging the gay community in the United States and other countries. He was 59.
Among the ironies of his death was Cohn’s history of purging gays and Lesbians from the U.S. government as security risks, a policy put in place by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 in response to the Lavender Scare generated by Cohn and McCarthy – and not rescinded until 1995 by President Bill Clinton. Another irony was that President Reagan, when faced with the devastating AIDS epidemic, failed to respond aggressively to the crisis because many religious conservatives considered the disease God’s punishment of homosexuals.
Meanwhile, with the close ties to the Reagan White House that Cohn helped nurture, Murdoch’s media empire continued to grow. To meet a regulatory requirement that U.S. TV stations must be owned by Americans, Murdoch became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1985.
Murdoch benefited from the Reagan administration’s relaxation of media ownership rules which enabled him to buy more TV stations, which he then molded into the Fox Broadcasting Company, which was founded on Oct. 9, 1986.
In 1987, the “Fairness Doctrine,” which required political balance in broadcasting, was eliminated, which let Murdoch pioneer a more aggressive conservatism on his TV network. In the mid-1990s, Murdoch expanded his political reach by founding the neoconservative Weekly Standard in 1995 and Fox News on cable in 1996. At Fox News, Murdoch hired scores of prominent politicians, mostly Republicans, putting them on his payroll as commentators.
Last decade, Murdoch continued to expand his reach into U.S. mass media, acquiring DirecTV and the financial news giant Dow Jones, including The Wall Street Journal, America’s leading business news journal.
Murdoch parlayed his extraordinary media power into the ability to make or break political leaders, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. In December 2014, the UK’s Independent reported that Ed Richards, the retiring head of the British media regulatory agency Ofcom, accused British government representatives of showing favoritism to Murdoch’s companies.
Richards said he was “surprised” by the informality, closeness and frequency of contact between executives and ministers during the failed bid by Murdoch’s News Corp. for the satellite network BSkyB in 2011. The deal was abandoned when it was discovered that journalists at Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and others.
“What surprised everyone about it – not just me – was quite how close it was and the informality of it,” Richards said, confirming what had been widely reported regarding Murdoch’s access to powerful British politicians dating back at least to the reign of Prime Minister Thatcher in the 1980s. The Reagan documents suggest that Murdoch built similarly close ties to leading U.S. politicians in the same era.
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Murdoch, now 83, was using his extraordinary media power among conservatives to block Mitt Romney from gaining the Republican presidential nomination for a second time — and instead was favoring Jeb Bush.
“In the delicate and unseen campaign underway for Mr. Murdoch’s affections in the next presidential campaign, this much is clear: Mr. Romney is out of the running, a reality that has pained and angered his allies,” the Times reported.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
Esta entrevista es una contribución a un libro colectivo por publicarse en 2015 sobre “Movimientos sociales y poder popular en Chile. Retrospectivas y proyecciones políticas de la izquierda latinoamericana”, un trabajo realizado en conjunto entre el Grupo de Estudios Sociales y Políticos – Chile (GESP), de la Universidad de Santiago – USACH y Tiempo robado editoras.
En esta segunda parte de la entrevista, Franck Gaudichaud -uno de los artífices del portal Rebelión - efectua un repaso sobre las acepciones y usos del concepto de poder popular, las distintas experiencias históricas latinoamericanas que le dieron carnadura y el carácter inescindible que asumen en los procesos emancipatorios de nuestro continente las nociones de clase/género/etnia/colonialidad. Además, el autor de El volcán latinoamericano habla de evitar en los debates de las izquierdas la dicotomía entre movimientos sin organización política ni programa, y la defensa acrítica de la razón de Estado, teniendo presente que son necesarias herramientas políticas y estrategias concretas de transición global. “América Latina y sus resistencias son el continente laboratorio de la construcción de alternativas para el siglo XXI” afirma.
22 de enero de 2015
Seguel : Entendiendo que el concepto de poder popular se instala en el imaginario latinoamericano desde los sesenta en distintos contextos y que, en ese marco, se han realizado diferentes usos por parte de los movimientos sociales y las organizaciones políticas, ¿qué elementos a tu juicio son fundamentales para una aproximación al concepto de poder popular en base a las experiencias latinoamericanas? ¿Qué elementos son los centrales para entender esta idea, noción, teoría del poder popular que se ha venido levantando en América Latina hace más de cuarenta años?
Gaudichaud : Por cierto, como bien mencionaste, es una noción heterogénea que no tiene una sola definición. Su flexibilidad es su fuerza y también su debilidad, ya que hay que adaptarla a cada proceso real para entenderla de manera plena. En un libro colectivo sobre poder popular coordinado por Miguel Mazzeo, el politólogo Hernán Ouviña destaca el peligro de la “palabra murciélago” (concepto del italiano Vilfredo Pareto) en que se podría transformar la noción de poder popular: una palabra en la cual caben tanto pájaros como roedores… ¡Aunque a mí, personalmente, me gustan tanto los pájaros como los roedores, que son los de abajo y, como el “viejo topo” de Marx o lo que Bensaïd llamaría “ la sonrisa del fantasma del comunismo” , son capaces de socavar el orden dominante! Ahora bien, hablar de poder popular tiene muchas aristas y varias lecturas, desde las corrientes anarquistas, libertarias hasta las marxistas ortodoxas, pasando por las marxistas heterodoxas, etc. Por ejemplo, algunos grupos anarquistas dicen “el poder popular sigue siendo una noción estadocéntrica, entonces no nos conviene”. Para mí, la noción de poder popular se refiere a esa irrupción del movimiento obrero y popular, a las movilizaciones de los dominad@s, explotad@s y subaltern@s organizados en un contexto capitalista-patriarcal hegemónico, que desde su posición subalterna y con su fuerza de movilización disruptiva, logran comenzar a crear espacios de poder propio, autónomo y subversivo del orden social imperante. Este poder puede ser un poder local, comunal, regional, hasta lograr ser un poder territorial-dual nacional que cuestiona la legitimidad y el monopolio de la violencia del propio Estado. Pero para su concreción necesita desarrollarse desde sujetos reales y sobre todo desde espacios económicos: por esta razón, las experiencias de poder popular cobran particular fuerza revolucionaria cuando surgen desde el asalariado y los trabajadores, ya que sus resistencias amenazan directamente la reproducción y acumulación del capital. En Chile, la praxis paradigmática ha sido la de los Cordones Industriales, que lograron tomar en parte -y de manera transitoria- el control del aparato de producción en el seno de la turbulenta “vía chilena al socialismo” (1970-1973). Actualmente, en Argentina y Brasil, hay decenas de empresas recuperadas y algunas bajo control obrero. Son formas de lo que llamo poder popular constituyente clasista. Por otra parte, la importancia de nuevas luchas obreras y sindicales en varios países demuestra que el sindicalismo sigue vivo e incluso está recobrando colores: veamos las fuertes luchas de asalariados en el último período en Argentina, acompañadas de la recomposición de la izquierda anticapitalista; o en Chile, con la acción decidida de los trabajadores subcontratados del cobre, de la Unión Portuaria o los conflictos en los supermercados.
No obstante, desde los años ‘90, la forma sindical está en receso y crisis (el caso de la COB boliviana es paradigmático) en todo el continente, a la par con la flexibilización-precarización-tercerización del trabajo. Querer encontrar hoy a la gloriosa clase obrera industrial de los ‘70, es una simple ilusión romántica o dogmática. Y por esta misma razón es muy importante comprender las nuevas dinámicas de luchas y nuevas formas de organización horizontal-territorial y comunitarias, gracias -en gran medida- al impulso de los movimientos indígenas. El poder popular constituyente surge así también desde el espacio territorial o barrial, en torno a los pobres del campo y de la ciudad y a las comunidades originarias en resistencia. En el último período, ha sido muy potente esta fuerza de los territorios urbanos periféricos o comunas campesinas indígenas, donde se efectúa una (re)apropiación de los espacios de vida, generando un contrapoder colectivo frente al poder constituido de multinacionales extractivas, del Estado neocolonial, del patrón de fundo, del alcalde incluso el gobernador, etc. Este contrapoder progresivamente se transforma en apropiación social democrática, reivindicando la horizontalidad de la democracia, la lucha contra el patriarcado, el derecho a la ciudad, nuevas formas de producción agrícolas, etc. Podemos pensar en la comuna de Oaxaca (México) en 2006: para mí fue una experiencia clave si hablamos de poder popular en siglo XXI, porque ahí se afirmó un nivel de democracia desde abajo, popular-indígena y sindical excepcional, seguramente la primera Comuna de nuestro siglo, un poco como lo fue la de París a fines del siglo XIX. Interesantes son también los Consejos Comunales en Venezuela, como expresión del poder popular local que tienen mayor potencialidad cuando se ligan al movimiento sindical u obrero. En el Cauca colombiano, se desarrolla una experiencia indígena original, con rotación de mando, control de la producción, de la alimentación y agroecología: un biopoder alternativo, una potencia constitutiva hecha de autogestión, autoorganización, con capacidad de controlar sus propias vidas, alimentarse, sin depender de las instituciones de arriba… Podríamos hablar también de Chiapas y del neozapatismo, utopía concreta esencial de nuestros días o de la resistencia de Conga en Perú frente a la multinacional Yanacocha. Son muchas las experiencias y eso nos permite cierto optimismo para el futuro. No obstante, ninguna de esas experiencias puede evadir la discusión estratégica sobre cómo ese poder popular constituyente local construye también capacidad de cambiar la sociedad y proponer un proyecto-país alternativo anticapitalista.
Seguel : ¿O sea que para tí, necesariamente una noción de poder popular si se ancla solamente a una experiencia local y regional no se sostiene en el tiempo, si no se plantea una tarea de disputa de la hegemonía en el marco nacional?
Gaudichaud : O sea, a veces se sostiene durante décadas incluso. Hay varias prácticas muy ricas de poder popular comunitario que se deben valorar y creo que una de las más emblemáticas en América Latina, sigue siendo la de los zapatistas que acaban de conmemorar sus veinte años de resistencia a una escala territorial importante. Han demostrado que sí se puede terminar con formas de organización autoritarias y construir otras formas de vida, defender los bienes comunes desde la comunidad y las subjetividades indígenas, con una visión y práctica del poder más respetuosa, más democrática en el sentido real y subversivo de la democracia -como bien lo dice Jacques Rancière-. Es decir más horizontal, con rotación de mando, control de la base social sobre sus dirigentes, con “consejos de buen gobierno”, etc. Pero, no por eso la situación social y política en el resto de México ha mejorado: de hecho, se sigue degradando, la pobreza, la explotación del trabajo y la violencia aumentan. El narcoestado mexicano implica niveles de descomposición social tales que ha sido posible desaparecer 43 estudiantes en Iguala en toda impunidad y con la colaboración del alcalde del Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) (¡centro-izquierda!). Y eso es solo la parte visible del problema, cuando son decenas de miles los asesinatos y las desapariciones en los últimos 5 años: una verdadera guerra interna. Por eso, la importancia y urgencia de la discusión estratégica sobre el tema de cómo “cambiar el mundo” tomando colectivamente el poder y por dónde empezar…
Algunos, desde el marxismo piensan que es una disputa sobre los “sujetos revolucionarios” y la búsqueda de la “contradicción principal”. Por ejemplo en Chile, he escuchado debates sobre poder popular versus poder obrero, insistiendo en la centralidad insoslayable de la lucha de la clase obrera. Pienso que es necesario restaurar un pensamiento dialéctico y comprender que el concepto de poder popular abarca la noción de poder obrero, la contiene, siendo más amplio. Personalmente, asumo plenamente que en ningún caso podemos pretender disolver las contradicciones de clases y el papel central del sujeto-trabajo con la constitución de formas de poder popular: si el poder popular pretende al anticapitalismo, entonces tendrá que articularse en torno a las luchas de l@s que viven la dominación del capital. Históricamente, en Chile, el movimiento obrero industrial ha sido la cuna de algunas de las formas más avanzadas de poder popular, con el surgimiento fugaz pero esencial de los Cordones Industriales en 1972-1973. Los Cordones buscaron alianza con los pobladores, con los estudiantes y otros sectores de asalariados. Cuarenta años después, volvamos a discutir sobre las alianzas estratégicas que se tienen que articular para conformar un bloque clasista popular contrahegemónico, pero a la luz de las formaciones sociales actuales. Es decir, dejando atrás una visión heroica, un poco fantaseada de la clase obrera industrial, como si el asalariado no se hubiese transformado profundamente en décadas de shock neoliberal. Por ejemplo, hoy en Argentina, varias experiencias de autogestión nacen de los movimientos de trabajadores desocupados, fuera de la fábrica, como también a partir de una nueva generación de la clase obrera, más escolarizada como se ve en la “fábrica sin patrón” de Neuquén (FASINPAT) exZanón. Asumiendo también la existencia de la “diagonal” del conflicto social que no se resume al trabajo: conflicto de género y con el patriarcado, conflicto medioambiental y frente a la destrucción de la naturaleza, conflictos étnicos y a favor de la autodeterminación de los pueblos, etc. Como ya lo escribía el historiador chileno Luis Vitale hace 30 años, todavía los marxismos latinoamericanos deben asumir tres desafíos insuficientemente integrados: el feminismo, la colonialidad y la crisis ecológica . Y por esta razón, el pensamiento crítico debe saber interrelacionar y enlazar las diferentes opresiones de manera didáctica:
Etnia-clase-sexo-colonialismo constituyen en América Latina partes interrelacionadas de una totalidad dependiente que no puede escindirse, a riesgo de parcelar el conocimiento de la realidad y la praxis social, como si por ejemplo las luchas de la mujer por su emancipación estuvieran desligadas del movimiento ecologista, indígena, clasista y antiimperialista y viceversa (Vitale, 1983).
Seguel : Entendiendo que la referencia al poder popular en América Latina depende mucho de los contextos, sé que hay varias experiencias en las que se ha utilizado la noción de poder popular como un elemento central en la construcción de los distintos proyectos. Me refiero por ejemplo, a la utilización que hoy hacen en Venezuela y Cuba o, en otro contexto, en la organización argentina Frente Popular Darío Santillán, en el Congreso de los Pueblos en Colombia o, por último, la referencia que se hace en el campo de la cultura mirista en Chile o en la cultura militante del PRT-ERP en Argentina. ¿Qué es lo que crees que incide en que se acuñen nociones que, en torno a un mismo concepto, articulen prácticas políticas tan antagónicas, como por ejemplo en el MIR o en el PRT-ERP?
Desde una concepción centrada en una idea más clásica de dualidad de poderes, hasta una concepción de democracia participativa, que es lo que se está construyendo en el proyecto de los Consejos Comunales en Venezuela o el Estado Popular que se consolidó a finales de los setenta en Cuba ¿Qué es lo que lleva a que en torno a un mismo concepto se acuñen praxis políticas tan distintas?
Gaudichaud : Bueno, con tu pregunta tenemos confirmación que la reubicación del poder popular puede ser muy amplia y flexible, como lo puede ser la noción de democracia, de revolución, de libertad o de muchos otros elementos centrales de la política. Este concepto es potente, pero requiere de discusión y sobre todo de definición. Entiendo que la noción de poder popular en Cuba es una herencia de la revolución de 1959 pero hoy en día, ante todo, se transformó en una retórica muy institucionalizada, que se usa desde un partido-Estado único que deja poco margen a la pluralidad y a las diferencias políticas desde la revolución, si no se expresan de manera interna al partido y en forma subterránea. Es decir, es sumamente diferente a la noción de poder popular que se expresa en el Frente Popular Darío Santillán argentino, un movimiento autonomista territorial que rechaza globalmente la figura del Estado, que reivindica la autogestión desde el movimiento de trabajadores desocupados para crear un referente político mucho más libertario… y que, a diferencia del castrismo, ¡no enfrenta el bloqueo criminal de EEUU o la gestión diaria de un pequeño Estado muy pobre del Caribe!
En el caso de las experiencias históricas que citaste, es cierto que en Chile, el MIR fue la organización que más reivindicó y desarrolló teóricamente la noción de poder popular. Famoso es su grito callejero: “¡Crear, crear, poder popular!”. Durante la Unidad Popular en particular, el movimiento dirigido por Miguel Enríquez intentó colocar esta reivindicación en marcha desde los espacios donde se movía, en particular en el movimiento de pobladores y en un campamento como “Nueva La Habana”, que fue una experiencia muy interesante de poder popular local. Pero siempre hay que comparar discurso y praxis, reivindicación teórica y acción político-social. Y para el MIR, hubo siempre una tensión entre una organización que seguía siendo muy vertical, con grupos políticos-militares y los llamados a “crear poder popular”, a desarrollar los Comandos Comunales. El MIR era marxista y asumía la teoría de la dualización de poder, en términos leninistas, pero carecía de una inserción masiva en el movimiento obrero-sindical: asumiendo cierto niveles de pragmatismo inmediato, el MIR le dio la prioridad a la noción más amplia de Comando Comunal, perdiendo de vista que en ese momento, frente a las asonadas de la burguesía chilena, urgía darle prioridad al verdadero germen de poder dual o constituyente que, en ese instante de la revolución chilena, eran los Cordones Industriales. En el PRT-ERP argentino hay también rasgos que se vinculan a la noción de Guerra Popular Prolongada, es decir un aspecto político-militar central, y una mezcla de marxismo teórico a veces abstracto con fuertes rasgos de pragmatismo (como lo ha demostrado el historiador Pablo Pozzi) lo que, en períodos prerrevolucionarios, choca con los elementos de mayor participación, horizontalidad, masividad y con lo que el historiador Peter Winn denominó “revolución desde abajo”. Una de las lecciones que se pueden sacar, es la necesidad de considerar los elementos político-militares o de autodefensa como parte integrante de los procesos de autogestión y autoorganización, y a su servicio. No como un aparato militante “profesional”, exterior a la clase o al movimiento popular. Evidentemente, la dificultad es cómo organizarse de esta manera cuando el Estado tiende a reprimir enseguida todas las formas de autodefensa.
En Venezuela -proceso “pacífico pero armado” como bien lo decía Hugo Chávez-, actualmente tenemos una reivindicación muy presente sobre el poder popular por parte del gobierno bolivariano, de hecho, ¡todos los ministerios son “del poder popular”! En quince años de “revolución bolivariana” también se crearon espacios originales de participación democrática como los que ya mencioné, en particular los Consejos Comunales. En un país donde los movimientos sociales eran débiles, aunque muy explosivos como sucedió durante el Caracazo de 1989, se intentó institucionalizar formas de participación originales, como fueron los Círculos Bolivarianos, los Consejos de Tierra Urbana, los Consejos Comunales. He ido varias veces a Venezuela en los últimos años y pienso que la “batalla de Caracas” -como lo dice Atilio Borón- tiene una importancia clave en el ajedrez continental. Pude participar en reuniones de Consejos Comunales en barrios populares de la capital y leer varios estudios universitarios serios sobre el tema. Sin duda, son realidades complejas, pues algunos Consejos funcionan de manera fenomenal, realmente democrática, y otros son cooptados por pequeños grupos poco representativos. Por lo general, permiten efectivamente mejorar la situación concreta de la gente, empoderar a los habitantes pobres, discutir de los problemas del barrio y gestionar un presupuesto participativo público. El límite de estos organismos es que son espacios muy acotados, un poder participativo dependiente del Estado y, en particular, de la Presidencia, que otorga el presupuesto y delimita los poderes del Consejo, su territorio, sus normas. Se trata de un embrión de poder popular local, impulsado principalmente desde “arriba”, gracias a una relación estrecha entre el pueblo bolivariano y el líder carismático que fue Hugo Chávez. Es decir, de nuevo encontramos la tensión entre el “poder constituyente” y los poderes constituidos, pero no precisamente en el sentido desarrollado por Gabriel Salazar, pues el historiador chileno centra esta discusión sobre aspectos como la “construcción del Estado por el pueblo junto al mercado y a la sociedad civil”. La visión de Salazar me parece que, en primer lugar, sobrevalora lo social por sobre lo político (afirma que el movimiento social-ciudadano podría ser por sí mismo una alternativa al sistema institucional dominante, sin evaluar la problemática de la organización política) y, en segundo lugar, es engañosa, porque el Premio nacional de historia escribe sobre la necesidad de dejar de pensar en términos de lucha de clases (resumida a una lucha económica). Visto de esta manera, el poder constituyente parece cristalizarse como una praxis -desde abajo- de un conjunto de diversos sectores sociales corporativizados: pobladores, intelectuales, trabajadores, empresarios, ciudadanos, constituyendo Estado y mercado… Me parecen interesantes sus reflexiones sobre la memoria social del pueblo, su rescate de experiencias como la Asamblea Constituyente de Asalariados e Intelectuales de 1925 o sus críticas hacia el vanguardismo político y a las izquierdas parlamentarias. Pero no quita que -para mí- la esencia disruptiva de lo que denomino poder popular constituyente, no se puede resumir en tentativas de escribir nuevas constituciones o incluso construir Estado; y sobre todo, tiene como carburante y motor a las clases sociales y sus luchas, es decir, no una imaginaria y ahistórica elaboración del conjunto de asalariados, sociedad civil y empresarios, diluyendo los conflictos fundantes de la sociedad.
Seguel : A medida que me ibas contando tu análisis sobre poder popular, alcancé a puntualizar algunas tensiones. Por una parte, una tensión entre forma y fondo, que señalabas en el caso del MIR, en el que se reivindica un fondo que es democrático, pero cuya práctica política específica es contradictoria por el modo en cómo se relaciona la herramienta política, es decir el partido, con el movimiento de masas. Otra tensión, era entre lo local y lo nacional, en el sentido que experiencias concretas tienden a veces a aislarse de los contextos nacionales y se generan problemas en los campos de la representación y alcance de las mismas. Y la otra que es algo que el vicepresidente y sociólogo Álvaro García Linera señala como las “tensiones creativas de la revolución boliviana”, o sea tensión entre poderes constituyentes y poderes constituidos. ¿Crees que esos tres elementos podrían explicarnos las diferencias entre las diversas orientaciones que, hoy en día, el poder popular presenta en América Latina o le agregarías otros referentes?
Gaudichaud : Yo creo que esas tres son fundamentales, pero justamente pensando en García Linera en Bolivia y en Salazar en Chile, quiero insistir de nuevo, en que el debate sobre el poder popular se inscribe en la discusión estratégica sobre relaciones y modo de producción, modelo de acumulación y escenario anticapitalista. Si no, el riesgo es de vaciar esa capacidad de transformación que representa la reivindicación de poder popular constituyente. Es decir, ¿seguimos –o no- con la perspectiva de la transformación de las relaciones sociales de producción? ¿Queremos insertar la dinámica del poder popular en la capacidad del trabajador, del estudiante, de la mujer indígena, del campesino afrodescendiente y de todos los sectores subalternos, de tomar en sus manos el poder y ejercerlo democráticamente? Hoy, García Linera -un intelectual sin lugar a dudas brillante- por su posición actual, se sitúa más desde el poder constituido estatal que desde la construcción del poder comunal y sindical, que ha defendido como sociólogo marxista heterodoxo en el grupo Comuna (un grupo de intelectuales bolivianos muy interesante). Asistí, hace poco, a su conferencia en el ex Congreso en Santiago: era el discurso del Linera estadista, gobernante, reivindicando al Estado como arte y forma suprema de la política. De hecho, lo dijo varias veces. A diferencia de sus escritos sobre luchas sindicales e indígenas, sobre la forma sindical y la forma comuna, defendió al Estado (pluri)nacional-popular boliviano y al capitalismo ando-amazónico por sobre la noción de conflicto de clase y conquista del poscapitalismo.
Seguel : En ese sentido, si tomáramos la forma en cómo se refiere el teórico argentino, Miguel Mazzeo, al poder popular, podríamos señalar que este se constituye como una praxis política performativa, en el sentido que las formas que tenemos de nombrar al poder popular y de materializarlo, anticipan el fondo o fin de la construcción de la sociedad del mañana, en este caso anticapitalista y socialista.
Gaudichaud : Creo que eso es muy importante y que tal vez en la izquierda marxista o revolucionaria, lo hemos olvidado o no supimos siempre practicarlo. Hoy se puede recuperar el “principio esperanza” de Ernst Bloch y reivindicar el concepto de “utopía concreta”: necesitamos demostrar desde la praxis, no sólo anunciar, teorizar o marchar en las calles. El desafío es señalar hoy lo que podemos comenzar a construir mañana a otras escalas. Y por eso la importancia de la ocupación de fábricas, la experiencia de Zanón y muchas otras, probar que sí, los trabajadores pueden ocupar la fábrica y ejercer democráticamente la producción. Enarbolar con los zapatistas en Chiapas que podemos repeler al ejército y al mismo tiempo construir Caracoles, demostrar que podemos crear medios de comunicación alternativos y comunitarios, manifestar que como movimiento estudiantil podemos tomarnos espacios escolares y practicar educación popular, etc. Esas muestras concretas que a veces hemos menospreciado, porque no apuntaban a una experiencia inmediata de doble poder o de “toma del poder”, son fundamentales. Son “prefigurativas”: permiten que practiquemos, que erremos, que nos conozcamos, que veamos todas las dificultades que tenemos por delante, nuestras falencias, fuerzas y potencialidades colectivas. Son espacios que nos pueden servir para ir más allá, hacia luchas más globales contra el Estado, el capital, el imperialismo, el patriarcado. Por eso son muy interesantes las reflexiones de Miguel Mazzeo sobre el poder popular como fin y praxis, como camino y objetivo de la emancipación en construcción, es decir ya no desde una simple perspectiva “utilitarista” al servicio de una vanguardia de cuadros revolucionarios profesionales, ni tampoco encerrada en la impotencia relativa de micro-poderes localizados: un poder popular que se constituye desde abajo, desde la fábrica y la comunidad, la producción y el territorio, pero también que aspira a impugnar la hegemonía de los de arriba, su estado y leyes. Un pensamiento dialéctico entre lo de abajo y lo de arriba de la transformación social y de las luchas de clases es fundamental, puede parece muy básico si volvemos a leer los clásicos del marxismo y del pensamiento crítico, pero -en cierta medida- esa brújula política se ha perdido frente a las tiranías del autonomismo esencializado y a la visión gubernamentalista oficialista “progresista” que coexisten en las izquierdas latinoamericanas, como mundiales. Hay que evitar la dicotomía entre un movimiento de “indignad@s” sin organización política, ni programa versus la defensa acrítica de la razón de estado por funcionarios de ministerios y intelectuales orgánicos del social-liberalismo o progresismo “light”.
Seguel : Entonces, ¿qué relación tendrían las experiencias de poder popular con las expresiones institucionales? ¿Se plantean por fuera de la disputa de la institucionalidad, se relacionan con la institucionalidad?, ¿Son una forma de institucionalidad?, ¿Cómo relacionarías la noción de poder popular con estos elementos que veníamos señalando?
Gaudichaud : Es un debate que ha atravesado toda América Latina y horizontes europeos como el movimiento indignados o los Ocupa de Wall Street en EEUU. El debate sobre las herramientas: ¿partido o movimiento? y ¿qué tipo de movimiento? La discusión sobre el Estado también, ¡gran tema todavía! El debate sobre la violencia: ¿qué hacemos de las fuerzas armadas?, ¿cómo se ejerce la violencia de los de arriba pero también la autodefensa de los de abajo? Esto va de la mano con todo el intercambio de ideas que hubo en torno al poder y sus definiciones: una rica reflexión sobre la relación entre el “poder hacer” (potentia) y el “poder sobre” (potestas) que inauguran John Holloway, Raúl Zibechi y que también se dio en Francia, con Daniel Bensaïd, Michael Löwy, Philippe Corcuff y otros más en la revista Contretemps, como el de intelectuales que participan de la revista Herramienta bajo la dirección de Aldo Casas en Argentina, etc. Son problemáticas estratégicas esenciales. Con una visión a veces fetichista de lo social y del zapatismo, Holloway afirma que hay que crear potentia y rechazar el potestas, que necesitamos crear rebeldías por fuera del Estado. En otro registro, Raúl Zibechi, basándose en la observación de luchas como las de El Alto en Bolivia o de la comuna de Oaxaca, ve más la necesidad de luchas por “los intersticios” del Estado y las “grietas” del sistema, para “disolverlo” o incluso “dispersarlo”. Este autor y militante de números colectivos populares tiene un acercamiento original y creativo sobre emancipaciones y resistencias en América Latina, rescatando la fuerza de la trilogía territorio-autogobierno-autonomía. También, en su análisis participativo de varios movimientos logra subrayar con claridad elementos e ideas-fuerzas comunes, entre los cuales: el arraigo territorial de los movimientos y el espacio en donde se crea comunidad; la autonomía como forma de organización frente a prácticas clientelares del Estado y de los partidos; el componente cultural y las identidades descolonizadoras de las luchas; el papel esencial de las mujeres y; la relación con la naturaleza y el medio ambiente. Pero, como Löwy y otros, creo que no basta pensar sólo desde las grietas del sistema o desde la posible “disolución” del Estado: toda política de emancipación debe y tiene que combinar potentia y potestas, “poder hacer” y “poder sobre”, movimientos sociales y formas de organizaciones políticas. Para controlar y poner en jaque a las fuerzas reaccionarias, hostiles al cambio, es indispensable organizarse, alcanzar niveles mínimos de institucionalización e incluso de violencia plebeya hacia los dominantes. Toda vida en sociedad tiene espacios normados o institucionalizados, un sindicato es un espacio institucionalizado, un colectivo tiene un nivel de orgánica: ¿cómo no la va a tener un movimiento de emancipación masivo que pretende “cambiar el mundo” de manera revolucionaria? Como lo señala el libro de Antoine Artous, Marx, el Estado y la política, los marxismos hoy, deben superar la “mitología” de una posible desaparición rápida del Estado y de la instauración de una democracia directa en una sociedad ideal sin conflictos. Una lectura crítica del joven Marx y de cierta subestimación del momento jurídico de la emancipación por parte del marxismo, al mismo tiempo que los desastres autoritarios del siglo XX, nos obligan a (re)pensar la democracia y la afirmación de la política (y su mediación) como momento clave específico. No se puede disolver o subsumir lo político en lo social, como tampoco podemos dejar de reflexionar sobre las futuras formas institucionalizadas de una posible democracia autogestionaria, acompañada de sus derechos democráticos fundamentales y de indispensables formas de representación popular (asambleas constituyentes y asambleas de los movimientos sociales, mecanismos de control desde abajo, formas de participación y deliberación populares, derecho de voto universal y proporcional, etc.).
Al fin y al cabo, Chiapas y el zapatismo no “disolvieron” totalmente el Estado, pero es verdad que crearon nuevas formas de institucionalidad, basadas en los bienes comunes, en la autonomía comunitaria y en una democracia radical de autogobierno, como bien lo explican los estudios del antropólogo Jerôme Baschet. Holloway tiene toda la razón en poner el acento en los avances del zapatismo y su creatividad frente a todos los dogmatismos. Entonces, de acuerdo: la emancipación es también emanciparse del Estado, pero… como lo reconoce el mismo Atilio Borón en sus duras críticas a las teorías de Holloway, lo ideal sería crear ahora ya una sociedad democrática sin Estado, lo que decía Marx hace dos siglos en sus estudios sobre la Comuna de París y la guerra civil en Francia. No obstante, frente a la urgencia global del desastre capitalista en el cual nos encontramos y, a pocos pasos de un colapso ecológico planetario, hay que pensar formas de transición, tener un programa táctico concreto y un agenda estratégica que no proclame la “disolución” del Estado burgués, sino una construcción de largo plazo y rupturas sucesivas, en “revolución permanente” diría Trotsky, hacia una democracia autogestionaria libertaria, un mundo en que quepan todos los mundos (un lema zapatista). Hay que pensar y elaborar junt@s este largo plazo de la emancipación poscapitalista, posdesarrollista y pospatriarcal. Urge así proponer vías no-burocráticas y no-autoritarias para democratizar radicalmente el Estado y -al mismo tiempo- “revolucionar” la sociedad, que tod@s tomemos y transformemos el poder. Es decir, encontrar los caminos de una democracia de comunas autogestionadas, basada efectivamente en la libertad individual y la autonomía colectiva, la autodeterminación y la participación política plena de hombres y mujeres libres, la distribución del trabajo emancipado del yugo del capital y con derecho al ocio, a la cultura, a la diversidad sexual, respetando la naturaleza, etc. Pero en esa discusión sobre como “de nada ser todo” (Manifiesto comunista), hay que cuidarse de los atajos de la antipolítica, del antipoder, de “la ilusión de lo social”: ¿cuáles son nuestras herramientas para enfrentar el imperialismo, las multinacionales, las oligarquías, el patriarcado, los golpes de Estado como en Chile en 1973? ¿Lo podemos lograr sólo con autogestión local y diversas experiencias de “poder hacer”? No. Necesitamos también herramientas políticas y estrategias concretas de transición global. En este contexto, los partidos y movimientos políticos pueden servir de “acelerador estratégico”, como bien lo apuntaba Daniel Bensaïd, en vista de favorecer el reflexionar colectivo, evitar la colección de egos individuales o de intereses particulares corporativistas, como también el fenómeno del caudillismo o del bonapartismo. Sin fetichismo de la organización o culto del líder, asumiendo y criticando el riesgo burocrático o electoralista, imponiendo medidas estrictas de control de las directivas, referéndums revocatorios, paridad de género y rotación de mandos, terminando -como primer paso- con la profesionalización de la política, el vanguardismo, el machismo y el autoritarismo.
Así como lo escribe Edgardo Lander, los retos de las transformaciones que tenemos por delante son buscar alternativas más allá del capitalismo, del desarrollismo y del Estado liberal/(pos)colonial. Y en esta búsqueda apasionante, necesitamos sacar lecciones esenciales del siglo pasado y de la traumática experiencia estalinista:
La lucha por la construcción de una sociedad poscapitalista en el siglo XXI —se denomine sociedad del Buen Vivir o Socialismo del Siglo XXI—, en particular en el contexto sudamericano, tiene que responder necesariamente a retos y exigencias que superan en mucho los imaginarios de la transformación social de los últimos dos siglos, y muy especialmente los del socialismo del siglo pasado. Una alternativa al capitalismo y a la democracia liberal en este contexto debe ser forzosamente una alternativa radical al Socialismo del Siglo XX. Esto se refiere a tres asuntos fundamentales que caracterizaron a estas sociedades: su confianza ciega en el progreso y en las fuerzas productivas del capitalismo, su carácter monocultural y sus severas limitaciones en el campo de la democracia. (…) Una sociedad poscapitalista en el siglo XXI debe ser necesariamente una sociedad que cuestione los mitos del progreso y asuma la transición en dirección de una sociedad del posdesarrollo (…) Una sociedad poscapitalista en el siglo XXI tiene que ser necesariamente más democrática que la sociedad capitalista. Se trata, en palabras de Boaventura de Sousa Santos, de la construcción democrática de una sociedad democrática . Si se plantea la idea del Socialismo del Siglo XXI como una experiencia histórica nueva, radicalmente democrática, que incorpore y celebre la diversidad de la experiencia cultural humana y tenga capacidad de armonía con el conjunto de las formas de vida existentes en el planeta, se requiere una crítica profunda de esa experiencia histórica del siglo XX. (Lander, 2013).
Un enfoque radical que, desde la Patria Grande, propongo llamar (desde una óptica mariateguista del siglo XXI) la construcción de un ecosocialismo indo-afro-latinoamericano, feminista, decolonial, del buen vivir, entendiendo el ecosocialismo como:
Una reorganización del conjunto de modos de producción y de consumo es necesaria, basada en criterios exteriores al mercado capitalista: las necesidades reales de la población y la defensa del equilibrio ecológico. Esto significa una economía de transición al socialismo ecológico, en la cual la propia población –y no las «leyes de mercado» o un Buró Político autoritario– decidan, en un proceso de planificación democrática, las prioridades y las inversiones. Esta transición conduciría no sólo a un nuevo modo de producción y a una sociedad más igualitaria, más solidaria y más democrática, sino también a un modo de vida alternativo, una nueva civilización ecosocialista más allá del reino del dinero y de la producción al infinito de mercancías inútiles. (Löwy, 2011).
Sin duda, más que nunca, para alcanzar esta “nueva civilización” tendremos que inventar, intentar, errar, experimentar, luchar, pensar y volver a soñar para crear, crear, poder popular… Pero, en un momento en que la crisis del capitalismo es global y que el “viejo mundo” europeo se hunde día a día, América Latina y sus resistencias podría ser el continente laboratorio de la construcción de alternativas para el siglo XXI.
Á. García Linera, Las Tensiones creativas de la Revolución, La Paz, Vicepresidencia del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia , 2011: www.rebelion.org/docs/134332.pdf .
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F. Gaudichaud, “Venezuela: El debate hoy es cómo frenar la violenta ofensiva de la derecha neoliberal”, Entrevista de Valeria Ianni, Revista La Llamarada, 2014: www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=181839 .
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F. Gaudichaud [coord.], El volcán latinoamericano. Izquierdas, movimientos sociales y neoliberalismo en América Latina, Concepción, Escaparate, 2012.
F. Gaudichaud, Poder popular y cordones industriales. Testimonios sobre el movimiento popular urbano (1970-1973), Santiago, LOM, 2004.
M. Harnecker, Un mundo a construir (nuevos caminos), Santiago, LOM, 2014.
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 Franck Gaudichaud: Doctor en Ciencia Política (Universidad París 8) y profesor en Estudios Latinoamericanos de la Universidad de Grenoble (Francia). Miembro del colectivo editorial del portal www.rebelion.org y de la revista ContreTemps (Paris). Contacto: [email protected].
 Bryan Seguel: Estudiante de historia y sociología de la Universidad de Chile . Asistente de investigación del “Núcleo Bicentenario: memoria social y poder” de la Universidad de Chile. Equipo interdisciplinario de investigación en movimientos sociales y poder popular (www.poderymovimientos.cl). Contacto : [email protected] .
 Desarrollé ese debate y sus aristas en un texto reciente que introduce un pequeño libro colectivo titulado América Latina: Emancipaciones en construcción. Ver bibliografía.
El proceso de democratización y movilización social, que se inaugura en el contexto de resistencia e impugnación de las políticas neoliberales en América del Sur desde mediados de la década de los noventa, supone un desafío político de consideración para los (nuevos) movimientos sociales, las organizaciones de izquierda (emergentes y tradicionales) y el pensamiento crítico latinoamericano. Pensar el poder popular desde estas coordenadas, geopolíticamente subalternas (en la historia de las luchas políticas de los movimientos sociales del continente) e intelectualmente periféricas (en la generación de saber de los polos de pensamiento social), implica un ejercicio de conocimiento y apropiación de los principales procesos llevados adelante, atendiendo sus límites, potencialidades y aciertos.
El objetivo de la presente conversación (primera parte) con Franck Gaudichaud es entregar antecedentes para la construcción de un marco histórico, desde donde situar las recientes experiencias de movilización social del continente y, al mismo tiempo, contribuir a proponer algunos antecedentes que contribuyan a pensar el poder popular desde nuestra propia experiencia, en ese claroscuro entre tradición y elaboración donde -como diría Marx- el peso de todas las generaciones muertas oprime como pesadilla la cabeza de los vivos [iii].
Esta entrevista es una contribución a un libro colectivo por publicarse en 2015 sobre “ Movimientos sociales y poder popular en Chile. Retrospectivas y proyecciones políticas de la izquierda latinoamericana”, un trabajo realizado en conjunto entre el Grupo de Estudios Sociales y Políticos – Chile (GESP), de la Universidad de Santiago – USACH y Tiempo robado editoras
El escenario geopolítico latinoamericano actual y la (re)emergencia de las izquierdas
Seguel: Muchos analistas señalan que América Latina se constituye hoy, nuevamente, como un escenario para la emergencia de proyectos políticos de izquierda. ¿Qué elementos geopolíticos inciden a tu juicio en esta coyuntura favorable para la movilización de izquierda en América Latina? Con esto me refiero a elementos de la política internacional, el rol de Estados Unidos y su política hacia América Latina, o elementos tales como la implantación y la impugnación del neoliberalismo en la región o los virajes estratégicos de las izquierdas.
Gaudichaud: Hay varios planos ahí que podrían desarrollarse. Partiendo de un plano continental, podemos señalar que, efectivamente, la perspectiva geopolítica es esencial para entender parte de la coyuntura actual. Se está hablando, desde hace un tiempo atrás, de una posible “nueva autonomía” o soberanía de América Latina respecto a los “gigantes” del norte, al imperialismo céntrico y de Estados Unidos en particular. El escenario regional es evidentemente fundamental para analizar el impulso o “giro” progresista -institucional electoral- de varios países, de manera sucesiva en menos de 15 años. En más de diez países, en particular en América del Sur, se vivió la elección y a menudo reelección de presidentes que se reconocen como de izquierda o centroizquierda y aparecieron gobiernos de nuevo tipo de corte “progresista” o más bien de orientación nacional-popular, más o menos radicales. No por eso se puede afirmar que la influencia de Washington haya desaparecido de la región o que el imperialismo sea algo anticuado en América Latina. Se trata todavía de un fenómeno de dominación continental esencial, pero combinado con nuevos procesos y actores que hay que integrar al análisis: desde la relación de los gobiernos latinoamericanos con los poderes fácticos cada vez más impresionantes de las transnacionales, pasando por el nuevo papel de China y de Brasil. No obstante, es cierto que podemos constatar la existencia de una nueva -aunque muy relativa- autonomía de la región y márgenes de maniobra más amplios para los estados. Insisto en lo relativo, pero también en la novedad de la coyuntura, que se traduce por ejemplo, en un curso integrador regional bolivariano creativo. Es el caso del ALBA, impulsado por el presidente Chávez, sin duda lo más novedoso del período 2006-2010. Pero también pienso en espacios diplomáticos y de coordinación internacional, como es CELAC o UNASUR, que permiten consensuar, superar conflictos interestatales o ayudar a tratar problemáticas internas sin Estados Unidos, un hecho capital después de décadas de hegemonía de la OEA. Así, por primera vez, Cuba se reintegró a la comunidad latinoamericana a pesar de la oposición férrea de los EEUU, e incluso asumió la presidencia protempore de la UNASUR, un hecho improbable diez años atrás. Entonces, representa un avance importante de autonomía, de soberanía política regional, de resurgimiento de la ideas de Simón Bolívar y de José Martí. Se trata, sin duda, de un avance parcial y con no pocas contradicciones: no es casualidad que los movimientos sociales reclamen una “diplomacia de los pueblos” en oposición a una integración interestatal al servicio del capital, de proyectos neodesarrollistas o del modelo primo-exportador extractivista, como es el caso del IIRSA ( Integración de la Infraestructura Regional Suramericana), perspectiva defendida hoy por los miembros de la UNASUR y del MERCOSUR .
Seguel: En ese sentido, analizando el tema específico de la CELAC, no deja de ser interesante que la presidencia de ese organismo, en primera instancia haya recaído en Chile, en un gobierno neoliberal liderado por Sebastián Piñera y en segunda instancia, en Cuba. ¿Cómo lees esa tensión entre un sector dentro de América Latina que se perfilaba hacia el ALCA y que drásticamente tiene que dar un viraje en su política regional hacia estas expresiones, lo que al menos, para los gobiernos neoliberales como el chileno y el colombiano, es bastante complejo porque tampoco pueden marginarse?
