Democracy Murdered By Protest: Ukraine Falls To Intrigue and Violence

February 24th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

 Who’s in charge?  Certainly not the bought-and-paid-for-moderates that Washington and the EU hoped to install as the new government of Ukraine. The agreement that the Washington and EU supported opposition concluded with President Yanukovich to end the crisis did not last an hour. 

Even the former boxing champion, Vitaly Klitschko, who was riding high as an opposition leader until a few hours ago has been booed by the rioters and shoved aside. The newly appointed president by what is perhaps an irrelevant parliament, Oleksandr Turchynov, has no support base among those who overthrew the government. As the BBC reports, “like all of the mainstream opposition politicians, Mr. Turchynov is not entirely trusted or respected by the protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square.” 

In western Ukraine the only organized and armed force is the ultra-nationalist Right Sector. From the way this group’s leaders speak, they assume that they are in charge.

One of the group’s leaders, Aleksandr Muzychko, has pledged to fight against “Jews and Russians until I die.”  Asserting the Right Sector’s authority over the situation, Muzychko declared that now that the democratically elected government has been overthrown, “there will be order and discipline” or “Right Sector squads will shoot the bastards on the spot.”

The bastards are any protesters who dare to protest the Right Sector’s control.

Muzychko declared, “The next president of Ukraine will be from Right Sector.”

Another Right Sector leader, Dmitry Yarosh, declared: “the Right Sector will not lay down its arms.”  He declared the deal made between the opposition and the President to be “unacceptable” and demanded the liquidation of President Yanukovich’s political party.

The Right Sector’s roots go back to the Ukrainians who fought for Adolf Hitler against the Soviet Union during World War 2. It was the Right Sector that introduced armed fighters and turned the tide of the protests in Kiev from peaceful protests in favor of joining the EU to violent attacks on police with the view of overthrowing the democratically elected government, which the Right Sector succeeded in doing. 

The Right Sector did not overthrow the Ukraine government in order to deliver it into the hands of the Washington and EU paid “opposition.”

There is a tendency to discount the Right Sector as a small fringe group, but the Right Sector not only took control of the protests away from the Western supported moderates, as moderate leaders themselves admitted,  but also the Right Sector has enough public support to destroy the national monument to the Red Army soldiers who died liberating Ukraine from Nazi Germany. 

Unlike the US orchestrated toppling of the stature of Saddam Hussein, which was a PR event for the presstitutes in which Iraqis themselves were not involved, Ukrainian rightists’ destruction of the monument commemorating the Red Army’s liberation of the Ukraine had public support. If the Right Sector hates Russians for defeating the Nazis, the Right Sector also hates the US, France, and England for the same reason. The Right Sector is an unlikely political party to take Ukraine into the EU.

The Russian parts of Ukraine clearly understand that the Right Sector’s destruction of the monument commemorating the stand of the Red Army against the German troops is a threat against the Russian population of Ukraine. Provincial governments in eastern and southern Ukraine that formerly were part of Russia are organizing militias against the ultra-nationalist threat unleashed by Washington’s stupidity and incompetence and by the naive and gullible Kiev protesters.

Having interfered in Ukraine’s internal affairs and lost control, Washington is now issuing ultimatums to Russia not to interfere in Ukraine. Does the idiot Susan Rice, Obama’s neoconservative National Security Advisor, think Putin is going to pay any attention to her ultimatums or to any instruction from a government so militarily incompetent that it was unable to successfully occupy Baghdad after 8 years or to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban after 12 years?  In only took a few hours for Russian troops to destroy the American and Israeli trained and armed Georgian army that Washington sent to invade South Ossetia.

Where does Obama find morons like Susan Rice and Victoria Nuland? These two belong in a kindergarten for mentally handicapped children, not in the government of a superpower where their ignorance and arrogance can start World War 3.

Ukraine is far more important to Russia than it is to the US or EU. If the situation in Ukraine spirals out of control and right-wing extremists seize control, Russian intervention is certain. The arrogant and stupid Obama regime has carelessly and recklessly created a direct strategic threat to the existence of Russia. 

 According to the Moscow Times, this is what a senior Russian official has to say: “If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war.”  Ukraine “will lose Crimera first,” because Russia “will go in just as we did in Georgia.”  Another Russian official said: “ We will not allow Europe and the US to take Ukraine from us. The states of the former Soviet Union, we are one family. They think Russia is still as weak as in the early 1990s but we are not.”

The Ukrainian right-wing is in a stronger position than Washington’s paid Ukrainian puppets, essentially weak and irrelevant persons who sold out their country for Washington’s money. The Right Sector is organized. It is armed. It is indigenous. It is not dependent on money funneled in from Washington and EU financed NGOs. It has an ideology, and it is focused. The Right Sector doesn’t have to pay its protesters to take to the streets like Washington had to do.

Most importantly, well-meaning but stupid protesters–especially the Kiev students–and an Ukrainian parliament playing to the protesters destroyed Ukrainian democracy.  The opposition controlled parliament removed an elected president from office without an election, an obvious illegal and undemocratic action. The opposition controlled parliament issued illegal arrest warrants for members of the president’s government. The opposition controlled parliament illegally released criminals from prison.  As the opposition has created a regime of illegality in place of law and constitutional procedures, the field is wide open for the Right Sector. Expect everything the opposition did to Yanukovich to be done to them by the Right Sector. By their own illegal and unconstitutional actions, the opposition has set the precedent for their own demise.

Just as the February 1917 revolution against the Russian Tsar set the stage for the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, surprising the stupid “reformers,” the overthrow of the Ukrainian political order has set the stage for the Right Sector. We can only hope that the Right Sector blows its chance.

The American media is a useless news source. It serves as a Ministry for Government Lies. The corrupt propagandists are portraying the undemocratic removal of Yanukovich  as a victory for freedom and democracy. When it begins to leak out that everything has gone wrong, the presstitutes will blame it all on Russia and Putin.  The Western media is a plague upon humanity.

Americans have no idea that the neoconservative regime of the White House Fool is leading them into a Great Power Confrontation that could end in destruction of life on earth. 

Ironic, isn’t it.  America’s “first black president,” the person liberals thought would restore  justice, morality, and reason to Western civilization, is instead now positioned as the person who will have to accept humiliating defeat or risk the destruction of life on earth.

Sources:

http://rt.com/news/ukraine-right-sector-militants-210/

http://rt.com/news/war-monument-toppled-ukraine-351/

http://rt.com/news/ukraine-acting-president-yanukovich-339/

http://rt.com/news/ukraine-opposition-yanukovich-coup-273/

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russia-pledges-to-fight-for-crimea-if-ukraine-splits/495034.html  

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26312008 

http://www.channel4.com/news/kiev-svoboda-far-right-protests-right-sector-riot-police  

Image from stryi.com.ua

The ‘Soviet Soldier’ – a monument commemorating the collective sacrifice of the Soviet army against Nazi forces – has been toppled in western Ukraine. This follows the country-wide fall of some two dozen Lenin statues.

The taking down of the ‘Soviet Soldier’ in the town of Stryi, Lvov region, turns a new page in the chaos that gripped the nation in November, and has taken on dangerously nationalist overtones in the past fortnight.

The city administration’s website first reported on the story of the monument, erected in 1965 as a companion piece to two other objects: an obelisk with WWII engravings and the Eternal Flame over the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

No official confirmation of any orders for its removal has been given.

 

The incident follows the dismantling of some 25 statues of Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the 1917 revolution that paved way to the creation of the USSR.

One of the latest in a string of such incidents, in Dnepropetrovsk, saw people using ropes and a saw, before jumping onto the statue – the way people did in Iraq when Saddam Hussein lost power. The writing on the monument was then taken apart letter by letter, which the rioters kept as souvenirs.

After the statue was toppled, the City Council declared Lenin Square in Dnepropetrovsk was renamed into Heroes of Maidan Square.

[Below, a user comments on Alexey's earlier tweet. "Look at what's happening in our town. Just look at what is being written and drawn. 'The Right Sector', in one word", the user says.]

As the fallen statues were being counted, on Sunday the Ukrainian Rada decided to strip Russian of its status in the Ukraine; a fate that will befall other regional languages as well. With Russian, however, the figures are quite clear: the latest census of 2001 showed that nearly 30 percent of Ukraine considers Russian to be its mother tongue – nearly 15 percent of them are Ukrainians.

Although the language has never had official status, it was given regional status in 2012 in the south-east of the country.

The repealed law on regional language usage was President Yanukovich’s campaigning ace, as he sought to combat the notion created by former President Viktor Yushchenko – that Ukrainian should dominate over all areas and spheres of life.

Speaking recently to Kharkov’s UBR TV channel, President Viktor Yanukovich aired his grievances about government.

“Everything that is happening today is, to a greater degree, about vandalism, bandits and a coup d’etat,” Yanukovich said. The president went on to dub the events as the country’s worst political crisis in modern history and compared it to the rise of the Nazi ideology in the 1930s.

We now see the same things that were [happening] in the 1930s, when the Nazis came to power. [They] forbade [political] parties…It’s the same now – [they] ban the party, stalk, beat people, burn down offices,” he said.

Although Kiev’s Independence Square, and the country as a whole, could be seen containing a number of different groups and opinions at the start of the mass riots, the so-called Right Sector has by many accounts begun to play a more prominent role in the uprising. Reports from the ground indicate that this segment of the opposition is a loose conglomeration made up of the remnants of post-war Nazi-collaborators – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, as well as various football hooligans and smaller nationalist gangs.

 

A protester breaks apart a statue of Lenin at a monument in his honor after it was pulled down during a mass rally called "The March of a Million" in Kiev's Independence Square on December 8, 2013. (AFP Photo / Anatoli Boiko)

A protester breaks apart a statue of Lenin at a monument in his honor after it was pulled down during a mass rally called “The March of a Million” in Kiev’s Independence Square on December 8, 2013. (AFP Photo / Anatoli Boiko)

 

People surround a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin, which was toppled by protesters during a rally organized by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 8, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

People surround a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin, which was toppled by protesters during a rally organized by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 8, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

Central Banks Go to Great Lengths To Prop Up Insolvent Banks … and Put Lipstick On a Pig

We noted in 2012 that bot the Bank of England and Federal Reserve knew about the Libor interest rate rigging scandal by the big banks.

Newly-released minutes of the meeting of the Fed’s Open Market Committee confirm that the Fed knew about the Libor interest rate manipulation.

And Bloomberg reported earlier this month:

Bank of England officials told currency traders it wasn’t improper to share impending customer orders with counterparts at other firms, a practice at the heart of a widening probe into alleged market manipulation, according to a person who has seen notes turned over to regulators.

***

Traders representing some of the world’s biggest banks told officials at the meeting that they shared information about aggregate orders before currency benchmarks were set, three people with knowledge of the discussion said. The officials said there wasn’t a policy on such communications and that banks should make their own rules, according to the people.

This isn’t some minor case of stretching the truth a little bit … The Libor interest rate scandal was the biggest financial scandal in world history:

  • Even though RBS and a handful of other banks have been fined for interest rate manipulation, Libor is still being manipulated. No wonder … the fines are pocket change – the cost of doing business – for the big banks

Indeed, the Bank of England and Fed have desperately tried to put lipstick on a pig, and have gone to great lengths to prop up insolvent banks.

One of the main ways they have done so is to turn the other way and ignore the massive crimes and manipulations of the big banks.

JPMorgon é o não reconhecido, ou falado, arquiteto da fraude e da corrupção do maior esquema manipulativo, à la Ponzi, da história. O objetivo desse esquema manipulativo é o de apropriar-se de riquezas através da manipulação de mercados.

« No mês passado, JPMorgan Chase reconheceu que tinha facilitado o maior manipulativo esquema  Ponzi da história, em fechando os olhos sobre as ações de Bernie Madoff, o qual descaradamente tinha transformado sua comercial conta bancária no JPMorgan numa operação de lavagem de dinheiro sem precedentes, o que teria feito soar alarme em qualquer outro banco.

O Departamento de Justiça dos Estados Unidos permitiu a JPMorgan que esse pagasse $1.7 bilhões de dólares e assinasse um acordo de adiação de um processo da procuração. Isso  significa, mais uma vez, que ninguém do JPMorgan acaba por ser preso. A grande questão, a qual ninguém poderia ou irá responder, é a de saber como os servidores da justiça, encarregados de verificar conformidade com a lei contra a lavagem de dinheiro na JPMOrgan, poderia ter ignorado, durante anos, as centenas de transferências de bilhões de dólares entrando e saindo das contas bancárias de Madoff e de Norman Levy. Mesmo uma única manobra desse gênero deveria ter iniciado uma investigação. (Levy faleceu e os administradores dos negócios das vítimas de Madoff concluiram um entendimento com os herdeiros.) » (Pam Martens, Russ Martens, JPMorgan Vice President’s Death Shines Light on Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA, WallStreetParade.com 12 février, 2014) [Pam Martens, Russ Martens, A morte do vice presidente  da JPMorgan casta luz  na próxima relação do banco com a CIA, WallStreetParade.com, 12 de fevereiro de 2014.]

Para realizar com sucesso suas diversas operações financeiras, JPMorgan não só controla políticos em altos postos mas utiliza também políticos reformados para exercer funções consultativas.

Depois de ter deixado suas funções de primeiro ministro, Tony Blair foi nominado ao posto de primeiro-conselheiro do JPMorgan. Os seus honorários, de tempo-parcial, ou seja não integral, eram comparativamente razoáveis., constituindo-se de £ 500.000 libras esterlinas anuais ($750.000). Esses, subsequentemente se elevaram a £2 milhões de libras.

Tony Blair deveria utilizar sua rede de amizades e de relações  políticas na Grã Bretanha, e no Oriente Médio, para servir os intereses de JPMorgan Chase. Ele trabalhou estreitamente com o diretor e presidente Jamie Dimon, o qual recentemente veio a ser  objeto de controvérsias.

« Nós temos negócios por todo o mundo, declarou Jamie Dimon, e Tony Blair trará aos nossos dirigentes, e aos nossos clientes, uma perspectiva internacional única, inestimável, e de uma importância crucial, nesses tempos difíceis. A nossa empresa beneficiará enormemente de seus conhecimentos e da sua experiência (Comunicação de Imprensa de JPmorgan, janeiro de 2008)

Note-se que em 2003, depois da invasão do Iraque, e de quando Tony Blair ainda era primeiro ministro, que JP Morgan Chase foi designado a dirigir o Banco do Comércio do Iraque.

Em suma. Tony Blair é um criminoso de guerra que tem relações com uma rede bancária fraudulenta.

Mortes misteriosas de quatro altos dirigentes bancários da Wall Street

No desenrolar de recente acontecimentos, em 28 de janeiro, um vice-presidente da JP Morgan Chase no Reino Unido, Gabriel Magee, « foi encontrado morto sobre o telhado do nono andar, de um edifício de 33 pavimentos, onde se situa a sede do banco na Europa, na secção Canary Wharf de Londres »

Em 10 de fevereiro, Ryan Henry Crane, 37 anos, um outro alto dirigente do JP Morgan Chase, morreu em circunstâncias misteriosas. Crane era o responsável do programa global de comércio do JPMorgan.

A morte de Crane veio após uma « onda de suicídios » num período de 6 semanas, envolvendo três prominentes banqueiros, incluindo-se aqui Gabriel Magee de JPMorgan, ex-economista da Reserva Federal Mike Dueker e William Broeksmit, ex-alto dirigente do Deutsche Bank, o qual foi encontrado « enforcado em sua casa, numa morte que também tinha aparência de suicídio ».  De acordo com as reportagens, Broeksmit estava envolvido no processo de manipulação de mercados de câmbio.

Michel Chossudovsky

 

Artigo original Suicides of Bank Executives, Fraud, Financial Manipulation: JPMorgan Chase Advisor Tony Blair is Not Involved, publicado em 14 de fevereiro de 2014.

Appointment of Tony Blair: Text of January 2008 Press JP Morgan Chase Press Release

NEW YORK, January 10 [2008]/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — JPMorgan Chase announced today that it has appointed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a
senior advisory capacity to the firm, effective immediately. Mr. Blair will
also join the company’s International Council.

Mr. Blair will advise JPMorgan Chase’s CEO and senior management team
on a part-time basis – drawing on his immense international experience to
provide the firm with strategic advice and insight on global political
issues and emerging trends.

In addition, Mr. Blair will participate in select events and
conferences for the company including senior-level client events and will
provide briefings on political trends to the firm’s Board of Directors.

“We’re honored that Tony Blair has chosen to join JPMorgan Chase as a
senior advisor to our executive team and Board,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman
and CEO. “We operate our business all over the world, and Tony Blair will
bring our leaders and clients a unique and invaluable global perspective
that is especially critical in turbulent times like these. Our firm will
benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience.”

Mr. Blair added, “It is a great opportunity to be able to contribute to
the work of JPMorgan Chase. They are a leading company at the cutting edge
of the global economy, with a footprint in virtually every part of the
world. I look forward to advising them on how they approach the huge
political and economic changes that globalisation brings. I am excited at
the prospect of joining Jamie Dimon, for whom I have a lot of respect, and
the whole team, adding my own experience to their work and helping them to
grow.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services
firm with assets of $1.5 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries.
The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for
consumers, small business and commercial banking, financial transaction
processing, asset management, and private equity. A component of the Dow
Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase serves millions of consumers in
the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate,
institutional and government clients under its JPMorgan and Chase brands.
JPMorgan Chase is committed to investing in education, economic
opportunity, development and environmental programs that enable people and
communities to thrive. Information about the firm is available at

http://www.jpmorganchase.com.

Michel Chossudovsky é diretor do Centro de Pesquisas sobre a globalização e Professor Emeritus de ciências econômicas da Universidade de Ottawa. Ele é autor do livro Guerre et mondialisation, La vérité derrière le 11 septembre et de la Mondialisation de la pauvreté et nouvel ordre mondial (um best-seller internacional publicado em mais de 20 linguas)
Guerre et mondialisationMondialisation de la pauvreté

Tradução para o português: Anna Malm – http://artigospolíticos.wordpress.com

Obama planeja intervenção contra a Síria

February 23rd, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Neocons infestam a administração de Obama. Eles querem ver Assad derrubado a força. Diplomacia manipulada pode ser o pretexto para isso.

Dois turnos de discussões em Geneva já ficaram paralisados. Não espere mudanças. A estratégia dos Estados Unidos é uma de mudança de regime. Isso será feito a maneira antiga. Está dentro dos planos que se derrube Assad violentamente.

Em 17 de fevereiro a mídia network SFPN, Syrian Free Press Network  deu a manchete – ”Alerta Vermelho: Os serviços de inteligência dos Estados Unidos, Israel e dos Britânicos, na Jordânia, estão planejando um ataque , AGORA, com (os chamados) Takfiris `moderados´ para criar um mini-estado no sul da Síria.”

Na sexta-feira o ministro da defesa Asaad Mustafa, do chamado governo de interím, renunciou. Isso seria alegadamente por disputas internas.

Ao mesmo tempo o representante principal do chamado Exército Livre da Síria, FSA, Salim Idris, foi despedido. Abdel Alah al-Bashir o substituiu.

Fars News reportou que Idris tinha fugido para a Turquia a caminho de Doha no Qatar, em dezembro. Os terroristas sírios “tinham tomado posse de seus quartéis e armazens de equipamentos militares providos pelos Estados Unidos.” Esses estavam localizados ao longo da fronteira Turquia/Síria.,” disse então a SFPN.

SFPN disse ainda que o embaixador dos Estados Unidos na Síria, Robert Ford, e o sub-Secretário de Estado para Negócios Políticos Wendy Sherman, tinham proposto que se “fizesse a Jordânia, e as suas fronteiras com a Síria, a maior passagem para os avançados equipamentos militares dos Estados Unidos, e da Europa, (indo) para a oposição armada na Síria, “

Os planos propostos teriam o objetivo de fazer do sul da Síria “um mini-estado”. A idéia seria deslanchar operações contra Damasco, completou SFPN.

Na segunda-feira o Ministro dos Negócios Exteriores da Síria, Walid al-Moallem, levantou essa questão. O seu governo assim como as forças armadas estariam prontos para quaisquer que fossem os planos, disse ele então.

Os editores do Washington Post apoiam uma Guerra na Síria. Eles incitam para uma direta intervenção dos Estados Unidos. Eles citam  desacreditadas acusações anti-Assad, uma após a outra.

Eles querem mudança de regime. Eles querem a força substituindo a diplomacia. Eles querem Assad condenado por não ter se submetido as exigências dos Estados Unidos

Eles dizem que ele está demorando a eliminar o armamento químico. De acordo com a Rússia as coisas estão andando como planejado.

Extremo cuidado precisa de ser observado. O principal é manter o material químico, CWs, longe das mãos dos insurgentes.

O tambor do Washington Post continua batendo enquanto John Kerry promove a escalação do conflito. Ele está replicando o infame momento de Colin Powell. Isso ele já o fez inúmeras vezes.

Em setembro ele mentiu dizendo que a Siria tinha atacado Gouta com gás sarin. Clara evidência provava uma outra coisa. Os insurgentes tinham quanto a esse ataque, toda a culpa.

Em 17 de fevereiro ele mentiu dizendo que Assad tinha posto obstruções as discussões de paz dizendo: “Até agora (ele näo esteve) engajado nas discussões dentro dos prometidos e requeridos padrões…”

Falso! As proceduras combinadas seriam as de seguir o comunicado nos itens do Geneva I. Isso está sendo feito em ordem de importância. O mais importante é parar com o terrorismo e a violência.

Os representantes de Assad “se refusaram a abrir um único momneto de discussão” para um governo de transição, disse então Kerry.

Falso! Eles estavam dispostos a discutir todos os itens da Geneva I. Eles queriam esses discutidos em ordem de importância.

A resolução de outras questões depende de que se ponha um fim a violência e ao terrorismo. Fazer isso é o mais importante. A salvação da Síria depende disso. Os representantes de Assad querem isso resolvido com toda a prioridade.

Eles insistem, corretamente, que a lei internacional tem que ser respeitada. Os sírios, eles mesmos, deverão decidir quem os governará.

Interferência estrangeira não irá ser tolerada. A lei internacional proibe interferência em negócios internos de outros países. Isso Kerry não explicou. Mentiras querem passar por verdades.

“Isso está muito claro (disse Kerry). Assad está tentando vencer tudo no campo de batalha, em vez de ir a mesa de discussões honestamente.”

Falso! Para começar, Assad nunca quis nenhum conflito.  Ele continua não querendo. Ele quer uma resolução pacífica. Ele está fazendo siimplesmente todo o possível, e o impossível, para conseguir isso.

Ele aqui não tem um legítimo adversário para discutir paz. Faltando isso a paz será impossível. Os delegados da oposição representam Washington. Obama quer uma guerra. Não a paz.

Em 17 de fevereiro, WaPO, Washington Post, fez manchete com “Kerry diz que a Rússia mina as discussões sobre a Síria”

Kerry atacou a Rússia e o Irã. Ele os acusou de estarem minando o processo de paz “através de aumentar o apoio militar e a assistência” a Assad.

Ele aqui ignorou o envolvimento de Washington no recrutamento, no fornecimento de armamentos, no treino, e na direção dos esquadrões da morte, invasores.

Obama tem a total responsabilidade pela guerra contra a Síria mas Kerry aí também deveria ter a sua parte. O seu trabalho é o de promover a ilegalidade imperial.

Ele está endossando a derrubada de um independente líder após outro. Ele está justificando carnificina e destruição.

Ele está fechando os olhos para uma inconcebível miséria humana. Kerry pode tirar benefícios em devastar e destuir países. Ele é um bilionário.

Ele quer extrema riqueza transformada em ainda mais. Ele quer que países sejam saqueados para que isso possa se tornar realidade.

Ele representa o pior do lado nefasto dos Estados Unidos. Assim também é com muitos outros semelhantes extremistas infestando Washington.

Assad é constantemente acusado pelos crimes cometidos pelos insurgents, apoiados por Washington. Kerry condenou o “barbárico assalto” contra civís feito por esses, como se fosse obra de Assad.

Ele está fazendo todo o possível para os proteger. Ele está lutando por jihadistas esquadrões da morte enlistados pelos Estados Unidos como terroristas.

Sempre que os soldados da Síria liberam áreas, até de então controladas pelo inimigo, eles são benvindos nas mesmas. Eles são aplaudidos quando chegam.

Na segunda-feira o Ministro do Exterior da Rússia citou estatísticas que acusavam os terroristas pelos crimes que queriam jogar para cima de Assad.

Eles estão alimentando crises. Washington fecha os olhos. Lavrov virou-se para os oficiais dos Estados Unidos fazendo pressão em Damasco, dizendo:

Nós estivemos dizendo a eles que trabalhassem diretamente com as autoridades sírias, se fosse o caso de ser pressões políticas o que eles tivessem em mente.

“Eu dizia (a Kerry), sempre que ele fazia pressão para que se impusessem (novas) sanções… que ele precisava agir sensatamente.”

Lavrov explicou que a Rússia tinha novas informações.  Ele disse que “certos financiadores da oposição tinham começado a criar novas estruturas (independentemente) da Coalisão Nacional,”

Esses queriam a SNC, [a coalisão nacional da Síria] substituida. “Em outras palavras, eles estão mais uma vez tomando um rumo que diverge do caminho de negociações. Eles estão olhando para uma opção de cenário militar. Essa opção deveria contar com um grande apoio vindo de fora.”

Lavrov parou a poucos passos de acusar Washington. Dá para ser repetido o que anteriores artigos já explicaram. A guerra na Síria é a guerra de Obama. Ele deplora a paz.

Ele quer um pretexto para uma direta intervenção dos Estados Unidos. Ele quer Assad derrubado, a força. Ele quer que um governo servil aos interesses do ocidente o substitua.

Ele quer autoridade incondicional para decider o futuro da Síria. Ele não quer que o povo da Síria tenha qualquer coisa a dizer quanto a isso. Dominância age dessa maneira. América é, de longe, a pior.

Em 16 de fevereiro Kerry fez uma declaração para a mídia (press statement ) onde ele levantou a questão da Síria separadamente. O que definiu essa declaração foi a duplicidade de uma lingua bifurcada.

De acordo com Kerry  “o sofrimento do povo sírio” continua. Aqui ele ignorou a total responsabilidade de Washington quanto a isso.

Ele erradamente acusou Assad de “obstrução.” Ele disse que esse fazia com que discussões difíceis ficassem ainda mais difíceis.

Se não fosse trágico seria cômico de quando dos louvores de Kerry aos representantes da SNC. Ele declarava, muito exclamativamente, que eles “tinham demonstrado uma corajosa e madura seriedade de objetivos, assim como boa vontade para discutir todos os aspectos do conflito”

Fact check  – Control dos fatos

SNC delegados obstruiram as discussões. Eles demandaram incondicional mudança de regime. Os delegados da Síria concordaram em discutir os tópicos. Eles querem que todos os ítens da Geneva I sejam discutidos.

Os representantes da SNC fizeram objeções. Eles querem primeiramente um acordo sobre um governo de transição. Esse acordo significaria que Assad teria que ir-se embora. Essa era a demanda. Eles não se importavam com o que os sírios poderiam querer. A mesma coisa é com Kerry.

Ele quer que Washington decida o futuro da Síria. Ele quer continuar com a carnificina e a destruição.

Ele quer que o conflito seja resolvido beligerantemente. Ele quer que Assad seja o acusado das obstruções, para que se tenha um pretexto para essas.

Ele repete uma grande mentira atrás da outra. Ele mente para justificar a agenda imperial de Washington. Ele quer a incontestável dominância de Washington.

Ele quer que o mundo torne-se seguro para os saqueadores. Ele quer o que os sírios rejeitam. Ele quer o que o povo comum deplora.

Uma direta intervenção paira sobre o horizonte. A procura de Obama para novas opções e diretivas políticas mostra isso. Espere-se que a guerra por procuração de Obama entre em escala de conflito total.

Espere-se uma Síria completamente devastada, destruida e pilhada. Espere-se uma repetição do acontecido no Afeganistão, no Iraque e na Líbia. Espere uma Síria transformada em uma indesejável e amedrentadora ruína. Espere Obama apresentando esse novo troféu imperial.

Quanto mais sofrimento sírio será necessário para que seja sofrimento demais? Por quanto tempo ainda Washington conseguirá se evadir da responsabilidade e continuar com assassinatos e destruição em massa? Quando será que guerras de agressão [as condenadas pelo processo de Nuremberg] não mais serão chamadas de liberadoras ou humanitárias?

Quando irão as devastantes carnificinas e as destruições ter um ponto final? Quando virá um chega e um basta, e nada mais? Quando não se verá mais o poder se sobrepor ao justo e ao certo? Quando não se verá mais os interesses do dinheiro decidir sobre a vida ou a morte?

Quando irá a América ter que responder por generações de crimes de guerra contra a humanidade e genocídio? Quando irá essa extrema força maléfica, força essa que o mundo jamais dantes presenciou, ser neutralizada?

Stephen Lendman 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book is titled ”Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

 

 

Tradução Anna Malm – http://artigospoliticos.wordpress.com

 

 

Week in Review: Fake Images and the Revolution Business

February 23rd, 2014 by Global Research

fistwallstreet

Who is Behind Regime Change? “Revolution Business” NGO Supported by Wall Street and US IntelligenceCarl Gibson and Steve Horn, February 23, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UCRAINA : La Clinton-Pinchuk Connection

February 23rd, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Al tavolo di Kiev in cui è stato negoziato l’accordo formale tra governo, opposizione, Ue e Russia non sedeva ufficialmente alcun rappresentante della potente oligarchia interna che, legata più a Washington e alla Nato che a Bruxelles e alla Ue, spinge l’Ucraina verso l’Occidente. Emblematico il caso di Victor Pinchuk, 54nne magnate dell’acciaio,  classificato dalla rivista Forbes tra gli uomini più ricchi del mondo.

La fortuna di Pinchuk inizia quando nel 2002 sposa Olena, figlia di Leonid Kuchma, secondo presidente dell’Ucraina (1994-2005). Nel 2004 l’illustre suocero privatizza il maggiore complesso siderurgico ucraino, quello di Kryvorizhstal, vendendolo alla società Interpipe, di cui il genero è comproprietario, per 800  milioni di dollari, circa un sesto del valore reale. La Interpipe monopolizza in tal modo la fabbricazione di tubazioni in acciaio. Nel 2007 Pinchuk costituisce l’EastOne Group, società di consulenza per investimenti internazionali, che fornisce alle multinazionali tutti gli strumenti per penetrare nelle economie dell’Est. Diviene allo stesso tempo proprietario di quattro canali televisivi e di un popolare tabloid (Fatti e commenti) con una circolazione di oltre un milione di copie. Non trascura però le opere di bene: crea la Victor Pinchuk Foundation, considerata la maggiore «fondazione filantropica» ucraina.

È attraverso questa fondazione che Pinchuk si collega ai Clinton, sostenendo la Clinton Global Initiative stabilita da Bill e Hillary nel 2005, la cui missione è «riunire i leader globali per creare soluzioni innovative alle sfide mondiali più pressanti». Dietro questo altisonante slogan c’è lo scopo reale: creare una rete internazionale di potenti appoggi a Hillary Clinton, la già first lady che, dopo essere stata senatrice di New York nel 2001-2009 e segretaria di stato nel 2009-2013, tenta di nuovo la scalata alla presidenza. La fruttuosa collaborazione inizia nel 2007 quando Bill Clinton ringrazia «Victor e Olena Pinchuk per la loro vigorosa attività sociale e l’appoggio fornito al nostro programma internazionale». Appoggio che Pinchuk concretizza con un primo contributo di 5 milioni di dollari, cui ne seguono altri, alla Clinton Global Initiative. Ciò apre a Pinchuk le porte di Washington: assume per 40mila dollari al mese il lobbista Schoen,  che gli organizza una serie di contatti con influenti personaggi, compresa una dozzina di incontri in un anno, tra il 2011 e il 2012, con alti funzionari del Dipartimento di stato. Ciò favorisce anche gli affari, permettendo a Pinchuk di aumentare le esportazioni negli Stati uniti, anche se ora i metallurgici della Pennsylvania e dell’Ohio lo accusano di vendere sottocosto tubi di acciaio negli Usa.

Per rafforzare ulteriormente i legami con gli Stati uniti e l’Occidente,  Pinchuk vara la Yalta European Strategy (Yes), «la più grande istituzione sociale di diplomazia pubblica nell’Europa orientale», il cui scopo ufficiale è «aiutare l’Ucraina a svilupparsi in un paese moderno, democratico ed economicamente potente». Grazie alla grossa disponbilità finanziaria di Pinchuk (che solo per festeggiare il suo 50° compleanno in una località sciistica francese ha speso oltre 6 milioni di dollari),  la Yes è in grado di tessere una vasta rete di contatti internazionali, che diventa visibile nel meeting annuale organizzato a Yalta.  Vi partecipano «oltre 200 politici, diplomatici, statisti, giornalisti, analisti e dirigenti del mondo degli affari provenienti da oltre 20 paesi». Tra questi emergono i nomi di Hillary e Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, George Soros, Jose Manuel Barroso, Mario Monti (che ha partecipato al meeting dello scorso settembre), ai quali si affiancano personaggi meno noti, ma non per questo meno influenti, tra cui dirigenti del Fondo monetario internazionale.

Come ha spiegato Condoleezza Rice al meeting Yes 2012, «le trasformazioni democratiche richiedono tempo e pazienza, richiedono appoggio dall’esterno così come dall’interno». Un’ottima sintesi della strategia che l’Occidente adotta sotto il manto dell’«appoggio dall’esterno» per favorire le «trasformazioni democratiche». Una strategia ormai consolidata, dalla Iugoslavia alla Libia, dalla Siria all’Ucraina: infilare cunei nelle crepe che ogni stato ha, per scardinarne le basi sostenendo o fomentando ribellioni antigovernative (tipo quelle a Kiev, troppo puntuali e organizzate per essere considerate semplicemente spontanee), mentre si scatena una martellante campagna mediatica contro il governo che si vuole abbattere. Per ciò che riguarda l’Ucraina, l’obiettivo è di far crollare lo stato o spaccarlo in due: una parte che entrerebbe nella Nato e nella Ue, un’altra che resterebbe maggiormente collegata alla Russia. In tale quadro si inserisce la Yalta European Strategy dell’oligarca, amico dei Clinton.

 Manlio Dinucci

Serbia’s Srdja Popovic is known by many as a leading architect of regime changes in Eastern Europe and elsewhere since the late-1990s, and as one of the co-founders of Otpor!, the U.S.-funded Serbian activist group which overthrew Slobodan Milošević in 2000.

Lesser known, an exclusive Occupy.com investigation reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.

These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists for clients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.

Referred to in emails under the moniker “SR501,” Popovic was first approached by Stratfor in 2007 to give a lecture in the firm’s office about events transpiring in Eastern Europe, according to a Stratfor source who asked to remain confidential for this story.

In one of the emails, Popovic forwarded information about activists harmed or killed by the U.S.-armed Bahraini government, obtained from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights during the regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists in fall 2011. Popovic also penned a blueprint for Stratfor on how to unseat the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in September 2010.

Stratfor’s Global Activist Connector

Using his celebrated activist status, Popovic opened many doors for Stratfor to meet with activists globally. In turn, the information Stratfor intended to gain from Popovic’s contacts would serve as “actionable intelligence”—the firm billed itself as a “Shadow CIA”—for its corporate clients.

Popovic passed information to Stratfor about on-the-ground activist events in countries around the world, ranging from the Philippines, LibyaTunisiaVietnamIranAzerbaijanEgyptTibetZimbabwePoland and BelarusGeorgiaBahrainVenezuela and Malaysia. Often, the emails reveal, Popovic passed on the information to Stratfor without the consent of the activists and likely without the activists ever knowing that their emails were being shuttled to the private security firm.

In the U.S., this investigation’s co-author, Carl Gibson (representing US Uncut), and the Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum had a meeting with Popovic shortly after their two respective groups used a media hoax to play a prank on General Electric, ridiculing the company over itsnon-payment of U.S. taxes.

The pair gave Popovic information about both groups’ plans for the coming year and news later came out that Stratfor closely monitored the Yes Men’s activities. (The blow photograph taken by Bichlbaum in April 2011 shows Popovic (L) and US Uncut’s Carl Gibson.)

During the Arab Spring, in Egypt in January 2011, Popovic received an interview invitation for an appearance on CNN. The first people he turned to for talking points were Stratfor employees, who provided him with five talking points to lead with.

Stratfor said Popovic’s main use for the firm was his vast array of grassroots activist contacts around the world.

“A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them do their own thing,” reads a May 2010 email written by former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. “He does himself have information that may be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then contact independently.”

Popovic was so well-received by Stratfor that he even got his wife, Marijah, a job there. She worked for a year from March 2010 through March 2011 as the weekend open source intelligence analyst at Stratfor. The other candidate for the job, Jelena Tancic, also worked for CANVAS.

“The Canvas guy [Popovic] is a friend/source [for Stratfor], and recommended her to us,” Stratfor’s Vice President of Analysis Scott Stewart said in a March 2010 email, leaving out that the two were dating at the time.

Popovic and his wife grew so close to Stratfor, in fact, that Popovic invited numerous members of the Stratfor staff to their wedding in Belgrade, Serbia.

Helping Stratfor Manufacture Revolutions

Stratfor saw Popovic’s main value not only as a source for intelligence on global revolutionary and activist movements, but also as someone who, if needed, could help overthrow leaders of countries hostile to U.S. geopolitical and financial interests. So useful was Popovic to Stratfor that the firm gave him a free subscription, dubbed “legit sources we use all the time as a company” by Papic.

In a June 2011 email, Papic referred to Popovic as a “great friend” of his and described him as a “Serb activist who travels the world fomenting revolution.”

“They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;) ,” Papic says in one email. Replying to a follow up to that email, he states, “They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”

In response to the “aircraft battle group” email, Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton sardonically said that perhaps they could be sent into Iran. Emails also reveal Popovic served as an information source intermediary for on-the-ground activists in Iran, also informing Stratfor of the funding struggle for “democracy programs” there, as the U.S. government pushed a “soft power” agenda.

Another March 2010 email from Stewart to Burton said that CANVAS was “trying to get rid of Chavez,” referring to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In 2007, CANVAS trained activists to overthrow Chavez.

“If I remember correctly, we use hushmail communication to contact him regarding Venezuela due to the sensitivity of using a revolutionary NGO as a source considering we have clients who operate in country,” Papic said in a January 2011 email of Popovic.

Stratfor grew so enamored of CANVAS’s ability to foment regime change abroad that it invited Popovic to its Austin headquarters in 2010 to give seminars on the subject, and paid for his trip there.

CANVAS’s Goldman Sachs Cash

One of CANVAS’s major funders is Muneer Satter, a former Goldman Sachs executive who stepped down from that position in June 2012and now owns Satter Investment Management LLC. Stratfor CEO Shea Morenz worked for ten years at Goldman Sachs as well, where he served as Managing Director in the Investment Management Division and Region Head for Private Wealth Management for the Southwest Region.

Satter is meanwhile a major funder of the Republican Party, giving over $300,000 to Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS before the 2012 election, and another $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in the first half of 2013 prior to the 2014 mid-term elections.

Living in a massive, $9.5 million mansion in Chicago’s North Shore suburb of Lake Michigan, Muneer also gave $50,000 toward President Obama’s inaugural fund in 2009.

When it came time to connect Muneer with the global intelligence firm, Popovic served as the middle man introducing Satter to Stratfor Chairman George Friedman.

“Whenever I want to understand the details behind world events, I turn to Stratfor,” reads an endorsement from Satter on Stratfor’s website. “They have the most detailed and insightful analysis of world affairs and are miles ahead of mainstream media.”

Otpor!: A Counter-History

To understand how Popovic came to aide Stratfor in its intelligence-gathering efforts, it’s crucial to examine Otpor! and CANVAS critically. A close examination demonstrates that Popovic was a natural choice to be a Stratfor informant and close advisor.

Often valorized by grassroots activists and Western media, there was far more to the “Bulldozer Revolution” that led to the overthrow of Milošević and subsequent Eastern European regimes than meets the eye.

“In principle, [Serbia] was an overt operation, funded by congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and $31 million for 2000. Some Americans involved in the anti-Milosevic effort said they were aware of CIA activity at the fringes of the campaign, but had trouble finding out what the agency was up to,” explained a 2000 investigative piece appearing in The Washington Post.

“The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government’s foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI).”

“In fact between 1997 and 2000 the National Endowment for Democracy and US government may have accomplished what NATO’s 37,000 bombing sorties had been unable to do: oust Milosevic, replace him with their favoured candidate Vojislav Kostunica and promote a neoliberal vision for Serbia,” independent scholar Michael Barker wrote for Z Magazine. “In much the same way as corporate front groups and astroturf groups recruit genuinely committed supporters, strategically useful social movements can potentially dominate civil society when provided with the right resources (massive financial and professional backing).”

Otpor! was so successful that it was ushered into Ukraine to help manufacture regime change there in 2004, using the template applied originally in Serbia with $65 million in cash from the U.S. government.

“We trained them in how to set up an organization, how to open local chapters, how to create a ‘brand,’ how to create a logo, symbols, and key messages,” an Otpor! activist told U.S.-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. “We trained them in how to identify the key weaknesses in society and what people’s most pressing problems were—what might be a motivating factor for people, and above all young people, to go to the ballot box and in this way shape their own destiny.”

The overthrow of Milošević was accompanied by U.S.-funding for the creation of a robust media apparatus in Serbia, and Popovic’s wife worked at one of the U.S.-funded radio and TV outlets as a journalist and anchor B92 from 2004-2009.

“By helping Radio B92 and linking it with a network of radio stations (ANEM), international assistance undermined the regime’s direct and indirect control over news and information,” a January 2004 policy paper released by USAID explained. “In Serbia, independent media supported by USAID and other international donors facilitated the regime change.”

Critics point out that what happened in Eastern Europe was regime change, not revolution in any real sense of the term.

“[They] were not revolutions at all; actually, they were little more than intra-elite power transfers,’” Portland State University Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Gerald Sussman, explained in his book, “Branded Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.”

“Modern tactics of electioneering were employed to cast regime change as populist, which took advantage of the unstable and vulnerable situations in those regions following the breakup of the Soviet Union,” he wrote.

Given Otpor!’s ties to powerful factions in the U.S. government, perhaps it’s unsurprising that Popovic felt comfortable giving a lecture to the Air Force Academy in May 2010, and attending a National Security Council meeting in December 2009.

A powerful individual who lobbied the U.S. government to give money to CANVAS early on was Michael McFaul, the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia for the State Department and someone who “worked closely with” Popovic while serving as a Senior Fellow at theright-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Critics Chime In, Popovic Responds

Maryam Alkhawaja, director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said she had known Popovic for several years as an activist and had no knowledge of his outside relationships before the Wikileaks release of Stratfor emails.

“Srdja is someone I’ve met more than once. He was very supportive of the Bahrain revolution, supportive of the human rights fight,” Alkhawaja said in a phone interview. “When he gave me their information, that’s what surprised me the most.”

Alkhawaja said that at the time she wasn’t aware of what kind of firm Stratfor was, but she became immediately suspicious after reading Stratfor’s questions to her. She never corresponded with Stratfor due to what she felt was the suspicious nature of the emails coming from the firm.

“It was a series of really weird intelligence agency-like questions, given that they knew I was working in a human rights group. They were asking questions like, who’s funding the party coalition, how many members do they have, questions that even I didn’t know the answers to,” she said. “The fact that they asked questions like that, made me question the motive behind the email I received. That’s why I never responded.”

“Whenever we get emails like that or were contacted by people who seemed very interested in asking intelligence agency-like questions, we usually block them, because we know they probably work for the government,” Alkhawaja continued. “Journalists know the kind of work we do so they wouldn’t ask those questions in the first place. I just found the email very weird and thats why I actually never responded.”

In a Skype interview, one of Otpor!’s co-founders, who left the movement and asked to maintain his confidentiality, said his primary concern from the Wikileaks emails was that Popovic was giving out activists’ information to a third party without their prior consent.

An interview with Popovic sang a different tune about CANVAS. He stated, “We definitely wouldn’t jeopardize any of our activists’ safety, so we always follow their lead and never expose them to anybody without their consent.”

Popovic also said CANVAS would speak to anyone and everyone—without any discrimination—about nonviolent direct action.

“CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and nonviolent struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War era and think that tanks and planes and nukes shape the world, not the common people leading popular movements,” he said.

“If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle that they should embrace and respect – not foreign military intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that.”

Yet, given Popovic’s track-record—and specifically, who buttered his bread during the long professional career he pursued in activism—critics say Popovic fit like a glove at Stratfor.

“A group of Serbs cannot lead a protest movement anywhere outside Serbia, but his techniques are nonetheless instrumental in helping achieve certain political aims,” Professor Sussman said in an interview. “He also serves as an intelligence gatherer in the process—of use to private and state intelligence agencies. That’s what Stratfor saw as his use.”

On the 100th Anniversary of World War 1, the Western powers are again sleepwalking into destructive conflict. Hegemonic ambition has Washington interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine, but developments seem to be moving beyond Washington’s control.

Regime change in Ukraine for a mere $5 billion dollars would be a bargain compared to the massive sums squandered in Iraq ($3,000 billion), Afghanistan ($3,000 billion), Somalia, and Libya, or the money Washington is wasting murdering people with drones in Pakistan and Yemen, or the money Washington has spent supporting al Qaeda in Syria, or the massive sums Washington has wasted surrounding Iran with 40 military bases and several fleets in the Persian Gulf in an effort to terrorize Iran into submission. 

So far, in Washington’s attempt at regime change in Ukraine large numbers of Americans are not being killed and maimed. Only Ukrainians are dying, all the better for Washington as the deaths are blamed on the Ukrainian government that the US has targeted for overthrow.

The problem with Washington’s plot to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine and install its minions is twofold:  The chosen US puppets have lost control of the protests to armed radical elements with historical links to nazism, and Russia regards an EU/NATO takeover of Ukraine as a strategic threat to Russian independence.

Washington overlooked that the financially viable part of today’s Ukraine consists of historical Russian provinces in the east and south that the Soviet leadership merged into Ukraine in order to dilute the fascist elements in western Ukraine that fought for Adolf Hitler against the Soviet Union.  It is these ultra-nationalist elements with nazi roots, not Washington’s chosen puppets, who are now in charge of the armed rebellion in Western Ukraine.

If the democratically elected Ukraine government is overthrown, the eastern and southern parts would rejoin Russia. The western part would be looted by Western bankers and corporations, and the NATO Ukraine bases would be targeted by Russian Iskander missiles.

It would be a defeat for Washington and their gullible Ukrainian dupes to see half of the country return to Russia. To save face, Washington might provoke a great power confrontation, which could be the end of all of us.

My series of articles on the situation in Ukraine resulted in a number of interviews from Canada to Russia, with more scheduled.  It also produced emotional rants from people of Ukrainian descent whose delusions are impenetrable by facts. Deranged Russophobes dismissed as propaganda the easily verifiable report of Assistant Secretary of State Nuland’s public address last December, in which she boasted that Washington had spent $5 billion preparing Ukraine to be aligned with Washington’s interests. Protest sympathizers claim that the intercepted telephone call between Nuland and the US Ambassador in Ukraine, in which the two US officials chose the government that would be installed following the coup, is a fake. 

One person actually suggested that my position should be aligned with the “sincerity of the Kiev students,” not with the facts.

Some Trekkers and Trekkies were more concerned that I used an improper title for Spock than they were with the prospect of great power confrontation. The point of my article flew off into space and missed planet Earth.

Spock’s mental powers were the best weapon that Starship Enterprise had. Among my graduate school friends, Spock was known as Dr. Spock, because he was the cool, calm, and unemotional member of the crew who could diagnose the problem and save the situation.

There are no Spocks in the US or any Western government and certainly not among the Ukrainian protesters.   

I have often wondered if Spock’s Vulcan ancestry was Gene Roddenberry’s way of underlining by contrast the fragility of human reason. In the context of modern military technology, is it possible for life to survive humanity’s penchant for emotion to trump reason and for self-delusion to prevail over factual reality?

February marks the third anniversary of the 2011 revolt in Wisconsin, the occupation of the state capital and mass protests against the attack on workers. Wisconsin was the largest of the protests at that time, but across the United States there were a series of protestsagainst foreclosures, austerity and the unjust economy.

The Wisconsin uprising, along with the Arab Spring and Indignado movement in Europe, inspired Occupy, a revolt that began on Wall Street and spread across the nation. It was a revolt against an economic system – big finance capitalism – that is causing a corrupt and unfair economy; as well as against a government that serves the interests of the wealthiest before meeting the necessities of the people.

People often want to know what the movement for social and economic justice wants.  Occupy Wall Street issued its Declaration of the Occupation of New York City which laid out a series of grievances. But, in addition to knowing what we oppose, we need to define what we stand for. If we do not like big finance capitalism, what will take the place of the current economy?

 During the organizing of the occupation in Washington, DC on Freedom Plaza we developed a list of 15 core crisis issues that the country is facing and we outlined solutions to them. These solutions are supported by super-majorities of Americans who, polls show,  could rule better than the elites.

At the core of these solutions is the desire to put in place an economic democracy agenda, building institutions that are controlled by and benefit communities while also protecting the planet. By building wealth in a way that is more equitable and democratic, the rule of money is weakened. A democratized economy shifts political power away from concentrated capital to the public and further empowers people by meeting their basic needs for shelter , food, education, healthcare and income.

In many respects we are in a conflict with big finance capitalism and seeking to birth a new economy that serves the people.  How do we get there? In her book, Getting Past Capitalism: History, Vision, Hope, Cynthia Kaufman suggests we are in a variety of struggles and rather than seeking total replacement, we need to build healthy institutions while challenging those unhealthy ones we can defeat. Gar Alperovitz defines the transition as ‘evolutionary reconstruction’, a way that we gradually build a better world.

 Economic Democracy

This week, we re-launched It’s Our Economy, a project dedicated to reporting on and assisting the growing movement for economic democracy. We define economic democracy as:

 … premised on the idea that people should not cede power to mega-corporations, big finance, or a “professional” political class. The people have the shared knowledge to help build an economy that works to strengthen communities and build wealth for all, not just a few. We recognize the internal contradictions of big finance capitalism and we have seen the failures of state-based socialism and are seeking to create a new type of economy that is democratized, empowers people to gain control over their economic lives and encourages cooperative solutions that create wealth for ourselves and our communities….

Economic democracy also emphasizes the commonwealth.  The commons includes not only roads, land, water and resources but also the knowledge and technology developed, often with public dollars, which has been built up over  generations….

Economic democracy stands in contrast with neoliberal economics. Neoliberalism privatizes public goods and seeks to commodify everything possible to create profit-centers while cutting public services in the name of austerity.

One way to understand what makes healthy institutions that serve the people is to use a human rights framework. There are five human rights principles. These include:

Universality: Human rights must be afforded to everyone, without exception.

Equity: Every person is entitled to the same access to services and public goods.

Accountability: Mechanisms must exist to enforce the protection of human rights.

 Transparency: Government institutions must be open and provide the public with information on the decision-making processes.

Participation: People need to be empowered to participate in the decision-making process.

 The need for a new economy based on the goal of benefitting all people, not just the wealthiest, has become more urgent as the impact of the economic collapse and its false recovery are felt. These include high rates of Americans dropping out of the labor force, the wealth divide expanding, record poverty and lowered incomes for most people.

 People Are Creating the New Economy in Many Ways

 Political and economic leadership continues to go in the opposite direction of what people want: cutting the social safety net and doing little to invest in re-building the economy while the costs of energy, food, healthcare and other necessities rise.  People across the country are acting on their own to build an economy that will serve them.

 The building of the new economy, sometimes called a ‘solidarity economy,’ has been developing for many years, particularly in other areas of the world such as Latin America. As a result we can now see reports of its success. A fundamental belief of economic democracy is to build from the bottom up, starting with local communities.  A report this week from the Institute for Self Reliance found that communities with buy local programs have seen local businesses grow three times as fast as communities without such programs and businesses report a 75% increase in customer traffic.

One key aspect of buying local is our food supply. The International Forum on Globalisation reports that “the average plate of food eaten in western industrial food-importing nations is likely to have traveled 2,000 miles from source to plate.” Around the country people are working to change that. Two programs that were in movement news this week were “Our Harvest” and “CropMobster.”

Our Harvest comes out of a 2009 agreement between the United Steelworkers and the Mondragon Co-op to create union co-ops. Our Harvest is a produce farm and food hub for aggregation and food processing. The goal is to re-create this model around the country to provide local foods and good jobs in union co-operatives.

CropMobster is a project from Petaluma, CA that seeks to redistribute food to reduce waste and to provide healthy food while growing a shared economy. CropMobster is an instant-alert service linking communities-in-need with local farmers, producers and food purveyors who have excess food to sell or donate. In one year it has spread to the greater SF Bay Area, with a dozen counties participating. Already, more than 300,000 pounds of food has been saved and over 1 million servings eaten; more than 4,000 participants and hundreds of farmers and small food businesses are joining with CropMobster.

Another issue that has been in the news lately because of multiple environmental disasters is the quality of drinking water. The chemical spill in West Virginia, coal slurry spills, hydrofracking and pipelines bursting in multiple states have been a few examples of how fresh water is now at risk. In addition, the extraction of fossil fuels and uranium are consuming tremendous amounts of water even in areas that are facing droughts. Water will be an item on the political agenda at the state and national level.  This week in Europe, 1.66 million people were able to put the issues of the right to clean water and stopping water privatization before the European Parliament.

 At the center of so many issues – the environment, climate, water, air, jobs – is energy.  President Obama and the bi-partisans in Congress continue to push a disastrous “all of the above” energy strategy that is leading to extreme energy extraction with terrible environmental consequences.  The corporate duopoly seems unable to challenge big oil, gas, coal and nuclear to put in place the carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy that is needed.

 In the absence of national leadership, people are moving forward. Over 80 landowners have dedicated nearly 20,000 acres to what will become the largest wind farm in South Dakota that will increase the wind energy output in the state by 50%. As solar rapidly grows in the United States, research is now showing that more people will be employed by solar than by oil and coal combined.

Big changes are also on the horizon in the labor front. There are widespread battles for raising the minimum wage to a living wage, and while many companies treat their employees as if they were disposable, in other workplaces employees are becoming owners so they can share in the wealth created by their labor. There is a growing movement for worker-owned cooperatives with national meetings in the United States and in Europe.

 

An example that was in the news this week was WinCo, a growing competitor to Walmart. WinCo is now operating 93 employee-owned stores in seven states with nearly 15,000 employees.  The company has lower prices than Walmart and provides employees with a health plan that includes dental and vision as well as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan for their pension.

 

Other businesses are creating a more just world by redefining corporate charters so that one of their purposes is to provide public benefits rather than profits to investors. In the past few years, 20 states, including the District of Columbia, have enacted legislation that allows companies to register as benefit corporations and 16 more states are considering it. Delaware, the home of half of US corporations and two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, enacted a B Corp. law. This status protects corporations from lawsuits by shareholders for not maximizing profit, and it even gives shareholders the right to sue the corporation for failing to optimize its social mission.

 

We are Creating a Renaissance

The examples above just give a taste of all of the changes that are taking place to create new systems that replace the old failing ones. For more ideas, visit the “Create” section of PopularResistance.org or ItsOurEconomy.us.

 

What is amazing is that around the world, the same ideas and values are being put forward. People are joining together to create societies that respect life and the planet and that are more horizontal and just. We are truly in a time of transformation which is made more urgent by the many crises we face.

 There has been talk of global revolution, and in some areas, revolution – the changing of governments – is occurring. But we are not yet in a global revolution. In his article, “Revolution, or Digital-Age Renaissance,” Bernardo Gutierrez writes, “Ruskoff argues that the revolution has not arrived and what we are experiencing is a new renaissance. ‘Renaissances are historical instances of widespread recontextualisation. It is the rebirth of old ideas in a new context. Renaissance is a dimensional leap, when our perspective shifts so dramatically that our understanding of the oldest, most fundamental elements of existence changes. The stories we have been using no longer work.’” Gutierrez explains that revolutions come after the renaissance.

Currently people are not only creating new systems, but they are questioning the stories that have been told to maintain the status quo and are recognizing that many of our restraints are artificial. People do have the ability to rethink the premises upon which we base our assumptions and to change their views and behaviors.

 For decades we have been taught to believe in capitalism and neo-liberalism. We have been told that there will always be poor people and we must accept that. We’ve been told that wealth trickles down and that we should all compete to achieve the “American Dream.” We’ve thought that in order to achieve that dream we must go into debt. And we’ve believed that the people in power should be trusted to make decisions for us, that we didn’t have the capacity to make them.

All of that is changing and being turned in its head. Awareness is growing that we can do things differently. People are actively confronting the old ways through both resistance and the creation of new approaches or the re-emergence of older methods. One area is the recognition that there are alternatives to debt-based economies. This is not a new idea. There were debt jubilees in ancient history.

In the article, “Debt Refusal Essential To Rebuilding Popular Democracy,” the editor writes that “resisting debt is not only moral, it may be essential to re-envisioning a democracy built on legitimate bonds to our community.” StrikeDebt, which was organized out of Occupy Wall Street, teaches us that “working together to build greater economic democracy would mean weaving a dense, creative network where our debts are to each other, not to them (read: the big banks).”StrikeDebt created a Debt Resister’s Manual and is organizing a nationwide debt resistance movement. Their new manual is due out soon.

Another area of renaissance is globalization. To date, globalization has been based on the neoliberal economic model that leaves poverty and environmental destruction in its wake. But now that we understand these consequences , it is becoming more difficult for governments to continue on this path. A case in point is the current Trans-Pacific Partnership which was negotiated for years in secret and the plan was to pass it quietly through Congress using Fast Track. That effort has stalled for now and instead civil society groups are working together to redefine what global trade should look like and how it should be governed.

There is a call for ‘deglobalization’ which does not oppose global trade but refers to orienting trade so our communities can build local economies, to produce goods that are needed and to become more self-reliant. A detailed plan for this is outlined in the blog on systemic alternatives. They write that deglobalization is not about withdrawing from the world economy but is about restructuring it: “Today’s need is not another centralized global institution but the deconcentration and decentralization of institutional power and the creation of a pluralistic system of state and non-state institutions and organizations interacting with one another, guided by broad and flexible agreements and understandings, which receive their authority and legitimacy from below.”

We have an opportunity right now while trade deals are stalled to redefine global governance. Collectively, the people can confront the dominant paradigms and global power structure and rebirth a world grounded in the principles of human rights and protection of the planet. Resistance is not only protest, but includes acts of creation. When you get involved in your community to build democratized economies, you are part of the global transformation.

This article is produced by PopularResistance.org in conjunction with AlterNet.  It is based on PopularResistance.org’s weekly newsletter reviewing the activities of the resistance movement.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are participants in PopularResistance.org; they co-direct It’s Our Economy and co-host Clearing the FOG. Their twitters are @KBZeese and MFlowers8.

The new openings in the relations between Iran and the international community following the election of moderate President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013 presidential polls are indicative of the fact that the future of Iran’s nuclear standoff is bright and that there are hopes for a comprehensive and final solution that can bring the decade-long controversy to an end. There are difficulties on this path, as Iran and the six world powers (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany) have started intensive and breathtaking negotiations for a comprehensive deal, but both sides have voiced their optimism and hope that the talks will be fruitful.

In order to discuss the ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1 and the future of Iran’s nuclear program, Iran Review conducted an interview with Prof. Stephen M. Walt.

Stephen Walt is one of the world’s leading political scientists who has authored tens of academic and non-academic articles about Iran’s nuclear program as well as several books on the U.S. foreign policy, including the renowned book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” he has co-written with his close friend and colleague John Mearsheimer.

Walt is a professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. A vocal critic of the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, he has long advocated for the rapprochement and improvement of mutual relations between Iran and the United States.

“Although some U.S. commentators like to think that the United States should get to decide for itself what other countries can do, I think the U.S. government understands that Iran has a right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” said Prof. Walt in an exclusive interview with Iran Review.

To discuss about the different aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, the ongoing talks between Iran and the six world powers and the prospects of Iran-U.S. relations in the light of the new diplomatic overtures by the Iranian government, Iran Review did an interview with Prof. Stephen M. Walt. What follows is the text of the interview.

Q: Throughout the past decade, the Iran-U.S. relations experienced a serious decline in such a way that in addition to the lack of diplomatic connections between the two countries, several rounds of unilateral and multilateral sanctions were imposed against Iran by the United States. Here we can pose two questions. First, what have been the major reasons for the fluctuations and frequent ups and downs in the mutual relations? And second, what role has the Israeli lobby played in the deterioration of Iran-U.S. relations?

A: There have been significant conflicts of interest between the United States and Iran ever since the 1979 revolution and the Israel lobby is not responsible for them. Since the early 1990s, however, groups within the broader Israel lobby, and the Israeli government itself, have worked hard to dramatize the threat from Iran and to prevent any serious rapprochement between Washington and Tehran.

 

Q: One of the reasons why the talks between Iran and the six world powers constantly reached a deadlock in the past decade is that the United States never distanced itself from the policy of regime change which a number of neo-conservative think tanks, intelligence and military officials and statesmen advocated. This means that Iran cannot be confident about a just negotiation with the United States based on mutual respect and on equal footing. Has this policy ever changed, at least in the Obama administration?

 

A: Although there are groups in the United States that still favor regime change, I do not think this is an active goal for the Obama administration, especially since the election of President Rouhani.   I believe the administration is sincere about wanting a better relationship with Iran, but it remains to be seen if the two countries can work out the most serious issues that divide them.

Q: As you’ve noted in one of your articles, a group of the U.S. Congressmen have recently written a letter to President Obama, offering that the United States would not impose any new sanctions on Iran, and in return, Iran should give up its whole nuclear program. The suggestion sounds childish, because Iran is already under several rounds of unilateral and multilateral sanctions, and if there’s going to be a deal on the nuclear program, the focus should be on the existing sanctions, not those which are not defined yet. With such an approach, does the U.S. Congress allow the government to reach a viable and comprehensive agreement with Iran?

A: The threat of new Congressional sanctions did not work, because the president, his advisors, and most of the American people realized that it would derail the negotiations before they got underway. I believe Congress would be willing to endorse a comprehensive deal, but it depends entirely on the specific terms.  The question is: will Congress accept a deal that is also acceptable to Iran, and vice versa?

Q: Right; in one of your articles, you talked about China’s nuclear program in the 1960s and that extremist U.S. politicians tried at that time to portray it as a threat to the world peace and security. China accessed nuclear weapons, but never attacked any country. Are the United States and Israel really afraid of a nuclear Iran? Isn’t what troubles them the growth of Iran’s economic – political power and influence?

A: Israel is definitely worried about a nuclear Iran, and so is the United States.   I believe this fear is greatly exaggerated, however, because having a nuclear weapon would not make Iran a superpower and would not give it any significant leverage over the US, Israel, or anyone else.  And of course, any use of a nuclear weapon would be suicidal as well as immoral.   Israel and the United States are also worried about Iran’s long-term power potential, but that is a concern that is best addressed through sensible regional diplomacy.

Q: What’s your assessment of the momentous phone call between the presidents of Iran and the United States on the final hours of Hassan Rouhani’s trip to New York? Can this phone conversation melt the ice of diplomatic relations?

A: It was an important symbolic step, as it signaled the two sides willingness to talk to each other in a more-or-less normal fashion.  But now the two sides have to add substance to symbolism.

Q: It was shortly after the phone conversation between the presidents of Iran and the United States that President Obama conferred with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that the military option is still on the table regarding Iran’s nuclear case. He repeated the military threat several times afterwards. Aren’t the recent diplomatic openings in the mutual relations between the two countries in contradiction with Mr. Obama’s war threats against Iran?

A: I would not over-interpret anything that might have been said during this period.   Saying that the military option is still “on the table” means very little, because the main emphasis is on diplomacy at present.

Q: How is it possible to dissolve this wishful American thinking that recognizing Iran’s nuclear rights is a gift and award given to Iran by the United States? In your writings, you’ve argued that as a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, so the United States would not be doing a favor to Iran by recognizing Iran’s rights. If this thinking is corrected, then the United States would not negotiate while looking down at Iran with contempt, but rather will be seeking a realistic solution. What’s your take on that?

A: Although some U.S. commentators like to think that the United States should get to decide for itself what other countries can do, I think the U.S. government understands that Iran has a right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Given past conflicts and mutual suspicions, however, the United States is seeking to ensure that the exercise of this right does not lead to Iran leaving the NPT at some future point and becoming a nuclear weapons state.

Q: Does the United States government have the sufficient authority and independence to ignore the voices of pro-war, hawkish interest groups and the Israeli lobby and come to the negotiating table with Iran based on mutual respect and with a peaceful approach? We constantly hear the U.S. politicians reaffirming their commitment to the security of Israel. Can such a commitment and moving toward normalizing ties with Iran come at once and next to each other?

A: These statements are partly a reflection of the political power of the Israel lobby; politicians say these things because they think it is to their advantage to sound strongly “pro-Israel.” But there is no real contradiction between support for Israel and support for constructive diplomacy with Iran, leading to a comprehensive deal. Israel would in fact be safer if US-Iranian relations were better, and if there was a formal, multilateral agreement that acknowledged Iran’s rights to peaceful nuclear energy but also reassured everyone about the actual purpose and capabilities of Iran’s program.

Q: The coming to power of a moderate and pro-reform government in Iran which has the backing and support of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is a great opportunity for the international community to solve Iran’s nuclear program controversy, and draw it to a conclusion forever. The resolution of Iran’s nuclear standoff can contribute to the regional and global peace and security, as well. How should the United States and its allies use this opportunity and react to the peace-loving calls of the Iranian nation and also obviate their challenges with Iran?

A: In my view, the United States and the rest of the P5+1 should take the threat of military force “off the table” and negotiate sensible limits to Iran’s enrichment capabilities and its stockpile of enriched uranium, along with appropriate inspections and other safeguards. That is a first step, but an important one. It should then begin easing sanctions, encourage travel and tourism, and gradually welcome Iran back among the community of nations. It will also be necessary to discuss other contentious issues, including the tragedy in Syria and the continuing conflict in Afghanistan. In short, the United States should strive for a more “normal” relationship with Iran, even it is not especially warm or close, at least not yet.

“A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.” (Albert Camus, 1913-1960.)

On September 7th 2012, the US Department of State (“Diplomacy in Action”) assured on their website:

“The U.S. Mission in Iraq remains dedicated to building a strategic partnership with Iraq and the Iraqi people … Iraq continues to develop as a sovereign, stable … country … a voice of moderation and democracy in the Middle East.

“Iraq has functioning government institutions including an active legislature, is playing an increasingly constructive role in the region … US assistance … includes the modernization of Iraqi law.

“U.S. security assistance supports the development of a modern, accountable, and professional Iraqi military capable of defending Iraq and its borders.

“U.S. security assistance programs also promote civilian oversight of the military, adherence to the rule of law, and the respect for human rights …

“The US Embassy Baghdad maintains the Office of Security Cooperation to further these goals and to facilitate Iraq’s role as a responsible security partner, contributing to the peace and security of the region.” (1)

What baloney.

The all is delusional, especially U.S. furtherance of: “adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights” mantra – long gone seriously missing. But then perhaps their chosen Prime Minister, Nouri al- Maliki has learned well from his Washington masters.

On February 21st, al- Maliki, in Wild West (or rather Wild East) mode, announced bounties of up to $25,000 (thirty million Iraqi Dinars) to any one who kills or captures a “foreign terrorist.”(2) So much for: “ … the development of a modern, accountable, and professional Iraqi military capable of defending Iraq and its borders.” Extrajudicial punishment of course, is a feature of politically repressive regimes, resorted to without the permission of a Court or legal authority.

When the U.S. insanely offered bounties for “bad guys” in Afghanistan and Iraq, those who were turned in were largely a result of old enmities and score settling, resulting in transfer to Guantanamo, long jail sentences locally, or rendition to some US black site across the globe. Many simply vanished without trace.

Further, quite how the dead summarily executed in Iraq are to be identified as “foreign terrorists” is a mystery. But who in authority will care, in a country whose government is unashamed of having the third highest execution rate on earth and described by Human Rights Watch in their 2013 Report, “Iraq a Broken Justice System”, as having a leadership which uses: “draconian measures against opposition politicians, detainees, demonstrators and journalists, effectively squeezing the space for independent civil society and political freedoms … the Iraqi people today face a government that is slipping further in to authoritarianism and doing little to make them safer.”(3)

Can the US rein in al-Maliki’s latest demented excess – added to his murderous militias, manipulation, mendacity and all round mayhem? Hardly, since they arrived in Iraq with their imbecilic concept of a pack of cards for the “most wanted” – ie the politicians of the legitimate Iraqi government in an illegal invasion – each with a multi-million dollar price on his or her head.

When U.S. troops slaughtered Saddam Hussein’s two sons and fifteen year old grandson just eighteen days after a thirty million dollar reward had been offered for knowledge of their whereabouts, the gruesome murders were heralded by the U.S. as a great success, the perpetrators heroes. The US State Department’s Reward for Justice programme website (4) heralded this appalling, illegal event as “the fastest turnaround in history” and boasts of paying the promised reward. Uday and Qusay Hussein’s photograph are proudly displayed on the bottom of the page, their family named misspelled – with others summarily assassinated, “deceased” trumpeted under the pictures.

Then of course there was the bounty for Osama bin Laden, and his alleged eventual assassination (though there is much evidence he died years earlier) however someone was clearly summarily executed, in another  much publicized illegal incursion in to a sovereign country.

But lives of others are cheap it seems, to the “shining city on the hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere”, as expressed by Ronald Reagan.

Moreover: “Rewards for Justice is always interested in receiving proposals to add key terrorist leaders to its Most Wanted List and Web site …”

Nouri al-Maliki has a novel view on his bounty hunter initiative. In a recent article on the website of the publication Foreign Policy, he writes: “Iraq has defeated Al Qaeda before and we have a holistic strategy to defeat Al Qaeda again.” He is surely including in his “holistic strategy” all those across Iraq, not alone in Western Anbar Province, who are demonstrating, rising up and have had heartily enough of his brutal, divisive, sectarian regime.

Coincidentally surely, he has stated, as voting cards are handed out for the April elections, that due to the situation in Anbar, distributing cards there will be problematical if not impossible. What a fix – voters unlikely to cast their tick in al-Maliki’s direction denied voting access at all.

March 19th will be the tenth anniversary of the US-UK blitzkrieg and invasion, which has brought Iraq’s people a misery of which their worst nightmares could not have created, descending ever in to further horrors.

“The US government has not sufficiently pressed the Maliki government to rein in corruption and serial human rights abuses, the Human Rights Watch Report commented, further:  “Justice for abuses committed by coalition forces in Iraq remains almost non-existent.”

In a shaming, salutary final paragraph they charge that:

“The failure of the US and UK to hold their troops accountable for abuses in detention and extra judicial killings during their presence in the country seems to have paved the way for the current government to make excuses for abuses, failure of law and order, and lack of accountability.”

Were ever the lies about the “liberators” and  “liberation, freedom and democracy” laid barer?

Notes

1. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/6804.htm

2. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Feb-21/247987-iraq-offers-hefty-bounties-for-jihadists.ashx#axzz2txhAMVuf

3. http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/01/31/iraq-broken-justice-system

4. http://www.nctc.gov/site/other/rfj.html

Thailand: Regime Terror Campaign Intensifies

February 23rd, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Coordinated grenade and gun attacks have been carried out across Thailand by the regime ofUS-backed Thaksin Shinawatra and his nepotist proxy, sister Yingluck Shinawatra in an attempt to quell growing dissent that now includes rice farmers once considered the foundation of the regime’s support. Among those dead and maimed were children. A grisly attack in the eastern province of Trat left scores maimed and a five-year old girl dead. A similar attack carried out in Bangkok left many maimed along with a woman and 12 year old boy dead.

It should be noted, that unlike mobs in Ukraine where literal Neo-Nazi hooligans are clashing with police - protests across Thailand are carried out in a festive atmosphere with permanent stages hosting a variety of activities while vendors, families, and even tourists mingle among the crowds.

Image: A regime terror attack today left at least
two dead - a woman and a 12 year old boy. The regime
had threatened to carry out an armed terror campaign
to quell growing dissent. It now appears the campaign
is being carried out in earnest.

The attackers, fully aware of this, intentionally carried out the attacks realizing unarmed men, women, and children would be injured or killed. That the attacks are being carried out with assault rifles and military grenades indicates the terror campaign now being carried out is the execution of long admitted plans by the regime and its supporters to use violence to silence dissenters.

TIME magazine on January 16 reported in their article, “”Bangkok Shutdown: Yingluck Supporters Prepare to Fight for Democracy,” that:

As Thailand’s anti-government protests enter their fourth day, observers say prospects for violent confrontation are increasing, with reports of government supporters stockpiling weapons in case of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster.

According to the Bangkok Post, radical members of the Red Shirts — diehard champions of Yingluck and her notorious brother Thaksin Shinawatra — are readying a cache of arms in case the 46-year-old premier is forced from office by either military or judicial intervention. 

The paper quoted a Red Shirt source as saying “There are strong anti-coup and anti-court sentiments among the red-shirt mavericks who are familiar and experienced with weapon use.”

Clearly, the murderous attacks now being carried out not only in Bangkok, but in provinces across the country, are these threats being carried out. And just hours after the attack in Trat province, and before another attack in Bangkok, the regime’s “red shirt” mobs were assembled in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) for what it called a “war drum meeting.” And it was during this “war drum meeting” that red shirt leaders proudly announced on the stage the deaths in Trat province to which the mob responded with cheers.

It is clear the regime has turned to terrorism - having lost its own rigged elections and failing to produce any significant street presence even in the north and northeast long thought to be Thaksin Shinawatra’s “stronghold.”

Human Health and the GMO Industry: Puppets in High Places

February 23rd, 2014 by Colin Todhunter

Anne Glover recently declared that there is no evidence pertaining to the adverse impacts of GMOs. This is an extremely disturbing statement. It’s disturbing because it is not only patently wrong, but also because Anne Glover is chief scientific adviser of the European Commission.

In an interview with EurActiv on 24 July 2012, she stated:

“There is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health, animal health or environmental health, so that’s pretty robust evidence, and I would be confident in saying that there is no more risk in eating GMO food than eating conventionally farmed food.” (1)

In a letter to Anne Glover, which is posted on the GM Watch webite, Dr Brian John says that her claim is a “lie”. John regards himself as a member of the global scientific community ad has a background in environmental research and a long list of contacts in academia and within environmental, health, and consumer NGOs. In the letter to Glover, he states that many of his colleagues are directly involved in research in the GM field, and between them they have contributed hundreds of articles to the peer-reviewed literature.

Anne Glover wrote in 2012:

“If we look at evidence from [more than] 15 years of growing and consuming GMO foods globally, then there is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health, animal health, or environmental health.” (2)

In 2013, she wrote:

“There is no evidence that GM technologies are any riskier than conventional breeding technologies and this has been confirmed by thousands of research projects. Food produced with GM technology is very common in other parts of the world, without any evidence that this has been harmful to the people that consumed it or to the environment at large.” (3)

Brian John asks Glover:

“With all due respect, that is a repetition of the same lie. What literature do you read? And from whom do you obtain your scientific advice?”

John goes on to state:

“I wish to place on record that there is abundant and unequivocal published evidence, within and outside the peer-reviewed literature, of real harm to living organisms in the plant and animal kingdoms arising from the growing of GMO crops and the consumption of GMO foodstuffs.  This material is freely available to any scientist who chooses to examine it, and many of the key publications are found within a list recently compiled and published by GMO Free USA.” (4)

John then lambasts Glover for her one-sided approach:

“Of course, there are others lists of publications, some purporting to demonstrate harm associated with GMOs, and others purporting to show that they are safe. You refer to “thousands of research projects” and pretend that they all reach the same conclusion.  That is of course nonsense.”

Although Glover likes to argue there is a consensus within the ‘scientific community’ concerning the benefits and safety of GMOs, this is patently not the case.

John tells Glover:

“The fact of the matter is that there is a powerful case showing that GMOs are harmful, with the findings of many early papers substantiated and confirmed by subsequent research. To deny that case is to perpetrate a falsehood.”

He asks if Glover will now:

“… retract your 2012 statement and accept that there is abundant evidence showing adverse impacts (both direct and indirect) on human and animal health and on the environment arising from the growing and consumption of GMO products? And will you also issue an apology to those members of the research community whose publications (in peer-reviewed journals showing harm arising from the use of GMOs) you have so studiously ignored?”

In a December 2013 press release, the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) stated that Glover’s GMO propagandising is “irresponsible” as she “chooses to listen to one side of the scientific community only – the circle of GMO producers and their allied scientists” (5). Based on a statement signed by 297 scientists and experts, Dr Angelika Hilbeck, chair of the ENSSER, which published the statement, said:

“We’re surprised and pleased by the strong support for the statement. It seems to have tapped into a deep concern in the global scientific community that the name of science is being misused to make misleading claims about the safety of GM technology.”

Glover has serious conflicts of interest that have led Member of the European Parliament and former French minister for the environment, Corinne Lepage, to call for her resignation. According to GM Watch, Glover is a shareholder in a biotech company (6), and her background is that of a business-savvy genetic engineer. Her track record includes setting up the firm Remedios, which was named Scotland’s “Best New Biotechnology Company” for Biotech Scotland by its industry peers (7).

Glover’s pro-GM propaganda mirrors that of Owen Patterson, British Environment Secretary (8). His British Conservative Party colleague Zac Goldsmith has called him a puppet of the biotech industry (9).

Although Glover’s views are of great concern, in many respects she is symptomatic of a much deeper malaise that appears to run deep, whereby a lack of independence from the biotech and food conglomerates is distorting regulatory practices and corrupting policies within the EU to the detriment of the public (10).

Read the full transcript of Brian John’s letter to Anne G lover here: http://gmwatch.eu/index.php/news/archive/2014/15308-eu-chief-science-adviser-s-gmo-safety-claims-are-a-lie

Notes

1) http://www.euractiv.com/innovation-enterprise/commission-science-supremo-endor-news-514072

2) http://www.euractiv.com/innovation-enterprise/chief-scientifc-adviser-policy-p-interview-514074

3) http://www.euractiv.com/science-policymaking/eu-chief-scientist-unethical-use-interview-530692

http://www.ensser.org/media/0713/

6) http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2014/15303-paterson-and-glover-push-gmos-in-africa-at-taxpayers-expense-wed

7) http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7100-326a

8) http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-realities-of-gmo-and-petro-chemical-agriculture-allergies-toxins-new-diseases/5367760

9) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-mp-says-progm-environment-secretary-owen-paterson-is-industry-puppet-8686133.html

10) http://corporateeurope.org/efsa/2013/10/unhappy-meal-european-food-safety-authoritys-independence-problem

Since the invasion of Afghanistan, Global Research has  published several articles on the opium trade and its links to the war in Afghanistan. In an article published in 2005, Michel Chossudovsky described “Washington’s Hidden Agenda” in Afghanistan: restoring the drug trade.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recently issued a report on the rise of opium cultivation and production.

We take this opportunity to bring to your attention important articles on the drug trade and its intricate links to the so-called War on Terror.

Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin ProductionWashington’s Blog

Who benefits from the Afghan Opium Trade? Michel Chossudovsky

The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin TradeMichel Chossudovsky

Does Obama Want to Stay in Afghanistan to Harvest Its Opium?Sherwood Ross

Afghanistan, Garden of Empire: America’s Multibillion Dollar Opium HarvestJulien Mercille


UN REPORT

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

 Afghanistan Opium Crop Cultivation Rises 36 Per Cent, Production Up 49 Per Cent

13 November 2013 – Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose 36 per cent in 2013, a record high, according to the 2013 Afghanistan Opium Survey released today in Kabul by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics and UNODC. Meanwhile, opium production amounted to 5,500 tons, up by almost a half since 2012.

Calling the news “sobering”, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, stressed that this situation poses a threat to health, stability and development in Afghanistan and beyond:  ”What is needed is an integrated, comprehensive response to the drug problem. Counter-narcotics efforts must be an integral part of the security, development and institution-building agenda”.

The area under cultivation rose to 209,000 ha from the previous year’s total of 154,000 ha, higher than the peak of 193,000 hectares reached in 2007. Also, two provinces, Balkh and Faryab, lost their poppy-free status, leaving 15 provinces poppy-free this year compared with 17 last year.

Although lower than in 2012, opium prices continued to lure farmers at around $145 per kg, much higher than the prices fetched during the high yield years of 2006-2008.  Farmers may have driven up cultivation by trying to shore up their assets as insurance against an uncertain future resulting from the withdrawal of international troops next year. Worth around US$ 950 million, or 4 per cent of national GDP in 2013, the farm-gate value of opium production increased by almost a third. Together with profits made by drug traffickers, the total value of the opium economy within Afghanistan was significantly higher, implying that the illicit economy will continue to grow whereas a slowdown of the legal economy is predicted in 2014.

“As we approach 2014 and the withdrawal of international forces from the country, the results of the Afghanistan Opium Survey 2013 should be taken for what they are – a warning, and an urgent call to action,” said the UNODC chief.

The link between insecurity and opium cultivation observed in the country since 2007 was still evident in 2013; almost 90 per cent of opium poppy cultivation in 2013 remained confined to nine provinces in the southern and western regions, which include the most insurgency-ridden provinces in the country. Hilmand, Afghanistan’s principal poppy-producer since 2004 and responsible for nearly half of all cultivation, expanded the area under cultivation by 34 per cent, followed by Kandahar, which saw a 16 per cent rise.

Across the country, governor-led eradication decreased by 24 per cent to some 7,300 hectares. Badakhshan, the only poppy-growing province in the north-east, witnessed a 25 per cent increase in cultivation despite the eradication of almost 2,800 ha. During the 2013 eradication campaigns, the number of casualties rose significantly, with 143 people killed this year compared with 102 fatalities in 2012.

“If the drug problem is not taken more seriously by aid, development and security actors, the virus of opium will further reduce the resistance of its host, already suffering from dangerously low immune levels due to fragmentation, conflict, patronage, corruption and impunity”, said Yury Fedotov.

Further information:

2013 Afghanistan Opium Survey – Summary Findings

UNODC Country Office in Afghanistan

 Supporters of geoengineering have proposed radical ways to alter the planet. But opposition is growing to geoengineering. We interviewed the indian environmentalist, scientist,
philosopher Vandana Shiva.

Vandana Shiva, originally a theoretical physicist, she now campaigns the world for heirloom seeds, organic farming and local food systems instead of the chemical- and oil-intensive large scale industrial farms that destroy the environment and wreck local economies. She also supports Hands off Mother Earth, a citizen-based organization that resists geoengineering .

 Vandana Shiva was interviewed by Maria Heibel from NoGeoingegneria

 

TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW

NoGeoingegneria: So, first, thank you very much for your time because you’re an incredible woman and you always have so much time for everybody. and it’s great. We wanted to speak a little bit about geoengineering with you. It’s something that embraces everything: food and water and what is happening now in the world in a situation of climate change, and great change, and risk of collapse at every level. I saw the interview you had with Amy Goodman. So, first, what is, for you, at this moment, the role of geoengineering?

00:55 Vandana: the role of geo-engineering should, in a world of responsibility, in a world of scientifically enlightened decision making and ecological understanding, it should be zero.

There is no role for geo-engeneering. Because what is geoengineering but extending the engineering paradigm? There have been engineered parts of the earth, and aspects of ecosystems and organisms through genetical engineering: the massive dam building, the re-routing of rivers. These were all elements of geoengineering at the level of particular places and we have recognized two things: one, that when you don’t take into account the way ecological systems work, then you do damage. Everyone knows that in effect climate change is a result of that engineering paradigm. We could replace people with fossil fuels, have higher and higher levels of industrialization, of agriculture, of production, without thinking of the green-house gases we were admitting, and climate change is really the pollution of the engineering paradigm, when fossil fuels drove industrialism. To now offer that same mindset as a solution is to not take seriously what Einstein said: that you can’t solve the problems by using the same mindset that caused them. So, the idea of engineering is an idea of mastery. And today the role that we are being asked to play is a role based on informed humanity.

2:45 NoGeoingegneria: In my eyes geoengineering started in the 50s with atomic tests, because in this period they started to make geoengineering of the atmosphere of earth in a global sense, in a bigger sense, and a lot of projects in the 50s started to organize the earth, the planet, in a new way, with a new idea of engineering really the whole planet. With the power of atomic bomb scientists made a shifting in their mind, in my eyes. So in this period, in the 50′s weather modification also started very energically. It is part of geo engineering, and you have here the map of the ETC group, in the whole world, they are doing it, and you cannot do local modifications without changing the whole system. I know in India, in Thailand, and Australia weather modification maybe is more discussed, more open than in Europe. For example in Italy they made weather modification in the 80′s and people don’t know it. What do you think about the role of weather modification in a sense of geoengineering for food, for water, for the whole system?

4:21 Vandana

Weather modification is a very small part of geo engineering. Geoengineering right now is the hubris of saying: “all this climate change, and we’re living in the anthropocene age and now human beings will be the shapers of our future, that totally control the overall functions of not just our planet, but our relationship with other planets, so many of the solutions offered have been putting reflectors in the sky to send the sun back as if the sun was a problem rather than the very basis of life, or to put pollutants into the atmosphere in order to create a layer of pollution that would stop the sun from shining. But the instability of the climate that is the result of the greenhouse effect will just be aggravated by these interventions. Now weather modifications done in a narrow-minded way, to say “we are not getting rain so let us precipitate rain artificially so that agriculture doesn’t fail” is something that for example the Chinese did for the olympics. They made sure there would be no rain during the Olympics. It is a lower level of hubris than the larger project of geoengineering.

5:47 you know this map…..?

5:49 Vandana  yes of course i know Etcetera.

5:52 N: and you see that the ETC Group also published only a part, it’s only a part because everyday something else is coming out, in the whole world they are doing it, so if you make in a lot of points.

6:07 V: it’s not too much the points

6:08 N: what does it mean for weather extremes for example?

6:11 V: the first thing is it creates more instability, and we are dealing with instability, therefore we must deal more with actions that create insurance against instability, rather than aggravating the instability. It’s like I’m driving a car and I know there’s a precipice there, I should put the car in reverse and then turn into another direction. What geo engineering is doing is saying “let’s put our foot on the accelerator”. And the precipice is climate instability, climate unpredictability. And at the root of it is the false idea that these silly little actions will be able to control and regulate the weather and climate. But the second most important part of why geo engineering is so so wrong is that is ultimate expression of patriarchal irresponsibility. Patriarchy is based on appropriating rights and leaving responsibility to others. In this case the scientists who are playing these games, the who are investors financing it, are all doing it without having any consent for these experiments, any approval for these experiments, locally or globally, and worse, without thinking of the consequences or what it can lead to, and without ever ever being bound to responsibility. Therefore it is the ultimate expression of all the destructive tendencies of patriarchy.

7:50 N: Yeah, and you see you can take one name Edward Teller. He comes from the atomic bomb. He had the idea of controlling the weather by atomic bomb. He proposed the shield for sun radiation management, so the same persons, the same power structure is organizing this type of management of the planet and of space. So, you know about the intention of control ….?

8:22 V: Well for some people the intention is really one of making others suffer. And therefore aspects of geo- engineering are about links with military warfare. How do you alter the climate so that you can just make rain fall or fail in a particular area and let agriculture suffer. But in other cases, even if there isn’t that military intention of harm to the other there is an ignorance…..

8:56 N: There is also economic interest ……

8:58 V: Not all, the reason that there is such a battalion of scientists behind it…..

9:00 N: You know oil and not soil, the food and water …….

9:05 V: The people are pushing it have a money interest. The people who are pushing it have a military interest. , people are pushing to have a military interest. The players merely have the arrogance that ” I have the solution”. And it’s the combination of stupidity combined with the arrogance of the little players, and the evil projects of the ones who control it, that combination is what makes it toxic. Because if the scientific community could only recognize its responsibility to society and the planet and say “I will not be part of your games”, which is how Scientists for Social Responsibility was created, which is how the group that started to monitor the whole nuclear issue, those were all scientists. This is a marriage of stupid scientists with evil minds, and we need scientists with responsibility to be the counterforce to say this is not science, just as we need in genetic engineering. And it is as the community of scientists who really know the science start to speak more and organize better, that the stupid scientists of the biotech industry will quieten down. And biotech and geo engineering have the same mindset, of engineering, of power, of control, of mastery of nature

10:30 N: you spoke also of the dams. It’s big geoengineering also in India and in the whole world and there are now the big interests of water and here, the last time we had an interview with Pat Mooney he said that big dams, energy production, water control, and weather control, it’s one thing. So it’s not only a small intervention to have crops. It’s something more.

11:06 V: No as I said it’s the ultimate hubris, that’s what it is! Hubris on a planetary scale!

11:19 N: Uh….. what do you think about the fact they will spray nano particles? That’s the program!

11:29 V: Each of these issues has a particular aspect thats different but i think those particular aspects are very small compared to the overall damage and the overall irresponsibility. For me the first issue is, how dare you do this. How dare you. That has to be humanity’s response. Then the rest of the little thing of how nano particles can harm or have too much sulphur in the atmosphere can harm, those are specific details but this is a civilizational issue. And in civilizational issues you don’t look at the tiny details as the debate. You have to look at the big picture!

 Transcript by lukinski&trishy

 Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmental thinker, activist, physicist, feminist, philosopher of science, writer and science policy advocate, is the Director of The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy. She serves as an ecology advisor to several organizations including the Third World Network and the Asia Pacific People’s Environment Network.