-Gaudichaud: Eso demuestra una nueva relación de fuerzas geopolíticas que hace que los gobiernos más abiertamente proimperialistas no se puedan quedar al margen de espacios como UNASUR o CELAC y acepten la reintegración de Cuba, aunque al mismo tiempo, defiendan su propia agenda estratégica proestadounidense y proneoliberal, expresada hoy en la “Alianza del Pacífico” y complementada con la multiplicación de Tratados de Libre Comercio (TLC). Chile es el país que más TLCs ha suscrito en el mundo y sigue aferrado a su alianza estratégica y comercial con los poderes céntricos del sistema-mundo capitalista, con la Unión Europea, con Estados Unidos e incluso con China, hoy primer socio comercial del país. Globalmente, el panorama regional dista de ser homogéneo ya que cada nación tiene intereses nacionales propios y orientaciones disímiles. Algunos desde una visión claramente bolivariana, como Venezuela que buscó instalar una “petrodiplomacia” activa y más solidaria con la creación de Petrocaribe, del ALBA, la interesante tentativa –pero fracasada hasta el momento- del Banco del Sur (para ya no depender del Banco Mundial), etc. En el caso de Brasil, vemos afirmarse una potencia ya no sólo “emergente” sino más bien “emergida”, de corte subimperialista o como imperialismo regional, que defiende el MERCOSUR como una integración, no alternativa, proliberal y también “latina”, pues se contrapone en parte a los Estados Unidos. Por eso es que el escenario es un tanto más complejo que una visión binaria: algunos autores describen una nueva era marcada por la multipolaridad o una época de “transición hegemónica” que conduciría hacia el declive de Estados Unidos en el continente y en el mundo. Yo creo que hay que tener mucho cuidado, ya que todavía estamos lejos de este escenario, cuando todavía dominan los claroscuros y algunos resabios de la “guerra fría 2.0”. Por cierto, hay un declive parcial de la presencia dominante de Estados Unidos en lo político en América Latina, pero no así en lo militar: EEUU ha multiplicado las bases militares en la región, con siete nuevas bases en Colombia en el último período. Esto le permite generar una presión muy grande en “eslabones débiles” de la cadena de estados del continente. Estoy pensando en Honduras y en Paraguay, donde Estados Unidos se involucró, de manera directa o indirecta, para apoyar golpes de Estado calificados de “institucionales”… Pensemos también en el golpe de Estado en Venezuela de abril de 2002. Pero no sólo la presencia de Estados Unidos es hegemónica en lo militar, sino que también en lo cultural a través de sus medios de comunicación globalizados, de la difusión de patrones de hiperconsumo, alimentación y endeudamiento, de las industrias musicales, etc.… Este llamado “soft-power” está igualmente presente a través de ONGs que dicen fomentar la democracia (NED, USAID) [iv] y, en realidad, lo que buscan es la desestabilización de gobiernos considerados adversos como el boliviano, el ecuatoriano o el venezolano. En lo económico, las redes de los capitales transnacionales y de las multinacionales norteamericanas o europeas, son muy activas, captan cada vez más recursos naturales, tierra y mano de obra: por ejemplo, Wal-Mart está presente en toda la región; las maquiladoras están asentadas en varios países como México y en América Central.
Además, habría que citar la alianza estratégica con Colombia (“plan Colombia”), lo que finalmente permite que Estados Unidos tenga todavía mucho poder, mucha capacidad de maniobra y presión en la región. Poderío militar, poderío económico, capacidad de influencia diplomática: así que si hablamos de “transición poshegemónica” geopolítica es de muy largo plazo y dependerá de muchos factores de futuro. Por otra parte, si bien es cierto que se está consolidando una nueva multipolaridad de países emergentes en el mundo, con Brasil, China, India y los famosos “BRIC”, hay que evaluar bien en qué son realmente un progreso y si son capaces de proponer algunas alternativas a la gubernamentabilidad imperial mundial actual. Todo permite dudar de ello…
-Seguel: Me gustaría que pudieses referirte a dos temas en específico. Lo primero, a las características del neoliberalismo y el modo en cómo se ha ido generado su impugnación por parte de los movimientos sociales en América Latina y, lo segundo, ¿cómo esto se relaciona con el viraje de las izquierdas? Digo esto porque, con posterioridad, me gustaría ver las diferencias entre distintas izquierdas, tales como el rol del Partido de los Trabajadores en el gobierno en Brasil o el Frente Amplio en el gobierno de Uruguay. En el fondo, quiero ver si, a tu juicio, existe una relación entre el neoliberalismo implementado en los países de la región, el modo en cómo se lo ha impugnado y las orientaciones de los actuales gobiernos de izquierda.
Gaudichaud: Bueno, sólo quisiera añadir algo antes, que tiene que ver de nuevo con el plano geopolítico de este inmenso escenario que es el continente latinoamericano. Quiero subrayar primero, la gran diversidad de condiciones geofísicas, demográficas e históricas, por ejemplo entre pequeños países de América Central y algunos gigantes de América del Sur. De hecho, desde principios del siglo pasado, Washington siempre ha pensado el mar Caribe como un “mar cerrado”, perteneciente “naturalmente” a los Estados Unidos, incluyendo México y América Central como zona de influencia directa y dividiendo así América en dos, quedando del otro lado una América del Sur considerada como un peligro si lograra unirse. Esta visión tradicional surge dentro de la élite política “yankee”. Últimamente, las declaraciones de John Kerry sobre la necesidad de volver a controlar “el patio trasero” (sic) de EEUU o los documentos del Departamento de Defensa sobre la indispensable proyección militar hacia el Asia-Pacífico, sin perder la hegemonía en América Latina lo demuestran (ver los documentos de Santa Fe) [v] . Esa división en dos del continente es un potente freno a la integración bolivariana. Por supuesto, un país como Honduras, si se queda aislado, no tiene la misma capacidad de resistencia geopolítica o de construcción de soberanía nacional que un país como Brasil. La gran derrota estratégica del siglo XXI de Estados Unidos en la “Patria Grande” es el fracaso del ALCA (Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas) en 2005, en la cumbre de Mar del Plata. Es una derrota con profundas consecuencias, pues echó abajo los planes neoliberales estadounidenses en el continente para la primera mitad del siglo. Por eso se multiplican ahora otras tentativas como los TLCs, la consolidación del TLCAN [vi] con México y Canadá, la voluntad de integrar la Alianza del Pacífico, etc. Y una de las lecciones de todo esto es que el fracaso del ALCA fue producto de una doble dinámica: resistencia de los pueblos y capacidad de oposición de algunos gobiernos. Esa gran derrota vino desde abajo, con la intensa campaña continental de movimientos sociales por el “No al ALCA” y fue posible gracias a la oposición de presidentes como Hugo Chávez en particular y Lula de Brasil, que veía con malos ojos esta presión de Washington en su zona de influencia privilegiada.
Lo que quiero subrayar es que entender el “giro a la izquierda” (una expresión muy engañosa en realidad) es comprender la activación de grandes luchas sociales y populares en los últimos quince años, lo que varios sociólogos definen como “emergencia plebeya”: un fenómeno variopinto pero que irrumpió en el escenario político logrando fisurar el Consenso de Washington en algunos países y, al mismo tiempo, poner en jaque la hegemonía política, económica y subjetiva del neoliberalismo. Dichas radicalidades críticas y resistencia explican, en parte, esta reorientación progresista en lo institucional-electoral. Es decir, las relaciones de fuerza políticas solo pueden verse afectadas de manera prolongada gracias a las luchas y reacomodos entre las clases sociales. Esa evidencia de toda teoría política crítica ha sido, una vez más, demostrada en América Latina desde mediados de los años ‘90. De hecho, es donde hubo irrupción más significativa de movimientos sociales, de trabajadores, indígenas y populares, donde el escenario político conoció cambios más drásticos, más profundos en lo institucional y una mayor capacidad de los gobiernos “progresistas” de proponer otro camino que podríamos llamar, por el momento y de manera transitoria, “posneoliberal”. Pero, este impulso desde abajo no fue suficiente en ningún país -hasta ahora- para encontrar derroteros poscapitalistas y en ello seguramente pesa mucho todavía, la debilidad de la organización clasista de los trabajadores y su proyección política independiente.
Seguel: ¿A qué casos te refieres?
Gaudichaud: Estoy pensando en el caso paradigmático de Bolivia, donde hubo realmente inmensas movilizaciones, conflictos de clases, grandes manifestaciones populares, en particular por parte del movimiento campesino indígena y con el apoyo, aunque restringido, de la COB (Central Obrera Boliviana). Como lo escribió el periodista anglosajón Benjamin Dangl, en Bolivia, el movimiento social era tan explosivo que parecía “bailar con dinamita”. Sólo ese nivel de movilización permitió, a la larga, la elección de Evo Morales. La “guerra” del agua y del gas, los enfrentamientos con los militares, la destitución de varios gobiernos corruptos y neoliberales, todo ese cóctel permitió la emergencia de un nuevo instrumento político: el MAS (Movimiento Al Socialismo) también considerado como “instrumento de soberanía de los pueblos”. Desde otra realidad, en Ecuador es la irrupción indígena durante los noventa y de la Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE) -incluso con algunos caminos equívocos de su brazo político, el movimiento Pachakutik que participó un tiempo en el gobierno de Gutiérrez-, lo que modificó sustancialmente el escenario político. Esos cambios abrieron el espacio para la elección de un outsider, Rafael Correa, exministro sin partido, cristiano y economista heterodoxo. Y en fin, la experiencia venezolana -tal vez mejor conocida- que surge más bien “desde arriba” y desde la figura carismática que fue Hugo Chávez y, a partir de ahí y con sucesivas victorias electorales (¡más de 19!), empodera progresivamente a la sociedad civil y al “bajo pueblo”, en un país con poca tradición de movilización obrero y social de masas.
Es interesante constatar que estos tres procesos nacionales-populares no se basan en la izquierda tradicional, ni en la izquierda revolucionaria histórica, fuerzas ausentes o marginales. Parece derrumbarse el sistema político tradicional, hay irrupción o recomposición desde abajo que no se hace según el libro clásico de la izquierda marxista revolucionaria, ni siguiendo a sus partidos. En términos de “sujetos del cambio”, tampoco se hace desde la clase obrera industrial o minera, sino más bien desde la subalternidad múltiple y popular que son los movimientos indígenas, los movimientos populares urbanos, los trabajadores desocupados, etc. Los y las que el teólogo de liberación brasilero Frei Betto nombra como el “pobretariado” de América Latina. Aunque también están presentes el movimiento sindical y los trabajadores (como la COB boliviana) o gremios más tradicionales como el de los profesores. Después de que el neoliberalismo atacó, destruyó, desplazó al movimiento obrero tradicional, desindustrializó en parte los países, han sido otros los espacios los que lograron recomponer la conflictividad -que es lucha de clases también- y permitieron agrietar el consenso hegemónico de las clases dominantes.
En otros países, se gestó un escenario más clásico e institucionalizado, con sus avances democráticos y retrocesos también. Estoy pensando en Brasil, donde un partido inicialmente muy anclado en el movimiento obrero clasista, el Partido de los Trabajadores (PT), que dio una encarnizada lucha contra la dictadura, poco a poco al institucionalizarse y participar en poderes ejecutivos locales o de estados federados, se va hacia al centro, abandonando su reivindicación anticapitalista inicial, la de la campaña de 1989. Con la distancia, podemos decir que cuando Lula logra ganar la elección presidencial del 2002, ya el PT había perdido parte de su alma revolucionaria original. Instalado en el gobierno, termina ese proceso de integración: el partido reivindica a la centro izquierda, gestiona el sistema con reformas estabilizadoras, otorgándole nuevos beneficios y campo de juego al capital nacional y extranjero, al mismo tiempo que responde a la urgencia social -y ahí reside la fuerza del “lulismo”-, a través de un sistema de subvenciones, de bonos, de programas sociales (como “hambre cero”) que saca de la pobreza extrema a más de 30 millones de familias. Una dinámica que un economista francés calificó de “neoliberalismo perfecto”, porque combina políticas favorables al capital local como al global, pero creando una muy sólida base (o clientela) electoral en las filas mismas de las principales víctimas del capitalismo. Por mi parte, he hablado de la constitución de un “social-liberalismo sui generis”. Subrayemos que la hegemonía del PT ha sido, por fin, cuestionada con las recientes movilizaciones urbanas de junio 2013 por el aumento en las tarifas del transporte público y en contra del vergonzoso despilfarro que representó la copa del mundo, movilizaciones que fundamentalmente representan el primer quiebre masivo y organizado entre el “petismo” y l@s brasileros, abriendo así un nuevo panorama político que si bien no impidió la reciente reelección de Dilma Roussef, se tradujo de manera contradictoria en el plano electoral con una fuerte tasa de abstención, el crecimiento notable del PSOL (Partido Socialismo y Libertad) y el importante auge de la candidata ecologista-neoliberal Marina Silva (que casi vence a Dilma).
Seguel: Entendiendo que ese es el escenario heterogéneo de las izquierdas, ya sea por el modo en cómo irrumpen o cómo son oxigenadas por las movilizaciones sociales que se van generando, el historiador y politólogo cubano Roberto Regalado señala que, en ese contexto, la clásica distinción -que tenemos los marxistas para referirnos al alcance de las transformaciones- en términos de “reforma o revolución”, se agotaría, ¿en tu opinión, crees que esa consideración es adecuada?
-Gaudichaud: Todo depende de qué “izquierdas” estemos hablando. Primero, anotar que Roberto Regalado estudia esencialmente el campo progresista gubernamental, lo que deja a muchas izquierdas, colectivos y partidos extraparlamentarios, incluyendo a los más “radicales”, fuera del análisis. Si hacemos un balance distanciado, ese famoso “giro a la izquierda” permitió, principalmente, comenzar a salir de la “larga noche neoliberal”, como una vez lo dijo el presidente Correa. Como lo señala el sociólogo ecuatoriano Franklin Ramírez, lo que nace hoy en América Latina, no es la revolución, no es el reformismo socialdemócrata tradicional o el populismo clásico, no son tampoco sólo “dos izquierdas” (una moderada y otra radical): esencialmente, el progresismo actual encarna un cierto retorno y regulación del Estado, de políticas sociales que redistribuyen parte de la renta hacia los más pobres y de afirmación de una era de “neodesarrollismo”, después de décadas de neoliberalismo. Una época de mayor control estatal de los recursos estratégicos y naturales, sin romper las reglas del juego de la economía de mercado, renegociando las relaciones con las multinacionales o la búsqueda de ciertos niveles de consenso con las burguesías locales (en Bolivia hoy, entre 60% y 80% de la renta del gas se queda para el Estado y el resto para las multinacionales, antes de Evo era al revés…). En el caso de los procesos nacional-populares más radicales, como en Venezuela y en Bolivia, esta dinámica viene acompañada, o más bien se basa, en una fuerte orientación y discursos antiimperialistas y decoloniales: después de su nueva elección, en octubre pasado, Evo Morales dedicó su victoria a “los que luchan contra el imperialismo y contra el neoliberalismo”.
Este escenario, cristalizado en torno a contundentes victorias electorales, está caracterizado por la afirmación creciente de figuras presidenciales omnipresentes carismáticas (se puede hablar de hiperpresidencialismo) e importantes procesos de asambleas constituyentes (Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela), con la aparición de nuevos derechos fundamentales: derechos de la naturaleza, estados plurinacionales, referéndums revocatorios, etc. Es evidente que asistimos a dinámicas democratizadoras novedosas y a la implementación de reformas sociales profundas que permitieron disminuir a la par pobreza y desigualdad social de manera notable (la pobreza bajó más de 20 puntos en Bolivia y Venezuela). Estos gobiernos tienen que lidiar con fuerzas sociopolíticas, mediáticas y económicas internas y externas muy potentes, hostiles y capaces de manipulación de la opinión pública como de subversión militarizada: recordemos el golpe de Estado en abril de 2002 en Caracas, el golpe “institucional” en Paraguay o Honduras, la casi secesión de la regiones más ricas de la “media luna” en Bolivia, la sublevación policíaca en Ecuador contra Correa, etc. Pero, claro, no se trata de procesos revolucionarios como los vividos en el siglo XX, como en el escenario cubano en 1959 o nicaragüense en 1979. Desde Marx -por lo menos- y sus estudios sobre la Comuna de París, algunos signos fundamentales de dinámicas revolucionarias son la ruptura del aparato estatal, la transformación de las relaciones sociales de producción y la irrupción de l@s de abajo en el escenario político, donde disputan la hegemonía y desplazan a la clase dominante. No estamos exactamente en tales condiciones en la América Latina de hoy, a pesar de la retórica revolucionaria (revolución “del siglo XXI”, “ciudadana” o “comunitaria-indígena”) y de las transformaciones existentes en el plano político.
Entonces, cuando Roberto Regalado plantea que la disyuntiva “reforma o revolución” ya no es válida, yo diría que sí es válida la disyuntiva “reformismo o revolución”, en un escenario diferente al del siglo XIX o XX. Tal vez necesitemos pensar hoy, a la luz de las experiencias recientes de América Latina, en “reformas Y revolución”, “reformas en permanente revolución” o sea políticas públicas radicales en procesos abiertos destinados a revolucionar la sociedad y sus estructuras, apoyadas en el desarrollo de formas crecientes de poder popular constituyente. Tenemos que asumir que, en algunos contextos específicos, puede haber procesos interrumpidos de reformas democráticas y posneoliberales que abran camino, desde gobiernos de izquierdas, gobiernos del pueblo trabajador, como desde las luchas de clases. De hecho, basta con volver a leer textos de los mismos bolcheviques (Lenin, Trotsky, etc.) o de Rosa Luxemburgo para constatar que l@s revolucionari@s de principios del siglo pasado no cometían ese error de confundir reformas con reformismo. Y, por eso, no podemos oponer de manera a-dialéctica y dogmática reforma versus revolución, conflicto social versus disputa electoral, gobiernos populares versus luchas de clases, unidad del pueblo trabajador versus unidad de las izquierdas, etc. Siguiendo a Claudio Katz, se trata de recuperar hoy los sentidos estratégicos del “porvenir del socialismo”, sin perder la brújula de necesarias discusiones y pasos tácticos audaces, creativos, autogestionarios, de transición para lograr unificar, aglutinar a los trabajadores, indígenas y sectores populares como también en ese camino -ojalá- a las fraccionadas izquierdas anticapitalistas. Sin esa unidad de l@s de abajo, y sin independencia de clase, sólo habrá populismo desde arriba o neoliberalismo de guerra… De la misma manera, según Katz, el objetivo es concebir procesos de transformación de mediana y larga duración, con saltos cualitativos y rupturas contundentes, más allá de la caricatura del “asalto” al palacio presidencial (que en realidad nada tiene que ver con el pensamiento dialéctico de Lenin) o del “limbo” institucional en el cual se encuentran hoy la mayoría de los “progresismos”.
Para que me entiendas bien, insisto en que esa perspectiva de reformas en revolución permanente significa no abandonar la estrategia e intencionalidad revolucionaria (y consiguiente transformación rupturista del Estado), pues si no, el efecto inmediato es bregar por reformas democráticas que terminan siendo meramente reformistas o electoralistas, pensando el Estado como “neutro” y posible de “mejorar” desde los márgenes del capitalismo periférico: es decir, al final de cuentas, ajustes “progresistas” dentro del modelo, como lo vivido por ejemplo en Brasil, Uruguay o con el “new sandinismo” orteguista en Nicaragua. De hecho, el mismo Roberto Regalado se pregunta si las actuales izquierdas gubernamentales representan un “reciclaje” de viejos esquemas o realmente nuevos vientos de cambios. Yo diría que la clave continúa siendo la relación de estos gobiernos con las luchas sociales, l@s asalariad@s y el pueblo, sus posiciones respecto al imperialismo, a las clases dominantes, pero también con desafíos esenciales del tiempo presente: la lógica decolonial e indígena, la lógica medioambiental y del buen vivir, la lógica feminista y antipatriarcal. Desde las izquierdas, varios intelectuales (como Isabel Rauber o Marta Harnecker por ejemplo) piensan que en Bolivia, Venezuela y, en menor medida, en Ecuador existen procesos democratizadores, antiimperialistas, posneoliberales aunque en disputa. De hecho, en estos países varios sectores revolucionarios apoyan críticamente -y con más o menos autonomía- los evidentes avances que han significado estos gobiernos progresistas o nacional-populares en el plano de la soberanía nacional, integración regional, de la salud, educación, alfabetización, infraestructura, en la disminución notable de la pobreza extrema, el empoderamiento político y territorial, etc. Las experiencias de las Asambleas Constituyentes en estos tres países son una lección para toda la región (y para Chile, en particular, donde sigue vigente la Constitución de la dictadura…). Así, en Bolivia, no cabe duda de que hubo revolución de las subjetividades, transformación democrática campesino-indígena, desplazamiento de la élite gobernante oligárquica racista, pero -en rigor- no una revolución en términos de transformación radical (es decir “en la raíz”) de la relación capital-trabajo y capital-naturaleza. Es un proceso abierto posneoliberal. En Venezuela, varios grupos del chavismo popular o anticapitalista como -entre otros- Marea Socialista apoyaron a Chávez y hoy al gobierno del presidente Maduro, subrayando sus vacilaciones y las capitulaciones de las burocracias estatales, llamando a una “revolución en la revolución” y a contraatacar frente a la ofensiva subversiva de la derecha neoliberal o del imperialismo.
Por eso, es importante ver que para otros intelectuales, como los ecuatorianos Decio Machado o Pablo Dávalos por ejemplo, esta fase progresista-neodesarrollista sólo escondería las nuevas figuras de una “democracia disciplinaria” que coopta y canaliza los movimientos y clases populares, mientras tanto oxigena un capitalismo local-mundial en crisis, con inversiones públicas. Alberto Acosta, ex presidente de la Asamblea Constituyente del Ecuador o el sociólogo marxista Mario Unda piensan así que el correísmo se transformó en un “nuevo modo de dominación burguesa” y de restauración conservadora, con un discurso de cambio muy marcado que acompaña una modernización económica capitalista nacional. Esta modernización ocurre también en otros países combinando el reciclaje de viejas formas del populismo con nuevas figuras del bonapartismo latinoamericano: ¿qué pensar, por ejemplo, del kirchnerismo en Argentina y de su asombrosa capacidad de control social? ¿qué opinar de las agresiones verbales en la televisión pública, del presidente Correa hacia movimientos indígenas o militantes ecologistas (calificados de “infantiles” o de “terroristas”)? De hecho, analizando el caso ecuatoriano y el creciente autoritarismo del gobierno hacia el movimiento indígena pero también hacia los defensores del proyecto Yasuní o su rechazo contundente a toda perspectiva feminista, se ve una clara determinación del “progresismo” a rechazar las disidencias o criticas sociales y políticas “abajo y a la izquierda”: el último episodio de esa tendencia regresiva ha sido el lamentable anuncio de Rafael Correa del desalojo de su sede histórica a la Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), con justificaciones legales falaces. O sea, eso significa intentar borrar uno de los bastiones históricos de la resistencia contra los embates de los gobiernos neoliberales por ser hoy, duros críticos de la “revolución ciudadana”… Un hecho denunciado con razón como “injusto y políticamente insensato” por Boaventura de Sousa Santos, sociólogo portugués que acompañó al gobierno en sus inicios. En este caso, como en muchos otros, el deber de solidaridad es de denunciar estos hechos, sin tapujos, ni genuflexiones ante el poder, sea quien sea quien ocupe el sillón presidencial.
Incluso, ¿cómo analizar hoy el fenómeno carismático-popular chavista? Por cierto, alguien como Ernesto Laclau, por su propia filiación peronista, explica que la “razón populista” puede ser progresiva y democratizadora como regresiva y autoritaria en América Latina, según su contenido, dirigentes e inclinaciones. Pero este problema plantea la imperiosa necesidad de un análisis crítico, abierto y clasista de estas experiencias. Asimismo, Raúl Zibechi en su libro “Progre-sismo” afirma que l os gobiernos progresistas, finalmente tienen un efecto despolitizador en la sociedad porque logran “domesticar” gran parte de los movimientos.
Desde una óptica gramsciana original, el sociólogo mexicano Masimo Modenesi lee el progresismo como una variante de “revolución pasiva” por su carácter contradictorio y sus efectos desmovilizadores. Según Modenesi, aún con saldos y sobresaltos específicos, los gobiernos progresistas lograron asentarse hegemónicamente, reproducirse en el tiempo a partir de la construcción de fuertes consensos pluriclasistas y electorales (en particular frente a las oposiciones de derecha) y llevar a cabo, en la mediana duración de 10-15 años, una combinación de procesos de transformación política, reformas sociales progresivas y de conservadurismo del orden existente y sus equilibrios en términos de relaciones sociales de producción. En resumen, un escenario complejo, pero aun abierto, para las izquierdas anticapitalistas, que hay que descifrar sin dogmas o sectarismos.
Análisis de casos: Venezuela y Bolivia en la mira
Seguel: Me gustaría seguir analizando el caso de Venezuela, sobre todo a un año del fallecimiento de Hugo Chávez y cuando han surgido ciertas críticas al interior de las mismas filas del chavismo. ¿Dónde se inscriben esas críticas, a qué responden?
-Gaudichaud: A un año de la muerte de Hugo Chávez, la coyuntura bolivariana es muy crítica, muy tensa, con la ofensiva de la derecha insurreccional neoliberal, pero también por el estado mismo, interno, del Proyecto Bolivariano. Por supuesto, existen presiones exteriores imperiales, intervención de Washington y una campaña mediática planetaria, digna de futuros estudios, para atacar al proceso bolivariano. Es un dato esencial de la coyuntura, pero no por eso podemos caer en la visión binaria, reduccionista que dice: “o estás con el gobierno de Maduro, en bloque, de manera acrítica o si no, es que estás con el imperialismo”… Es una visión equívoca y nefasta para la solidaridad internacional. La “ternura de los pueblos” (así llamaban los sandinistas al internacionalismo) no puede basarse en tal análisis simplista, maniqueo. La oposición a Maduro y la derecha venezolana se apoyan en contradicciones y en la propia debilidad el proceso bolivariano, en sectores medios altos de la población (no sólo en las clases altas), e incluso en el hartazgo de parte del “bravo pueblo” frente a la corrupción, ineficacia administrativa, crisis económica, inseguridad urbana, etc., como lo ha demostrado el declive electoral relativo del chavismo. Por eso, necesitamos descifrar esas debilidades internas y escuchar las voces críticas dentro del espacio bolivariano y también, fuera del gobierno. Los libertarios de Caracas no son proimperialistas; Orlando Chirino (dirigente trotskista y sindical de la Unión Nacional de Trabajadores) no es neoliberal; el ex viceministro Rolando Denis no es propatronal y los compañeros de Marea Socialista o del sitio web Aporrea no son “traidores”… Hoy día en Venezuela, existen luchas obreras y sindicales que han sido reprimidas, esencialmente por sicarios patronales, pero nunca denunciados por el Estado. El mismo Ministerio del Trabajo impide la aplicación del nuevo Código laboral que representó un gran progreso para los trabajadores del país. La inflación ya ha carcomido el aumento salarial de la época de Chávez y la dimensión de la crisis económica actual, no es sólo producto del mercado negro o de la ofensiva de la burguesía, también nace de una muy mala gestión, del tipo de cambio de divisas, de la ausencia de una planificación para la diversificación económica y la industrialización. Todo eso ha sido graficado, estudiado y explicado por economistas críticos como Manuel Sutherland o Víctor Álvarez (exministro) e investigadores del Centro Internacional Miranda (CIM). El desabastecimiento ataca primero al bolsillo de las clases populares y el tema de la inseguridad es real, perjudicando primero a los pobres de la ciudad, no a los que habitan Chacao, Altamira u otros barrios pudientes. La reproducción de una “boliburguesía” parasitaria, que lucra del proceso a la sombra del Estado, es cada vez más insoportable para miles de militantes barriales, de fábricas, de cooperativas, de consejos comunales. Entonces, esos son problemas graves, candentes y, repito, no tiene sentido callarlos en nombre de la defensa legítima de las importantes conquistas sociales y democráticas del decenio chavista y de la lucha unitaria necesaria, indispensable, frente al imperialismo. Menos aún, en nombre del “socialismo del siglo XXI” o frente a las 19 elecciones democráticas victoriosas… Cuando toda una burocracia gubernamental o paraestatal del PSUV [vii] rema a contracorriente, hay espacios como Marea Socialista u otros grupos que denuncian el actual “diálogo de paz” y el pacto de no-agresión con la burguesía venezolana (como los Cisneros, los Mendoza y otras familias), los mismos que incentivaron el golpe de Estado del 2002 y que nunca fueron castigados. ¿Por qué no se dialoga más con el movimiento obrero que intenta organizarse, con los colectivos bolivarianos, con los consejos comunales? Últimamente se ha intentado iniciar “gobiernos de calle”, volver a la base: veremos si esto permite reanudar los lazos entre el ejecutivo y el pueblo chavista. Hay tensiones y la situación actual es muy crítica, a pesar de los avances en términos sociales logrados en los últimos 15 años. De hecho, según la CEPAL, es el país que más ha reducido, a la par, pobreza y desigualdades en la región. No representa un dato menor en el continente más desigual del mundo… Existe además hoy un pueblo empoderado, politizado y movilizado -herencia de Chávez- que quiere defender sus conquistas. Por esta razón, hay que pensar el bolivarismo como un proceso nacional-popular “en tensión” y una dinámica plebeya muy contradictoria, en la cual la capacidad de las luchas populares autónomas -en particular del movimiento obrero clasista- será el elemento decisivo del futuro de esta experiencia excepcional de principios de siglo
Seguel: ¿Qué rol juega la transferencia de renta del petróleo a la llamada “boliburguesía”, en el sentido de la acentuación de estas contradicciones internas que mencionas?
-Gaudichaud: Varios estudiosos venezolanos, como Edgardo Lander o la historiadora Margarita López Maya, ya han descrito la “maldición” que representa el petróleo y la monoexportación de recursos naturales para una sociedad. Paradójicamente, estar sentado en un pozo petrolero para un proyecto de emancipación es una verdadera calamidad, porque el rentismo es todo lo contrario a una perspectiva humana emancipadora, impregna todas las clases sociales, no hay nadie que esté a salvo de este modelo de sociedad, de hiperconsumo y de una economía extravertida, una formación social dependiente que debilita toda capacidad de producción nacional y posibilidad de soberanía alimentaria (más del 80% de los alimentos de los venezolanos es importado). En este complejo contexto, la revolución bolivariana logró, por primera vez en la historia republicana de este país, y con el nuevo control gubernamental sobre PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela), utilizar la renta petrolera para y hacia las clases populares a través de las misiones de salud, educación, vivienda, infraestructura, etc., con el apoyo de Cuba. La principal reserva de petróleo del mundo ya no es sólo un recurso al servicio de la oligarquía local y de sus socios de Miami, aunque hoy todavía, una gran parte de los beneficios van a parar a las multinacionales asociadas a PDVSA asentadas en la franja del Orinoco como EXXON, CHEVRON, TOTAL, etc. y a un sector parasitario del viejo Estado. Pero, ¿cómo hacer para transformar y democratizar realmente, económicamente, este modelo rentista depredador? Es la gran pregunta de estos 15 años de proceso bolivariano. Ahí, la gran desgracia es que todas las experiencias más avanzadas de control obrero o de cogestión como en la siderúrgica Sidor en el estado de Guyana o en una empresa como Inveval y algunas otras grandes fábricas, no fueron incentivadas o apoyadas, más allá de sus problemas internos, también reales. Al contrario, son a menudo combatidas por las burocracias sindicales, municipales y/o estatales. Lo mismo pasa con los Consejos Comunales o las Misiones. Además, estos organismos se crearon por fuera del Estado, como un bypass para intentar suplir la inmensa ineficacia estatal y responder a la urgencia social. En estas condiciones, estas políticas públicas no transforman al Estado rentista y están muy poco institucionalizadas, lo que amenaza su continuidad en el tiempo. O sea, ¡de nuevo el problema del Estado!
-Seguel: Pasando a otra experiencia, hablemos un poco del caso boliviano. Llegando al término del segundo mandato del presidente Evo Morales, se notaba cierto agotamiento o más bien ciertos cuestionamientos internos, los que -se podría decir- fueron revertidos por la impresionante victoria electoral presidencial de octubre pasado. ¿El proceso boliviano se está agotando en términos de su planteamiento inicial? ¿Cómo leer el llamado de García Linera a constituir el capitalismo andino-amazónico?
Gaudichaud: Como punto de partida, una pequeña precisión: el tema del agotamiento parcial del “ciclo” progresista gubernamental, yo lo vería a nivel continental, con altibajos y diferencias nacionales obviamente. Estamos a más de quince años de la apertura del ciclo y de la elección de Hugo Chávez, y la fuerza propulsiva de lo que alguna vez se llamó “giro a la izquierda” muestra sus límites y tensiones. Desde formas de social-liberalismo sui generis a la brasilera, pasando por la experiencia ecuatoriana, hasta el proceso bolivariano y sus crisis, hay -es cierto- una pérdida de fuerza, un cierto agotamiento, aunque relativo si analizamos encuestas de opinión. Volviendo a Zibechi, el periodista y sociólogo uruguayo afirma que si efectivamente los progresismos mantienen una gran fuerza electoral y gubernamental, parecen haber perdido su capacidad inicial de transformación social emancipadora, con un sesgo que se volvió cada vez más estabilizador o conservador del orden político-económico existente. Habría que recordar algo esencial, las derechas de ninguna manera desaparecieron del ajedrez político, controlan países clave como Colombia, Panamá o México y crecen electoralmente en varios de los países con gobiernos progresistas: basta con ver las últimas elecciones regionales o locales en Venezuela y Argentina. Cuando la crisis capitalista mundial impacta a la región, los límites de los procesos en su diversidad afloran con mayor fuerza y aparecen las grandes contradicciones de modelos productivos primo-exportadores, altamente basados en el crecimiento de la exportación de materias primas. El tema del “megaextractivismo” y sus formas de acumulación por desposesión y depredación es un tema central del período y un talón de Aquiles de América Latina. Los útiles trabajos de Eduardo Gudynas o Maristella Svampa sobre la problemática y los caminos emancipatorios del “posdesarrollo”, subrayan que no se ha superado esa gran dependencia, incluso se han reprimarizado las economías de algunos países: en Brasil, país “imperialista periférico” e industrializado, el sector extractivista es proporcionalmente cada vez más importante. Un economista como Pierre Salama describe bien esta nueva degradación de los términos del intercambio. En este contexto, se acumulan los conflictos y luchas entre el movimiento popular, las comunidades indígenas y los gobiernos progresistas. El neodesarrollismo extractivista es una de las piedras de tope de los progresismos, revelando los límites de los procesos actuales. Así como lo recalca Frei Betto:
La fuerza de penetración y obtención de ganancias del gran capital no se redujo con los gobiernos progresistas, a pesar de las medidas regulatorias y cobro de impuestos adoptados en algunos de esos países. Si, de un lado, se avanza en la implementación de políticas públicas favorables a los más pobres, por otro, no se reduce el poder de expansión del gran capital (…) Los gobiernos y movimientos sociales se unen, especialmente durante los períodos electorales, para frenar las violentas reacciones de la clase dominante alejada del aparato estatal. Sin embargo, es esta clase dominante la que mantiene el poder económico. Y por más que los inquilinos del poder político implementen medidas favorables para los más pobres, hay un escollo insalvable en el camino: todo modelo económico requiere de un modelo político coincidente con sus intereses. La autonomía de la esfera política en relación con la económica es siempre limitada. Esta limitación impone a los gobiernos democrático-populares un arco de alianzas políticas, a menudo espurias, y con los sectores que, dentro del país, representan al gran capital nacional e internacional, lo que erosiona los principios y objetivos de las fuerzas de izquierda en el poder. Y lo que es más grave: esa izquierda no logra reducir la hegemonía ideológica de la derecha, que ejerce un amplio control sobre los medios de comunicación y el sistema simbólico de la cultura dominante.
Por cierto, como lo subrayó Fred Fuentes, el extractivismo no puede ser “al árbol que esconde el bosque”: o sea, el modelo primo-exportador es, ante todo, producto de una estructura de dependencia económica de tipo neocolonial. Para países del sur, cuando la pobreza y las necesidades son todavía inmensas, no se trata de abandonar “a secas” toda forma de extracción de riqueza (pero sí la más depredadora y extravertida). Tampoco se pueden confundir los diferentes usos que hacen los gobiernos suramericanos de la renta o sus políticas hacia las multinacionales. En paralelo, es significativo ver que los ejecutivos en vez de buscar radicalizar sus enfoques posneoliberales e intentar apoyarse más en el pueblo trabajador movilizado, convergen cada vez más hacia el centro, en una clara “lulización” de la política latinoamericana que implica compromiso entre las clases, negociación con el capital financiero y acuerdos con la oposición parlamentaria neoliberal. Es el escenario ya existente en Nicaragua, Uruguay, Salvador, Brasil, Argentina, etc.
El caso boliviano, creo yo, con el paso del tiempo, ha mostrado ser el progresismo más potente y capaz de construir un posneoliberalismo consolidado, popular y con fuertes rasgos decolonizadores, un hecho esencial en un país como Bolivia. Tenemos un presidente sindicalista-indígena surgido de esta “emergencia plebeya” de los años 2000, de las “guerras” del gas y del agua, y que declara ser el “gobierno de los movimientos sociales”. Un autor como Pablo Stefanoni (unos de los mejores analistas del complejo proceso boliviano), explica de manera detallada este fenómeno de una experiencia nacional popular que se asienta -en un plano simbólico-subjetivo- en la reivindicación del campesino indígena y de la decolonialidad del poder (concepto acuñado por el peruano Aníbal Quijano), a la vez que promueve un modelo económico modernizador-desarrollista. La elección de Evo favoreció la reintegración de las comunidades indígenas a la nación y a la comunidad política, facilitó el desplazamiento de la vieja élite oligárquica blanca, permitiendo el surgimiento de una nueva clase media indígena. Evo y el MAS (Movimiento Al Socialismo) encarnan no obstante un indigenismo muy flexible y pragmático, un “esencialismo estratégico” adaptativo, ya que Evo Morales reivindica el indigenismo al mismo tiempo que el vicepresidente García Linera anuncia un “Modelo Nacional Productivo” modernizador. No se trata en absoluto de una política indianista, como lo reivindican Felipe Quispe y los sectores más etnoracialistas del indianismo. El MAS logró alejar los riesgos de golpe, controlar y negociar con latifundistas y burguesías de las regiones orientales de la “media luna” y constituir una base electoral popular muy solidificada: lo que acaba de confirmarse con su nueva y contundente victoria electoral de octubre de 2014. Con el gobierno del MAS, Bolivia entró en 2005 en una fase de consolidación institucional, después de décadas de caos neoliberal, represiones del movimiento popular y golpes militares: Evo es el presidente más longevo de la historia de la república de Bolivia, desde su fundación… Se conseguiría así forjar un consenso nacional en torno a esta figura campesino-indígena. En ese sentido, sí es una revolución política, una ruptura en la historia boliviana. El MAS controla el Parlamento y una nueva democracia corporativa, que pasa por los espacios sindicales campesinos e indígenas, que juegan un papel de cooptación de dirigentes y de ascensor social.
En el campo económico, varias nacionalizaciones (con indemnización) y el control del gas nacional dio forma a un esbozo de lo que el vicepresidente llamó, en los años 2005-2006, “capitalismo ando-amazónico”: construcción de un Estado regulador, capaz de orientar la expansión de la economía industrial y extractiva, al mismo tiempo que organiza la transferencia de recursos hacia sectores populares y comunitarios, a través de bonos o del aumento del salario mínimo o de la cobertura social, educacional y de salud. Pero fundamentalmente, en términos macroeconómicos, en la gestión de divisas y en el presupuesto público, este gobierno sigue aterrorizado por el espectro de la hiperinflación de los años ‘80 que derrotó toda tentativa socialdemócrata. Es muy ortodoxo en el plano económico. El sociólogo James Petras declaró que el gobierno de Evo Morales sería, en su opinión, “el más conservador de los radicales o el más radical de los conservadores”… Es el país que, en proporción a su PIB, tiene la reserva de divisas más importante del mundo, ¡más que China! El mismo FMI calificó a Bolivia como la economía más estable de América Latina y el New York Times afirmó que Evo Morales sería el mejor representante del desarrollo de la región. En ese aspecto no hubo grandes cambios. Los principales avances fueron primero, en términos simbólicos y subjetivos (lo que no hay que menospreciar después de siglos de racismo estatal); segundo, en el plano del control de los hidrocarburos y de reafirmación de una soberanía nacional antiimperialista y; tercero, los avances en el sistema de jubilación, de servicios sociales, de regulación del mercado informal. Pero queda mucho por hacer en términos de lucha contra la pobreza, la desigualdad social y de género. No obstante, la inversión en los servicios públicos se multiplicó por siete desde 2005, a medida que bajaban, como nunca antes, los niveles de pobreza y analfabetismo.
Varios sectores desde el movimiento popular, del indianismo o de la debilitada izquierda radical, reivindican una ruptura mucho más profunda y rápida, una opción que entiendo y comparto. Desde la COB, hay una tensión acumulada con el gobierno sobre salarios, pensiones y reforma laboral. Por parte de algunas corrientes del movimiento indígena también, del katarismo aymara y de figuras como Felipe Quispe o Pablo Mamani. Entonces, ese es el escenario, un escenario bastante complejo. Morales supo ocupar un espacio desde una reactivación de la antigua figura nacional-popular, surgida con fuerza en la revolución minera campesina de 1952 (ver los trabajos de René Zavaleta Mercado). Pero, a diferencia de los años ‘50, no existe hoy en Bolivia una alternativa radical revolucionaria al nacionalismo popular, con influencia de masas, enraizada en masivos sindicatos mineros, como lo era el POR (Partido Obrero Revolucionario) boliviano.
Conclusión: una derrota de Evo Morales en las últimas elecciones presidenciales hubiera representado un grave retroceso y una victoria para los neoliberales y las oligarquías…
[i] Franck Gaudichaud: Doctor en Ciencia Política (Universidad París 8) y profesor en Estudios Latinoamericanos de la Universidad de Grenoble (Francia). Miembro del colectivo editorial del portal www.rebelion.org y de la revista ContreTemps (Paris). Contacto: [email protected].
[ii] Bryan Seguel: Estudiante de historia y sociología de la Universidad de Chile. Asistente de investigación del “Núcleo Bicentenario: memoria social y poder” de la Universidad de Chile. Equipo interdisciplinario de investigación en movimientos sociales y poder popular (www.poderymovimientos.cl). Contacto : [email protected] .
[iii] La bibliografia de este texto se encuentra al final de la segunda parte de la entrevista.
[iv] NED: National Endowment for Democracy; USAID: United States Agency for International Development (N.d.E).
[v] Documentos elaborados para orientar la política imperial de EEUU hacia América Latina, iniciados en los años 80 con Reagan (Santa Fe I). A fines del 2000, bajo el presidente Bush, vieron la luz «los documentos Santa Fe IV», con una fuerte orientación antichavista.
[vi] Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (N. d. E)
[vii] PSUV. Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela.
Police in Longview, Texas released footage Wednesday of officers killing a 17-year-old girl in the lobby of a police station on January 22.
Officers Glenn Derr and Grace Bagley shot and killed 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard last Thursday, after officer Gene Duffie fired a taser at her. The three officers have been on paid leave since the shooting.
Longview Police Chief Don Dingler and spokeswoman Kristie Brian told reporters Wednesday that Coignard used the station’s phone to speak with dispatch, requesting the help of an officer.
When officer Derr arrived, police say she threatened him, indicating that she was armed with a gun. A struggle then ensued between Derr and Coignard, with officer Duffie entering the lobby during the confrontation and quickly drawing his Taser.
Image: Kristiana Coignard
Officers claim that Coignard then charged at Derr, allegedly brandishing a knife, prompting Duffie to fire his Taser at Coignard, which police claim had no effect. Derr fired his weapon three times, and Bagley fired her weapon twice. The girl was then taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center at roughly 6:45 p.m., where she was later pronounced dead.
The video of the incident, recorded by a police station camera, contradicts aspects of the police story, while showing the brutal methods used by Derr against the teenager. It also reveals that medical attention did not arrive for nearly six minutes, during which time none of the officers attempted to perform CPR or assist Coignard in any way.
The video shows that immediately upon entering the police station, Derr reaches to his left side, presumably to have his tazer ready to fire at the teenager. A struggle ensues, and he quickly draws his weapon from the right side of his waist. During the subsequent three minutes when they are alone in the lobby, Derr appears to have his firearm drawn nearly the entire time, pressing it against the back of Coignard’s head multiple times. At one point he has her stand up, and then violently slams her to the ground face-first, seemingly unprovoked by any action on her part.
Shortly after Duffie arrives, Coignard appears to charge at Derr, to which Derr responds by shooting her with his pistol at least once. Bagley entered the lobby as this took place, and visibly fires at least one bullet. The police claim that Duffie’s tazer failed to stop her, thus prompting Derr to shoot her with his pistol, does not hold water, as Derr shot her immediately after she moved towards him.
Above all, the video plainly demonstrates that Derr had ample opportunity to defuse the situation entirely by handcuffing Coignard.
Coignard’s family has since said that she suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, and had been hospitalized twice in recent years after attempting suicide. Coignard’s aunt, Heather Robertson, told Think Progress “I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”
In 2014, Longview police shot and killed 15-year-old Justin Michael Aguilar and 23-year-old Regan Marshall Wagner in separate incidents. In both cases, the officers were cleared by a Gregg County grand jury.
Officialstory in Denver police killing of 16-year-old Jessica Hernandezcontradicted bywitness
A passenger in the car in which 16-year-old Jessica Hernandez was gunned down by Denver Police on Monday has disputed the police story, saying that officers began shooting before one of them was struck by the car she was driving.
Image: Jessica Hernandez
Initially, police chief Robert White told a local news station, “as [the officers] approached, the driver of the vehicle struck the original officer at which time the officers fired several shots.”
On Thursday, the witness told the Associated Press “When the cops walked up, they were on [Jessica’s] side of the car, and they shot the window and they shot her. That’s when she wrecked, and that’s when the cop got hit.”
On Thursday, in response to this and other statements made by friends of Hernandez, White retracted his earlier outline of what led to the killing, and told reporters that there were “unanswered questions” regarding the case, which he said will be answered when the ongoing district attorney’s investigation into the killing is complete. White also declared that the other teenagers present in the stolen car would not be charged with a crime.
On Wednesday night, a crowd of roughly 200 people protested outside the District 2 police station in Denver, where the two officers involved in Hernandez’ shooting are based. Smaller protests took place Thursday and Friday as well.
San Francisco public defender arrested for shielding client
Jami Tillotson, a deputy public defender in San Francisco, was arrested Tuesday for attempting to prevent a plainclothes officer, identified as police inspector Brian Stansbury, from questioning and photographing her client outside a courtroom.
Image: Public defender Jami Tillotson being arrested
A video taken by one of her colleagues in the San Francisco public defender’s office shows her calmly blocking Stansbury from taking pictures, to which he responds with threats of arrest, absurdly claiming she is resisting arrest. He tells her, “look, you can either step aside, he can be released in two minutes, or we can make this…”
Tollitson responds, “I’m pretty sure that we’re OK here. We don’t need any pictures taken, thank you,” to which Stansbury replies “No, you’re not pretty sure. If you continue with this … I’ll arrest you for resisting arrest.” Tillotson responds, “Please do,” and is promptly handcuffed and walked away.
Immediately after Tollitson is arrested, Stansbury resumes taking pictures of her clients. The Public Defender’s Office has noted that officer Stansbury was the subject of a 2013 federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a black SFPD officer alleging racial profiling.
“I was arrested for what we do as public defenders every day,” Tillotson said at a news conference Wednesday. “I asked questions. I talked to my client and explained to him his rights. At that point, I was told I was interfering and taken into custody.”
“It was very clear to me that I hadn’t been doing anything illegal,” she added. “I was challenging him, telling him that you know that I know that I did not violate the law. He moved it forward.”
“This is not Guantanamo Bay,” said Public Defender Jeff Adachi at a Wednesday news conference. “You have an absolute right to have a lawyer with you when you’re questioned. Ms. Tillotson was simply doing her job.”
Max Planck Institute of Chemistry, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, Mainz 55128, Germany
External Editor: Erich Schneider
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: [email protected]; Tel.: +357-22-208-677; Fax: +357-22-208-625.
Received: 24 October 2014; in revised form: 4 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 December 2014 /
Published: 12 December 2014
We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents using the ECHAM/Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) atmospheric chemistry (EMAC) atmospheric chemistry-general circulation model at high resolution (50 km). We present an overview of global risks and also a case study of nuclear power plants that are currently under construction, planned and proposed in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, a region prone to earthquakes. We implemented continuous emissions from each location, making the simplifying assumption that all potential accidents release the same amount of radioactivity. We simulated atmospheric transport and decay, focusing on 137Cs and 131I as proxies for particulate and gaseous radionuclides, respectively. We present risk maps for potential surface layer concentrations, deposition and doses to humans from the inhalation exposure of 131I. The estimated risks exhibit seasonal variability, with the highest surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter.
nuclear power plant accidents; radioactivity transport modeling; deposition and inhalation risks
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines a nuclear accident as an event that releases radioactivity with significant consequences on a nuclear facility and the environment, including harmful doses to humans and soil contamination. Nuclear power plant accidents can have significant impacts on society and the environment, fueling the debate on the security of facilities and materials, planning and sustainability. Risk assessment for radioactivity contamination is necessary for mitigation strategy formulation and potential impact precautions by stakeholders, the development of policies by decision makers and public information at global, regional and national levels.
The radiological significance of nuclear events is categorized by the IAEA on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) with a numerical rating from one to seven. The INES categorization takes into account the impact on people and the environment and the degree of contamination by the emitted radioactivity. There have been two major accidents categorized at the most severe level of INES 7 that occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine and the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima, Japan, and a total of more than 20 accidents at the level of INES 4 or higher, categorized as accidents with at least local consequences.
Following previous studies [1–3], we have included all nuclear power plants worldwide that are currently operational (OP), under construction (UC) and planned or proposed (PL), based on the nuclear power plant (NPP) database compiled and published by the World Nuclear Association (WNA) . In our simulations, we implemented constant continuous emissions from each NPP location and computed atmospheric transport and removal over a period of 20 years to warrant climatological representativeness. We used boundary conditions prescribed by a future intermediate climate change scenario in order to produce global overall and seasonal risk maps for near-surface concentrations and ground deposition of radioactivity from hypothetical nuclear power plant accidents. Furthermore, we estimated worldwide potential human doses from the inhalation of gaseous radioactivity and the exposure to deposited radionuclides transported in aerosol particles. The risk posed from nuclear power plant accidents is not limited to the national or even regional level, but can assume global dimensions. Many nations may be subjected to great exposure after severe accidents, even ones that are not pursuing nuclear energy as a means of power production .
The present paper both extends and complements the work of these previous studies by using higher resolution modeling and focusing on a test case in a particular region of interest, the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME), where earthquakes are recurrent, being a risk factor for nuclear facilities. No assumption is made on the type, capacity or reactor core count to assess the probability of an accident happening at each particular location or the total emission magnitude. By employing unit emission sources, we assess the comparative potential risk and provide a scale for the absolute magnitude of any accident. It should be noted that we aim to capture the risk patterns related to the ensemble of meteorological conditions over the 20-year simulation rather than individual events, i.e., taking a probabilistic approach. If an event were to happen, the absolute risks can be calculated by scaling our unit emissions by the real release of radioactivity, and by also accounting for the actual meteorological conditions during the accident, the concentrations and exposure can be calculated following a deterministic approach.
The ECHAM/Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) atmospheric chemistry (EMAC) model is a numerical chemistry and climate simulation system that includes sub-models describing tropospheric and middle-atmosphere processes and their interaction with oceans, land and human influences . It uses the second version of the Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy2) to link multi-institutional computer codes. The core atmospheric general circulation model is the fifth generation European Centre Hamburg general circulation model, ECHAM5 .
For the present study, we applied EMAC (ECHAM5 version 5.3.02, MESSy version 2.42p2) at the T106L31 resolution, that is, with a spherical truncation of T106 (corresponding to a quadratic Gaussian grid of approximately 1.1 by 1.1 degrees in latitude and longitude, ~110 km at the equator) and at the T255L31 resolution, i.e., with a spherical spectral truncation of T255 (corresponding to a quadratic Gaussian grid of approximately 0.5 by 0.5 degrees in latitude and longitude, ~50 km at the equator), with 31 vertical hybrid pressure levels up to 10 hPa .
The surface (skin) temperatures and sea ice distribution for the AMIP II simulations  between the years 2003 and 2009 were used as boundary conditions for the higher resolution run (7-year simulation) and from the IPCC  SRESA2 emissions scenario for the period 2010–2030 for the lower resolution run (20-year simulation). The applied model setup comprises the submodels, RAD4ALLfor radiation and atmospheric heating processes, CLOUD for cloud formation and microphysical processes including precipitation and CONVECT for the vertical transport of trace species associated with shallow, mid-level and deep convection. The DRYDEP (dry deposition)  and SCAV (scavenging) [11,12] submodels were used to simulate aerosol dry and wet deposition processes, respectively. The SEDI (sedimentation) submodel was used to simulate particle sedimentation, of which the results will be presented below as part of the simulated dry deposition. The TREXP (tracer release experiments from point sources) submodel  was used to define tracers and emission sources.
The EMAC model uses a hybrid system for specifying atmospheric vertical levels. The system combines the constant pressure level system with the sigma level system based on surface pressure, such that closer to the surface of the Earth, the levels more closely resemble a pure sigma level, while higher up, the levels are close to constant pressure surfaces .
The model setup was evaluated using a real test case using emission estimates from the accident that occurred at the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP. Radionuclide surface layer concentrations were compared with station measurements taken by a global monitoring network of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) . The modeling skill was evaluated using the radionuclide 133Xe, a noble gas that behaves as a passive tracer, showing very good agreement with station observations. The modeling skill for aerosols, using 137Cs as a proxy, was reduced, but no systematic bias was observed within the uncertainties related to the higher complexity of modeling the removal processes. For both xenon and cesium isotopes, emission source estimates derived by inverse modeling were used . For 131I, there was systematic model underestimation of station observations, but within the high uncertainty introduced by the emission source estimate used . Since 131I is removed from the atmosphere by radioactive decay rather than deposition processes and the test with 133Xe indicated good agreement for the transport processes, the systematic underestimate of modeled 131I was likely related to underestimated 131I sources in the model, which were based on literature data. The study confirmed the applicability of our global chemistry circulation model for simulating radionuclide transport from NPP accidents, as performed in the present study.
All currently operational (189), under construction (16) and planned or proposed (36) nuclear reactors worldwide are included, based on the World Nuclear Association (WNA) reactor database (241 sites in total). Figure 1 shows the geographical distribution of potential emission locations. The distribution by country is listed in .
Figure 1. Geographical distribution of emission sites corresponding to nuclear power plants that are operational (red circles), under construction (green crossed circles) and planned or proposed (blue squares), adapted from . Source: World Nuclear Association (WNA) Reactor Database. Click here to enlarge figure
Due to the limited availability of computational resources, the latter being tremendous for a high-resolution global model, it was not feasible to simulate varying emission height profiles. The graphite core material that burned in an open fire in Chernobyl, Ukraine, is meanwhile deprecated technology. Accidents that are lower on the INES scale and much more frequent in occurrence are more likely associated with radioactive leaks at the surface level. To account for different likelihoods, we use a point source at 1,000 hPa, equivalent to a mean height of approximately 100 m above the surface.
2.1.1. Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
The Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) are made up of two dozen countries with approximately 400 million inhabitants. A number of countries in the region have planned or proposed the construction and operation of nuclear power plants.
A list of sites that are planned or proposed as locations for nuclear power plants in the EMME region is given in Table 1 and can be seen in Figure 2. We have selected the countries in the EMME region for a high resolution risk evaluation test case due to the high regional seismic risk, a potential cause of accidents. The Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program (GSHAP)  and, in particular, the compilation of the GSHAP regional seismic hazard for Europe, Africa and the Middle East  report enhanced seismic hazard along the African Rift zone and across the Alpine-Himalayan belt, where there is a general eastward increase in hazard, with peak levels in Greece, Turkey, Caucasus and Iran (Figure 2). Figure 2 also illustrates that 5 out of 6 NNPs in the EMME are planned in moderate seismic hazard locations, while 3 NPPs will be situated within a few dozen kilometers from high hazard regions.
Figure 2. Geographical distribution of emission sites corresponding to nuclear power plants that are under construction or planned in the EMME region (black circles, source: WNA Reactor Database), superposed on a map of the regional seismic hazard to peak ground acceleration (50-year 10% exceedance probability), adapted from the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program (GSHAP) [17,18]. Blue regions indicate no data available. Click here to enlarge figure
Table 1. Countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) region, where nuclear power plants are under construction or being planned, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) database.Click here to display table
2.2. Atmospheric Dispersion
The iodine and cesium radionuclides are emitted as gases and partition into ambient aerosol particles at the relatively low temperatures in the ambient atmosphere, depending on the volatility of the gases.
The low solubility of iodine is based on publicly-available reported measurements . Thus, 131I (half life: 8.025 ± 0.002 days) is treated as being purely in the gas phase in our model and is largely removed from the atmosphere via radioactive decay. This allows for the reduction of computational complexity and for the direct comparison of gaseous and aerosol components of radioisotopes and is a valid approximation, as the atmospheric gaseous to particulate fraction is estimated to be close to a factor of four by a number of relevant measurements: the RadNet station network, operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), finds 81% of the ambient 131I in the gas phase and 19% in the particulate phase . The informal network of European national authorities, known as the Ring of Five (Ro5), comprising more than 150 high volume sampling systems, measures an average ratio of gaseous/total 131I of 77.2% ± 13.6% . Both of these values are in agreement with the average values reported for the Chernobyl accident  and for the Fukushima site during the period spanning from March 22 to April 4, 2011 (ratio of 71% ± 11%) . Therefore, a factor of 4 gaseous to particle phase partitioning would be appropriate. Dry deposition and particle sedimentation remove only up to 5%–10% of the emissions. We are not taking into account particle resuspension, expected to affect a negligible fraction of the deposited and sedimented quantities considered here.
The low-volatile 137Cs (half-life: 30.17 ± 0.03 years) is modeled as a water-soluble aerosol with a standard lognormal distribution of mean radius 0.25 μm, Henry’s coefficient of 1.0 mol L−1 atm−1 and a density of 1,000.0 kg m−3. The mean radius used is representative of the distribution of atmospheric aerosol in the accumulation mode size and most influenced by washout and rainout effects. It is consistent with the measurements of radioactivity after Chernobyl . 137Cs is removed from the atmosphere predominantly through small-scale convective and large-scale stratiform precipitation (90%–95% combined) and through dry deposition and sedimentation (5%–10% combined). The removal of accumulation mode particles by wet and, to a much lesser extent, by dry deposition is not sensitive to the assumed mean radius, as the scavenging efficiency of the accumulation mode particles in our model is not size dependent. The radioactive decay of 137Cs is not taken into account in the simulation due to the long half-life of 137Cs compared to the atmospheric residence time .
3. Results and Discussion
Our study uses a constant emission rate for the simulations, so that we obtain representative concentrations for all meteorological conditions, over which we subsequently average to derive the integral risks. Our results do not realistically represent the impact of any individual NPP accident under specific meteorological conditions, which would require a deterministic approach to represent an actual accident, but rather, aim to estimate the risk associated with all possible atmospheric states.
It is noted that, for the purposes of our study, the overall concentration and deposition magnitudes are renormalized, so that in each case, the highest risk corresponds to unity (arbitrary scale), i.e., the relative geographical risk and equivalent dose are displayed. This allows for the scaling of the results to any accident severity level (defined by emission quantity) and also provides results for the subsequent application of morbidity and mortality estimation models by other research groups that could provide such expertise.
3.1. Global Risk
The global mean (for the period 2010–2030) gaseous 131I concentration relative risk from operating, under construction and planned nuclear power plants is shown in Figure 3. Presented are the mean global concentrations for the model surface layer (centered at around 30 m above the Earth’s surface). The Southern Hemisphere concentration risk is found to be much lower, attributed to the low number of NPPs and the relatively short tracer half-life in combination with the relatively slow interhemispheric exchange in the atmosphere (characteristic time scale: about one year).
Figure 3. Combined total (operating, under construction, planned or proposed) relative risk by 131I and equivalent daily effective dose to the public from inhalation over the 2010–2030 period; after . Click here to enlarge figure
Figure 4 shows the global total cumulative surface deposition of 137Cs over the period 2010–2030. The peak levels of deposition and, hence, the highest risk of ground contamination and population doses are expected in the eastern and central United States, across the European continent and along the Pacific coast of China, where most of the NPPs are located. The high rates of precipitation in the moist tropics result in enhanced risk due to wet deposition processes. This explains the relatively high risks in central Africa and southeastern Asia, where no or few NPPs are located, being downwind of NPPs in the EMME and western Asia, respectively.
Figure 4. Combined total (operating, under construction, planned or proposed) relative risk by cumulative dry and wet deposition and sedimentation of 137Cs at the surface from nuclear accidents and equivalent effective dose risk to the population from exposure-related ground contamination over the 2010–2030 period; after . Click here to enlarge figure
It should be emphasized that aerosol removal processes occurring at the sub-grid scale are not explicitly simulated, but are parameterized [11,12] and, therefore, less well-resolved than processes affected by atmospheric dynamics and transport at the scale of the model resolution.
Changes in the global nuclear energy sector are decided at the national level. Results for the relative concentration, deposition and equivalent human population dose at the individual country level are provided in  and the accompanying supplement. The geographical distribution of the human population is also taken into account by defining a risk index as the relative risk in our model (from concentration and deposition separately) times the density of the population that can potentially be exposed for each country.
3.2. EMME Region
The regional mean gaseous 131I concentration from proposed and planned nuclear power plants in the relatively high seismic hazard EMME region is shown in Figure 5. To estimate the concentration risk, we present the surface layer concentration based on the continuous uniform release of radionuclides from each NPP. For all plants, the concentrations in more remote locations are much lower, because of the relatively short half-life of 131I (~8 days), which does not allow it to be transported over long distances and mix globally. Next, we briefly address the planning of NPPs in individual countries within the EMME region.
Figure 5. Individual and combined bottom relative surface level gaseous 131I concentration and human population dose risk from potential nuclear power plant (NPP) accidents in the EMME region stations. Click here to enlarge figure
Jordan imports most of its energy and seeks greater energy security, as well as lower electricity prices. It is aiming to have a 1,000 MWe (Megawatt electric) nuclear power unit in operation by 2021 and a second one by 2025.
Turkey has been developing plans for establishing nuclear power generation for many decades. Meanwhile, nuclear power is a key aspect of the country’s economic growth objectives. Recent developments have been supported by Russia, taking a leading role in financing and building 4,800 MWe of capacity. Applications are in progress for construction and operating licenses for the first plant at Akkuyu. A Franco-Japanese consortium is expected to build a second nuclear plant in Sinop.
Iran is currently operating a large nuclear power reactor, after many years of construction, and a second one is planned, though not formally according to the WNA database. Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities, nor its work on heavy water-related projects, as required by the UN Security Council.
Egypt has advanced plans, but commitments are pending. In April, 2013, Egypt approached Russia to renew the nuclear cooperation agreement, aiming for the construction of a nuclear power plant at El Dabaa. In November, 2013, the Russian Foreign Minister announced that Russia is prepared to finance and help construct an Egyptian nuclear plant.
Figures 3 and 4 show that the relative risk in the Mediterranean region, due to the prevailing northerly and westerly winds, is relatively large due to atmospheric transport of contaminants from Europe. This meteorological regime will also affect radioactivity emissions from Akkuyu in southern Turkey, which will predominantly affect the island of Cyprus (Figure 5). The monthly mean relative 131I surface concentration and associated dose risk from the Akkuyu NPP for the cities of Mersin, Turkey, and Nicosia, Cyprus, can be seen in Figure 6. Despite the relatively large uncertainties associated with the variable meteorological conditions at particular locations, Figure 6 illustrates that the risks are comparable in the two major cities closest to the NPP in neighboring countries. Unilateral decisions by countries to build NPPs do not do justice to the international consequences of potential reactor accidents. Figure 5 shows that the risks associated with the El Dabaa NPP (northern Egypt) are largest in Egypt and of Sinop (northern Turkey) in Turkey, while the other operational and planned NPPs in the EMME region are associated with significant trans-boundary risks.
Figure 6. Monthly mean relative 131I surface concentration and associated dose risk from a potential accident at the Akkuyu NPP for the cities of Mersin, Turkey (a), and Nicosia, Cyprus (b). Click here to enlarge figure
The model-calculated risk from the climatological mean surface level concentration of radionuclides (Figure 7) exhibits strong seasonal variability.
Figure 7. Relative seasonal risk by 131I (mean surface layer concentration) from potential NPP accidents and equivalent effective dose to the public from inhalation in the EMME region for the winter (a) and summer months (b). Click here to enlarge figure
Our model shows increased surface-level concentrations throughout the Northern Hemisphere during the boreal winter months (DJF) compared to the summer months (JJA). Not only the expected risk magnitude is higher, but the geographical extent of the high concentrations of transported radionuclides is more pronounced towards the north over parts of Europe and Russia and towards the east over Asia. Horizontal advection is more efficient in winter due to relatively stronger winds, and the concentrations are highest near the surface, because of the lower vertical development of the atmospheric planetary boundary layer. As a result, the surface level concentrations in the summer tend to be more localized in the emission region, whereas dilution by turbulent mixing and vertical transport by deep convective clouds is more efficient. This is in line with our previous work examining the global combined total seasonal variation for all stations , where the aerosol radionuclide deposition was also assessed. The total mass of aerosol 137Cs in the atmosphere was similarly found to be lower in winter and higher during summer, due to more efficient removal by wet deposition processes.
To quantitatively assess the uncertainty of the risk estimates from the simulated temporal variability, we use the coefficient of variation (the local standard deviation σ over the mean μ) for individual NPPs in the EMME region and their combined total, shown in Figure 8. The equivalent uncertainty analysis for all NPPs globally can be found in .
Figure 8. Individual and combined bottom relative risk coefficient of variation (σ/μ) for NPPs in the EMME region. Click here to enlarge figure
The regional variability does not exceed 15% (typical values around 7%), with the highest values found in close proximity of the region of interest and further northeast in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as over the continent of Africa in the Southern Hemisphere, notably in the vicinity of Madagascar. This is understood as the effects of the trade winds, causing equatorward transport of radionuclides and convective overturning in the intertropical convergence zone to the south of the EMME region, followed by subsidence in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere. This effect is most pronounced for the Darkhovin NPP in Iran. Elsewhere, the coefficient of variation is well within 5%, signifying adequate coverage for our analysis sample size and appropriate representation of the temporal circulation variability effects, especially considering the associated uncertainties of the global representation of modeled processes.
The EMAC atmospheric chemistry-general circulation model was used to assess the global risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential accidents at nuclear power plants (years 2010–2030, 11-km equivalent horizontal grid resolution). We also performed a particularly high model resolution case study encompassing NPPs that are under construction, planned or proposed to be operated in the EMME region (meteorology of the years 2003–2009, ~50-km equivalent resolution), a region with a relatively high seismic hazard. The model simulations were driven by boundary conditions from the AMIP II simulations for the recent past and the IPCC SRES A2 scenario for the future projections. This paper both complements and extends our previous study of the global risk from all nuclear power stations that are in operation, under construction and planned or proposed.
We have calculated the relative surface concentrations for the gaseous radionuclide 131I and surface deposition for particulate 137Cs, which correspond to equivalent risks for the human population to be exposed to radioactivity from hypothetical accidents at NPPs. Reporting the relative exposure allows scaling of the results to any individual NPP accident based on the real or estimated magnitude of radionuclide emissions, which can be used to project morbidity and mortality risks by using our findings as input to impact assessments for particular levels of radioactivity.
As can be expected, the areas in the vicinity of the individual NPPs in the EMME region are at the highest risk, while the medium- and long-range transport through the atmosphere does not exhibit uniform dispersion. Land masses to the south and east of the region show a significantly higher risk expectation, in particular from the combination of all NPPs in the region. Our results illustrate that accidents at many of the operational or planned NPPs in the region could have significant trans-boundary consequences.
The risk estimate for all planned stations in the EMME region and their combined total risk exhibit strong seasonal variability, with increased surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter and a larger geographical extent towards the north and the east for the higher-risk affected areas. This is related to the relatively shallow boundary layer in winter that confines the emitted radioactivity to the lowest part of the atmosphere close to the surface.
The coefficient of variation, defined as the simulated local temporal standard deviation relative to the mean (σ/μ), was used as a measure of the uncertainty in the risk estimates for individual NPPs and the combined total for our study. For all cases, outside the vicinity of the NPPs, the regional variability does not exceed 15% (with typical values around 7%), signifying adequate temporal coverage by the simulation period and being climatically representative.
It is the view of the authors that it is imperative to assess the risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential NPP accidents, particularly for regions with high seismic, as well as other natural and human activity-related hazards in order to facilitate preparedness and emergency response planning on national and international levels.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERCGrant Agreement No. 226144. This work was supported by the Cy-Tera Project, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research Promotion Foundation. The Climate Data Operators (CDO) , netCDF operators (NCO)  and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Command Language (NCL)  were used for data processing and visualization.
Theodoros Christoudias and Yiannis Proestos: Model Development, Data Analysis, Manuscript Writing; Jos Lelieveld: Manuscript Writing, Study Overview.
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Income inequality has grown in every state in the US in recent decades, according to a new study published this week by the Economic Policy Institute. The report, entitled The Increasingly Unequal States of America, found that, even though states home to major metropolitan financial centers such as New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area had the highest levels of income inequality, the gap between the rich and the poor has increased in every region of the country.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at Hawaii or West Virginia or New York or California, there has been a dramatic shift in income towards the top,” said Mark Price, an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and one of the study’s co-authors, in a telephone interview.
Source: Economic Policy Institute
The report noted that between 2009 and 2012, the top one percent of income earners captured 105 percent of all income gains in the United States. This was possible because during this period the average income of the bottom 99 percent shrank, while the average income of the top one percent increased by 36.8 percent.
To varying degrees, this phenomenon was expressed throughout the country. In only two states did the income of the top one percent grow by less than fifteen percent.
The enormous concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent was even further concentrated in the top .01 percent. In New York, for instance, someone had to make $506,051 per year to be counted in the top one percent, but $16 million to be in the top .10 percent. The average income within the top .01 percent in New York was a staggering $69 million.
“Most of what’s driving income growth are executives in the financial sector, as well as top managers throughout major corporations,” said Dr. Price. “Those two together are the commanding heights of income in this economy.”
Source: Economic Policy Institute
Dr. Price and his co-author, Estelle Sommeiller, based their study on the methods of Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, whose widely-cited research analyzed the growth of income inequality for the United States as a whole. Using state-by-state data from the Internal Revenue Service, much of which had to be compiled from paper archives dating back almost a century, Price and Sommeiller were able to make a state-by-state analysis of income inequality since 1917.
Nationwide, the average income of the top one percent of income earners is 29 times higher than the average income of the bottom 99 percent. But in New York and Connecticut, the average income in the top 1 percent is 51.0 and 48.4 percent higher than the average for the rest of earners, respectively.
New York City is the home of Wall Street and boasts more billionaires than any other city in the world. Connecticut is home to many of the largest hedge funds in the world. Ray Dalio, the founder of Westport, Connecticut-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates earned $3 billion in 2011 alone.
While the average income of the bottom 99 percent of income earners in New York state was $44,049, the income of the top one percent was $2,130,743. For the United States as a whole, the top one percent earned on average $1,303,198, compared to the average income of $43,713 for the bottom 99 percent.
In California, the most populous US state, the top one percent received an average income of $1,598,161, which was 34.9 times higher than the average pay of the bottom 99 percent. In 2013, four of the highest-paid CEOs in the United States were employed by technology companies, which are disproportionately located in California. At the top of the list was Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, with a current net worth of $53.4 billion, who made $78 million in pay that year.
The study shows that the average income for the bottom 99 percent of income earners is relatively consistent across states, with no state showing an average income of more than 33 percent above or below the average for the whole country.
The average incomes of the top one percent varied widely, however: from $537,989 for West Virginia to $2.1 million in New York. According to Forbes, the wealthiest resident of West Virginia is coal magnate Jim Justice II, who, with a net worth of $1.6 billion, is the state’s only billionaire. New York City, by contrast, has four residents worth more than $20 billion, including chemical tycoon David Koch, with a net worth of $36 billion; former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with a net worth of $31 billion; and financiers Carl Icahn and George Soros, worth $20 billion apiece.
Yet despite the broad disparity in the relative concentration of the ultra-rich, every single state showed a pronounced and growing chasm between the wealthy few and the great majority of society. In Alaska, which has relatively high wages and few billionaires, the incomes of the top one percent were on average more than fifteen times higher than the bottom 99 percent.
The report noted that exploding CEO pay has set “new norms for top incomes often emulated today by college presidents (as well as college football and basketball coaches), surgeons, lawyers, entertainers, and professional athletes.”
“As the incomes of CEOs and financiers are rising, you’re starting to see that pull, almost like a gravity starting to pull up other top incomes in the rest of the economy.
“A University president might claim, ‘I run a big institution, you expect me to raise money from some of the wealthiest people in the country, you’ve got to pay me a salary that helps me socialize with them.’”
Price said that, while inequality figures are not available nationwide on the local level, his work on income inequality in the state of Pennsylvania shows that income inequality is growing in counties throughout the state, in both rural and urban centers.
Nationwide, the income share of the top one percent fell by 13.4 percent between 1928-1979, a product of the New Deal and Great Society reforms, as well as higher taxes on top earners. These measures were the outcome of bitter and explosive class struggles. But in subsequent years, that trend has been reversed.
As a result, income inequality in New York State was even higher in 2007 than it was in 1928, during the “roaring 20s” that gave rise to the Great Depression. In the period between 1979 and 2007, every state had the income share of the top 1 percent grow by at least 25 percent.
Citing a previous study by the Economic Policy Institute, the report noted that “between 1979 and 2007, had the income of the middle fifth of households grown at the same rate as overall average household income, it would have been $18,897 higher in 2007—27.0 percent higher than it actually was.”
The enormous growth of social inequality is the result of an unrelenting, decades-long campaign against the jobs and living standards of workers. Under the Obama administration, the redistribution of wealth has escalated sharply, through a combination of bank bailouts and “quantitative easing,” which has inflated the assets of the financial elite.
These policies have been pursued by both parties and the entire political establishment which is squarely under the thumb of the corporate and financial oligarchy that dominates American society.
France is in a state of “collective hysteria,” says Sefen Guez Guez, the lawyer for a second grader questioned by police in France. (via BFMTV)
Just when it seemed that the crackdown on free speech in France could not get worse, French police today questioned a second grader on suspicion of “defending terrorism.”
BFMTV says that administrators at a primary school in Nice reported the child to police on 21 January after the boy allegedly said that he “felt he was on the side of the terrorists.”
“A police station is absolutely no place for an eight-year-old child,” the boy’s lawyer Sefen Guez Guez told BFMTV. He said that the incident showed that France was going through a state of “collective hysteria.”
Guez Guez said that on 8 January, the day after two French gunmen attacked the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, the boy, whose name has been reported as Ahmed, was in class when he was asked if he was “Charlie.”
“He answered, ‘I am on the side of the terrorists, because I am against the caricatures of the prophet,’” the lawyer said.
Since the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and the lethal attack by a third French gunman on a Jewish supermarket, French government officials and media have adopted the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” – I am Charlie – to indicate social conformity and support for official policies, all under the guise of supporting free speech.
The Collective Against Islamophobia in France, which has taken up Ahmed’s case, provided these additional details: “On 8 January, Ahmed, a second grader, was called on by his teacher who asked him if he was Charlie. Being of Muslim religion and aged only eight, he opposed Charlie Hebdo because of the caricatures of the prophet, and responded naively that he was on the side of the terrorists. Angered, the teacher sent him to the principal, who was in the class next door, and who asked him three times in front of the whole class, ‘Are you Charlie?’”
The child’s parents were called in and “played an educational role, explaining to him what terrorism really was and why one should be on the side of the Charlie Hebdo victims,” Guez Guez said.
Principal calls police
Instead of leaving the matter there, on 21 January, the school principal lodged two complaints with police, one against the child for “defending terrorism,” and another against the child’s father for trespassing.
According to the lawyer, the child had been deeply upset and isolated after what happened, so his father accompanied him to the school playground on three occasions after 8 January, before being told he was not allowed to do so.
Fabienne Lewandowski, a spokesperson for the Alpes-Maritimes regional police, confirmed to BFMTV that they received the complaints. Lewandowski revealed that the school principal claimed that the child had said “French people should be killed,” “I am on the side of the terrorists” and “the journalists deserved to die.” The child then allegedly refused to take part in a government-decreed minute of silence.
“During our interview, the child indicated that he had said some of these words, but did not really understand what they meant,” the police spokesperson said. “The purpose of this interview was to understand exactly what had happened, and what could have led him to say this.”
“We can regret that this took the form of an official police interview,” Lewandowski said, “but under the circumstances, we could have gone even further.”
According to the police spokesperson, the father “showed regret for his son’s words.”
The Collective Against Islamophobia in France said that his interview by police “was an additional trauma that illustrates the collective hysteria that has ensued since the beginning of January.”
Prosecutors in Nice have yet to decide how to proceed in the case.
Victim of bullying?
Ahmed has said that he was a victim of bullying by the school principal, according to his lawyer, BFMTV reported. On one occasion, the child was playing in a sandbox. According to the child’s account relayed by the lawyer, the principal told the boy, “stop digging in the sand, you won’t find a machine-gun in there.”
On another occasion, Ahmed, who is diabetic, alleges the principal deprived him of his insulin, saying, “Since you want us all to die, you will taste death.” The principal has denied the accusation.
Guez Guez said that Ahmed’s parents planned to lodge a complaint about the school’s behavior.
According to Le Figaro, the French education ministry confirmed that the school principal had also made a report about Ahmed to child protective services.
While Ahmed’s case may seem extreme, the complaint against him is enabled by an atmosphere of intolerance and authoritarianism fostered by the French government.
Since the attacks in Paris, the government has launched an unprecedented crackdown,condemned by Amnesty International as well as French civil rights groups, in which it has jailed dozens of people for things they have said, under the vague charge of “defending terrorism.”
Previously, as The Electronic Intifada reported, one of those arrested was a sixteen-year-old high schooler, for allegedly posting a caricature mocking Charlie Hebdo.
“The One Belt and One Road initiative is a long-term macroscopic program of strategic development for the entire State.” - Zhao Xijun, Deputy Dean of School of Finance, Renmin University, Global Times, Dec 28, 2014
The Chinese flag hangs in fraternal union with Serbia as one crosses the Zemun-Borča bridge, completed last month, and now named Pupinov most. It was yet another infrastructure gem in what is becoming typical of Beijing’s global investment push, a policy typified by big spending and the reiteration of connectedness. Where a country is short of cash in terms of the big projects, a Chinese loan is peeking around the corner to cover the cost.
Not that this is done out of heart warming altruism. The visionary functionaries in Beijing have been dreaming of revivals and resurrections over what has come to be known as the “one belt, one road” policy. The language of the New Silk Road, more than a patch on the ancient Silk Road strategy of the Han Dynasty, has become something of an accelerant drive in planning, the hallmark of President Xi Jinping’s still early tenure.
Former UN under-secretary general and current Indian MP, Shashi Tharoor, dipped into his history books in examining the visions of the current Chinese leadership. The old Silk Road had both overland and maritime routes. Goods and ideas snaked along them, be they tea, gunpowder, paper, Buddhist scripture, and music. China itself obtained access to plants, medicines, astronomy, and the Buddhist and Islamic faiths (Project Syndicate, Oct 14, 2014).
Tharoor sees in Xi a historical echo, that of the Chinese Ming Admiral and eunuch, Zheng He, who moved across the Indian Ocean over the course of seven times in the early fifteenth century. He did so with a vast armada that would have dwarfed its European contemporaries. Women in Kerala could thank the Admiral for his efforts – the wok became a vital cooking instrument; innovative fishing techniques were introduced – all before the Portuguese got their vessels wet.
Others, such as the retired submarine commander Gavin Menzies, see in Zheng the origins of world discovery, putting forth a theory so stretched it suggests that the intrepid eunuch was in Australasia and the Americas well ahead of either Christopher Columbus or James Cook. Chinese silk road romanticism is a vast and variable creature – and everyone is wanting to cash in on it.
Near the Sri Lankan coastal town of Galle, Zheng erected a stone tablet, translated into Tamil, Persian and Chinese with a grand aspiration: that Hindu deities bless his efforts to forge global trade and commerce, all for peace and prosperity.
In September 2013, when speaking at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, Xi spoke of the creation of a “New Silk Road Economic Belt” that would run from China through Central Asia. Zheng’s maritime business is coming home to roost.
“To forge closer economic ties, deepen cooperation and expand development in the Euro-Asia region, we should take an innovative approach and jointly build an ‘economic belt’ along the silk road.” Xi saw this as a “great undertaking” that would benefit “all countries along the route”. Invariably, however, the context is overwhelmingly based on a development rationale: trade is good and infrastructure should be established for that end.
The economic belt, as Xi terms it, features such concrete manifestations as high-speed rail lines, highways, bridges, and Internet connectivity. These, in turn, will be complemented by port development that is already seeing a presence in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.
The second component to the strategy was put forward to the Indonesian parliament in October. China’s economic ties on land would be met by a “Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century”, a venture that seeks to interlink Eurasia. In doing so, China will seek greater cooperation with ASEAN countries “to make good use of the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Found set up by the Chinese government” (China Daily, Oct 4, 2013). The subtext here: placate neighbours over territorial disagreements with trade incentives and cash.
There are a few consequences in this vast push. There is a large and looming currency angle. China is seeking to push renminbi in its transactional value and encourage currency swap arrangements between the People’s Bank of China and other central banks. Then comes the culture side of things, a dividend that will supposedly be richer the more money is invested in the various regional economies along the belt and maritime routes.
Spearheading the drive are China’s state-owned enterprises, incarnated, modern Silk Road emissaries and vessels. “Chinese enterprises,” explained Zhang Jianwei, deputy chairman of the Shanghai International Chamber of Commerce, “are in urgent need of financial support to help them expand in overseas markets” (Global Times, Dec 28, 2014). Such overseas expansion is required to develop Western Chinese markets, left behind by the growing cities and economic zones that have privileged the east.
As if to demonstrate the illusion of free markets and unsupported corporate agents, Jianwei noted how overseas economic expansion required sweetening government assistance. “The US did so in the 1950s and Japan followed suit in the 1960s and 1970s.”
The latest promise in terms of huge infrastructure visions comes in the form of a promise to fund a high speed rail line between Moscow and Beijing. The announcement came on Weibo, and is promised to cost in the area of 1.5 trillion yuan ($242 billion). Jon Stone, a journalist formerly working for Buzz Feed UK had a prediction: “New speed railway between Moscow and Beijing announced; it’ll be finished before HS2 (High Speed 2) gets to Birmingham.” Could be, given that developers will first have to deal with a very much in the way and treasured 200-old pear tree that is proving more than a snare (BBC News, Jan 29).
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
This is the call by USA Today columnist Alex Berezow. “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail,” he writes in this USA Today column.
And just to be clear, what Berezow means is that parents who do not vaccinated their children no matter how toxic the vaccine ingredients really are should be thrown in prison. There is no exemption being discussed or recommended that would allow parents to object to vaccines because of the neurotoxic chemicals they contain (such as the heavy metal mercury, still found in flu shots given to children in America). There is also no discussion that informed parents might reasonably object to vaccines based on the recent confession of a top CDC whistleblower who reveals how the CDC committed scientific fraud to bury scientific evidence showing a link between vaccines and autism.
But continuing with the imprisonment idea now being touted by USA Today, it begs the practical question: What exactly should happen after the parents are thrown in prison? Well, of course, the state will take custody of the children because they are now parentless.
So the suggestion that parents who seek to protect their children from toxic vaccine ingredients should be thrown in jail is simultaneously a call for the state to seize custody of all children who are not yet vaccinated with Big Pharma’s toxic vaccines.
Vaccine skepticism to be criminalized in America?
Let’s all be perfectly clear about the crux of this argument published by USA Today. Because police resources in U.S. cities are finite at any given time, Berezow is essentially arguing that law enforcement officers — who are already spread dangerously thin almost everywhere — should be diverted from stopping real criminals such as rapists, murderers and child molesters, and instead should fan out across U.S. cities, going door to door to handcuff and arrest vaccine skeptics while demanding Child Protective Services seize their children.
This argument, dutifully printed by the blindly obedient mainstream media, represents the total abandonment of scientific reasoning and the desperate invocation of the very same policies espoused by Mao, Pol Pot, Mussolini and Adolf Hitler: If the People can’t be persuaded to do what you want through reason, then force them to do so at gunpoint.
Compliance problem solved!
This is, by definition, the very essence of a medical police state. To find that such a policy is boldly called for in the pages of USA Today demonstrates just how treacherously far we have now ventured into the all-too-familiar territory of the world’s past dictatorial regimes which routinely violated human rights in the name of compliance.
And yet this column in USA Today is actually a tremendous victory for vaccine skeptics. There is no greater admission of the failure of vaccine “science” than this call for vaccines to be enforced at gunpoint. It is the wholesale abandonment of any philosophy that might respect human freedom, dignity or choice. Instead, this pronouncement equates intelligent, informed vaccine skeptics with murderers and rapists, implying they should share the same fate, if not the same prison cell.
It is an admission, ultimately, that the vaccine pushers have run out of reasonable ideas and must now resort to force as their last remaining weapon against common sense.
Medical tyranny lives in America
Berezow, like most vaccine promoters, is a medical tyrant. He openly calls for government to use the threat of violence to destroy families, ripping them apart at gunpoint and seizing their children, in order to achieve a level of vaccine compliance that Berezow claims is based on irrefutable evidence of safety and efficacy.
That evidence, of course, is entirely imagined by the vaccine industry itself — the same industry that includes printed inserts in its own vaccines which openly admit things like, “…there have been no controlled trials adequately demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with FLULAVAL.”
Here’s the photo of the vaccine insert so you can see it for yourself:
To make a broad claim that all vaccines are “safe and effective” is to label yourself hopelessly ignorant of medical reality and utterly unqualified to comment on vaccine safety in the first place. To say “vaccines are universally safe and effective” is as cognitively incompetent as saying, “the Earth is flat” or that mercury is also good for children when it’s installed in their teeth. (That’s the official position of the American Dental Association, by the way, a chemical-pushing industry front group still hopelessly stuck in the chemical denials of the 1950′s.)
And the yet the tremendous appeal of government coercion — from the point of view of a medical tyrant — is that it no longer requires consent. This “miracle of compliance” is of course the science method of choice in North Korea, Communist China and the old U.S.S.R. The basis of the idea of coercion is that “people should be free to make their own choices, but only as long as those choices are the ones we demand they make.”
When American media outlets begin to print opinion pieces that resemble the logic of Kim Jong-Un, you know something has gone terribly awry.
No one can threaten your safety… except US!
In his USA Today column, Berezow argues that “no person has the right to threaten the safety of his community,” yet he personally threatens millions of Americans with arrest and imprisonment in his own column. He alone has the right to make such threats, you see, because his threats of taking away your children and imprisoning you as a parent are conducted under the contrived banner of “science.”
His threats don’t count as threats in exactly the same way the Obama administration’s murder of over 3,000 civilians with drone strikes don’t count as civilian casualties, either. Or how the national debt of $18 trillion — most of it accrued under Obama alone — doesn’t count either because “the federal budget is balanced!” (Hint: it isn’t.)
Speaking of civilian casualties, in the name of “science,” Berezow obviously wants to see an armed medical Gestapo going house to house, taking children away from parents and turning them over to the state while those parents are incarcerated in a prison system that’s already bursting at the seams.
This picture imagines what a future vaccine enforcement police team might look like:
The same government that Berezow hopes would use armed police to enforce vaccine compliance has, of course, already granted absolute legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers. So children who are harmed by vaccines have no legitimate legal recourse.
The obvious catch-22 is damning to the industry: Here, take these vaccines at gunpoint, but if your child is harmed or even killed by these vaccines we’ve forced upon you, that’s your problem, not ours. Even the Associated Press recently conducted an investigation into the kangaroo vaccine court system in the United States and concluded it was a comedy of justice that denied payouts to parents for ten years or more.
This imprisonment argument by Berezow also begs the question: Does Mr. Berezow support government coercion and the threat of violence against the citizens of America solely in the arena of vaccines? Or does he also think government should arrest and imprison people who don’t comply with the government’s wishes in all other areas, too?