In 1993 she was the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, commonly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”. A contributing editor to People-Centered Development Forum, she has also written several works include, “Staying Alive,” “The Violence of the Green Revolution,” “Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge,” “Monoculutures of the Mind” and “Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit,” as well as over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. Shiva participated in the nonviolent Chipko movement during the 1970s, whose main participants were women. She is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization, and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the anti-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices, as is evident from her book “Vedic Ecology” that draws upon India’s Vedic heritage. Shiva has fought for changes in the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, genetic engineering are among the fields where Shiva has contributed intellectually and through activist campaigns. She has assisted grassroots organizations of the Green movement in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria with campaigns against genetic engineering. In 1982, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology. Her book, “Staying Alive” helped redefine perceptions of third world women. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as non governmental organisations, including the International Forum on Globalisation, the Women’s Environment & Development Organization and the Third World Network.

 

 

Introducción

Hace unas semanas, la prensa salvadoreña reportó una manifestación en la cual participaron -conjuntamente- ex soldados del ejército y ex guerrilleros del FMLN. Siendo así como, los enemigos a muerte durante la guerra civil, ahora unidos en una especie de frente común, hacen presión para que una ley llamada la ley del veterano sea sancionada. El caso a señalar es que hoy como ayer, el saldo de la manifestación fue de varios heridos y decenas de detenidos.

En este ensayo nos cuestionamos sobre las causas que pudieron motivar a la ex guerrilla, en un gobierno dirigido por sus ex aliados del FMLN, a activar -de nuevo- la acción directa para reivindicar sus derechos. Y para ello, tres temas serán explorados: 1) el encuentro entre el movimiento popular y el FMLN histórico (FMLNH); 2) la ruptura entre el FMLN electoral (FMLNE) y el FMLNH; y 3) el FMLNE versus el FMLNH.

El FMLN histórico: el encuentro

Contaba el poeta salvadoreño Roque Dalton que viviendo en un país europeo, cuando se refería a El Salvador, él no dejaba de sentirse como si de un fantasma hablaba; puesto que ahí, nadie sabía que ese país existía. El caso a anotar es que a principios de los años 70 del siglo pasado, El Salvador iba a conocer una doble crisis: 1) la crisis de la vía electoral para acceder al poder y 2) la crisis estructural del régimen militar dominante. Doble crisis que, al combinarse, pondría en el centro de las discusiones del movimiento popular, una temática central: la toma del poder. Tema crucial que, a su vez, iba a abrir una nueva coyuntura histórica para El Salvador; puesto que, ante el desgaste de la vía electoral para reformar el sistema en plaza, una parte del movimiento popular pasaría a desafiar, a través de la lucha armada, a la dictadura militar. Iniciando con ello lo que sus partidarios llamarían: la guerra justa.

Guerra justa en la cual los y las salvadoreños(as) escribirían, en la historia de los movimientos populares del siglo XX, una de las páginas más bellas de heroísmo y generosidad revolucionaria. Lo cual hizo que muchos pueblos alrededor del mundo, ante la determinación popular, se solidarizaran con su lucha. El Salvador, en plena guerra fría, pasaba así de país ignorado a ocupar una plaza central en la geopolítica mundial de ese momento histórico.

En cuanto a la izquierda, que, con el tiempo, forjaría el proyecto histórico del FMLN, es necesario anotar que la vemos como la depositaria de toda una larga tradición de lucha. Tenemos así que, desde una perspectiva histórica, el año 1832 fue marcado por una gran rebelión indígena dirigida por Anastasio Aquino. 1932 fue el año de la última gran insurrección indígena inspirada por el dirigente de orientación comunista Agustín Farabundo Martí. 1972-1977 marcan un hito en la historia politica de El Salvador. Pues fue en esas fechas que la dictadura militar (fundada en 1932 por el general Maximiliano Hernández Martínez) pierde su fachada democrática y opta abiertamente, con el fin de mantenerse en el poder, por violar sistemáticamente los derechos humanos de los salvadoreños.

La importancia de los últimos años mencionados -o sea 1972-1977- reside en el hecho que, en esas fechas, en dos elecciones presidenciales sucesivas, la Unión Nacional Opositora (UNO) -un partido político de orientación reformista- fundada en una amplia alianza popular, gana esas dos contiendas. Pero como siempre había sido el caso, fueron los militares que impusieron a sus candidatos. Sólo que esta vez el movimiento popular no se desmoviliza sino que, al contrario, ante el fraude y la represión, opta por radicalizar sus luchas.

Y fue así como, en El Salvador, los hechos históricos de carácter traumático se acumulaban más y más. Hasta el punto que el mismo régimen militar, ante una situación incontrolable, entraba en franca agonía. Y fue precisamente, en ese momento, que en El Salvador surgían las primeras células de la guerrilla urbana, integrada por hombres y mujeres que hicieron gala de audacia revolucionaria, puesto que, más bien, armados solamente con sus utopías, un día decidieron ir, al asalto del cielo. Consiguiendo, paso a paso, con férrea voluntad, forjar un amplio movimiento popular que, en función de la lucha revolucionaria, sería unificado alrededor de 3 objetivos fundamentales: 1) hacer de la lucha armada, el método principal de la lucha politica; 2) terminar con el Estado pro-oligárquico y 3) reorganizar, en función de los intereses de las grandes mayorías de El Salvador, la forma de producción y de redistribución de la riqueza.

Y para llevar a buen termino esa misión, los sectores populares con sus líderes fundan el FMLN. Surgiendo de esta forma, otro proyecto de sociedad. Siendo así como en El Salvador, dos proyectos de sociedad iban a enfrentarse en una larga y sangrienta guerra civil total.

El FMLN electoral: la ruptura

El 16 de enero de 1992, las élites dirigentes de la Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) y del FMLN, “con la cooperación de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), en uno de sus mejores trabajos por la paz en el mundo” (1), ponían fin a la guerra civil de El Salvador. Considerando que, en ese país, la guerra civil alcanzó niveles inauditos de terror y muerte, inevitablemente, una pregunta se nos plantea: ¿En cuanto a la ARENA y el FMLN, cuál pudo haber sido el punto de inflexión que las llevo a des radicalizar sus posiciones y ya así, convergentes y tolerantes, lograr abrir el espacio político que les permitió, a través de un pacto político, pacificar el país?

Para nosotros el punto de inflexión se habría producido cuando la élite dirigente de la ARENA logra, en el contexto de los tratados de paz, que la cúpula dirigente del FMLN no cuestione más la forma de producción y de redistribución de la riqueza (2) (3). Siendo de esta forma cómo las élites areneras habrían promovido una dinámica que, en términos gramscianos, la podríamos definir como aquella en donde “la forma de la dominación cambia, pero no su contenido”.

Formulación gramsciana que creemos constituye una noción clave para entender una hábil maniobra politica que hizo que unos cambios de carácter -profundamente- reaccionarios fueran presentados, ante los salvadoreños, como la panacea del “cambio social”. Puesto que, en realidad, en El Salvador, la paz pactada, dado el punto de inflexión señalado, sería sin reformas económicas ni justicia social. Siendo así, como el contenido económico de la dominación oligárquica se mantenía inalterable. Pero mientras tanto esto ocurría, en la forma politica cambios importantes se operaban: puesto que El Salvador, en la dinámica misma de los tratados de paz, pasaba de la dictadura militar a una democracia de tipo representativa, cuyos actores principales serían las élites de los partidos políticos. O sea de la ARENA y el FMLN.

Con respecto al FMLN, notamos que fue precisamente al interior de esas dinámicas que pierde su carácter de organización revolucionaria-progresista para pasar a constituirse en un partido más del panorama político de El Salvador. Siendo así como esa organización pasa de una democracia de tipo participativa a una democracia de tipo representativa. Lo que significó todo un giro estratégico teórico-práctico: puesto que su dirección, sin transición alguna, pasaría de promover la lucha armada como la forma superior de la lucha politica, a magnificar las elecciones. Siendo de esta forma como aquel FMLN incubado y fortalecido por las amplias masas populares es desmantelado para reconvertido en lo que llamamos, el FMLNE.

Un FMLNE que, con el tiempo, jugando -con entusiasmo- las reglas del juego democrático, se convertiría en una potente e exitosa maquinaria electorera que, de victoria en victoria, lograría hacer de la ex cúpula guerrillera la Nueva Clase Politica de El Salvador (NCPES). NCPES que, en la actualidad, es la que domina el panorama político y, por lo tanto, es la que, de una forma u otra, impone su ritmo al resto de la clase politica salvadoreña.

Íntimamente ligado a lo anterior notamos entonces que el giro estratégico de la ex comandancia del FMLN tendría dos impactos inmediatos: 1) la lucha de clases mutaría a una “guerra” de las élites por el poder y 2) los ex combatientes, que, como vanguardia revolucionaria eran el pivote principal de la lucha de clases, es claro que, en el nuevo contexto de la lucha política, para la ex comandancia, ellos ya no eran más las fuerzas motrices del cambio. Puesto que, en lo sucesivo, como es el caso en una democracia de tipo representativa, su esfuerzo principal giraría en torno a colectar la mayor cantidad de dinero y de bien escoger a los fabricadores de imágenes políticas. Y, con ellos (en un espacio político funcionando a la imagen del mercado y que, por lo tanto, son los más “fuertes”, los más astutamente rápidos en la maniobra los que vencen), librar sus duras “guerras” electorales, el objetivo: ganar, esta vez, el mayor número de electores.

Y sería en ese contexto que aquellos militantes forjados al calor de la dura y sangrienta guerra popular revolucionaria, serían ignorados, abandonados a su suerte. Lo que les lleva a entrar en ruptura con el FMLNE, decidiendo, en el mismo impulso, reivindicar a aquel FMLN que, con tantos esfuerzos, ellos habían contribuido a edificar, es decir: el FMLNH.

El FMLNE versus el FMLNH

Tenemos así, en la actualidad, con respecto al FMLN, dos lógicas opuestas. En donde observamos que el FMLNE, en ruptura con su pasado, centraliza -pragmáticamente- su acción en el presente; mientras que el FMLNH, a su manera, se aferra al pasado para criticar en el presente las promesas olvidadas y otros extravíos de la NCPES. En línea con lo planteado, Héctor Dada -ex miembro del Frente Democrático Revolucionario (FDR) y ex ministro de economía bajo el gobierno del FMLNE-Mauricio Funes-, desde su perspectiva de análisis, en un estudio realizado en 1994, anota que:

“El FMLN, al celebrar los Acuerdos de Paz, afirmó que su decisión de tomar las armas, y la prolongada acción político militar, había concluido al forzar a las fuerzas tradicionales de poder a abrir espacios de participación, por lo que la paz era un triunfo de las fuerzas populares que ellos representaban. Ese razonamiento desapareció en la campaña [presidencial de 1994], y más bien se rechazó como contraria a la reconciliación nacional toda mención al «pasado»… Por ello, muchas veces no era trasnochada la interpretación de que la Coalición tenía como objetivo primordial de su esfuerzo el tornarse agradable a los ojos de la cúpula empresarial para que le permitiera gobernar”(4).

Dada, en un primer momento, nos muestra a una ex comandancia todavía olorosa a pólvora que, en 1992, sabiendo que los ojos del mundo estaban puestos en El Salvador, quería todavía mostrarse como la gloriosa comandancia de una fuerza insurreccional que, en ese país, con sus combates, había abierto un nuevo espacio político. En el cual, en un segundo momento, o sea, en las elecciones de 1994, esa misma comandancia, como nos lo comenta Dada, en ruptura con su pasado guerrillero y con el fin de gobernar, buscaba “tornarse agradable a los ojos de la cúpula empresarial”.

Es en ese “tornarse agradable a los ojos de la cúpula empresarial” que detectamos, concretamente, a una ex comandancia guerrillera profundamente pragmática y, por lo tanto, sin estorbos ideológicos de ningún tipo. Y ya así, ideológicamente liberada, la vemos haciendo todo tipo de maniobra para alcanzar su fin supremo, es decir: El poder. Vemos así, con una mezcla de asombro y contrariedad, a una ex comandancia que dio un giro profundo y, por lo tanto, la notamos lejos pero muy lejos de aquellos hombres y mujeres que, un día, aparecieron -tan audaces, tan espontáneos, tan utópicos- en el panorama político salvadoreño enarbolando la bandera de la guerra justa. Con la cual lograron entusiasmar a toda una generación de jóvenes revolucionarios que creyeron -profundamente- que El Salvador, gracias a sus luchas, tendría un futuro con dignidad y justicia social.

Pero es de constatar que, en la “guerra” por el poder, todas las utopías fueron, una a una, sacrificadas. Y que al final de un proceso lo que realmente imperó -e impera- es el anhelo de situarse de manera ventajosa para conquistarlo. Sin embargo, llegados hasta aquí, tratemos, por un momento, de situarnos lejos de los estruendos de la vida política y de sus esforzados artífices. Y, desde ahí, vayamos al encuentro de los ex combatientes para dejarlos que, brevemente, con sus palabras, nos relaten la suerte que les fue reservada en lo que podríamos llamar: la etapa de la post guerra civil de El Salvador.

Testimonio #1

El FMLN se desorganizó (5) (sección opinión de los lectores)

“Bueno la paz no se conquisto, testimonia René Figueroa Ayala, lo que se logro fue el desmontaje de la guerra que sirvió para quebrar la estructura organizativa de los combatientes que era el objetivo fundamental de los acuerdos. Al desmovilizar a los combatientes se les quebró su fuerza moral. Se quedaron abandonados, desmoralizados, sin que nadie respondiera por ellos, prácticamente los combatientes que habían tenido una vida organizada se quedaron desamparados sin su familia politica con la cual se sentían fuertes y capaz de vencer cualquier adversidad.

Los combatientes no se han recuperado del dolor que les produjo el abandono político, se sienten marginados, despreciados y resentidos con el FMLN, hoy que esta en el poder le van ha reivindicar todos los beneficios pendientes que tienen con ellos, se convertirán en el sector mas exigente de la sociedad que puede dificultar el proceso democrático del país”.

Testimonio #2

Dejé mi juventud en el monte (6)

“Los diputados que llevamos al poder, comenta Adela, se han olvidado del cambio. Nosotros les exigimos porque somos quienes les anduvimos cuidando las espaldas. Muchos murieron por cuidarlos a ellos, que hoy están como diputados y ahora que están ahí se han olvidado de nosotros”, expresó con firmeza la mujer, que ahora es madre de seis hijos. Asegura que después de la guerra armada “muchos de los que combatieron se fueron a sus casas a librar otra guerra, la de la sobrevivencia sin una estabilidad económica”.

Testimonio #3

Carta de lisiados del FMLN Histórico al presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez (7)

“Comandante Hugo Chávez, le pedimos que ponga los ojos en El Salvador y fiscalice el envió del petróleo venezolano a las alcaldías del partido político FMLN, pues el 40% de las ganancias resultadas de la venta del combustible irían a parar originalmente a los proyectos sociales, pero eso no está llegando a los sectores que tendrían que llegar y solo se están favoreciendo unos pocos dirigentes de la cúpula del partido FMLN. Se les olvida a los actuales funcionarios de gobierno y a la Dirección Nacional del Partido FMLN, que fueron miles y miles de mujeres y hombres los que quedaron regados en la campiña salvadoreña y que esos dólares que reciben son dólares que llevan impregnados el dolor y el color de la sangre de miles de mártires y héroes revolucionarios.

Se les olvidan también esas miles de madres que recibían una migaja de pensión porque perdieron a sus hijos en las serranías, en el llano o en la ciudad y no saben si se los comieron los perros, las aves de carroña o si fueron desechos por una bomba de quinientas libras, y que minuto a minuto siente el dolor de sus hijos porque los vieron partir pero no los vieron regresar ni vivos ni muertos. Sobre ese dolor de esas madres y padres, es que esta dirección y estos funcionarios están gozando de la opulencia. Los combatientes que dejaron su adolescencia y juventud y los padres que perdieron a sus hijos en combate por la justicia social, hoy están en total abandono y no tienen tan siquiera para un desayuno digno. A esos hombres y mujeres que murieron en la lucha revolucionaria, solo los traen a su memoria en momentos de campaña política para pedir el voto.

Compañero Hugo Chávez, le exhortamos que le pida a la dirección del partido político FMLN, que combine lo que dicen con lo que hacen, porque del pueblo se han olvidado totalmente. Con la derecha se ponen de acuerdo para lo que desean pero cuando el pueblo y en particular los lisiados de guerra, padres y madres de tercera edad les buscamos, irónicamente nos mandan a cabildear con ellos…”

Testimonio #4

La amnistía fue la primera violación de los Acuerdos de Paz (8)

“Entonces ellos no se dan cuenta que estaban adoptando un estilo de vida totalmente contrario a su estilo de vida anterior. Antes el comandante vivía con su tropa, comía con su tropa, había una relación muy directa con su tropa… Viene la paz y dónde va a vivir el comandante, ya no puede vivir en el campamento, va a vivir en una casa donde pueda recibir, porque ya va a ser diputado, tiene que ir a recepciones, tiene que ponerse traje, sus hijos no van a una escuela pública en Soyapango, van al Externado, el comandante tiene que vivir con seguridad, en su camioneta…

Cuando yo fui candidato de ellos [quien testimonia aquí es Rubén Ignacio Zamora, ex dirigente del FDR, ex candidato presidencial del FMLN en las elecciones de 1994 y bajo el gobierno del FMLNE-Mauricio Funes, sucesivamente, ex Embajador de El Salvador en la India y actualmente, Embajador Plenipotenciario de El Salvador en Washington], me tocó recorrer todo el país y en el campo, donde tenían apoyo, la gente decía siempre eso, nos han dejado solos, ahí pasa el comandante en la camioneta y solo el polvo nos deja” [el subrayado es nuestro].

Conclusión

Las dos historias del FMLN nos hacen entonces ver que esa organización político-militar se escindió en dos tendencias: el FMLNE y el FMNLH. El primero bajo control de la NCPES y el segundo de los ex combatientes. Lo que visto desde la perspectiva del éxito social alcanzado, es claro que hubo un FMLN ganador y un FMLN perdedor. De las causas que hicieron del primero lo que, en la actualidad, es y que, en su momento las abordamos ampliamente, lo que nos interesa aclarar es el hecho siguiente: nuestra intención de plantear que, al final de un ciclo, hubo un FMLN ganador y un FMLN perdedor, no la vemos como una denuncia de tipo moralista sino como un hecho empíricamente observable, que lo planteamos en la forma siguiente: los distintos testimonios citados, muestran que los ex combatientes viven en una profunda fragilidad socio-económica. Situación que la vemos como inversamente proporcional a la de los ex comandantes. Los cuales, como lo vimos, en el contexto de los tratados de paz, fueron potenciados hacia nuevos niveles de realización politica, hasta lograr ubicarse como la NCPES ; mientras que los ex combatientes, al contrario de ellos, de actores políticos relevantes cayeron, en el mismo proceso, en una especie de vacio existencial.

Pero es de señalar que esa etapa de derrotismo, de inmovilismo y de desolación moral, nos parece que está siendo progresivamente superada, digamos, con un cierto ímpetu militante. El cual lo vemos activado por un hecho que, igualmente, según nuestro análisis, encontraría su fuente en las dos historias del FMLN. Y tenemos así que ante la historia -auto referencial- contada por los ex comandantes para justificarse como la NCPES, los ex combatientes tienen la de ellos. Y en esa historia, ellos no olvidan su pasado en el cual, con su sangre y sus esfuerzos sin límites en el terreno de combate, no solo enviaron a los militares a sus cuarteles sino que, como en el caso de los ex comandantes con su FMLNE, fueron sus luchas las que, como Adela lo plantea, los pusieron en donde están.

Por lo tanto, los ex combatientes con su FMLNH y su acción directa para exigir el reconocimiento de la ley del veterano, con la cual esperan mejorar sus condiciones de vida, no piden al poder en plaza o sea al FMLNE-Mauricio Funes, una dádiva sino que, una deuda a saldar.

Mauricio R. Alfaro

Referencias

El Faro. (2013), “Ex soldados y ex guerrilleros protestan juntos para exigir una “ley del veterano,” http://www.elfaro.net/es/201308/noticias/12901/

Canal 15. (2013), “Veteranos de guerra exigen liberación de capturados”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NZQobqDB9A

Canal 15. (2013), “Protesta frente a las oficinas centrales del FMLN”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U1Yb-y5jAQ

El Salvador. (1) (2013), “El Salvador ejemplo para el mundo en 21 Aniversario de Acuerdos de Paz”, http://www.elsalvadornoticias.net/2013/01/16/el-salvador-ejemplo-para-el-mundo-en-21o-aniversario-de-acuerdos-de-paz/

R. Alfaro, Mauricio (2). (2009), “El FMLN visto desde los acuerdos de paz de 1992 hasta su victoria electoral”, http://alainet.org/active/32375&lang=es

R. Alfaro, Mauricio (3). (2013), “El Salvador: del terror de la alianza oligárquica-militar al terror de las maras”, http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=171058

Dada, Héctor (4). 1994. “El Salvador: elecciones y democracia” Nueva Sociedad (Venezuela), no 132, p. 22-28.

Flores, Magdalena (5). (2010), “Acuerdos de Paz continúan en mora”, http://www.archivocp.contrapunto.com.sv//politica-nacionales/acuerdos-de-paz-continuan-en-mora-despues-de-18-anos

Moran, Marisela (6). (2013), “Dejé mi juventud en el monte”, http://www.rcc.contrapunto.com.sv/sociedad/deje-mi-juventud-en-el-monte

El Trompudo (7). (2013), “Carta de lisiados del FMLN Histórico al presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez”, http://pijazo.blogspot.ca/2011/10/carta-de-lisiados-del-fmln-historico-al.html

Fernando de Dios (8). (2013), “La amnistía fue la primera violación a los Tratados de Paz”,   http://www.archivocp.contrapunto.com.sv/especiales/la-amnistia-fue-la-primera-violacion-de-los-acuerdos-de-paz

Professor Francis A. Boyle

It is a fact that since 9-11-2001, the US Government has been in the business of destroying countries and using NATO as it principle instrument. That was stated more than a decade ago by then US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and later by General Wesley Clark.

The Pentagon drew up a list of 7 states that were to be destroyed: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria and they have systematically proceeded to destroy all of the countries on the list.

The strategy in Ukraine is the same, US/NATO/EU are promoting the destabilization and the breakup of Ukraine in order to achieve the NATO goal of moving into Ukrainian territory closer to Russia.

University of Illinois Professor Francis Boyle spoke on these issues and more in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

While Russia was distracted into believing that the US wanted a reset US foreign policy was being planned and dictated by rabid Russia haters like Zbignew Brzezinski and Richard Pipes. Brzezinski wants to breakup Russia into approximately 68 parts and has placed his protégés in key US foreign policy posts. According to Mr. Boyle Brezezinski has staffed the Obama administration with his acolytes and protégées, including the US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, a specialist in color revolutions. At the end of the day the US plan is to see the breakup of the Russian Federation, that is the goal.

This is John Robles, you are listening to an interview with Professor Francis Boyle. He is a Professor in International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. This is part 1 of a longer interview. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com

Robles: Hello Sir! How are you this evening?

Boyle: Very fine. Thanks for having me on, John, and my best to your listening audience.

Robles: Thank you Sir! And thanks for agreeing to speak with us. News of the day is Ukraine. Now you’ve recently made some statements and done some work regarding Syria. I’d like to ask for your correlations between what is going on right now in Syria and what is going on right now in Ukraine. Do you see a connection? Some people are saying that Ukraine, the push there was because the US was not allowed to carry out military operations against Syria. Do you see a relationship between them?

Boyle: Well I wouldn’t say that is “necessarily” the reason. As we know, Ukraine has for a long time been a strategic objective of the United States and trying to get Ukraine into NATO. And this EU plan was simply a first step in that direction. The EU wasn’t really offering anything to Ukraine. But it was very clear, if they could move Ukraine closer to the EU, that would be a step closer to NATO. In fact, I regret to say over the years, even though I have EU citizenship and carry an EU passport, the EU now has become nothing but an anteroom to NATO.

So, I think this really has to be understood in terms of the gradual movement of NATO further to the east in violation of the pledge that George Bush Senior and Jim Baker gave to then President Gorbachev that if he agreed to the reunification of Germany, NATO would move no farther east, towards Russia’s boundaries.

Robles: Well, we’ve seen those promises, similar promises were made to President Gorbachev – the first and last President of the Soviet Union – those were also ignored. And regarding …

Boyle: The problem was – he never got them in writing.

Robles: That’s exactly what I was going to say.

Boyle: That is incredibly naive on his part not to get them in writing. And I would point out, right now the United States is trying to do the exact same thing on the deployment of BMDs (ballistic missile defense) into Europe and around the borders of Russia saying “you have to accept our assurances, but we are not going to give you anything in writing.”

 You know, it is preposterous. In fact, we had something in writing and that was the Anti-ballistic Missile System Treaty of 1972 that prevented all of this. And then Bush Junior pulled out of that treaty. So, as it stands now, really anything goes, these verbal assurances mean nothing.

Robles: Getting away a little bit from the ABM system now, you mentioned NATO and Ukraine; there is a military objective, if you could tell us about that? And is there a similar military objective for Syria? Or what is the objective of the US Government in Syria?

Boyle: Since 9/11 2001, as publicly admitted by then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the United States Government would be getting into the business of destroying states. And that was later confirmed by General Wesley Clark, as you know in his memoirs, his meeting there at the Pentagon where they had the list of seven states they were going to proceed to take over.

Afghanistan was first, Iraq was second, Sudan was on the list, Libya was on the list and Syria was on the list, Iran was on the list. So, they are proceeding systematically down that list of destroying states. Syria is now near the top, Iran might be next. And it also appears now the same strategy is being applied to Ukraine to promote the crackup of Ukraine between east and west and, I would hate to say it, the dissolution of Ukraine as a state.

Robles: Can you repeat that quote again? He said…

Boyle: Yes Wolfowitz said… I have the citation in my book “The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence”, where Wolfowitz said: “We are going to get into the business of destroying states”. And then, soon thereafter General Wesley Clark (head of NATO) was in the Pentagon and can confirm they drew up a list of seven states that they were systematically going to go after.

So, that’s really, the objective here of Syria, against Syria, is as they did to Libya: to crackup Syria as a state into its constituent, religious and ethnic units not only for the United States but also for the benefit of Israel.

As you know, Israel has been a long time opponent to Syria. They headed a plan there, the Yi Nolan Plan to crackup surrounding states in order to better manage them and keep them under control. So, here you see a congruence of interests certainly between the United States and Israel.

And I regret to say it, but pretty much they have cracked up Syria in its constituent units, as they had done to Iraq. We now have basically three mini states in Iraq. The same has been done to Afghanistan and also Libya, where you have, you know it is hard to say there is a meaningful state there anymore. I have a new book out called “Destroying Libya and World Order” where I have all these citations in there and an analysis. And then, I tried to extend this to Syria near the end of the book.

And it does appear we are seeing a similar pattern of behavior here on Ukraine: to destabilize Ukraine, promote a crack up, some type of civil war or who knows what. And I guess the theory is, well if NATO-EU can get western Ukraine – fine! – they can extend the borders of NATO, the EU that far.

So, it is a very dangerous situation, because, as you know, Ukraine is of utmost strategic significance to Russia. And second, Russia believes that Ukraine is the cradle of its civilization.

Robles: Well it is, that’s not a belief. Ukraine is the mother of Russia.

Boyle: I’ve been to Ukraine and I’ve been to where Nestor wrote his chronicles, and I have studied Russian and Ukrainian history, sure, at Harvard. And I went through the same PhD program at Harvard that produced Zbigniew Brzezinski before me and Richard Pipes, both of whom were, are ardent Russia haters, there is no question at all about it. And that is really part of the problem here in the United States, when it comes to Russian studies, that so much of it is biased against Russia inherently.

Robles: Why is that, please, if you could? You’ve been through the system, you know the system. Why does the US hate Russia so much? Why?

Boyle: Well I spent ten years at the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School studying Russian history, Russian literature, Soviet politics, Russian politics. Indeed I even offered Soviet politics and Russian history on my PhD General Exams at Harvard, which qualified me to teach both those subjects to undergraduates at Harvard. But I never learned the language because that was not what I was intending to do.

And all those years, ten years of studying, I only had two professors who I thought were fair, reasonable and balanced when it came to Russia and the Soviet Union. And understand Harvard and Chicago are two of the leading centers in the United States for training Russian experts. They train professors and experts, government officials and things of that nature.

Robles: Diplomats…

Boyle: So, and again, you had Brzezinski, I went through the same PhD program that produced Brzezinski and Kissinger. You know Brzezinski is an expatriate Pole who hates the Russians with a passion.

Robles: Oh God yes, yeah…

Boyle: Indeed Brzezinski wants to crackup Russia into its constituent units.

Robles: Right, I think it was 68 autonomous regions, if that’s what it was.

Boyle: It’s more dangerous than that! In that Obama’s mentor at Columbia was Brzezinski. And Brzezinski ran the foreign affairs apparatus for Obama’s campaign and he has staffed the Obama administration with his acolytes and protégés, like McFaul – the recently resigning ambassador.

Robles: I’m sorry, can you expand a little bit on McFaul? You said he is one of Brzezinski’s protégé.

Boyle: Yes, he is from the Hoover Institute at Stanford, which is a neo-conservative operation out there, and Brzezinski is one of these people.

Robles: Was McFaul chosen by Brzezinski?

Boyle: I think all the high-level appointments in the Obama administration in foreign affairs have been run by Brzezinski. That is my personal feeling looking at it. Yes, Brzezinski decided not to take a position himself, but all these people that have surrounded Obama, not just on Russia, but other areas, are Brzezinski protégés and indeed that goes back in the Democratic Party I think since Carter came to power and Brzezinski was his National Security Advisor. You know, he was the one who started the Afghan Mujahidin war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and bragged about it.

So, within the Democratic Party Brzezinski is considered to be their foreign affairs guru and he was Obama’s mentor at Columbia, and it is a matter of public record that Brzezinski was running the foreign affairs apparatus for the Obama campaign.

Robles: Wow!

Boyle: So, I certainly believe he helped staff this administration on foreign affairs matters.

Robles: People are thinking about a reset and trying to improve relations. And I don’t think anyone knew that it was all Brzezinski, because people knew who Brzezinski was a long time ago.

Boyle: Right. Well, this I think is part of their plan to see the crackup of the Russian Federation, at the end of the day. Sure, that’s I think what his objective is.

You know, if you want to get credentialed as an expert on Russia, you have to go to somewhere like Columbia or Harvard, or Chicago and get your Master’s degree or PhD from people like that. At Harvard they also had Richard Pipes, he was the Reagan’s top guru on the Soviet Union, The Committee on the Present Danger.

I had Pipes for imperial Russian history, again, another expatriate Pole who hates the Russians with passion. Pipes was so bad in his course on Imperial Russian history, he used to break into sweat when he was lecturing on Peter the Great or Catherine the Great and had to take a handkerchief out of his pocket and wipe his brow. So, he is another fanatic against the Russians, only prominent in the Republican Party.

So, we don’t really have … you know Professor Cohen at NYU I think is fair, balanced and reasonable when it comes to Russia. He just wrote something in The Nation on Ukraine. And I think he wrote a very good book on Russia. But you know, he is really the exception to a pretty abysmal rule here in the United States when it comes to training and credentialing what were Soviet and now Russian experts.

Robles: So, why are you fair-minded Sir?

Boyle: I try to come at Russia and the Soviet Union with an open mind. I lived through the Cuban missile crisis and I concluded that probably the most important issue of my time would be to learn to understand Russia across the board and the Soviet Union. So, that’s why I spent the ten years studying at the University of Chicago and Harvard and getting formally credentialed in these areas.

And I have to say I was pretty appalled. I did have Professor Edward Keenan at Harvard who was my teacher, mentor and friend. And he was Director of the Russian Research Center. And he is very fair, balanced and reasonable, and Professor Harold Berman at Harvard Law School, again, very fair, balanced and reasonable. But that was pretty much about it.

I was invited over twice by the Soviet Government to lecture, once around the country in 1986 and then in 1989. And I guess they just figured I was a reasonable American to talk to. And I was open, I met with people and lectured and I seemed to get along with everyone. We didn’t necessarily agree about everything, but at least we could try to talk it out.

But that’s not what we are seeing now. That’s for sure! As we know from the Nuland tape here with the US Ambassador in Kiev, she admits they had spent at least $5 billion right away now trying to promote opposition to the democratically elected government in Ukraine. Whatever you think of Yanukovych, he is democratically elected and so far I think he’s shown a remarkable restraint.

Interview with Professor Francis Boyle. He is a Professor in International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. That was part 1 of a longer interview. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com

The new commander of the anti-Damascus militancy group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir has been trained in Israel, media reports said.

Al-Bashir had gone to Israel for treatment last year after he was wounded in Southern Syria during clashes with the Syrian army, Al-Ahd news website reported.

Al-Bashir was in charge of the military council in Southern Syria and he was transferred to a hospital in Israel after he was wounded in a military operation in Al-Rushid region.

Al-Bashir replaced former FSA commander Salim Idris. The FSA declared Bashir as the replacement for Idris in a statement posted online.

AbdulIah al-Bashir al-NoeimiAbdul-Ilah al-Bashir (right)

While Al-Bashir was wounded, the news reports were spread that Al-Bashir had died and buried in Daraa province in a bid to distract attentions from his presence in Israel where he was receiving military training.

A military analyst told Al-Ahd that the appointment of Al-Bashir took place concurrent with the defeat of the militants in Al-Qalmoun region and after the second round of the Geneva II talks.

Idriss had long faced criticism by militants on the ground for failing to gather sufficient military aid for the armed groups.

On Thursday, the Brookings Institution published a report documenting the sharp growth of social inequality in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

The report’s findings are of vast significance in three respects. First, the report documents the immense scale of social inequality and the rapidity with which it is growing, even in cities that are supposedly economic success stories.

Secondly, it shows the crushing growth of poverty and economic distress in these cities.

Thirdly, it implies that these conditions are not the result of a passing economic slowdown, but are rather embedded in the economic system and have become permanent facts of life.

The study compared the incomes of households at the 95th percentile of income earners and at the 20th percentile. These correspond roughly to the wealthiest sections of the upper-middle class and those living in poverty, but not utter destitution. In the country as a whole, the privileged group had an average income nine times greater than the poor one. That ratio was much higher in major cities: 18.8 times greater in Atlanta, 16.6 times in San Francisco, 15.7 in Miami, 15.3 in Boston and 13.3 in Washington DC.

The report documents the massive decline in working class incomes that took place between 2007 and 2012. For example, in Indianapolis—hit by a wave of industrial plant closures—the income of a typical household in the 20th percentile fell by $5,800, or more than a quarter, to $16,883. In Jacksonville, Florida the income of a household in this bracket fell by $7,800, or 30 percent, to $17,411.

“A city where the rich are very rich, and the poor very poor, is likely to face many difficulties,” the report states. “It may struggle to maintain mixed-income school environments that produce better outcomes for low-income kids. It may have too narrow a tax base from which to sustainably raise the revenues necessary for essential city services. And it may fail to produce housing and neighborhoods accessible to middle-class workers and families…”

This describes the great majority of American cities and amounts to an admission that the present social order holds no prospect for decent housing, health care or education for the great majority of city dwellers.

The report shows that cities that had the highest rates of economic growth—including San Francisco, Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles—also had the biggest increases in income inequality. This explodes the pro-corporate propaganda from the media and Democrats and Republicans alike that the answer to inequality and poverty is to stimulate economic growth by creating a more “business-friendly” economic and political environment.

“There’s something of a relationship between economic success and inequality,” Alan Berube, the study’s author, told the Associated Press.

San Francisco, which has had an influx of high-income earners as a result of the technology boom in the Bay Area, is a case in point. According to a separate survey by the Brookings Institution, San Francisco is one of the best-performing city economies in the US, having recently added more jobs and increased its economic output faster than the national average.

Yet in San Francisco, the income of a typical household in the 20th percentile fell by $4,309, or 17 percent, between 2007 and 2012, dropping to $21,313, while the income of a typical household in the 95th percentile increased by $27,815 to $353,576. These figures refute the official narrative, parroted by the entire political establishment, that inequality can be solved by expanding business activity through various incentives. “Job creation” has been the nominal purpose of massive tax breaks and handouts to corporations, which in many cases pay either no taxes or negative taxes.

 

In the name of “growth” and “job creation,” vast resources are being taken from social programs and services that benefit working and poor people as well as the wages and pensions of public workers to provide tax abatements and other windfalls for corporations. There is really no mystery as to why such economic “growth” goes hand in hand with increasing economic inequality.

In the state of New York, whose major metropolis is the sixth most unequal city in the country, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is running a national advertising campaign offering tax-exempt status for ten years to any business that starts up in the state.

Increasingly, the enrichment of the ruling class takes the form of outright theft, as revealed by the Detroit Workers Inquiry, held February 15, which exposed the criminal conspiracy to drive Detroit into bankruptcy in order to gut workers’ pensions and seize the city’s assets, including the artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Brookings Institution survey tells only part of the story, as its figures do not include the impact of the massive run-up on the stock market last year, during which the technology-heavy NASDAQ registered an increase of 38.3 percent. As a result of this stock boom, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook saw his net worth more than double, to $23 billion, while his fellow billionaire Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, saw his wealth increase by $7 billion, to $43 billion. Last year, Ellison’s compensation totaled $78.4 million.

Both Zuckerberg and Ellison live in the San Francisco Bay area, less than an hour’s drive from Oakland, California, where a typical household in the 20th income percentile makes $17,646 per year. Some cities registered enormous levels of income inequality largely because their poor are so destitute. In Miami, for example, a typical member of the 20th income percentile earned only $10,438 per year, down from $12,278 in 2007.

These figures describe a society in which immense wealth is concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite, while poverty, deprivation and degradation are growing for the vast majority of the people, with no prospect of a change in course.

Every domestic policy undertaken by the Obama administration, from the bank bailout to the promotion of low wages in the 2009 auto restructuring, to tax cuts for American manufacturers and support for the bankruptcy of Detroit to destroy municipal workers’ pensions and health benefits, has been justified in the name of economic growth and creating jobs.

There is no constituency in the US political establishment for any redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom; rather, both parties are committed to the further redistribution of wealth from the great majority of the population to the super-rich.

All talk of reforming this political and economic system is the product of either misinformed naiveté or deliberate deception. The fact is that capitalism is incompatible with the satisfaction of the most basic social needs of modern society.

Nothing can be done to address the staggering growth of poverty, inequality and social misery within the framework of the profit system. What is required is a mass movement of the working class armed with a socialist program to reorganize society to meet social needs, not fuel corporate profits.

 Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych bowed to the demands of the fascistic Western-backed opposition yesterday, signing an agreement curtailing his own powers, allowing the opposition into government, and calling early elections.

This came a day after the bloodiest day of protests in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. At least 77 protesters and riot police were killed and hundreds injured amid street clashes and gun battles between the far-right protesters and the security forces. Fighting has escalated since the Ukrainian parliament voted down an opposition bill to curtail the president’s powers earlier this week.

After Thursday’s fighting, Yanukovych backed down and gave in to the opposition’s key demands. Within 10 days, he will form a national unity government, including opposition representatives. The 2004 constitution passed after the US-backed Orange Revolution is to go back into effect in September, depriving Yanukovych of control over the chiefs of the security services. That power will be held by the prime minister. By December, early presidential and parliamentary elections are to be held; the presidential election was originally scheduled for March of 2015.

Adrian Karatnycky, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, told the PBS news program in the US that he expected Yanukovych to lose power in a matter of weeks or even days. Yanukovych left Kiev late last night and flew to Kharkov, a city near the border with Russia, the main backer of Yanukovych’s regime.

The Ukrainian parliament moved to free jailed billionaire oligarch Yulya Tymoshenko, the rival of Yanukovych who became prime minister in the Orange Revolution. She was convicted in 2011 of embezzlement in connection with natural gas deals with Russia. The parliament decriminalized the article of the criminal code under which Tymoshenko was prosecuted.

Yanukovych signed the agreement after negotiations lasting throughout Thursday night and into Friday, as bloody battles raged on the streets of Kiev. The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland, having arrived in Kiev on Thursday, worked closely with the opposition leaders—Vitali Klitschko of the Udar Party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party, and Oleh Tyahnybok of the fascistic Svoboda party.

Signers of the agreement, besides Yanukovych and the three opposition leaders, included Foreign Ministers Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Laurent Fabius of France, and Radoslaw Sikorski of Poland. However, Russian negotiator Vladimir Lukin, who was originally supposed to sign, declined to do so.

Before the agreement was signed, the German and Polish foreign ministers travelled to the Maidan (Independence Square)—the centre of opposition protests, where tens of thousands of mostly middle-class protesters had gathered—in order to obtain the protesters’ consent. They met in a hotel with 30 members of the Maidan Council, which represent the protesters.

It appears that even the right-wing opposition leaders were straining to control the far-right thugs unleashed by the imperialist powers in Ukraine. When Klitschko tried to speak to promote the deal with Yanukovych, he was shouted down by the protesters, who called out, “Shame!”

Oleh Tyahnybok, whose Svoboda party openly espouses anti-Semitic and racist views, was received at the German Embassy and presented along with Foreign Minister Steinmeier for a photo opportunity.

Yanukovych’s surrender has encouraged the fascistic forces leading the opposition to act even more aggressively. The leader of the neo-Nazi “Right Sector,” Dmitry Yarosh, said on the Vkontakte social network that his movement regarded Yanukovich’s statement as a “deception” and would continue the fight. “The national revolution continues,” he wrote, adding that it would end only when the regime was overthrown.

Washington, while not formally a party to the negotiations, applauded the outcome in Kiev. The White House issued a statement declaring that the Obama administration “welcomes” the agreement, calling it “consistent with what we have advocated.”

These statements underscore the utterly reactionary and reckless policy of the imperialist powers, which have worked with fascist groups to drive Ukraine and the entire region to the brink of war. In November last year, Yanukovych cancelled the signing of an association agreement with the European Union (EU) at the last minute and instead moved closer to Russia. Since then, Germany and the United States have systematically sought to destabilize and divide Ukraine.

The US and European press are covering up the fascist politics of the forces they have imposed in government upon the Ukrainian people. The New York Times euphemistically refers to the Right Sector as a “hardline nationalist” group. In fact, it is a pro-Nazi group that criticizes Svoboda—itself a fascist party that celebrates Ukrainians who joined Nazi SS units that carried out mass killings of Jews in the western Ukrainian region of Galicia during World War II—as too “moderate.”

Separatist tendencies are raising their heads throughout Ukraine. The western city of Lviv, the centre of Ukrainian nationalism, has declared itself autonomous.

In the southeast, the parliamentary speaker of the Crimean peninsula, which was tacked onto the then-Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1954 and is inhabited mainly by Russians, has threatened secession from Ukraine. Speaker Volodymyr Konstantinov said secession “is possible, if the country breaks apart.” He added, “And everything is moving towards that.”

This also raises the possibility of Russian military intervention in Ukraine. The Financial Times of London cited a senior Russian official who said, “If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war. They will lose Crimea, we will go in and protect it, just as we did in Georgia”—referring to Russia’s 2008 war in Georgia after the US-backed Georgian regime attacked Russian peacekeepers in the separatist region of South Ossetia.

Another Russian official told the Financial Times, “We will not allow Europe and the US to take Ukraine from us. The states of the former Soviet Union, we are one family. They think Russia is still as weak as in the early 1990s, but we are not.”

Germany, the US and the EU share imperialist and geo-political goals in Ukraine, as a commentary that appeared on Spiegel Online two days ago openly noted. “It is no longer just the association agreement with the European Union that is at stake,” Uwe Klußmann wrote. “Nor is the future of President Viktor Yanukovych, a man surrounded by rumours of corruption, the focus any more. Rather, geo-politics has taken centre stage and the question as to which power centres in Europe and the Eurasia region will be dominant in the future has become paramount.”

 

Desestabilización imperial: primero Ucrania, ahora Venezuela

February 22nd, 2014 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

La oposición apoyada por Estados Unidos en la República Bolivariana de Venezuela está tomando el ejemplo de las protestas antigubernamentales que tienen lugar al otro lado del Océano Atlántico, en Ucrania. Al no poder ganar ninguna de las elecciones de Venezuela obteniendo un mandato popular de la mayoría de la población, en los últimos años, los líderes de la oposición están recurriendo a las tácticas de la revolución de color y una estrategia disrupción al estilo ucraniano. El objetivo de estos líderes de la oposición en Venezuela es manipular a los galvanizados manifestantes antigubernamentales para crear una crisis política en Caracas. Los principales líderes de la oposición están haciéndolo al instigar a los manifestantes a adoptar medidas que están orientadas a derrocar al gobierno venezolano.

Los mismos líderes de la oposición y sus patrocinadores extranjeros están utilizando como excusa las innegables y crecientes tasas de criminalidad, la corrupción política y la agitación económica en Venezuela como un disfraz para buscar lo que esencialmente se parece a un intento de golpe. Las preocupaciones socio-económicas de un sector de la población se están usando como pretexto para legitimar la acción y la violencia callejeras destinadas a derrocar al gobierno.