By Berezow’s own logic, people who refuse to purchase Obamacare health insurance should also be arrested and imprisoned. Probably even people who write about vaccine dangers should be arrested and imprisoned too, by simply legislating that pesky First Amendment out of existence. And why stop there? Why not arrest and imprison people who refuse to testify against themselves, refuse to quarter government soldiers in their private homes, refuse to submit to illegal searches and seizures or refuse to remain silent in their own defense?
Perhaps one day the government will demand that everybody eat Soylent Green. Those who refuse will not merely be arrested, but scooped up and “processed” into more Soylent Green to force-feed to the obedient, ignorant masses.
USA Today promotes a medical police state
The fact that USA Today would even run a column like this shows the late hour of the medical police state which the American people have apathetically allowed to emerge under their watch. In an era where the U.S. government now openly spies on all our phone calls, emails and phone texts — and where the Obama administration has prosecuted more truth-telling whistleblowers than any other administration in U.S. history — the systems of oppression, propaganda and control have reached a tipping point of public revolt.
The mass militarization of local police forces across the country is a screaming red alert that civil liberties are being crushed while the government itself seems to be arming for war against the American people. Local police departments now possess mine-resistant armored cars, automatic military weapons, surveillance drones and even futuristic thermal vision devices that can see through walls. If vaccine skepticism is criminalized, all these weapons of war — many transferred to police departments after returning from the front lines of battle in the Middle East — will be turned against citizens who refuse to inject their children with the toxic chemical poisons still found in vaccines.
The next simple step is to declare vaccine skeptics to be “domestic terrorists.” From that point, all varieties of government coercion, violence, torture and murder of these people is “ethically justified” according to the vaccine pushers.
Rather than removing the toxic chemicals, the vaccine industry wants to force them on you at gunpoint
Public trust in the government is at an all-time low. Public trust in the lying mainstream media continues to plummet by the day. Public trust in toxic vaccines continues to fall as well, and this trend will never be reversed until the vaccine industry decides to remove toxic heavy metals and chemicals from its vaccines (if ever).
Rather than cleaning up its own products, the vaccine industry turns to people who call for government violence against citizens in order to achieve involuntary compliance.
We’ve seen these kind of people before, of course. They are the same kind of people who shoved Obamacare down our throats, hitting us all with hefty fines if we refuse to purchase an insurance product that the government totally lied about with claims that it would be “affordable.” Remember, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?” It’s the same kind of malicious lie uttered by vaccine poisoners who claim vaccines are “totally safe and effective.”
But in his USA Today column, Berezow ups the ante. He does not merely call for vaccine skeptics to be fined. That financial coercion tactic is apparently too mild for a man who is so sure he’s 100% correct that he’s willing to bet YOUR family on it. No, Berezow calls for vaccine skeptics to be arrested and imprisoned. If you do not get your children vaccinated, he unabashedly argues, you are an enemy of the state.
He’s sure of it. In fact, he knows far better than you what should be injected into your children. You are too stupid to know the right answer, he implies, so leave it to the pharma companies that conduct deadly drug experiments on children to tell you what to do with your own children.
I want to thank Berezow for finally removing all doubt about the true agenda of the vaccine pushers. I’m sure it won’t be long before non-vaccinated children and adults will be required by law to wear Scarlet-letter shame symbols much like the Jews in 1939, and at some point people like Berezow will no doubt call for parents who don’t vaccinate their children to be rounded up and sent to “re-education camps” where they will be subjected to PowerPoint presentations dreamed up by GlaxoSmithKline, the same company found guilty of felony bribery crimes by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
Medical freedom was almost written into the U.S. Constitution
Berezow has done us a service in all this, however. He has made the argument for a national “medical freedom” amendment to the United States Constitution.
It is because of tyrant-minded people like Berezow that America’s founders created a First Amendment, Second Amendment, Third Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment and so on. All of these Constitutional amendments grew out of systematic government abuses of civil liberties and human freedoms.
“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.”
Dr. Rush, in other words, foresaw precisely the kind of medical tyranny now published by USA Today. “Medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship” is exactly what we’ve seen happen. That dictatorship, argues Berezow, should be enforced at gunpoint by the government itself. This is the definition of fascism: a corporate-government partnership to force obedience onto the population through coercion dished out under the threat of violence and incarceration.
USA Today should be ashamed that it has published a medical dictatorship propaganda piece that would have made Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels proud.
When the facts don’t support the agenda, turn to government guns instead
The call to imprison vaccine resistors is an open admission that the SCIENCE behind vaccines isn’t compelling and must therefore be replaced with GUNS.
How else will you arrest people, take their children away and imprison them unless you bring men with guns and badges to the “guilty” households, anyway? Where junk science fails, government guns are clearly the answer. And if guns alone don’t work, they always have tanks, too.
In essence, the argument being made in the USA Today column is that guns should be used to force vaccine compliance. It’s not even a leap, as guns in the hands of government goons are already being used to force children into toxic chemotherapy treatments against their will.
Why stop at vaccines? Why not threaten to arrest anyone who disagrees with a doctor on anything?
If total medical compliance — at any cost to human freedom and dignity — is the goal, then why not launch a whole new domestic army called D.M.S.; the Department of Medical Security. Declare that all who oppose Big Pharma’s medical advice are “threats to national security” and ship them all to Gitmo where the U.S. government continues to run torture operations.
Once you start down the road of medical tyranny, it doesn’t end well for humanity. Just ask the victims of the Nazi chemical conglomerate IG Farben, which was later split into chemical corporations, one of which is now known as Bayer. Under the guidance of the “science” of Nazi Germany, heinous chemical crimes were committed against countless Jews, including gassing them to death and using Jewish prisoners for medical experiments.
The former chairperson of Bayer, for the record, was convicted of Nazi war crimes at the Nuremburg tribunals and sentenced to prison. Today, pharma executives routinely commit felony crimes yet go free, even while USA Today calls for parents to be imprisoned for saying no to Big Pharma’s deadly chemicals.
No doubt the vaccine promoters of today who demand the arrest and imprisonment of American vaccine resisters would also approve of using those prisoners for their medical experiments. See the full history of U.S. medical experiments here, here and here. Most of these inhumane medical experiments were carried out against prisoners, minorities or soldiers.
It’s quite clear that the very same ethically-perverse medical system that’s right now calling for the imprisonment of vaccine skeptics would, of course, have no hesitation using those people for “important medical research in the interests of the public good.”
This is how crimes against humanity are born. You are watching it unfold right before your very eyes, right in America today, in the pages of USA Today. This is history in the making, and it is a history that will march us all right down the road of state-sponsored medical terrorism that’s openly supported by the mainstream media.
Some people learn from the mistakes of history. But Berezow is determined to repeat them.
The existence of nuclear weapons makes Armageddon possible. If there were no nuclear weapons on the planet the human race would have a dire threat lifted and could focus on the other, less instantaneous, threats to the survival of our species.
In certain cops and robbers films a scene arises when protagonists are lined up opposite each other, both factions pointing weapons at their opponents. Obviously this is a highly risky scenario which typically ends badly – in a bloodbath. One of the protagonists decides he can win if he fires first; a passing waiter drops a tray of glasses and a gunman thinks the shooting has started; someone can’t stand the tension, panics, and starts the slaughter. Occasionally sanity prevails and everyone carefully puts down their weapons. Such a confrontation is the posture adopted on a nuclear scale by our leaders to make us feel safe! All the nuclear states resist an agreement to give up their nuclear weapons. In fact they are all renewing them.
On Tuesday 20th January, 2015, the UK parliament debated the renewal of its Trident nuclear ‘deterrent’. The debate was called by the Scottish and Welsh national parties and the Green Party. It took place to the great discomfort of the Conservative and Labour parties for obvious reason when we consider that the vast majority of Conservative MPs and most Labour MPs want to renew the UK’s Trident fleet of nuclear submarines. A fully armed Trident submarine has the destructive power to incinerate over 76 million human beings1, extrapolating from the number killed at Hiroshima. It is contended that preparing the ability to carry out this crime against humanity is for our security (which raises the question ‘How many people are you prepared to exterminate to keep you safe?).
Our country is not threatened by any major power. In fact the only threat is from terrorists who seek revenge for our illegal and immoral wars in the Middle East so this degree of Armageddon-scale nuclear belligerence on the part of the Tories and Labour is puzzling to many and various explanations have been attempted. An article in The Guardian suggests that if we as much as run down our nuclear arsenal ‘..Washington would not be happy’2. The reasons suggested for Labour’s position include that it would be threatening jobs and would be seen as weak on ‘security’; jobs for building mass extermination machines and security by threatening to participate in nuclear Armageddon.
The government is well aware that UK citizens do not want this threat of instant annihilation hanging over them at all times. The panic over Scottish independence made that abundantly clear (the Scottish people want the Westminster nuclear arsenal removed from their country). Further evidence is the way the Ministry of Defence (War is Peace) submitted a written statement about Trident to the House of Commons the very day its Christmas break started. The government has said it will not make a decision about Trident renewal until 2016. Yet it has already allocated more than 3 billion pounds of our money to the project for ‘long lead items’2. Moreover it has just earmarked an additional 261 million pounds for Trident. This is treating the public with contempt. Further evidence, if such is needed, that the government has already decided to renew its instruments of Arnageddon, is the exclusion of Trident costs from the Strategic Defence and Security Review planned for after the general election. This is in spite of the fact that the Trident project is predicted, by the early 2020s, to cost around 35% of the defence equipment budget2.
If the government really had the security of its citizens as its first priority it would be spending the billions of Trident pounds on making the world free of the curse of nuclear weapons. So why is the government’s agenda so at variance with the wellbeing of the UK’s citizens?
Sir Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat’s former defence minister told the House of Commons it is‘inconceivable’ that ‘any sane person could press the button’. Can he really be unaware of the possibility of a not- sane person, or someone otherwise incapacitated, getting their finger on the nuclear button? Is he unaware that in 1995 the heavy drinking Boris Yeltsin had his finger on the nuclear button when the Russian black box was opened because their early warning system (falsely) told of an incoming nuclear strike3? Russian policy at the time was ‘launch on warning’. Global nuclear war was only avoided because one man, Boris Yeltsin, had the good sense to wait in spite of the electronic notice that a nuclear attack on Russian was under way. Does Harvey not know that since 1945 there have been a large number of other terrifying occurrences where the human race has very narrowly escaped a global nuclear war because of accidents and misunderstandings; all of which would have been impossible if the arsenals had not existed? Is he unaware that, thanks to the proliferation encouraged by the nuclear states, the repressive dictatorship in North Korea has an arsenal of nuclear weapons and that other non-nuclear states in the Middle East and elsewhere have the capability to build nuclear weapons?
In fact the government has its own agenda and it is not to do with the security of citizens. It is about prestige, power, saving face, pleasing the Americans. Mr Blair the globe-wandering multi-millionaire ex UK Prime Minister gave the game away in his memoires when he wrote, referring to Trident renewal, “the expense is huge and the utility … non-existent in terms of military use”. In the end he thought giving it up would be “too big a downgrading of our status as a nation”2. What distorted sense of values attaches ‘prestige’ to a nation by its preparing for the incineration of millions? And what kind of representatives of the people are willing to put the survival of the people at risk in order to inflate their egos and boost their ‘prestige’? Of the 193 states in the United Nations there are only 9 who have built nuclear weapons. The UK, to its shame, is one of them. The nuclear states not only put their own citizens at risk but also the citizens of the non-nuclear states. Nuclear radiation does not respect national boundaries.
The government tells the public the UK must have its ‘minimal, independent, nuclear deterrent’. It is not minimal, it is not independent and it is not a deterrent. What is minimal about destroying 76 million people? An All-party Trident Commission, set up by the British American Security Information Council last year stated that Britain’s deterrent is ‘a hostage to American goodwill’2. What is independent about that? It is not a deterrent because it does not deter the only threat to our safety, namely that from terrorists.
In the foreword to the UK 2007 White paper, ‘The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent’, the then prime Minister Mr Blair wrote that we cannot foresee what will happen in the next 50 years, thus implying that the UK should keep its nuclear arsenal for that length of time. This was tantamount to saying the British government was not going to honour its commitment to ‘..pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its forms…’. This was the obligation, according to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, of all those governments who had signed and ratified the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. It was therefore the obligation of the UK government. And on 15 January 2007, as the Defence Select Committee began its inquiry into the government’s White Paper on Trident replacement, a new opinion poll showed that the vast majority of the British public supports a convention banning all nuclear weapons4; more evidence that the agenda of the politicians is different from that of the citizens.
The time has come for our ‘prestige’-obsessed politicians to abandon their attachment to their instruments of Armageddon; time for Britain’s politicians to honour the wishes of its citizens and declare the United Kingdom a nuclear free zone.
During the House of Commons debate on 20.1.15 the Scottish Nationalist MP Angus Robertson informed the House that ‘at present, a UK Trident submarine remains on patrol at all times, and each submarine carries an estimated eight missiles, each of which can carry up to five warheads. In total, that makes 40 warheads, each with an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons of conventional high explosive—eight times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing an estimated 240,000 people from blast and radiation. See: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150120/debtext/150120-0001.htm#15012040000001
The Holocaust in Europe was the extreme distillation of the essence of evil. It was prepared, as are all genocides, by first engineering the dehumanisation of its victims. The ‘Final Solution’ of the Nazis then progressed to the wholesale killing of millions, mostly Jews, on an industrial scale, that established a terrifying precedent in the history of man’s inhumanity to man.
Seventy years on, there is tragically now a resurgence of anti-Semitism driven in large part by the policy of the Israeli government in its brutal treatment of the five million indigenous Muslim Arabs whose lands it still occupies – much of which it has expropriated in violation of international law.
To omit this causal factor in the increase of antipathy towards those who openly support current Israeli government policy, is to collude in its agenda, either deliberately or otherwise. There has been much media comment this week that has correctly condemned the rise in anti-Semitic invective but virtually no acknowledgement of that which is undoubtedly a key driver to its growth.
Until such time that the policies of the Netanyahu government, in illegally settling 500,000 of its citizens on occupied land in order to prevent self-determination for the indigenous Palestinians, are condemned outright and positive action taken by those Western governments who have diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel’s Likud coalition, then anti-Semitism will continue to increase exponentially to the danger of European society, in general.
It is self-evident that when democratic integrity is jettisoned and human rights are abused – not in legitimate defence of the state but in order to achieve economic profit and political and military advantage, then such a society is corrupted as are those who contract with it.
For those UN states who are signatories to the Geneva Conventions, to allow any maverick UN member to continuously violate international agreements by treating the law and the United Nations itself with contempt, then such tacit collusion bodes ill for future world peace and for the international community.
International law and human and civil rights must be respected today if the Western world is not to experience mass murder again, tomorrow.
The Globalization of War is an extraordinarily important book. It tags the origin of a long series of wars and conflicts, from the end of World War II to the present, as being direct products of U.S. Foreign Policy. Nothing happens by accident. U.S. provocateurs, usually agents of the CIA, incite one conflict after another in what Michel Chossudovsky labels America’s “Long War” against Humanity.
It comprises a war on two fronts. Those countries that can either be “bought,” or destabilized by a corrupt international financial system, are easy targets for effective conquest. In other cases insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit American military intervention to fill the pockets of the military-industrial complex that General Eisenhower warned us about. The “End Game” is a New World Order embracing a dual economic and military dictatorship prepared to use atomic weapons and risk the future of the entire human species to achieve its ends.
Michel Chossudovsky is one of the few individuals I know who has analyzed the anatomy of the New World Order and recognized the threat to the entire human species that it is.
The Globalization of War is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.
Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence
Bolivian President Evo Morales weighed in on the controversy over remarks made earlier this month by Andrew Lack, the new chief executive of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).
The BBG is noteworthy for its connection to the CIA’s effort to control media and dispense white propaganda. The United States government agency controls the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Marti and TV Marti. CIA control of these organizations is well documented.
BBG is also associated with the United States Information Agency and the National Endowment for Democracy. “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in 1991.
“When the media turns into the voice of the people, especially in the voice of revolutionaries, there are those people and the media, who will judge them and falsify the truth,” Morales told RT, the Russian state-funded cable and satellite television channel. “This media is the voice of the developing countries, the voice of the peoples of the world, and it deserves our admiration.”
During an interview with The New York Times, Lack said it is the job of the BBG to confront news organizations not under the control of the U.S. government.
“We are facing a number of challenges from entities like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East and groups like Boko Haram, “ said Lack, the former president of NBC News. “But I firmly believe that this agency has a role to play in facing those challenges.”
Lack’s comments were so transparently over the top, even the State Department felt obliged to distance itself from them:
Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura told RT Lack and the BBG are calling alternative media to be censored.
“There should be no Big Brother telling us what we can or cannot see,” Ventura said. “If someone desires to watch RT TV and takes the opinion they don’t like, well then they merely don’t have to put it to that station.”
Michael Krieger, the editor of Liberty Blitzkrieg, points out that RT is popular in the United States and thus a challenge because Americans are fed up with news coverage offered by the corporate media.
“RT’s success was not because the Russian state poured so much time and money into the network,”Krieger writes. “It’s success was a direct result of the U.S. mainstream media being so childish and useless. By spewing a mind-numbing amount of inane celebrity gossip, sports drama and cartoonish American propaganda, a massive audience yearning for a different perspective was already present and underserved. RT merely came along and filled that void.”
Comments made by Daniel Russel, a representative of the US State Department, condemned the current Thai government’s legal proceedings against deposed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the nepotist proxy of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, also deposed in a military coup in 2006, and guilty of mass murder, serial corruption and abuse of power, terrorism, and backing armed insurrection in 2009 and 2010.
Russel’s comments were verbatim the talking points used for years by the Shinawatra regime to fend off attempts to check its autocratic despotism, and were again repeated by the remnants of Shinawatra’s political front in Thailand after Russel’s comments, prompting Thai authorities to summon 3 senior members of Shinawatra’ political party.
During Shinawatra’s short term in office, her political party bankrupted the country and devastated its rice industry, jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of farmers. Nearly one million farmers went unpaid for over half a year after a government subsidy scheme collapsed amid rampant corruption and theft. The rice scheme in particular led to Shinawatra’s impeachment from office, an impeachment the US maintains is “politically driven.”
Also during Yingluck Shinawatra’s tenure in office, amid growing protests against the regime she posed as head of, her brother’s political network employed heavily armed terrorists wielding M16s, AK47s, M79 grenade launchers, pistols, and hand grenades, killing nearly thirty unarmed protesters and bystanders including women and children, and maiming over 800 more.
Image: The Shinawatra regime has employed heavily armed terrorists throughout its time in power, including in 2010 (above) where militants murdered soldiers, police, protesters, and by-standers alike – caught openly brandishing war weapons. Despite the depravity of the Shinawatra regime throughout its time in power, the US State Department is still defending it, and condemning those attempting to remove its destructive influence from Thailand’s political landscape.
Confirmation of Shinawatra’s role in the terrorism aimed at breaking the will of protesters and maintaining his grip on political power in Thailand, came from one of his most stalwart foreign media supporters, ex-senior Reuters editor Andrew McGregor Marshall, who fled Thailand and has worked as part of Shinawatra’s lobbying and public relations efforts since 2011. Marshall claims to have spoken directly with the killers and has confirmed that they were indeed “red,” the term used to describe members of Shinawatra’s political machine.
The US then, in addition to defending a deposed prime minister guilty of immense, overt criminality and corruption, is also defending a deposed regime that employed terrorism and mass murder against its own people. If Marshall’s story is true, Russel should perhaps be questioning why the new Thai government is only impeaching Yingluck Shinawatra, and not trying her for treason or for supporting terrorism.
If Marshall’s story is not true, perhaps networks like the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and papers like the Guardian should stop deferring to him as an “expert” on Thai politics.
Regardless, that the narrative employed by both the US State Department and Shinawatra’s political machine, echoes similar US-backed sedition seen recently in Hong Kong, and documented in other nations including Libya, Syria, and Egypt where protests led to wide scale violence and even full-scale war.
Calling Yousaf Al Salafi an IS Pakistani commander.
In detention in Pakistan, he admitted getting funds from America. On January 22, he and two associates were arrested in Lahore, said AFP.
According to the English language newspaper The Express Tribune:
“During investigations, (Al Salafi) revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run an organization in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria.”
The information came from its sister Urdu language Daily Express. From a source close to Pakistan’s investigation on condition of anonymity. Saying Al Salafi was arrested in December.
Admitted getting $600 per recruit. Worked with at least one accomplice. Reportedly a Pakistani imam. According to the unnamed source:
“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organizations, which is being routed through the US.”
“The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests, and that is why it launched offensive (actions) against the organization in Iraq but not in Syria.”
Its oil facilities, infrastructure, grain silos and other non-military sites are targeted. Scores of civilians were killed.
IS fighters remain largely unscathed. New ones enter Syria through Turkey, Jordan and Israel’s Golan.
According to a Pakistani security source, recruiting IS fighters “was raised several several times (by) local media” reports.
“(E)ven in the diplomatic corridors between US and Pakistan…(M)edia reporters here suggest(ed) that hundreds of recruits have been exported from Pakistan.”
The issue was discussed with John Kerry on his recent Islamabad visit.
“The matter was also taken up with CENTCOM (US Central Command) chief, General Lloyd Austin, during his visit to Islamabad earlier this month,” an unnamed source said.
Reuters was told Al Salafi is a Pakistani-Syrian. Came to Pakistan via Turkey. Arrived five months ago. Established a Pakistani-based IS group.
Local media report growing internal IS influence. Citing incidents in Lahore and Multan. Where IS flags and graffiti are clearly visible.
Last year, Obama began bombing claimed IS sites in Iraq and Syria. Washington wants unchallenged regional control.
Fear-mongering is longstanding US practice. Obama nonsensically calls IS “unique…If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond (the) region, including to the United States,” he claims.
Washington’s objectives include controlling regional oil. Installing pro-Western puppet regimes.
Balkanizing Iraq into the Kurdish north, Baghdad center and Basra south. Controlling the country more effectively this way.
Ousting Assad. Eliminating a key Israeli rival. Replacing him with a US-friendly stooge. Isolating Iran. Its turn awaits US regime change plans.
America’s dark side threatens world peace. Obama wants congressional authority for unconstrained war. Billions of dollars in funding.
America’s longstanding business is war. Obama calls it US “leadership.” International law calls it naked aggression.
Based on Big Lies. With no just cause. No existential or other threats. No legal standing regardless of congressional action.
Security Council members alone may authorize war. Every US post-WW II one was illegal. Including ongoing direct and proxy ones. New ones planned.
War is America’s strategy of choice. Permanent ones. Dirty ones. Waged without mercy. Against nations US forces can easily roll over.
How many more countries will America ravage and destroy? How many more victims will die?
Wars won”t end when Obama leaves office. Whoever replaces him will continue them seamlessly. Wage new ones.
Expect no end to mass slaughter and destruction. Not as long as lunatics run the Washington asylum.
The only solution is nonviolent revolution. The alternative is continued death, destruction and growing homeland repression.
Tyranny by any standard. Masquerading as democracy works only for so long. America’s dark side is to ugly to hide.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
Israeli politicians responded with outrage to Hizballah’s attack on Wednesday on an Israeli military convoy close to the Lebanese border. Anti-tank missiles killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more.
With Israel and Hizballah at the closest point to a major confrontation since their month-long war in 2006, Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for a “very harsh and disproportionate” response.
Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, echoed him. “To those who are challenging us in the north, I suggest you look at what happened in the Gaza Strip,” he said, referring to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge last summer that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians.
Following the soldiers’ deaths, Israel struck southern Lebanon, killing a United Nations peacekeeper. It is unclear if or what further action Israel intends to take.
But the truth is that Hizballah’s attack was the very minimum retaliation Israel could realistically expect following an air strike earlier this month on one of Hizballah’s convoys in southern Syria.
That attack, on January 18, killed six Hizballah commanders and several members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, including a general.
Israel’s offensive could not have been timed to inflict greater humiliation on Hizballah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Two days before, he had made a speech in which he warned Israel against launching attacks into Syria and threatened that Hizballah would respond with long-range rockets.
Hizballah appears to want this episode to draw to a close. Israel’s defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, confirmed on Thursday that he had received such a message from Hizballah delivered through UN peacekeepers. Iran, however, may be planning its own retaliation.
The more pressing question is whether Israel will let the matter drop.
On Thursday, Netanyahu sought to place the blame on Iran rather than Hizballah: “It is Iran that stands behind the attack on us yesterday from Lebanon.”
There are grounds for suspecting that Israel’s original January 18 strike had little or nothing to do with its stated aim: to prevent an imminent attack on Israel.
More likely, it was partly opportunistic – according to Israeli media reports, the Iranian general left on a cell phone, revealing his location – partly driven by Netanyahu’s personal calculations as he faces elections, and partly strategic.
As ever, Netanyahu is desperate to cast Iran in the role of bogeyman, in the hope of upsetting the talks between Tehran and the western powers on Iran’s nuclear energy programme – his own political hobby horse. Those negotiations have shown signs of progress.
Netanyahu has already mobilised much of the US Congress to his side, with US legislators threatening to impose tougher sanctions on Iran.
The emphasis Netanyahu places on subverting the negotiations can be inferred from his decision to infuriate the White House by engineering an invite to address the Congress in early March to further his cause.
Hizballah and Iran are therefore keen to avoid stepping into Netanyahu’s trap. Wednesday’s deadly attack was carefully calibrated to make it hard for him to escalate matters further.
The anti-tank missiles were fired into an area known as the Shebaa Farms, a seven-mile strip of mountainous territory between Lebanon and Syria. Sovereignty over the area is disputed.
Lebanon claims it as Lebanese, a position traditionally backed by Syria. But Israel argues it is part of the Syrian Golan Heights and was therefore illegally annexed to Israel along with the Heights back in 1981. Under much pressure from Israel and Washington, the United Nations has backed Israel’s claim.
In practice, however, the Shebaa Farms is territory no one controls. Israel Ziv, the former head of Israeli army operations, explained to Israeli journalists on Wednesday the “gentleman’s agreement” with Hizballah. “Generally, what happens in Shebaa, stays in Shebaa,” he said.
Playing it cautious
That was obviously Hizballah’s working assumption as it launched its strike on Wednesday.
Had it hit from Syria, it risked opening the door to more Israeli attacks on Syrian army positions, further weakening the regime as it struggles against opposition forces trying to topple it.
And had it launched the missiles into Israel from Lebanon, it would have justified a stiffer Israeli response against Lebanon, drawing Beirut into the Syrian war and unleashing a wave of domestic criticism of Hizballah.
The Shia militia also indicated its desire to close the matter by firing precise missiles at a military target rather than, as Nasrallah had suggested before Israel’s attack on January 18, by launching rockets at Israeli communities in the north.
Further, no effort appears to have been made to capture any of the surviving soldiers, as Hizballah did in 2006, triggering the war with Israel. Certainly a captured soldier would have raised the pressure on Netanyahu considerably to escalate hostilities.
In truth, the Israeli elections may actually stay Netanyahu’s hand. Should he seek a major escalation, Israeli military analyst Ron Ben Yishai noted, his opponents would accuse him of waging a “political war”, and one that would inevitably result in Hizballah rocket fire on Israel.
Influential columnist Ari Shavit concluded similarly: “The Israeli people will neither forgive nor forget the one who brings missiles to Ben-Gurion Airport, to the Kirya government and IDF compound, and to Tel Aviv’s skyscrapers.”
More likely, Netanyahu will seek to contain events for the time being.
Nonetheless, sooner or later Israel can be expected to push for a major confrontation with Hizballah and Iran in Syria.
Israel’s generals are concerned that the two may gain a permanent foothold in Quneitra province, the region on the other side of the ceasefire lines from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. They are – as is Israel – keen to fill the power vacuum created last summer by the Syrian army’s loss of control over the area to rebel groups.
Israel wants to maintain its freedom to operate in Syrian skies unimpeded and appears to be working closely with the rebels in the area north of the Golan Heights.
In its security-obsessed worldview, any effort by Hizballah – Israel’s most effective regional foe – to establish such a base close to the Golan will be perceived as a major strategic threat.
On Wednesday night, Netanyahu told his security cabinet: “For some time now Iran is trying, via Hizballah, to set up a terrorist front against us in the Golan Heights. We are working aggressively and responsibly against this attempt.”
Israel has been working to that end through a series of air strikes in Syria to weaken the Syrian army and its Hizballah ally, and through proxies, making opportunistic alliances with Syrian opposition forces, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. It may even secretly work with Islamic State if it believes that will damage Hizballah and the Syrian regime.
The stakes are, of course, no less serious for Hizballah and Iran. Israel’s goal of undermining the Syrian regime and army would push Syria further into the mire of feuding sects and militias.
The emerging chaos in southern Syria, fuelled in part by Israeli interventions, offers Israel a final benefit. It has consolidated the consensus in Israel against ever returning the Golan Heights to Syria and removed any international pressure to do so.
Few events expose the utter hypocrisy of U.S. politicians’ grand words about democracy so starkly as their praise for the recently deceased King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. For decades U.S. imperialism and all the imperialist powers have given political, military and diplomatic support to the corrupt feudal family that rules Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of oil.
Heads of state abruptly changed plans and rushed to Riyadh to greet the 79-year-old new ruler King Salman. President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron accompanied by Prince Charles, French President Hollande, Afghanistan President Ghani, Spain’s King Felipe VI, Turkish President Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif were all anxious to be assured of the regime’s continuation.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute and brutal dictatorship. The country is named after the royal Saud family that has expropriated the country’s fabulous oil wealth, and treats it as a wholly owned family asset. Their control is maintained by massive state-organized repression. All forms of political dissent and social organization, from political parties to trade unions, are banned under pain of death.
Executions by decapitation in public squares are held on average once every four days. Capital crimes include adultery, homosexuality and political opposition to the regime. Public stonings are also a common form of execution. Other punishments include eye gouging, limb amputation, tooth extraction, surgical paralysis and public lashings.
Wealth and poverty
Government departments are treated as fiefdoms. Their enormous budgets are unaudited and at the family’s personal disposal. Personal and state funds are completely commingled. All family members are guaranteed astronomical monthly allowances from birth, the amount depending on their proximity to the king’s inner circle. The Saud family, with almost 4,000 members, extends privileges up to 30,000 others related by marriage.
The cabinet is made up of Saud family members. The key ministries — interior, foreign affairs, the military commands, National Guard and regional governorships — are held exclusively by family members.
The government does not gather data on poverty, literacy, unemployment or health coverage. However, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported in July 2012 that 60 percent of the population lived below the poverty line
A third of the country’s population of 27 million are immigrants with no rights, no status and no social benefits, who make up 80 percent of the work force.
Saudi unemployment is estimated at 10 percent by the CIA World Factbook, but 28 percent among young men aged 15 to 24, who lack needed skills. Women are not considered part of the work force.
Women in Saudi Arabia have the lowest literacy in the region. More than 1.5 million migrant women work in domestic slavery. A 2012 report from the International Trade Union Confederation on workers’ rights in Saudi Arabia reported alarming levels of child labor, discrimination and forced labor.
All women, regardless of their class position, have no rights to employment, property or education. They cannot step one foot out of their homes unless covered head to toe in a long black abaya and accompanied by a male family member.
Women in powerful positions in the West ignore the reality of Saudi women. For example, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, hailed King Abdullah as “a strong advocate for women.” (Washington Post, Jan. 23) U.N. World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin praised King Abdullah: “He was a true humanitarian leader, always on the side of the world’s hungry poor.” (www.un.org, Jan 23)
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined in the imperialist outpouring of praise, expressing in the same statement his gratitude for the king’s “generous humanitarian and developmental support” throughout the Middle East.
Because Wall Street, U.S. oil corporations, military industries and banks reap such enormous profits from this gang of thieves, they have done everything possible to arm, train and reinforce the Saudi military. The role of the corporate media is to provide a veneer of respectability to this family of looters.
This narrow ruling elite relies on five U.S. military bases, Western arms and military training for its protection and survival. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in nearby Bahrain, defends the status quo with aircraft carriers, 20 ships, nuclear submarines, 103 strike aircraft and 20,000 sailors and marines.
In return, the Saudi royal family pays protection money to U.S. military industries like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Boeing. Billions also go to British, French and German military corporations. The Saudi military budget in 2013 was $67 billion, the fourth largest in the world, after the U.S., China and Russia.
Saudi spending on weapons comes to 9.3 percent of its gross national product, the highest in the world. The economy is the least diversified of any oil-producing country, with more than 90 percent of its export earnings coming from oil. Virtually everything else must be imported.
Until the 1970s, four U.S. companies were the sole owners of Saudi oil — free and clear of taxes and duties. As revolutionary upheavals in the region led many countries to demand full control of their resources, Saudi oil was carefully nationalized into a conglomerate called Aramco. Exploration, drilling, pumping, transport and the building of pipelines, ports and terminals were all structured to return maximum profits to U.S. corporations. While the Saud family can take immense wealth for themselves, the vast majority of these funds must be held in U.S. banks or be used to purchase U.S. materials.
Contras and terror militias
This opaque, unaudited economy makes Saudi Arabia a perfect conduit and funding source for U.S. wars, military adventures and secret agencies. At the same time, the U.S. State Department can claim that it knows nothing about who is funding terrorist militias — from the Nicaraguan contras in 1983 to ISIS in 2015.
When Congress denied funding for the reactionary contras in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan covertly arranged for the Saudis to send them weapons to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Saudi money was a key component in the CIA’s war against the progressive Afghan regime that began in 1979. Working with Washington, it has also funded reactionary militias in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon that have metastasized into a viciously sectarian and destabilizing force throughout the Middle East.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to Washington from 1983 to 2005, is considered a mastermind of the Saudi terror network. He is now director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency.
Saudi wealth also keeps other military dictatorships in the region afloat. In Egypt, the Saudis provided $1 billion to help General al-Sisi’s coup against the elected Morsi government. After the coup they pledged an immediate $8 billion to stabilize the military regime and have now committed more than $20 billion to maintaining that dictatorship.
The continued rule of the House of Saud is based on a thin, corrupt layer of extreme privilege. Dependent on immigrant labor, foreign trainers and technical experts, it is hated by its own people. U.S. imperialism has staked its continued domination of the region on a detested and narrow grouping that lacks popular support or legitimacy.
The location and dates of the forthcoming 2015 gathering of secretive elites under the Bilderberg Group banner has been confirmed.
Local police have verified that the conference will take place at the opulent Interalpen Hotel, in the Austrian mountains near Telfs.
In a press release, the Austrian police revealed that security for the confab will be in operation from June 9th-14th. As is usually the custom with Bilderberg, the actual meeting of delegates will take place from the Thursday to the Sunday of that week, June 11th-14th.
The police press release notes that security at the Bilderberg meeting will be part of the same operation as security for the much more public G7 meeting, which is scheduled to take place at the beginning of the same week, 7th-8th June, at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany.
“The security measures at the G7 summit on 7 and 8 June 2015 in Bavaria, and the Bilderberg Conference from 9 to 14 June 2015 in Tyrol were focal points of a briefing by Federal Minister Mag Johanna Mikl-Leitner and representatives of the Ministry of Interior and State Police Tyrol on 13 January 2015 in Vienna.” the press statement reads.
“The venue of the G7 summit lies only 3.6 kilometers in a straight line from the Austrian border, both events cover similar issues and take place one after the other, the G7 summit on 7th and 8th June 2015 and the Bilderberg conference on 9th to 14th June 2015.” the statement continues.
“The job of the police at the G7 and the Bilderberg conference is the protection of state guests, eminent persons and the general public,” the Minister of the Interior is quoted as saying. “The defense and prevention of attacks is a top priority. However, the police presence also ensures the protection of peaceful demonstrators, because freedom of assembly is one of the fundamental rights of our democracy.” the Minister is said to have added.
The statement also notes that in conjunction with German police, extra special police forces will be called in to operate security during the gatherings. Known as COBRA, the forces are Austria’s primary counter-terrorism special operations tactical unit. and are not part of the Austrian Federal Police but are directly under the control of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior.
Major General Robert Strondl, Head of the Operations Department of the Interior Ministry noted that “For months we gather all the relevant information about both events and create risk assessments that are continuously updated and are the basis for all other plans.”
The statement also notes that police are considering “significant” traffic restrictions, and even a 30 mile no-fly zone around the Bilderberg meeting, to include paragliders and hang gliders.
Rumours over the venue for this year’s Bilderberg meeting, the Interalpen Hotel, were first touted back in August when enquiries to the hotel revealed that it was already fully booked on the first two weekends of June. The uncovering of Bilderberg came earlier than ever before, perhaps reflecting the intense scrutiny that the group has come under in recent years.
Interalpen-Hotel is surrounded by forest and mountains, close to a ski resort, and not too far away from Innsbruck airport. Its ‘Meetings And Events’ brochure, states that “the hotel lies at an altitude of 1,300 metres in an exclusive setting in the Tirolean Alps and offers panoramic views of magnificent mountain peaks.”
The venue, owned by Swiss manufacturing giant The Liebherr Group, has a 400-capacity conference centre with “a magnificent Alpine backdrop”. The hotel previously hosted the Bilderbergers in 1988, 27 years ago. If the latest reports are correct, 2015 will mark the third occasion that the conference has been held in Austria.
It seems that the elites have returned to form following 2014′s relatively transparent location in Copenhagen Denmark, where reporters were able to get up close and personal with attendees as they wined and dined.
The gathering this year is sure to be reminiscent of the 2011 meeting in St. Moritz, Switzerland, when Bilderbergers retreated into the mountains, shielded by winding roads and forest cover.
While the mainstream media habitually fails to afford Bilderberg the press coverage it demands – characterizing the group as a mere “talking shop” – innumerable examples of the organization having a direct impact on global policy have been documented in recent years, leading to charges that the group is fundamentally undemocratic in nature.
In 2010, former NATO Secretary-General and Bilderberg member Willy Claes’ admitted that Bilderberg attendees are mandated to implement policy decisions that are formulated during the meeting.
Bilderberg has influenced major global events ahead of time, picking Presidents and Prime Ministers on a regular basis with total contempt for the democratic process.
In 2013, Italian lawyer Alfonso Luigi Marra requested that the Public Prosecutor of Rome investigate the clandestine organization for criminal activity, questioning whether the group’s 2011 meeting in Switzerland led to the selection of Mario Monti as Prime Minister of Italy.
In 2009, Bilderberg chairman Étienne Davignon even bragged about how the Euro single currency was a brainchild of the Bilderberg Group.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.
Media attention was aroused by the collision of a drone with a tree on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday, reportedly prompting the Secret Service to go into ‘lockdown’.
But dozens of social media sites have been focussing on the 2012-2013 story of drone pilot Brandon Bryant, rather than the more recent news about a leaked internal US defence force memo, which appeared in Australia’s number one news site, www.news.com.au, earlier this month.
It alleges that a leaked memo reveals that experienced drone operators are leaving the Air Force ‘in droves’ and fewer new recruits are entering the ranks.
US Air Combat Command (ACC) says it is facing a ‘perfect storm’ of budget cutbacks, staff turnover and heightened demand.
Air force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh is reported to state in the memo that he is “extremely concerned” at the future of the “combat viability” of the drone program. His fleet is expected to keep 65 drone combat air patrols constantly active. The general now wants this figure cut to 62.
Each robotic combat aircraft requires a team of 10 trained pilots and support staff to maintain its operations around the clock. Current staffing levels are failing to meet the designated minimum emergency staffing level of 8.5 personnel per drone.
Drone operators are said to have been treated like machines, their leave cancelled and compulsory career-critical, training sessions postponed in an effort to maintain staffing levels. Staffing levels are now so low that operators in training at military drone schools are being drafted long before they complete their programs.
In sum it says: “The United States’ fleet of robots — and their human handlers — are at ‘breaking point’ after 15 years of non-stop combat”.
Visit Global Research.ca for special offer pre-order information. In his preface, Chossudovsky calls the “globalization of war” a “hegemonic project.”
Like nothing in human history preceding it. “Major military and covert intelligence operations are (ongoing) in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East,” Chossudovsky explains.
Combining “major theater operations (and) covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.”
US-dominated NATO partnered with Israel coordinate global conflicts “at the highest levels of (Western) military hierarchy.”
Political and economic wars accompany them. At stake is humanity’s survival. It’s very much up for grabs.
Challenging Russia irresponsibly risks crossing an unthinkable red line. Risking potential military confrontation.
On December 4, US House members barely stopped short of declaring war on Russia. Overwhelmingly passing a non-binding resolution. Signaling hostile US intentions.
Former Congressman Denis Kucinich said at the time:
“NATO encirclement, the US-backed coup in Ukraine, an attempt to use an agreement with the European Union to bring NATO into Ukraine at the Russian border, a US nuclear first-strike policy, are all policies which attempt to substitute force for diplomacy.”
Heading things dangerously toward open confrontation. The unthinkable. Possible nuclear war.
Last May, Senate members introduced S. 2277: Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014.
Its full title is “(a) bill to prevent Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes.”
Senator Bob Corker (R. TN) introduced it with 26 Republican co-sponsors. Senate Foreign Relations Committee members considered it.
No action was taken so far. Perhaps in the new Congress. Obama as anti-Russian as congressional hawks. Fascists making policy.
Proposed legislation provides “major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services.”
Effectively incorporating these countries into NATO. Making its killing machine more formidable.
Letting Washington establish bases on Russia’s border. Challenging Moscow irresponsibly. Risking direct East/West confrontation.
Ongoing events risk the worst possible outcome. Chossudovsky is clear and unequivocal saying “America’s s global military design has been one of world conquest.”
“War and globalization are intricately related. Militarization supports powerful economic interests.”
“America’s ‘Long War’ is geared towards worldwide corporate expansion and the conquest of new economic frontiers.”
US-dominated NATO partnered with Israel and other rogue states comprise “a formidable military force, deployed in all major regions of the World.”
Targeting all independent countries for regime change. Including Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Hezbollah in Lebanon and others.
Potential US-instigated nuclear war threatens humanity’s survival. MSM propaganda increases the possibility.
So does public indifference. Anti-war activism is absent. More than ever needed to stop America’s hegemonic madness.
Its “long war” rages. No end in sight looms. Either we find a way to end it or it’ll end us.
A Final Comment
On Thursday, EU foreign ministers met in Brussels. Extended economic/financial sanctions on Russia through September.
Agreed to consider additional ones. To be decided when ministers meet on February 9. A statement issued lied.
Blaming Russia for “continued and growing” support for Donbas rebels. Saying Moscow shares “responsibility” for escalated conflict.
Russia and Donbas freedom fighters are consistently blamed for Kiev’s crimes. Greece’s new government expressed phony rhetorical opposition to renewed sanctions.
Its Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias approved them. Brussels unity was required to do so. “We are not the bad boy,” Kotzias maintained.
Saying one thing. Doing another shows what ordinary Greeks can expect from its new government.
A previous article called it business as usual wrapped in populist rhetoric. Betrayal after promising real change.
Moscow’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov commented saying:
“By acting in such a narrow-minded way, the EU in essence is subjecting to additional tests our partnership – the partnership between Russia and the European Union, which is regrettable.”
“(B)esides selective assessments of these or those events, sweeping criticism of Russia is the dominating element.”
“As if Russia, and not the Kiev authorities with the connivance of the EU, had unfolded the bloodbath in eastern Ukraine.”
“The call for implementation of the Minsk agreements contrasts with statements heard in the past few days from the Ukrainian capital that they are no longer content with the Minsk agreements and it’s necessary to seek another format.”
“But while these conversations can be heard, shelling of residential districts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Gorlovka continue.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica “Mogherini, while summing up the meeting on Thursday, selected three components in the EU’s reaction to deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, all three are wrong.”
On Thursday, Putin said Russia “must overcome the pressure of external factors by means of strengthening its economic and financial sovereignty.”
“The current period is not easy,” he explained. “(B)ut nothing unexpected has happened. The crisis developments were expected.”
Russia won’t surrender its political and economic sovereignty. Putin promised new measures for “additional stability against external shocks…”
Including “diversification, the growth of non-energy, high technology, agriculture, and the national financial and banking sector.”
At the same time, he intends confronting major Western challenges diplomatically. Given America’s rage for regime change, he’ll need tough-minded policies with teeth.
The only thing US lunatics running things understand.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
A new independent medical fact-finding mission in Gaza has detailed Israel’s deliberate killing of Palestinian civilians in its summer 2014 attack, codenamed Operation “Protective Edge.” Acts documented in the investigation include the use of human shields, close-range murder of civilians, targeting of medics, and more.
The report, based on fieldwork and research conducted by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel), in conjunction with several other human rights and medical organizations, sits at a bulky 237 pages. PHR-Israel, in its words, “recruited eight independent international medical experts, unaffiliated with Israeli or Palestinian parties involved in the conflict,” leading specialists in numerous medical, health, and human rights fields. Jennifer Leaning, the Director of the Center for Health and Human Rights Department of Global Health and Population in Harvard University’s School of Public Health, was among those chosen to oversee the report.
The investigation was also supported by a wide array of prominent international organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Science and Human Rights Program, the British Shalom-Salaam Trust, Christian Aid, the Open Society Foundation, and many more.
In its executive summary, the fact-finding mission estimates that, in Israel’s 50-day attack on Gaza,
over 2,100 Palestinians were killed;
at least 70% of those killed were civilians;
over 500 children were killed;
more than 11,000 were wounded; and
at least 100,000 were made homeless.
The Electronic Intifada published a summary of the investigation’s findings, drawing particular attention to an incident in the Gazan village of Khuzaa, in which the Israeli military shot into a crowd of civilians who were fleeing Israel’s siege and carrying white flags while shouting “peaceful, peaceful.”
This attack, nonetheless, pales in comparison to those disclosed in the report. PHR-Israel reported Israel did the following in its Operation Protective Edge:
used civilians as human shields;
shot civilians dead at close range;
left mortally wounded children on the ground to die, even after soldiers made eye contact with them;
conducted multiple consecutive strikes on a single location (“double taps”), killing injured survivors and those attempting to rescue them;
bombed medical clinics that were acting as shelters for civilians and the wounded;
“deliberately” attacked hospitals;
prevented emergency medical evacuation, even by international organizations such as Red Cross;
killed and injured “many” medical teams that were evacuating the injured;
refused to allow civilians to exit areas being attacked;
targeted civilian escape routes;
attacked civilians attempting to flee areas under fire;
physically beat civilians;
denied civilians food and water;
The report additionally documented Israel’s use of unconventional and experimental weapons, resulting in injuries local doctors characterized as “strange or inexplicable.” Among those used were
flechette munitions (which doctors reported surgically removing from the faces of children);
“explosive barrel” bombs, referred to as “Tzefa Shirion” weapons, that were made to be used to clear mines, but were dropped on civilians;
what are suspected to be DIME weapons, leading to “unusual burns” and “unusual amputations,” with “charred” black skin that did not smell like burning flesh and black “tattooing” around cauterization-like stumps of amputees;
weapons that left “‘computer chips’ with Sony markings embedded as shrapnel in people’s bodies”;
and “a gas of unknown type,” a white-colored substance with a “sewage-like smell” that burned skin and caused respiratory problems and could be seen and smelled from 500 meters away.
The medical fact-finding mission notes that the “overwhelming majority of injuries causing death or requiring hospitalisation … were the result of explosion or crush injuries, often multiple complex injuries.” Roughly half of interviewed Gazans were attacked in their homes. Entire families were killed in the attack.
A graph from the report illustrating the most common locations in which Gazans were injured.
A graph from the report illustrating the most common locations in which Gazans were injured
The report states that Israel’s
attacks were characterised by heavy and unpredictable bombardments of civilian neighbourhoods in a manner that failed to discriminate between legitimate targets and protected populations and caused widespread destruction of homes and civilian property. Such indiscriminate attacks, by aircraft, drones, artillery, tanks and gunships, were unlikely to have been the result of decisions made by individual soldiers or commanders; they must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government.
It also indicates that “there was no guaranteed safe space in the Gaza Strip, nor were there any safe escape routes from it.” The experts accused Israel of “serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”
These findings are based on extensive interviews with victims, witnesses, healthcare professionals and human rights workers, local government officials, and representatives of international health organizations. Forensic, medical, and other material evidence was also collected to scientifically verify these oral testimonies.
PHR-Israel spoke with 68 hospitalized patients who were injured in the attacks, and includes transcripts of these discussions in its report. The majority of Gazans interviewed after the attacks suffered from:
loss of appetite,
unstable emotional states
In the wake of the attack, the fact-finding mission reports
strains on and a lack of resources in Gaza hospitals;
problems with sending patients from Gaza hospitals to outside hospitals outside for treatment;
long-term displacement because of the partial or total destruction of approximately 18,000 homes;
long-term psychosocial and mental health damage; and
a dire need for rehabilitation services with insufficient resources to meet them.
Potential War Crimes
In its recommendations, PHR-Israel et al. call upon international actors, including the UN, the EU, and the US, to “ensure that the governments of Israel and Egypt permit and facilitate the entry of investigative teams into Gaza, including experts in international human rights law and arms experts,” revealing that this “has not yet been done, months after the offensive.”
PHR-Israel also encourages the international community to support investigations conducted by local Palestinian civil society groups in their “efforts to collate evidence in Gaza, in order to proceed with legal and/or other remedies as well as to seek justice and/or reparations.” It suggests that the evidence presented in the report “be used for the purposes of legal determination of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”
Israel, and its US allies, often refer to the Israel Defense Forces as “the most moral army in the world,” leading some, such as esteemed Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, to criticize what they see as hypocrisy, in light of documented attacks such as these. In July 2014, in the midst of Operation “Protective Edge,” Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer insisted that the Israel Defense Forces deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for the “unimaginable restraint” they practiced in Gaza and that Israel earned “the admiration of the international community” for its purported caution. This report appears to indicate otherwise.
Since 2009, the economic situation of Greece has helped expose the architecture and policy regime problems of the European Union and the eurozone. On Sunday the Greek electorate rebelled against the self-defeating austerity policies imposed upon the country by Germany and its collaborators. As the new Greek government begins to take shape an Australian connection has emerged, with Yanis Varoufakis appointed to the crucial position of finance minister.
Of course, there has long been an Australian connection with Greece – Australia has been a major destination for the Greek diaspora of the twentieth century. But Yanis Varoufakis is not really a part of that phenomenon.
Born and raised in Greece, following university studies in economics in England, including a PhD, he came as a lecturer at the University of Sydney in the late 1980s. He stayed at Sydney University for more than a decade, returning to Greece and a position at the University of Athens in the early 2000s.
Varoufakis was a gifted and popular university teacher in Sydney. I know because I taught side-by-side with him for a number of years. He was also a thoughtful and productive researcher.
His research was first focused primarily upon game theory. But he also developed an expansive intellectual reach across what may be called “political economy” in the generic sense, particularly focused on the evolution of capitalism as a global system. He became a highly active commentator, including for The Conversation, and policy advocate in relation to the euro crisis over the last half-decade.
The problems of the eurozone can be more easily understood with an analysis of global capitalism and the place of the US within it. On the one hand, the eurozone then appears as a smaller-scale version of the problem of international imbalances (deficits and surpluses) between the national economies of the global system. On the other hand, as a common currency area, the eurozone and its governance could be contrasted (unfavourably) with a successful common currency area, the United States. The operation of the latter could serve to reveal what was lacking in the architecture of the euro area.
Varoufakis has described himself as an “accidental economist”. He is perhaps even more an accidental finance minister.
There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of his earlier expressed ambivalence about entering politics and the party-political fray. It is the vacuum created by the failure of the mainstream parties of the centre-left and centre-right that calls forth this participation.
Indeed it is the moral and intellectual failure of the European political class as a whole that is the root cause of the both leftward and rightward shifts of European voters in recent times.
The media’s referring to the new Greek government as “far left” or “radical left” is just an intellectually lazy acquiescence in the language of the European political and policy establishment.
In truth, the position of Syriza is not so way out. That such a perception can have public currency is more a symptom of how far to the right the centre of politics has shifted since 1979 (Thatcher, Reagan) and 1989 (the collapse of official Communism). Syriza is merely left-wing, whereas the mainstream European parties supposedly of the centre-left are no longer left-wing at all.
Game theory as a method of research in the social sciences is first and foremost about the logic of strategic interaction between players. The situation that is being played out now, between Greece (as well as others of the “south”) and the political establishment in Europe, is without doubt a strategic situation. It is a game of high-stakes policy poker with the players on both sides, perhaps engaged in an element of bluff.
It is interesting that a game theory expert should find himself, now, at the centre of this situation. There is a great deal at stake, for the welfare of the people of Greece, the other high-debt States and Europe as a whole, as well as for the viability of the European Union and the euro.
Farmers in Nigeria’s Taraba State are being forced off lands that they have farmed for generations to make way for US company Dominion Farms to establish a 30,000 ha rice plantation. The project is backed by the Nigerian government and the G8′s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa.
Two Nigerian NGOs, Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) and Center for Environmental Education and Development (CEED)1, visited the affected area to meet with local communities and relevant government officials. They discovered that the lands being given to Dominion Farms are part of a public irrigation scheme that thousands of families depend on for their food needs and livelihoods. The local people were not consulted about the deal with Dominion Farms and, although the company has already started to occupy the lands, they are still completely in the dark about any plans for compensation or resettlement.
The local people are united in their opposition to the Dominion Farms project. They want their lands back so that they can continue to produce food for their families and the people of Nigeria.
The global land grab comes to Taraba
Over the past three years, the Nigerian government’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Federal Ministry of Investment have sought to increase foreign direct investment in agriculture as a strategy to increase national food production. Through this policy, vast tracks of agricultural lands have been identified by the government for large scale projects by foreign companies. This increases the risk of land grabbing, a process where local communities are displaced from their land and lose their ability to grow food and their livelihoods.
Lands of Gassol community that have been allocated to Dominion Farms. The photo shows the link road constructed by UBRBDA and the use of the lands for grazing by the local community. (Photo: CEED)
One of the projects being developed is in Taraba State, on a 38,000 ha parcel of lands that were initially acquired by the state’s Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority (UBRBDA) in 1978. In 2012, the US company Dominion Farms Limited signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Taraba State government and the Nigerian government for a 30,000 ha concession on the UBRBDA lands for the creation of a large scale rice farm. The MOU was signed without public knowledge and the details of its contents remain unknown to the local community of Gassol and organisations that have been following the deal.
The Gassol Community and the UBRBDA lands are located on the North- Eastern shoreline of the Taraba River, where, for a long time, the local people have used the lands for their various daily farming and food production activities on a free-access basis. Along one side of the lands runs an 8 km long embankment that was built by UBRBDA to protect the farmlands from the river’s overflow. The lands provide major ecological and hydrological functions and are a major source of livelihoods for the farmers of Gassol and other neighboring communities. The Gassol farmers occupy a collection of individual farm lands within this area, which they inherited from their ancestors who first settled there. The community has a population of around 40,000 people.
In 2010, Dominion Farms made its appearance in Gassol seeking the allocation of lands, water resources, fishing ponds and grazing areas used by the community for the construction of a large scale rice farm. The allocation of these lands to Dominion Farms will clearly undermine the capacity of local farm communities to produce food and earn livelihoods. The project will also affect the pastoralists of the area by disrupting the spaces they use for livestock grazing and pastoralist routes. There is a great risk that these communities will be forced off their lands and will lose their livelihoods without adequate compensation and resettlement to other high quality farmlands.
Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) and Center for Environmental Education and Development (CEED) decided to support the communities affected by the Dominion Farms project by undertaking a fact finding mission to the area to meet with them and the relevant government officials. The field trip occurred between June 8-13, 2014. One of the objectives of the research was to ascertain how the activities of local farmers are endangered by the entrance of the company and how the government is involved in the process. Our main goal, however, was to hear from the farmers of Gassol about what they think of the Dominion Farms project.
Consultations with the affected farmers in Gassol community revealed severe irregularities. The farmers interviewed indicated that only the local elites and government agents were consulted, some of whom had personally endorsed the project in their community in spite of apparent widespread opposition amongst the members of the community. It further revealed that consultations did not deal with the question of whether or not the local communities accept the project and under what terms they would do so. Some affected farmers said that promises about adequate compensation for their lands, about the building of schools, roads, hospitals and a farm training centre, and about the employment of local people had been made when Dominion Farms and government agencies initially visited the area, but none of these have been kept.
What is Dominion Farms?
Dominion Farms Limited is a company registered in Kenya, with headquarters in Oklahoma, US, that is majority owned by US-Canadian businessman Calvin Burgess as part of his “Dominion Group of Companies”. The company operates a controversial rice farm operation in the Yala Swamp area of Western Kenya that local farmers say has resulted in the loss of their lands and livelihoods, and grave social, environmental and health impacts on the affected communities.2
It has been reported that the company is operating in Nigeria through a subsidiary, Dominion Rice & Integrated Farms Limited.
Dominion’s activities in Nigeria and Taraba State are relatively new. In 2012, the company began a process to establish a large rice farm project in the Northern Nigerian state of Taraba. The company signed a MOU with the Federal Government of Nigeria represented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the Taraba State Government.
The Dominion Farms project in Taraba is part of the co-operation framework agreement of the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa. Dominion Farms has signed a letter of intent between the Government of Nigeria and the G8 aid donor countries that involves a $40 million investment in “growing and processing rice on 30,000 ha of land”, a 3,000 ha “nucleus farm owned by Dominion”, a rice mill and the training of Nigerian youth at Dominion’s Kenyan operations.3 In spite of the New Alliance rhetoric on tackling food security, on the ground the Dominion Farms investment has resulted in land grabbing, reducing the ability and resilience of local farmers to feed themselves and their communities. Ultimately, it exposes the problems of the G8’s push for corporate-driven agriculture.
Corporate capture of a public irrigation scheme
Historically, Taraba is among the states created from the defunct Gongola state in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. The state was created in 1991 and its capital city is Jalingo. It has an estimated population of 2, 688,995 and a total land area of 54,473km2, making it the Nigerian state with the third largest land area. It is bordered by Plateau State and Benue State on the west and by Cameroon on the east.
The majority of people in Taraba are engaged in agriculture. They produce cash crops such as coffee, tea, groundnut, beni-seed, cotton, maize, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava and yam, and they fish and rear cattle, sheep and goats in large number. The state currently has 16 local government areas, one of which is Gassol, where the Dominion Farms project is situated.
The Gassol local government area has a total population of about 244,749 and is 5,548km2. The Taraba River runs through the area and feeds into the Benue River, which runs along the area’s northern border. Gassol is blessed with fertile agricultural land for the cultivation of rice, maize, Guinea corn, millet, yams, okra (okro) and several important local food crops
The Dominion Farms project site is located in the community of Gassol, within the Gassol local government area. The lands that the company has acquired are community lands that were ceded to the Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority (UBRBDA), an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, in 1978.
The 38,000 ha managed by the UBRBDA, stretching along and adjacent to the bank of the Taraba River, are farmed by about 10,000 local farmers every year. Information gathered from the Taraba State Bureau for Land and Survey indicates that up to 45,000 people benefit from the utilisation of these lands. Moreover, there are at least 3,000 holders of land titles within the UBRBDA area.
UBRBDA has constructed important facilities and irrigation works to facilitate the use of the lands, including a housing facility for the UBRBDA staff, a water treatment plant, access roads, an 8km protection bank for flood control, a warehouse and store facility, and a guest house.
Farmers forced off their lands
The MoU between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Taraba State Government and Dominion Farms Ltd was signed without proper consultations with the affected communities. Those consultations that did take place involved mainly government officials. The information that local people received about the project was insufficient and was presented in a partial manner in favour of the project. Local farmers were never asked if they agreed to the project or under what terms they would accept the project, and were thus kept out of a decision that has major impacts on their lives.
The agreement was also signed without a social and environmental impact assessment. The agreement did not include a resettlement plan for the affected farmers.
Pledges that were made during the process of allocating lands to Dominion Farms to improve the livelihood of the local farmers of Gassol have so far not transpired. No roads have been constructed, no hospitals, training centres or schools have been built, and locals have not been hired by the company.
Families who have been farming and living for generations on the lands acquired by Dominion Farms are upset and disillusioned. They say the project will breach their right to adequate food and livelihoods, and their right to access the lands. They consider it a forced eviction without proper consultation and compensation.
Several farmers said that Dominion Farms is putting undue pressure on them to leave the plots of land that they have been farming. Although Dominion Farms has not commenced significant production on the lands it was allotted, the company has filled in ponds and water canals that local people depend on for fishing and has stationed security agents in the area to prevent farmers from accessing their lands. People have also been forced to stop grazing their goats and cows on the lands occupied by Dominion Farms. This is having a major impact on peoples’ livelihoods.
The local population is also concerned that Dominion Farms is not providing the service and technical support to farmers that was formerly provided by UBRBDA and they worry that the facilities will erode if they are not properly maintained. They have complained to the authorities, but, as of yet, no action has been taken by either local, state or federal authorities.
Perspectives of the policy makers
On June 9, 2014, researchers from ERA and CEED met with Mr. Abdulahi, the Area Manager of the Upper Benue River Basin branch Office in Jalingo. He confirmed that the UBRBDA is aware of the project with Dominion Rice Integrated Farm Ltd. He provided a historical background of the UBRBDA in Gassol and gave an overview of the technical support and capacity building that the Authority provides farmers. He said that the UBRBDA has yet to see any tangible benefits to farmers from the Dominion Farms project.
Mr. Abdulahi explained that in his view the MOU with Dominion Farms was flawed because the Ministry of Water Resources, which oversees the UBRBDA, was not involved. He said that the land in question is part of the 38,000ha of land ceded to UBRBDA in 1978 and it has spent huge government resources to develop the lands and support the local farmers through such things as technical assistance and the construction of roads, a field office, a water treatment plant, a workshop, a warehouse, and an electricity generating plant.
ERA and CEED also visited the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As the Honourable Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary were not available during two attempted visits to the Ministry, ERA and CEED met instead with the Technical Officer in-charge of the Dominion Farms project, Alhaji Musa Umar, who is also a Senior Director in the Ministry.
Mr. Umar explained that the Ministry mandate is to create an atmosphere for agricultural investment in Taraba State so as to contribute to food production and to minimise the high rate of food importation. He said, “The Dominion Farms project is what the state has been yearning for years.”
Mr. Umar maintained that the project will help Taraba State reduce rice importation and enable it to export to neighbouring countries. He cited the case of Dominion Farms’ activities in Kenya, where Dominion Farms was able to produce rice for export using only 7,000ha.
Mr. Umar stated clearly that Dominion Farms has received a Certificate of Occupancy and has started operations in Gassol community. He said that the State has the potential to give out two million hectares but it only gave 30,000ha.
Mr. Umar also noted that all necessary arrangements have been made by the state to pay the host communities compensation. He says the State Bureau for Land and Survey has done the necessary evaluation and has come out with a survey plan and submitted a report to the state government for consideration. He said that the amount contained in the evaluation report is huge and the state has thus resolved to pay the compensation to the communities in instalments.
Mr. Umar also said that the state is making arrangements to construct major roads in Gassol as provided for in the MOU. Arrangements have been made for farmers to work with Dominion Farms so that they will be able to gather enough seeds to feed their families.
He said that his Ministry’s main concern was that Dominion Farms would be able to carry out its work so as to boost rice and fish production to make Taraba a rice exporting state. He maintains that the local farmers will be part of the farming process as the Dominion Farms project proceeds.
Perspectives of local farmers and communities
On June 10-11, 2014, ERA and CEED held two major meetings at Gassol community with local farmers and farmer association leaders. The Gassol community people were very happy with the visit and wanted to share information about their current predicament and the pains which they said they are facing as a result of the entrance of Dominion Farms into their community.
Below are some quotes from local farmers speaking during the meetings.
“We were happy when we heard of the coming of the Dominion Farms not knowing it was for the selfish interest of some few members of the State, Federal Government and the foreigner in charge of the Dominion Farms. Our land is very rich and good. We produce a lot of different crops here like rice, beans, Guinea corn, cassava, soya beans, millet, yam as well as fish farming and the rearing of animals like goats, sheep and cattle. But since Dominion Farms people arrived with their machine and some of their working equipment we were asked to stop our farm work and even leave our lands as the land is completely given to the Dominion Farms project. Some of the farmers owned private tractors which they used for their farm work, apart from the Upper River Basic assets, that are still in place”.
– Mallam Danladi K Jallo
“Last two years the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Taraba State Government and Dominion Farms started the whole process. Now the land has been surveyed and the whole arrangement has been certified by the Taraba State Government. The government has given Dominion Farms a Certificate of Occupancy which has automatically given the mandate of controlling the land to Dominion Farms and we have been stopped from our various farming activities on the land.”
– Alhaji Muhammed Bulama
“We are speaking in one voice against Dominion Farms because we are opposing their activities. We have fish ponds that we inherited from our forefathers on that land, but Dominion Farm has said that they will sand fill all of them to give them more space to plant their crops. When they commenced work on the land they came with security personnel whom Dominion Farms mandated to evict all farmers who were working on their lands.”
– Alhaji Mairiga Musa
“We had all the intention of writing to the state government. We were ready for peaceful demonstrations, dialogue and even to cry out to the whole world just to hear our voices, the voices of poor innocent farmers. But if none of the above mentioned strategies did not work out then we can mobilise against Dominion Farms for our land, the land of our forefathers, with our families and remain there until they answer us. We are agitating for taking legal action against Dominion Farms and the government.”
– Mallam Ismaila Gebi
“We do not subscribe to a foreign agricultural and farming system that we do not have knowledge. They came here to farm. The only story we hear is that our land is taken away and will be given out. We were not involved at any level. For the sake of the future and our children, we are requesting governmental authorities to ask Dominion Farms to stay away from our land”
– Rebecca Sule (Mama Tina)
The Dominion Farms project in Taraba is a clear example of how land grabbing robs people of their access to land and water and undermines their livelihoods and food security.
The farmers of the Gassol community have been placed in a very difficult position. They are being forced off their lands and cut off from the water that they depend upon for their livelihoods and to feed their families. Despite the pressure from the various levels of government and the company, the farmers ERA and CEED spoke with say they will not give up their lands to Dominion Farms. They say they will resort to legal actions and peaceful protests and demonstrations to try and stop the project from going ahead.
The needs of the community must be prioritised over the profits of Dominion Farms. The lands must remain in the hands of the local farmers who have worked the lands to supply the people of Taraba State with food for generations.
1 Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/FoEN has been working for more than twenty years against forced evictions of rural communities from their agricultural lands, pastures, forests and fishing grounds. In these two decades, ERA/FOEN and partners such as CEED have witnessed an increasing marginalisation of peasant farming and pastoralism due to international and national policies. These communities are now faced with losses of lands to an extent reminiscent of colonial times.
In an attempt to try and justify the case for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), supporters of GM technology often churn out the baseless claim that there is a consensus within the ‘scientific community’ over the human, animal and environmental safety aspects of GMOs. A statement signed by over 300 scientists and legal experts to the effect that there is “No consensus” on the safety of genetically modified (GM) crops and foods has now been published in a peer-reviewed open access journal, Environmental Sciences Europe (see here). It now belongs to the body of open peer-reviewed scientific literature and stands as a citable publication. See here for the list of signatories as of 20th January 2015.
Dr Angelika Hilbeck, one of the authors of the published statement and chair of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), says:
“As well as receiving the endorsement of the peer reviewers at the journal, the statement has also been peer-reviewed and transparently endorsed by more than 300 scientists and experts from relevant fields of inquiry, including molecular biologists and biotechnologists.”
The statement was first published in late 2013 in response to claims from the GM industry and some scientists and commentators that there is a “scientific consensus” that GM foods and crops are safe for human and animal health and the environment. The statement calls these claims “misleading”, adding, “The claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist.”
Nicolas Defarge, also a co-author of the statement and a member of the ENSSER board, says:
“Progress in science occurs through controversial debate involving scientific arguments. Our statement, peer-reviewed and published in the open access literature, is now one of them. The debate about the health effects of the long-term consumption of GMOs and of the residues of pesticides they contain is ongoing. It can only be solved by further studies using accurate protocols enabling the investigation of long-term effects. These must be published in open access journals with the raw data being made available and not kept secret. We should bear in mind that the studies performed by industry to support the release of GMOs on the market are usually not peer-reviewed at the time the GMO is commercialized.”
A signatory of the statement, Dr Belinda Martineau, former member of the Michelmore Lab at the UC Davis Genome Center, University of California, who helped commercialize the world’s first GM whole food, the Flavr Savr tomato, states:
“I wholeheartedly support this thorough, thoughtful, and professional statement describing the lack of scientific consensus on the safety of genetically engineered crops and organisms. Society’s debate over how best to utilize the powerful technology of genetic engineering is clearly not over. For its supporters to assume it is, is little more than wishful thinking.”
Another co-author to the statement, Jack Heinemann, Professor of Genetics and Molecular Biology at the Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, argues that:
“Public confidence in GMOs will not increase as long as some scientists try to keep the public and other scientists from asking legitimate questions about their safety, efficacy and value. Even if all questions about existing GM plants were answered tomorrow, that would not mean that future products should be exempt from questioning and thorough testing. Instead of shouting, ‘Don’t look here, we have a consensus already’, we should address the cause of public mistrust. This is best done by embracing open discussions of GMOs informed from a variety of points of view, acknowledging and including the true diversity of scientific opinions.”
Co-author to the statement, E. Ann Clark, retired associate professor at the University of Guelph, Canada, says:
“The reality is that there is no consensus on GMO safety. Strident and incessant claims of such a consensus must not override the urgent necessity for well-reasoned and conducted research into the safety of GM crops.”
Another signatory to the statement, Elena Alvarez-Buylla, Professor of Molecular Genetics at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), states:
“The fully referenced statement demonstrates that scientific evidence is substantiating the environmental and health risks related to the release and consumption of GM crops, rather than indicating that there is a scientific consensus on GMO safety. Some of the risks imply worrying consequences involving irreversible dynamics. For example, the spread of GMOs could cancel options for an agroecological, healthy and sustainable food production system and jeopardise centres of crop origin and diversification, thus putting at risk food security. Corporate agribusiness, with its reliance on GM crops and agrotoxic substances such as glyphosate, threaten food sovereignty and public health. There is an urgent need for a precautionary stance. We should avoid further releases of GM crops and their associated pesticides into the environment and food supply.”
The industry’s claim that there is a ‘scientific consensus’ on the safety of GMOs is about as bogus as its claim that this technology is required to ‘feed the world’. That too is a deception (see here).
Abstract: The aim of this article is to examine the real significance of Syriza’s victory in Greece, particularly in view of allegations that it represents a historic victory for the Left, as well as the prospects for the future of Greece in terms of this major, but also ambivalent, turning point in its history.
There is no doubt that the Greek people’s vote last Sunday was a big slap in the face of the Transnational Elite (TE ― the elites based in the G7 countries), which was represented in Greece through all these years of the economic and social catastrophe imposed on the vast majority of the population by the infamous Troika (EU, IMF, ECB), as well as by its clients in the local elite. Yet, it was the same TE and its European component (the EU elite), which has destroyed the lives of the vast majority of the population in their effort to ‘save’ Greece from bankruptcy. However, the debt trap to which Greece entered since the 1980s, as I showed elsewhere, was directly related to the very integration of Greece into the EU and the Eurozone. It was through this integration process that Greece lost a significant degree of self-reliance that had achieved in the post-war period, and a parasitic economic structure developed in which, apart from tourism and shipping, there were no other main sources of income to buy the growing imports that the open and liberalized markets of the EU Treaties imposed.
The inevitable outcome was the huge BP deficits which were financed by foreign lending, as well as the parallel budget deficits to finance a growing welfare state, as the local elites were not prepared to share the tax burden for its financing ― a practice which inevitably spread to society at large soon. When the elites decided to integrate Greece into the Eurozone, the country not only formally lost its economic sovereignty but also borrowing (backed now by a strong currency) continued and expanded until the entire bubble burst when foreign lending became more difficult due to the financial crisis of 2008-9. This is, in a nutshell, how Greece became a protectorate of the TE.
The inevitable conclusion of such an analysis is that austerity is a symptom of the crisis, not its cause that refers to the distortion, if not dismantlement, of the production and consumption structures that the NWO of neoliberal globalization imposes as part of the process of integrating countries into it, for the benefit of the Transnational Corporations which control the entire process. So, although the result of the Greek elections, directly, was a slap against the austerity policies imposed by the TE though the Troika, indirectly, it was a slap against the TE and the EU themselves. Indirectly, because of the huge attempt to disorient the people by Syriza, which won the elections on the basis of a political platform according to which the causes of the crisis were just some bad policies imposed by bad politicians and economists, so that all that was needed was to elect some good politicians and economists to force the baddies to change policies. Yet, given that the parties which supported the continuation of the same policies (i.e. the ‘pure’ pro EU parties ― New Democracy/Pasok, the governing coalition, and Potami, a new systemic party created by the elites a year ago to promote the same line) gained about 40 percent of the votes, in an election in which the formal abstention rate was 40percent ― but the effective rate could be 25-30 percent ― this means that, at most, a third of the population is determined to stay in the EU whatever the cost. Another third of the population would be prepared to stay in the EU but not unconditionally, in case the national interest is at risk (as the present governing coalition suggests (Syriza/Independent Greeks) and the last third does not believe that any real solution is possible within the EU. Roughly, this division coincides with a corresponding social division of the population between one third who are the beneficiaries of globalization, one third that just manages to cover its basic needs and the last third, which has been completely impoverished.
Therefore, Syriza simply attempted to attract this middle third of the population ― the middle class that is being gradually being eliminated and the petty bourgeoisie in the private and public sectors. Most of the working class, the unemployed and the poor either abstained or, as statistics of how the vote was spread geographically show, voted mainly for the Communist Party (KKE) and the Golden Dawn Party (GD), which has clear sympathies towards the collaborators of the Nazis during the German Occupation and then to the Right in the ensuing Civil War and the military junta in the 1960s. Not accidentally, as Joaquin Flores, aptly points out,
“The GD, interestingly, calls both for nationalization of the gold industry, as well as other major industries, and the central bank. Those are among the real economic changes that would liberate Greece, and yet on the left, only the Communist Party (KKE) of Greece holds a similar position. That only the most radical parties have the most sensible and honest solutions to Greece’s present problem, presents a special problem for Greece. In Toynbee’s Study of History he develops the concept of civilizations going through stages of growth and later disintegration, as well as abortive and failed civilizations. It would seem that a hallmark of a disintegrating, abortive, or failed civilization is when the most sensible solutions are entirely marginalized and only held by those on the radical fringes.”
In fact, the Communist party has long ago been marginalized, since it was banned for over a quarter of a century after its defeat in the Civil War and then was legalized following the fall of the military junta in 1974, on the condition that it will abandon any revolutionary tactics, while Golden Dawn is effectively banned, with most of its leadership in jail without trial and no access to the mass media ― although formally it is still legal!
Under these circumstances, Syriza’s gamble clearly succeeded, although its program did not even question Greece’s membership of the EU and the Eurozone but also did not include any radical measures to nationalize banks (including the Bank of Greece) and any key industries, as well as any real controls on the markets for commodities, capital and labor. However, the lack of such controls (not permissible under the EU Treaties) makes impossible any radical program to re-create a productive base, with the aim of self-reliance.
Yet, in one sense, even this first inadequate step that the Greek people took in ostracizing the political parties of the elites, was a victory. Not “a historic victory of the Left” in Greece (or for some more enthusiastic commentators and analysts “of the liberal Left in Europe and beyond”), but in the sense that it marked a turning point in the usual submission of the people to the dictates of the elites. A turning point which potentially, but only potentially, could lead to radical developments in the future, as long as the self-contradictory theories and policies suggested by the liberal Left are overcome. This, because the people sooner or later will realize why the policies suggested by the supposedly ‘clever’ politicians and the strange mix of neo-Keynesian/Marxist economists in fact aim to square the circle and will dismally fail in bringing about any real solutions to the critical situation created by Greece’s integration into the NWO. Clearly, the fact that all those economists and politicians have not yet realized (or at least pretend so) that Keynesianism has been dead and buried since the rise of globalization, as it was based on sovereign nation-states that today are being phased out as economic sovereignty (and therefore national sovereignty) are things of the past. So, at most, what parties like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain can achieve, as I showed in another article, is to stick some plasters on the deadly wounds created by the crisis in the form of a few billion Euros to re-appoint some of those sacked in the public sector and to cover the essential needs for food, health, energy etc. of the very poor. But, all ‘reforms’ introduced by the Troika aiming to make labor more ‘flexible,’ capital to move without any constraint and cheap commodities from abroad to crowd out domestic products, will of course remain intact.
The main developments that followed the election of Syriza are compatible with the above analysis, particularly as regards to the composition of the new government that is full of the kind of politicians and economists I just described. Yet there are also two developments which could have a double meaning, one compatible with the above analysis and another one that may imply at least the possibility of a radical change in the future.
The first is the governing coalition itself. Syriza had a choice, either to have a coalition with the party created by the elites (Potami) whose main condition was that the country’s orientation with the EU and the Eurozone will never be challenged, or with the nationalist party of independent Greeks which is fiercely anti-austerity and does not have any qualms about setting conditions to the Troika that might lead to a break. Syriza has chosen the latter and unsurprisingly has been condemned for its choice by the Transnational Elite and the Zionists (see e.g. Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s vicious attack in the Euro parliament; this is the ‘red Danny’ who is one of the main organs of the TE that supported enthusiastically all its criminal wars), as well as all the transnational mass media. Syriza’s choice could simply mean that it did not want to lose all credibility by supporting a fully systemic party but it could also mean that some forces at least within it are prepared even to clash with the EU.
The second is the public displays of disagreement within the governing coalition against the EU elites’ decision to ignore Syriza in their decision to blame the pro-Russia rebels (and indirectly Russia itself) for the attack on Mariupol and demand new stricter sanctions against Russia. In the event, Syriza keeps the same stand in the forthcoming EU meeting and rejects any new sanctions against Russia, effectively vetoing any proposal to this effect, this will be a very serious blow to the TE at a moment when its attack against Russia has sharply intensified, with the puppet regime’s parliament in Kiev demanding from the UN, NATO etc. to declare Russia an ‘aggressor state’ and the British establishment paper The Times promoting the view in a first page report that Putin is “nothing more than a common criminal dressed up as a head of state”! Clearly such an attack, accompanied by the classifying of RT in the same league as ISIS, shows an obvious TE intention to demonize Russia and its leadership, in exactly the same way as it did with Iraq and Saddam or Libya and Gadhafi, just before the launching of the brutal attacks against them. Again, this may be just a tactical move by Syriza so that “they can leverage the threat of going along with the Russia-Turkish gas line (South stream 2.0/Nabucco Revisited) in order to get permission from the Troika (European Commission, International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank) to use more debt in order to mitigate austerity.” However, it may also indicate that some forces within Syriza are seriously pondering on the crucial issue of the new geopolitical relations needed for a break with the EU to be effective
In conclusion, there are two main options available to the new Greek Government:
a) either the road to submission to the demands of the TE and the EU, with some concessions granted by the elites in exchange, as regards the conditions of repayment of the debt (and perhaps even the haircut of part of it) that will not however affect the main structural reforms already imposed. Namely, the opening and liberalization of markets and the consequent completion of the process of depriving Greece of the capability to regain any economic sovereignty in the future: ― from controlling its own currency up to controlling its fiscal policy ― and consequently its national sovereignty. The inevitable outcome of this effective about turn by Syriza will be to simply perpetuate the present economic and social catastrophe and lead to the death of the Left in Mediterranean Europe, following the death of it in the rest of Europe. Inevitably, in this case, the gap will be filled either by the nationalist anti-EU parties or by Popular Front governments, as I showed elsewhere.
b) or the road to resistance which involves the immediate unilateral exit from both the EU and the Eurozone, which will allow the introduction of strict capital controls and the re-introduction of the national currency, the nationalization of all banks including the Bank of Greece, the socialization of all key industries covering basic needs, as well as those involving the social wealth (oil, lignite, gold etc.). Needless to add that the geopolitical orientations of Greece should also change drastically, so that it will not be the subject of a new ‘coup from below,’ like the one the TE successfully instigated in Ukraine. For this purpose, the exit from the EU should be accompanied by a parallel application to join the Eurasian Union, so that in case Cyprus and Turkey also join it (as it is highly likely), all of them, as equal sovereign states, will be able to take part in negotiations to sort out rationally and in the spirit of solidarity all geopolitical and economic problems between them, which, up to now, have been used by the West and later the TE in order to divide the peoples in this part of the Mediterranean. In this way, the foundations for a new truly democratic community of sovereign nations will be created, in place of the present criminal New World Order.
NATO’s official opinion: “NATO has reached out to Russia consistently, transparently and publicly over the past 25 years.”
The Alliance has created unique cooperation bodies – the Permanent Joint Council and the NATO-Russia Council – to embody its relationship with Russia. It has invited Russia to cooperate on missile defence, an invitation extended to no other partner.
In the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, agreed with Russia in 1997 and reaffirmed at NATO-Russia summits in Rome in 2002 and in Lisbon in 2010, NATO stated that “in the current and foreseeable security environment, the Alliance will carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces“. The Alliance has fulfilled all such commitments.
NATO’s official policy towards Russia was most recently articulated by the heads of state and government of the Alliance at the Wales Summit in September 2014 .
They stated that “the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia. But we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which our Alliance and security in Europe and North America rest.” (The Wales Summit Declaration can be read here).
Thus, neither the Alliance’s policies nor its actions are a threat to Russia.
Prof. Vladimir Kozin:
NATO does indeed present “a threat to Russia.”
In fact, a very serious and widespread military threat, which will continue for many years to come.
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the alliance’s attempts to establish a political relationship with Moscow have been made on only a very selective basis and to a very limited extent. Militarily, this has for the most part included arranging an exchange of military delegations and conducting small exercises in search-and-rescue operations at sea, counter-terrorism and piracy, and exchanging signals between ships, as well as narrowly defined conventional military war games.
“In recent months, the number of NATO jets in the skies over our Eastern Allies has increased five times.We have deployed more ships in the Baltic and the Black Sea. And this year, we are conducting over 200 NATO and national exercises in Europe. A new exercise kicks off every two days. These assurance measures are just the start. We are also setting up a rapid reaction “Spearhead Force”, admitted Jens Stoltenberg.
Yes, Washington has invited Moscow for consultations on missile defense. But only for consultations, not negotiations (international treaties are not produced during consultations).
But there were two reasons for that invitation: to provide a political cover or shield for its programs to deploy its global anti-ballistic infrastructure against Russia, and also to create a plausible rebuttal to any harsh criticism of this American program.
But after 12 years of consultations, the parties have still failed to reach any agreement on substantive issues.
An analysis of the US position outlined in these meetings, as well as American statements on missile defense and practical actions to be taken in this realm, have demonstrated that the US was never particularly motivated to actually reach mutually acceptable and practical agreements, or even generalized agreements that could be discussed during the appropriate negotiations at a later date.
The American missile-defense system deployed in Romania and Poland, as well as in the seas and oceans that border Russia, is directed against Russia and her strategic and tactical nuclear forces. America’s military and political leaders have always believed that the Pentagon’s attack weapons must intercept Russian nuclear missiles at the Russian border, not waiting until they arrive in the continental US. It is enough to read what the directors of the US Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency have reported to Congress.
Missile defense: Further NATO capabilities, due by 2018
The danger of deploying such weapons on the Russian perimeter, in addition to the considerations mentioned above, is that ever since the NATO summit in Chicago (May 2012), American and NATO anti-ballistic weapons can be rapidly attached to their nuclear and conventional weapons.
In addition, it will be possible to load offensive weapons into the shafts of the missile interceptors that will be stationed in Romania and Poland, as envisioned in the Prompt Global Strike program, as well as land-based cruise missiles. These last two categories of weapons are in no way defensive systems. The combination of these three types of weapons for operational purposes, classified as the “Chicago triad,” was approved once again at the NATO summit in Wales.
NATO missile defence is targeted at Russia
NATO opinion: NATO’s official policy on missile defence was set out by heads of state and government at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, where they “decided to develop a missile defence capability to protect all NATO European populations, territory and forces, and invited Russia to cooperate with us” (declaration here).
This was reiterated at the Chicago Summit in May 2012 (here) and the Wales Summit in September 2014, where leaders underlined that “NATO missile defence is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities. NATO missile defence is intended to defend against potential threats emanating from outside the Euro-Atlantic area“.
NATO also proposed a transparency regime including the creation of two NATO-Russia joint missile-defence centres. Russia has declined these offers.
These Summit declarations are more than political promises: they define NATO’s policies. Rather than taking NATO up on cooperation, Russia has advanced arguments that ignore laws of physics as well as NATO’s expressed policies.
The NATO system is designed to be large enough to defend against limited attacks by states and non-state actors potentially threatening the Alliance. However, it still remains small enough not to fuel regional arms races. In terms of the types of interceptors, their numbers and locations, it is configured to defend against the principal threats to NATO’s European territory, and is not directed against Russia’s much larger and more sophisticated strategic deterrent forces. The interceptors to be deployed in Europe, including at the planned sites in Romania and Poland, are not designed to defend against intercontinental ballistic missiles. Their capabilities are too limited and their planned numbers too few.
Independent Russian experts have publicly agreed that the US European Phased Adaptive Approach and NATO’s missile defence system, even when fully developed, will have no appreciable impact on Russia’s numerous and highly sophisticated strategic nuclear forces. This has been documented in numerous scholarly articles by Russian generals and rocket scientists in Russian journals.
The Russian government has used missile defence as an excuse for accusations rather than an opportunity for partnership.
Prof. Vladimir Kozin:
A ground-based missile interceptor is lowered into its missile silo at the Missile Defense Complex at Fort Greely, Alaska.
US and NATO missile defense (although it is not found in all NATO states) is indeed aimed at Russia and its nuclear capacity.
This is evident from the current and future regions where elements of American missile defense are stationed, their quantity, the high speed of the interceptors, the precision of their targeting, the way their system is organically linked to nuclear and conventional weapons, and also the US doctrine of “offensive nuclear deterrence” and the invitations extended to new NATO members to participate in this very inflammatory project after the US created nuclear weapons.
Washington still has not given and will not give (at least not under the current US administration) any clear, unambiguous, and legally binding promises to refrain from using American or NATO anti-ballistic missiles against Russia, even though Moscow is prepared to make those same pledges to the Americans.
The answer to the question of why Washington has put forward some ideas regarding the establishment of a “joint” missile-defense system with Russia has been given in the commentary above.
Additionally, it should be noted that the fact that the so-called Iranian missile threat is already safely neutralized by the anti-ballistic weapons currently deployed by the US and its closest allies in the Persian Gulf is evidence that the American missile-defense system is indeed directed toward Russia.
Occassionally we read publications made at the expense of various US and NATO “think tanks” about “sluggish” American missile interceptors, which supposedly are “not able to overtake Russian missiles.” Authors of these papers, drafted in Western capitals, most likely have never read or perhaps not been able to understand them. Neatly packaged disinformation about the “weak” tactical and technical specs of the offensive weapons in the US “missile shield” has been “leaked” even by some Russian “experts”. It’s too bad that a few former high-ranking Russian military officers are among these “experts,” but the good news is that none of them will ever again have any role in making important military or political decisions in Russia.
The accession of new Allies to NATO threatens Russia
NATO opinion: Every country which joins NATO undertakes to uphold the principles and policies of the Alliance, and the commitments which NATO has already made.
This includes the commitment that NATO poses no threat to Russia, as most recently stated at the Wales Summit.
Therefore, as the number of countries which join NATO grows, so does the number of countries which agree that “the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia.”
Prof. Vladimir Kozin:
The entry of new members into NATO, especially when this involves near neighbors, does indeed threaten Russia.
First of all, the alliance’s military machine may not be simply extended “to the edge of the front line.”
Second, take a look at the behavior of the Baltic countries before and after joining the alliance. Compare Ukraine’s behavior after she declared her willingness to renounce her non-aligned status with her conduct after she announced her intention to join NATO.
Russia is not only worried about their military ambitions and, once those countries become NATO members, the springboard they provide for a possible attack on Russia and her allies and friends.