Es irónico que muchos de los que se oponen al gobierno de Venezuela a nombre de la democracia, la igualdad y la seguridad fueron alguna vez partidarios de gobiernos autocráticos y abiertamente corruptos antes de la era Chávez. Existe pérdida de memoria o lisa y llanamente hipocresía. Cuando de la misma oligarquía que forma y financia a la oposición venezolana que está apoyando e instigando las protestas contra el gobierno actual se encargaba de Venezuela, la corrupción era generalizada, las tasas de pobreza eran más elevadas y la desigualdad era mayor, y existía una inflación mucho más alta. Venezuela ni siquiera era una democracia funcional.

A pesar del mandato democrático del partido gobernante venezolano, que incluye haber ganado la mayoría de los consejos durante las elecciones municipales del país en diciembre de 2013, la oposición venezolana apoyada por Estados Unidos quiere utilizar flashmobs para derrocar al gobierno y para asumir el control del país. De los 337 alcaldes electos en diciembre de 2013, los cómputos finales otorgaron 256 puestos de alcalde al partido gobernante y a su coalición de fuerzas progubernamentales. Esto equivale a una victoria de setenta y seis por ciento de las alcaldías en las elecciones municipales del país sudamericano, lo que confirma que la mayoría de la población apoya al actual partido gobernante venezolano y sus aliados políticos.

A pesar de sus deficiencias, el gobernante Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela y sus aliados políticos tienen uno de los mandatos más democráticos del mundo. En términos relativos de votaciones justas, el gobierno de Caracas tiene mucha más legitimidad democrática que los gobiernos de países como Gran Bretaña, Canadá, Francia y Estados Unidos, que se retratan a sí mismos como campeones y modelos de democracia. El gobernante Partido Socialista Unido y sus coaliciones, incluyendo al Gran Polo Patriótico (GPP), se han ido a las urnas más veces y por más asuntos que cualquiera de los actuales gobiernos de Gran Bretaña, Canadá, Francia o Estados Unidos. En todas las ocasiones en que se estaban examinando cuestiones constitucionales o cuestiones importantes relacionadas con las estructuras políticas de Venezuela, el partido de gobierno y de gobierno dejó que los electores venezolanos tomaran las decisiones a través de referendos populares.

Desde 1999, el período en que comenzó la era Chávez en Venezuela, hasta el año 2014 ha habido seis referendos relacionados con la constitución nacional del país, las estructuras sindicales, e incluso un movimiento de oposición para que el presidente Hugo Chávez fuera destituido de su cargo a través de un referendo revocatorio en las urnas. Cuatro elecciones presidenciales, cuatro elecciones parlamentarias de la Asamblea Nacional, y cuatro elecciones a nivel regional para gobernadores y legislaturas de todo tipo también han tenido lugar. La elección de Nicolás Maduro como presidente en abril de 2013, apenas unos meses después de que Hugo Chávez ganara las elecciones presidenciales en octubre de 2012, volvió a confirmar el apoyo y la confianza que más de la mitad de la población tenía en el gobierno. Por otra parte, no sólo ha habido cuatro elecciones a nivel municipal, sino que los líderes municipales comenzaron a ser seleccionados democráticamente por los votos de las elecciones en lugar de ser designados; fueron los líderes de la oposición apoyada por Estados Unidos la que preferían nombrar a los líderes municipales fuera de los mecanismos electorales en lugar de dejar que el pueblo decidiera por sí mismo a través del voto.

La oposición venezolana es antidemocrática

Lo que la oposición apoyada por Estados Unidos ha estado tratando de hacer es tomar el poder en Venezuela fuera de los mecanismos electorales. No les importa la democracia o lo que la mayoría de los ciudadanos venezolanos quieren. Cuando los principales líderes de la oposición no han logrado obtener el apoyo popular o ganar en las urnas, han utilizado el engaño y todas las opciones a su disposición para tomar el país sudamericano. Esto incluye el uso de la fuerza, instigación a la violencia, intentos de golpes de Estado, campañas de propaganda intensa, colusión continua con el gobierno estadounidense, y aumentos de precios deliberados.

Los líderes de las protestas de 2014 contra el gobierno son los mismos líderes principales de la oposición venezolana que apoyaron y colaboraron en el golpe de 2002, ejecutado por un pequeño círculo de oficiales del ejército, que fue coordinado con la Embajada de Estados Unidos en Caracas y el embajador Charles Shapiro. Aunque Estados Unidos niega falsamente cualquier participación, el embajador Shapiro fue rápidamente a congraciarse con los golpistas e incluso se tomó fotografías alegremente con ellos después de que sus soldados tuvieran secuestrados al presidente Chávez. A través del acceso a los documentos del gobierno federal estadounidense bajo la Ley de Libertad de Información se ha demostrado indiscutiblemente que la CIA incluso tenía conocimiento de los planes conspirativos de golpe de Estado cinco días antes de que la oposición venezolana perpetrara su ilegal y breve toma del poder en Venezuela.

Los principales líderes de la oposición continúan mintiendo descaradamente desde ese día. Paradójicamente, también se han vuelto grandes beneficiarios de muchos de los mecanismos democráticos de recursos políticos y legales que Hugo Chávez creó para Venezuela como forma de aumentar la participación democrática y los canales de empoderamiento de las personas y en cualquier forma de oposición democrática contra el gobierno. Los líderes de la oposición utilizaron una de estas vías de recurso contra el gobierno en 2004 por para pedir la destitución del Presidente Chávez, que se tradujo en un referéndum nacional. El liderazgo principal de la oposición, sin embargo, se negó a reconocer los resultados electorales del mismo referéndum de 2004 que habían impulsado para sacar a Chávez a través de una elección revocatoria, sólo porque los resultados no fueron lo que deseaban.

Durante el mismo referéndum de 2004, los principales líderes de la oposición incluso trataron de manipular a los votantes venezolanos y crear una crisis política a través de una grabación adulterada con la intención de desacreditar al gobierno, alegando fraude por parte de Chávez. Su argumento era falaz, porque la grabación era una parodia que se distribuyó durante meses antes de la elección. El liderazgo de la oposición simplemente decidió utilizarlo como excusa para alegar fraude y deslegitimar todo el referéndum y al gobierno venezolano.

Los miembros de la misma oposición después boicotearon las elecciones parlamentarias en el 2005 después de haber creado una crisis electoral antes de la votación. Originalmente, el Consejo Nacional Electoral de Venezuela quería usar escáneres de huellas digitales para registrarse, haga los votantes, pero la oposición venezolana se negó a participar si esto sucedió. Una de las razones para el traslado de usar escáneres de huellas digitales era reducir el fraude o intento de fraude durante las elecciones. Después de que el Consejo Nacional Electoral dio marcha atrás en su decisión de instalar escáneres de huellas digitales, los principales partidos de la oposición boicotearon todavía las elecciones parlamentarias de 2005 y, sin embargo, trataron de deslegitimar el gobierno venezolano.

Estos mismos líderes de la oposición han tratado de utilizar tecnicismos, en intentos por manipular la ley, para también tomar el poder y dividir el gobierno y sus aliados. Cuando el presidente Chávez se enfermó y murió posteriormente, las principales fuerzas de la oposición trataron de usar pretextos constitucionales en virtud del artículo 233 de la constitución venezolana para hacer que el presidente/vocero de la Asamblea Nacional, Diosdado Cabello, asumiera la presidencia interina, con la esperanza de que crearía una brecha entre él y el vicepresidente Maduro que dividiría y finalmente debilitaría a los chavistas y al Partido Socialista Unido.

Luego de que Nicolás Maduro ganara las elecciones presidenciales de abril de 2014, el rival de la oposición de Maduro, de la Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD), el gobernador Henrique Capriles Radonski, se negó a incluso reconocer los resultados electorales y sin contemplaciones declaró fraude. Con el apoyo inicial del gobierno estadounidense, el gobernador Capriles se negó a aceptar los resultados, incluso después que una auditoría de más de la mitad de los votos se llevó a cabo debido a su insistencia. Capriles exigió que todos los votos fueran contados, lo que fue aceptado por el Consejo Nacional Electoral. Capriles, sin embargo, hizo demandas adicionales que incluían un llamado a la auditoría completa del registro electoral y, esencialmente, un calco de todos los votos emitidos (no simplemente un recuento de votos). Aun cuando el Consejo Nacional Electoral trató de con grandes dificultados de satisfacer sus crecientes demandas y verificó que Maduro ganó las elecciones de manera justa, el gobernador Capriles se negó a admitir la derrota y dijo que la elección era un engaño. Incluso el gobierno estadounidense se vio obligado a retractarse de apoyarlo.

Después de su derrota, el gobernador Capriles instigó a sus seguidores a desatar la violencia en las calles. Organizaciones estadounidenses como Human Rights Watch (HRW) ignoraron completamente el papel que Capriles y la oposición jugaron en encender la violencia, y en vez de eso aprovecharon la oportunidad para criticar al gobierno venezolano. En realidad, HRW tenía esto que decir acerca de la violencia en las calles que los líderes MUD habían comenzado: “Bajo el liderazgo del presidente Chávez y ahora el presidente Maduro, la acumulación de poder en la rama ejecutiva y la erosión de las garantías de derechos humanos han permitido al gobierno intimidar, censurar, y procesar a sus críticos”. Ni una sola de las acciones violentas tomadas por la oposición o la corrupción de sus líderes en los estados o municipios que administran fue mencionada por HRW.

El gobernador Capriles y los líderes de la oposición venezolana han estado deliberadamente tratando de instigar a la violencia y la pérdida de vidas humanas como una táctica para deslegitimar al gobierno de Venezuela y justificar la estrategia de la oposición de operar fuera de cualquier marco democrático. No puede enfatizarse lo suficiente que sus objetivos son incrementar el caos político y perturbar la estabilidad política de Venezuela con objeto de crear un vacío para justificar el actuar fuera del marco democrático de las elecciones.

Los objetivos de los oligarcas venezolanos que controlan a la oposición no son establecer una sociedad justa o eliminar la corrupción y el crimen en Venezuela. Sus objetivos son reafirmar y consolidar su posición privilegiada en la sociedad venezolana y para deshacer las reformas que Hugo Chávez promulgó para ayudar a los pobres en Venezuela. Ellos quieren que la ley atienda sus necesidades y sirva meramente como una herramienta para imponer su dominio. A través de las grandes corporaciones privadas de su propiedad es que han incrementado los precios. Por otra parte, en muchos casos, el crimen organizado está vinculado a los propios oligarcas de América Latina.

Cuando se les pregunta sobre el legado de Chávez, muchos de los partidarios de los principales partidos de la oposición admiten que Chávez ayudó a los pobres, pero hacen hincapié en que Chávez “no hizo nada por el país (Venezuela)”. En lo que puede ser catalogado en la investigación psicológica sobre clase, privilegios y percepciones de privilegios de Paul Piff de la Universidad de California en Berkeley, esta actitud expone la psicología de privilegios que es la motivación de la oposición venezolana: muchas de estas personas (que son claramente “individuos” en el sentido de ser individualista) se ven a sí mismos como “el país” y excluyen a los pobres de Venezuela de ser parte del país. Por lo tanto, la reducción de la brecha entre pobres y ricos o la mejora de la calidad de vida de los ciudadanos de clase baja de Venezuela no significan nada para estos partidarios de la oposición y no está registrada ni siquiera psicológicamente como hacer algo digno para mejorar la sociedad venezolana. Sólo servirles a ellos y sus intereses puede clasificarse como legítimo y digno de mención.

Los estudiantes son personas, no deben ser idealizados

Las imágenes de activistas estudiantiles ha sido una característica clave de las protestas contra el gobierno en Caracas. Vale la pena citar la declaración del 14 de febrero de 2014 del Consejo de Asuntos Hemisféricos (COHA) sobre las protestas de la oposición en Venezuela. El COHA declaró que consideraba “con gran preocupación la violencia perpetrada contra el gobierno elegido democráticamente y la población civil en Venezuela, que ha dado como resultado, al 12 de febrero de 2014, tres muertes confirmadas, 61 heridos y 69 detenidos”. El COHA también señaló en la misma declaración que el derramamiento de sangre en Caracas se produjo “al final de las marchas en general pacíficas realizadas en el 200 aniversario de la batalla de La Victoria, una batalla en la que los estudiantes jugaron un papel fundamental en la victoria contra las fuerzas realistas durante la guerra de la independencia de Venezuela”.

Los estudiantes no deben ser idealizados como defensores exclusivos de las libertades civiles o la democracia. Las percepciones que ven a los estudiantes de esta manera sin ninguna evaluación son idealizadas, erróneas y desconectadas de la realidad en terreno. Las organizaciones estudiantiles también pueden representar diferentes intereses de clase y de grupo que contradicen claramente la igualdad y la justicia en la sociedad o el mundo en general. La idealización de los estudiantes y de los movimientos estudiantiles como buscadores de justicia sencillamente le da a estos grupos cheques en blanco y crédito moral, cuando a los estudiantes y los movimientos estudiantiles se les debe apoyar sobre la base de sus motivos y entendiendo las causas que están promoviendo.

En El Salvador, un hermano país latinoamericano de Venezuela, los estudiantes de medicina de las universidades privadas que realizan sus prácticas se negaron a permitir que los estudiantes de medicina salvadoreños practicantes entrenados en Cuba tuvieran los mismos exámenes que ellos. Ellos argumentaron falazmente que los estándares de la escuela médica de Cuba eran más bajos y equiparar los niveles de educación y formación con los costos de las universidades y escuelas de medicina. Lo que ellos exigían era que los médicos formados en Cuba hicieran un año adicional de práctica.

Mientras el gobierno de El Salvador sostuvo que los resultados de los exámenes declararían quien estaba calificado y quien no, los estudiantes de medicina sin formación cubana recurrieron a protestas y tácticas políticas bloqueando los pasillos para dar los exámenes y trataron de perturbar el sistema de salud salvadoreño en lugar de dejar que los puntajes de la prueba hablaran por sí mismos. Estos estudiantes de medicina salvadoreños, la mayoría de universidades privadas, sólo querían eliminar a sus rivales salvadoreñas mejor formados mediante la imposición de restricciones adicionales a sus homólogos formados en Cuba, obligándoles a hacer un año más de práctica.

La protesta la escuela de medicina en El Salvador era claramente una cuestión de competencia económica y de intereses personales y no de justicia, equidad, profesionalidad o estándares. Si se trataba de una cuestión de normas, los médicos educados en Cuba eran sus superiores. Los estudiantes de medicina en última instancia, obligaron al gobierno salvadoreño a poner restricciones a los estudiantes de medicina entrenados en Cuba en lugar de resolver el asunto a través del examen universal que todos los graduados de las escuelas de medicina deben hacer, lo que significa que utilizaron la presión para pasar por alto el medio más lógico y justa de decidir el asunto. Por otra parte, cabe señalar que cada vez que el gobierno de El Salvador ha pedido a los médicos a prestar sus servicios voluntarios para ayudar en las iniciativas de salud de la comunidad han sido siempre estos médicos y practicantes educados en Cuba los que han estado a la vanguardia de ofrecer sus servicios y no sus homólogos.

Volviendo a Venezuela, es importante identificar la naturaleza de la participación de los estudiantes en las protestas contra el gobierno y tener en cuenta que los estudiantes realmente están divididos en bandos a favor y en contra del gobierno. También es fundamental señalar que los líderes de oposición de la protesta contra el gobierno se esconden detrás de las imágenes de los activistas estudiantiles para lograr un mayor apoyo para su objetivo de deslegitimar al gobierno venezolano. En palabras del COHA: “Mientras algunos grupos de estudiantes marcharon en celebración del Día del Estudiante, los manifestantes anti-gubernamentales aprovecharon la ocasión para protestar por la escasez episódicas de algunos bienes básicos, la delincuencia persistente, y para exigir la liberación de los estudiantes que habían sido detenidos en manifestaciones anteriores”.

También es importante señalar que la facción de los estudiantes en la que se esconden los líderes opositores por lo general proviene de familias privilegiadas que pueden permitirse el lujo de enviar a sus hijos a las universidades privadas e institutos post-secundarios de educación superior. Las percepciones de los estudiantes de estas universidades y escuelas privadas pueden ser radicalmente diferentes de las de sus homólogos en las universidades públicas sobre temas como la economía neoliberal, el privilegio y el gobierno. Aunque se necesita trabajo e investigación adecuados en la materia, los estudiantes de instituciones de educación superior privadas en Venezuela y otras lugares polarizadas de América Latina son más propensos a apoyar golpes de Estado, presentando diferentes percepciones respecto a que los militares puedan utilizarse para llevar a los grupos a los que apoyan al poder derrocando a gobiernos legítimos, y a la distribución desigual de la riqueza. Estos tipos de puntos de vista han sido condicionados psicológicamente a través de un pensamiento de grupo que ha sido moldeado por la propaganda, los compañeros, las familias y los medios de comunicación que atienden a su clase y estilo de vida.

Construyendo narraciones falsas sobre las protestas y ocultando los disturbios

Se está construyendo una narración distorsionada acerca de las protestas contra el gobierno y los disturbios. Muchos de los manifestantes contra el gobierno con preocupaciones legítimas sobre la delincuencia y la inflación están siendo engañados por los líderes de la protesta. Como se mencionó anteriormente, no se puede negar que exista un problema de delincuencia o de inflación en Venezuela pero, de nuevo, no está de más insistir en que las motivaciones de la oposición no son agravios socioeconómicos. Estas quejas simplemente están siendo utilizadas como pretexto por los líderes de la oposición para manipular a los manifestantes.

Además, debe comprenderse que la oposición venezolana, en primera instancia, posee casi todos los medios de comunicación en Venezuela. La oposición venezolana tiene, literalmente, estrangulada la mayoría de las noticias, mientras que el gobierno sólo es propietario de la televisión pública, recibe el apoyo de las radios comunitarias, y se le permite por ley emitir en todas las redes en Venezuela para lanzar mensajes públicos importantes. En este contexto, el liderazgo de la oposición ha utilizado su control sobre los medios de comunicación para pintar una imagen falsa de los acontecimientos en terreno y distorsionar en gran medida la imagen de las protestas contra el gobierno de Venezuela en la mente de sus seguidores de base y para blanquear los disturbios y los actos de vandalismo que también han tenido lugar en paralelo a las protestas. La Ministra de Comunicación e Información de Delcy Rodríguez también ha comentado sobre este tema, diciendo que el gobierno va a juzgar a los que están proporcionando intencionadamente una cubierta para la violencia en las calles a través de la manipulación mediática.

La oposición venezolana ha estado luchando una guerra de propaganda continua. La distorsión de las protestas contra el gobierno no es más que su más reciente capítulo. La oposición estuvo involucrada en una campaña similar a la que puso en marcha frente al Palacio de Miraflores en 2002 que condujo al intento de golpe de Estado contra el presidente Chávez. Líderes de la oposición presionaron por la violencia y luego, cuando se derramó sangre por su instigación deliberada, utilizaron la masacre para justificar el derrocamiento antidemocrático del democráticamente electo Hugo Chávez por la fuerza.

El liderazgo de la oposición se ha involucrado en una campaña deshonesta. Imágenes trucadas y falsas historias están siendo utilizadas por los partidarios de la oposición para representar al gobierno venezolano como un régimen autoritario que está utilizando violencia brutal contra manifestantes civiles desarmados. Fotos poco favorecedoras de las fuerzas policiales y militares de Argentina, Brasil, Grecia, Bulgaria, Chile, Egipto y Singapur de control de multitudes y operaciones contra protestas han sido distribuidas y difundidas a través de los medios masivos y sociales por las fuerzas de oposición venezolana como acciones que tienen lugar en Venezuela en febrero de 2014. Esto incluye también imágenes de partidarios del gobierno que fueron heridos por los partidarios de la oposición y una fotografía editada de un video de pornografía homosexual, donde la policía está obligando a un civil a darles una felación o el sexo oral que fue difundida la actriz antichavista Amanda Gutiérrez como la brutal violación grupal de un manifestante antigubernamental desarmado en Caracas por parte de la policía antidisturbios del Gobierno.

 

 

¿Quién es Leopoldo López Mendoza?

También vale la pena hablar del líder de las protestas antigubernamentales en Venezuela. Leopoldo López Mendoza es un ex empleado de Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) y ex alcalde de Chacao. Viene de una de las familias más ricas de Venezuela. La familia de López es parte de la oligarquía antichavista que una vez gobernó Venezuela como si fuera una especie de patrimonio personal.

Sus antecedentes familiares o la riqueza por sí sola no pueden aducirse en su contra, pero sus acciones individuales sí. El propio López tiene ninguna credencial como defensor de la democracia. El verdadero registro de López dice lo contrario; él apoyó abiertamente la suspensión de la democracia en Venezuela y estuvo involucrado en impulsar al gobierno golpista de corta duración de Caracas en 2002. No sólo firmó el Decreto Carmona para disolver todas las instituciones democráticas del país y para despedir al poder judicial y a los funcionarios electos en las ramas ejecutiva y legislativa del gobierno, también fue una figura clave en la instigación de las protestas contra el gobierno y la violencia frente al Palacio de Miraflores, que fue utilizada como pretexto para declarar ilegítimo a Chávez.

Varios años más tarde, en 2007, López y Alejandro Peña Esclusa fueron grabados planificando abiertamente cómo crear una crisis política en Venezuela, generando inestabilidad. Puesto que Esclusa hizo la mayor parte de la conversación, López se distanció de ser co-conspirador de Esclusa. López nunca dijo nada directamente en las cintas sobre la estrategia de desestabilización, pero su trayectoria desde 2002 a 2014 muestra que ha sido utilizado para ello.

López, además, tiene un récord de deshonestidad y corrupción, que según él fue fabricado por Chávez. Los hechos, sin embargo, hablan por sí solos. Mientras López era un empleado estatal que trabaja para la compañía petrolera nacional de Venezuela, PDVSA, su madre, que también trabajó para PDVSA, desvió al menos $ 160.000 dólares en fondos de PDVSA para el en 1998. López ha afirmado que no hizo nada malo y simplemente utilizó el dinero para crear Primero Justicia, un grupo de oposición. La legislación venezolana, sin embargo, prohíbe claramente que se realicen donaciones por parte del Estado o de cualquiera de sus órganos a sus empleados o funcionarios públicos. La legislación venezolana prohíbe también a los empleados de las instituciones del Estado dar donaciones directamente a sus familiares o a cualquier organización que involucre a miembros de la familia, debido a los claros conflictos de intereses y riesgos que conllevan tales actos.

El nuevo gobierno venezolano no llegó fue consciente de cómo López y su madre desviaron fondo juntos durante la era de falta de responsabilidad pre-Chávez hasta que López fue investigado por corrupción y declarado culpable de malversación de fondos públicos mientras era alcalde de Chacao. Aunque a López se le permitió continuar su mandato como alcalde bajo intensa supervisión hasta que terminó en 2008, se le prohibió postularse a cargos públicos hasta el año 2014 como resultado de las acusaciones de corrupción.

¿Quiénes perpetraron la violencia en Caracas?

2014 ha llegado y ahora Leopoldo López volvió con viejos trucos de instigación. Una vez más, hay que mencionar que para justificar el golpe de 2002 los dirigentes de la oposición de Venezuela se aseguraron de que hubiese un baño de sangre y pérdida de vidas. López y sus compañeros se aseguraron de que la gente muriera mediante la infiltración de hombres armados entre los manifestantes que empezarían a disparar contra las fuerzas de seguridad. Una vez que diecinueve personas murieron, los principales medios de comunicación controlados por la oposición construyeron una falsa narrativa para vender el golpe militar al pueblo venezolano y a la comunidad internacional como una reacción noble frente a un gobierno que ha perdido toda legitimidad matando a su propio pueblo.

En este contexto, es importante hacer la pregunta de quién está perpetrado la violencia en Caracas. La violencia fue instigada por hombres armados entre la oposición apoyada por Estados Unidos para justificar el golpe de Estado en 2002 mediante el derramamiento de sangre. La misma metodología de instigar a la violencia se ha utilizado nuevamente en 2014. Pruebas de vídeo muestran al menos un pistolero armado instigando a la violencia durante las protestas. Videos de Caracas también muestra claramente que el bandolerismo se desarrollaba mientras parte de las fuerzas antigubernamentales estaban instigando claramente a la violencia y el caos. Transeúntes desarmados y funcionarios públicos han sido atacados por ellos, incluyendo vehículos pertenecientes a la red de transporte público y sus pasajeros. Esta es la misma calaña que atacó los hospitales y clínicas públicas en el año 2013 como forma de alterar la vida cotidiana en Venezuela después que Maduro ganara. Por otra parte, los partidarios de López han atacado a funcionarios gubernamentales y oficinas con bates de béisbol y cócteles Molotov y hecho todo lo posible para instigar enfrentamientos con el objetivo claro, como describe el mismo López, de hacer colapsar al gobierno de Venezuela.


Los mismos oligarcas que controlan los medios en Venezuela han estado librando una guerra económica para paralizar su propio gobierno y al país con el objetivo de conseguir que suficientes ciudadanos de a pie apoyen su toma de poder del Estado. A pesar de que están tratando de retratar a López como un líder rebelde que actúa por su cuenta, los oligarcas ven al presidente Nicolás Maduro como un líder débil y están tratando de aprovechar la crisis para obtener concesiones, ya sean secretas o públicas, y para amplificar las tensiones internas en el Partido Socialista Unido con el objetivo de quebrarlo.

Se ha aplicado una estrategia de zanahoria y garrote n Venezuela. Mientras una de las facciones de la oposición ejerce la fuerza, la otra abre un frente de negociación con el gobierno. Mientras López ha ejercido la presión desde la calle, Capriles inició un diálogo con Maduro. En este sentido, las protestas contra el gobierno en Venezuela, específicamente los disturbios violentos, han sido utilizadas por la oposición como una herramienta para tratar conseguir los beneficios políticos que la oposición nunca pudo obtener a través de medios democráticos en los últimos años. Además de satanizar a un gobierno elegido democráticamente, esta misma estrategia se ha aplicado también en las protestas antigubernamentales y disturbios en Ucrania.

El desafío geoestratégico de Venezuela para Estados Unidos

Estados Unidos también tiene un papel importante en apoyar todo esto. No debe haber ningún error al respecto. El gobierno estadounidense tiene sus manos involucradas en las protestas antigubernamentales y los disturbios en Venezuela, al igual que ha desempeñado un papel en las protestas antigubernamentales y la violencia, tanto en Ucrania como en Siria. La embajada estadounidense estuvo coordinándose continuamente con la oposición en el derrocamiento del gobierno de Caracas. Al igual que en el caso de Ucrania, el gobierno estadounidense ha promovido al liderazgo de la oposición e hizo declaraciones sesgadas a su favor. Con los años, el gobierno estadounidense también ha mentido repetidamente al referirse a Venezuela como una dictadura y a la oposición como demócratas marginados.

Venezuela y las organizaciones que ha creado en el Hemisferio Occidental son vistas como las principales amenazas regionales políticas, económicas y estratégicas de Washington. La Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (ALBA) y la Comunidad de Estados de Latinoamérica y el Caribe (CELAC) son vistos como amenazas a la dominación de Estados Unidos y como competidores de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) y cualquier plan económico planes regional estadounidense, como el Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas (ALCA) para América Latina y el Caribe. El cambio de régimen en Caracas sería el requisito previo para desmantelar el Bloque Bolivariano que está compuesto por Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, el Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) en El Salvador, y varios otros actores en América Latina.

A pesar de la desinformación de los medios y toda la presión sobre la economía venezolana, un gran número de venezolanos continúan apoyando al gobierno y votando por el Partido Socialista Unido y sus aliados políticos. La mayoría de la población venezolana apoya su gobierno, a causa de las importantes mejoras que la era Chávez trajo a su vida mediante el aumento de la calidad de vida de una gran cantidad de venezolanos. No hay que hacerse ilusiones, la República Bolivariana de Venezuela es un país profundamente polarizado y todavía tiene muchos problemas, pero se convirtió en un lugar mucho mejor con la era Chávez. Los autócratas venezolanos del pasado ahora están disfrazados de demócratas con el objeto de recuperar todos sus viejos privilegios.

Fuente: Global Research

These Photos Being Shared From Venezuela Are Fake

February 22nd, 2014 by Global Research News

By Cameron Combs

There have been some powerful images coming out of Venezuela over the past week.

Massive anti-government demonstrations have clogged the streets of major cities, and clashes between law enforcement and protesters have resulted in injury and even death. Shocking photos of the violence and unrest have quickly disseminated under hashtags like #SOSVenezuela and #PrayforVenezuela.

But all is not what it seems. A slew of phony images has emerged since the protests began, some of which have been shared thousands of times.

Though it is impossible to know the extent to which these hoaxes have fueled the conflict in Venezuela, they demonstrate that social media are fertile ground for spreading rumors and hysteria.

these, photos, being, shared, from, venezuela, are, fake,

 

Of the fake photos in circulation, many are of police oppression in places like Brazil, Spain and Chile that are being passed off as images of Venezuela. Even a picture from a porn site has reportedly been used as an example of sexual violence by the police.

In other cases, images of Venezuela’s past demonstrations are being recycled.

Many of these false images are spread, presumably, by unsuspecting parties. But there are also examples of people intentionally posting photos for political gain, or simply for attention.

So while the protests in Venezuela have served as yet another potent reminder of the watchdog function of social media – especially in countries with stifled press freedom – they have also exhibited the susceptibility of these online tools to misinformation.

This phenomenon is hardly limited to Venezuela. RT reports that in the Ukraine, doctored photos of the Statue of Liberty and the Christ the Redeemer basked in blue and yellow light were circulated as proof of foreign solidarity with the country’s protesters. The outlet also asserts that rumors of imminent Russian invasions have repeatedly spread through protestors’ social media, stoking already high tensions. Two years ago in India, fake pictures and messages of looming attacks in one area caused mass panic among migrants fearful of sectarian violence. The resulting chaos led to deaths and injuries.

Photo credit: Twitter user @SergeiVesnovei

In the United States, social media hoaxes are common, though typically benign. A tweet erroneously attributed to Paris Hilton that confused Nelson Mandela with Martin Luther King Jr. made the rounds last year, as did a fabricated battle between two disgruntled plane passengers flying home on Thanksgiving.

But even in our own country, we have already seen how destabilizing false information has become. When the AP’s Twitter account was hacked last year, a tweet was sent saying the White House had been bombed and the president injured. The news sent the stock market into freefall. While the error was corrected only minutes later, the episode was a sobering reminder that just 140 characters, when sent from the right person, can instantly erase billions of dollars from the U.S. economy. Americans have also been particularly gullible when it comes to photos of natural disasters.

The past few years have powerfully demonstrated how new forms of communication are reshaping global governance. But in times of protest, where emotions run high and herd mentality prevails, it is not difficult to imagine a situation in which fake photos or misinformation are used as a justification for violence. Let us work to ensure that social media continue to be a force for democracy and accountability, not chaos.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a conference with the permanent members of the Russian Security Council to address the situation in Ukraine on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other high-ranking officials.

The conference was also attended by Federation Council Chair Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin, presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, his deputy Rashid Nurgaliyev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov, Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief Mikhail Fradkov, and Security Council permanent member Boris Gryzlov.

“The situation in Ukraine was discussed at the conference,” Peskov said.

Putin meets Russia's Security Council members to discuss Ukraine crisis

Putin emphasizes it’s imperative to immediately stop bloodshed in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held telephone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the Kremlin press service said. “The sides voiced their extreme concern over the sharp escalation of the armed confrontation in Ukraine that happened through the fault of the opposition’s radical wing,” it said.

“Putin emphasized that it is imperative to immediately stop the bloodshed and take urgent measures to stabilize the situation and suppress any extremist and terrorist sorties,” the press service said.

“The Russian president informed Merkel and Cameron that Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights Vladimir Lukin was heading to Kiev for the purposes of mediation,” it said.

At Yanukovych’s request, Russia’s President Putin sending envoy to Kiev as mediator

President of Russia Vladimir Putin sends Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to Kiev, as a mediator in negotiations with the opposition, at the request of President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, Press-Secretary of the Russian leader, Dmitry Peskov, said.

“A telephone conversation between President Putin and President Yanukovych was carried out on the initiative of the Ukrainian side, during which the President of Ukraine suggested that the head of the Russian state should send a Russian representative to Kiev to participate in the negotiation process with the opposition as a mediator,” Peskov said.

The Russian leader’s Press Secretary said that “Putin has made the decision to send Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin on this mission”.

It is known, that Vladimir Petrovich (Lukin) has an abundance of experience in diplomatic service, and a considerable reputation among human rights defenders; he has headed a major opposition party,” Peskov reminded.

Sanctions threat against Ukraine looks like blackmail – Sergei Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned Western threats of sanctions against Ukraine as blackmail and double-standard approach.

The foreign minister is on a working trip in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. He said at a press conference that Ukraine’s opposition couldn’t or simply wouldn’t “dissociate itself from extremist forces.”

“The possibility of sanctions is nothing but an attempt at bullying,” Lavrov said during a news conference in Baghdad, in remarks translated from Russian into Arabic.

Mr. Lavrov accused the United States of double standards as it piled all the blame on the Ukrainian government.

“The EU is mulling sanctions while paying uncalled-for visits to Ukraine,” he added. “This behaviour looks like blackmail [to me].”

Ukraine and western countries should stand apart from radicals – Russia

Ukraine and the West should stay apart from radicals, Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, said. “Russia thinks that Ukraine opposition as well as western countries should stay apart from extremists and other radicals,” said Lavrov during the press-conference in Bagdad on Thursday. This Tuesday, mass disorders escalated in Kiev again.

During the Verkhovna Rada meeting, the opposition insisted on return of the parliamentary-presidential form of government and on putting the Constitution of 2004 in force again.

Aggressive protestors wanted to approach the building of Ukrainian Parliament, they seized the buildings in the center of Kiev, burned tire-covers, threw stones and Molotov cocktails in the law enforcers. According to the police, the radicals use fire arms.

Russia’s Lavrov blames West for forcing Ukraine into EU

The demand to hold early elections in Ukraine is aimed at forcing Ukraine to choose Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“You probably heard more than once that the capitals of Western European countries have demanded that the people of Ukraine should be given the freedom to choose, and they added that the choice should be in favor of the European Union,” Lavrov told a press conference in Baghdad.

“Their purpose in the current initiatives is to essentially force this choice is evident to the Ukrainian administration: the demand to hold parliamentary and early presidential elections as soon as possible and to form a coalition government. That is, they are trying to decide everything for them,” Lavrov said.

West misinterprets Ukraine extremist violence, threatens to sanction gov’t – Russian FM Lavrov

The West is incorrectly interpreting the extremists’ actions in Ukraine and threatening Kiev with sanctions instead, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“Our Western partners in Europe and the U.S. are laying all the blame on the country’s authorities and fail to properly qualify the extremists’ actions,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Baghdad.

“We are really concerned about this, because double standards are obvious here, and instead they are threatening [the government] with sanctions, and not only threatening, but the Americans have already imposed them, thereby encouraging the opposition to dismiss any compromises,” he added.

Russian FM accuses Western media of distorting truth about Ukraine unrest

The Western mainstream media are distorting the situation in Ukraine, Russia’s foreign chief Sergei Lavrov has said.

Speaking at a press conference in Baghdad, Lavrov accused Western media of giving biased coverage on the Ukrainian political crisis.

The latest accounts estimate the number of casualties at 35 following clashes that have been erupting across the country. Over 500 have been injured in Kiev alone.

Moscow has accused extremist and opposition of pushing the country towards the edge, adding that the rhetoric of foreign officials was inciting radicalism and contributing to unrest.

As they seize weapons, take over government buildings and fire on media outlets, the US-backed Ukrainian protesters are being afforded legitimacy with the aid of a Kony 2012-style viral video which triumphs the grass roots nature of the demonstrations yet is linked to shadowy NGOs that have been directly involved in staging phony ‘color revolutions’ in the past.

 The video, entitled I am a Ukrainian, already has over 3 million views. It features an attractive woman insistently claiming that the Ukrainian uprising is solely about freedom and democracy.

 The video is typically glib and simplified emotional propaganda which purports to explain that “there is only one reason” behind the protests in Ukraine, a bald faced lie which ignores the multi-faceted geopolitical factors behind the uprising, which center on the tug of war between the United States, the EU and Russia.

 The woman encourages viewers to “help us only by telling this story….only by sharing this video,” thereby framing the debate around the naive narrative that the crisis is solely about Ukrainians wanting “freedom,” and in essence blacklisting the real reasons behind the western-instigated revolt, which focus on the geopolitical isolation of Russia.

 The origins of the video are not quite as ‘grass roots’ as is portrayed. The clip was produced by the team behind A Whisper to a Roar, a documentary about the “fight for democracy” all over the world, which was funded by Prince Moulay Hicham of Morocco. The “inspiration” behind the documentary was none other than Larry Diamond, a Council on Foreign Relations member. The Council on Foreign Relations is considered to be America’s “most influential foreign-policy think tank” and has deep connections with the U.S. State Department.

 Diamond has also worked closely with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The National Endowment for Democracy is considered to be the CIA’s “civilian arm” and has been deeply embroiled in innumerable instigated uprisings, attempted coups and acts of neo-colonial regime change since its creation in 1983, including the contrived 2004 “Orange Revolution” that brought US puppet Viktor Yushchenko to power in Ukraine.

Larry Diamond also played an instrumental role in the Arab Spring under the auspices of the NED, a series of supposedly grass roots revolts that were in fact organized and managed by some of the most powerful western institutions on the planet.

Diamond’s connection to the viral “I am a Ukrainian” video clearly suggests that the clip is a crude effort to convince an unthinking public that the Ukrainian uprising is completely organic and is not being instigated by western powers, when the opposite is in fact the case. The clip is reminiscent of the Kony 2012 scam, where a viral video utilized simplified propaganda and emotional manipulation to convince millions of people of the necessity of U.S. military involvement in Africa.

In a Huffington Post interview, the creator of the video admits that he was in Ukraine “preparing a film on democracy” before the protests even started.

Providing absolute confirmation that the video is a carefully thought out public relations stunt, the woman in the video was immediately invited to appear on CNN with Anderson Cooper in a segment that will be broadcast tonight. Cooper and CNN aggressively pushed the Kony 2012 hoax until it fell apart when one of the directors had a public breakdown. Cooper was also heavily involved in promoting the fake “Syria Danny” hoax that relied on staged footage to push for U.S. military intervention in Syria.

With clear evidence of protesters being paid amidst accusations that they were armed by the United States, the narrative behind the Ukraine crisis is clearly more complex than a mere grass roots revolt against corruption. The pro-EU protesters are bizarrely seeking closer ties with a European Union infamous for its institutionalized corruption, malfeasance which costs almost the same each year as Ukraine’s entire GDP.

Many of the activists taking over government buildings in Kiev are also from the Spilna Sprava group, which is an organization funded and supported by billionaire globalist George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

The stage was set for the Ukraine revolt to become violent in December when US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland announced that the U.S. would invest $5 billion in order to help Ukrainians achieve “a good form of government.” The true nature of that government was revealed earlier this month when leaked phone conversations emerged of Nuland conspiring with US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt to pick Ukraine’s future puppet leaders, making good on John McCain’s vow to neutralize Russian influence.

Millions of people will never know the truth behind the Ukraine uprising because it is somewhat more complex than an attractive girl making glib statements about freedom and democracy for 2 minutes on a YouTube video. This is how propaganda works – the simpler the better. The video below provides a wider overview of the true agenda behind the crisis.

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 Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

“I am a Ukrainian” Propaganda Video Exposed As Kony-Style Scam

February 22nd, 2014 by Paul Joseph Watson

As they seize weapons, take over government buildings and fire on media outlets, the US-backed Ukrainian protesters are being afforded legitimacy with the aid of a Kony 2012-style viral video which triumphs the grass roots nature of the demonstrations yet is linked to shadowy NGOs that have been directly involved in staging phony ‘color revolutions’ in the past.

The video is meant to push the idea that the Ukrainian revolt is grass roots, but its origins can be traced back to the U.S. State Department.

Original ‘I am a Ukrainian’ video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvds2A…

RELATED: Exposed: Ukrainian ‘Protesters’ Backed by Kony 2012-Style Scam

RELATED: The Truth About The Ukraine Crisis

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FOLLOW Paul Joseph Watson @ https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet

 Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

 Most of the Keystone XL chatter these days is about the U.S. State Department fantasy that tapping the tar sands of Canada will be a benign blessing for America and the world. But almost no one mentions the Texas Supreme Court case that could shut the pipeline down completely – since a court ruling for the appellant could mean that the pipeline was built on property to which the pipeline owner had no rights.

If completed, the 1,700-mile Keystone pipeline is intended to bring highly-polluting tar sands oil from the Canadian tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast, where much of it will likely be refined and shipped overseas. There is no dispute that tar sands oil (or dilbit) is a pollutant that contributes exorbitantly to climate change, but there is debate as to whether burning this oil will be more harmful to the planet than the extraction process itself in the oil pits of Northern Alberta (as in “Game Over for the Climate.”).

 At issue in the Texas case is the TransCanada southern section of the pipeline, which is already built, but may be located on land to which the TransCanada corporation has no legal right. That’s the argument of the Crawford Family Farm Partnership in its 25-page petition filed with the Texas Supreme Court on November 4, 2013. The first response from TransCanada was to ask the court for a waiver from responding, in effect asking to close the case immediately. 

 But the Texas Supreme Court did not grant that waiver and, on January 7, 2014, ordered TransCanada to file a response by midnight on February 6 (which it has done).

 Julia Trigg Crawford, in a press release for the Crawford Family Farm Partnership, characterized the court’s action as “a clear victory for pipeline opponents and landowners fighting TransCanada’s overreach on property rights.”  As victories go, this one is pretty limited, since all it means is that TransCanada has to make its case to the court. The court could still rule for TransCanada, as lower courts have in the past.

 Eminent domain ruling could save the planet, is that ironic? 

 This is an eminent domain case, not an environmental case. TransCanada used the state’s eminent domain law to take land from the Crawford Family Farm (and others from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast) to use as the pipeline route. This corporate use of state power by a private, foreign corporation was allowed by the Texas Railroad Commission, which has an unsavory history of its own. Julia Trigg Crawford has been fighting this issue in court since 2012, losing peremptorily at the local trial court in Lamar County and again at the 6th Court of Appeals.    

 As the Crawford Family Farm press release explained it: “At the heart of Crawford’s case is the ability of TransCanada, a foreign corporation, to use eminent domain under the state’s ‘common carrier’ clause since their pipeline transports 90% Canadian tar sands and 10% North Dakota oil. There is no on ramp for Texas oil therefore violating the definition of a common carrier under Texas law.”

 According to Texas custom, all one has to do to become a common carrier – and thereby be able to wield eminent domain power – is to check a box on a form provided by the Texas Railroad Commission, which then says OK, bud go get ‘em! No proof required, no evidence requested, no fact check made, no hearing held, no questions asked. Check the box and you’re it. 

 The appeal, formally THE CRAWFORD FAMILY FARM PARTNERSHIP v. TRANSCANADA KEYSTONE PIPELINE, L.P., (docket no. 13-0886), argues that: “TransCanada is not a common carrier with statutory eminent domain authority and cannot condemn appellant’s property because it cannot subject itself to the provisions of Texas Natural Resource Code, Chapter 111…. Therefore, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and the trial court’s orders denying appellant’s plea to the jurisdiction and granting TransCanada’s motions for summary judgment must be reversed.”

 The appeal relies in part on a Texas Supreme Court precedent known as “Denbury” (Officially, TEXAS RICE LAND PARTNERS, LTD. AND MIKE LATTA, PETITIONERS, v. DENBURY GREEN PIPELINE-TEXAS, LLC, RESPONDENT, docket no. 09-0901) decided unanimously on August 26, 2011, in which the entire conclusion stated:

 “Private property is constitutionally protected, and a private enterprise cannot acquire condemnation power merely by checking boxes on a one-page form. We reverse the court of appeals’ judgment, and remand this case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.” 

 State Dept. tilts toward parochial profit, shrugs off global pain

 Meanwhile the 105-day comment period on the State Department’s fraudulent environmental report is running, and it’s not clear whether the Texas court will act within that time.  Wait, “fraudulent” report? Well, based on early reporting, the report is:

 Intellectually fraudulent: by assessing just the pipeline element of the tar sands nexus, the report can’t possibly be meaningful. It’s like assessing an elephant based on only its left foot. When the report says, “the proposed Project [pipeline] is unlikely to significantly affect the rate of extraction in oil sands areas (based on expected oil prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs, and supply-demand scenarios)” – that translates into meaning something like: “Canada’s going to screw the world no matter what, so we might as well get our piece of the action.” In other words it’s an environmental report that takes no full account of the environment.

 Procedurally fraudulent: according to Friends of the Earth, “the U.S. Department of State issued its long-awaited environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline. The report was written by a dues-paying member of the American Petroleum Institute that lied on its conflict of interest disclosure form.”

Politically fraudulent: first clue, they released it late on a Friday. The main talking point was “it’s not a decision document,” but it raises no significant barrier to approving the pipeline. And the official reaction of TransCanada:

“We’re very pleased with the release and about being able to move to this next stage of the process. The case for the Keystone XL, in our view, is as strong as ever.”