Russia is also naturally worried about the sharp rise in anti-Russian sentiment, which the leaders of these states are deliberately cultivating. In fact, by accepting such states into its ranks, the North Atlantic union is laying a perpetual land mine under the relations between these states and Russia and creating a permanent irritant in our relationship. Many politicians in the West have already realized this could have disastrous consequences.
None of this will ever lead to the strengthening of stability and security in Europe. On the contrary, all the good that has accumulated in the postwar years after the end of “Cold War 1.0” will be destroyed. To be specific, in terms of arms control, during those years seven treaties were signed that limited and reduced stockpiles of offensive strategic weapons, as well as three treaties on trust-building, and a number of agreements on nonproliferation and the non-militarization of space.
To be continued…
NATO leaders promised at the time of German reunification that the Alliance would not expand to the East
Professor Vladimir Kozin was directly engaged in NATO-related issues during his 40-years-long professional career in the Russian Foreign Ministry. He was one of the leading negotiators from the Russian side at the most of the Russia-US diplomatic and military talks on disarmament, strategic deterrence and other issues in 1990s.
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues.
We are witnessing a dramatic deterioration of the situation in southeastern Ukraine, in Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. In this connection I would like to inform you again that a week ago, on Thursday, I sent a letter to the President of Ukraine, a written proposal to withdraw heavy weapons – artillery and multiple rocket launchers – to such a distance from which it would be impossible to fire at populated areas.
I would like to inform you further that this proposal almost completely coincided with the requirements of the official Kiev. You know that there may be one disputed area along the line of separation between the parties to the conflict. So we suggested that weapons and heavy equipment should be withdrawn to the line that Kiev authorities themselves consider fair and corresponding to the agreements reached in Minsk on September 19, 2014.
Unfortunately, we received no clear answer to our proposal; in fact, we also saw the reverse action, namely the Kiev government has given an official order to launch large-scale combat operations along almost the entire perimeter of contact between the opposing sides.
The result: dozens of dead and wounded, and not only among servicemen on both sides, but, even more tragically, there has been loss of life among the civilian population, including children, the elderly and women. The artillery, multiple rocket launchers and aircraft are firing indiscriminately, directly at densely populated areas.
All of this is happening to the accompaniment of propaganda slogans about the quest for peace and the search for those responsible. The responsibility is borne by those who issue such criminal orders. The people who do this should know that there is no other way to solve such conflicts but through peace negotiations and political means. We often hear, including from today’s official Kiev, that this is their preferred method of addressing issues, but the reality is quite different. I hope that common sense will eventually triumph.
I would like to call for a moment of silence to honour the victims, including those who died at a bus stop in Donetsk.
On January 27th, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense headlined “Militants Continue to Suffer Losses,” and reported that four helicopters, and other weapons of the “militants,” were destroyed in battle, but no evidence was given to support the assertion.
Just two days prior, the (also pro-Government) Kiev Post had, in fact, bannered “Ukraine Hides Devastating Losses as Russia-Backed Fighters Surge Forward,” and reported “Ukraine’s worst-kept secret — that the Ukrainian army is drastically understating its casualties.” After detailing, there, what seems to be outrageous unconcern by the Government, for the welfare of troops it’s sending into battle (even by jamming battlefield-injured soldiers into regular civilian hospitals, which aren’t equipped to handle their injuries), this report ends with a doctor saying, “It’s bad everywhere. Yes, the soldiers are still standing at their positions ready to fight. But we don’t see any help coming for them.”
Consequently, the Government is dragooning-in, or “ambushing” (as the article says), virtually anyone who seeks help from the Government, “mobilizing the unemployed” and other “desperate” people. “Military enlistment offices complain” that some draftees are too sick to be able to fight at all.
“The Trojan,” deputy commander of the Ukraine’s ultranationalist Azov Battalion.
Also on January 26th, the Fort Russ blog bannered, “Azov Commander Freaks Out, Calls the War ‘Lost’. Blames Everybody,” and reported that, “Ukrainian politicians and generals ‘already lost the war,’ and ‘the West did not help.’ That’s the core of the statement by Azov punitive [meaning: to ‘punish’ the residents in the anti-Government region, for their not supporting the Government] battalion commander’s, and currently also Rada [Parliament] Deputy’s, Andrey Biletsky, in his ‘Address to the Nation.’” According to Biletsky, after the fictitious “thousands of supposedly killed enemies and burned out tanks, the wake-up can be very painful,” because of disappointment felt from the Government’s lies.
Whereas Ukrainian conscript soldiers are not eager to risk their lives in order to impose the current Ukrainian Government (which had resulted from Obama’s coup in Ukraine in February 2014), upon the residents in Ukraine’s Donbass region, which had voted 90% for the man whom Obama overthrew, the residents who still survive there are very eager not to allow this new regime to kill them; and, so, the motivation on the part of the people whom Obama’s forces are trying to kill, is vastly higher than is the motivation on the part of conscript troops, from the rest of Ukraine, to kill them. The only troops who are that eager to kill them are supporters of Ukraine’s two nazi (or racist-fascist) parties, the “Freedom” (renamed by the CIA from their former “Social Nationalist”) and the Right Sector, Parties. Those parties have always gotten only a small percentage of the popular vote in Ukraine, though Obama’s people have placed them into power. Once in power, they passed laws to lock-in that power.
The Ukrainian Government’s problem is that there just aren’t enough nazis, and there’s also not enough money, to do the amounts of killing that need to be done in order to enable Obama’s Ukrainian regime to retain the land in Donbass while eliminating the people there. The 90% of those people who had voted for the man (Viktor Yanukovych) whom Obama overthrew are far more numerous, and far more motivated, than are the vast majority of Ukraine’s soldiers.
And that’s the real reason why Obama’s war in Ukraine is failing: there’s just not enough blood-lust for the task, either in Ukraine, or in “the West.”
There aren’t enough nazis, in either area. Obama had over-reached, when he overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014. Either he’ll have to yield-up the land in Donbass, or else he’ll have to yield-up the anti-Russian Government that he has imposed upon Ukraine. It’s one or the other, and he’ll have to choose which.
Either outcome will be embarrassing for him. But perhaps it won’t be quite as embarrassing for him as was his predecessor’s embarrassment regarding the Iraq War. (Of course, Republicans would be in their glory then, by saying “Obama lost Ukraine,” even though it was actually Obama who had seized Ukraine, to begin with — and Republicans would never criticize a President for doing a thing like that: it’s the sort of thing that Republicans are expected to do.)
On the other hand, it might turn out to be even more embarrassing than that for Obama, if he should happen to decide to go all the way here, and to push on for a nuclear war against Russia.
As regards the Ukrainian Government itself, they were placed into power by Obama’s action of coup, followed by this Ukrainian Government’s actions removing the Donbass residents from their electorate; and, so, the current members of the Rada, and of the Ukrainian Administration, cannot blame Obama; they are instead blaming Vladimir Putin and Russia — the country that Obama (like George Soros and so many other American aristocrats) hates, and that not merely the people whom Obama placed into power in Ukraine hate. Thus, on Wednesday, January 28th, RIAN news headlined, “Full Text of the Appeal for Recognition of Russia as Aggressor,” and they reported:
“The Verkhovna Rada made public the full text of Resolution number 1854 on appeal to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, GUAM Parliamentary Assembly, and the national parliaments of the countries in the world, to recognize the Russian Federation as the aggressor state.”
Furthermore, German Economic News reported that this action by the Rada had been passed by “271 of 289 deputies present,” and that it could “have international legal consequences.” GEN’s report also said that Ukraine’s leaders claim they now “urgently need new loans” from the EU, because, otherwise, Ukraine’s existing loans will go into default. The reader-comments to that news-report at GEN’s website seem to be negative on that request, and to be far more inclined to view Ukraine’s Government as nazi than as Ukraine’s being the victim of Russia or any other country, and least of all as being a victim of the EU’s own taxpayers, who have already given plenty to the Ukrainian Government, and who would become the people bearing the burden of those new ‘loans,’ which would be going to the very back of Ukraine’s long line of creditors, if Ukraine goes bankrupt, as is widely expected soon to happen. In other words: there would seem to be little public support in Germany, for giving Ukraine yet more money. If the EU’s leaders do decide to comply with Ukraine’s urgent request, then the EU will have even less public support in Germany than it currently does. The EU is therefore likely to turn down the request, so as not to place even further into jeopardy the EU’s own continued existence.
Weren’t the valiant, courageous actions of civil rights advocates a triumph for social justice? Did it not lead to further advances in that struggle? And if you are referring to the movie, is it not a triumph as well, getting a film that portrays one of the signal struggles of the Movement during the 60s with such searing honesty, no holds barred in dealing with the “Which side are you on?” question, applied to this event? Well, yes, the Selma March was a triumph for the civil rights movement. It played a very important role in getting Lyndon Johnson to support what became the Voting Rights Act. It did lead to further advances in that struggle. The movie is a triumph as well, a brilliantly staged and acted docudrama which, among other things, uses the real Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, as the setting for the real march that took place across it in 1865.
Ironically enough, the bridge is named for a Confederate Brigadier General, who later, operating out of his law office, became the leader of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan in Selma and went on to become a U.S. Senator from Alabama. This is particularly ironic in the context of the Voting Rights Act and the struggle to enact it. The Ku Klux Klan was founded very shortly after the end of the civil war by an association of ex-Confederate generals, planters, certain Democratic politicians, and other white leadership who wanted to return the civil society in the South as much as possible to what it had been before the Civil War, with the exception of not having the institution of chattel slavery in place.
One of the principal objectives of the Klan, from the earliest days of its founding, was to prevent the newly freed slaves from the exercising the right to vote that had been granted to them by the 14th (1868) and 15th (1870) Amendments to the Constitution. The language of the latter is particularly instructive: “1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” But with the power first of the Klan, with the ever-spreading denial of the vote to African-Americans, and then with the institution over a period of some years of what was called the “Jim Crow” laws by the Democratic Party in the South, African-Americans were indeed systematically denied the right that had being guaranteed to them by the 15th amendment.
The reality that casts a shadow over Selma is that it did not end the struggle for civil and voting rights for people of color in the United States. As I pointed out in recent column, except for the literal abolition of chattel slavery, in terms of its central goals, the South essentially won the Civil War. It is a tragedy that one of the two major U.S. political parties still runs in part on racism, just as the old Southern Democratic Party did. The story of how Nixon took the “Southern Strategy” that had been originally invented, but not in a formal way, by Barry Goldwater, and broadly implemented it for the GOP, and how Ronald Reagan cemented it in place need not be re-told here.
Indeed it is a tragedy that the Voting Rights Act for which so many whites and African-Americans had fought so hard for so many years has been recently been gutted by the Republican Supreme Court. (That is the same Republican Court that may be on its way to gutting the Fair Housing Act as well.) It is a tragedy that indeed Martin Luther King’s words 50 years ago, about segregation and discrimination, about racism, about the lack of economic justice for non-whites (and now, of course, increasingly for many whites as well) still, as the Southern Poverty Law Center points out, cry our for justice to this day. Dr. King’s vision of a civil rights-labor alliance, which has never been achieved, echo down to us today as well.
It is a tragedy that voter suppression, aimed at African-Americans and other population groups who tend to vote for Democrats, has become an official policy of the Republican Party, under the guise of “battling voter fraud” (which happens to be virtually non-existent, and even if it weren’t could easily be dealt with by offering free, easy-to-obtainvoter ID cards). It is a tragedy that lynching, a major tool of black-suppression in the Jim Crow South, which was dying out by the time of “Selma,” has returned to this country in the form of white police officers killing black young men at an astounding rate.
Now let us turn briefly to “Selma,” the movie. First, of course is the fact that when it came to Academy Award nominations (not the awards themselves), while the movie itself did receive one for Best Picture, the Director, Ava DuVernay, and the lead actor, David Oyelowo, who had received awards and nominations elsewhere were complete shut out. That is itself a legacy of racism, given the excellence of the film.
The bottom line, which really has been lost, is that the South did win the Civil War and one of our two major political parties runs on racism (as well as religious authoritarianism and the demonization of various “others”). These are two of the major issues facing this country just as they were back at the time of Selma. That is the bitter historical aftertaste of watching the triumph depicted in the movie.
The reality that casts a shadow over Selma is that it did not end the struggle for civil and voting rights for people of color in the United States. As I pointed out in recent column, except for the literal abolition of chattel slavery, in terms of its central goals, the South essentially won the Civil War [http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/12/07/ferguson-worked-as-intended-for-the-maintenance-of-the-doctrine-of-white-supremacy-in-the-us/]. It is a tragedy that one of the two major U.S. political parties still runs in part on racism, just as the old Southern Democratic Party did. The story of how Nixon took the “Southern Strategy” that had been originally invented, but not in a formal way, by Barry Goldwater, and broadly implemented it for the GOP, and how Ronald Reagan cemented it in place need not be re-told here.
Indeed it is a tragedy that the Voting Rights Act for which so many whites and African-Americans had fought so hard for so many years has been recently been gutted by the Republican Supreme Court. (That is the same Republican Court that may be on its way to gutting the Fair Housing Act as well.) It is a tragedy that indeed Martin Luther King’s words 50 years ago, about segregation and discrimination, about racism, about the lack of economic justice for non-whites (and now, of course, increasingly for many whites as well) still, as the Southern Poverty Law Center points out [http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/mlk-s-words-just-as-relevant-today], cry our for justice to this day. Dr. King’s vision of a civil rights-labor alliance, which has never been achieved, echo down to us today as well [http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/harry-targ-dr-king-and-civil-rights.html].
Now let us turn briefly to “Selma,” the movie. First, of course is the fact that when it came to Academy Award nominations (not the awards themselves), while the movie itself did receive one for Best Picture, the Director, Ava DuVernay, and the lead actor, David Oyelowo, who had received awards and nominations elsewhere were complete shut out. That is itself a legacy of racism, given the excellence of the film.
The bottom line, which really has been lost, is that the South did win the Civil War and one of our two major political parties runs on racism (as well as religious authoritarianism and the demonization of various “others”). These are two of the major issues facing this country just as they were back at the time of Selma. That is the bitter historical aftertaste of watching the triumph depicted in the movie.
No one in Western corporate media will tell you why US President Barack Obama is hitting Riyadh with a high-powered delegation to “pay his respects” to the new House of Saud potentate, King Salman.
Talk about a who’s who – including CIA head John Brennan; General Lloyd Austin, head of US Centcom; Secretary of State John Kerry; leading House Democrat Nancy Pelosi; and even senile Senator John “Bomb Iran” McCain.
It must have been heart wrenching for most in this crowd to skip a visit to the Taj Mahal in India so they would be part of the last-minute, “unscheduled” stop in Riyadh.
This is how the astonishing mediocrity that doubles as US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, spun it; “Principally, I think this is to mark this transition in leadership and to pay respects to the family and to the people of Saudi Arabia, but I’m sure that while we’re there they’ll touch on some of the leading issues where we cooperate very closely with Saudi Arabia.”
The White House and the Pentagon did not bother to “pay their respects” in person to the people of France after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The House of Saud – “our” top bastards in the Persian Gulf – is of course much more valuable.
And yet, Air Force One, we got a problem. High-level US financial sources assure this correspondent the trip is all about Obama shoring up the new King’s support for their financial/economic war on Russia as the House of Saud is starting to have second thoughts. The Saudi role in this war has been to come up with the oil price shock – which is hurting not only Russia but also Iran and Venezuela, among others. Besides, the US puppet theoretically in charge in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has just visited Saudi Arabia.
Russia is not Iran – with all due respect to Iran. If the House of Saud really believes they are talking to the head of a superpower rather than a ventriloquist’s puppet – which is Obama’s role – they are effectively doomed. Nothing Obama says means a thing. The real ‘Masters of the Universe’ who run the ‘Empire of Chaos’ want the House of Saud to do most of their dirty work against Russia; and in a later stage they will take care of the “towel heads” - as the saying goes in Washington – over their development of nuclear missiles with Pakistan. And especially because the Saudi-launched oil price war is bound to destroy the US oil industry – against US national interests.
The House of Saud has absolutely nothing to gain from this undeclared financial/economic war on Russia. The Saudis have already “lost” Yemen and Iraq. Bahrain is held by mercenary troops containing the alienation of the Shia majority. They are freaking out with the possibility of ultimate “enemy” Iran reaching a nuclear deal with His Master’s Voice. They are desperate that “Assad won’t go”. They want every Muslim Brotherhood in sight – or the vicinity – jailed or beheaded. They fear any Arab Spring-style stirrings as worse than the plague. And then there’s the fake Caliphate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh threatening to go all the way to Mecca and Medina. The House of Saud is effectively surrounded.
U.S. President Barack Obama receives members of the Saudi Royal family, government officials and guests as first lady Michelle Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (R) look on at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015 (Reuters / Jim Bourg)
The suicide roadmap
Meanwhile, as the tempest approaches, all is smiles – amid a silent family bloodbath. The powerful Sudairi clan has exacted their “revenge” as King Abdullah’s corpse was still warm. King Salman, almost 80, and with Alzheimer’s about to turn him into mush, took no time to appoint his nephew Mohammed bin Naif as deputy crown prince. And just in case nepotism was not evident enough, he also appointed his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as defense minister. Mohammed bin Naif is a Pentagon/CIA darling; the House of Saud’s head of counterterrorism.
So yes, this is a desert version of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s classic The Leopard; Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com’è bisogna che tutto cambi (“things must change, in order that they can stay the same”.) But the juicier bit is that this seems to apply much more to the House of Saud nowadays than to the ‘Empire of Chaos’.
Apparently, the game of thrones at “our” bastard’s abode leads to everything staying the same; they remain “our” privileged bastard. The Pentagon even came up with the lovely idea of having the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sponsor an essay competition to honor late King Abdullah.
So shell out your essays lavishing the King for the no holds barred repression of the Shia minority in oil-rich eastern Saudi Arabia. Praise him for the sentencing of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr – a popular Shia cleric and outspoken political dissident; he should be beheaded, Daesh-style, just because he led a non-violent movement committed to promoting Shia rights, women’s rights, and democratic reform in Saudi Arabia (even Human Rights Watch has admitted that Saudi Arabian Shias “face systematic discrimination in religion, education, justice, and employment.”)
Honor the late King for the thousands of political prisoners; “terrorism” charges against women who dare to drive; the 25 percent of the population living under the poverty line; and last but not least, for facilitating the expansion of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who turned into ISIS. The Pentagon will love you for that.
All that desert storm of Saudi cash spent on global Wahhabi proselytizing and indoctrinating – and I’ve seen this from the Maghreb to Java – has been such a powerful legacy; a medieval, toxic “religion”(nothing to do with legitimate Islam) that will keep destroying lives and communities and breeding fanatics till Kingdom Come. Hail the King for that – on behalf of the Pentagon. And forget about reading any of this on Arab corporate media – which is totally controlled by the House of Saud.
The House of Saud “reforming”? Away from that nefarious, barbarian Salafi religious establishment? That’s the joke of the millennium. Everything will stay the same.
But playing the ‘Empire of Chaos’ game – financial/economic war on Russia – is a game-changer, as in playing with fire. US/EU sanctions, attacks on the oil price and the ruble by giant derivative players as agents, are something way above the Saudi pay grade. The House of Saud swore that they didn’t change their production quota during 2014. But there was an excess supply – and it was brought into the market to help cause the oil price crash, alongside the manipulation by derivatives speculators.
Scores of oil analysts still can’t figure out why the House of Saud went after Russia; all reasons are political, not economical (Russian support for Syria and Iran, the Americans agreeing with the strategy, etc.). The fact is Moscow did perceive it as a declaration of economic war by Saudi Arabia. Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, cautiously, has already hinted it may get much worse, as in “potential for disruption in Mideast Gulf monarchies.”
Beware of an Emperor bearing gifts – or mourning a late King. The ‘Empire of Chaos’ is essentially asking the House of Saud to keep going kamikaze all the way against Russia. Sooner or later someone in Riyadh will realize this is the roadmap to House suicide.
John McCain is at it again. Nothing gets this guy more riled up than American plebs questioning status quo war criminals. I suspect much of this anger is rooted in his own legitimate fear about how history will remember his own legacy of remarkable stupidity.
Truly remarkable to see a Senator become so easily unhinged when protesters show up to condemn Henry Kissinger. See for yourself:
Two months ago, hundreds of thousands of Chileans somberly marked the 40th anniversary of their nation’s September 11th terrorist event. It was on that date in 1973 that the Chilean military, armed with a generous supply of funds and weapons from the United States, and assisted by the CIA and other operatives, overthrew the democratically-elected government of the moderate socialist Salvador Allende. Sixteen years of repression, torture and death followed under the fascist Augusto Pinochet, while the flow of hefty profits to US multinationals – IT&T, Anaconda Copper and the like – resumed. Profits, along with concern that people in other nations might get ideas about independence, were the very reason for the coup and even the partial moves toward nationalization instituted by Allende could not be tolerated by the US business class.
Henry Kissinger was national security advisor and one of the principle architects – perhaps the principle architect – of the coup in Chile. US-instigated coups were nothing new in 1973, certainly not in Latin America, and Kissinger and his boss Richard Nixon were carrying on a violent tradition that spanned the breadth of the 20th century and continues in the 21st – see, for example, Venezuela in 2002 (failed) and Honduras in 2009 (successful). Where possible, such as in Guatemala in 1954 and Brazil in 1964, coups were the preferred method for dealing with popular insurgencies. In other instances, direct invasion by US forces such as happened on numerous occasions in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and many other places, was the fallback option.
The coup in Santiago occurred as US aggression in Indochina was finally winding down after more than a decade. From 1969 through 1973, it was Kissinger again, along with Nixon, who oversaw the slaughter in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It is impossible to know with precision how many were killed during those four years; all the victims were considered enemies, including the vast majority who were non-combatants, and the US has never been much interested in calculating the deaths of enemies. Estimates of Indochinese killed by the US for the war as a whole start at four million and are likely more, perhaps far more. It can thus be reasonably extrapolated that probably more than a million, and certainly hundreds of thousands, were killed while Kissinger and Nixon were in power.
In addition, countless thousands of Indochinese have died in the years since from the affects of the massive doses of Agent Orange and other Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction unleashed by the US. Many of us here know (or, sadly, knew) soldiers who suffered from exposure to such chemicals; multiply their numbers by 1,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 – again, it’s impossible to know with accuracy – and we can begin to understand the impact on those who live in and on the land that was so thoroughly poisoned as a matter of US policy.
Studies by a variety of organizations including the United Nations also indicate that at least 25,000 people have died in Indochina since war’s end from unexploded US bombs that pocket the countryside, with an equivalent number maimed. As with Agent Orange, deaths and ruined lives from such explosions continue to this day. So 40 years on, the war quite literally goes on for the people of Indochina, and it is likely it will go on for decades more.
Near the end of his time in office, Kissinger and his new boss Gerald Ford pre-approved the Indonesian dictator Suharto’s invasion of East Timor in 1975, an illegal act of aggression again carried out with weapons made in and furnished by the US. Suharto had a long history as a bagman for US business interests; he ascended to power in a 1965 coup, also with decisive support and weapons from Washington, and undertook a year-long reign of terror in which security forces and the army killed more than a million people (Amnesty International, which rarely has much to say about the crimes of US imperialism, put the number at 1.5 million).
In addition to providing the essential on-the-ground support, Kissinger and Ford blocked efforts by the global community to stop the bloodshed when the terrible scale of Indonesian violence became known, something UN ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan openly bragged about. Again, the guiding principle of empire, one that Kissinger and his kind accept as naturally as breathing, is that independence cannot be allowed. That’s true even in a country as small as East Timor where investment opportunities are slight, for independence is contagious and can spread to places where far more is at stake, like resource-rich Indonesia. By the time the Indonesian occupation finally ended in 1999, 200,000 Timorese – 30 percent of the population – had been wiped out. Such is Kissinger’s legacy and it is a legacy well understood by residents of the global South no matter the denial, ignorance or obfuscation of the intelligentsia here.
If the United States is ever to become a democratic society, and if we are ever to enter the international community as a responsible party willing to wage peace instead of war, to foster cooperation and mutual aid rather than domination, we will have to account for the crimes of those who claim to act in our names like Kissinger. Our outrage at the crimes of murderous thugs who are official enemies like Pol Pot is not enough. A cabal of American mis-leaders from Kennedy on caused for far more Indochinese deaths than the Khmer Rouge, after all, and those responsible should be judged and treated accordingly.
The urgency of the task is underscored as US aggression proliferates at an alarming rate. Millions of people around the world, most notably in an invigorated Latin America, are working to end the “might makes right” ethos the US has lived by since its inception. The 99 percent of us here who have no vested interest in empire would do well to join them.
There are recent encouraging signs along those lines, with the successful prevention of a US attack on Syria particularly noteworthy. In addition, individuals from various levels of empire have had their lives disrupted to varying degrees. David Petraeus, for example, has been hounded by demonstrators since being hired by CUNY earlier this year to teach an honors course; in 2010, Dick Cheney had to cancel a planned trip to Canada because the clamor for his arrest had grown quite loud; long after his reign ended, Pinochet was arrested by order of a Spanish magistrate for human right violations and held in England for 18 months before being released because of health problems; and earlier this year, Efrain Rios Montt, one of Washington’s past henchmen in Guatemala, was convicted of genocide, though accomplices of his still in power have since intervened on his behalf to obstruct justice.
More pressure is needed, and allies of the US engaged in war crimes like Paul Kagame should be dealt with as Pinochet was. More important perhaps for those of in the US is that we hound Rumsfeld, both Clintons, Rice, Albright and Powell, to name a few, for their crimes against humanity every time they show themselves in public just as Petraeus has been. That holds especially for our two most recent War-Criminals-in-Chief, Barack Bush and George W. Obama.
Andy Piascik is a long-time activist and award-winning author who writes for Z, Counterpunch and many other publications and websites. He can be reached at [email protected]
Motive, method, and opportunity are the key facts needed to establish guilt in any criminal trial.
In a shooting murder when you add in ballistics that locates the weapon to the shooter, its called a slam dunk, case closed. When known criminals with heavy weapons are willing to brag publicly on prime-time news that they are about to murder someone, and after the fact go on record about how much joy this event brought them- its time to call SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics group).
The attack in Mariupol came after Ukraine failed twice in one week to get a UN and Western government declaration that DNR(Donetsk People’s Republic) and LNR(Lugansk People’s Republic) are terrorist entities. Is the third time the charm? Ukraine thinks so.
Before delving into the evidence, look at who doesn’t benefit. Benefit is a key factor in determining motive.
The militia near Mariupol is comprised of local city residents. Like soldiers in Donetsk and Lugansk, the city is their home town. Its where there family and friends live. Its where they grew up, went to school, and work. Their own children go to school there. Is there a benefit to firing rockets at your own neighbors and family?
The base problem with using Grad rockets to provoke outrage is that locating the source of the attack isn’t rocket science. Unguided rockets have a straight flight path. The rocket is a contact explosive which means it explodes when it lands. The crater points in the direction of the origin usually with a part of the nose cone left from the rocket itself inside inside the crater.
The OSCE gave their direction of origin north-north-east based on the sampling of rocket impacts they inspected.
Evidence also shows rockets striking from the north-west.
When the direction is ascertained by looking at multiple strike locations and looking at the origin like in this video the flight path takes them over the town of Sartana. Shown in the video also is the strike at 161 Olympic avenue from an almost due north firing point. This also establishes the flight path over Sartana.
Local residents from Mariupol have specifically stated independently from each other from different impact sites that the flight path came from the north toward Sartana and from the west-north-west toward Starri Crim.
Residents are stating that utilities including gas, electric, and water were cut off ½ hour before the attack occurred.
Unguided rockets follow a straight trajectory. By taking two of the northern route impacts and establishing their location and direction on a map trajectory again takes us back toward Sartana.
Even though the video is Russian language it details both location of and direction very well. Put on a map the direction of impact and trajectory show the origin once again is north of Sartana.
Kiev’s New Evidence Debunked
The government in Ukraine announced yesterday that it caught DNR spotters that picked the targets. The first one they showed is code named “Terrorist” and the second one nicknamed just as colorfully is “Ash.” The evidence they have presented shows the origin of the attacks as south-east from the town of Vineygrad (Grape). No launches originated from that direction.
Mariupol City Government sent out an official statement about the attack that specifically DOES NOT name the DNR or Russia as the aggressors.
Azov Neo-Nazi Battalion Weighs In (see SS style logo)
In the following video made right after the Mariupol rocket attack Azov commander Sergei Korotky gloats that the rockets struck only areas where the Ukrainian military including Azov Battalion never had a presence.
The impact locations are squarely in ethnic Russian areas that support the local militia and where their families are located.
The Ukrainian Nationalist Motive for the Attacks
In an interview that was never aired on Ukraine’s Channel 5 (Poroshenko’s TV station) Nazar Mosiychuk, a long time Patriot Ukraine member (since 2007[ possible relative Igor Mosiychuk- Azov 2nd in command, head of Ukrainian police]) states what newly appointed Rada MP Andrei Biletsky’s (lobbied US Congress for funding) real opinion about people in Mariupol is.
Azov is based in Mariupol.
“My name is Nazar Mosiychuk, I was born in the Ternopil region. I am a real Ukrainian. I was named in honour of my great-granddad, who in the time of WWII was in the ranks of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army [Hitler’s collaborators] and liberated our native land from the Muscovite scum. He was a real example of a patriot for me..
.Lady host: – I got you. Nazar, you are saying you should cut their throats, especially cut the throats of the Muscovites. Do you have Russian relatives?
– I am ashamed, but I do have an uncle once removed, a Muscovite louse. And I even lived at his place when I was in Russia as a guest worker. If I knew the truth then, I would have killed him then, in order for him not to shame the Ukrainian nation. He phoned me recently and invited to come over so that no fascists would send me to war. Hush, Slavik! And I told him that he was a dumb Russian, and we are a strong and powerful nation.
You wait, we will come to Moscow and I will personally shoot him. There is no other way, as they are all zombies there, hyped by TV. I forgot to tell you that we need our own church, the Union Church, and not the Muscovite Patriarchate…
Lady host:– What can you say about the local population? Who remains there in the territories under terrorists’ control? What should be done with them?
– They are all traitors. All those who wanted to fight for Unitary Ukraine have been with us for some time now. Only the supporters of terrorists and Muscovites are still here, and they have no right to call themselves Ukrainians. I am telling you openly: we will exterminate everyone, I stress – everyone, including women, children and the elderly, who plotted with the enemy and betrayed his native country.”
Circumstantial Evidence Showing Pattern of Ukraine’s Rogue Government Behavior and Direct Involvement
Gorlovka- Civilian Targeting by Kiev
The city of Gorlovka has been the scene of intense bombing and shelling since before the war became hot again. Kiev has used the shelling of civilian targets to provoke a reaction and force the DNR and LNR to break the peace. On January 28th near the village of Ozerianka, which overlooks Gorlovka the DNR army destroyed a Ukrainian artillery position in a surprise attack. The fleeing Ukrainian army left tanks, artillery, as well as battle plans and maps in their rush to retreat.
The DNR army commander “Astop” shown in the video points out that the city of Gorlovka is in plain view through binoculars from that position. There is no denying the Ukrainian military could see their targets clearly and knew they were killing and targeting civilians.
This news which is just breaking show’s the specific targeting of stores, restaurants, and civil targets marked on maps and orders issued by Kiev. In the video at 1:06 Gorlovka is in plain view.
Kiev Orders Ukrainian Soldiers Retreating from Devaltseve Destroyed
A hacked document released by CyberBerkut dated January 25th, 2015 shows the Ukrainian government giving orders signed by Lt. General Sergei Popko to stop conscripts from retreating from the Devaltseve boiler, as it has been dubbed. DNR and LNR forces are rapidly encircling approximately 9000 Ukrainian troops.
The order states- ”In order to avoid mass defections soldiers from the battlefield near Debaltseve command to form the so-called barrage detachments of volunteers,…” The volunteers are the punisher battalions like Aidar, Azov, and Donbass battalions. According to a few of the survivors that were caught by DNR forces, Kiev’s volunteers have already destroyed dozens of Ukrainian conscripts as they tried to retreat. Right now Ukraine is facing a mass exodus of conscript age men to surrounding countries hoping to avoid shedding more blood in what was only 1 year ago a united Ukraine.
The Only Important Voices of the War In Donbass
These are the most important and least listened to voices in the war. They are the most affected and the longest suffering. Take the time to listen to them. The English subtitles make it easy. Ask yourself, can a US Congress get behind this moral atrocity? History remembers both its monsters and those that help create them.
We will find out the answer to the question posed in the title in the outcome of the contest between the new Greek government, formed by the political party Syriza, and the ECB and the private banks, with whose interests the EU and Washington align against Greece.
The Spartans, whose red cloaks and military prowess struck fear into the hearts of both foreign invaders and Greek opponents in the city-states, are no more. Athens itself is a ruin of its historical self. The Greeks, who were once to be contended with, who were able with 300 Spartans, supplemented with a few thousand Corinthians, Thebans, and other warriors, to stop a one hundred thousand man Persian army at Thermopylae, with the final outcome being the defeat of the Persian fleet in the Battle of Salamis and the defeat of the Persian army in the Battle of Plataea, are no more.
The Greeks of history have become a people of legend. Not even the Romans were able to conquer Persia, but little more than a handful of Greeks stopped the attempted Persian conquest of Greece.
But the Greeks, despite their glorious history, could not stop their conquest by the EU and a handful of German and Dutch banks. If the Greece of history still existed, the EU and the private banks would be cowering in fear, because the EU and the private banks have ruthlessly exploited the Greek people and represent the same threat to Greek sovereignty as Persia did.
Greece, stripped of its independence by its EU membership and acceptance of the euro as its currency, has lost is sovereignty. Without control over its own money, Greece cannot finance itself. Greece must rely on private banks from other countries. In the 21st century European private banks are not allowed to lose money simply because they are incompetent and over-lent to EU member countries. This is not considered to be the fault of the banks, but of the borrower governments and populations.
According to reports, the American bankster firm, Goldman Sachs, sometimes known as Gold Sacks, hid Greek debt from view in order that banks would extent more credit to Greece, thus setting the Greek people up for looting.
The EU’s disingenuous argument is that this bankster trickery benefitted the Greek people. The people enjoyed the resources from these loans. Therefore, the Greek people must pay back the loans through reductions in old age pensions, through unemployment, through lower wages, and through the sale of Greek national assets.
This is the austerity that has been imposed on ordinary Greek people by the EU and Greece’s creditors.
Greece is prostrate. Greeks are actually committing suicide, because Greeks cannot provide for themselves in the depressed conditions that the EU and the private banks have created for them for no other reason than that the private banks must not have to write down the loans.
So, one result from “democracy” in Greece is suicide. With enough democracy, we can control world population and halt the destruction of nature’s capital. All we have to do is to enable the banksters to loot the entire world.
What can Syriza do?
Without Spartans, very little.
The party’s intentions and that of its leaders are honest and deserve our respect. Syriza is a people’s party, and that is what marks it for doom. The voice of the people is no longer permitted to affect politics in the Western world. The powerful rich interest groups that rule the West could not care less about the people over whom they rule.
Tsipras stated that the new Greek government does not intend a “catastrophic clash” with its creditors, only an acceptable amelioration of the unreasonable conditions imposed on Greece, in order that Greece can give some satisfaction to its private bank creditors and also avoid social, political and economic instability in Greece.
Against this reasonable statement, Bloomberg reports that the new Greek cabinet contains communists who favor closer ties with Russia. To remind the newly elected Greek government of the whip that is held over Greek financial markets, Greek bond and stock prices were assaulted and driven down.
The warning from the EU and Wall Street is clear: Defy us and we will destroy you.
The punishment of the new Greek government was instant. This from Bloomberg:
“Greek stocks and bonds slumped for a third day, after new ministers said they will cease the sale of some state assets and increase the minimum wage. Yields on three-year bonds rose 2.66 percentage points to 16.69 percent. The benchmark Athens General Index decreased 9.2 percent to its lowest level since 2012, led by a collapse in the value of banks.”
Does Tsipras understand that Greek financial institutions will continue to be punished if they stand behind his government? Bloomberg makes it clear: “Germany warned the Mediterranean nation against abandoning prior agreements on aid, after analysts said that setting Greece on a collision course with its European peers might lead to its exit from the euro region.”
Statements of newly appointed ministers “imply confrontation and tense negotiations in the near future,” Vangelis Karanikas, head of research at Athens-based Euroxx Securities, wrote in a note to clients.”
What is Syriza’s “collusion course”? The new government wants to moderate the agreements made by previous Greek governments that sold out the Greek people. The new government wants to stop giving away at bargain prices Greek public assets to clients of its creditors, and the new Greek government wants to raise the Greek minimum wage so that the Greek people have enough bread and water on which to live.
However, for the private bank creditors, for Merkel’s Germany that stands behind the banks, for Washington which could care less about the Greeks, for the Greek elites who see themselves as “part of Europe,” Syriza is something to be rid of.
And so the Greek bonds are attacked, the Greek stocks are attacked, threats are issued that arouse fear in that part of the Greek population that is propagandized into the belief that Greece must be part of the euro and the EU or be bypassed by history.
What it boils down to is that the Greek people, like the Americans, are insouciant. Only about 37% of the voters voted for Syriza. That is far more votes than any rival party received, but it is not enough to show Washington, the EU and creditors that Greeks stand behind their government.
Instead it shows that the new party had to form a government with another party that money, perhaps, can buy off. It shows that Syriza can be demonized in the Western media and presented to the Greek public as a threat to Greece.
The new government is aware of its weakness. The new prime minister says that he does not want confrontation, but that the new government cannot continue the kowtowing of previous Greek governments. A reasonable accommodation must be reached.
Accommodation is unlikely to occur, because a reasonable accommodation is not the desire of Washington, the EU, or of Greece’s creditors.
A purpose of the “Greek financial crisis” is to establish that EU members are not sovereign countries and that banks that lend to these non-sovereign entities are not responsible for any losses with regard to the loans. The population of the indebted countries are the responsible parties. And these populations must accept the reduction of their living standards in order to ensure that the banks do not lose any money.
This is the “New Democracy.” It is a resurrection of the old feudal order. A few super-rich aristocrats and everyone else serfs obliged to support the ruling order. The looting that began in Greece has spread into Ukraine, and who knows who is next?
With only 37% of the vote, does Syriza have the clout to stand up for Greece against the looters?
Can Greece escape from a situation comparable to the European Dark Ages when populations were ravaged by marauding raiders? Perhaps if Greece realigns with Russia and gains financing from BRICS.
Throughout this conflict every once in a while Ukrainian government officials have come clean about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
To the chagrin of the Obama Administration and NATO Russia has not invaded. This latest admission came twice today. Once by inference and the other a direct admission from Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Victor Muzhenko.
“To date, we have only the involvement of some members of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Russian citizens [volunteers] that are part of illegal armed groups [Donbass militia] involved in the fighting. We are not fighting with the regular Russian Army. We have enough forces and means in order to inflict a final defeat even with illegal armed formation present. “-
If that wasn’t embarrassing enough for the Poroshenko regime which has consistently stated Russia had invaded and that Ukraine is fighting the Russian Army, it was Petro Poroshenko’s own TV station Channel 5 news that broke the story!
Earlier in the day Ukrainian Military spokesman Lusenko said he was worried if a provocation happened Russia would justify bringing in the Russian army.
This was perfectly in line with General Muzenko’s statements which fully destroy western propaganda and agree the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a hoax.
What about the 37 Russian Invasions Last Year?
November 6th In an interview with Gromadske.TV, Markian Lubkivsky, the adviser to the head of the SBU (the Ukrainian version of the CIA) stated there are NO RUSSIAN TROOPS ON UKRANIAN SOIL! This unexpected announcement came as he fumbled with reporters’ questions on the subject. According to his statement, he said the SBU counted about 5000 Russian nationals, but not Russian soldiers in Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics.
He further clarified that there were no organized Russian units in Donbass. The SBU thinks there are representatives of the Russian FSB (Russian CIA) and mentors who provide training and organization that grew the Novorussia army quickly in its fight with Ukraine.
He went on further to state that the SBU estimates the armies of Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics are about 20-25 thousand strong.
Markian Lubkivsky’s official statement regarding a Russian invasion of Ukraine was made to the strongest nationalist reporter in Ukraine, Natasha Stanko.
Both LifeNews and RT are wondering openly how Petro Poroshenko’s Channel 5 News became the most refreshing Putinesque Propaganda outlet on the planet, if only for a few moments.
A few moments later Channel 5′s talking heads were suffering once again from Putin envy, and denied it ever happened.
Jen Psaki, aka Baghdad Betty has made no comment to Matt Cutts yet about the developing situation.
Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported an Israeli soldier captured. A Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper was killed. More on this below.
Washington hypocritically calls every preemptive Israeli act of aggression its right of self-defense. Justifiable retaliatory strikes are called terrorism.
On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s statement didn’t surprise. Saying in part:
“The United States strongly condemns Hezbollah’s attack today from Lebanon on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in blatant violation of the cease fire between Lebanon and Israel and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks.”
“We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense.”
“Hezbollah continues to incite violence and instability inside Lebanon by attacking Israel and by its presence and fighting inside Syria, which violates Lebanese leaders’ agreed policy of dissociating Lebanon from foreign conflicts.”
America and Israel partner in each other’s high crimes against peace. Both countries support IS terrorists in Syria they claim to be fighting.
Neither side wants protracted conflict. Hezbollah is heavily involved in Syria. Israeli general elections are weeks away.
Eurasia Group analysts Ayham Kamel and Riccardo Fabiani said “Netanyahu most likely realizes that a prolonged military engagement in Lebanon could cost him the election.”
“Instead, Israel will pursue limited actions targeting Hezbollah in Lebanon, but the low-scale, tit-for-tat exchanges will not broaden into a wider war.”
Netanyahu saying “(t)hose behind the attack…will pay the full price” suggests a limited Israeli response.
Saying Israel is “prepared to act powerfully on all fronts” excludes full-scale war. At the same time, current poll numbers show he lacks enough support to remain prime minister.
According to one observer, when running scared, he doesn’t run smart. Whether he intends greater escalation than most think likely remains to be seen.
His policies made increasing numbers of US Jews anti-Zionists. Another war may turn them all against Israel.
Hezbollah called Wednesday’s strike “statement number one.” Suggesting more to come.
On Friday, Hassan Nasrallah is expected to comment publicly on Israel’s January 18 attack and Hezbollah’s response.
Haaretz reported both sides sent messages through UNIFIL. Indicating no desire to escalate conflict.
“The Israeli side is still holding consultations,” said Haaretz. “(A)t this stage, it appears Israel does not wish further escalation.”
At the same time, Netanyahu said “Iran is trying, via Hezbollah, to set up a terrorist front against us in the Golan Heights.”
“We are working aggressively and responsibly against this attempt…Our mission is to defend the State of Israel.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon added:
“Iran and Hezbollah are trying, and will continue to try, to hurt Israel in every way, from the Golan Heights and certainly from Lebanon, with ruthless terrorist infrastructures aimed at military and civilian targets.”
“Israel will continue acting against “the terrorists and those who send them.”
Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On warned against “impulsive” Israeli actions. Urged efforts to “calm the situation with immediate diplomatic steps.”
“We have bitter experience with military escalation on the eve of elections. The Israeli government must not act impulsively as it has in the past.”
Gal-On criticized Netanyahu warning “anyone who would challenge us on the northern border to look at what happened in Gaza.”
“This statement must set off a warning light for everyone,” said Gal-On. “We’ve already experienced too much bloodshed and grief in the past year.”
“Getting dragged into an unnecessary war in Lebanon is the last thing Israel needs now. It is no one’s interest to fight a Third Lebanon War.”
Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies research fellow Benedetta Berti called what’s ongoing “a very delicate game, because both sides want to respond hard enough that they’re not perceived as weak, but not too hard to start a war.”
“It’s a very, very thin line. There’s plenty of room for miscalculations.”
“If this is where it ends, we’re moving on to the next chapter, with the awareness that every single time this starts again, we get closer to…war.”
Lebanese political analyst Kamel Wazne called Israeli violence “a major breach” of 1974 ceasefire agreement terms.
Hezbollah sees Israel changing the “rules of the game. (It) crossed a red line, and if Hezbollah did not react, (it) won’t stop.”
Hezbollah’s Wednesday attack “shows (its) confrontation is with Israel, so it can get back its respected position in the Arab world.”