 TransCanada is right, the case for the pipeline is as strong as ever – which in the view of opponents was never very strong in the first place. And last spring, President Obama promised he would only approve Keystone if it “does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem.” 

 Well, that’s what the report says. And we’ve seen this shuck and jive before, less than a year ago.  Mission accomplished?

 Or will Texas take a cue from Nebraska

 Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work.

Over the last decade, America has quietly expanded its military presence throughout Africa in an attempt to counter Chinese and other emerging nations’ influence, while consolidating control over critical strategic resources and trade routes.

The United States, like its allies Britain and France, has long maintained influence and indirect control in Africa through financial institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and African Development Bank. It has exerted political influence using aid organizations such as USAID and NGOs like the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and others.

However, recent years have seen an unprecedented military expansion which has gone almost entirely unnoticed by the US public.

After 9/11, the United States began to grow its military footprint on the African continent under the guise of a ‘War on Terror’, selling this notion to a United States gripped with fear of terrorism. With programs such as the Pan-Sahel Initiative, later broadened into the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative, Washington managed to provide military and financial assistance to compliant countries in North Africa – a policy whose practical application meant that the US military became the dominant force in the Sahel region, supplying the human and material resources for which the governments of the region were starved. Naturally, this meant an implicit subservience to US military command.

The Pan-Sahel Initiative, according to the Office of Counterterrorism, US Department of State, was “a State-led effort to assist Mali, Niger, Chad, and Mauritania in detecting and responding to suspicious movement of people and goods across and within their borders through training, equipment and cooperation. Its goals support two US national security interests in Africa: waging the war on terrorism and enhancing regional peace and security.” In 2005 it was replaced by a larger-scope Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative, which in turn was incorporated into the United States Africa Command in 2008.

However, all the initiatives in the post 9/11 period were still under the authority of a variety of military commands. To remedy this, in 2007 the Bush administration created US Africa Command (AFRICOM) to act as the umbrella organization under which all US military activity in Africa would fall. AFRICOM became an officially independent command a year later, and in the seven years its scope of activity has broadened tremendously, with its direct or indirect presence extending into nearly every country on the continent.

Far from initial AFRICOM agenda

AFRICOM’s mission statement reads like a campaign slogan, stating that “[AFRICOM] advances US national interests and promote[s] regional security, stability, and prosperity.” However, a more critical analysis would question exactly how Washington defines “security, stability, and prosperity,” and perhaps most importantly, whose prosperity they’re principally interested in.

Ostensibly, the US military acts to defend ‘democracies’ in Africa for the collective betterment of the people of the continent. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Theresa Whelan stated in 2007, “AFRICOM is about helping Africans build greater capacity to assure their own security.”

However, even the words of AFRICOM’s leadership quickly dispel that mythology. Vice-Admiral Robert Moeller, military deputy to former commander of AFRICOM General William ‘Kip’ Ward, told an AFRICOM conference in 2008 that AFRICOM’s goal was “protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market.” Furthermore, Moeller wrote in 2010, “Let there be no mistake. AFRICOM’s job is to protect American lives and promote American interests.”

The military leadership made their agenda quite clear from the very outset of AFRICOM: provide a military presence to ensure the continued exploitation of Africa for the enrichment of finance capital, and the maintenance and expansion of US hegemony on the continent.

Perhaps the most obvious example of AFRICOM’s mission on the continent was its coordination of the US role in the NATO war on Libya. Directing the war from its secretive base, known as Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti, AFRICOM played a key role in identifying targets, organizing forces, and providing tactical intelligence.

Far from ‘providing stability’, the US military eliminated a peaceful government that refused to submit to the dictates of Washington, London and Paris. Gaddafi’s government committed the grave sin of nationalizing oil resources and sharing the profits with its people, providing clean drinking water and adequate housing, engaging in large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Great Man-Made River, providing jobs and legal protections to migrant workers from neighboring countries, and serving as a model of economic development outside the hegemony of the Western powers.

For these and many other reasons, the US and its allies mobilized their militaries and destroyed Libya, leaving it to become the chaotic and failed state that it is today.

 

Pro-government fighters gather on October 23, 2012, one kilometer from the northern entrance to the town of Bani Walid, one of the final bastions of Moamer Kadhafi's ousted regime, as Libya celebrates the first anniversary of its "liberation" from the regime, even as fighting flared in a former bastion of the slain dictator. (AFP Photo)

Pro-government fighters gather on October 23, 2012, one kilometer from the northern entrance to the town of Bani Walid, one of the final bastions of Moamer Kadhafi’s ousted regime, as Libya celebrates the first anniversary of its “liberation” from the regime, even as fighting flared in a former bastion of the slain dictator. (AFP Photo)

A direct consequence of the neocolonial war on Libya was the further destabilization of the Sahel region, and the nation of Mali specifically. Although Western media has attempted to downplay the US role in the Mali conflict, facts have emerged demonstrating a very clear US role in the destabilization of the country. As the Tuareg fighters who bravely fought to defend Gaddafi and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya returned to Mali, they rekindled their decades-long struggle for self-determination and the establishment of their own independent state of Azawad.

In the midst of this conflict however, the Malian government of President Toure was overthrown by a midlevel military commander named Amadou Sanogo. Far from acting alone, reports emerged confirming that he was, in fact, trained by US military. Moreover, the Washington Post also reported that US military personnel were inside of Mali long before the coup took place, suggesting at the very least support for, if not direct control of, Sanogo and his fellow plotters. Of course, under the auspices of fighting Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a North African terror organization, the French and their NATO allies engaged in a yet another neo-colonial war, occupying Mali and, again, ‘promoting stability’.

AFRICOM also took command of US military involvement in Somalia and the Horn of Africa more broadly in 2008. The United States backed the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in late 2006, with the CIA funneling money and weapons to Washington’s favorite warlords in a successful attempt to prevent the Council of Islamic Courts from constituting a government in the war-ravaged country. In so doing, the US prolonged the war and helped promote the growth of the Al-Shabaab terror organization.

More recently, AFRICOM has transformed its mission on the continent. Rather than ‘supporting national governments’, it has become a leader and initiator of military activity. In 2013 alone, AFRICOM conducted joint exercises with fourteen African nations, leading land, sea, and air-based operations.

Additionally, Mother Jones magazine developed an important graphic illustrating the pervasive military footprint throughout the continent, one that is only growing. It would seem then that AFRICOM’s initial ‘mission statement’ is but a distant memory.

‘Proxy war theater’

It is no secret that the last decade has seen an unprecedented expansion of Chinese investment throughout Africa. As renowned Professor and China scholar Deborah Brautigam noted in her 2013 report ‘Chinese Investment in Africa’,“Chinese imports and exports, outbound investment aid, and export finance are all sharply on the rise. For example, trade between China and Africa rose from $10 billion in 2000 to $166.3 billion in 2011… [In 2012] Chinese leaders announced a goal of $20 billion in finance to African countries by 2015. If carried out, an average of between $6 and $7 billion would flow to Africa per year.”

Brautigam’s numbers illustrate the fact that, while still slightly below yearly US total investment in the continent ($9 billion), China is rapidly challenging US economic hegemony in Africa. Having invested in a variety of sectors from mining and oil, to telecommunications and banking, China has made itself into a viable alternative to US, World Bank, and IMF investment and aid. Naturally, this has upset the political and corporate establishment in the US who see in China a threat to their power.

 

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C), flanked by Senegal's Culture Minister Abdou Azize Mbaye (C-L), visits the construction site of Senegal's Chinese-funded Museum of "Civilisations Noires" (Black civilizations) on January 11, 2014 in Dakar. (AFP Photo)

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C), flanked by Senegal’s Culture Minister Abdou Azize Mbaye (C-L), visits the construction site of Senegal’s Chinese-funded Museum of “Civilisations Noires” (Black civilizations) on January 11, 2014 in Dakar. (AFP Photo)

Washington’s Africa policy in recent years must be understood within the context of checking China’s growing power and influence. One prime example is the US-sponsored break up of Sudan and the creation of South Sudan.

In order to power its massive industrial sector and population, China has become the world’s leading energy importer, with lucrative contracts all over the world. However, Beijing’s primary oil source in Africa was Sudan, which accounted for 8 percent of China’s total oil imports (China being the recipient of a whopping 78% of total Sudanese exports).

With the oilfields being located primarily in the south of the country, the US led the charge to dismantle Sudan and create a South Sudan that would be dependent on US finance and military muscle (provided by AFRICOM and US clients such as Uganda and Rwanda) for its very survival. The continuing violence and bloodshed in South Sudan – a result of internal power struggles between competing US aligned factions – is merely collateral damage in Washington’s growing proxy war with China.

China is also a major trading partner of its longtime ally Zimbabwe. Having invested in a variety of industries including mining, tobacco, and infrastructure, Beijing has a great interest in maintaining stability in Zimbabwe. Conversely, the United States has attempted to destabilize the country throughout the last decade, going so far as to impose crippling sanctions and attempt regime change using proxies inside Zimbabwe.

All over Africa, the United States has tried to check the growing influence of China. From Nigeria to South Africa, Angola to Sudan, the US is engaging in a widespread proxy war with the expressed intention of maintaining its dominant position in Africa. Using its vast military resources, Washington seeks to cement its African hegemony using the same colonial tactics as every other empire that came before it.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City and the founder of StopImperialism.com.

Ten Years on, the US is Helping to Destroy Fallujah Again

February 22nd, 2014 by BRussells Tribunal

by Mike Phipps

The Iraqi Government’s accusation of an external Al-Qaeda takeover was made to justify a ferocious siege and bombardment of the Fallujah and Ramadi.

Conflict and carnage on a scale unseen since the height of the Occupation nearly a decade ago have broken out in Iraq’s Anbar Province. Over 140,000 people have been made homeless since fighting started at the end of last year. According to the UN, 65,000 people fled the fighting in the towns of Fallujah and Ramadi in one week alone.

Some commentators see the violence as a spillover from the Syrian conflict. Others analyse it in terms of Sunni tribesmen in dispute. When Iraq’s corrupt government earned a rebuke from the usually inert UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who called on Nuri al-Maliki to address the root causes of the conflict, the Iraqi prime minister retorted, “We do not hold dialogue with al-Qaeda.”

The pernicious narrative, peddled by the Iraqi Government and picked up in the mainstream media, that Al-Qaeda had taken over Fallujah, was a long way from the truth. But it helped to secure an immediate delivery of arms to the Iraqi regime from its US puppeteers to help quell the protests in Anbar.

For protests is what they are. They began over a year ago, demanding the freeing of tens of thousands of detainees held without charge by the security forces. Brutal torture and rape – regardless of gender – are widespread in Iraq’s jails. Last year alone, the state executed 169 people, putting it third in the league behind China and Iran.

The Iraqi Government’s accusation of an external Al-Qaeda takeover was made to justify a ferocious siege and bombardment of the Fallujah and Ramadi.  As Iraqi activist Haifa Zangana has pointed out, “Al-Maliki selectively chooses not to mention the regime’s own militias: Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Iraqi Hezbollah, the Badr brigades, factions of the Mahdi army and the Mokhtar army. The latter’s leader has bragged on Baghdadiya TV, about their responsibility for several attacks. No investigation has been done and no one was arrested. There is also hardly any mention of the Iraqi Special Forces inherited from the occupation, especially trained by Colonel James Steele under US ambassador John Negroponte and attached now directly to al-Maliki’s office. Above all, there is no mention of the plethora of foreign-led special operation agents, private security contractors, and organised networks of professional killers, some of whom, many Iraqis believe, are protected by the regime, in the shadow of the US’ biggest embassy in the world, in the fortified green zone in Baghdad.” http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/01/here-list-real-forces-behind-violence-iraq-201411613100570815.html

Government shelling of the towns in Anbar Province has been intense. Human Rights Watch has accused the regime of “indiscriminate mortar fire in civilian neighbourhoods” and “killing its own citizens unlawfully”.  http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/01/09/iraq-protect-anbar-residents-abuses. Hundreds of people have been killed and more than 200,000 displaced.

The Pentagon is considering following up its arms shipments with the deployment of more troops in the region to train Iraqi forces. This would be fitting, given the atrocities the US military inflicted on this unhappy country along with a deliberate sectarian set of state institutions. It is almost ten years since the first round of collective punishment was inflicted on Fallujah – by US forces.

The 2004 bombardment was a war crime. NGO’s and medical workers estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 mostly civilians were killed. In addition, 36,000 of the city’s 50,000 homes were destroyed, along with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines, and up to 200,000 residents were forced to flee.

Months later, the US admitted that it had used white phosphorous as a battlefield weapon in the assault on Fallujah. A documentary on the Italian RAI channel showed images of bodies recovered afterwards, which it said proved the incendiary, similar in effect to napalm, had been used against men, women and children who were burned to the bone. Unconfirmed reports suggest the Iraqi regime is using similar munitions this time around.

One commentator who has seen through the current misinformation is former US marine Ross Caputi. Writing in The Guardian, he said,

“I am having flashbacks to my time as a marine during the second siege of Falluja in 2004. Again, claims are being published that al-Qaida has taken over the city and that a heavy-handed military response is needed to take the city back from the control of terrorists. The first time around, this claim proved to be false. The vast majority of the men we fought against in Falluja were locals, unaffiliated with al-Qaida, who were trying to expel the foreign occupiers from their country. This week, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior’s assertion that al-Qaida’s affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has taken over half of Falluja is being parroted in headlines by almost every major media network. But again, it appears that the role of al-Qaida in Falluja is being exaggerated and used as a justification for a military assault on the city.”

 

Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome are on the rise worldwide, and that rise has taken place in parallel with the increased use of glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide, shows a new US peer-reviewed paper from Dr. Anthony Samsel and Dr. Stephanie Seneff.

The review has been published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology.

“Celiac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5% of the population now suffers from it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, macrocytic anemia and depression. It is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure and cancer.

Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup®, is the most important causal factor in this epidemic.” [see full abstract below and link to report]

Roundup-e1357192553864

Find Full Review Paper Here

Roundup is linked in Samsel and Seneff’s new review paper to a major increase in celiac disease. A recent estimate suggests that one in twenty people in North America and Western Europe now suffer from this gluten intolerant disease.

“All of the known biological effects of glyphosate – cytochrome P450 inhibition, disruption of synthesis of aromatic amino acids, chelation of transition metals, and antibacterial action – contribute to the pathology of celiac disease,” Samsel and Seneff’s paper states.

Monsanto’s Glyphosate (Roundup) has become the number one selling herbicide worldwide, due to the increase in the planting of Roundup Ready GM Crops.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms.

When people with celiac disease eat foods or use products containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging or destroying villi—the tiny, fingerlike protrusions lining the small intestine. Villi normally allow nutrients from food to be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream. Without healthy villi, a person becomes malnourished, no matter how much food one eats.

Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology Review Abstract:

Authors: Dr. Anthony Samsel and Dr. Stephanie Seneff

Celiac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5% of the population now suffers from it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, macrocytic anemia and depression. It is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure and cancer. Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup®, is the most important causal factor in this epidemic. Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease. Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria.

Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut. Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes.

Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong ability to chelate these elements. Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate’s known depletion of these amino acids. Celiac disease patients have an increased risk to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has also been implicated in glyphosate exposure. Reproductive issues associated with celiac disease, such as infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects, can also be explained by glyphosate. Glyphosate residues in wheat and other crops are likely increasing recently due to the growing practice of crop desiccation just prior to the harvest. We argue that the practice of “ripening” sugar cane with glyphosate may explain the recent surge in kidney failure among agricultural workers in Central America. We conclude with a plea to governments to reconsider policies regarding the safety of glyphosate residues in foods. [emphasis added]

Copyright: Originally published by Sustainable Pulse 2014

Venezuela: “It is an Outside Coup Attempt”

February 22nd, 2014 by Global Research News

The current violent actions taking place in Venezuela are a troubling reminder of events in April 2002, which turned out to be an attempted coup against President Hugo Chavez, Professor Salim Lamrani charged today.

Lamrani recalled that in 2002, similar protests organized by the right-wing caused a number of fatalities, while the oligarchy, along with the private media and the radical opposition, broke constitutional order and imposed a dictatorship that lasted just 48 hours thanks to the mobilization of the people.

Lamrani told the Algerian El Watan newspaper that no Venezuelan government has done as much for young people as that of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro in terms of education, health, access to culture and recreation.

Lamrani recalled that, since 1998, the right-wing has refused to accept the people’s will and, being unable to take power democratically, it opts for violence.

“The United States plays a key role in the attempt to destabilize Venezuela,” noted Lamrani, stressing that this country is the world´s fifth largest oil producer, and since Chavez assumed power, he achieved economic, political and energy sovereignty for the country.

Democratically elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide

Open letter to Jean Saint Vil of Canada Haiti Action

Why are the US, Canada and France interested in keeping Haiti and it’s people so oppressed ?

Is it for the cheap labour for the few Canadian and US  industrial assembly lines operating in Haiti ?

I have been writing to various prime ministers on this matter for years now. I never have received any kind of response.

I am deeply ashamed of Canada, it’s Parliamentarians, our Opposition Leaders, and it’s citizens for the lack of interest in the suffering of the Haitian people.

They say what goes around comes around. If something similar happens to Canada, Canadians will deserve it.

I am not aware of any Canadian Parliamentarians, except for Stockwell Day, who has spoken out on this matter.

That was years ago. Am I badly informed ?

Sincerely,

Stephanie McDowall, Nanaimo, B. C.
[minor editing GR]

Re: http://www.apologytohaiti.ca/

Response of Jean Saint Vil

Thank you for standing up for a better Canada!

I will attempt to answer your very pertinent questions to the best of my ability. However, I also hope that a few brave souls among the elected officials you contacted will help shed light on this important matter.

You asked:

“Why is N. America & France interested in keeping Haiti and it’s people so oppressed ? Is it for the cheap labour for the few Canadian and US industrial assembly lines operating in Haiti ?”.

My answer: It is likely a combination, if not all, of the above and more.

We know that in addition to the sweatshops, there are Canadian mining companies that are well-positioned in Haiti as they are on the African continent and in Latin America. Exploiting an impoverished population with foreign-controlled militarized regimes is too often the preferred modus operandi of gold diggers, whether operating in Guatemala, the Congo or Haiti.

As for the necessity to keep the people oppressed (under control), a couple of quotes from Michel Vastel’s March 2003 article are worth another read.

Describing the motivation of former Canadian Minister Denis Paradis who convened the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti meeting (January 31-Feb 1, 2003) to plot the 2004 coup, Journalist Michel Vastel wrote:

“Time is running out because, it is estimated that Haiti’s population could reach 20 million in 2019,”. According to Vastel, Minister Denis Paradis went on and on during the meeting, describing Haiti’s 99 percent African population as “a time bomb which must be stopped immediately!”

So, Haiti’s very population is seen as a ‘threat” to some people. The foreign troops are effectively deployed to contain that “threat”.

On the geopolitical front, Haiti is also an easy prey that offers enticing political rewards. Take for instance the following statement from a former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs:

“there is a limit to how much we can constantly say no to the political masters in Washington. All we had was Afghanistan to wave. On every other file we were offside. Eventually we came onside on Haiti, so we got another arrow in our quiver.” Bill Graham, Former Canadian Foreign Minister in January 2007 interview cited in Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang, The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar (Toronto, ON: Viking Canada, 2007), pp. 126-27

In picture: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton shaking hands with former U.S.- backed Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, January 12, 2012. There they stood smiling on “Titanyen”, site of a known mass grave of victims of the Duvalier dictatorship. Current U.S.-installed puppet president Michel Martelly was also on the podium.

Stephanie McDowall: 

“I have been writing to various prime ministers on this matter for years now. I never have received any kind of response…I am not aware of any Canadian Parliamentarian, except for Stockwell Day, who has spoken out on this matter. That was years ago. Am I badly informed ?”

Jean Saint Vil

As can be seen in the Records of Parliament (available online), the matter was discussed before the coup as well as after.

The quote from Stockwell Day which we include in the Letter of Apology http://www.apologytohaiti.ca/ dates from March 10, 2004. As a member of the Conservative opposition he was then questioning the wisdom of the Liberal Government to participate in the illegal and violent removal of a sovereign and “friendly”people’s Head of State. However, I have yet to hear Mr. Day, whose party is now in power, say or do anything about reversing the barbaric, racist and illegal actions he had once questioned.

As for other voices that were raised on Parliament Hill about the coup, there are a few timid ones. For instance, records of a March 19, 2003 Senate hearing titled “Meeting on Regime Change in Haiti” include Senator Consiglio Di Nino inquiring about a “secret initiative referred to as the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” that is being led by the Secretary of State for La Francophonie.”

The Senator asked:“Can the leader of the government in the Senate tell us if this meeting actually took place?” to which Liberal Senator Sharon Carstairs answered: “I cannot honestly say whether this meeting took place. I have no information whatsoever on such a meeting.”

See http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/Sen/Chamber/372/Debates/041db_2003-03-19-e.htm

Apparently, New Democratic Party MP Svend Robinson had asked for a release of the full unaltered minutes of “The Ottawa Initiative on Haiti”. This was never done, as far as I know. Thus, it is left to individual Canadians to tell the world that we are not all a bunch of racist bullies.

Over 700 signatures on the online letter is a good start but, regardless of the volume of well-orchestrated propaganda about “Canadian aid to Haiti”, the embedded media shall no doubt continue to spread – also in our name, ordinary Canadians will need to do much more to deserve and to regain the respect of Haitians who actually know what really happened.

On February 28th, in Gatineau, Québec, site of the infamous “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti”, a Press Conference will take place at 11 a.m.

During the Press Conference the Letter of Apology to Haiti will be read in public and handed to Haiti’s Leading Human Rights Lawyer Mario Joseph. (About Mr. Mario Joseph’s hard work to force dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier to face justice, despite the complicit obstruction of powerful international allies and the neo-Duvalierist, post-coup puppet regime they imposed on Haiti, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21536629 ).

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization will also join the panel. His February 29, 2004 article titled Ten Years Ago: US Sponsored Coup d’Etat. The Destabilization of Haiti  is a MUST READ material for all Canadians wishing to understand what really went on in Haiti, in our names and with our hard-earned tax dollars.

Sincerely,

Jean Saint Vil

READ THE APOLOGY TO HAITI

Join over 700 who decided to say “no to international banditry against Haiti!”

See: http://www.apologytohaiti.ca/

Ten Years Ago: US Sponsored Coup d’Etat. The Destabilization of Haiti

February 22nd, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

This article was written in the last days of February 2004 in response to the barrage of disinformation in the mainstream media.

It was completed on February 29th, the day of President Jean Bertrand Aristide’s kidnapping and deportation by US Forces.  Minor editing in early March 2004.

Ten years later, the US-France-Canada Coup d’Etat against democracy and the people of Haiti is amply documented.

Michel Chossudovsky, February 22, 2014

 

Introduction

The armed insurrection which contributed to unseating President Aristide on February 29th 2004 was the result of a carefully staged military-intelligence operation.

The Rebel paramilitary army crossed the border from the Dominican Republic in early February. It constitutes a well armed, trained and equipped paramilitary unit integrated by former members of Le Front pour l’avancement et le progrès d’Haiti (FRAPH), the  “plain clothes” death squadrons, involved in mass killings of civilians and political assassinations during the CIA sponsored 1991 military coup, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide

The self-proclaimed Front pour la Libération et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN) (National Liberation and Reconstruction Front) is led by Guy Philippe, [image right] a former member of the Haitian Armed Forces and Police Chief. Philippe had been trained during the 1991 coup years by US Special Forces in Ecuador, together with a dozen other Haitian Army officers. (See Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News, 24 February 2004).

The two other rebel commanders and associates of Guy Philippe, who led the attacks on Gonaives and Cap Haitien are Emmanuel Constant, nicknamed “Toto” and Jodel Chamblain, both of whom are former Tonton Macoute and leaders of FRAPH.

In 1994, Emmanuel Constant led the FRAPH assassination squadron into the village of Raboteau, in what was later identified as “The Raboteau massacre”:

“One of the last of the infamous massacres happened in April 1994 in Raboteau, a seaside slum about 100 miles north of the capital. Raboteau has about 6,000 residents, most fishermen and salt rakers, but it has a reputation as an opposition stronghold where political dissidents often went to hide… On April 18 [1994], 100 soldiers and about 30 paramilitaries arrived in Raboteau for what investigators would later call a “dress rehearsal.” They rousted people from their homes, demanding to know where Amiot “Cubain” Metayer, a well-known Aristide supporter, was hiding. They beat people, inducing a pregnant woman to miscarry, and forced others to drink from open sewers. Soldiers tortured a 65-year-old blind man until he vomited blood. He died the next day.

The soldiers returned before dawn on April 22. They ransacked homes and shot people in the streets, and when the residents fled for the water, other soldiers fired at them from boats they had commandeered. Bodies washed ashore for days; some were never found. The number of victims ranges from two dozen to 30. Hundreds more fled the town, fearing further reprisals.” (St Petersburg Times, Florida, 1 September 2002)

During the military government (1991-1994), FRAPH was (unofficially) under the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces, taking orders from Commander in Chief General Raoul Cedras. According to a 1996 UN Human Rights Commission report, FRAPH had been supported by the CIA.

Under the military dictatorship, the narcotics trade, was protected by the military Junta, which in turn was supported by the CIA. The 1991 coup leaders including the FRAPH paramilitary commanders were on the CIA payroll. (See Paul DeRienzo,   http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RIE402A.html , See also see Jim Lobe, IPS, 11 Oct 1996). Emmanuel Constant alias “Toto” confirmed, in this regard, in a CBS “60 Minutes” in 1995, that the CIA paid him about $700 a month and that he created FRAPH, while on the CIA payroll. (See Miami Herald, 1 August 2001). According to Constant, the FRAPH had been formed “with encouragement and financial backing from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA.” (Miami New Times, 26 February 2004)

The Civilian “Opposition” 

The so-called “Democratic Convergence” (DC) is a group of some 200 political organizations, led by former Port-au-Prince mayor Evans Paul.  The “Democratic Convergence” (DC) together with “The Group of 184 Civil Society Organizations” (G-184) has formed a so-called “Democratic Platform of Civil Society Organizations and Opposition Political Parties”.

The Group of 184 (G-184), is headed by Andre (Andy) Apaid [image left], a US citizen of Haitian parents, born in the US. (Haiti Progres,) Andy Apaid owns Alpha Industries, one of Haiti’s largest cheap labor export assembly lines established during the Duvalier era. His sweatshop factories produce textile products and assemble electronic products for a number of US firms including Sperry/Unisys, IBM, Remington and Honeywell. Apaid is the largest industrial employer in Haiti with a workforce of some 4000 workers. Wages paid in Andy Apaid’s factories are as low as 68 cents a day. (Miami Times, 26 Feb 2004). The current minimum wage is of the order of $1.50 a day:

“The U.S.-based National Labor Committee, which first revealed the Kathie Lee Gifford sweat shop scandal, reported several years ago that Apaid’s factories in Haiti’s free trade zone often pay below the minimum wage and that his employees are forced to work 78-hour weeks.” (Daily News, New York, 24 Feb 2004)

Apaid was a firm supporter of the 1991 military coup. Both the Convergence démocratique and the G-184 have links to the FLRN (former  FRAPH death squadrons) headed by Guy Philippe. The FLRN is also known to receive funding from the Haitian business community.

In other words, there is no watertight division between the civilian opposition, which claims to be non-violent and the FLRN paramilitary. The FLRN is collaborating with the so-called “Democratic Platform.”

The Role of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

In Haiti, this “civil society opposition” is bankrolled by the National Endowment for Democracy which works hand in glove with the CIA. The Democratic Platform is supported by the International Republican Institute (IRI) , which is an arm of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Senator John McCain is Chairman of IRI’s Board of Directors. (See Laura Flynn, Pierre Labossière and Robert Roth, Hidden from the Headlines: The U.S. War Against Haiti, California-based Haiti Action Committee (HAC), http://www.haitiprogres.com/eng11-12.html ).

G-184 leader Andy Apaid was in liaison with Secretary of State Colin Powell in the days prior to the kidnapping and deportation of President Aristide by US forces on February 29. His umbrella organization of elite business organizations and religious NGOs, which is also supported by the International Republican Institute (IRI), receives sizeable amounts of money from the European Union.(http://haitisupport.gn.apc.org/184%20EC.htm ).

It is worth recalling that the NED, (which overseas the IRI) although not formally part of the CIA, performs an important intelligence function within the arena of civilian political parties and NGOs. It was created in 1983, when the CIA was being accused of covertly bribing politicians and setting up phony civil society front organizations. According to Allen Weinstein, who was responsible for setting up the NED during the Reagan Administration: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” (‘Washington Post’, Sept. 21, 1991).

The NED channels congressional funds to the four institutes: The International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS). These organizations are said to be “uniquely qualified to provide technical assistance to aspiring democrats worldwide.” See IRI,  http://www.iri.org/history.asp )

In other words, there is a division of tasks between the CIA and the NED. While the CIA provides covert support to armed paramilitary rebel groups and death squadrons, the NED and its four constituent organizations finance “civilian”  political parties and non governmental organizations with a view to instating American “democracy” around the World.

The NED constitutes, so to speak, the CIA’s “civilian arm”. CIA-NED interventions in different part of the World are characterized by a consistent pattern, which is applied in numerous countries.

The NED provided funds to  the “civil society” organizations in Venezuela, which initiated an attempted coup against President Hugo Chavez. In Venezuela it was the “Democratic Coordination”, which was the recipient of NED support; in Haiti it is the “Democratic Convergence” and G-184.

Similarly, in former Yugoslavia, the CIA channeled support to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) (since 1995), a paramilitary group involved in terrorist attacks on the Yugoslav police and military. Meanwhile, the NED through the  “Center for International Private Enterprise” (CIPE) was backing the DOS opposition coalition in Serbia and Montenegro. More specifically, NED was financing the G-17, an opposition group of  economists responsible for formulating (in liaison with the IMF) the DOS coalition’s  “free market” reform platform in the 2000 presidential election, which led to the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic.

The IMF’s Bitter “Economic Medicine”

The IMF and the World Bank are key players in the process of economic and political destabilization. While carried out under the auspices of an intergovernmental body, the IMF reforms tend to support US strategic and foreign policy objectives.

Based on the so-called “Washington consensus”, IMF austerity and restructuring measures through their devastating impacts, often contribute to triggering social and ethnic strife. IMF reforms have often precipitated the downfall of elected governments. In extreme cases of economic and social dislocation, the IMF’s bitter economic medicine has contributed to the destabilization of entire countries, as occurred in Somalia, Rwanda and Yugoslavia. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, 2003.

The IMF program is a consistent instrument of economic dislocation. The IMF’s reforms contribute to reshaping and downsizing State institutions through drastic austerity measures. The latter are implemented alongside other forms of intervention and political interference, including CIA covert activities in support of rebel paramilitary groups and opposition political parties.

Moreover, so-called “Emergency Recovery” and “Post-conflict” reforms are often introduced under IMF guidance, in the wake of a civil war, a regime change or “a national emergency”.

In Haiti, the IMF sponsored  “free market” reforms have been carried out consistently since the Duvalier era. They have been applied in several stages since the first election of president Aristide in 1990.

The 1991 military coup, which took place 8 months following Jean Bertrand Aristide’s accession to the presidency, was in part intended to reverse the Aristide government’s progressive reforms and reinstate the neoliberal policy agenda of the Duvalier era.

A former World Bank official Mr. Marc Bazin was appointed Prime minister by the Military Junta in June 1992. In fact, it was the US State Department which sought his appointment.

Bazin had a track record of working for the “Washington consensus.”  In 1983, he had been appointed Finance Minister under the Duvalier regime, In fact he had been recommended to the Finance portfolio by the IMF: “President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier had agreed to the appointment of an IMF nominee, former World Bank official Marc Bazin, as Minister of Finance”. (Mining Annual Review, June, 1983). Bazin, who was considered Washington’s “favorite”, later ran against Aristide in the 1990 presidential elections.

Bazin, was called in by the Military Junta in 1992 to form a so-called  “consensus government”. It is worth noting that it was precisely during Bazin’s term in office as Prime Minister that the political massacres and extra judicial killings by the CIA supported FRAPH death squadrons were unleashed, leading to the killing of more than 4000 civilians. Some 300,000 people became internal refugees,  “thousands more fled across the border to the Dominican Republic, and more than 60,000 took to the high seas” (Statement of Dina Paul Parks, Executive Director, National Coalition for Haitian Rights, Committee on Senate Judiciary, US Senate, Washington DC, 1 October 2002). Meanwhile, the CIA had launched a smear campaign representing Aristide as “mentally unstable” (Boston Globe, 21 Sept 1994).

The 1994 US Military Intervention

Following three years of military rule, the US intervened in 1994, sending in 20,000 occupation troops and “peace-keepers” to Haiti. The US military intervention was not intended to restore democracy. Quite the contrary: it was carried out to prevent a popular insurrection against the military Junta and its neoliberal cohorts.

In other words, the US military occupation was implemented to ensure political continuity.

While the members of the military Junta were sent into exile, the return to constitutional government required compliance to IMF diktats, thereby foreclosing the possibility of a progressive “alternative” to the neoliberal agenda. Moreover, US troops remained in the country until 1999. The Haitian armed forces were disbanded and the US State Department hired a mercenary company DynCorp to provide “technical advice” in restructuring the Haitian National Police (HNP).

“DynCorp has always functioned as a cut-out for Pentagon and CIA covert operations.” (See Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn,  Counterpunch, February 27, 2002 ) Under DynCorp advice in Haiti, former Tonton Macoute and Haitian military officers involved in the 1991 Coup d’Etat were brought into the HNP. (See Ken Silverstein, Privatizing War, The Nation, July 28, 1997, http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/silver.htm )

In October 1994, Aristide returned from exile and reintegrated the presidency until the end of his mandate in 1996. “Free market” reformers  were brought into his Cabinet. A new wave of deadly macro-economic policies was adopted under a so-called Emergency Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) “that sought to achieve rapid macroeconomic stabilization, restore public administration, and attend to the most pressing needs.” (See IMF Approves Three-Year ESAF Loan for Haiti, Washington, 1996, http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/1996/pr9653.htm ).

The restoration of Constitutional government had been negotiated behind closed doors with Haiti’s external creditors. Prior to Aristide’s reinstatement as the country’s president, the new government was obliged to clear the country’s debt arrears with its external creditors. In fact the new loans provided by the  World Bank, the  Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the IMF were used to meet Haiti’s obligations with international creditors. Fresh money was used to pay back old debt leading to a spiraling external debt.

Broadly coinciding with the military government, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by 30 percent (1992-1994). With a per capita income of $250 per annum, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and among the poorest in the world. (see World Bank, Haiti: The Challenges of Poverty Reduction, Washington, August 1998).

The World Bank estimates unemployment to be of the order of 60 percent. (A 2000 US Congressional Report estimates it to be as high as 80 percent. See US House of Representatives, Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources Subcommittee, FDHC Transcripts, 12 April 2000).

In the wake of three years of military rule and economic decline, there was no “Economic Emergency Recovery” as envisaged under the IMF loan agreement. In fact quite the opposite: The IMF imposed  “stabilization” under the “Recovery” program required further budget cuts in  almost non-existent social sector programs.  A civil service reform program was launched, which consisted in reducing the size of the civil service and the firing of “surplus” State employees. The IMF-World Bank package was in part instrumental in the paralysis of public services, leading to the eventual demise of the entire State system. In a country where health and educational services were virtually nonexistent, the IMF had demanded the lay off of “surplus” teachers and health workers with a view to meeting its target for the budget deficit.

Washington’s foreign policy initiatives were coordinated with the application of the IMF’s deadly economic medicine. The country had been literally pushed to the brink of economic and social disaster.

The Fate of Haitian Agriculture

More than 75 percent of the Haitian population is engaged in agriculture, producing both food crops for the domestic market as well a number of cash crops for export. Already during the Duvalier era, the peasant economy had been undermined. With the adoption of the IMF-World Bank sponsored trade reforms, the agricultural system, which previously produced food for the local market, had been destabilized. With the lifting of trade barriers, the local market was opened up to the dumping of US agricultural surpluses including rice, sugar and corn, leading to the destruction of the entire peasant economy. Gonaives, which used to be Haiti’s rice basket region, with extensive paddy fields had been precipitated into bankruptcy:

. “By the end of the 1990s Haiti’s local rice production had been reduced by half and rice imports from the US accounted for over half of local rice sales. The local farming population was devastated, and the price of rice rose drastically ” ( See Rob Lyon, Haiti-There is no solution under Capitalism! Socialist Appeal, 24 Feb. 2004, http://cleveland.indymedia.org/news/2004/02/9095.php ).

In matter of a few years, Haiti, a small impoverished country in the Caribbean, had become the World’s fourth largest importer of American rice after Japan, Mexico and Canada.

The Second Wave of IMF Reforms

The presidential elections were scheduled for November 23, 2000. The Clinton Administration had put an embargo on development aid to Haiti in 2000. Barely two weeks prior to the elections, the outgoing administration signed a Letter of Intent with the IMF. Perfect timing: the agreement with the IMF virtually foreclosed from the outset any departure from the neoliberal agenda.

The Minister of Finance had sent the amended budget to the Parliament on December 14th. Donor support was conditional upon its rubber stamp approval by the Legislature. While Aristide had promised to increase the minimum wage, embark on school construction and  literacy programs, the hands of the new government were tied. All major decisions regarding the State budget, the management of the public sector, public investment, privatization, trade and monetary policy had already been taken. They were part of the agreement reached with the IMF on November 6, 2000.

In 2003, the IMF imposed the application of a so-called “flexible price system in fuel”, which immediately triggered an inflationary spiral. The currency was devalued. Petroleum prices increased by about 130 percent in January-February 2003, which served to increase popular resentment against the Aristide government, which had supported the implementation of the IMF economic reforms.

The hike in fuel prices contributed to a 40 percent increase in consumer prices (CPI) in 2002-2003 (See Haiti—Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies, and Technical Memorandum of Understanding, Port-au-Prince, Haiti June 10, 2003, http://www.imf.org/external/np/loi/2003/hti/01/index.htm ).

In turn, the IMF had demanded, despite the dramatic increase in the cost of living, a freeze on wages as a means to “controlling inflationary pressures.” The IMF had in fact pressured the government to lower public sector salaries (including those paid to teachers and health workers).  The IMF had also demanded the phasing out of the statutory minimum wage of approximately 25 cents an hour. “Labour market flexibility”, meaning wages paid below the statutory minimum wage would, according to the IMF, contribute to attracting foreign investors. The daily minimum wage was $3.00 in 1994, declining to about $1.50- 1.75 (depending on the gourde-dollar exchange rate) in 2004.

In an utterly twisted logic, Haiti’s abysmally low wages, which have been part of the IMF-World Bank “cheap labor” policy framework since the 1980s, are viewed as a means to improving the standard of living. In other words, sweatshop conditions in the assembly industries (in a totally unregulated labor market) and forced labor conditions in Haiti’s agricultural plantations are considered by the IMF as a key to achieving economic prosperity, because they “attract foreign investment.”

The country was in the straightjacket of a spiraling external debt. In a bitter irony, the IMF-World Bank sponsored austerity measures in the social sectors were imposed in a country which has 1,2 medical doctors for 10,000 inhabitants and where the large majority of the population is illiterate. State social services, which were virtually nonexistent during the Duvalier period, have collapsed.

The result of IMF ministrations was a further collapse in purchasing power, which had also affected middle income groups. Meanwhile, interest rates had skyrocketed. In the Northern and Eastern parts of the country, the hikes in fuel prices had led to a virtual paralysis of transportation and public services including water and electricity.

While a humanitarian catastrophe is looming, the collapse of the economy spearheaded by the IMF, had served to boost the popularity of the Democratic Platform, which had accused  Aristide of “economic mismanagement.” Needless to say, the leaders of the Democratic Platform including Andy Apaid –who actually owns the sweatshops– are the main protagonists of the low wage economy.

Applying the Kosovo Model

In February 2003, Washington announced the appointment of James Foley as Ambassador to Haiti [image Foley and Aristide, 2003]. Foley had been a State Department spokesman under the Clinton administration during the war on Kosovo. He previously held a position at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Foley had been sent to Port au Prince in advance of the CIA sponsored operation. He was transferred to Port au Prince in September 2003, from a prestige diplomatic position in Geneva, where he was Deputy Head of Mission to the UN European office.

It is worth recalling Ambassador Foley’s involvement in support of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1999.

Amply documented, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was financed by drug money and supported by the CIA. ( See Michel Chossudovsky, Kosovo Freedom Fighters Financed by Organized Crime, Covert Action Quarterly, 1999, http://www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/co/2743/1.html )

The KLA had been involved in similar targeted political assassinations and killings of civilians, in the months leading up to the 1999 NATO invasion as well as in its aftermath.  Following the NATO led invasion and occupation of Kosovo, the KLA was transformed into the Kosovo Protection Force (KPF) under UN auspices. Rather than being disarmed to prevent the massacres of civilians, a terrorist organization with links to organized crime and the Balkans drug trade, was granted a legitimate political status.

At the time of the Kosovo war, the current ambassador to Haiti James Foley was in charge of State Department briefings, working closely with his NATO counterpart in Brussels, Jamie Shea. Barely two months before the onslaught of the NATO led war on 24 March 1999, James Foley had called for the “transformation” of the KLA into a respectable political organization:

“We want to develop a good relationship with them [the KLA] as they transform themselves into a politically-oriented organization,’ ..`[W]e believe that we have a lot of advice and a lot of help that we can provide to them if they become precisely the kind of political actor we would like to see them become… “If we can help them and they want us to help them in that effort of transformation, I think it’s nothing that anybody can argue with..’ (quoted in the New York Times, 2 February 1999)

In the wake of the invasion “a self-proclaimed Kosovar administration was set up composed of the KLA and the Democratic Union Movement (LBD), a coalition of five opposition parties opposed to Rugova’s Democratic League (LDK). In addition to the position of prime minister, the KLA controlled the ministries of finance, public order and defense.” (Michel Chossudovsky, NATO’s War of Aggression against Yugoslavia, 1999, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO309C.html )

The US State Department’s position as conveyed in Foley’s statement was that the KLA would “not be allowed to continue as a military force but would have the chance to move forward in their quest for self government under a ‘different context’” meaning the inauguration of a de facto “narco-democracy” under NATO protection. (Ibid).

With regard to the drug trade, Kosovo and Albania occupy a similar position to that of Haiti: they constitute “a hub” in the transit (transshipment) of narcotics from the Golden Crescent, through Iran and Turkey into Western Europe. While supported by the CIA, Germany’s Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND) and NATO, the KLA has links to the Albanian Mafia and criminal syndicates involved in the narcotics trade.( See Michel Chossudovsky, Kosovo Freedom Fighters Financed by Organized Crime, Covert Action Quarterly, 1999, http://www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/co/2743/1.html )

Is this the model for Haiti, as formulated in 1999 by the current US Ambassador to Haiti James Foley?

For the CIA and the State Department, the FLRN and Guy Philippe are to Haiti what the KLA and Hashim Thaci are to Kosovo.

In other words, Washington’s design is “regime change”: topple the Lavalas administration and install a compliant US puppet regime, integrated by the Democratic Platform and the self-proclaimed Front pour la libération et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN), whose leaders are former FRAPH and Tonton Macoute terrorists. The latter are slated to integrate a “national unity government” alongside the leaders of the Democratic Convergence and The Group of 184 Civil Society Organizations led by Andy Apaid. More specifically, the FLRN led by Guy Philippe is slated to rebuild the Haitian Armed forces, which were disbanded in 1995.

What is at stake is an eventual power sharing arrangement between the various Opposition groups and the CIA supported Rebels, which have links to the cocaine transit trade from Colombia via Haiti to Florida. The protection of this trade has a bearing on the formation of a new “narco-government”, which will serve US interests.

A bogus (symbolic) disarmament of the Rebels may be contemplated under international supervision, as occurred with the KLA in Kosovo in 2000. The “former terrorists” could then be integrated into the civilian police as well as into the task of “rebuilding” the Haitian Armed forces under US supervision.

What this scenario suggests, is that the Duvalier-era terrorist structures have been restored. A program of civilian killings and political assassinations directed against Lavalas supporter is in fact already underway.

In other words, if Washington were really motivated by humanitarian considerations, why then is it supporting and financing the FRAPH death squadrons? Its objective is not to prevent the massacre of civilians. Modeled on previous CIA led operations (e.g. Guatemala, Indonesia, El Salvador), the FLRN death squadrons have been set loose and are involved in targeted political assassinations of Aristide supporters.

The Narcotics Transshipment Trade

While the real economy had been driven into bankruptcy under the brunt of the IMF reforms, the narcotics transshipment trade continues to flourish.  According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Haiti remains “the major drug trans-shipment country for the entire Caribbean region, funneling huge shipments of cocaine from Colombia to the United States.” (See US House of Representatives, Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources Subcommittee, FDHC Transcripts, 12 April 2000).

It is estimated that  Haiti is now responsible for 14 percent of all the cocaine entering the United States, representing billions of dollars of revenue for organized crime and US financial institutions, which launder vast amounts of dirty money. The global trade in narcotics is estimated to be of the order of 500 billion dollars.