By focusing where “it was supposed to be the whole time.” Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center international affairs analyst Jonathan Spyer called pre-election military action “a double-edged sword.”
“The Israeli public doesn’t object to military operations if they’re quick and clean, but the last thing you want to do is go into elections in the middle of a bloody war like the summer of 2006,” he explained.
IDF artillery shelled southern Lebanon after Hezbollah’s attack. Lebanese media reported at least 25 shells landing in its territory.
A Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper was killed. At a closed-door Wednesday Security Council meeting, Spain’s UN envoy Roman Oyarzun Marchesi blamed Israel.
Saying “(i)t was because of the escalation of violence, and it came from the Israeli side.”
Syria’s Quneitra province was attacked. In response to what appeared to be errant anti-Assad rocket fire causing no damage in an open field. According to an Israeli military spokesperson:
“The IDF holds the Syrian Government accountable for all attacks emanating from its land, and will operate by any means necessary to defend Israeli civilians.”
“Such blatant breaches of Israeli sovereignty will not be tolerated.” Numerous previous Israeli attacks since 2013 perhaps aimed to provoke Syria to respond.
Doing so would give Israel and Washington a pretext to launch full-scale war. Assad wisely held back.
Mossad-connected DEBKAfile said “Israel’s armed forces will now be obliged to pull out the stops to recover respect for its deterrent capacity.”
“There is little choice but to inflict a serious military blow against Hizballah and the Iranian intelligence officers based in Syria.”
It remains to be seen what Netanyahu has in mind. Or perhaps a new prime minister post mid-March elections.
The Jerusalem Post cited an Israeli military investigation saying its vehicles travelled on a civilian Ghajar village road two km from Lebanon’s border.
Hezbollah “attackers were four to five kilometers away from the vehicles. A military D-max vehicle was” first struck.
Soldiers in a jeep “evacuate(d) it before it too was hit with missiles. The subsequent injuries came from military vehicles nearby.”
Israeli media reported quiet along border areas overnight. Ya’alon warned about possible additional IDF attacks.
Saying “(o)ur long arm knows how to reach wherever is necessary. Anyone to tries to attack us is signing their on death warrant.”
An unnamed IDF source called Hezbollah’s attack “a pinpoint tactical response.” Short of full-scale confrontation.
IDF spokesman Brig. General Moti Almoz said he “notif(ied) the residents of the north that they can go back to their daily routine.”
Hezbollah issued similar comments to southern Lebanese residents. IDF and Hezbollah border area forces remain on high alert.
Haaretz editors said “Israelis are paying the price of a showcase operation. (They) should ask themselves whether the Syria strike justified the lost of the soldiers killed…”
Calling it “an operational and a strategic error. (Raising) questions about the judgment of the decision-makers – the prime minister, the defense minister and the chief of staff.”
“No Israeli should avoid asking (if Israel’s attack) contributed to the security of its population…risking regional escalation.”
Haaretz editors called Netanyahu’s government a “regime of fear and war.”
Whether change is possible post-election remains to be seen. Given Israel’s disturbing history, don’t bet on it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
On Monday, polls closed in Greece and a new government was sworn into power. Syriza, the populist left-wing party who vehemently opposes the EU austerity measures imposed from Brussels, emerged victorious, forming a coalition with the conservative Independent Greeks party. Thousands in Athens turned out in droves, young and old, to cheer and revel in the victory of Syriza and Alexis Tsipras, the new Prime Minister. Syriza’s commitment towards restructuring EU bank loans and its “Hope is Coming” campaign resonated with voters, who had grown tired of previous Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his New Democracy Party for negative job growth, stagnant wages, and cooperating with EU and IMF loan schemes.
Syriza was forced into an unlikely partnership with the Independent Greeks party, known for their anti-immigration rhetoric. Tsipras, a skilled speaker with a magnetic personality, now has serious heavy lifting to accomplish. Unemployment stands at 25%; youth unemployment is nearly 50%; and EU loans that must be renewed by February 28th. Not to mention high poverty rates, pensions slashed by the troika, and the criminally insane Golden Dawn party. (1)
Syriza, typically defined as “far-left” by mainstream news sources, is anything but. Tsipras and company are simply trying to create a new social justice movement, by combating inequality using community outreach programs. As reporter Jon Henley explains in The Guardian, health clinics, markets for fresh produce, educational classes and more are popping up in Greece to help poor families stay afloat. (2) By cutting out middlemen, farmers can sell food and receive a larger profit, while folks in need purchase them for a lower price than at a supermarket. Lawyers give free advice to prevent evictions and foreclosures. The Peristeri health clinic, a network of volunteering doctors using donated equipment, treats over 30,000 patients a month, many without insurance. As a movement organizer explains:
“Greece’s solidarity movement was fostering ‘almost a different sense of what politics should be – a politics from the bottom up, that starts with real people’s needs. It’s a practical critique of the empty, top-down, representational politics our traditional parties practise. It’s kind of a whole new model, actually. And it’s working.’”
This quote says it all. If Syriza is called a far-left party by the establishment, this subtle name-calling only reveals the projected fear of “the powers that be”. If they are called dreamers and utopians, it is only because the nay-sayers who praise neoliberalism cannot see outside their own bubble of propaganda. If they are called naïve, it is only because the media puppets of the ruling class do not have the faith and determination needed to imagine a better society.
Yes, Tsipras has used populist rhetoric to argue for a restructuring and/or non-payment of EU loans. He has also softened his tone recently, as his party realizes that conflict or a complete split with the EU would not be beneficial either. While unabashedly Euroskeptic, Syriza does not approve of the nationalist tone heard in other parties such as UKIP or France’s National Front.
Syriza and Podemos, Spain’s leading leftist party in recent polls, offer a new alternative to mainstream political parties and the faceless technocrats who lord over the EU from Brussels. They offer direct democracy to citizens suffering under unfair austerity measures in a crushing spiral of debt, poverty, and uncertainty. They offer a chance for ordinary people to work together, to foster a sense of community, dignity, solidarity. As a Greek cooperative grocer explains in Henley’s piece:
“All these projects, it’s very important to me, are not just helping people who need it, but they represent almost the start of a new kind of society,” Katerini said. “They are run as direct democracies, with no hierarchy. They are about people taking responsibility for their lives, putting their skills to use, becoming productive again.”
A new kind of society indeed. One not ruled by oligarchs, not coerced into failed policies, not overseen by financial bureaucrats. A society where helping the needy is encouraged, where poverty is being fought at its root sources, unlike the richer Western nations (the US, UK, France, and Germany), where politicians routinely speak to the “middle class” as if the less fortunate no longer exist. And it’s not just happening in southern Europe. In northern Syria, the autonomous Kurdish cantons collectively named Rojava is emerging, where democratic self-government and protection of women’s rights are the pillars of its agenda. (3)
These community organizations, political parties, and social programs in Greece, Spain, legitimately represent the rebirth of grassroots democracy, a movement that ebbed along with the environmental movement in the early 1970s. They represent the spirit of community triumphing over corporations; health and wellness over the postmodern malaise of consumerism; egalitarianism and friendship over the cold hostility of international relations. While still in their infancy, they are models that the modern West can learn from and adopt. And while we may not yet see drastic changes in our own societies right now, we can take heart in Syriza’s inspired message: Hope is coming.
William Hawes is an independent author specializing in environmental issues and politics.
I’m not accustomed to paying much attention to anyone’s national holidays, except perhaps France’s, but only because it at least commemorates what for a brief time was a real revolution. Since I pass a certain consulate almost every day, I do wonder every time I notice that the flag has not been hoisted.
Little did I realise that on the last such occasion, actor-director Clint Eastwood would be watching his latest film release reap in the nation’s box offices. Not only does the harvest mean a monetary yield for the war propaganda industry, one can safely presume that the otherwise hypocritically anti-alcoholic film consumers will be drunk on vintage grapes of wrath American Sniper has stored. Is it accidental that a film about a white assassin hits the box offices on the weekend of Martin Luther King Day?
The film has apparently garnered rave reviews among those media whose job it is to validate the Hollywood product, either for commercial or political reasons. Two critical reviews describe Mr Eastwood’s latest film as sentimental delusion and crass propaganda—not to mention a mediocre piece of work. Today I am unsure whether one ought to admire the diligence or the gastrointestinal fortitude that led them to watch the entire film. When I heard about the film, I watched the trailer—about 2 minutes long. That was more than enough.
Clint Eastwood is supposed to have said that this is an anti-war film. This should surprise anyone familiar with film in the US, esp. Hollywood productions. US anti-war films are rarer than wild Beluga sturgeon. Ironically Clint Eastwood began his film career in the so-called spaghetti Western “Dollar” trilogy, directed by someone whose films, especially Once upon a time in the West, actually criticised the US colonial mythology, Sergio Leone. What Mr Eastwood means, and that is certainly another reason why the film could be such a box-office success, is American Sniper is a “wrong war” film. While no nation likes to admit that it has lost or loses wars, the US response to a war it cannot win—despite unparalleled belligerence and ferocity—is always that it was the “wrong” one. Invading Korea—where Mr Eastwood’s military experience began—was a wrong war. Almost all can now agree that the slaughter of some three million Vietnamese, uncounted Laotians and Cambodians, was again the wrong war. Ignoring the proxy invasion of Nicaragua, the invasions of Grenada and Panama, and sundry terror campaigns throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, one ought probably assume that these were “right wars” (since the US won them). Fast forward from Korea to Iraq: American Sniper is an anti-war film for sure: it is namely a film that demonstrates how resisting the American war machine is hazardous, indeed lethal.
The “wrong war” thesis is elemental to what Carroll Quigley called “liberal imperialism” in his history of the Anglo-American establishment. Liberal imperialists, to which the faux gauche (the descendants of Fabianism) also belong, do not oppose empire. They simply want it to be more aesthetically appealing, and lost wars are most un-aesthetic. So what is the liberal imperialist’s answer to unappetizing military defeats? It is cosmetic surgery. Counter-terror and counter-insurgency were not beatified by American conservatives but by liberals. The infamous US Army special warfare center at Fort Bragg, NC is named after the patron saint of liberal imperialism, John F. Kennedy. The suggestion that the Christian Right drives the crusades of Green Berets and Navy SEALs is a convenient liberal myth. Both were established as elements of what Philip Agee called “Capitalism’s Invisible Army”. The central deception of American Sniper is not its sentimentality or its overt racism, but concealing that Navy SEAL CPO Chris Kyle is not actually a soldier at all. He was a trained assassin. His assignment to the US Navy is an organisational convenience. As a member of the US Special Operations Command, to which the SEALs belong, Chris Kyle (born in 1974) was what might be called a third generation Phoenix operative. Had he been born a generation earlier he would have been murdering Vietnamese civilians under the guidance of people like William Colby or Richard Holbrooke.
Why then would Clint Eastwood—who ostensibly opposed the Vietnam War—make a film celebrating someone who would have been a joyful participant in the daily war crimes committed by US Forces (overt and covert) in that “wrong war”? I think the answer lies in the role that probably did more than anything to make Mr Eastwood a household name: Harry Callahan, the vigilante police officer of the Dirty Harry series. The first Dirty Harry film was released in 1971.
In 1971, the US invaded Laos (with RVN troops); Lt. William Calley was sentenced to life for his role in My Lai (which Colin Powell tried to help conceal); Richard Nixon declared the “war on drugs” (actually part of domestic counter-insurgency programmes); Riots erupt in Camden, NJ and New York’s Attica Prison (directly caused by racist police and prison guard behaviour); the Knapp Commission begins hearings on police corruption (an exercise in futility). In short, there was enough powder burning and frustration among “whites” to make vigilante police films a welcome dramatic relief. Even John Wayne after trying to defend the Vietnam War in his notorious Green Berets, ended his career with a couple of “police hero” films.
Ever since D W Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation, there has been a special place in the hearts of US Americans for vigilante films. Griffith’s vigilantes are the Ku Klux Klan. Mr Eastwood’s vigilante is the individual police officer. However, just like in American Sniper, the individual vigilante is a myth. Worse than that it is a lie. Dirty Harry Callahan could not murder at will without the institutional protection granted by the armies of metropolitan police. Chris Kyle could not confirm his assassination of 160-odd people without the Phoenix-type apparatus maintained under the cover of “special operations”. There are no lone vigilantes in any empire.
American Sniper is certainly vile propaganda but not because of the sentimentality and racism or even the obvious disregard for the US invasion of Iraq as a crime per se. American Sniper is noxious because of what it does not say and no critic has apparently mentioned. Like many films before it—especially those in which Mr Eastwood himself played—the covert role of the police and elements assigned to the military or the military itself is deliberately concealed and obscured. These are not films intended to deny the realities of US wars—“right” or “wrong”. They are not appeals to some equally insipid family values. These are films designed to conceal the massive scope of Phoenix that has survived and thrived since Vietnam. They also serve as a kind of aesthetic for left/ liberal imperialism. The assassin or vigilante is supposedly far less “messy” than the deployment of entire airborne infantry divisions. On one hand the filmgoer can enjoy vicariously the illusion that a tidy sniper can turn a “wrong” war into a “right” one (that the US wins). On the other he can be consoled that it is only a matter of having better soldiers (oh, if all the troops could shoot like him!). The viewer gets to say to himself with every trigger pull, “make my day”. He too becomes part of the invisible cult of terror.
 Carroll Quigley (1981) The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden.
 William E. Colby was the CIA officer—later Director—who supervised the ripening of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. A generally overlooked biographical detail of Richard Holbrooke’s career was that he began as a foreign service officer assigned to rural pacification in Vietnam, a contemporary of John Negroponte who also began his career there. Rural pacification was one of the key elements of what became the CIA’s Phoenix Program activity.
 Douglas Valentine, (2000) The Phoenix Program (2014, Forbidden Bookshelf series e-book)
One of the weirdest features of contemporary culture is the way even the best corporate journalists write as though under enemy occupation.
Journalists admit, even in public, but particularly in private, that there is much they just cannot say. As Noam Chomsky has noted, the best investigative reporters ‘regard the media as a sham’ trying to ‘play it like a violin: If they see a little opening they’ll try to squeeze something in that ordinarily wouldn’t make it through’.
Of course, the truth of the sham is one of the ‘tunes’ that doesn’t get played. While not typically subject to Big Brother-style threats, journalists are keenly aware that they can be swiftly ‘disappeared’ by the grey, profit-oriented suits draped in hierarchical chains above them.
To his credit, George Monbiot is one of the better journalists who seriously wrestles with his conscience on these issues. The crisis apparent in his writing and in his reaction to criticism – Media Lens ‘drives me bananas’, he says - is characteristic of someone trying, and failing, to overcome the limits on free speech.
Writing in the Guardian, Monbiot rails against ‘the rotten state of journalism’ and confesses: ‘I hadn’t understood just how quickly standards are falling’.
It is a classic moment of semi-quixotic, Monbiotic dissent. The ‘rotten state of journalism’ could be a reference to the inherent contradictions of a corporate ‘free press’, the Guardian included. On the other hand, the article has been carefully titled, ‘Our “impartial” broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite.’ (Our emphasis)
And who is the target when Monbiot notes that ‘those who are supposed to scrutinise the financial and political elite are embedded within it. Many belong to a service-sector aristocracy, wedded metaphorically (sometimes literally) to finance. Often unwittingly, they amplify the voices of the elite, while muffling those raised against it’?
These criticisms could also implicate the ‘quality’ liberal press. But Monbiot quickly scurries down to lower moral ground by supplying specific examples from, who else?, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and everyone’s favourite media punch bag, the BBC. The Beeb, of course, is sufficiently different from the Guardian to spare the latter’s blushes.
As Monbiot says, the BBC ‘grovels to business leaders’, supplying ‘”a Conservative, Eurosceptic, pro-business version of the world”‘. And this, he notes archly, ‘is where people turn when they don’t trust the corporate press’. Again, this widens the target for a brief moment before Monbiot concludes:
‘Those entrusted to challenge power are the loyalists of power. They rage against social media and people such as Russell Brand, without seeing that the popularity of alternatives is a response to their own failures’.
But he points away from his own employer:
‘If even the public sector broadcasters parrot the talking points of the elite, what hope is there for informed democratic choice?’
The concluding comments are ironic indeed, for while the Guardian does host Brand’s output, it has also led the ferocious liberal assault on his reputation, as we noted here. And it has performed the same role in attacking Julian Assange, Hugo Chavez, Noam Chomsky and many other dissidents.
On the face of it, Monbiot would appear to be rationally and ethically obliged to remind his readers that the paper hosting his condemnation of broadcast media is itself a prime example of the problem he is describing. We tweeted him:
‘”Those entrusted to challenge power are the loyalists of power.” Isn’t that also true of Guardian/Independent journalists?’
‘GM written an article I am sure you agree with? Unrealistic to expect direct criticism of his employer. Be happy!’
This is pretty much what we receive every time we challenge a ‘mainstream’ dissident: they are doing their best within the constraints of the system; we should support rather than criticise them.
From this perspective, rational questions, even polite challenges, are viewed as a betrayal of ‘solidarity’. This might be arguable if the world was making steady, positive progress rather than hurtling to hell in a climate-denying handcart. But anyway, as Glenn Greenwald writes:
‘Few things are more dangerous than having someone with influence or power hear only praise or agreement.’
A Feral Roar From The New York Times
In the same week, in a piece published in the New York Times, Monbiot writes:
‘Live free or die: This is the maxim of our age. But the freedoms we celebrate are particular and limited.’
True enough. And ironic indeed, given the limited freedoms celebrated by Monbiot in the Guardian that very week. He continues:
‘Even the freedoms we do possess we tend not to exercise… It’s no wonder, when we possess and use it so little, that we make a fetish out of freedom.’
Monbiot seems to supply an example of frustrated freedom fetishism in describing his own peak experience:
‘I felt it most keenly when I stumbled across the fresh corpse of a deer in a wood. I hoisted it onto my shoulders. As soon as I felt its warmth on my back, my skin flushed, my hair stood on end and I wanted to roar. Civilization slid off like a bathrobe… These experiences ignited in me a smoldering longing for a richer and rawer life than the one I lead.’
How readers smoulder and long for a feral ‘roar’ of honesty from Monbiot on the role of the Guardian, Independent, New York Times and other liberal media in creating the catastrophe that is corporate, no-choice ‘democracy’, ‘responsibility to protect’ foreign policy and climate-killing corporate terrorism. But, like most people, we do understand the silence because the price paid would likely be high.
In truth, the brightest and best of corporate journalism, Monbiot included, have played a key role in persuading readers to continue perceiving advert- and corporate entertainment-drenched newspapers as ‘normal’. They have kept us buying into this ‘safe’, toxic, deeply disempowering state-corporate version of journalism, reality and dissent.
Monbiot calls for ‘a partial rewilding’ of our lives, one that ‘allows us to step into a world that is not controlled and regulated’ to ‘recover some measure of the freedom that has been denied to us’.
Absolutely, and domesticated journalism should lead the way.
So what would a ‘rewilding’ of journalism look like? Where could a genuinely ‘feral’ Monbiotic keyboard roar loudest?
The freely-given support we receive – often expressed in the form of spontaneous, unsolicited donations every time we send a media alert or cogitation – tells us that the public is desperate for an alternative to the crass demeritocracy of corporate journalism. With no profile and very little outreach, we are able to work full-time and rarely send direct appeals for support.
It seems to us that the public is sick to the back teeth of corporate media pretending to supply the truth and nothing but, while miraculously satisfying the fanatical demands of media moguls, corporate advertisers, parent companies, supportive state news sources and other business allies. What a pitiful lie this is!
Many readers are aware, on some level, that the profit motive distorts and cheapens every last thing offered by a ‘mainstream’ media system that in fact represents the extreme viewpoint of 0.1% of the population.
Any given journalist might not give a damn about antagonising the White House, BP, or the Royal Family, but he or she knows that the host media does and must care. So all corporate media output marinades in an environment of ‘caution’, ‘respectability’ and self-preservational second-guessing. ‘Je suis Charlie Hebdo’ aside, write or say anything construed as ‘offensive’ or ‘outrageous’ by the wrong people, and a vast state-corporate, reputational wrecking ball can be mobilised. Anyone can be made a pariah, and journalists and corporate media entities cannot afford the consequences.
To reiterate, we know from our own experience that the public is not indifferent to this – people are very keen to support something positive to change this disastrous status quo. But how to do it? Political parties, corporate media, human rights organisations, and of course organised religions, are almost all fatally compromised. What the public really wants is an inspirational, uncompromised cause that will genuinely challenge state-corporate power and propaganda.
It may sound like wild fantasy, but we can imagine a collective of high-profile writers and journalists willing to detach themselves from corporate and state media, and to place themselves entirely at the mercy of the public.
Two points would be absolutely key for the success of such an initiative: journalistic output should be completely free of charge to the public, a gift; and it should be openly presented as a declaration of intellectual war on the corporate media. Not in any vindictive way – the intention would be to offer an example of honest journalism based on selfless generosity as a contrast to the compromised, greed-based corporate media.
Imagine if George Monbiot, John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, David Peterson, Jonathan Cook, Mark Curtis, Glenn Greenwald, Nafeez Ahmed, Robert Fisk, Naomi Klein, Russell Brand, Michael Moore, Julian Assange, Chris Hedges, Sharon Beder, Seumas Milne and others rejected the media moguls, billionaires, parent companies and advertisers, and offered their work completely free of charge from a single media outlet. Would the global public be willing to support such a group, such a cause, through donations? The answer, we think, is blindingly obvious.
As the world continues to slide into the climate change abyss, is it not at least worth the attempt to suck as much dissident talent and reflected credibility as possible out of the corporate media and use it instead to expose these media with unleashed insider knowledge?
Please understand that this strategy has never been attempted – even the very best dissidents have tempered their criticism in a conscious attempt to gain access to a wider audience through corporate media. Even at this late stage of the human crisis, no-holds-barred criticism of the ‘quality’ corporate media has simply never been attempted in an organised, high-profile form.
We believe the internet makes the global outreach and required level of donations achievable. The support would be vast, if the journalism was free, and if it offered a genuine, uncompromising challenge to the corporate stranglehold.
Los medios informativos occidentales se hicieron el eco de la prohibición de una manifestación de la oposición, sin recordar que lo mismo ocurre a diario en las democracias occidentales.
La prohibición de la manifestación que organizó la artista plástica cubana Tania Bruguera, que reside en Estados Unidos, prevista el 30 de diciembre de 2014 en plaza de la Revolución, lugar emblemático de La Habana donde se desarrollan la mayoría de los acontecimientos políticos oficiales, suscitó muchas polémicas y controversias. La prensa occidental señaló con el dedo al Gobierno cubano, acusándolo de restringir la libertad de expresión y de atentar contra los derechos fundamentales.
La convocatoria, bajo cobertura de expresión artística denominada “el susurro de Tatlin #6″, era en realidad una plataforma política abierta a los sectores de la oposición, incluso a los ligados a la Sección de Intereses Norteamericanos que reciben financiamiento por parte de Washington para sus actividades. Varias iniciativas similares estaban previstas el mismo día en Nueva York y Miami. Las autoridades de la capital decidieron no otorgar un permiso oficial para esta iniciativa.
El Consejo Nacional de Artes Plásticas (CNAP) de Cuba no se solidarizó con Tania Bruguera, acusándola de instrumentalizar su pertenencia a la institución para organizar una manifestación no artística sino política. Por su parte, la Asociación de Artistas Plásticos de la Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba denunció “una provocación política” cuyo objetivo es “situarse en contra de las negociaciones [entre Raúl Castro y Barack Obama] que dan esperanza a muchos seres humanos, en primer lugar a los once millones de cubanos”.
Haciendo caso omiso de la decisión de las autoridades gubernamentales, Tania Bruguera decidió mantener su convocatoria, lo que ocasionó su detención durante unas horas por parte de la policía por violar la decisión oficial, por resistencia y desorden. La policía también impidió que otras figuras de la oposición, como Yoani Sánchez y su marido Reinaldo Escobar, participaran en el acontecimiento.
Estados Unidos expresó su preocupación y condenó los arrestos de una decena de personas. El Departamento de Estado publicó un virulento comunicado contra el Gobierno de La Habana : “Condenamos enérgicamente el acoso continuo por parte del Gobierno cubano y el recurso reiterado a la detención arbitraria, a veces con violencia, para silenciar a los críticos, perturbar las reuniones pacíficas y la libertad de expresión, e intimidar a los ciudadanos”.
No obstante, lo que la prensa occidental y Washington omiten es que Tanía Bruguera habría sido arrestada en cualquier democracia occidental. Conseguir una autorización de las autoridades para manifestarse es un requisito indispensable. En Francia por ejemplo, donde se rechazan cientos de peticiones de manifestaciones todas las semanas, está terminantemente prohibido organizar una agrupación sin el acuerdo escrito de la Prefectura de Policía. La petición tiene que hacerse “al menos un mes antes de la fecha de la manifestación” y “este plazo será de tres meses como mínimo si el evento proyectado agrupará a mucha gente”.
Por otra parte, “cada petición debe llevar toda la información útil sobre el organizador (persona física o jurídica) y sobre la manifestación (naturaleza, fecha, lugar, horario, número de participantes…)”. En Francia, los organizadores de manifestaciones son penalmente responsables de todos los daños que pueda causar el evento. La Prefectura de Policía insiste en este punto: “El organizador debe asumir la tarea de la seguridad general en el sitio dedicado a la manifestación. En caso de daños por imprudencia o negligencia, la responsabilidad civil, incluso penal, del organizador puede evocarse sobre la base de los artículos 1382 y siguientes del Código Civil y de los artículos121-1, 121-2, 223-1 y 223-2 del Código Penal”.
Así, durante el verano 2014, Francia fue el único país del mundo que prohibió las manifestaciones de solidaridad con Palestina tras la mortífera agresión de Israel contra Gaza. La policía dispersó violentamente a los manifestantes y procedió a decenas de detenciones. La justicia sancionó severamente a varias personas por violar la prohibición.
La negativa de las autoridades cubanas a dar la autorización es fácilmente comprensible. La plaza de la Revolución agrupa las sedes del Gobierno, del Comité Central del Partido Comunista y de las Fuerzas Armadas. En Francia, sería impensable una manifestación frente al Palacio del Eliseo, donde reside el presidente de la República.
Otra vez, un acontecimiento banal –una manifestación no autorizada y la detención de los protagonistas que no respetaron la decisión de las autoridades–, que pasaría desapercibido en cualquier otro país del mundo, es primera plana de la prensa internacional cuando se trata de Cuba. Esto es bastante ilustrativo del nivel de imparcialidad de los medios informativos en las democracias occidentales.
Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba, the Media, and theChallenge of Impartiality, New York, MonthlyReviewPress, 2014, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.
Nora Gámez Torres, « La artista Tania Bruguera está detenida en Cuba », El Nuevo Herald, 31 de diciembre de 2014.
UNEAC, « Declaración de la Presidencia de la Asociación de Artistas Plásticos de la UNEAC », 30 de diciembre de 2014.
EFE, “Tania Bruguera está detenida por resistencia y desorden, según Policía cubana”, 31 de diciembre de 2014.
Lake Malawi. Photo: bathyporeia. Used under Creative Commons license.
Paladin Energy, an Australian mining company, has been accused of discharging uranium-contaminated sludge into Lake Malawi, which supports 1.7 million people in three countries – Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The company began uranium mining operations in Malawi in 2009 although it suspended operations last year after ore prices fell.
“It is rumored that Paladin secretly have started discharging the so called purified water. Reports from the Beach Village Chairman indicates that this started in late November,” wrote Rafiq Hajat of Malawi’s Institute for Policy Interaction on Facebook. “[At] a radius of 35 km from the Boma, you will be shocked to see fish of different species dead with some communities along the lakeshore collecting [the fish].”
Controversy has dogged the Kayelekera mine ever since. “Uranium is radioactive and that with open-pit mining, like the one to be conducted at Kayelekera, the soil drains into rivers and contaminates the water,” Titus Mvalo, a lawyer representing several civil society organizations in Malawi, told Inter Press Service in 2007. “When humans drink the water, it damages kidneys and causes cancer.”
At the time, the activist groups warned that the mine would pose a threat to Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest freshwater lake, which is a major source of drinking water and fish for the country. Christopher Mwambene, the executive director of Coordination Union for Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE), a Blantyre-based environmental NGO, estimated that catch from the lake provides 20 percent of the protein requirement for Malawi’s population.
Mudd says that uranium tailings (waste) are typically stored under the water table in Australia and Canada, to reduce the risk of contamination. In Malawi, however, Paladin chose to store the tailings above ground behind a specially contructed dam.
“What Paladin is proposing for Kayelekera is it will depend on what happens with the rainfall and climate, but every few years or so allowing the excess build-up of water to be discharged into the local river system and local water resources,” Mudd added.
Mudd’s predictions appear to have come true. On January 5, a heavy storm caused the liner in a Kayelekera run-off tank to rupture, releasing up to 500 cubic meters of waste.
The company denied that the rupture had polluted the lake. “Following discovery of the damaged tank, the company immediately commenced protection and remediation procedures and the site remains secure,” Paladin said in an official statement. “A sampling program to analyze water from within the local stream system was initiated to confirm no contamination occurred.”
In a statement issued to the Australian Stock Exchange, Paladin insisted that the company’s water filtration standards met the World Health Organization guidelines and had been approved by the government of Malawi. The company claimed that the activist allegations “contain numerous blatant falsehoods and misleading statements,” and that local non-government organizations were “openly hostile to the company”.
In any case, today Malawi is no longer benefiting financially from Paladin’s operations. In March 2011, after a tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, many countries suspended nuclear operations and the global uranium price started to fall. Three years later, when the price had dropped to less than half of the pre-Fukushima levels, Paladin suspended operations.
Os meios de comunicação ocidentais foram o eco da proibição de uma manifestação da oposição, sem lembrar que o mesmo acontece diariamente nas democracias ocidentais
A proibição da manifestação organizada pela artista plástica cubana Tania Bruguera, que mora nos Estados Unidos, prevista para o dia 30 de dezembro de 2014, na Praça da Revolução, lugar emblemático de Havana onde acontece a maioria dos eventos políticos oficiais, levantou muitas polêmicas e controvérsias. A imprensa ocidental apontou o dedo para o governo cubano, acusando-o de restringir a liberdade de expressão e de atentar contra os direitos fundamentais.
A convocatória, sob cobertura da expressão artística denominada “o sussurro de Tatlin #6”, era, na verdade, uma plataforma política aberta aos setores da oposição, inclusive aos ligados à Seção de Interesses norte-americanos, que recebem financiamento de Washington para suas atividades. Várias iniciativas similares estavam previstas para o mesmo dia em Nova York e Miami. As autoridades da capital decidiram não outorgar uma permissão oficial a essa iniciativa.
Manifestação diante da Praça da Revolução em 30 de dezembro
O Conselho Nacional de Artes Plásticas (CNAP) de Cuba não se solidarizou com Tania Bruguera, acusando-a de instrumentalizar sua ligação com a instituição para organizar uma manifestação que não era artística, mas política. Por sua vez, a Associação de Artistas Plásticos da União de Escritores e Artistas de Cuba denunciou “uma provocação política” cujo objetivo é “se situar contra as negociações [entre Raúl Castro e Barack Obama] que dão esperança a muitos seres humanos, em primeiro lugar aos onze milhões de cubanos”.
Ignorando a decisão das autoridades governamentais, Tania Bruguera decidiu manter sua convocatória, o que fez que a polícia a detivesse durante algumas horas por violar a decisão oficial, por resistência e desordem. A polícia também impediu que outras figuras da oposição, como Yoani Sánchez e seu marido, Reinaldo Escobar, participassem do acontecimento.
Os Estados Unidos expressaram sua preocupação e condenaram a prisão de uma dezena de pessoas. O Departamento de Estado publicou um virulento comunicado contra o governo de Havana: “Condenamos energicamente o acosso contínuo por parte do governo cubano e o recurso reiterado à detenção arbitrária, às vezes com violência, para silenciar os críticos, perturbar as reuniões pacíficas e a liberdade de expressão e intimidar os cidadãos”.
Entretanto, o que a imprensa ocidental e Washington omitem é que Tania Bruguera teria sido presa em qualquer democracia ocidental. Conseguir uma autorização das autoridades para se manifestar é um requisito indispensável. Na França, por exemplo, onde se rejeitam centenas de petições de manifestação todas as semanas, está terminantemente proibido organizar uma agrupação sem o acordo escrito do departamento de polícia. A petição tem de ser feita “pelo menos um mês antes da data da manifestação” e “este prazo será de três meses como mínimo, se o evento projetado for agrupar muita gente”.
Sem autorização para acontecer, ‘manifestação artística’ terminou com várias pessoas detidas
Por outro lado, “cada petição deve conter toda a informação útil sobre o organizador (pessoa física ou jurídica) e sobre a manifestação (natureza, data, lugar, horário, número de participantes…)”. Na França, os organizadores de manifestações são penalmente responsáveis por todos os danos que o evento possa causar. O departamento de polícia insiste nesse ponto: “o organizador deve assumir a tarefa da segurança geral no local dedicado à manifestação. No caso de danos por imprudência ou negligência, a responsabilidade civil, inclusive penal, do organizador pode ser invocada tendo por base o artigo 1382 e os seguintes do Código Civil e os artigos 121-1, 121-2, 223-1 e 223-2 do Código Penal”.
A negativa das autoridades cubanas em dar a autorização é facilmente compreensível. A Praça da Revolução agrupa as sedes do governo, do Comitê Central do Partido Comunista e das Forças Armadas. Na França, seria impensável uma manifestação em frente ao Palácio do Eliseu, onde mora o presidente da República.
Outra vez, um acontecimento banal — uma manifestação não autorizada e a detenção dos protagonistas que não respeitaram a decisão das autoridades — que passaria despercebida em qualquer outro país do mundo, é o primeiro plano da imprensa internacional quando se trata de Cuba. Isso é bastante ilustrativo do nível de imparcialidade dos meios de comunicação nas democracias ocidentais.
Doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos da Universidade Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani é professor-titular da Universidade de la Reunión e jornalista, especialista nas relações entre Cuba e Estados Unidos. Seu último livro se chama Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2014, com prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened war in Lebanon and Syria on Wednesday, saying that Israel is prepared to act “on all fronts” following an attack that killed two Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers near Israel’s northern border.
Seven more were wounded in the attack, when anti-tank missiles struck an IDF military vehicle traveling near Har Dov. One Spanish soldier, attached to a UN peacekeeping force and deployed with the IDF troops, was also killed.
The incidents are only the latest in two days of intermittent fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah militants in the Golan Heights, which have seen the contending forces launch missile and artillery attacks across the Lebanese-Israeli border. The clashes are the most significant in the Golan Heights area since the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese war.
The 2006 war was preceded by similar cross-border flareups, which were then seized upon to implement pre-existing war plans. The invasion and air campaign killed at least 1,000 Lebanese, mostly civilians. In close coordination with US government and military, Israeli forces deliberately targeted working class residential areas and essential public infrastructure for destruction.
“To all those who try to challenge us on the north, I suggest you look at what happened in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday, referring to the 2014 IDF onslaught that killed more than 2,000 civilians in the course of two months of bombing and ground assaults targeting densely populated areas.
“We will know how to respond with force to whoever challenges us,” Netanyahu added.
Israel has already launched retaliatory air and ground missions against targets in southern Lebanon, according to IDF officials. IDF and Hezbollah forces continued to exchange rocket fire through Wednesday afternoon, according to Lebanese media, with some 10 Israeli shells slamming into targets near and just south of the town of Shebaa.
The Israeli prime minister threatened Iran as well, saying, “Iran—via Hezbollah—has been trying to establish an additional terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights.”
Israel must “respond very harshly and disproportionately to rocket fire on our sovereign territory,” said Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s current foreign policy chief and the leading political rival of Netanyahu in upcoming elections.
In official statements Wednesday, US State Department spokespersons backed Israel, giving the standard lies about Israeli “self-defense.”
“The United States strongly condemns Hezbollah’s attack today on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) near the border between Lebanon and Israel,” said State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez.
“We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense,” State Department spokesman Jen Psaki added.
These statements come amidst indications of tactical divisions between the Obama administration and Israel, as well as divisions within the US ruling class, over policy in the Middle East. Obama has said that he will not meet with Netanyahu when the prime minister visits Washington in March, at the invitation of House Republicans, to seek more backing for new sanctions against Iran.
Whatever these conflicts, they take place amidst a determined campaign by American imperialism to reassert control over the Middle East, which threatens to erupt into a regional civil war, involving Iraq, Syria and Iran.
Tuesday and Wednesday’s clashes may well represent the opening stage of a regional escalation that includes new Israeli military and covert operations in Syria, according to Israeli military experts.
Former IDF general Israel Ziv described the situation as “very flammable,” during an international press conference conducted via conference call Wednesday. “It’s very clear that, very easily from events and retaliation, we will find ourselves in a war,” he said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Ziv pointedly noted that Israel was close to full scale intervention in the “chaotic situation over there in Syria.”
On January 18, Israeli war planes attacked a convoy of vehicles traveling on the Syrian side of the border, killing several Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian military officer. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah force, apparently targeted for a precision assassination-style strike, was engaged in efforts to drive al-Nusra Front fighters out of the Golan Heights.
The al-Nusra militants are currently participating in the US-organized proxy war against the Syrian government, and enjoy close relations with powerful elements of the Israeli state, according to the Israeli paper Haaretz. In exchange for Israeli military training and weaponry, the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front is providing Israel with intelligence and supporting Israeli efforts to establish a new proxy-army in southern Syria.
At the same time, in the aftermath of the seizure of Yemen’s capital by Houthi Shia militants reportedly aligned with Iran, US and Israeli politicians, military chiefs and commentators have issued increasingly bellicose warnings about growing Iranian power in the Persian Gulf and the Levant, and demanded new US-led military escalations in Iraq, Syria and the Arabian peninsula.
Leading Republican Senator John McCain called on Sunday for fresh US “boots on the ground” in Yemen and a number of countries bordering Syria to meet the threat posed by Iran. McCain’s comments were met with enthusiastic agreement from his Democratic counterpart, Senate Intelligence Committee head Diane Feinstein, who suggested that the Houthi coup in Sana’a was part of plans to establish a new “Iranian crescent” in the region.
In reality, it is the US elite and its junior partners in Israel who are engaged in an aggressive militarist agenda aimed at insuring total domination of the region. This agenda, rooted in the US drive for global dominance, has brought the entire region to the precipice of a generalized conflagration with incalculable consequences.
The first meeting of the cabinet named by the Syriza-Independent Greeks (ANEL) coalition government was televised on Wednesday, with Prime Minister and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras declaring that his government would not come into conflict with the international financial elite.
Syriza would not seek a “mutually destructive clash,” Tsipras said, adding that “our priority is a new renegotiation with our partners, seeking a just, viable and mutually beneficial solution.” He called the coalition a government of “national salvation.”
The most significant appointment was that of Panos Kammenos, the leader of the right-wing nationalist Independent Greeks, who was handed control of the Ministry of Defence. He has built close links to the military in recent years and demanded ANEL be given control over defence during the talks held Monday with Tsipras to form the coalition.
There can be no doubt that in the background the military is considering a possible takeover at some point as the economic crisis deepens and opposition to the new government intensifies in the working class. The implications of a right-wing figure like Kammenos overseeing the military—in a country where, as recently as 1974, a CIA-backed military regime was in power—are ominous.
Syriza is a coalition of pseudo-left forces including Stalinists, Maoists, former PASOK figures and ecological tendencies. One of its leading members is the lifelong Stalinist Giannis Dragasakis, who is to serve as Tsipras’s deputy. Dragasakis is a proponent of public sector “reforms”—that is, job cuts and productivity increases. He recently said, “Even if the debt were zero, we would have problems without the necessary reforms in the state and civil administration.”
While in the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Dragasakis served as a junior minister for several months in the 1989-1990 “ecumenical” government that the KKE joined alongside the right-wing New Democracy (ND) and the social democratic PASOK party.
The Finance Ministry, charged with overseeing the government’s upcoming negotiations with the European Union (EU) and international banks on repaying Greece’s debts of more than €300 billion, was given to Yanis Varoufakis. Taking over the ministry, Varoufakis echoed Tsipras, declaring: “There won’t be a duel between us and the EU…. There won’t be any threats.”
Varoufakis was recently a professor of economic theory and held a visiting post at the University of Texas. He has authored several versions of “A Modest Proposal for Resolving the Eurozone Crisis,” the first of which was written with former UK Labour Party MP Stuart Holland. The final version, released in July 2013, was published jointly with US economist J.K. Galbraith. In June 2013, Varoufakis and Galbraith wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Only Syriza Can Save Greece.”
They assured the ruling elite internationally that a Syriza government “wouldn’t be a bad thing for Europe or the United States.” Were Syriza to be elected, they wrote, “nothing vital would change for the United States.” They continued: “Syriza doesn’t intend to leave NATO or close American military bases.”
Varoufakis has intimate knowledge of Greek bourgeois politics, having been an economic advisor to PASOK’s former leader George Papandreou for three years to 2006. Papandreou went on to lead the 2009 PASOK government, which imposed the first round of austerity cuts in Greece. PASOK continued this role as part of successive coalition governments before being thrown out of office last week.
Varoufakis is an avowed defender of capitalism and has advocated the reduction of Greece’s corporate tax rate to 15 percent. He told the BBC’s Today programme that Syriza’s aims were for “genuine reforms that we need to implement in this country to put an end to the bureaucracy” and to “create a rational plan for debt restructure.”
Asked if he wanted the banks to write off half of Greece’s debt, as Syriza had previously proposed, he replied,
“No, no, no, there is a lot of posturing before every negotiation…there has been a bit of posturing on our side. What really matters is that now we sit down and discuss a way in which the haircut to our debt, the debt write-down is minimised. We don’t want to pay back less than we can.”
Syriza planned to “bind our repayments to our growth,” he added. “We want to make them [Greece’s creditors] partners to our recovery.”
After citing one of the first statements made by Varoufakis in office, that Greeks should live “frugally” in the future, the Financial Times commented, “There would be no explosion in public spending by the new administration, Mr. Varoufakis pledged.”
Tsipras is speaking to two audiences and, in the initial stage of the government, playing a delicate balancing act. Syriza is seeking to assure the EU and global capital of its intention to repay Greece’s debts, while carrying out some immediate measures to placate, and dupe, those who elected it in the expectation that it would carry out progressive social change. Tsipras told his cabinet that ministers “must not disappoint the voters who gave us a mandate.”
Panagiotis Lafazanis, another veteran Stalinist and leader of the party’s “Left Platform,” was handed the Ministry of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy. He announced yesterday that several proposed privatisations would be halted, including the Public Power Corporation and the Independent Power Transmission Operator. The full privatisation of Greece’s biggest and strategically vital port, Piraeus, would be postponed, and 595 public sector cleaners who were fired by the last government under its “mobility scheme” would be rehired.
Most of these measures entail hardly any expense. This was acknowledged by Syriza Deputy Social Security Minister Dimitris Stratoulis, who said: “What we have said during the election campaign will be our guide, starting with measures that do not have a large spending impact.”
However, even these token gestures are too much for the representatives of the financial elite. The head of the euro group of finance ministers, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, responded to the new government by insisting, “The message ‘we want your support but not your conditions’ won’t fly.”
Greek bank shares suffered their worst one-day loss on record, with the country’s four biggest lenders—Piraeus, the National Bank of Greece, Eurobank and Alpha Bank—plummeting by more than 25 percent.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel commented that “Citizens of other euro states have a right to see that the deals linked to their acts of solidarity are upheld.”
Syriza knows that this is its responsibility, and it is already preparing for a resurgence of social opposition. This was the real meaning of the first statement of Yiannis Panousis, a former deputy of the Democratic Left, a right-wing split-off from Syriza, who was named an alternate minister in the Ministry of the Interior with a remit for “citizen’s protection.”
In the clearest indication that Syriza will do its utmost to defend the capitalist state, Panousis said, “The police will have weapons at protests, but that doesn’t mean that they will intimidate and terrorise.”
Syriza had previously pledged to abolish riot police units and merge them with the general police force. Panousis’s qualification should be dismissed by workers with contempt, given the brutality that the police have unleashed against protesters over the last five years.
The Greek police force is a well-known bastion of support for right-wing and fascistic parties. Between 40 and 50 percent of police officers reportedly voted for the fascist Golden Dawn party in Sunday’s election, the same percentage as in the 2012 election.
Rapidshare was one of three file-sharing websites targeted in the spy agency’s surveillance. (Photo: Evan Mitsui/CBC)
Newly released documents contained in the archive of materials leaked to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals that Canada’s spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, has been operating a covert, mass surveillance program designed to monitor the downloads of millions of Internet users around the world.
Reported jointly by The Intercept and the CBC on Wednesday, the revelations center on a slide presentation detailing a CSE program called LEVITATION which secretly “taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files.”
The presentation provides a rare glimpse into Canada’s cyber-sleuthing capabilities and its use of its spy partners’ immense databases to track the online traffic of millions of people around the world, including Canadians.
Though Canada’s always been described as a junior partner in the Five Eyes spying partnership, which includes the U.S., Britain, New Zealand and Australia, this document shows it led the way in developing this new extremist-tracking tool.
Asked for his assessment of the surveillance program by The Intercept’s Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald, Ron Deibert, director of University of Toronto-based Internet security think tank Citizen Lab, said LEVITATION illustrates just how powerful the world’s intelligence agencies have become and described their myriad spy tools as a “giant X-ray machine over all our digital lives.”
After reviewing the details of the program, Deibert said, “Every single thing that you do – in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites – that act is being archived, collected and analyzed.”
CBC’s reporting describes how the CSE was able to use their technology “to access data from 102 free file upload sites, though only three file-host companies are named: Sendspace, Rapidshare and the now-defunct Megaupload.”
The ostensible aim of the surveillance is to sift through vast amounts of data to identify people uploading or downloading content that could be connected to terrorism – such as bomb-making guides and hostage videos.
In the process, however, CSE combs through huge volumes of data showing uploads and downloads initiated by Internet users not suspected of any wrongdoing.
In a top-secret PowerPoint presentation, dated from mid-2012, an analyst from the agency jokes about how, while hunting for extremists, the LEVITATION system gets clogged with information on innocuous downloads of the musical TV series Glee.
CSE finds some 350 “interesting” downloads each month, the presentation notes, a number that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data.
Commenting within CBC’s reporting, Greenwald said an important thing to note about this latest revelation, especially for Canadians, is that “it’s really the first time that a story has been reported that involves [CSE] as the lead agency in a program of pure mass surveillance.”
Begging further questions, Tamir Israel, a lawyer with the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, speculated about what the LEVITATION program says about other CSE operations which remain in the dark. ”The specific uses that they talk about in this context may not be the problem,” he told the CBC, “but it’s what else they can do.”
Can the dollar and gold continue to rise in tandem for long? The last three months have seen a very peculiar dollar/gold anomaly. Since mid November, gold (and silver) have “acted” very differently. We have seen “outside days” and even an outside week. Gold has moved nearly $160 of its lows for a rise of nearly 15%. This has happened while the dollar has rallied furiously versus foreign currencies (with the exception of the franc). From a “textbook” sense, this should never happen. Actually, I am sure there are professors out there who would have argued “it cannot happen” …but it has. Both the dollar and gold have rallied at the same time, so far gold outpacing the dollar. But why? Why has the tone for gold changed and why is it not “falling” versus a rising dollar?
This is a very important question because the answer may (probably does) hold the key to which will be the ultimate winner and which may lose and lose big. First, the explanations for a strong dollar are twofold, one mainstream and the other probably the real reason. Mainstream says the dollar is getting stronger because the world is a mess and the dollar is the “cleanest dirty shirt” of the bunch. It is said the U.S. economy is getting stronger and interest rates will be raised later this year which will give the dollar a strong yield advantage. Personally, I see this argument as hogwash, I see the economy as very weak and getting weaker while the overall financial system is fragile. The reported “strength” of the economy has been proven to be smoke and mirrors, this last quarter for example was revised higher because of Obamacare, even the lobotomized know this is fallacy. A higher “tax” is not now and never will be economic “output”.
An increase in interest rates is almost a zero percent probability in my view with the exception of a forced raise to save a crashing dollar. I do not see the real economy nor financial system as having the ability to absorb higher interest rates of any sort. This is the current debate, “when will the Fed raise rates”? The answer in my opinion is they cannot, ever, until the markets force them to.
In my opinion, the dollar rally has been 100% synthetic and the result of a global margin call. Dollars on a global basis have been “purchased” to repay margin from busted carry trades. Fundamentally, less dollars are now required by the world to consummate trade. Less dollars will change hands on the oil trade simply because the price of oil has been halved. Less dollars will be required because nation after nation have cut deals and sworn off dollars in lieu of using local currencies. The list of countries is long and led by China who will transact trade using “non dollars”.
My point is this, I believe we will soon see this first batch of margin calls met. Couple this with slowing dollar demand for trade and the dollar should run out of steam. Surely your next question is, “but what if margin calls actually increase again?”. Aha! Good question and one which in my opinion is a mathematical certainty. We will get another round of margin calls …big ones! HUGE… because the recent volatility has created some dead financial bodies all over the world. I believe that as the bodies surface, more volatility will ensue. It will be at this point, panic will begin to set in and the margin clerks will be working 24/7. The opinion of Eric Sprott of this exact scenario can be found here http://kingworldnews.com/billionaire-eric-sprott-entities-wiped-overnight-western-central-banks-near-total-surrender/ I believe this is well worth reading as his the arguments are well thought out.
This in my opinion will not create “net” synthetic demand because the question of “quality” will also factor in. To explain, yes there will be more demand for dollars to meet margin calls but when you add in the decline in demand for trade AND the flight from dollars as a credit consideration, then you will see a net weaker dollar. It is this scenario where I believe the rubber meets the road. The dollar will be viewed as a “credit”, in fact, I believe the dollar will then be viewed as the “credit” it is (or isn’t!).
The above needs to be put in simpler terms. Gold has outperformed the strongest paper currency over the last 2 1/2 months. The outperformance has surprised many, even those in the gold camp have been surprised. Had a 15%-20% higher dollar been suggested as fact three months ago, a flat gold price would probably have been the best forecast even by most gold advocates. In my opinion, physical demand is finally beginning to take over as the pricing mechanism. The danger of a “call” for real gold is preventing the paper markets from getting much downside action as the cost of production acts as barrier. I also believe increased global demand is a function of “credit considerations” by foreigners as they look at and view the dollar.
Switching gears to “out of control” geopolitics, Greece just voted in the non austerity party. Within 24 hours of taking power, Greece is already turning away from the West. They are simply calling a spade a spade when they say they “cannot pay”. No matter how much they cut their budgets, interest and principal alone cannot be paid …and this is on money ALREADY borrowed. Greece is simply suggesting they “un” borrow it and receive writedowns on what is owed, and this is the central core problem!. This is not just a Greek problem, it is a Western world problem, only Greece hit the wall first! They cannot pay, they don’t have the revenue, they don’t have the money, nor do they have the production capacity under any scenario. Greece will fail, the only thing in question is how it is handled.
I would go even one step further than this piece does and say “It’s not the world who failed, it’s the Western financial system who failed”. I also believe the result for the rest of the Western world will be similar to what Greece is facing now. Do they continue the game (can they continue?) or do they “switch sides” so to speak? In my opinion, this is an easy question and one the Swiss have already begun to answer. They were the latest in a string of nations announcing currency hubs, Britain, Germany and Australia being notable predecessors. The West will one by one turn East.
The reasoning behind my writing this missive is simple. The thought process out there in “gold land” has just at the wrong time shifted to “but why can’t they just keep papering things over indefinitely?”. The answer is just as simple and if you stand back and put your “common sense goggles” on, you can see it. Our financial system is simply untenable.
All collateral has already been margined. We arrived (in 2007-08) at the point in time where collective credit cards could only be paid by “balance transferring” to another card. New debt has needed to be issued just to service existing debt. Now, this is true even for sovereigns.
The comedy of course is the Fed. Everyone hangs on every word they speak. Everyone is hoping to hear “we will kick the can”. Let me help you stand back for a moment to see the forest. It has now been five years, since 2009, that we have heard the word “recovery” and the Fed will begin to tighten. Every year, every quarter and every Fed meeting we have heard the meme “the Fed will begin to tighten later this year or early next year”. Do you see my point? Nothing has changed since 2008, the only thing that has changed is the world is now further in debt, gobs of currency issued, yet consumption nor production are higher. The bad situation we were in is only bigger while the amounts of unencumbered collateral underlying it all are much smaller. In understandable terms, systemic RISK has never been higher!
Getting back to Greece for a moment, why should they matter? They are a very small and peripheral country in the EU. I am here to tell you they do matter for two reasons. First, financially, let’s call them a $350 billion burr under the system’s saddle. Looking at the sovereign debt market, rounded off, the sovereign debt market is $100 trillion so $350 billion is not very significant. You would be correct IF much of this debt was not carried with such huge leverage. If you consider the CDS “overwritten” and derivatives on this $350 billion, now you’re talking about real money! Maybe $3 trillion? Or even $5 trillion? More? Could the system collectively come up with a $trillion or two to paper this over? Maybe? The answer is yes they can, but with one very large caveat. Whatever salve to sooth the wound they come up with will be 100% printed because there is nothing left to “lever” off of. Think of it this way, Greece will be the “Lehman moment” with all the same potential dominos “plus two”. The extra dominos are the fact that Greece is a sovereign AND the thread that if pulled on will unravel Europe itself.
Digging even deeper and assuming Greece itself doesn’t set off a chain reaction, though the world ignored what Iceland did in 2009, I don’t think they can or will ignore it with Greece. Even if Greece were to get their requested debt reductions, they would soon be followed by the other “lazy” southern Europeans. Country after country would line up and ask for reductions. Should Greece come right out and say “we cannot pay”, or worse, defiantly say “we WON’T pay”, the same thing will happen. Other cash strapped countries will “follow the leader” and default.
To finish, it is important you understand that now is no time to “let your guard down” and fall into the “they can do this forever camp”. They mathematically cannot and as the math takes over, sentiment will follow …very quickly! I would like to add, the above has not been lost on China nor Russia. They fully understand it all and have been preparing for and waging a financial war, the U.S. being the ultimate target. Do they want to harm the U.S. population? I don’t believe so and is not their intent. But harm they will and the unsuspecting will be nothing more than collateral damage. The East only wants one thing, “true and fair settlement” of trade. They want “something in return for something”. Can you blame them?
The reason the can will not be kicked down the road any further is because the rest of the world, led by China and backed up by Russia will not allow it much longer. The alternative of course is unthinkable and has happened many times throughout history, real and bloody war. I pray the end of our current financial system is bloodless, the odds of this however are probably near zero.
On Jan. 23, a delegation of the United Nations Security Council arrived in Haiti for a three day visit. The delegation, consisting of representatives of 15 member states currently on the Security Council, was co-chaired by Chilean ambassador Cristian Barros Melet, who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for January, and Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN.
During its visit, the delegation met with President Michel Martelly and de facto Prime Minister Evans Paul, as well as the de facto president of the Senate, Andris Riché. It also met with “civil society” representatives and political parties such as the Lavalas Family (FL), as highlighted an by FL Executive Board member, Dr. Schiller Louidor during a Jan. 25 interview on Radio Panou’s program “Haïti en Ondes.”
Many are questioning the purpose of this visit, which comes on the heels of Martelly carrying out a virtual coup d’état in Haiti. Because Martelly managed to hold no elections for over three years, Parliament expired on Jan. 12, and he now rules by decree. Meanwhile, several huge demonstrations take place every week in the capital and across Haiti demanding that Martelly resign and the UN military occupation, known as MINUSTAH, leave.
Haiti is the UN’s only military mission in the Western Hemisphere, and clearly the Security Council sees the situation in Haiti as critical. As a cover, the Security Council said they came to Haiti to “assess the pre-election political situation.”
Does Haiti have a mere “electoral crisis” ? No, Haiti has a much deeper political crisis where the Haitian masses are mobilized to demand Martelly’s resignation, a new provisional government to hold free, fair, and sovereign elections, and an immediate end to UN military occupation of Haiti by some 7,500 troops.
It would have been more honest if the Security Council delegation said that it came to “assess” the utter failure over the past almost 11 years of MINUSTAH, which has been deployed in Haiti since Jun. 1, 2004. Although called the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti, the occupation force has never done that. On the contrary, the MINUSTAH helped to unconstitutionally overrule Haiti’s electoral council in 2011 to place Martelly in power and then has backed him up as he has engaged in flagrant corruption, arbitrary repression, political arrests, and the dismantling and abuse of Haitian democratic institutions, including the judiciary and the Parliament. Then these foreign patrons have the gall to present themselves as the watchdogs of representative democracy and of human rights.
Clearly, the UN delegation had no other purpose than to reinforce Martelly’s crumbling regime. As the Miami Herald said in its Jan. 26 editorial: “UN diplomats did their best to put a smiley face on the grim picture in Haiti during a weekend visit, but no amount of diplomatic artistry can conceal the ugly truth: Haiti is back to one-man rule, and no one can say how long it will last.”
Samantha Power articulated this cynicism when she stated that “we informed President Martelly and his ministers of our disappointment that he was not able to find a compromise and avoid the departure of parliamentarians.” How absurd! Over more than three years, he couldn’t find a compromise?
The Chilean Ambassador Cristian Barros Melet added to the charade by expressing “our appreciation for the efforts he made to find a consensus to keep the Parliament functional and to facilitate the voting of the electoral law.”
But the Chilean Ambassador acknowledged the fluidity of the political situation when he added that “we are now trying to maintain our support for the Haitian government with the aim of organizing elections with the features already mentioned, but it is too early to tell if it is necessary to continue with the same configuration or not. We will have time for that. Not to mention that it is a complex process politically. But I assure you that we take this very seriously and that the Security Council is very attached to the situation in Haiti.” It is shocking that he finds it normal that the UN should meddle in Haitian elections and suggest what the proper electoral “configuration” should be.On Jan. 25, the delegation visited the Police Academy off the Frères Road in Port-au-Prince, during which the new de facto Justice Minister Pierre Richard Casimir unabashedly asked for MINUSTAH to increase its forces.”On behalf of the President, the Head of Government, and myself, I reiterate to the United Nations Security Council our request not to reduce the number of troops of MINUSTAH during the electoral process,” Casimir said. “Rather, it is necessary to increase the quotas of the UN mission in Haiti, since the election period is sometimes marked by tensions and unrest.”
Martelly, Paul, and Casimir are the kind of officials the imperialists want to see running Haiti, mercenaries and “legal bandits,” as the old Sweet Micky song says. The current de facto government is made up mostly of retreads from the government of Martelly’s former prime minister Laurent Lamothe. One understands why Bill Clinton said of Lamothe’s government in the days before popular demonstrations forced its departure on Dec. 13: “This is the most consistent and decisive government I’ve ever worked with across a broad range of issues.”
In short, the UN Security Council did not come to evaluate a decade of failure, the massacres of our fellow citizens, or the unleashing of cholera in Haiti by MINUSTAH troops, which has claimed more than 9,000 lives. Instead it came to reinforce a neo-Duvalierist regime, which has now become a patent dictatorship.
Unfortunately, no political party criticized the arrogance of Ambassador Samantha Power when she lectured us about compromise. “We are even more convinced of the importance of compromise,” she said. “It is sure that everybody in Haiti will not get exactly what he or she wants in the coming days or in the years to come. It is important that all the actors put Haiti and the general welfare ahead of their personal interests.”
Sandra Honoré, MINUSTAH’s chief and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, along with other members of the so-called “Core Group” (the ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, Spain, France, the United States, the European Union, and the Special Representative of the Organization of American States) welcomed the installation of Prime Minister Paul Evans, the formation of a new government, and the establishment of a new Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). They encouraged the new government to create the political and security conditions “necessary to ensure the holding of fair, credible and inclusive elections.”
It is not surprising that the UN Security Council, like the Organization of American States, both of which are simply instruments of Washington’s foreign police, are supporting the unacceptable in Haiti. To top it off, the Club of Madrid, an imperialist pressure group of former world leaders, will send its fourth delegation to Haiti from Jan. 27 to 29, 2015. This delegation will be led by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón and former Bolivian President and Club of Madrid Vice-President, Jorge Kiroga. Like the UN Security Council, the Club of Madrid will be asking for elections under the aegis of President Martelly and the MINUSTAH.
The Haitian people, however, have made and continue to make their demands clear: that free, fair, and sovereign elections will only be possible without Martelly or MINUSTAH.
The “miracle” that so many Black Americans wept with joy to behold in January, 2009, has evaporated in totally predictable increments over the past six years. (We at BAR did, in fact, predict the general outlines of the debacle, long before the “The Great Black Hajj” that brought a million African Americans to the national mall, in Washington, to witness Barack Obama’s first swearing in). The advent of a Black-led, center-right Democratic federal administration has worked no substantive change in the trajectory of U.S. society. Obama’s first term confirmed that Blacks would continue to be firmly rooted at the bottom of the economic muck, with Black median household wealth shriveling to one-twentieth that of whites – a point from which there is no possibility of rescue absent full-blown revolution.
Obama’s second term was set in stone in 2013, when the U.S. Justice Department said there was “insufficient evidence” to bring federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman after the vigilante was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin. That’s when previously rock-solid Black support for the First Non-White President began to grow brittle, like shale ground down under a glacier. The rockslide began the next year with the killing of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. Yet, as early as October, fully a month before the racist prosecutor in St. Louis County subverted his own grand jury probe of Brown’s death, unnamed “officials” and “lawyers” for the U.S. Justice Department were leaking to the press that “the evidence so far did not support civil rights charges” against Officer Darren Wilson.
The leaks kept on coming, even as Attorney General Eric Holder continued the investigatory charade. Last week’s re-re-re-affirmation leak to the New York Times leaves only Holder himself maintaining the formalistic pretense that the case remains open. As veteran activist and BAR editor and columnist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo writes in the current issue, “We now know what to expect from the Obama administration – nothing.”
What Obama/Holder actually offer are “sweet-nothings” – reluctant and peripheral reforms such as Holder’s minimalist retreat from police highway robbery-style civil forfeiture seizures of cash and property from people “suspected” of criminal activity; executive orders on drug sentencing that are not binding on future administrations; increased, yet temporary, oversight of local police departments through consent decrees; and support for re-passage of Rep. Bobby Scott’s legislation requiring police departments to report officer shootings of civilians, which Congress had allowed to expire in 2006.
All of these measures fall within a “bipartisan” consensus, very much including the Republican libertarian Right, that is willing to modestly scale back public spending on incarceration – often through prison privatization – while increasing funding, equipment and technology for policing and “intelligence” gathering at all levels. Obama has done more to militarize local police than any of his predecessors; the Pentagon gives half a billion dollars a year in equipment to cops and Homeland Security transfers twice as much. Despite the worldwide furor over the storm trooper spectacle in Ferguson, Obama’s sham “demilitarization” proposals actually emphasize increased training of local police in the use of military weapons – for “safety” purposes – which will inevitably result in an even more intimate police/cop relationship.
(Let no one forget that 80 percent of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed police militarization in rejecting the Grayson Amendment against Pentagon transfers to cops, in June of last year.)
The conclusion is obvious: the Obama administration is determined to escalate and expand the national counter-insurgency police mission begun in the late Sixties in response to the Black Liberation Movement, a policy that has led to the establishment of a Black Mass Incarceration State. The summer-to-winter Black Lives Matter campaign is the long-delayed resistance to this Black Mass Incarceration State that has murdered thousands of Michael Browns and incarcerated millions of his brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and grandparents over more than two generations. The election of a Black president and attorney general only gave added momentum and legitimacy to the diabolical project.
The fact that masses of Blacks now know, as Marsha Coleman-Adebayo writes, that Obama will provide no relief from hyper-surveillance, militarized occupation and arbitrary murder at the hands of police, is the most important contribution of the nascent movement, to date. The purpose of framing and pressing demands is not just to force Power to take the desired action: in this case, to indict Darren Wilson for violating Michael Brown’s constitutional right to live. Demands, even when rejected, force Power to show its true colors, to unambiguously reveal its real nature. The movement has unmasked Obama as the Oppressor-in-Chief and exposed the Black Misleadership Class as fawning accomplices to the dehumanization of the rest of us. It is a lesson that had to be learned through blood and pain, in the heat of confrontation with State, itself. Thanks to the young movement, Black folks understand, in ways they did not before, that the established Black “leadership” is a foul accretion of 45 years of corruption and self-aggrandizement, which must be rejected and replaced. The process has already begun. That’s pretty good work for less than half a year in the life of a people.
US-backed president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was among the elites gathering in Davos, Switzerland this week to attend the 2015 World Economic Forum. During his speech he made the remarkable claim that 9,000 Russian troops were currently fighting in Ukraine on behalf of the independence-seeking areas of the country. These 9,000 troops have brought with them tanks, heavy artillery, and armored vehicles, he claimed. “Is this not aggression?” he asked the gathered elites.
The US was quick to amplify Poroshenko’s claims, with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power Tweeting today:
Time and again, #Putin has extended an olive branch in one hand, while passing out Grad missiles & tanks with the other. #Ukraine
State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked whether the US might at least admit that the missiles fired by the Kiev authorities into residential areas in eastern Ukraine this week were a violation of the September ceasefire agreed upon in Minsk, Belarus. She refused to admit as much, and in fact she refused to even admit that the shells killing scores of civilians this past week were fired by the US-backed regime in Kiev. “Russia is not complying” with the agreement was all she would say.
NATO agreed with the US government assessment, adding that the movement of heavy equipment from Russia into Ukraine had increased in pace recently.
There appears to be a problem, however. The 9,000 troops and heavy weapons and equipment that purportedly accompanies them have been seen by no one. There are no satellite photos of what would certainly be a plainly visible incursion. We know from incredibly detailed satellite photos of Boko Haram’s recent massacre in Nigeria that producing evidence of such large scale movement is entirely within the realm of US and NATO technological capabilities. Still there remains a lack of evidence.
Moreover, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is on the ground monitoring the border crossings between Ukraine and Russia,reported just this week that, “At the two BCPs (border crossing points) the OM (observer mission) did not observe military movement, apart from vehicles of the Russian Federation border guard service.” If there has been an increase of Russian heavy weapons into Ukraine, why are the satellites in the skies and the eyes on the ground blind to them?
Poroshenko, who last week vowed to re-take eastern Ukraine by force, this week offered a different solution to the ongoing conflict:
The solution is very simple — stop supplying weapons … withdraw the troops and close the border. If you want to discuss something different, it means you are not for peace, you are for war.
That is probably good advice, but how ironic that it comes the very same week the Pentagon announced that US soldiers would be deployed to Ukraine this spring to begin training that country’s national guard. US military on the ground in Ukraine is a significant escalation, far beyond the previous deployment of additional US and NATO troops in neighboring Poland and the Baltics.
Additionally, the US announced it was transferring heavy military equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces, including the Kozak mine-resistant personnel carrier and some 35 other armored trucks.
The US government has reportedly set aside several million dollars to help train the Ukrainian national guard. Considering the fact that the national guard was only re-formed after last year’s US-backed coup and is made up in large part of neo-Nazis from the extremist Right Sector, one would hope some of the money is spent dissuading members from such an odious ideology.
So there may well be Russian troops and equipment on the ground in Ukraine — though so far no proof exists and the Russians deny it. But we know very well that there are US troops and heavy military equipment on the ground in Ukraine because the US openly admits it! So Russia has no business claiming interest in unrest on its doorstep, but the US has every right to become militarily involved in a conflict which has nothing to do with us nearly 5,000 miles away? Interventionist illogic.
The beheading took place in Makkah. A Burmese woman named Laila Bin Abdul Muttalib Basim, who lived in Saudi Arabia, was first dragged on a public street. Then, she was grabbed by four policemen, while a man took a sword and cut off her head.
It took three blows to do this, until the head was finally severed. Until then, the woman could be heard screaming and begging for her life, a plea that is of course completely ignored. “I did not kill! I did not kill!” she screams.
Then, she is silent and dead.
Little is known about Laila other than her alleged crime: the murder and sexual abuse of a seven-year old girl who was her husband’s daughter from another marriage.
As is the case with the opaque Saudi brand of justice, little is known regarding whether the accused was permitted any means to a defence or whether she was convicted simply on the basis of the allegations against her.
The only part of justice that is visible to all in Saudi Arabia is, after all, the punishment; gruesome, grotesque in a way only a kingdom grown fat with liquid gold can afford to be.
Normally, a beheading such as this one, despite its barbarity, would be shrugged and ignored. Saudi Arabia is after all littered with the blood of executed immigrants, men and women who came for jobs, to escape the hardscrabble and thankless penury of their own lives. Their heads and bodies are likely gathered up and, before the sun has set, committed via the labour of others just like them to nameless unmarked graves, becoming one with the sand of the Holy Kingdom. So it would have been with Laila.
It was not so because of a curious accident of geopolitics, one which betrays the facile vacuity of moral rights and wrongs in the scale of world opinion.
Since the summer of last year, when the black swathed fighters of IS marched into Syrian and Iraqi cities, beheadings have become interesting and condemnable.
The cynics among us would pronounce this the consequence of the IS-inaugurated theater of brutality, in whose grisly episodes one, then two and then even more Westerners have been slain before video cameras.
Of course, non-westerners have also met the merciless blades of IS executioners, but brown is imagined as accustomed to brutal, somehow complicit. There is no fairness in the order and scale of world mourning.
Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of the march against the IS, aggressively drawing in the United States, whose own geo-politics are now tied to a global war on terror that must go on into perpetuity. This collaboration is not a departure from routine; the Saudis and the American are long-time chums, such that even 9/11 and its Saudi origins could not sunder.
Indeed, all would be well in the cosy camaraderie were it not for the sudden realisation in the follow-up to a routine beheading that Saudi Arabia, the jolly ally, is meting out the same sort of brutal punishments meted out by the blood-thirsty baddies of IS.
The Americans do not like their allies and their enemies to look the same. It is embarrassing.
Of course, none of this would be at all problematic if no one had found out.
The problem the Saudis immediately encountered in the conclave that undoubtedly took place somewhere deep in the kingdom was that a video had been made; the similarities in the brutalities of the alleged good guys (Saudis) and the known bad guys (IS) that they want the world to fight was exposed.
The Saudi policeman who took the video was immediately arrested, charges of “cyber crimes” slapped on him for his transgression to send a message to future unauthorised videographers of beheadings. Saudi Arabia cannot bear to look like IS, even if it acts just like it.
The damage, however, may already have been done.
Those in countries like Pakistan, whose cultures and ideas of faith have been transformed by Saudi Arabia’s protracted and dogged export of its brutal and ascetic brand of justice, can testify to the extremist underpinnings of the Saudi state.
Saudi-funded madrassahs exist on every street corner of Pakistan and churn out a steady stream of extremism untempered by rationality or compassion. Similarly, Pakistanis recount scores of accounts of poor migrant workers whose heads have met Saudi swords without any opportunity to offer defenses.
The battle between IS and Saudi Arabia never was and never will be an ideological battle, with the former standing for tolerance or moderation.
The Saudi trick of dressing up strategic interests in the shiny new clothes of anti-extremism may fool the Americans, whose Secretary of State recently called the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a “moderate Muslim nation.”
The U.S. needs enemies to advance its agenda. When none exist they’re invented. Longstanding US policy.
Russian national Evgeny Buryakov its latest victim. A Russian bank employee arrested in New York on phony espionage charges.
Two other Russian nationals named. Outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder announced bogus charges.
A Department of Justice statement naming “Evgeny Buryakov, aka Zhenya,’ Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy in connection with Buryakov’s service as a covert intelligence agent on behalf of the Russian Federation (Russia) in New York City, without notifying the US Attorney General of Buryakov’s status as an agent of Russia, as required by federal law.”
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin said
“(t)he attempt by foreign nations to illegally gather economic and other intelligence information in the United States through covert agents is a direct threat to the national security of the United States, and it exemplifies why counterespionage is a top priority of the National Security Division.”
Buryakov was arrested. Was arraigned before Manhattan US Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn the same day.
Sporyshev and Podobnyy no longer reside in America. Both had diplomatic immunity while still here.
Holder lied saying “(t)hese charges demonstrate our firm commitment to combating attempts by covert agents to illegally gather intelligence and recruit spies within the United States.”
“We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and hold accountable foreign agents operating inside this country – no matter how deep their cover.”
When evidence doesn’t exist, it’s invented. Buryakov is a US-instigated Cold War II victim.
DOJ’s announcement was strategically timed. Three days after Mariupol’s shelling.
Two days ahead of EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on possible new Russian sanctions. Washington considering its own.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich issued a statement saying:
“Yevgeny Buryakov, Vnesheconombank’s deputy representative in the US, has reportedly been detained in the US.”
“He is charged with gathering intelligence along with two former employees of Russia’s diplomatic mission to New York.”
“No evidence to support such allegations was presented.
It seems as though the US authorities are once again resorting to their favourite tactics of building up spy hysteria.”
“Russian-US relations have been going through quite a complex period due to Washington’s antagonistic stance.”
“Apparently, the US has opted for the ‘worse is better’ approach by deciding to launch yet another round of anti-Russian campaigning.”
“The actions to deteriorate our bilateral relations and undermine prospects for interaction between our countries will remain on the conscience of those who initiated them.”
“Russia insists on the cessation of provocations unleashed by US intelligence services against Russian citizens, provision of immediate consular access to Yevgeny Buryakov, strict observance of the rights of the Russian citizen and his release.”
Washington claims charged Russian nationals operated covertly. Tried recruiting New York City residents as intelligence sources.
Buryakov is accused of being a Russian agent “posing as an employee” of a New York-based Russian bank.
Sporyshev and Podobnyy are called Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) agents.
Gathering intelligence “by posing as official representatives of Russia.”
“(T)tansmitting intelligence reports…back to SVR headquarters in Moscow.”
Subjects “regularly met and communicated using clandestine methods and coded messages, in order to exchange intelligence-related information while shielding their associations with one another as SVR agents.”
So-called evidence includes subjects meeting numerous times from March 2012 through mid-September 2014.
Buryakov allegedly “passing a bag, magazine or slip of paper to Sporyshev.” Other so-called evidence sounds just as unconvincing.
Maybe the three were friends. Charges claimed they used code language like going to a movie or sports event as an excuse to meet to exchange intelligence information.
You can’t make this stuff up. It sounds like John le Carre or James Bond.
The latest episode in Washington’s war on Russia. Including blaming Moscow and Donbas rebels for Kiev’s false flag Mariupol shelling.
Systematic US efforts to undermine Russia’s economy. More on this below.
Why would three Russians arrange an elaborate undercover scheme when they could accomplish the same thing through well-connected lawyers, consultants or lobbyists?
The way everyone in Washington, New York and other US cities do business. Without being charged with espionage.
Their “crime” is being Russian nationals in America at the wrong time. Cold War 2.0 victims.
Washington’s way of portraying Russians as bad guys. Guilty by accusation. So-called evidence is contrived and misleading.
None “backs up (DOJ) accusations,” Lukashevich stressed. The last similar spy case occurred in mid-2010.
Involving 10 so-called “sleeper agents.” Fingered by the FBI, said RT International. Despite no evidence proving criminality.
At the time, Colombia University Russian specialist, Robert Legvold, said anyone could have gotten what they were accused of through a Google search.
Throughout their years in America, they never sought or obtained classified information. Then Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko called charges against them groundless and malicious.
Former KGB officer Mikhail Lyubimov said the whole story looked more like fiction than fact. Having nothing to do with real undercover work.
“How (could these) professionals (not) notice that secret services had been watching them (for) years? If not them, their wives could have noticed,” he said.
“And…it’s not clear at all exactly what information (they were) looking for and what (they supposedly) sent to Moscow directly to the Kremlin, Medvedev or Putin. It’s nonsense.”
Former Russian Federal Security Service head Nikolai Kovalyov said US charges resemble a “bad spy novel.”
Getting tough on Russia for political reasons. Using alleged spies as convenient patsies.
The same dirty game repeating. New charges. Different patsies. Go-along media scoundrels regurgitate official Big Lies.
The New York Times headline practically pronounced guilt. Saying “3 Men Are Charged With Serving as Secret Agents for Russia in New York.”
Most readers don’t get past the headline or first paragraph or two.
In paragraph one, The Times discussed a “secret handoff.” In paragraph two, called it “intelligence – gathered…on behalf of SVR.”
The Washington Post published an AP report headlined “US announces charges in New York Russian spy ring case.”
Again, the first two paragraphs practically pronounce guilt. Saying “Three Russian citizens…spoke in code, passed information concealed in bags and magazines, and tried to recruit people with ties to an unnamed New York university.”
“The defendants were directed by Russian authorities ‘to gather intelligence,’ ” according to DOJ charges.
“(A)ccused him and two others of secretly gathering information about the New York Stock Exchange, US energy resources and sanctions against Moscow.”
Like other MSM reports, the Journal emphasized “clandestine meetings.” “Coded communications.” Russian foreign intelligence agents. Moscow “spycraft.”
CNN reported a “Russian spy ring busted in New York.” Those charged “are part of the most intense effort by Russia to infiltrate onto American soil since the Cold War,” it claimed.
Again, guilt by accusation. Guests CNN interviewed all made similar anti-Russian comments. Part of an ongoing Washington/MSM Russian bashing smear campaign.
Expect more of the same ahead. US and EU leaders are considering more sanctions on Russia. Targeting its technology, energy, defense and banking sectors.
Perhaps this week. After EU officials meet Thursday in Brussels. According to Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland:
“We’ve looked at the sectors where Russia needs us most – the high-tech energy sector, the defense trade, access to credit.”
“There are more things that we can do along those lines. We are looking at that question now, along with Europe.”
Nuland was directly involved in last February’s US instigated Ukraine coup. Ousting its democratically elected government. Replacing it with illegitimate neo-Nazi thugs.
She remains an unindited war criminal. Ludicrously claiming “an off-ramp for Russia. (A) route back to better ties with all of us…”
Outrageously blaming Moscow for Ukrainian crisis conditions. Ignoring Washington’s full responsibility.
Saying “(t)he minute Russia allows Ukraine to control its side of the international border and stops fueling the conflict, the situation will improve.”
Code language for demanding Moscow unconditionally accept US hegemony. Surrender its sovereignty. Become another US colony. Never with Putin, Medvedev, and Lavrov et al in charge.
EU Council President Donald Tusk said European foreign ministers will “consider any appropriate action, in particular on further restrictive measures.”
He lied claiming “evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia, which underlines Russia’s responsibility.”
On Tuesday, Ukraine’s putschist parliament declared Russia an “aggressor” state. Calling Donbas freedom fighters “terrorists.”
On Monday, Putin discussed Ukrainian crisis conditions with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Unequivocally blaming Kiev officials for ongoing conflict. In the last 24 hours alone, Lugansk People’s Republic’s (LPR) health minister reported Kiev shelling killing at least 12 in Stakhanov.
From “Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers.” Another 150 people were hospitalized with injuries.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov called reemergent Nazism the international community’s greatest threat.
Its epicenter in Ukraine. Its policies directed from Washington. Dolgov saying “(w)e are faced with a very alarming phenomenon – neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.”
“That’s a powerful delayed action bomb planted under international security and stability.”
The threat of wider war beyond Donbas looms. Irresponsible US-led NATO policies threaten world security.
On Tuesday, Stop NATO reported Pentagon plans “to deploy hundreds of (tanks and other) armored vehicles near Russia’s border.”
Imagine Washington’s response if Moscow positioned armored columns along America’s northern and/or southern borders. WW III could follow.
On Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya was clear and unequivocal saying:
“Russia is faced with coordinated efforts to undermine its economy, which come as a hidden part of the official sanctions war against us.”
“The S&P decision to drop Russia’s sovereign rating is in line with this policy. It is absolutely politicised, biased and politically motivated.”
“I’d like to add that this decision is worthless, but unfortunately, it has a price, since it increases the cost of external borrowings for us and affects the prospects for the Russian securities markets.”
“The fact that this step was taken now is not surprising. By an ‘odd confluence of circumstances,’ it coincided with yet another round of anti-Russian hysteria.”
Referring to Mariupol’s shelling and alleged New York-based Russian spies.
“I personally have no doubt that this decision was not just suggested, but outright ordered by Washington,” Nebenzya stressed.
Plenty of clear evidence supports him. Washington’s political and economic war on Russia rages. Risking possible direct confrontation.
Downgrading Russian debt to junk was a brazen politicized act. On direct orders from Washington. Entirely unjustified.
Russian national debt as a percent of GDP is extremely low at 11%, Paul Craig Roberts explained. Compared to America’s tenfold higher debt at 105% of GDP.
Way understated, said Roberts. All US government data are phony. “Magic numbers,” according to Roberts. Manipulated to make rotten conditions look rosy.
Russia’s credit is strong. Nothing suggests otherwise. America’s credit rating should have been cut to junk, said Roberts.
Any US credit rating agency trying “would be closed and prosecuted,” he explained. Labeled “terrorist organizations.”
“Never expect any truth from any Wall Street denizen. They lie for a living.” They may help lying things into WW III.
Washington is relentless. Ruthless. Maniacal. Stopping at nothing to advance its imperium. Lunatics running things may destroy planet earth to control it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
At the same time as the United States, Canada and the European Union announced a set of new sanctions against Russia in mid-December last year, Ukraine received US$350 million in US military aid, coming on top of a $1 billion aid package approved by the US Congress in March 2014.
Western governments’ further involvement in the Ukraine conflict signals their confidence in the cabinet appointed by the new government earlier in December 2014. This new government is unique given that three of its most important ministries were granted to foreign-born individuals who received Ukrainian citizenship just hours before their appointment.
The Ministry of Finance went to Natalie Jaresko, a US-born and educated businesswoman who has been working in Ukraine since the mid-1990s, overseeing a private equity fund established by the US government to invest in the country. Jaresko is also the CEO of Horizon Capital, an investment firm that administers various Western investments in the country.
As unusual as it may seem, this appointment is consistent with what looks more like a takeover of the Ukrainian economy by Western interests. In two reports – “The Corporate Takeover of Ukrainian Agriculture” and “Walking on the West Side: The World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict” – the Oakland Institute has documented this takeover, particularly in the agricultural sector.
A major factor in the crisis that led to deadly protests and eventually to president Viktor Yanukovych’s removal from office in February 2014 was his rejection of a European Union Association agreement aimed at expanding trade and integrating Ukraine with the EU – an agreement that was tied to a US$17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
After the president’s departure and the installation of a pro-Western government, the IMF initiated a reform program that was a condition of its loan with the goal of increasing private investment in the country.
The package of measures includes reforming the public provision of water and energy, and, more important, attempts to address what the World Bank identified as the “structural roots” of the current economic crisis in Ukraine, notably the high cost of doing business in the country.
The Ukrainian agricultural sector has been a prime target for foreign private investment and is logically seen by the IMF and World Bank as a priority sector for reform. Both institutions praise the new government’s readiness to follow their advice.
For example, the foreign-driven agricultural reform roadmap provided to Ukraine includes facilitating the acquisition of agricultural land, cutting food and plant regulations and controls, and reducing corporate taxes and custom duties.
The stakes around Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector – the world’s third-largest exporter of corn and fifth-largest exporter of wheat – could not be higher. Ukraine is known for its ample fields of rich black soil, and the country boasts more than 32 million hectares of fertile, arable land – the equivalent of one-third of the entire arable land in the European Union.
The maneuvering for control over the country’s agricultural system is a pivotal factor in the struggle that has been taking place over the last year in the greatest East-West confrontation since the Cold War.
The presence of foreign corporations in Ukrainian agriculture is growing quickly, with more than 1.6 million hectares signed over to foreign companies for agricultural purposes in recent years. While Monsanto, Cargill, and DuPont have been in Ukraine for quite some time, their investments in the country have grown significantly over the past few years.
Cargill is involved in the sale of pesticides, seeds and fertilizers and has recently expanded its agricultural investments to include grain storage, animal nutrition and a stake in UkrLandFarming, the largest agribusiness in the country.
Similarly, Monsanto has been in Ukraine for years but has doubled the size of its team over the last three years. In March 2014, just weeks after Yanukovych was deposed, the company invested $140 million in building a new seed plant in Ukraine.
DuPont has also expanded its investments and announced in June 2013 that it too would be investing in a new seed plant in the country.
Western corporations have not just taken control of certain profitable agribusinesses and agricultural activities, they have now initiated a vertical integration of the agricultural sector and extended their grip on infrastructure and shipping.
For instance, Cargill now owns at least four grain elevators and two sunflower seed processing plants used for the production of sunflower oil. In December 2013, the company bought a “25% +1 share” in a grain terminal at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk with a capacity of 3.5 million tonnes of grain per year.
All aspects of Ukraine’s agricultural supply chain – from the production of seeds and other agricultural inputs to the actual shipment of commodities out of the country – are thus increasingly controlled by Western firms.
European institutions and the US government have actively promoted this expansion. It started with the push for a change of government at a time when president Yanukovych was seen as pro-Russian interests. This was further pushed, starting in February 2014, through the promotion of a “pro-business” reform agenda, as described by the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker when she met with Prime Minister Arsenly Yatsenyuk in October 2014.
The European Union and the United States are working hand in hand in the takeover of Ukrainian agriculture. Although Ukraine does not allow the production of genetically modified (GM) crops, the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, which ignited the conflict that ousted Yanukovych, includes a clause (Article 404) that commits both parties to cooperate to “extend the use of biotechnologies” within the country.
This clause is surprising given that most European consumers reject GM crops. However, it creates an opening to bring GM products into Europe, an opportunity sought after by large agro-seed companies such as Monsanto.
Opening up Ukraine to the cultivation of GM crops would go against the will of European citizens, and it is unclear how the change would benefit Ukrainians.
It is similarly unclear how Ukrainians will benefit from this wave of foreign investment in their agriculture, and what impact these investments will have on the seven million local farmers.
Once they eventually look away from the conflict in the Eastern “pro-Russian” part of the country, Ukrainians may wonder what remains of their country’s ability to control its food supply and manage the economy to their own benefit.
As for US and European citizens, will they eventually awaken from the headlines and grand rhetoric about Russian aggression and human rights abuses and question their governments’ involvement in the Ukraine conflict?
Frederic Mousseau is Policy Director at the Oakland Institute.
The permit for the pipeline with the capacity to carry 800,000 barrels-per-day of tar sands dilbit came ten days after the introduction of S.1 — the Keystone XL Pipeline Act — currently up for debate on the U.S. Senate floor, which calls for the permitting of the northern leg of TransCanada’s Keystone XL.
“Once again, the Corps has improperly segmented its approval of an Enbridge tar sands pipeline so as to avoid evaluating the project’s true environmental impacts or the impacts of the ongoing expansion of the Enbridge system,” Doug Hayes, staff attorney for the Sierra Club, told DeSmogBlog.
TransCanada Energy East Clone
Just as DeSmogBlog has called Enbridge’s north-to-south dilbit pipeline network a “Keystone XL Clone,” Enbridge has quietly proposed and is currently permitting into existence a clone of TransCanada‘s controversial Energy East dilbit pipeline.
According to the map of Line 78 on Enbridge’s website, the pipeline will connect with Line 6B in Griffith. Line 6B is infamous for the biggest dilbit pipeline spill inU.S. history. Taking place in Kalamazoo, Michigan, environmental activists and advocates now refer to the 1 million+ barrel spill as the “dilbit disaster.”
After spending nine paragraphs explaining what the pipeline is and does, Kratsch delivered his knock-out blow, stating that nullifying the Alberta Clipper expansion project would put a damper on the company’s potential corporate profits.
With the Alberta Clipper expansion pipeline legal dispute ongoing and a legal challenge to Line 78 highly possible, one thing remains certain: if the past serves as prologue, corporate profits earned and potential loses will serve as the centerpiece for Enbridge’s legal argument going forward.
“The eventual decision was, and still stands for, an iconic statement that corporations have no obligations beyond the bottom line,” Greenfield wrote in pointing to the landmark 1919 Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. decision handed down by the Michigan Supreme Court. “Courts, then and now…did not, and still do not, typically overturn the considered decisions of corporate managers.”