Much of this transshipment trade goes directly to Miami, which also constitutes a haven for the recycling of dirty money into bona fide investments, e.g. in real estate and other related activities.

The evidence confirms that the CIA was protecting this trade during the Duvalier era as well as during the military dictatorship (1991-1994). In 1987, Senator John Kerry as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee was entrusted with a major investigation, which  focused  on the links between the CIA and the drug trade, including the laundering of drug money to finance armed insurgencies. “The  Kerry Report” published in 1989, while centering its attention on the financing of the Nicaraguan Contra, also included a section on Haiti:

“Kerry had developed detailed information on drug trafficking by Haiti’s military rulers that led to the indictment in Miami in 1988, of Lt. Col. Jean Paul. The indictment was a major embarrassment to the Haitian military, especially since Paul defiantly refused to surrender to U.S. authorities.. In November 1989, Col. Paul was found dead after he consumed a traditional Haitian good will gift—a bowel of pumpkin soup…

The U.S. senate also heard testimony in 1988 that then interior minister, Gen. Williams Regala, and his DEA liaison officer, protected and supervised cocaine shipments. The testimony also charged the then Haitian military commander Gen. Henry Namphy with accepting bribes from Colombian traffickers in return for landing rights in the mid 1980’s.

It was in 1989 that yet another military coup brought Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril to power… According to a witness before Senator John Kerry’s subcommittee, Avril is in fact a major player in Haiti’s role as a transit point in the cocaine trade.” ( Paul DeRienzo, Haiti’s Nightmare: The Cocaine Coup & The CIA Connection, Spring 1994, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RIE402A.html )

Jack Blum, who was John Kerry‘s Special Counsel, points to the complicity of US officials in a 1996 statement to the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Drug Trafficking and the Contra War:

“…In Haiti …  intelligence “sources” of ours in the Haitian military had turned their facilities over to the drug cartels. Instead of putting pressure on the rotten leadership of the military, we defended them. We held our noses and looked the other way as they and their criminal friends in the United States distributed cocaine in Miami, Philadelphia and New, York.” (http://www.totse.com/en/politics/central_intelligence_agency/ciacont2.html )

Haiti not only remains at the hub of the transshipment cocaine trade, the latter has grown markedly since the 1980s. The current crisis bears a relationship to Haiti’s role in the drug trade. Washington wants a compliant Haitian government which will protect the drug transshipment routes, out of Colombia through Haiti and into Florida.

The inflow of narco-dollars –which remains the major source of the country’s foreign exchange earnings– are used to service Haiti’s spiraling external debt, thereby also serving the interests of the external creditors.

In this regard, the liberalization of the foreign-exchange market imposed by the IMF has provided (despite the authorities pro forma commitment to combating the drug trade) a convenient avenue for the laundering of narco-dollars in the domestic banking system. The inflow of narco-dollars alongside bona fide “remittances” from Haitians living abroad, are deposited in the commercial banking system and exchanged into local currency. The foreign exchange proceeds of these inflows can then be recycled towards the Treasury where they are used to meet debt servicing obligations.

Haiti, however, reaps a very small percentage of the total foreign exchange proceeds of this lucrative contraband. Most of the revenue resulting from the cocaine transshipment trade accrues to criminal intermediaries in the wholesale and retail narcotics trade, to the intelligence agencies which protect the drug trade as well as to the financial and banking institutions where the proceeds of this criminal activity are laundered.

The narco-dollars are also channeled into “private banking” accounts in numerous offshore banking havens. (These havens are controlled by the large Western banks and financial institutions). Drug money is also invested in a number of financial instruments including hedge funds and stock market transactions. The major Wall Street and European banks and stock brokerage firms launder billions of dollars resulting from the trade in narcotics.

Moreover, the expansion of the dollar denominated money supply by the Federal Reserve System , including the printing of billions of dollars of US dollar notes for the purposes of narco-transactions constitutes profit for the Federal Reserve and its constituent private banking institutions of which the most important is the New York Federal Reserve Bank. See (Jeffrey Steinberg, Dope, Inc. Is $600 Billion and Growing, Executive Intelligence Review, 14 Dec 2001,

In other words, the Wall Street financial establishment, which plays a behind the scenes role in the formulation of US foreign policy, has a vested interest in retaining the Haiti transshipment trade, while installing a reliable “narco-democracy” in Port-au-Prince, which will effectively protect the transshipment routes.

It should be noted that since the advent of the Euro as a global currency, a significant share of the narcotics trade is now conducted in Euro rather than US dollars. In other words, the Euro and the dollar are competing narco-currencies.

The Latin American cocaine trade –including the transshipment trade through Haiti– is largely conducted in US dollars.  This shift out of dollar denominated narco-transactions, which undermines the hegemony of the US dollar as a global currency, largely pertains to the Middle East, Central Asian and the Southern European drug routes.

Media Manipulation

In the weeks leading up to the Coup d’Etat, the media has largely focused its attention on the pro-Aristide “armed gangs” and “thugs”,  without providing an understanding of the role of the FLRN Rebels.

Deafening silence: not a word was mentioned in official statements and UN resolutions regarding the nature of the FLRN.  This should come as no surprise: the US Ambassador to the UN  (the man who sits on the UN Security Council) John Negroponte.  played a key role in the CIA supported Honduran death squadrons in the 1980s when he was US ambassador to Honduras. (See San Francisco Examiner, 20 Oct 2001  http://www.flora.org/mai/forum/31397 )

The FLRN rebels are extremely well equipped and trained forces. The Haitian people know who they are. They are Tonton Macoute of the Duvalier era and former FRAPH assassins.

The Western media is mute on the issue, blaming the violence on President Aristide. When it acknowledges that the Liberation Army is composed of death squadrons, it fails to examine the broader implications of its statements and that these death squadrons are a creation of the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The New York Times has acknowledged that the “non violent” civil society opposition is in fact collaborating with the death squadrons, “accused of killing thousands”, but all this is described as “accidental”. No historical understanding is provided. Who are these death squadron leaders?  All we are told is that they have established an “alliance” with the “non-violent” good guys who belong to the “political opposition”. And it is all for a good and worthy cause, which is to remove the elected president and “restore democracy”:

“As Haiti’s crisis lurches toward civil war, a tangled web of alliances, some of them accidental, has emerged. It has linked the interests of a political opposition movement that has embraced nonviolence to a group of insurgents that includes a former leader of death squads accused of killing thousands, a former police chief accused of plotting a coup and a ruthless gang once aligned with Mr. Aristide that has now turned against him. Given their varied origins, those arrayed against Mr. Aristide are hardly unified, though they all share an ardent wish to see him removed from power.” (New York Times,  26 Feb 2004)

There is nothing spontaneous or “accidental” in the rebel attacks or in the “alliance” between the leader of the death squadrons Guy Philippe and Andy Apaid, owner of the largest industrial sweatshop in Haiti and leader of the G-184.

The armed rebellion was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation. The Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic had detected guerilla training camps inside the Dominican Republic on the Northeast Haitian-Dominican border. ( El ejército dominicano informó a Aristide sobre los entrenamientos rebeldes en la frontera, El Caribe, 27 Feb. 2004,

Both the armed rebels and their civilian “non-violent” counterparts were involved in the plot to unseat the president. G-184 leader Andre Apaid was in touch with Colin Powell in the weeks leading up to the overthrow of Aristide;  Guy Philippe and “Toto” Emmanuel Constant have links to the CIA; there are indications that Rebel Commander Guy Philippe and the political leader of the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front Winter Etienne were in liaison with US officials. (See BBC, 27 Feb 2004, ).

While the US had repeatedly stated that it will uphold Constitutional government, the replacement of Aristide by a more compliant individual had always been part of the Bush Administration’s agenda.

On Feb 20, US Ambassador James Foley called in a team of four military experts from the U.S. Southern Command, based in Miami. Officially their mandate was “to assess threats to the embassy and its personnel.” (Seattle Times, 20 Feb 2004). US Special Forces are already in the country. Washington had announced that three US naval vessels “have been put on standby to go to Haiti as a precautionary measure”. The Saipan is equipped with Vertical takeoff Harrier fighters and attack helicopters. The other two vessels are the Oak Hill and Trenton.  Some 2,200 U.S. Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, at Camp Lejeune, N.C. could be deployed to Haiti at short notice, according to Washington.

With the departure of President Aristide, Washington, however, has no intention of disarming its proxy rebel paramilitary army, which is now slated to play a role in the “transition”. In other words, the Bush administration will not act to prevent the occurrence of killings and political assassinations of Lavalas and Aristide supporters in the wake of the president’s kidnapping and deportation.

Needless to say, the Western media has not in the least analyzed the historical background of the Haitian crisis. The role played by the CIA has not been mentioned. The so-called “international community”, which claims to be committed to governance and democracy, has turned a blind eye to the killings of civilians by a US sponsored paramilitary army. The “rebel leaders”, who were commanders in the FRAPH death squadrons in the 1990s, are now being upheld by the US media as bona fide opposition spokesmen. Meanwhile, the legitimacy of the former elected president is questioned because he is said to be responsible for “a worsening economic and social situation.”

The worsening economic and social situation is largely attributable to the devastating economic reforms imposed by the IMF since the  1980s. The restoration of Constitutional government in 1994 was conditional upon the acceptance of the IMF’s deadly economic therapy, which in turn foreclosed the possibility of a meaningful democracy. High ranking government officials respectively within the Andre Preval and Jean Bertrand Aristide governments were indeed compliant with IMF diktats. Despite this compliance, Aristide had been “blacklisted” and demonized by Washington.

The Militarization of the Caribbean Basin

Washington seeks to reinstate Haiti as a full-fledged US colony, with all the appearances of a functioning democracy. The objective is to impose a puppet regime in Port-au-Prince and establish a permanent US military presence in Haiti.

The US Administration ultimately seeks to militarize the Caribbean basin.

The island of Hispaniola is a gateway to the Caribbean basin, strategically located between Cuba to the North West and Venezuela to the South.  The militarization of the island, with the establishment of US military bases, is not only intended to put political pressure on Cuba and Venezuela, it is also geared towards the protection of the multibillion dollar narcotics transshipment trade through Haiti, from production sites in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

The militarisation of the Caribbean basin is, in some regards, similar to that imposed by Washington on the Andean Region of South America under “Plan Colombia’, renamed “The Andean Initiative”. The latter constitutes the basis for the militarisation of oil and gas wells, as well as pipeline routes and transportation corridors. It also protects the narcotics trade.

Is Washington Considering a Full-Scale Drone War over Syria?

February 21st, 2014 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

Will the Obama administration launch a full scale drone war over Syria in the coming months ahead? Public support for Washington to order a direct military intervention against the Syrian government because it is accused of using chemical weapons against civilians is at the lowest level in 20 years according to a Gallop Poll conducted on September 2013.

More than 51% of Americans oppose military action and 13% are unsure if military action is practical.

In February 2013, US Press Secretary Jay Carney stated to the public, the ethical and “wise” use of drones that can pinpoint targets without of course killing innocent civilians is legal:

We have acknowledged, the United States, that sometimes we use remotely piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific al Qaeda terrorists in order to prevent attacks on the United States and to save American lives. We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats, to stop plots, prevent future attacks, and, again, save American lives. These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise. The U.S. government takes great care in deciding to pursue an al Qaeda terrorist, to ensure precision and to avoid loss of innocent life

Washington did consider launching drone strikes in the same year as reported by the Los Angeles Times ‘CIA begins sizing up Islamic extremists in Syria for drone strikes’:

The CIA has stepped up secret contingency planning to protect the United States and its allies as the turmoil expands in Syria, including collecting intelligence on Islamic extremists for the first time for possible lethal drone strikes, according to current and former U.S. officials.

President Obama has not authorized drone missile strikes in Syria, however, and none are under consideration

Obama’s speech on his drone policy had concerns on the public’s attitude towards another war in the Middle East. Obama said the following on the use of drones in foreign land:

Any U.S. military action in foreign lands risks creating more enemies and impacts public opinion overseas. Moreover, our laws constrain the power of the President even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. The very precision of drone strikes and the necessary secrecy often involved in such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites. It can also lead a President and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism

In a recent meeting between French President Francois Hollande and President Obama to discuss issues in the Middle East and Africa, Obama was asked about the situation in Syria:

 I’ve said throughout my presidency that I always reserve the right to exercise military action on behalf of America’s national security interests. But that has to be deployed wisely. And I think that what we saw with respect to the chemical weapons situation was an example of the judicious, wise use of possible military action

The Obama administration refers to the use of military action and how it is deployed as a “wise” option.  Is he talking about the use of drone warfare? He later continued his statement saying that the Syrian situation is “Fluid”:

Whether we can duplicate that kind of process when it comes to the larger resolution of the problem, right now we don’t think that there is a military solution, per se, to the problem. But the situation is fluid, and we are continuing to explore every possible avenue to solve this problem, because it’s not just heartbreaking to see what’s happening to the Syrian people, it’s very dangerous for the region as a whole, including friends and allies and partners like Lebanon or Jordan that are being adversely impacted by it

The Obama administration can possibly launch a full scale drone war on Syria without involving ground troops since the public is opposed to another direct military intervention in the Middle East. Washington still has its hands tied with troops remaining in Afghanistan. Relations with President Hamid Karzai are strained. President Karzai refused to sign a security pact allowing 10,000 US troops to stay in Afghanistan for counter-terrorism purposes and training Afghan forces beyond 2014. Karzai also wants limited NATO troops in Afghanistan. With US and Israeli troops in preparation for a possible confrontation with Iran if nuclear talks fail, the use of drones would be a viable option for Washington since it would strike a delicate balance with the international community and the American public concerning their attitudes towards a new war using ground troops. A full-scale drone war launched by Washington would seem like a low-intensity war to the public, meaning that a drone war is not really a “major war” involving US troops on the ground, as President Obama said in his 2013 drone policy speech “such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny “.

Washington would hope that the American public and the international community would not organize anti-war protests regarding America’s 21st century drone war against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian people involving so-called “precision” strikes. War is war, regardless of what some people in power may think. The public wants no war against Syria, but will Washington and its allies listen? That is a good question.

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Los bancos son los principales actores en el mercado de divisas. Mantienen una inestabilidad permanente de las tasas de cambio. Más del 95 % de los intercambios de divisas son de tipo especulativo. Una ínfima parte de las transacciones cotidianas en divisas concierne a inversiones, comercio de bienes y servicios ligados a la economía real, envíos de emigrantes… El volumen cotidiano de las transacciones en el mercado de divisas estaba en 2013 en alrededor de 5.300 millardos de dólares! Los bancos que disponen, como los fondos mutuos de inversión, de muy importantes liquideces, las usan y abusan de ellas empujando a determinadas monedas a la baja o al alza a fin de obtener ganancias con los diferenciales de tasas de cambio. Los bancos juegan igualmente de forma determinante con los derivados de cambio de divisas que pueden provocar pérdidas considerables, sin contar los perjuicios de la inestabilidad de las monedas para el conjunto de la sociedad. A partir de mayo de 2013, las monedas de los grandes países llamados emergentes (India, Brasil, Africa del Sur, Rusia, Turquía, Argentina…) han sido sometidas a ataques especulativos y han perdido en ciertos casos hasta el 20% de su valor |1|. La tasa de cambio entre el dólar y el euro es también objeto de la especulación.

En cuarenta años, las transacciones en el mercado cambiario controlado por algunos grandes bancos se han multiplicado por 500

El mercado cambiario (mercado de intercambios de divisas ndt) constituye el compartimento del mercado financiero global que, al lado del mercado de derivados |2|, ha registrado el mayor crecimiento. Entre 1970 y 2013, el volumen de las transacciones sobre las monedas se ha multiplicado por más de 500 (pasando de un poco más de 10 millardos a 5.300 millardos de dólares por día). Cuando, en teoría, la función principal de los mercados cambiarios es facilitar los intercambios comerciales internacionales, en 2013, el montante de las transacciones ligadas a los intercambios de mercancías no representaba ni siquiera el 2% del montante de las transacciones cotidianas en el mercado de cambios.

En 1979, era preciso el equivalente a 200 jornadas de actividad en los mercados cambiarios para alcanzar el volumen anual de las exportaciones mundiales. En 2013, 3,5 jornadas de actividad en los mercados de cambio bastan para alcanzar el volumen anual de las exportaciones mundiales de mercancías. Esto indica hasta qué punto las actividades de los mercados financieros están desconectadas de la economía productiva y del comercio de mercancías.

En 2013, entre solo cuatro bancos controlaban el 50% del mercado cambiario (Deutsche Bank, 15,2 %; Citigroup, 14,9 %; Barclays, 10,2 %; UBS, 10,1 %). Si se añade la parte de otros seis bancos (HSBC, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland, Crédit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America), se alcanza el 80% del mercado |3|. La mitad de los intercambios tiene lugar solo en el mercado de Londres.

Tras el escándalo del Libor, el del mercado de cambios

Cuando todavía las autoridades de control no podían considerar como resuelto el escándalo de la manipulación del Libor (los tipos de interés a los que los bancos se prestan el dinero), en 2013 estallaba un nuevo escándalo a propósito de la manipulación del mercado cambiario |4|. Las autoridades de control de los mercados financieros de los Estados Unidos, Reino Unido, Unión Europea, Hong Kong y Suiza sospechan que al menos 15 grandes bancos han manipulado conjuntamente las tasas de cambio, incluyendo el mercado de cambio euro-dólar que, él solo, representa un volumen cotidiano de 1.300 millardos de dólares. Entre los bancos incriminados están Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Royal bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered y UBS. Otros 18 traders |5| habrían sido suspendidos o despedidos en el marco de este escándalo, del que aún no se entrevén todas sus ramificaciones. Responsables de las autoridades británicas de control han declarado que la amplitud de los daños causados por las manipulaciones es al menos igual a la causada por la manipulación del Libor, que llevó al pago de multas por un montante de 6 millardos de dólares |6|. El colmo es que dirigentes del Banco de Inglaterra estarían implicados en la manipulación, igual que lo estuvieron en el escándalo del Libor. En abril de 2012, traders especializados en el mercado de cambios habrían informado de sus prácticas a algunos altos responsables del honorable Banco de Inglaterra que habrían dejado hacer |7|. El dejar hacer, la complicidad, incluso la colusión entre dirigentes de los bancos y autoridades de control han comenzado a salir a la luz pública aunque las informaciones lleguen en cuentagotas y aparecen raramente en las portadas de los grandes medios.

A raíz de este escándalo, varios fondos de pensiones de los Estados Unidos han emprendido acciones judiciales en 2013-2014 contra 7 bancos (Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland y UBS) por las pérdidas sufridas como consecuencia de la manipulación del mercado cambiario a la que se han dedicado los banqueros. Los fondos de pensiones estadounidenses consideran que los bancos deberían entregarles 10 millardos de dólares como indemnización e intereses. Fondos de pensiones de los Países Bajos (entre ellos el PGGM, que es el más grande) y de otros países europeos estudian igualmente acciones ante la justicia |8|.

La tasa Tobin está en el limbo

Hace ya más de cuarenta años, James Tobin, antiguo consejero económico de John F. Kennedy, proponía poner un grano de arena en las ruedas de la especulación internacional sobre las divisas |9|. A pesar de todos los hermosos discursos de algunos jefes de estado, la plaga de la especulación sobre las monedas se ha seguido agravando. El lobby de los banqueros y demás inversores institucionales ha obtenido que ninguna traba venga a perturbar su actividad destinada a crear beneficios. Sin embargo, desde la época en que James Tobin hizo su propuesta, hemos visto que el volumen de las transacciones cotidianas en el mercado de divisas se ha multiplicado por 500…

La decisión de principio tomada en enero de 2013 |10| por once gobiernos de la zona euro |11| de imponer una tasa de un milésimo sobre las transacciones financieras es totalmente insuficiente, no afecta a las divisas y ni siquiera es seguro que entre rápidamente en vigor. Los bancos ejercen una fuerte presión para evitar y para limitar aún más su alcance |12|. El gobierno francés muy íntimamente ligado a los bancos interviene activamente en favor de las demandas del lobby bancario |13|. No hay solución justa si el tema permanece en un contexto tan sesgado.

Por ello, ya es más que hora de frenar el engranaje de la especulación aplicando una verdadera tasa Tobin, primer paso hacia la prohibición completa de la especulación sobre las monedas.

Eric Toussaint

Traducido por Alberto Nadal

Notas

|1| Estos ataques especulativos están ligados a las retiradas masivas de capitales operadas por los inversores institucionales (bancos, fondos de colocación mutuales, fondos de pensiones privados, hedge funds,…)

|2| Derivado financiero: Un derivado financiero o instrumento derivado es un producto financiero cuyo valor se basa en el precio de otro activo. El activo del que depende toma el nombre de activo subyacente, por ejemplo el valor de un futuro sobre el oro se basa en el precio del oro. Los subyacentes utilizados pueden ser muy diferentes, acciones, índices bursátiles, valores de renta fija, tipos de interés o también materias primas. http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deriva…

|3| Ver Georges Ugeux, “Après le Libor, le marché des changes risque-t-il d’imploser ?”, Le Monde, 1/12/2013. http://finance.blog.lemonde.fr/2013… y Financial Times, “Foreign exchange : The big fix”, 13/11/2013.

|4| Financial Times, “Forex probe widened at least 15 large banks”, 13/11/2013.

|5| Trader: Un trader es una persona o entidad que compra o vende instrumento financieros (acciones, bonos, materias primas, derivados, …), como agente intermediario, especulador, arbitrajista u operador de cobertura. Un trader puede trabajar por propia cuenta, en un fondo de inversión, en un banco (banca mayorista, “Corporate & Investment Banking”) o en otra entidad financierahttp://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trader.

|6| Financial Times, “Scale of forex fix probe to rival libor”, 5/02/2014.

|7| Financial Times, “Bank of England faces forex probe scrutiny” 8-9 febrero 2014 y “BoE calls in lawyers over forex fix claims”, 12/02/2014.

|8| Financial Times, “Banks face forex legal battle. US pension funds seek large damages in class action proceedings”, 10/02/2014. Financial Times, “Banks face fresh forex claims”, 13/02/2014.

|9http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxe_Tobin

|10| Cf http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_custom…

|11| Los 11 países implicados son Alemania, Austria, Bélgica, España, Estonia, Francia, Grecia, Italia, Portugal, Eslovaquia y Eslovenia.

|12| Financial Times, “Eurozone states look to limit financial tax”, 12/12/2013

|13| Ver Collectif de signataires, “Lettre ouverte européenne à François Hollande : ne cédez pas au lobby des banques !”, publicada el 12 de febrero de 2014, https://france.attac.org/actus-et-m…

Eric Toussaint, maître de conférence en la universidad de Lieja, preside el CADTM Belgique y es miembro del consejo cientifico de ATTAC Francia. Es autor de los libros Procès d’un homme exemplaire, Editions Al Dante, Marseille, 2013; de Una mirada al retrovisor: el neoliberalismo desde sus orígenes hasta la actualidad, Icaria 2010; La Deuda o la Vida (junto a Damien Millet) Icaria, Barcelona, 2011; La crisis global, El Viejo Topo, Barcelona, 2010; La bolsa o la vida: las finanzas contra los pueblos, Gakoa, 2002. Es coautor junto con Damien Millet del libro AAA, Audit, Annulation, Autre politique, Le Seuil, Paris, 2012. Este último libro ha recibido el Prix du livre politique otorgado por la Foire du livre politique de Liège, http://www.cadtm.org/Le-CADTM-recoi…

En abril publicará su próximo libro, Bancocratie chez ADEN, Bruxelles,http://www.chapitre.com/CHAPITRE/fr…

Só se sucede através da verdade ! [Charles de Gaulle]

A administração dos Estados Unidos tinha pensado que seus truques, maquinados por detrás das cenas em Geneva II, levariam inevitávelmente que a Síria caisse na armadilha que tinham armado para ela e seu axel de resistência. Essa tinha sido preparada  para que pudessem obter seus objetivos, já fixados desde que lançaram sua agressão contra a Síria, a três anos.

Tem-se que a Síria poderia aceitar todas as exigências, entregando-se frente a todas as agressões, ou se recusar a submissão. Em qualquer desses casos a delegação síria seria obrigada a suspender as negociações e se retirar de Geneva. Seria então uma suspensão unilateral, a qual iria permitir aos Estados Unidos de pôr a responsabilidade do « fracasso do programa de negociações » nas costas da Síria. [1]. Iriam depois dizer também que o diálogo tinha se mostrado inútil para uma solução pacífica. Sobretudo aqui iriam poder se dirigir ao Conselho de Segurança para impor contra a Síria  uma resolução baseada no Capítulo VII, da Carta da ONU. Resolução essa que os Estados Unidos tentam obter a mais de dois anos, apesar do obstáculo de três dublos vetos sino-russos.

A retirada unilateral da Síria tinha sido o cenário planejado pela administração dos Estados Unidos, que entretanto não tinha levado em conta a determinação, e a capacidade da diplomacia da mesma em transformar esse desafio em uma oportunidade para se beneficiar do diálogo nacional e da solução política, que ela defendeu até o fim. Ela nunca caiu nas armadilhas preparadas contra ela. Armadilhas essas  que estavam muito bem camufladas mas que sofriam da falta de tato, o que se pode ver claramente no que diz respeito aos participantes convidados, ou não, à Conferência de Geneva II…  A delegação síria simplesmente respondeu a altura da situação : « Nós não nos retiraremos dessa negociação mesmo que o Sr. Brahimi, ele mesmo, se decidia a  retirada…  » ou ainda   « Nós estamos prontos a negociar até quando as portas se mantiverem abertas… »

A delegação da República Árabe da Síria se manteve fiél as suas constantes nacionais, dentro da lógica da soberanidade das nações, e os inalienáveis direitos do povo sírio. Quaisquer que fossem as equações regionais e internacionais do momento., a Síria se recusou a dar na mesa de negociações aquilo que os Estados Unidos, e seus aliados, não tinham conseguido pela guerra… Ela se pôs diplomaticamente de través no caminho no qual os Estados Unidos pretendiam se apoiar para derrotá-la em Geneva II.

Agora que as luzes se apagaram, como disse então o Sr. M. Lakhdar Brahimi, cada delegação retornou as suas casas. Isso significa que a delegação da República Árabe da Síria retornou a Damasco, enquanto a delegação da Coalisão retornou aos seus patrões, donos do capital estrangeiro, tanto ocidentuais como regionais… O Sr. Lakhdar Brahimi já agora apresentou suas desculpas ao povo sírio por não ter conseguido realizar o necessário para lhes poder consolar. [2] … A grande questão aqui é  : Qual será o comportamento de Washington frente a esse fracasso ? Não estiveram eles a declarar, com todas as nuances da arrogância, que eles iriam por força nas pressões sobre a Síria para faze-la ceder? Eles não deixaram a entender que iriam prosseguir com suas agressões?

Antes de responder a essa questão gostaríamos de dizer que se os Estados Unidos premeditadamente fizeram com que a Conferência de Geneva II fracassasse, a delegação da Síria não pode ser vista como culpada do fracasso. Por sua tenacidade essa delegação desmascarou os seus inimigos, obrigando-os a suspender as suas minadas negociações, conduzindo-os a um impasse, e em alcançando que eles procurassem uma saída…

Mas voltando a nossa questão : Como pretendem os Estados Unidos exercer sua pensada pressão frente ao seu fiasco em Geneva II?  Dentro do contexto regional e internacional nós vemos aqui três possibilidades :

1. Extensão das operações militares, precedidas por treino dos grupos suplementares no estrangeiro antes desses serem mandados a Síria.

Dentro desse cenário eles tem esperanças de penetrar uma das linhas de defesa da Síria. O objetivo seria então o de « restabelecer o equilíbrio de forças no terreno »… Nesse ponto parece que os Estados Unidos escolheram o concentrar seus esforços na frente sul, para lançar a sua agressão do território da Jordânia ; os campos de treinamento dos terroristas, lá colocados através dos cuidados dos Estados Unidos,  com a participação de países europeus, assim como de estados do Golfo, e de Israel, estão agora operacionais.

Muitas infromações falam de 2.500 homens equipados com armas modernas anti-aéreas e anti-tanques. Dentro das duas próximas semanas, esse número poderá subir a 4. 000 homens. Eles deverão prosseguir ao norte com o objetivo de alcançar os subúrbios de Damasco, a fim de lá encontrar 5.000 outros combatentes armados, já presentes no território sírio, e prontos a uma operação militar coordenada por seus comandantes ocidentais ;  essa operação é suposta de poder exercer uma pressão suficiente sobre o governo de Damasco, que deveria então ter que abdicar !

Esse é o plano que os Estados Unidos querem por em ação, de uma maneira ou de outra, num contexto de guerra psicológica adotada depois do começo da agressão. Mas quais säo as chances de sucesso desse plano?

Nós objetivamente acreditamos que esse plano é destinado ao fracasso. Isso então sendo por razões políticas, estratégicas e populares. A capacidade das forças sírias de absorver essa invasão e de a demolir, assim como a imunidade do governo sírio contra todas as formas de pressão desse tipo, mais a vontade popular que já atingiu um alto nível de consciência e que se refusa a aceitar a presença de combatentes estrangeiros em seu solo… nos leva a acreditar que esse plano é destinado ao fracasso.

2. Retorno a Assembléia das Nações Unidas para votar sobre um projeto de resolução com referência ao Capítulo VII, a qual autoriza o uso de força como a do cenário líbio.

Essa tentativa não é uma simples hipótese. Ela corresponde a uma real determinação,  em vista das posições adotadas pelas marionetes árabes, e européias, que dansam ao rítmo da orquestração dos Estados Unidos. Em efeito, logo que pudemos registrar o fracasso dos Estados Unidos na Conferência Geneva II, a Assembléia da ONU se meteu na arena de projetos, os quais teriam ao fim e ao cabo o cenário da força, apesar das eternas camuflagens de intervenção humanitária.

Da nossa perspectiva, uma só que seja dessas tentativas será uma tentativa demais. Essa será então, de qualquer maneira, rechaçada pelo dublo veto sino-russo, no Conselho de Segurança… Além disso, como todos já sabem, as decisões da ONU não são obrigatórias.  Nesse caso elas se mostram como o que em inglês se nomearia como  « wishiful thinking  » ou seja, desejos da fantasia. As decisões da ONU não mudarão em nada a realidade do que se passa no terreno !

3. Recorrendo as misturas de pressões militares, políticas, econômicas e psicológicas.

Percebe-se que esses tipos de pressões compostas serão iniciadas depois da colocação da responsabilidade do fracasso de Geneva II  nas costas do governo sírio. Com essa pretensão se convidaria então o povo sírio, e os demais países, a condenar moral- economica, assim como politicamente o governo sírio. Está claro que a administração dos Estados Unidos vem trabalhando ativamente essa opção desde as primeiras horas que se seguiram a suspensão das negociações de Geneva.

Mas, nós pensamos que essa opção, que tenta por em reprise o curso dos últimos três anos, não terá nenhuma chance de êxito.

Afinal, se bem que todas essas modalidades de agressão contra a Síria sejam muito reais, e se bem que estejamos convencidos de que elas não desembocarão em concretizar os desejos dos Estados Unidos, nós pensamos que o próximo mês será uma etapa delicada, em mais de um nível. Todos os meios serão utilizados para uma escalada da pressão militar, política, econômica e psicológica. A Síria deveria ficar em estado de vigilância máxima, frente a essa guerra que começa o culminar de sua ultima etapa. Nós acreditamos que seus, relativamente as circunstâncias, acumulados sucessos, em mais de uma maneira lhes oferecem a possibilidade de ganhar essa« guerra defensiva » !

Dr. Amim Hoteit

17/02/2014

Artigo original : Al-Thawra / Syrie : http://thawra.alwehda.gov.sy/_print_veiw.asp?FileName=3735652120140217022646

Artigo traduzido do arabe por Mouna Alno-Nakhal para Mondialisation.ca

Tradução do francês : Anna Malm – http://artigospoliticos.wordpress.com

 

Notas :

[1] Genève 2 : Fabius accuse les autorités syriennes de l’échec… [Hague aussi !]

http://french.ruvr.ru/news/2014_02_15/Geneve-2-MAE-francais-a-accuse-les-autorites-syriennes-de-l-echec-1059/

http://lci.tf1.fr/monde/moyen-orient/syrie-echec-des-negociations-a-geneve-fabius-condamne-l-attitude-8365949.html

[2] Syrie : échec total des négociations de «Genève II», Brahimi «désolé»… [etc. etc.]

 

http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20140216-syrie-echec-total-negociations-geneve-ii-brahimi-desole-onu-refugies-/

 

 

 

 

 

Tea workers gather to speak to researchers. Photo: Columbia Law School.

The World Bank has agreed to investigate Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL) in India for abusive working conditions on tea plantations in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam, following a formal complaint by workers. A Columbia Law School team has confirmed the workers allegations.

In 2009, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, invested $6.7 million into the newly created APPL to take over 25 plantations from the Tata Group, a major Indian multinational. In return, the IFC got a 19.9 percent in the new entity while Tata kept 41 percent ownership. The 31,000 workers on the plantations were offered shares in the new company.

The APPL holdings number among the roughly 1,000 Assamese tea plantations that were established on tribal lands during the days of the British empire and now supply one sixth of the world’s tea supply. To this day the workers on the tea estates are the direct descendants of the families whose land were taken to create them in the first place.

At the time that the IFC made the investment, it sent staff to visit three plantations to check if the new company was in compliance with Indian laws as well as World Bank standards for environmental and social sustainability. The IFC issued an assessment that was “positive without reservation.”

Over the last three years, Columbia Law School teams visited 17 of the plantations to investigate actual working conditions. Their final report titled: “The More Things Change…’: The World Bank, Tata and Enduring Abuses on India’s Tea Plantations” was ready for publication in January.

“The IFC failed even to note the appalling living conditions that plague tea plantations generally, and are immediately visible to anyone visiting worker residences at APPL estates,” the Columbia report states. “On every plantation visited, workers showed researchers dilapidated homes lacking protection from rain and wind, each dwelling often housing the families of several workers.”

Healthcare for workers and their families – required under the law – was either denied and sometimes workers were even allegedly abused at the hospitals. At least two workers died on the job – Gopal Tanti, a 25-year-old pesticide sprayer, who collapsed and died on the job on May 28, 2010, and Raimati Majhi, a 55-year-old worker, who died in December 28, 2011.

To make matters worse, workers say that APPL has been expanding into new production sectors like fisheries by seizing the little land that the tribals were left in the 19th century to grow subsistence crops.

The Columbia researchers also say that APPL management told them not to trust what workers said because they were ‘just like cattle.’

“Had the IFC done its homework,” says Sarah Mechlovitz Saadoun, a Columbia student involved in the field research, “it would have recognized the huge gap between the claims of the company and the actual conditions for workers.”

“Worker ownership and diversification – the most highly vaunted elements of the transition – are obviously appealing,” says Ashwini Sukthankar, who co-directed the research. “But the implementation was so outrageous that it casts doubt on the sincerity of the project.”

“The IFC acted with an excess of enthusiasm and an absence of attention to the known problems in the plantation sector,” added Peter Rosenblum, a law school professor who oversaw the student research.

Columbia agreed to delay publication of their report last month while APPL and the IFC looked into the matter. Meanwhile workers from tea plantations in Nahorani, Majuli, and Hattigor, supported by Accountability Counsel, an NGO in San Francisco, filed a formal complaint with the IFC’s Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO) on February 2nd. Nine days later, the CAO agreed to pursue a formal investigation, and the Columbia report was released the following day.

“We appreciate the considerable work done by the research team on the challenges facing the tea industry in India,” wrote the IFC in a press statement. “We are reviewing their findings together with APPL and will take into account their recommendations as we continue to work to improve conditions on the ground.”

The company has defended the working conditions. “Wages are paid as per industry agreements,” Kaushik Biswas, an Amalgamated spokesman told Agency France Press by email. “Cash wage plus benefits total up to 189 rupees (US$3) per man (a) day.”

Following the release of the Columbia report, the media has begun to visit APPL’s plantations where they have interviewed workers who confirmed the findings. “When big people come to visit, they give [protective masks] to us,” Raju Mantra, a plantation worker, told the New York Times. “But then they put it back in storage, saying that if we wear it every day, it will wear out.”

This is the second major IFC project to come under fire for human rights abuses in as many months. In January CAO completed an investigation into a $30 million loan to Corporación Dinant in Honduras in 2009 for a palm oil plantation project despite an escalating conflict that has resulted in the killing of at least 19 local farmers. CAO confirmed that World Bank officials should have raised serious questions about human rights abuses before committing the money, but did not recommend canceling the project.

Smart Meters: A Little Too Smart

Smart meters allow the government, corporations and hackers to spy on you.

As security expert Bruce Schneier points out, the entire concept of the “Internet of Things” – where every device, from your refrigerator to your tv – is connected to the Internet is wildly insecure and vulnerable to hacking.

 

Annie Jacobsen’s new book is called Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America.  It isn’t terribly secret anymore, of course, and it was never very intelligent.  Jacobsen has added some details, and the U.S. government is still hiding many more.  But the basic facts have been available; they’re just left out of most U.S. history books, movies, and television programs.

After World War II, the U.S. military hired sixteen hundred former Nazi scientists and doctors, including some of Adolf Hitler’s closest collaborators, including men responsible for murder, slavery, and human experimentation, including men convicted of war crimes, men acquitted of war crimes, and men who never stood trial.  Some of the Nazis tried at Nuremberg had already been working for the U.S. in either Germany or the U.S. prior to the trials.  Some were protected from their past by the U.S. government for years, as they lived and worked in Boston Harbor, Long Island, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, and elsewhere, or were flown by the U.S. government to Argentina to protect them from prosecution.  Some trial transcripts were classified in their entirety to avoid exposing the pasts of important U.S. scientists. Some of the Nazis brought over were frauds who had passed themselves off as scientists, some of whom subsequently learned their fields while working for the U.S. military.

The U.S. occupiers of Germany after World War II declared that all military research in Germany was to cease, as part of the process of denazification.  Yet that research went on and expanded in secret, under U.S. authority, both in Germany and in the United States, as part of a process that it’s possible to view as nazification.  Not only scientists were hired. Former Nazi spies, most of them former S.S., were hired by the U.S. in post-war Germany to spy on — and torture — Soviets.

The U.S. military shifted in numerous ways when former Nazis were put into prominent positions. It was Nazi rocket scientists who proposed placing nuclear bombs on rockets and began developing the intercontinental ballistic missile.  It was Nazi engineers who had designed Hitler’s bunker beneath Berlin, who now designed underground fortresses for the U.S. government in the Catoctin and Blue Ridge Mountains.  Known Nazi liars were employed by the U.S. military to draft classified intelligence briefs falsely hyping the Soviet menace. Nazi scientists developed U.S. chemical and biological weapons programs, bringing over their knowledge of tabun and sarin, not to mention thalidomide — and their eagerness for human experimentation, which the U.S. military and the newly created CIA readily engaged in on a major scale.  Every bizarre and gruesome notion of how a person might be assassinated or an army immobilized was of interest to their research. New weapons were developed, including VX and Agent Orange.  A new drive to visit and weaponize outerspace was created, and former Nazis were put in charge of a new agency called NASA.

Permanent war thinking, limitless war thinking, and creative war thinking in which science and technology overshadowed death and suffering, all went mainstream.  When a former Nazi spoke to a women’s luncheon at the Rochester Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1953, the event’s headline was “Buzz Bomb Mastermind to Address Jaycees Today.”  That doesn’t sound terribly odd to us, but might have shocked anyone living in the United States anytime prior to World War II.  Watch this Walt Disney television program featuring a former Nazi who worked slaves to death in a cave building rockets.  Before long, President Dwight Eisenhower would be lamenting that “the total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.” Eisenhower was not referring to Nazism but to the power of the military-industrial complex.  Yet, when asked whom he had in mind in remarking in the same speech that “public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite,” Eisenhower named two scientists, one of them the former Nazi in the Disney video linked above.

The decision to inject 1,600 of Hitler’s scientific-technological elite into the U.S. military was driven by fears of the USSR, both reasonable and the result of fraudulent fear mongering.  The decision evolved over time and was the product of many misguided minds. But the buck stopped with President Harry S Truman.  Henry Wallace, Truman’s predecessor as vice-president who we like to imagine would have guided the world in a better direction than Truman did as president, actually pushed Truman to hire the Nazis as a jobs program.  It would be good for American industry, said our progressive hero.  Truman’s subordinates debated, but Truman decided.  As bits of Operation Paperclip became known, the American Federation of Scientists, Albert Einstein, and others urged Truman to end it. Nuclear physicist Hans Bethe and his colleague Henri Sack asked Truman:

“Did the fact that the Germans might save the nation millions of dollars imply that permanent residence and citizenship could be bought? Could the United States count on [the German scientists] to work for peace when their indoctrinated hatred against the Russians might contribute to increase the divergence between the great powers? Had the war been fought to allow Nazi ideology to creep into our educational and scientific institutions by the back door? Do we want science at any price?”

In 1947 Operation Paperclip, still rather small, was in danger of being terminated. Instead, Truman transformed the U.S. military with the National Security Act, and created the best ally that Operation Paperclip could want: the CIA. Now the program took off, intentionally and willfully, with the full knowledge and understanding of the same U.S. President who had declared as a senator that if the Russians were winning the U.S. should help the Germans, and vice versa, to ensure that the most people possible died, the same president who viciously and pointlessly dropped two nuclear bombs on Japanese cities, the same president who brought us the war on Korea, the war without declaration, the secret wars, the permanent expanded empire of bases, the military secrecy in all matters, the imperial presidency, and the military-industrial complex.  The U.S. Chemical Warfare Service took up the study of German chemical weapons at the end of the war as a means to continue in existence.  George Merck both diagnosed biological weapons threats for the military and sold the military vaccines to handle them.  War was business and business was going to be good for a long time to come.

But how big a change did the United States go through after World War II, and how much of it can be credited to Operation Paperclip?  Isn’t a government that would give immunity to both Nazi and Japanese war criminals in order to learn their criminal ways already in a bad place?  As one of the defendants argued in trial at Nuremberg, the U.S. had already engaged in its own experiments on humans using almost identical justifications to those offered by the Nazis.  If that defendant had been aware, he could have pointed out that the U.S. was in that very moment engaged in such experiments in Guatemala.  The Nazis had learned some of their eugenics and other nasty inclinations from Americans.  Some of the Paperclip scientists had worked in the U.S. before the war, as many Americans had worked in Germany.  These were not isolated worlds.

Looking beyond the secondary, scandalous, and sadistic crimes of war, what about the crime of war itself?  We picture the United States as less guilty because it maneuvered the Japanese into the first attack, and because it did prosecute some of the war’s losers.  But an impartial trial would have prosecuted Americans too.  Bombs dropped on civilians killed and injured and destroyed more than any concentration camps — camps that in Germany had been modeled in part after U.S. camps for native Americans.  Is it possible that Nazi scientists blended into the U.S. military so well because an institution that had already done what it had done to the Philippines was not in all that much need of nazification?

Yet, somehow, we think of the firebombing of Japanese cities and the complete leveling of German cities as less offensive that the hiring of Nazi scientists.  But what is it that offends us about Nazi scientists?  I don’t think it should be that they engaged in mass-murder for the wrong side, an error balanced out in some minds but their later work for mass-murder by the right side.  And I don’t think it should be entirely that they engaged in sick human experimentation and forced labor.  I do think those actions should offend us.  But so should the construction of rockets that take thousands of lives.  And it should offend us whomever it’s done for.

It’s curious to imagine a civilized society somewhere on earth some years from now. Would an immigrant with a past in the U.S. military be able to find a job? Would a review be needed? Had they tortured prisoners? Had they drone-struck children? Had they leveled houses or shot up civilians in any number of countries? Had they used cluster bombs? Depleted uranium? White phosphorous? Had they ever worked in the U.S. prison system? Immigrant detention system? Death row? How thorough a review would be needed? Would there be some level of just-following-orders behavior that would be deemed acceptable? Would it matter, not just what the person had done, but how they thought about the world?

Syrians across the Country Say No to Terrorism and Foreign Interference

February 21st, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Image: Al Nusrah “Freedom Fighters”

We invite GR readers to review the video and images below and make up their own mind as to what is happening in Syria. 

There is a mass movement across the country against foreign interference.  This mass movement is not being reported by the Western media.

The Syrian population does not support the “freedom fighters” recruited and trained in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.  

What is at stake is the sovereignty and survival of a country with a longstanding history. This movement also includes people who are opposed to the Syrian government.

The Syrian people are fully aware that Washington is supporting Al Qaeda. They know that this is a US sponsored insurgency and that the rebels who are killing civilians are mercenaries.

They are fully aware that this is a war of aggression which is intent upon destroying their country. 

Let us spread this message far and wide.

Michel Chossudovsky, GR, February 21, 2014

**

Report by Syria 360

Thousands of Syrians went out in massive rallies in various areas and cities on Thursday in support of Syrian national principles and staunch support to the Syrian Arab Army.

Thousands in Qudsayya show support to Syrian army, national principles

 Thousands from Qudsayya, al-Dimas and al-Sabboura areas in Damascus countryside gathered in a massive popular rally in Qudsayya area to show support to the Syrian army operations against the armed terrorist groups and national principles.

 

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 The participants, who waved Syrian flags and held posters for President Bashar al-Assad, affirmed that ”those endowed with the spirit of Correctionism and Liberation must have a spirit of victory,” expressing confidence that Syria’s victory is imminent.

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 Chairman of Damascus Countryside Council, Saleh Bakro told SANA that the rally ”is a popular referendum on the basic choices and firm principles that hold the Syrians together no matter their different affiliations.”

Najha residents voice support to national principles

 A massive rally took place in Najha area in Damascus Countryside, with the participants expressing their rejection of any foreign interference in Syria’s affairs.

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 Waving the Syrian flags and posters of President Bashar al-Assad, the participants stressed that the national principles proclaimed by the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic in Geneva express the aspirations of the Syrian people.

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They chanted slogans reflecting firm national unity and voiced strong support to the Syrian army while it is performing its national duty of confronting terrorism to restore security and stability to the homeland.

 Massive rally in Misyaf to glorify martyrdom

Residents of Misyaf city and its countryside in Hama province also went out in thousands in a rally during which they held up banners that glorify martyrdom and the martyrs and the heroic achievements of the Armed Forces.

The participants affirmed that the aggression waged against Syria makes the Syrians more determined to adhere to the sovereignty, just rights and independent decision of their country.

 They strongly condemned the brutal terrorist massacres committed against the Syrian people, expressing their readiness to make more sacrifices so that Syria can get out of the crisis stronger and restore its regional role.

“People of Misyaf stress through this massive gathering that they stand by the Syrian Arab Army in the face of the terrorist takfiri groups and their backers,” said Governor of Hama Ghassan Khalaf in a statement to SANA.

 For his part, Misyaf Mayor Ibrahim al-Sheikh Ali said the rally reflects the Syrians’ determination and will to go on with their lives and overcome the harsh circumstances they are going through.

 He added that the rally also indicates the failure of all the attempts seeking to weaken the Syrians and break up the Syrian social fabric.

Million man march in Tartous to support the army

In Tartous province, a million man march  was organized on the Cornish where the masses expressed support to the firm national principles and Syrian Army.

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The participants waved national flags and banners glorifying national unity and the Syrian people’s commitment to the path of resistance, expressing pride in the feats of the Syrian army in the war against terrorists.

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Tartous governor, Nizar Ismail Moussa said that the locals in Tartous wanted to echo a strident massage of support to the Syrian army and the ”honorable people who have declined to compromise their homeland.”

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”The march is a manifestation of commitment to national principles and the blood of martyrs who offered their lives for Syria to remain steadfast and for the whole world to know that the Syrian people are forever united,” he added.

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 Residents of Haffeh city in Lattakia express rejection of terrorism and support to Syrian Arab Army

Residents of al-Haffeh city in Lattakia province staged a huge march in support of the national principles and the Syrian Arab Army.

 The participants  raised the national flags and photos of President Bashar al-Assad and placards expressing support to the Syrian army and appreciation of its sacrifices to defend the homeland.

 They expressed rejection of the sedition projects planned by some enemies of the nation, pledging to continue the march of confrontation until victory and rebuilding Syria.

 They called on President Bashar al-Assad to run for a new constitutional term as he is a genuine guarantee for Syria’s unity, strength and pride.

Photos from Tartous

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 Photos from Qudssaia

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further images at the following links

March in Qudsaiya in support of army against terrorism

Earlier on Sunday, residents of al-Nabek city in Damascus Countryside and al-Liwan neighborhood in Kafar Souseh district in Damascus took to the streets to express support to the Syrian Arab Army.

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Massive rally in Kafersousa, Damascus in support of Syria’s army

 Mass Marches in Lattakia, Idleb in Support of Army

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Massive rally in Deir Ezzor in support of Syria’s army

Hundreds of citizens took to the streets in al-Joura neighborhood in Deir Ezzor city in support of the Syrian national stances and army’s operations against the armed terrorist groups.
The participants raised placards that expressed the unity of the Syrian citizens and rejection of any foreign intervention in their internal affairs.
They hailed the role of the Syrian army in fighting terrorists and working on stemming their sources in the area.
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Mass rally in Daraa in support of the leadership and army

A huge rally also staged in Daraa al-Mahata in support of the firm national principles and the Syrian Arab Army in confronting the armed terrorist groups.
The participants voiced their support to the Syrian official delegation in Geneva, asking President Bashar al-Assad to run for presidency as he is the genuine insurance for the return of stability to Syria.

They highlighted the need to unmask the takfiri Wahabi reality along with the sides which are supporting them, adding that Syria will be victorious over its enemies as it is today far more stronger than it was.
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Citizens of al Midan neighborhood in Damascus staged huge mass rally in support of national principles and Syrian army

Mass marches in Damascus, Deir Ezzor, Daraa in support to firm national principles, Syrian Army

Mass rallies in Syrian cities condemn terrorist crimes, support Syrian army

Locals of Babila, Beit Sahim, Yalda, Aqraba, vow to be one hand with the army

Grand Mufti: Syria is mother for all citizens, the army is guarantee of victory

A major controversy during the administration of President George W. Bush concerned the use or misuse of intelligence with regard to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs and possible links between Iraq and al-Qaida. The best known elements of that controversy were Iraqi motivations behind the procurement of aluminum tubes, whether Iraq had sought to acquire uranium from Niger, if Iraq was seeking to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program, and whether it was producing and stockpiling chemical or biological weapons.

But another aspect of that controversy involved two components of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy — the Office of Special Plans and the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG). During the Bush administration, and after, there have been numerous accounts that either confused the functions of those offices or attributed actions to them that they never undertook.

Photo: Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith.

One potential cause for confusion is that the term “Special Plans” has been a euphemism for deception since World War II, and for ‘perception management’ (which included deception and ‘truth projection’) since at least the mid-1970s. And during the George W. Bush administration the term apparently had a dual use — as a traditional euphemism (for perception management) as well as a temporary title for planning with regard to Iraq, Iran, and counterterrorism.1

Clearing up the confusion requires an examination of four different classes of documents — those concerning deception and special plans prior to the Ronald Reagan administration, those focusing on special plans during the Reagan administration, those related to the Office of Special Plans under Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and others focusing on the PCTEG.

Deception & Special Plans, 1946-1980

As noted, the term Special Plans was used as a euphemism for deception going back to at least World War II. In March 1944, General Omar Bradley, commander of the U.S. 12th Army Group, established a Special Plans section to “prepare and implement deception and cover plans for all United States forces in the United Kingdom.” Post-war use of the term is illustrated by the existence, in December 1948, of the Special Plans Section of the Strategy Branch of Headquarters U.S. Air Force.2


Memorandum to the assistant chiefs of the Air Staff. Document 4.

Over two years earlier, in the summer of 1946, the absence of organizations to conduct cover and deception operations was the subject of several War Department memos. A Top Secret July 5, 1946 memo (Document 1)from the Office of the Chief of Staff assigned responsibility for the supervision of War Department cover and deception matters to the Director of Plans and Operations. Three days later, the department’s Adjutant General directed (Document 2) that the commanding general of the Army Ground Forces manage tactical deception activities — that is deception during battle, and those which might involve radio, sonic, or camouflage deception.

Two further memos from the same period of time addressed the issue of establishing a cover and deception organization for the Army Air Forces (AAF). A memo (Document 3) from the assistant chief of the air staff for intelligence notes the role of cover and deception in World War II, the absence of an organization to conduct such activities, and the need to establish one. He also suggests roles that the assorted AAF assistant chiefs might play in cover and deception operations. Another memo (Document 4) directed creation of an AAF cover and deception organization — although it is not clear what further action, if any, was taken.

A document from three decades later, a Secret September 28, 1976, memo (Document 5) from the director of naval intelligence to the acting chairman of the “United States Evaluation Board,” indicates that the board was involved in managing deception operations. The main subject of the memo was whether information requested by the board was “within the purview of the USEB.” Other parts of the memo note that the board was established for cover and deception purposes and that one of its roles was processing “feed material” — information or documents — to be transmitted to target nations via controlled foreign agents (CFAs) or double agents (DAs).

In August 1980 the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) entry (Document 13) in the Department of Defense telephone directory indicated the existence of a Special Plans Branch within the Joint Staff’s Special Operation Division. A page from the 1980 JCS organization and functions manual (Document 6) indicated that the term “Special Plans” was equivalent to “perception management,” while not explaining that perception management consisted of two distinct and opposite activities — deception and ‘truth projection.’ Not surprisingly, consideration of various attempts at perception management were viewed as part of the U.S. response to the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and its employees in November 1979.3

Examples of work concerning perception management with regard to Iran include a number of declassified memos or reports produced in 1980. One of those memos, “Perception Management: Iran” (Document 7), after stating its purpose and providing background, specifies its assumptions (e.g. “the principal decision makers who can authorize release of US citizens held in Iran are the Ayotallah Khomeini and/or the terrorists holding the prisoners”) and then goes on to specify 12 possible means of perception management. Those means included radio broadcasts using U.S.-owned transmitters, intrusion into Iranian radio communications frequencies, letter-writing campaigns, and the demonstration of military capabilities.

A more detailed product relating to the hostages (Document 8ADocument 8B), which emanated from the Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group, examined the target audience and stated themes, assessed effectiveness, examined accessibility, and offered conclusions. Those conclusions asserted that the “most lucrative target audience” were Khomeini loyalists and other religious devotees. The most productive themes with respect to Khomeini and his followers would be those “emphasizing dangers posed to the Islamic revolution by prolongation of the embassy crisis.”

Work on perception management with regard to Iran also included production of a series of background option papers, including one (Document 10) on “interim non-violent options.” Those options included starting a rumor campaign that some hostages had been killed or kidnapped (as prelude to calling for accountability by the “IRC” — presumably the Iranian Revolutionary Council), dropping leaflets stating the case for release of hostages and restatement of U.S. military capability, interdiction of the Tehran power grid, probes of Iranian air space, and an overflight of Iran using the supersonic SR-71. The overflight might include “detonation of photo flash over selected Iranian military, government, and Industrial facilities.”

A June 1980 paper (Document 12) discussed possible psychological operations in support of Project SNOWBIRD — the planning and preparation by a joint task force for a second mission to rescue the U.S. hostages in Tehran. Included among the possible operations were deceptive “small actions and communications” to suggest that the United States was beginning to have second thoughts about employing military force. In addition, the memo stated that some of the proposed actions “are on very tenuous legal ground.”

Central Intelligence Agency, “DCI’s Schedule for Wednesday, 8 April 1981.” From Document 14.

Special Plans & Deception, 1981-1990

The DoD telephone directory and JCS organization and functions manual from 1980 provided documentary evidence that by the end of the administration of Jimmy Carter special plans was considered of sufficient importance to have a component of the Joint Staff dedicated to that activity. (According to one former officer in that division, a special plans branch had existed for several years when he joined the division in 1978.)

But the interest in strategic deception and special plans would be raised to another level in the administration of Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan. One element of that concern was what the Soviet Union was doing to deceive or hide from U.S. intelligence — a concern that led to support for at least two satellite programs, a radar imagery program (LACROSSE) and a stealth imagery satellite (MISTY).4

Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) William J. Casey.

Very early in the Reagan administration, Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) William J. Casey was briefed on the “US strategic deception program” (Document 14). Among those briefing Casey were General Richard Stilwell, the deputy under secretary of defense for policy review, and Lt. Gen. Philip Gast, the director of operations for the Joint Staff. Possibly it was another briefing on the same subject later that month to acting CIA deputy director of operations John Stein, that led Stein to write Casey (Document 15) reporting that he had told Stilwell and General Eugene Tighe, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, that he believed “the project worthwhile and long needed” and that he “offered to them full support from the directorate.”

A year later, in April 1982, Stein, who by then had had the ‘acting’ removed from his title, received a letter (Document 16) from Major General E.R. Thompson, former Army assistant chief of staff for intelligence. The letter indicated that Thompson was director of the Defense Special Plans Office (DSPO), and informed Stein that attached to the letter he would find the DSPO charter as well as an Operational Capabilities Tasking memorandum that Thompson had received from the DIA director. Beyond noting the enclosures, the letter informed Stein that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had reduced the office’s budget request to 20 persons and $1.6 million, which “will allow us to stay in business, but only in a planning mode.” Even worse for the future of the office, the House intelligence oversight committee had “zeroed out the request for FY 83″ — which Thompson attributed to the lack of a charter at the time and concern about the extent of CIA support for the effort. He also noted that the DCI would be receiving an appeal to support the SSCI recommendation at the Congressional authorization committee’s conference.

Photo right: General Richard G. Stilwell.

But whatever efforts the DoD and CIA made to ensure that DSPO continued in operation failed and failed fairly quickly — as indicated by the DoD’s response (Document 18) to a June 1983 Freedom of Information Act request for copies of “the organization chart and mission statement for the Defense Special Plans Office.” A letter from Charles Hinkle, the DoD’s director for Freedom of Information and Security Review, stated that “no record pertaining to [the] request was found and that ‘no such office’ exists.” He did attach a memorandum from DSPO sponsor Richard Stilwell to the director of the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS), which explained why there was “no such office.” It indicated that the DSPO charter had been the subject of two DoD Directives — one classified Confidential and the other classified Top Secret. Stilwell informed the WHS director that “the directives were charter documents establishing a DoD activity whose establishment subsequently was not authorized by Congress.” Stilwell recommended that “holders destroy them immediately.”

A second FOIA response (Document 19), received that fall by Scott Armstrong, then of theWashington Post, provided a bit of additional information about the sensitivity with which DoD viewed information about the office. Armstrong had submitted requests for records relating to the DSPO. Hinkle’s response stated that all relevant DoD documents relating to the office were classified. He also attached the same memo from Stilwell recommending that holders of the directives destroy them — as well as a somewhat more forceful cancellation notice from O.J. Williford, whose title was given as “Director, Correspondence and Directives.” Williford instructed, rather than recommended, with regard to the two DoD directives on DSPO, that receivers of the notice to “remove and destroy immediately all copies you have on file.”

Department of Defense Telephone Directory cover from document 20.

While DSPO did not survive into the winter of 1983, other Special Plans organizations in the Department of Defense continued to function. The department’s December 1983 telephone directory (Document 20) showed that, in addition to the previously noted Special Plans Branch in the Joint Staff Special Operations Division, there was a Special Plans Branch within the Human Resources Division of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Also telling is the fact that the two offices were located side-by-side in the Pentagon — in 2C840 (JCS) and 2C841 (DIA).5

Documents also allude to some of the product of the special plans effort in the Joint Staff — although in highly redacted form. In August 1985, the Joint Staff J-3 produced a Top Secret Report* by the J-3 to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Special Plans Overview Guidance (Document 21). The only unredacted substantive portions from the original DoD FOIA response were several section titles indicating some of the objectives of possible perception management efforts, including “deterrence of US/Soviet Hostilities,” “crisis stability,”and “advantage in warfighting capability.” A recent request for a less-redacted copy of the document produced a ‘no records’ response.

The following year, press reports suggested two possible deception/perception management efforts by the United States. In October 1986, a front-page story in the Washington Post, written by Bob Woodward, stated that “in August the Reagan administration launched a secret and unusual campaign of deception designed to convince Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that he was about to be attacked again by U.S. bombers and perhaps be ousted in a coup.” The objective was to increase Gadhafi’s anxiety about his internal strength and U.S. military power with the expectation that he would be less likely to undertake acts of terrorism and be more likely to be toppled from power. Several months earlier, in March, Aviation Week & Space Technology reported that the “Defense Dept., in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency, has initiated a disinformation program that it is applying to a number of its aircraft and weapons development programs to impede the transfer of accurate technological information to the Soviet Union.” The effort was reported to cover 15-20 programs, including the B-2 bomber, the Navy’s A-12 Avenger, aircraft being tested at Area 51, and the Strategic Defense Initiative.6

The topic of perception management with regard to strategic defense was the subject of an April 1987 memorandum (Document 23) from the Joint Staff director of operations to 20 different individuals, including the JCS chairman, military service chiefs of staff, the commanders of the unified commands, and the directors of the DIA and National Security Agency. Titled Special Plans Guidance – Strategic Defense, its few unredacted portions defined strategic defense as “all military matter and operations pertaining to the defense of the North American region, including activities involving Canada, against attack by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles.” It also notes twelve broad areas which possibly warranted additional review when considering [term deleted but likely 'perception management'] support of Strategic Defense.” Included among those areas were: surveillance and detection, recovery and reconstitution, hardening and survivability, and Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) resources.7

In 1994, the General Accounting Office (GAO) investigated whether a June 1984 Army ballistic missile defense test that had taken place after the establishment of SDI, had involved deception which may have suggested a more successful effort than had actually occurred. The GAO reported (Document 26) that there was a DoD deception program associated with the Homing Overlay Experiment — with the intention of affecting Soviet perceptions of U.S. ballistic missile defense capabilities and influencing arms negotiations and Soviet spending. However, the accounting office also reported that the secretary of defense said the planned deception (which would have involved the explosion of the target if the interceptor failed to hit it but passed sufficiently close to “support the appearance” of an interception) was cancelled prior to the test.

The Office of Special Plans, 2002 – 2003

Twenty years after the disestablishment of the nascent DSPO another special plans office would be at the center of controversy. This time it was the Office of Special Plans, established under Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. In his memoir, War and Decision, Feith writes that in the summer of 2002, as “the President moved toward challenging Iraq in the United Nations, the Iraq-related workload in Policy became overwhelming.” The “Policy organization had only two staffers devoted full-time to Iraq,” but “this absurd situation was rectified with the creation of the team that became known as the Office of Special Plans.”8

Feith goes on to state that after he and William Luti, who headed the Near East and South Asia (NESA) office, had received permission to hire about an additional dozen people for that office, it became possible to create a distinct division in the office to handle northern Persian Gulf affairs. According to one account, the office was “given a nondescript name to purposely hide the fact that, although the administration was publicly emphasizing diplomacy at the United Nations, the Pentagon was actively engaged in war planning and postwar planning.”9

Feith, while agreeing on the desire to give the office an unrevealing name, explained the office’s title somewhat differently — “The President was emphasizing his desire for a diplomatic solution to the Iraq problem, but various journalists interpreted his intensified attention to Iraq as a sign that he had decided on war.” Bearing in mind a warning from Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to administration officials “not to aggravate the problem” and since Feith and Luti “anticipated a flap” if the news media found out that the Pentagon had established a new Iraq office, they decided on an alternative designation for the new organization — Special Plans.10

Feith writes that “the Office of Special Plans was nothing more than a standard geographic office within the Policy organization, with the same kinds of responsibilities that every other geographic office in Policy had. It was simply the office of Northern Gulf Affairs — and indeed, after Saddam was overthrown, that became its name.” However, “although the name ‘Special Plans’ was intended to avert speculation, the two words eventually were taken by conspiracy theorists to imply deep and nefarious motives.”11

Douglas J. Feith, Undersecretary of Defense, For: Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison, Subject: Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (SP/NESA), August 23, 2002. Unclassified. Document 27.

Released documentation on the creation and disestablishment of the Office of Special Plans begins with an August 23, 2002 memo (Document 27) from Feith to an assistant to the secretary of defense. In the memo Feith notes his expansion of the responsibilities of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Near East and South Asian affairs “as a result of September 11th,” that he had established a “new Directorate for Special Plans in NESA,” and had requested that Luti be promoted to deputy under secretary of defense for special plans and Near East and South Asian affairs (within the Office of International Security Affairs). The deputy secretary of defense approved the request via a September 13, 2002 memo (Document 28), and a month later the department’s director of administration and management followed suit (Document 29). That approval covered both the creation of the new position and Luti’s reassignment to that position.

A description of Luti’s responsibilities were part of an undated document (Document 31) that ran a little over two single-spaced pages. The description, in accord with the desire to avoid press reaction, never specifies what was meant by the term ‘special plans,’ and notes the incumbent’s responsibility to support the department’s policy and ISA’s “in developing U.S. strategy for a wide-range of contingencies and assessing the adequacy of U.S. campaign planning to carry out the strategy.” It also noted the deputy under secretary’s role in planning and policy direction on ISA programs concerning all nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

Another undated document (Document 32), consisting of a cover page and three charts, provides a clearer description of the changes. The cover itself indicates that the Office of Special Plans was actually the Office of Special Plans and Near East and South Asia Affairs and its expansion was motivated by a need to “deal with Iran, Iraq, and War on Terrorism.” A chart shows that within the office was a “Director, Special Plans,” who was formerly the “Director, Northern Gulf.”

Products of the office include two briefing papers. One, focused on the pros and cons of a provisional government for Iraq (Document 29). Another (Document 34) concerned “Iraqi Opposition Strategy.” Among its key points were that “U.S.-led coalition forces will have the lead in liberated Iraq,” and that “Iraqis will initially have only an advisory role.” It noted disagreement with the State Department’s view that the external opposition should be treated differently from “newly-liberated Iraqis.”

In July 2003, as Feith noted, in the aftermath of the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, the office’s name and its components were changed (Document 35). The term ‘special plans’ was removed and Luti’s title reverted to deputy under secretary of defense for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs while the director of special plans became the director for Northern Gulf affairs.

As Feith also observed, the office’s existence and purpose became the subject of numerous articles and papers – attention which continued during and after the office’s demise. Two of the earliest examples of that attention include a response from the department’s public affairs office (Document 33) to a series of questions from journalist Seymour Hersh — who was researching an article for The New Yorker that would be published in the May 12, 2003 issue under the title “Selective Intelligence” — and a June 4, 2003, Department of Defense press briefing (Document 35).12


Answers 1 through 8 from the Department of Defense. Document 33.

The DoD public affairs response (Document 33) consisted of answers to the 20 questions posed byThe New Yorker. The information in the response related to personnel strength, its basic mission and reason for the office’s creation, its role (or lack of) in intelligence production, whether the office had disputes over the validity of intelligence data with the CIA and State Department, the activities of specific individuals believed to be associated with the Special Plans unit, and whether Special Plans employees referred to themselves as “The Cabal.”

The DoD briefing (Document 35), which included participation from Feith and Luti, followed The New Yorker article and disputed several of its statements (thus, repeating some of the comments made in the DoD response to The New Yorker‘s questions). Among the assertions disputed by Feith was that the Special Plans unit was responsible for reviewing intelligence concerning terrorist organizations and their state sponsors. He stated, “it’s a policy planning office.” He also asserted that “the reports that were obtained from the debriefings of these Iraqi defectors were disseminated in the same way that other intelligence reporting was disseminated, contrary to one particular journalist account who suggested that the Special Plans Office became a conduit for intelligence reports from the Iraqi National Congress to the White House,” adding, “That’s just flatly not true.”13

Policy Counterterrorism, 2002-2003 and Beyond

In the DoD briefing (Document 35), Feith did not dispute that he formed a team to review intelligence concerning terrorist groups and their sponsors — just that it was not the Office of Special Plans.

During the briefing he told his audience that after September 11, he “identified a requirement to think through what it means for the Defense Department to be at war with a terrorist network.” Thus, he asked some people “to review the large amount of intelligence on terrorist networks, and to think through how the various terrorist organizations relate to each other and how they relate to different groups that support them; in particular, state sponsors. And we set up a small team to help digest the intelligence that already existed on this very broad subject. And the so-called cell comprised two full-time people.” He added that “I think it’s almost comical that people think that this was set up as somehow an alternative … to the intelligence community or the CIA.”14


Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Memorandum for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Subject: Request for Detail of Intelligence Analyst, December 5, 2001. Secret. Document 37.

As with the Office of Special Plans, there are a series of released memos depicting the origins of the intelligence review office. An apparently initial, undated (but no later than December 5, 2001), memorandum (Document 37) from Feith to Vice Adm. Thomas R. Wilson, the director of DIA, requested detail of an intelligence analyst. The memo noted that Feith had assigned “a number of intelligence-related duties to my Policy Support office,” that he had established “a small office … to assist in preparing specific sensitive intelligence requirements, and that the National Security Agency had supplied an intelligence specialist for a year. One anticipated aspect of the analyst’s duties, Feith notes, would be as “substantive liaison” to a DIA Iraqi “Red Cell.”15

That memo to Wilson did not assign a name to the “small office” — and referred to a two-person team established in October 2001 to examine the connections between terrorist groups and state sponsors. In his memoir, Feith wrote that “as the need for actionable intelligence became more apparent, I determined to get help in reviewing the intelligence that already existed on terrorist networks.” He further elaborated that “a vast quantity of intelligence reporting routinely landed on my desk, including ‘raw’ intelligence reports … It was my responsibility to make use of the reports and for this I needed staff assistance.” The two individuals Feith assigned to provide assistance were David Wurmser, a John Hopkins University Ph.D. and an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve, and Michael Maloof, “a veteran Defense Department professional” who specialized in analyzing international criminal networks.16

The result of their work was a 154-slide presentation, Understanding the Strategic Threat of Terror Networks and their Sponsors — described in one account as a “sociometric diagram of the links between terrorist organizations and their supporters around the world.”17 Among the key observations, Feith informed Senator John Warner in June 2003 (Document 43A), was that “terrorist groups and their state sponsors often cooperated across ideological divides (secular vs. religious; Sunni vs. Shi’a) which some terrorism experts believed precluded cooperation.

By January 2002, both Wurmser and Maloof had left their positions. On January 22, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz sent a short memo to Feith titled “Iraqi Connections to Al Qaida,” that stated, “we don’t seem to be making much progress pulling together intelligence on links between Iraq and Al Qaida,” and added, “We owe SecDef some analysis of this subject.”18

On January 31, Peter W. Rodman, the assistant secretary of defense for international security, requested and received (Document 38) Feith’s approval — probably at Feith’s request — to establish a Policy Counter Terror Evaluation Group (PCTEG) “to conduct an independent analysis of the Al-Qaida terrorist network.”19 It specified four elements of PCTEG studies — studying al-Qaida’s worldwide organization (including its suppliers, its relations with States and with other terrorist organizations), identifying “chokepoints” in cooperation and coordination, identifying vulnerabilities, and recommending strategies to render the terrorist networks ineffective.

As recommended by Rodman, Feith signed a February 2, 2002, memo (Document 39) to DIA director Wilson informing him of the creation of a Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group and what it would be doing. In addition, he asked for three individuals — two working for the DIA element that supported the Joint Staff – to be assigned to the group for 90 days. Approximately two weeks later, Wilson responded (Document 40), informing Feith that he could assign two of the three requested individuals to the evaluation group. While their names are deleted from Wilson’s response, numerous accounts identified one as Chris Carney, a naval reservist and subsequently a congressman (2007-2011).20

But even before Feith’s request for assistance, the PCTEG had produced an initial analysis of the links between al-Qaida and Iraq — according to a February 21, 2002, memo (Document 41) from Rodman to Feith. The memo told the deputy under secretary that a further analysis would follow in two weeks — and would include suggestions “on how to exploit the connection” between al-Qaida and Iraq and recommend strategies.


Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, to The Honorable John Warner, June 21, 2003. Unclassified. Document 43.

In a pair of June 21, 2003, letters (Document 43A,Document 43B) to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John Warner and Rep. Jane Harman, Feith informed them that in the summer of 2002 the one remaining group member, along with an OSD staffer, produced a briefing, Assessing the Relationship between Iraq and al Qaida.21 It was first presented to the secretary of defense on August 8, and then, on August 15, DCI George Tenet and several other members of the CIA. A meeting between Feith’s representatives and Intelligence Community experts followed on August 20. In September, the briefing was presented to Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff for the Office of the Vice President. Subsequently, Feith reported, the one-member team focused on “related issues, including work in support of the interrogation of al Qaida detainees,” until January 2003 when the final member of PCTEG departed.22

A “Key Questions” slide posed four questions which concerned the probability that there were contacts between Iraq and al Qaida; the probability that there was cooperation regarding such support functions as finances, expertise, training, and logistics; the probability that Iraq and al Qaida actually coordinated decisions or operations; and the probability that if a relationship existed, Iraq and al-Qaida could conceal its depth and characteristics from the United States.23

The only unclassified substantive slide from any of the briefings (Document 42) is titled “Fundamental Problems with How Intelligence Community is Assessing Information.” It identified three perceived problems — that the IC was applying a standard it would not normally employ, that there was a consistent underestimation of the importance Iraq and al-Qaeda would attach to concealing a relationship between the two, and that there was an assumption that secularists and Islamists will not cooperate, even when they have common interests.” That slide was not employed in the briefing to Tenet because, according to Feith, “it had a critical tone.”24

Another slide presented in the briefings was titled “What Would Each Side Want from a Relationship?” It identified one Iraqi objective — to obtain “an operational surrogate to continue war.” Another, titled “Summary of Known Iraq-al Qaida Contacts,1990-2002,” noted an alleged meeting between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer stationed in Prague. A slide that was employed in the September briefing, but not the others, was titled “Facilitation: Atta Meeting in Prague.” A slide titled “Findings” discussed alleged contacts, cooperation, and shared interests between Iraq and al-Qaida. It also contained a statement about coordination between Iraq and al-Qaida on 9/11 — with the exact wording differing from briefing to briefing. Five findings common to all the briefings were: “more than a decade of numerous contacts,” “multiple areas of cooperation,” “shared anti-US goals and common bellicose rhetoric — Unique in calling for killing of Americans and praising 9/11,” and “shared interest and pursuit of WMD,” and the “relationship would be compartmented by both sides, closely guarded secret, indications of excellent operational security by both parties.” The briefing for the secretary of defense asserted there was “one indication of Iraqi Coordination with al-Qaida,” while the briefing for Hadley and Libby stated there “were some indications of possible Iraqi coordination with al-Qaida.” In the briefing to Tenet, the slide claimed there was “one possible indication of Iraqi coordination with al-Qaida.”25

Feith’s efforts to dispell concern about the PCTEG continued , later that month, with a one-page “Fact Sheet on So-Called Intel Cell (or Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, PCTEG)” (Document 44). The fact sheet noted that the group’s focus was analysis of “the connections among terrorist groups and their government supporters in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian Authority” — specifics not provided in earlier memos or statements. The fact sheet also reported that by April 2002 the PCTEG had decreased to one staffer, that it did not focus on the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that the Iraq-al-Qaida briefing grew out the PCTEG’s review of interconnections among terrorist groups and “the discovery by a staffer of some intelligence reports of particular interest.” The one-pager would not defuse the controversy over the organizations established under Feith’s tenure, with a number of articles continuing to repeat the disputed claims.26

In October 2004, Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) issued a 46-report (Document 45A), entitledReport of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al-Qaeda Relationship, which consisted of two key parts. One focused on what Levin characterized as the development and dissemination of an “alternative” assessment of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida. That assessment, he argued, “went beyond the judgments of intelligence professionals in the [Intelligence Community], and … resulted in providing unreliable intelligence information about the Iraq-al-Qaeda relationship to policymakers.” Another presented Levin’s argument that the alternative analysis became the preferred view of the Bush administration concerning any Iraq – al Qaida connection, in contrast to the judgments reached by the Intelligence Community — which were more skeptical than those of Feith’s group.

A somewhat different, although overlapping, focus can be found in a report (Document 45B) issued by the Republican Policy Committee in February 2006. Among the issues it addressed was the organization and functions of the Office of Special Plans, the nature of the PCTEG, whether the PCTEG collected its own intelligence regarding an Iraq-al Qaida connection, whether the alternative work on the Iraq-al Qaida connection was hidden from the Intelligence Community, and whether it was wrong for staff from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to question Intelligence Community analysis. It also posed the question whether Senator Levin had evidence for “his allegations about deception of Congress?” — specifically the allegation that Feith inaccurately told congressional committees that DOD made CIA-requested changes to a document that DOD delivered to the committees. The policy committee claimed that “the CIA has confirmed in writing that DOD did, in fact, make all the CIA-requested changes.”

Photo right: Cover to Document 47.

The DoD Inspector General published a more detailed report in February 2007 (Document 47— Review of the Pre-Iraqi War Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy —many of whose key findings were presented in a briefing on the report (Document 46). The report was the result of requests by two senators. One was Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who at the time was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. On September 9, 2005, he requested a review of whether the Office of Special Plans “at any time conducted unauthorized, unlawful or inappropriate intelligence activities.” The other senator was Carl Levin, who about two weeks after the Roberts request, also asked the inspector general to review the activities of the under secretary of defense for policy, including the PCTEG and Policy Support Office, “to determine if any of the activities were either inappropriate or improper and if so, to provide recommendations for remedial actions.”27

Since, as the report noted, the “actual Office of Special Plans had no responsibility for and did not perform any of the activities examined in this review,” the report focused on the activities of the Policy Support Office and PCTEG. It defined its objective as being “to determine whether personnel assigned to the [Office of Special Plans, the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy] conducted unauthorized, unlawful, or inappropriate intelligence activities from September 2001 through June 2003.”28

The Inspector General’s primary conclusion was that the “Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy … developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision makers.” While such actions were not, in the inspector general’s opinion, “illegal or unauthorized, the actions were … inappropriate given that the products did not clearly show the variance with the consensus of the Intelligence Community and were, in some cases, shown as intelligence products.” In addition, the inspector general concluded that, as a result, Feith’s office “did not provide ‘the most accurate analysis of intelligence’ to senior decision makers.”29

The intelligence assessments the report referred to essentially constituted the briefing Assessing the Relationship between Iraq and al Qaida. With regard to the study on Understanding the Strategic Threat of Terror Networks and their Sponsors, the inspector general noted that it served as “an example of an appropriate application of intelligence information.” But with regard to the August/September briefings, it pointed to various CIA and DIA reports that, it judged, did not support some of the findings stated in the briefing. The CIA reports included a June 21, 2002, document titled Iraq and al-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship and an August 20, 2002, draft, Iraqi Support for Terrorism. DIA products cited by the report included a July 31, 2002, assessment, Iraq’s Inconclusive Ties to Al-Qaida and an August 9, 2002, memorandum by an analyst with the agency’s Joint Intelligence Task Force Combating Terrorism — “JITF-CT Commentary: Iraq and al-Qaida, Making the Case.” The latter was a response to a paper, “Iraq and al-Qaida, Making the Case,” that was reportedly the basis of the August and September briefings.30

By the time the Inspector General’s report was published, Feith had left government, so the official, 47-page, response came from his successor — Eric S. Edelman.31 The response, as published in the Inspector General’s report, consisted of the comments on the draft version of the report but serve as a response to the final report in the many areas where the two were the same.

Among the comments was the assertion that the briefing’s reference to a “cooperative” relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida “was consistent with the DCI’s own comments to Congress in 2002 and 2003.” In addition, Edelman argued that “senior decision-makers already had the IC’s reports and assessments on Iraq and al-Qaida,” thus they “already had ‘the most accurate intelligence’” — that is, he noted, “if one accepts, as the Draft Report seems to do, that the IC’s assessments are the ‘most accurate.’” He also objected that, since no laws were broken or DoD directives violated, there was no reason to characterize the work as inappropriate. In addition, “The Secretary, and by extension, the Deputy, unequivocally had the latitude to obtain an alternative, critical assessment of IC work on Iraq and al-Qaida from non-IC OSD staff members rather than from the DIA or the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I, without vetting such critique through any Intelligence Community process.”32

Conclusion

The term “special plans” was coined over seventy years ago as a euphemism for deception, and subsequently became a euphemism for perception management, one element of which was deception. Thus, confusing actual or potential enemies was always an objective of special plans activities. During the George W. Bush administration the term produced confusion of a different kind — including over attempts to sort out the activities of components of the Defense Department’s policy office.


THE DOCUMENTS

DECEPTION AND PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT, 1946-1980.

Document 1: Office of the Chief of Staff, War Department, Memorandum, Subject: Cover and Deception, July 5, 1946. Top Secret

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

This memo assigns responsibility for the supervision of War Department cover and deception matters to the Director of Plans and Operations — including supervision and training as well as preparation of future military strategic cover and deception plans and policies. It also assigns the director responsibility for evaluating the results of World War II cover and deception activities.

Document 2: Office of the Adjutant General, War Department, Memorandum, Subject: Tactical Cover and Deception, July 8, 1946. Top Secret.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

Responsibility for tactical deception to be employed by ground forces is assigned, by this memo, to the Commanding General, Army Ground Forces. It identifies three specific types of units involved in tactical deception activities — radio, sonic, and camouflage.

Document 3: Maj. Gen. George C. McDonald, Assistant Chief of Air Staff -2, to Commanding General, Army Air Forces, Subject: Army Air Force Cover and Deception Organization, n.d., circa 1946. Top Secret.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

This memo, from an Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff to the commander of the Army Air Forces addresses the issue of an Army Air Force cover and deception organization. It notes use of cover and deception during World War II, the current absence of such an organization and need to establish one, as well as suggesting responsibilities for various Army Air Force officials and components in a cover and deception effort.

 

Document 4: Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Memorandum, Subject: Establishment of Headquarters, Army Air Forces Cover and Deception Organization, n.d. Top Secret.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

This memorandum, to the assistant chiefs of the Air Staff, following up General McDonald’s recommendation (Document 3), directs establishment of an Army Air Forces Cover and deception organization and assigns responsibilities to different assistant chiefs of staff. (It is not clear whether such an organization was ever established).

Document 5Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Department of the Navy, Memorandum for the Acting Chairman, United States Evaluation Board, Subj: Rewrite of USEB Charter, September 28, 1976. Secret.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

This memo, from the Director of Naval Intelligence, is addressed to the Acting Chairman of the “United States Evaluation Board.” The memo notes that the board was established “for cover and deception purposes,”with counterintelligence agencies being responsible for CFAs/DAs (presumably ‘controlled foreign agents’ and ‘double agents’), and the role of the Evaluation Board in processing “feed material” — information or documents to be passed to foreign intelligence services via the CFAs/DAs.

Document 6Joint Chiefs of Staff, JCS Pub 4, Joint Chiefs of Staff Organization and Functions Manual, 1980 (Extract)

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This extract from the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1980 organization and function manual discloses the existence of a Special Plans Branch within the Joint Staff and its responsibility to “provide guidance and instructions to appropriate agencies on the conduct of special planning (perception management) activities.”

Document 7: Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Perception Management: Iran,” 1980. Secret.

Source: DoD Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo was written during the hostage crisis that began with the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. Its purpose is stated as outlining a concept for employing psychological operations in support of resolving the “crisis in Iran on terms favorable to the interests of the United States.” It summarizes the situation, specifies assumptions, target groups, potential themes, and the concept — including both the organization and management of the effort as well as twelve possible measures.

 

Document 8A: Maj. Gen. Jack V. Mackmull, Commander, John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance, Subject: Psychological Operations Plan – Iranian Hostage Crisis, February 14, 1980. Secret.

Document 8B: Colonel Alfred H. Paddock Jr., Headquarters, 4th Psychological Operations Group, Subject: Psychological Operations Plan – Iranian Hostage Plan, February 13, 1980. Secret w/att: Statement of PSYOP Objective. Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

General Mackmull’s February 14 letter transmits the February 13 letter and attached document from Colonel Paddock of the 4th Psychological Operations Group. Paddock’s letter notes the specific objectives of expanding the National Strategic Psychological Operations Plan to address the “captors” responsible for the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The attached plan provides a statement of PSYOP objectives, defines the target audience, states themes, assesses effectiveness, and offers conclusions.

Document 9: Lt. Col. [Deleted], Memorandum to JCS, Subject: Strategic Political [Deleted], March 6, 1980, Confidential. w/att: Memorandum for the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Subject: Strategic/Political [Deleted] RICE BOWL Ops, March 6, 1980. Top Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo, whose title is partially redacted, concerns psychological operations to be conducted during Operation RICE BOWL — the planning phase of Operation EAGLE CLAW, the attempted U.S. mission to rescue American hostages in Tehran in April 1980.

Document 10: Joint Staff, Memorandum to Major General Vaught, Subject: Background Option Papers, May 16, 1980. Top Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

One of the background option papers prepared by the Joint Staff included one on “interim non-violent options.” Those included a rumor campaign, dropping of leaflets, interdiction of the Tehran power grid, a supersonic overflight by an SR-71 (accompanied by photo flash bombs), and periodic semi-overt probes of Iranian air space.

Document 11: Colonel [Deleted], Chief of Staff, Memorandum for Major General Vaught,Subject: “Backburner,” June 2, 1980. Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo reveals the existence of a perception management effort designated “Backburner” but provides no specifics. It does recommend some actions in support of the plan — including withdrawal of the U.S. carrier task groups from the Indian Ocean and employing hostage families to create “an illusion of well being among the hostages.”

Document 12: Lt. Col. [Deleted], Memorandun for General Vaught, Subject: Psychological Operations Support for SNOWBIRD, June 2, 1980. Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo discusses possible psychological operations in support of a second possible attempted mission to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran. Included among the possible operations were “small actions and communications” to indicate that the US was beginning to have second thoughts about employing military force. The memo also noted that some of the actions proposed “are on very tenuous legal ground.”

Document 13: Department of Defense, Department of Defense Telephone Directory, August 1980 Unclassified. (Extract)

Source: U.S. Government Printing Office.

These pages from the August 1980 issue of the Department of Defense’s telephone directory indicates the existence of a Special Plans Branch within the Joint Staff’s Special Operations Division.

PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT AND SPECIAL PLANS, 1981-1990

Document 14: Central Intelligence Agency, “DCI’s Schedule for Wednesday, 8 April 1981,” April 8, 1981. Secret.

Source: www.cia.gov/err

This page from DCI William Casey’s schedule includes an entry for a meeting on the Defense Department’s “strategic deception program” — a briefing given by Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Review Gen. Richard Stillwell as well Lt. Gen. Philip Gast, the chief of operations for the Joint Staff.

Document 15: John H. Stein, Acting Deputy Director for Operations, Memorandum for: Director of Central Intelligence, Subject: Briefing Provided Acting DDO by General Tighe and General Stillwell, April 24, 1981. Secret.

Source: CIA Records Search Tool (CREST).

This memorandum from the CIA’s acting deputy director of central intelligence for the Director of Central Intelligence reported on a briefing Stein received from General Stillwell (Document 14) and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency “on their special project” — which may be a reference to the DoD perception management/deception program.

Document 16: Major General E. R. Thompson to Mr. John Stein, April 23, 1982. Top Secret.

Source: CREST.

This letter to CIA deputy director of operations John Stein is signed by Major General E. R. Thompson, who had served as the Army assistant chief for intelligence, and who the letter identifies as the director of the Defense Special Plans Office (DSPO). The letter focuses on the need for resources to operate the office. It also notes the existence of a charter for the DSPO and an Operational Capabilities Tasking memorandum (copies of which were attached to the letter but not released).

Document 17: Martin Hurwitz, Director, General Defense Intelligence Program, to Mr. James S. Wagenen, June 11, 1982. Secret.

Source: CREST.

This letter, from the director of the General Defense Intelligence Program, responds to a request from a staff member of the House Appropriations Committee for sources of funds, via realignment, for the Defense Special Plans Office.

Document 18: Charles W. Hinkle, Director, Freedom of Information and Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, to Dr. Jeffrey Richelson, July 25, 1983. Unclassified w/att: General Richard G. Stilwell, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Memorandum for the Director, Washington Headquarters Services, Subject: Cancellation of DoD Directives TS-5155.2 and C-5155.1, February 2, 1983. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

In response to a June 22, 1983 Freedom of Information Act for copy of the organization chart and mission statement for the Defense Special Plans Office, the DoD’s Director of Freedom of Information and Security Review stated that “no such office exists” and encloses a relevant memorandum. The memorandum explains that the office did exist and why it no longer did as of July 25, 1983.

Document 19: Charles W. Hinkle, Director, Freedom of Information and Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, to Mr. R. Scott Armstrong, July 25, 1983.Unclassified.

Source: R. Scott Armstrong.

This DoD response to FOIA requests by Washington Post writer Scott Armstrong for records related to the Defense Special Plans Office states that the DoD copies of the directives were classified in their entirety — as were all other documents cited in the letter, including those related to the office’s creation and budget and accounting issues.

Document 20: Department of Defense, Department of Defense Telephone Directory, December 1983, Unclassified. (Extract)

Source: U.S. Government Printing Office.

While the DSPO no longer existed as of December 1983, the Special Plans units in the Special Operations Division and the Defense Intelligence Agency (created subsequent to August 1980) remained in existence — and occupied adjoining suites in the Pentagon — as indicated by this extract from the December 1983 Department of Defense Telephone Directory.

Document 21: Joint Chiefs of Staff, Report* by the J-3 to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Special Plans Overview Guidance, August 9, 1985. Top Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

The title of this almost entirely redacted document indicates that, in 1985, the Joint Chiefs of Staff produced an overview guidance for special plans activities. (A recent request for the document produced a ‘no records’ response).

Document 22: John H. Fetterman, Jr. Deputy and Acting Chief of Staff, U.S. Atlantic Command, Subj: Deception Planning Organization, October 28, 1985, Confidential.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This Atlantic Command instruction illustrates the existence of deception planning organizations not only at the Defense Department and defense agency level but also at the unified commands. Among the topics discussed were planning considerations as well as ‘Special Means and Feed Material’ — that is use of agents of deception and the material to be fed to deception targets.

Document 23: Lt. Richard A. Burpee, Director of Operations, Joint Staff, SM-224-87, Subject: Special Plans Guidance – Strategic Defense, April 6, 1987. Top Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

A key element of the Reagan administration’s defense policy was strategic defense, which included the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), better known as ‘Star Wars.’ This document, most which has been redacted, focuses on special plans related to U.S. strategic defense programs. It notes a number of areas that “may warrant additional review when considering [perception management] support of Strategic Defense.”

Document 24: Joint Chiefs of Staff, JCS Admin Pub 1.1, Organization and Functions of the Joint Staff, October 1, 1988. Unclassified. (Extract)

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This extract from the Joint Chiefs of Staff organization and functions manual shows the structure of the J-3 (Operations) directorate of the Joint Staff and the locus of Special Plans management for the JCS in the directorate’s Operations Planning and Analysis Division. It also reveals the existence of an “Interdepartmental Special Plans Working Group.”

Document 25: United States Central Command, Regulation 525-3, Military Deception Policy and Guidance, August 11, 1990. Secret.

Source: Central Command Freedom of Information Act Release.

As did the 1985 Atlantic Command instruction (Document 22) this document concerns military deception activity at the unified command level. It notes that US military deceptions “shall not be designed to influence the actions of US citizens or agencies, and they will not violate US law, nor intentionally mislead the American public, US Congress, or the media.”

Document 26: General Accounting Office, GAO/NSIAD-94-219, Ballistic Missile Defense: Records Indicate Deception Program Did Not Affect 1984 Test Results, July 1994. Unclassified.

Source: http://gao.gov

This GAO report was produced in response to a request by a member of Congress that the office investigate claims made in 1993 of DoD deception in its June 1984 ballistic missile defense test – Homing Overlay Experiment 4 (HOE 4). It reports on DoD’s acknowledgment of a deception program associated with the HOE, that there was no evidence that DoD deceived Congress about HOE 4 intercepting its target (although the department did not disclose how it made interception easier), and that plans for a deceptive explosion was dropped prior to the test in the event of a near miss.

SPECIAL PLANS, 2002 – 2003

Document 27: Douglas J. Feith, Undersecretary of Defense, For: Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison, Subject: Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (SP/NESA), August 23, 2002. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This memo, from Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, announces his plans to create a Directorate of Special Plans within the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. The directorate, Feith explained, was to assume responsibility within his office for the war on terrorism. Feith requests approval of his nominee to head the new office.

Document 28: Jacqueline G. Arends, Special Assistant to the Secretary for White House Liaison, For: Deputy Secretary of Defense, Subject: Candidate Approval Position Adjustment – Liu, September 13, 2002. Unclassified w/att: Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, For: Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison, Subject; Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (SP/NESA), August 23, 2002. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo from the special assistant to the Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison to the Deputy Secretary of Defense requests approval to establish the office proposed by Feith in his August 23 memorandum (Document 27) as well as to appoint William Luti to the position.

Document 29: OSD/SP/NESA, “Pros and Cons of a Provisional Government,” October 10, 2002, Secret/Noforn.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

The organizational authorship attributed to this memo concerning the formation of a provisional Iraqi government — “OSD/SP/NESA” — indicates the memo is a product of the Special Plans component of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Document 30: Assistant Director for Executive and Political Personnel, To: Director, Personnel and Security, Director of Administration and Management, Subject: Establishment of the SES General Position of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Special Plans & Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs) and Noncareer Reassignment of William J. Luti, October 13, 2002. Unclassified w/att: Approval/certification, October 21, 2002. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This memo follows up on the earlier memos from Feith (Document 27) and Arends (Document 28) on creation of the position of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Special Plans & Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs). It describes the position as advising and exercising “responsibility for all policy matters of Defense interest pertaining to special plans and the defense policy on the countries of the Middle East and South Asia.” It recommends approval of the proposed position and nominee — recommendations which the last page indicates were accepted.

Document 31: Department of Defense, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, n.d. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This document describes, inter alia, the nature and purpose of the position of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

Document 32: Department of Defense, Office of Special Plans and Near East and South Asian Affairs: Expansion to Deal with Iran, Iraq, and the War on Terrorism, circa late 2002- 2003.

Source: www.waranddecision.com

These briefing slides, intended to describe the expansion of the Office of Special Plans and Near East and South Asian Affairs, includes a organization chart for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, a description of the organization prior to October 2002, and a depiction of the post-October 2002 reorganization. The last chart indicates that the Director, Special Plans was responsible for “Iran, Iraq, War on Terrorism.”

Document 33: Office of Public Affairs, Department of Defense, Answers to Questions Posed by Seymour Hersh/The New Yorker, circa 2003.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This document, consists of questions posed by The New Yorker/Seymour Hersh for a story being researched as well as the answers provided by the Department of Defense. The questions concerned the personnel strength, personnel histories, mission, and activities of the Office of Special Plans.

Document 34: Office of the Secretary of Defense/Special Plans/Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, “Iraqi Opposition Strategy,” January 30, 2003, Secret.

Source: www.dod.mil/pubs/foi

This paper, prepared by the office of William Luti, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, focused on the strategy of the Iraqi opposition. Its states the office’s opposition to the State Department position with regard to the treatment of the external opposition to Saddam’s regime and discusses a number of specific issues (including the Judicial Council, Consultative Council, and Census).

Document 35: Department of Defense, News Transcript, DoD Briefing on Policy and Intelligence Matters, June 4, 2003. Unclassified.

Source: www.defenselink.mil

The briefing covered in this transcript involved participation by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Special Plans and Near East and South Asian Affairs William J. Luti. Among the topics to be discussed, Feith noted at the beginning of the briefing was the “so-called, or alleged intelligence cell and its relation to the Special Plans Office.”

Document 36: William J. Luti, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Memorandum for: Principal Director, Organizational Management, and Support OUSDP, Subject: Office Redesignations, July 14, 2003. Unclassified.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release.

This memo from William J. Luti requests that his office designation be changed to Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and that the title of Director for Special Plans be changed to Director for Northern Gulf Affairs.

POLICY COUNTERTERRORISM EVALUATION GROUP, 2002 – 2008

Document 37: Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Memorandum for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Subject: Request for Detail of Intelligence Analyst, December 5, 2001. Secret.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

In this memorandum to the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith notes that he had “assigned a number of intelligence-related duties to my Policy Support office,” requests that a DIA analyst be detailed for a year to help carried out those duties, and notes that the National Security Agency had responded favorably to a similar request. Feith’s memo also reveals the existence of a Defense Special Plans Program, in a context which suggests that Special Plans was being used as a euphemism for perception management.

Document 38: Peter W. Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense International Security Affairs, to Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), Subject: Policy Evaluation Group (PCTEG), January 31, 2002 Secret.

Source: Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Release

This memo, from the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, to deputy under secretary Feith, requests his approval to established a Policy Counter Terror Evaluation Group “to conduct an independent analysis of the Al-Qaida terrorist network.” It goes on to specify what subjects the group would focus on. Feith indicates his approval at the end of the memo.

Document 39: Douglas J. Feith, Memorandum for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Subject: Request for Support, February 2, 2002. Secret.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

Similar to his memorandum of December 5, 2001 (Document 37) to the DIA director, deputy under secretary Feith requests the detail of three DIA analysts (by name) to become part of the Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group — although he asks only for 90-day deployments. The memo also describes the focus of the group’s planned analytical effort.

Document 40: Vice Adm. Thomas R. Wilson, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Subject: Request for Support, February 15, 2002,. Confidential.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

In his response to Feith’s request (Document 39), DIA director Thomas Wilson agrees to provide two of the request analysts to the PCTEG, who would serve with the group as U.S. Navy reservists.

Document 41: Peter W. Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs, to Deputy Secretary of Defense, Subject: Links between Al-Qaida and Iraq, February 21, 2002. Secret.

Source: www.waranddecision.com

This memo from international security affairs chief Rodman to Feith notes that the PCTEG had provided the results of their initial work on links between Al-Qaida and Iraq and restated the four components of the group’s analytical focus. It also promises to provide further analysis along with suggestions “on how to exploit the connection and recommend strategies.”

Document 42: Office of the Secretary of Defense, Assessing the Relationship Between Iraq and Al Qaida, n.d., August 2002. Classification Not Available.

Source: www.levin.senate.gov

The forerunner to the PCTEG produced a 154-page report on links between terrorist organizations and state sponsors of terrorism. A follow-up effort, focusing on links between al-Qaeda and Iraq, resulted in briefings to several briefings, including one to DCI George Tenet. The single substantive slide that has been released is one that was briefed to the Department of Defense, but not to the DCI.

Document 43A: Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, to The Honorable John Warner, June 21, 2003. Unclassified.

Document 43B: Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, to The Honorable Jane Harman, June 21, 2013. Unclassified.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

These letters from Feith to chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Representative Jane Harman concerns the “so-called ‘DoD intelligence cell.’” He writes that “we set up a small team to help digest the intelligence that already existed” on links between terrorist networks and state sponsors and that after April 2002 “the team was down to one full-time person.” He also addresses the work on the team member after April 2002 and the identification of the team with the Office of Special Plans.

Document 44Under Secretary of Defense, Policy, Draft, “Fact Sheet on So-Called Intell Cell (or Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, PCTEG), “February 3, 2004. Unclassified.

Source: www.dod.gov/pubs/foi

As with the letters to John Warner and Jane Harman (Document 43ADocument 43B) this document focuses on the “so-called Intell Cell” — the Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group. This one-page fact sheet discusses the reason for establishing the group, the focus of its research, its product, and the size of the group.

Document 45A: Senator Carl Levin, Report of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship, October 21, 2004. Unclassified.

Document 45B: Republican Policy Committee, The Department of Defense, the Office of Special Plans and Iraq Pre-War Intelligence, February 7, 2006. Not classified.

Sources: www.levin.senate.gov, www.dougfeith.com

These two reports, from differing political perspectives address the interrelated issues of the analysis of the Iraq- al-Qaeda relationship produced by the PCTEG, the mission of the Office of Special Plans, and various reports about the Special Plans office’s activities.

Document 46Inspector General, Department of Defense Report on Review of the Pre-Iraqi War Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Report No. 07-INTEL-04), February 9, 2007. Unclassified.

Source: www.dodig.mil

These briefing slides summarize the purpose and results of the Department of Defense Inspector General’s report on the activities of the Office of Special Plans and PCTEG. It notes separate requests from Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, and Carl Levin (Document 45A) to review the activities of either the OSP or the PCTEG and Policy Support Office, states review objectives, the scope of the review, and findings. The final five slides provide answers to questions posed by Senator Levin.

Document 47: Inspector General, Department of Defense, 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-Iraqi War Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, February 9, 2007. Secret/Noforn.

Source: www.dodig.mil

This report, whose origins and reports are summarized in briefing slides released the same day (Document 46) was released in redacted form by the DoD Inspector General’s Office. It provides background to its origins, describes its results, and presents its evaluation — which includes the statement that “The assessments produced evolved from policy to intelligence products, which were then disseminated” and that such actions “were inappropriate because a policy office was producing intelligence products and was not clearly conveying to senior decision-makers the variance with the consensus of the Intelligence Community.”

Document 48: U.S. Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence, Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq Conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans Within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , June 2008. Unclassified.

Source: www.senate.gov

Despite its title, this report largely focuses on one particular incident – a meeting in Rome that occurred between December 10 and December 13, 2001. The meeting involved a number of DoD officials, including one who subsequently became a member of the Office of Special Plans, and Iranian exiles.


NOTES

[1] On the multiple forms of deception and the components of perception management see, Joseph W. Caddell, Deception 101 – Primer on Deception, December 2004, available at: www.fas.org/irp/eprint/deception.pdf; Jeffrey T. Richelson, “Planning to Deceive,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mach/April 2003, pp. 64-69.

[2] Michael Howard, British Intelligence in the Second World War, Volume 5: StrategicDeception (London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1990), p. 110; Thaddeus Holt, TheDeceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War (New York: Skyhore Publishing 2007), p. 795. The book, originally published in 1975, that first popularized the history of World War II deception is Anthony Cave Brown, Bodyguard of Lies: The Extraordinary True StoryBehind D-Day (Guilford, Ct.: The Lyons Press, 2002).

[3] Richelson, “Planning to Deceive.”

[4] On LACROSSE and MISTY, see Jeffrey T. Richelson, The Wizards of Langley: Inside theCIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology (Boulder, Co.: Westview, 2001), pp. 247-249. On the Reagan administration’s concern with Soviet denial and deception, see Ronald Reagan, National Security Decision Directive 108, “Soviet Camouflage, Concealment and Deception,” October 12, 1983.

[5] In the same time period special plans units could found at both the service and command levels. Examples included the Special Plans Division of the Directorate of Plans of the Air Force office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans & Operations; a Special Plans component of the Tactical Air Command; and the CINCPAC Special Plans Committee.

[6] Bob Woodward, “Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan,” Washington Post , October 2, 1986, pp. A1, A12-A13; David M. North, “U.S. Using Disinformation Policy To Impede Technical Data Flow,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, March 17, 1986, pp. 16-17; “A Bodyguard of Lies,” Newsweek, October 13, 1986, pp. 43-46.

[7] The most recent known official document related to deception is: Department of Defense Instruction S-3604.01, “Department of Defense Military Deception,” March 11, 2013. (It is still classified.)

[8] Douglas J. Feith, War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War onTerrorism (New York: Harper 2008), p. 293.

[9] Dana Priest, “Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique,” Washington Post, March 13, 2004, p. A11.

[10] Feith, War and Decision , pp. 293-294.

[11] Ibid., p. 294.

[12] Seymour Hersh, “Selective Intelligence,” The New Yorker , May 12, 2003, pp. 44-51.

[13] See Ibid., pp. 44-45. The New Yorker article reportedly resulted in a letter to the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, from a senior DoD public affairs official in which the official complained that “There are more inaccuracies that can be addressed in this letter, and it is particularly disappointing given the time and effort taken by my staff to ensure The New Yorker has its facts straight prior to publication.” See, Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, “Inside the Ring,” The Washington Times, May 21, 2004. A FOIA request for the letter produced a “no records” response from DoD.

[14] On the creation of this group — the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) — also see Feith, War and Decision, pp. 116-117.

[15] The memo also suggested that the term Special Plans continued, in some instances, to have its traditional association with deception/perception management — since it stated that Feith directed a number of activities that required sensitive intelligence support, including the “Defense Special Plans Program.”

[16] Feith, War and Decision, p. 117.

[17] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , February 9, 2007, p.12; Priest, “Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique.” Another examination of the activities of PCTEG and its untitled predecessor is by James Risen, “How Pair’s Finding on Terror Led To Clash on Shaping Intelligence,” New York Times, April 28, 2004, pp. A1, A19.

[18] Peter Spiegel, “Investigation fills in blanks on how war groundwork was laid,” Los AngelesTimes , April 6, 2007, p. A10.

[19] Feith, War and Decision , p. 118.

[20] Ibid., pp. 118, 264; Priest, “Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique.”

[21] The one PCTEG member (Chris Carney) plus two OSD staffers (veteran DIA analyst Christina Shelton and James Thomas) produced and presented the briefing — as Feith noted in War and Decision , pp. 265-266.

[22] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , February 9, 2007, p.10; Feith, War and Decision, p.119n; Senator Carl Levin, Report of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship , October 21, 2004, pp. 14, 16. What Tenet said and thought about the briefing has been a subject of controversy — See Priest, “Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique”; Feith, War and Decision, pp. 266-267; George J. Tenet with Bill Harlow, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA (New York: Harper Collins, 2007), pp. 346-348. The briefing and related issues are discussed at length in U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Armed Services, Briefing on the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Report on the Activities of the Office of Special Plans Prior to the War inIraq (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008).

[23] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , p. 72

[24] Ibid., p. 9.

[25] Ibid., pp. 7, 11, 32, 73-75.

[26] See Jason Leopold, “CIA Probe Finds Secret Pentagon Group Manipulated Intelligence on Iraqi Threat,” www.Antiwar.com, July 25, 2003; Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, “The Lie Factory,”Mother Jones, January/February 2004; Karen Kwiatowski, “The new Pentagon papers,” www.salon.com, March 10, 2004; James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, andthe Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies (New York: Doubleday, 2004), pp. 307-308, 314-316, 318-320, 324; Peter Eisner and Knute Royce, The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq (New York: Rodale, 2007), pp. 58-63.

[27] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , p. ii.

[28] Ibid., p. 3.

[29] Ibid., p.4.

[30] Ibid., pp.7-9, 12, 14, 29. Declassified versions of the two CIA reports can be found at:http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2005_cr/levin041505.html. The topic of Iraqi – al Qaida links is also the subject of Kevin M. Woods with James Lacey, Institute for Defense Analyses, Saddamand Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents, Volume 1 (Redacted), November 2007.

[31] Feith’s reaction appeared in War and Decision , pp. 270-271 as well as on his website — www.dougfeith.com

[32] Inspector General, Department of Defense, Report 07-INTEL-04, Review of the Pre-IraqiWar Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy , pp. 56-58, 79.

Shannon Watts often explains how she’s simply a reluctant activist. The plain ole everyday stay-at-home Midwestern mom founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (MDA) on December 15, 2012, just a day after the Sandy Hook School massacre. Boasting “tens of thousands of members and over 80 local chapters,”[1] the organization seeks to accomplish for gun control what Mothers Against Drunk Driving did for sobriety behind the wheel.

MDA joined Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) on February 12th to issue a new joint study highlighting at least 44 school and college shootings since December 2012. With a total fatality count of 28, the report emphasizes how the tragic events have surpassed that of Newtown itself.

“We are a developed country,” Shannon declared in a fed-up tone upon the study’s release, “and we have to ask ourselves what is wrong with our culture and laws that’s creating an environment where not only do we have 44 school shootings in the past 14 months – but we are doing nothing about it.”[2]

Is it beyond reason to ask, “Who exactly is Shannon Watts?” This is a question major news media outlets have predictably left unexamined. Again, the 43-year-old is a self-styled “mother of five children,” a modest “stay-at-home mom in Zionsville, a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana.” Watts is also portrayed in glitzy promos and has been wholeheartedly embraced by venues such as MSNBC as simply “a mom who demands action” to stop gun violence–the kind of gal who wants “sensible” gun laws, much like Boss Michael Bloomberg, President Obama, and many Congressional Democrats.

Yet Watts’ public persona was one she has only recently acquired. In fact, she has spent two decades quietly behind the scenes as an extremely ambitious executive at several major public relations firms and Fortune 500 companies. Watts’ Linked In profile indicates that she formally left the PR profession in June 2012, just six months before the Sandy Hook event.

At that time Watts headed up her own “boutique” firm, VoxPop Public Relations, while working as a freelance consultant for clients of public relations behemoth Fleishman-Hillard. Watts began VoxPop in 2008, the same year she was recognized by the foremost public relations trade journal, PR Week, as one of its “40 Under 40,” for notable achievements and future promise in the industry.

Overall, Shannon Watts, who until only recently went by the last name Troughton, began work fresh out of University of Missouri in 1993 as a public affairs officer for Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, the Missouri House of Representatives, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

In 1998 Watts (Troughton) moved on to further develop her propaganda acumen as Vice President of Corporate and Public Affairs at the major PR firm Fleishman-Hillard, where she remained until 2001. Watts then became Director of Global and Public Affairs at the Monsanto Corporation “where she led external initiatives designed to generate positive, proactive media coverage of the company’s agriculture biotechnology products.”[3]

Between 2004 and 2006 Watts served as Director of Global Communications for GE Healthcare, General Electric’s $15 billion medical and diagnostics device unit. She then joined WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance corporation, as its Vice President of Corporate Communications.

At WellPoint Watts oversaw an impressive “30-person corporate communications team” until 2008, when she stepped down to begin VoxPop Public Relations. Watts “started the firm because she saw a need for boutique agencies that can provide the same service at a lower cost during the recession,” PR Week observes.[4]

Watts’ Linked In profile lists numerous proficiencies, including “New Media,” “Crisis Management,” “Crisis Communications,” “Thought Leadership” [sic], “Publicity,” “Integrated Marketing,” and “Marketing Communications.”

In other words, as a very highly-positioned and well-connected public relations maestro, Watts is an especially apt individual to head up MDA—perhaps too apt. Given her talents (that systematically go without mention in news stories) it is perhaps unsurprising that Watts has been embraced by corporate news media outlets that strongly back heightened gun control measures and routinely cite Sandy Hook as a transformative event in this regard.

For example, here’s Shannon playing reluctant protester at the January 2013 “March on Washington for Gun Control.” “I am not a politician. I am a mom from Indiana,” Watts declares. “I am an accidental activist.”

Here’s Shannon on MSNBC, where she is introduced not as a professional flack, but simply as the “Founder” of MDA and “Mother of Five Kids.”

More recently Shannon has appeared on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” where she provides her account of being accosted by a motley pack of “gun bullies” while on a simple coffee date with like-minded moms. Asked by host Ed Shultz whether she had previously been an activist, Watts responds, “Never in my entire life. I became an accidental activist on, uh, December 15, 2012, after Sandy Hook–the day after–and I will never go back …”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaPVRU4eu88

Watts has also become a de-facto columnist for the Huffington Post, having written nine opinion pieces since January 2013—about one every six weeks—as the “stay at home mom” and former “communications executive” who has finally found her cause.[5] One piece appearing on Mother’s Day, “Keep Your Flowers on Mothers Day, I want My Rights,” predictably trotted out Sandy Hook as a rallying cry. “Twenty children and six adults had been slaughtered in the sanctity of an elementary school by an assault weapon designed for the battlefield,” Watts tells HuffPo readers.

The horror of it was almost too much to believe or comprehend. This has to be the tipping point, I thought. This has to be what moved us as a country to change. But it wasn’t. Twenty dead first-graders weren’t enough to advance even the weakest of legislative measures.[6]

Here is yet another especially unusual development closely related to the Sandy Hook massacre. In this instance a highly experienced public relations practitioner apparently quits a very promising career, then just months later happens to start up a prominent non-profit activist organization that echoes the voices of Newtown parents–the day following the incident itself. The organization is also now closely aligned with Bloomberg’s MAIG, a group that similarly clings to Sandy Hook, and will thus have more than ample resources going forward.

Over the past year MDA has generated publicity by pressuring retail chains Starbucks and Staples to issue policies preventing their law-abiding customers from possessing weapons inside their stores. It will soon be embarking on a campaign against McDonald’s to enact similar measures.[7]

As an expert PR practitioner Shannon Watts appears to have a great deal in common not only with Sandy Hook’s central players, but also the classic engineers of mass consent. By combining her personal identity and professional forte toward furthering a broader narrative intended to refashion public understanding and will, Watts demonstrates the greatest of moral forfeitures so common to modern governance–specifically, inducing a credulous constituency toward the false notion that a statist monopoly over killing technology will somehow achieve more secure communities and public spaces. History suggests such a concentration of power brings about quite the opposite.

Notes

[1] “Shannon Watts,” (Contributor Profile), Huffington Post, n.d. See also, “‘Grassroots’ Gun Control Org “Moms Demand …” is Utterly Astroturf,” DemocraticUnderground, November 8, 2013.

[2] Ed Pilkington, “Twenty-Eight Killed in 44 US School Shootings Since Newtown, Study Finds,” UK Guardian, February 12, 2014.

[3] “Launce of New Public Relations Agency, VoxPop Public Relations LLC; Shannon Troughton Named 40 Under 40 By PR Week,” PRNewsWire.com, n.d.

[4]. Ibid.

[5] “Shannon Watts.”

[6] Shannon Watts, “Keep Your Flowers on Mothers Day, I Want My Rights,” Huffington Post, May 8, 2013. The extent to which such “mass shooter” events are authentic requires more serious consideration than it has heretofore received. See, for example, Nona Willis Aronowitz, “Fake Blood and Blanks: Schools Stage Active Shooter Drills,” NBC News, February 14, 2014; James F. Tracy, “Nationwide Post-Sandy Hook Shooter Drills: Real or Fake?” MemoryHoleBlog, August 22, 2013.

[7] Clare O’Connor, “After Starbucks Success, Gun Control Advocates Target Staples,” Forbes, September 26, 2013; Awr Hawkins, “Bloomberg Joins Moms Demand Action to Pressure Businesses for Gun Control,” Breitbart.com, December 22, 2013.

The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author. The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Originally published on GR in June 2010

US and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan more than 13 years ago in October 2001.  

Afghanistan is defined as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The war on Afghanistan continues to be heralded as a war of retribution in response to the 9/11 attacks. 

This article, first published in June 2010, points to the “real economic reasons”  why US-NATO forces invaded Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.  

original

The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade and occupy Afghanistan under “the doctrine of collective security” was that the September 11 2001 attacks constituted an undeclared “armed attack” “from abroad” by an unnamed foreign power, namely Afghanistan.

Under the proposed Afghan-US security pact,  which is an integral part of Obama’s Asian pivot, Washington and its NATO partners are preparing to ensure a permanent military presence in Afghanistan, with military facilities located in proximity of China’s Western frontier.  The pact would allow the US to maintain their nine permanent military bases, strategically located on the borders of  China, Pakistan and Iran as well as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

In addition to its vast mineral and gas reserves, Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the World’s supply of opium which is used to produce grade 4 heroin.

US military bases in Afghanistan are also intent upon protecting the multibillion narcotics trade.  Narcotics, at present, constitutes the centerpiece of Afghanistan’s export economy.

The heroin trade, instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 and protected by the CIA, generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year.

“The highest concentration of NATO servicemen in Afghanistan is being accompanied with the highest concentration of opium poppy, ….  That situation causes doubts about the anti-terrorist mission and leads to the conclusion about catastrophic consequences of the eight-year stay [of coalition forces] in Afghanistan,” (Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov, January 2010)

Michel Chossudovsky,  December 2013


“The War is Worth Waging”: Afghanistan’s Vast Reserves of Minerals and Natural Gas

The War on Afghanistan is a Profit driven “Resource War”.

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The 2001 bombing and invasion of Afghanistan has been presented to World public opinion as a “Just War”, a war directed against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, a war to eliminate “Islamic terrorism” and instate Western style democracy.

The economic dimensions of  the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) are rarely mentioned. The post 9/11 “counter-terrorism campaign” has served to obfuscate the real objectives of the US-NATO war.

The war on Afghanistan is part of a profit driven agenda: a war of economic conquest and plunder,  ”a resource war”.

While Afghanistan is acknowledged as a strategic hub in Central Asia, bordering on the former Soviet Union, China and Iran, at the crossroads of pipeline routes and major oil and gas reserves, its huge mineral wealth as well as its untapped natural gas reserves have remained, until June 2010, totally unknown to the American public.

According to a joint report by the Pentagon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and USAID, Afghanistan is now said to possess “previously unknown” and untapped mineral reserves, estimated authoritatively to be of the order of one trillion dollars (New York Times, U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, See also BBC, 14 June 2010).

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said… “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. (New York Times, op. cit.)

Afghanistan could become, according to The New York Times “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”. “Lithium is an increasingly vital resource, used in batteries for everything from mobile phones to laptops and key to the future of the electric car.” At present Chile, Australia, China and Argentina are the main suppliers of lithium to the world market. Bolivia and Chile are the countries with the largest known reserves of lithium. “The Pentagon has been conducting ground surveys in western Afghanistan. “Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large as those of Bolivia” (U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, see also Lithium – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

“Previously Unknown Deposits” of Minerals in Afghanistan

The Pentagon’s near one trillion dollar “estimate” of previously “unknown deposits” is a useful smokescreen. The Pentagon one trillion dollar figure is more a trumped up number rather than an estimate:  “We took a look at what we knew to be there, and asked what would it be worth now in terms of today’s dollars. The trillion dollar figure seemed to be newsworthy.” (The Sunday Times, London, June 15 2010, emphasis added)

Moreover, the results of a US Geological Survey study (quoted in the Pentagon memo) on Afghanistan’s mineral wealth were revealed three years back, at a 2007 Conference organized by the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce. The matter of Afghanistan’s mineral riches, however, was not considered newsworthy at the time.

The US Administration’s acknowledgment that it first took cognizance of Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth  following the release of the USGS 2007 report is an obvious red herring. Afghanistan’s mineral wealth and energy resources (including natural gas) were known to both America’s business elites and the US government prior to the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1988).

Geological surveys conducted by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and early 1980s confirm the existence of  vast reserves of copper (among the largest in Eurasia), iron, high grade chrome ore, uranium, beryl, barite, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, lithium, tantalum, emeralds, gold and silver.(Afghanistan, Mining Annual Review, The Mining Journal,  June, 1984). These surveys suggest that the actual value of these reserves could indeed be substantially larger than the one trillion dollars “estimate” intimated by the Pentagon-USCG-USAID study.

More recently, in a 2002 report, the Kremlin confirmed what was already known: “It’s no secret that Afghanistan possesses rich reserves, in particular of copper at the Aynak deposit, iron ore in Khojagek, uranium, polymetalic ore, oil and gas,” (RIA Novosti, January 6, 2002):

“Afghanistan has never been anyone’s colony – no foreigner had ever “dug” here before the 1950s. The Hindu Kush mountains, stretching, together with their foothills, over a vast area in Afghanistan, are where the minerals lie. Over the past 40 years, several dozen deposits have been discovered in Afghanistan, and most of these discoveries were sensational. They were kept secret, however, but even so certain facts have recently become known.

It turns out that Afghanistan possesses reserves of nonferrous and ferrous metals and precious stones, and, if exploited, they would possibly be able to cover even the earnings from the drug industry. The copper deposit in Aynak in the southern Afghan Helmand Province is said to be the largest in the Eurasian continent, and its location (40 km from Kabul) makes it cheap to develop. The iron ore deposit at Hajigak in the central Bamian Province yields ore of an extraordinarily high quality, the reserves of which are estimated to be 500m tonnes. A coal deposit has also been discovered not far from there.

Afghanistan is spoken of as a transit country for oil and gas. However, only a very few people know that Soviet specialists discovered huge gas reserves there in the 1960s and built the first gas pipeline in the country to supply gas to Uzbekistan. At that time, the Soviet Union used to receive 2.5 bn cubic metres of Afghan gas annually. During the same period, large deposits of gold, fluorite, barytes and marble onyxes that have a very rare pattern were found.

However, the pegmatite fields discovered to the east of Kabul are a real sensation. Rubies, beryllium, emeralds and kunzites and hiddenites that cannot be found anywhere else – the deposits of these precious stones stretch for hundreds of kilometres. Also, the rocks containing the rare metals beryllium, thorium, lithium and tantalum are of strategic importance (they are used in air and spacecraft construction).

The war is worth waging. … (Olga Borisova, “Afghanistan – the Emerald Country”, Karavan, Almaty, original Russian, translated by BBC News Services, Apr 26, 2002. p. 10, emphasis added.)

While public opinion was fed images of a war torn resourceless developing country, the realities are otherwise: Afghanstan is a rich country as confirmed by Soviet era geological surveys.

The issue of “previously unknown deposits” sustains a falsehood. It excludes Afghanstan’s vast mineral wealth as a justifiable casus belli. It says that the Pentagon only recently became aware that Afghanistan was among the World’s most wealthy mineral economies, comparable to The Democratic Republic of the Congo or former Zaire of the Mobutu era. The Soviet geopolitical reports were known. During the Cold War, all this information was known in minute detail:

… Extensive Soviet exploration produced superb geological maps and reports that listed more than 1,400 mineral outcroppings, along with about 70 commercially viable deposits … The Soviet Union subsequently committed more than $650 million for resource exploration and development in Afghanistan, with proposed projects including an oil refinery capable of producing a half-million tons per annum, as well as a smelting complex for the Ainak deposit that was to have produced 1.5 million tons of copper per year. In the wake of the Soviet withdrawal a subsequent World Bank analysis projected that the Ainak copper production alone could eventually capture as much as 2 percent of the annual world market. The country is also blessed with massive coal deposits, one of which, the Hajigak iron deposit, in the Hindu Kush mountain range west of Kabul, is assessed as one of the largest high-grade deposits in the world. (John C. K. Daly,  Analysis: Afghanistan’s untapped energy, UPI Energy, October 24, 2008, emphasis added)

Afghanistan’s Natural Gas

Afghanistan is a land bridge. The 2001 U.S. led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has been analysed by critics of US foreign policy as a means to securing control  over the strategic trans-Afghan transport corridor which links the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea.

Several trans-Afghan oil and gas pipeline projects have been contemplated including the planned $8.0 billion TAPI pipeline project (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) of 1900 km., which would transport Turkmen natural gas across Afghanistan in what is described as a “crucial transit corridor”. (See Gary Olson, Afghanistan has never been the ‘good and necessary’ war; it’s about control of oil, The Morning Call, October 1, 2009). Military escalation under the extended Af-Pak war bears a relationship to TAPI. Turkmenistan possesses third largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran. Strategic control over the transport routes out of Turkmenistan have been part of Washington’s agenda since the collapse of the Soviet union in 1991.

What was rarely contemplated in pipeline geopolitics, however, is that Afghanistan is not only adjacent to countries which are rich in oil and natural gas (e.g Turkmenistan), it also possesses within its territory sizeable untapped reserves of natural gas, coal  and oil. Soviet estimates of the 1970s placed “Afghanistan’s ‘explored’ (proved plus probable) gas reserves at about 5  trillion cubic feet. The Hodja-Gugerdag’s initial reserves were placed at slightly more than 2 tcf.” (See, The Soviet Union to retain influence in Afghanistan, Oil & Gas Journal, May 2, 1988).

The US.Energy Information Administration (EIA) acknowledged in 2008 that Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves are “substantial”:

“As northern Afghanistan is a ‘southward extension of Central Asia’s highly prolific, natural gas-prone Amu Darya Basin,’ Afghanistan ‘has proven, probable and possible natural gas reserves of about 5 trillion cubic feet.’ (UPI, John C.K. Daly, Analysis: Afghanistan’s untapped energy, October 24, 2008)

From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979, Washington’s objective has been to sustain a geopolitical foothold in Central Asia.

The Golden Crescent Drug Trade

America’s covert war, namely its support to the Mujahideen “Freedom fighters” (aka Al Qaeda) was also geared towards the development of the Golden Crescent trade in opiates, which was used by US intelligence to fund the insurgency directed against the Soviets.1

Instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war and protected by the CIA, the drug trade developed over the years into a highly lucrative multibillion undertaking. It was the cornerstone of America’s covert war in the 1980s. Today, under US-NATO military occupation, the drug trade generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, see also Michel Chossudovsky, Heroin is “Good for Your Health”: Occupation Forces support Afghan Narcotics Trade, Global Research, April 29, 2007)

Towards an Economy of Plunder

The US media, in chorus, has upheld the “recent discovery” of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth as “a solution” to the development of the country’s war torn economy as well as a means to eliminating poverty. The 2001 US-NATO invasion and occupation has set the stage for their appropriation by Western mining and energy conglomerates.

The war on Afghanistan is  a profit driven “resource war”.

Under US and allied occupation, this mineral wealth is slated to be plundered, once the country has been pacified, by a handful of multinational mining conglomerates. According to Olga Borisova, writing in the months following the October 2001 invasion, the US-led “war on terrorism [will be transformed] into a colonial policy of influencing a fabulously wealthy country.” (Borisova, op cit).

Part of the US-NATO agenda is also to eventually take possession of Afghanistan’s reserves of natural gas, as well as prevent the development of competing Russian, Iranian and Chinese energy interests in Afghanistan.

Note

1. The Golden Crescent trade in opiates constitutes, at present, the centerpiece of Afghanistan’s export economy. The heroin trade, instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 and protected by the CIA, generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year.

Since the 2001 invasion, narcotics production in Afghanistan  has increased more than 35 times. In 2009, opium production stood at 6900 tons, compared to less than 200 tons in 2001. In this regard, the multibillion dollar earnings resulting from the Afghan opium production largely occur outside Afghanistan. According to United Nations data, the revenues of the drug trade accruing to the local economy are of the order of 2-3 billion annually.

In contrast with the Worldwide sales of heroin resulting from the trade in Afghan opiates, in excess of $200 billion. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005)

ORDER DIRECTLY FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH

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America’s “War on Terrorism”

Michel Chossudovsky

by Canadians Apologize to Haiti

We sign this statement to tell the world, and especially the Haitian people, that we are ashamed and outraged by the Canadian Government’s active participation in the February 29, 2004 Coup d’Etat that toppled the duly-elected Government of Haiti led by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

On behalf of all Canadians, the great majority of whom are kept ignorant of this Coup and its aftermath, we sincerely apologize for the terrible, lasting damage it has caused.An RCMP officer training Haitian National Police recruits in 2005.

An RCMP officer training Haitian National Police recruits in 2005.

Unelected coup Prime Minister Gerard Latortue speaks to Canadian soldiers.

Ten (10) years after the Coup, we sign this statement because there is disturbing and compelling evidence that:

1) Canada was centrally involved in planning the Coup. A year in advance, on January 31 and February 1, 2003, Canada hosted the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti. This controversial meeting was held at the Meech Lake Government Resort, near Gatineau, Québec, to plan and consolidate the Coup.

2) Canada took an active part in the actual forced removal from Haiti and exile to Africa of President Aristide. Canadian soldiers, notably those serving in Joint Task Force 2, were assigned by Canadian government leaders to join local paramilitary mercenaries and U.S. troops illegally deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to conduct the Coup d’État.

Militè Kanadyen, 28 fevriye 2004A Canadian soldier at the Port-au-Prince airport on February 29, 2004.

Records of the Canadian Parliament show that on March 10, 2004, ten days after the coup, Stockwell Day, then-foreign affairs critic for the Conservative opposition, declared in Parliament: “… we have an elected leader Aristide. We may not have wanted to vote for him… But the (Canadian) government makes a decision that there should be a regime change. It is a serious question that we need to address. That decision was based on what criteria? We must have this discussion…This was clearly a regime change. Whether we like to admit it or not, we took part.”

3) The Coup was followed by several documented massacres and arbitrary arrests of pro-democracy activists. It dismantled Haiti’s entire elected government structure, and U.S.-appointed post-coup regimes — backed financially, militarily and diplomatically by Canada — are marred by serious human rights abuses.

4) One of the most disastrous consequences of the Coup and subsequent U.N. tutelage is that Haiti, a country with no known cases of cholera for the past 100 years, now has one of the worst cholera epidemics in the world. The cholera death toll has already reached 8500 and as of January 2014, more than 700,000 have gotten sick from the deadly bacterium.

IMG_3747Several independent scientific studies unequivocally implicate the UN for introducing cholera to Haiti. According to these studies, UN soldiers stationed near Haiti’s La Mielle and Artibonite Rivers contaminated these major water sources in October 2010 with improperly disposed feces.

To date, the UN refuses to assume responsibility for this grave act of criminal negligence. We support the worthy efforts of human rights groups Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) to seek redress from the UN for the thousands of victims of cholera in Haiti.

A Canadian helicopter flies over the Presidential Palace as the coup unfolds.

A Canadian helicopter flies over the Presidential Palace as the coup unfolds.

5) The grassroots pro-democracy movement in Haiti, which bravely overthrew the brutal dictatorship of Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986, has suffered major setbacks since the Coup took place. The people of Haiti are currently ruled by a U.S.-imposed neo-Duvalierist regime, under which the former dictator benefits from open support from powerful national and international allies. Duvalier has brazenly mocked his victims since his January 2011 return to U.N.-occupied Haiti.

Canada’s role in planning and carrying out the February 29, 2004 Coup d’État, and in the equally disastrous and illegal U.N. tutelage our government imposed on Haiti to consolidate the coup, is an ongoing source of misery and injustice for the Haitian people. We urge all Canadians, their organizations and representatives to take effective action to compel the foreign occupation forces to acknowledge and to make adequate amends for the harm they have caused the People of Haiti.

sign petition at

http://www.apologytohaiti.ca/

Which Corporations Control the World?

February 21st, 2014 by Global Research News

by Hannah Williams

A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares.

Banks and Finance, Media, Big Oil, The Global Food Conglomerates,

The World’s largest banks hold a total of $25.1 trillion in assets

Corporations
Source: InternationalBusinessGuide.org

A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?

 

It’s a Small World at the Top:

 

Banking

Largest banks hold a total of $25.1 trillion:[1]

1.) ICBC, China, $2.95 trillion in assets, over 18,000 outlets, 108 branches globally
2.) HSBC holdings, UK, $2.68 trillion in assets, 6,600 offices in 80 countries, 55 million customers
3.) Deutsche Bank, Germany, $2.6 trillion in assets, 2,963 branches, 70 countries, 46 million customers
4.) Credit Agricole Group, France, $2.58 trillion in assets, 60 countries, over 21 million clients
5.) BNP Paribas, France, $2.51 trillion in assets
6.) Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan, $2.49 trillion in assets
7.) Barclays PLC, United Kingdom, $2.41 trillion in assets
8.) JPMorgan Chase & Co., U.S., $2.39 trillion in assets
9.) China Construction Bank Corp., China, $2.36 trillion in assets
10.) Japan Post Bank, Japan, $2.12 trillion in assets
Enough to fund the federal U.S. government for over 7 years.[2]
Or roughly $3500 per person on earth.

 

Media

1.) Comcast Corporation: $62.5 billion revenue, $6 billion in profit

Owns:
MSNBC
NBC Universal
MLB Network
E! Entertainment
Golf Channel
Xfinity
AT&T Broadband

 

2.) The Walt Disney Company:$42 billion revenue, $5.5 billion in profit

Owns:
ABC
ESPN
Pixar
Marvel Comics
Touchstone Pictures
Lucasfilm
Walt Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Disney Music Publishing
The Baby Einstein Company
50% of A&E Networks

 

3.)Time Warner Company

Owns:
HBO
Time (Southern Living, Sports Illustrated, Time, Golf Magazine, Health, Entertainment Weekly)
IPC Media
Grupo Editorial Expansion
Turner Broadcasting (TNT, TruTV, TBS, TCM, NBC, Cartoon Network, March Madness, CNN)
Warner Bros. Picture Group

4.) Viacom $15 billion revenue and $2 billion profit

Owns:
Paramount Pictures
MTV
VH1
BET
Nickelodeon
Spike
Comedy Central

 

5.) News Corporation, $34 billion revenue, $1.1 billion profit

Owns:
Fox
Wall Street Journal
Times of London
Barron’s
Harper Collins

 

Food and Beverage Companies

1.) PepsiCo Inc

Makes:
Gatorade
Propel
Pepsi
Aquafina
Sobe
Mountain Dew
Sierra Mist
Cheetos
Doritos
Frito Lay
Funyun’s
Lay’s
Ruffles
Tostitos
Quaker
Amp Energy
Lipton
Rockstar Energy
Seattle’s Best Coffee
Starbucks: Doubleshot, Frappucino, Iced Coffee

 

2.) Tyson Foods Inc–World’s largest Chicken Processor

Supplies:
KFC
Taco Bell
McDonalds
Burger King
Wendy’s
Wal-Mart
Kroger
IGA
Beef O’Grady’s

 

3.) Nestle (U.S. And Canada)

74 brands of water
38 brands of ice cream:
including Haagen-Dazs
Dreyer’s
And Nestle Drumstick
Frozen food:
Stouffers
Lean Cuisine
Hot Pockets
Tombstone Pizza
DiGiorno Pizza
California Pizza Kitchen
Candy:
Wonka brands,
Baby Ruth
Chips Ahoy!
Goobers
Icebreakers
Pet Food:
Alpo
Beneful
Fancy Feast
Friskies
Gourmet
Mighty Dog
ONE
Pro Plan
Purina
Tidy Cats
Cosmetics:
30% share in L’Oreal, Garnier, Maybelline, and Lancome, and The Body Shop Stores

 

4.) JBS USA–Subsidiary of the world’s largest beef processor

Beef Brands:
Swift
G.F. Swift 1855 Brand Premium Beef
Aspen Ridge Natural Beef
Swift Black Angus
Cedar River Farms
5 Star Beef
Chef’s Exclusive
Showcase Premium Ground Beef
Chicken Brands:
Pilgrim’s
Pierce Chicken
Wing Dings
Wing Zings
Speed Grill
Country Pride
To-Ricos
Pork Brands:
1855 Premium Pork
Swift Premium Dry Rubbed Pork
Swift Premium Natural Guaranteed Tender Pork
Swift Premium Natural Pork
Swift La Herencia Natural Pork

 

5.) Anheuser-Busch InBev

Over 200 beer brands made in 30 countries
Sold in 130 countries
Including:
St. Pauli Girl
Stella Artois
Spaten
Rolling Rock
Michelob
Hoegaarden
Busch
Budweiser
Bud Light
Beck’s
Bass

 

Oil

The top five oil producing companies produce almost twice what the US’s refined petroleum product consumption per day is.

1.) Saudi Aramco

Saudi Arabia
12.5 million barrels a day
$1 billion plus in DAILY revenue

2.) Gazprom

Russia

9.7 million barrels per day
$40 billion a year profits
3.) National Iranian Oil Co.

Iran

6.4 million barrels per day
State owned

4.) ExxonMobil

America

5.3 million barrels per day
$40 billion in profit

5.) PetroChina

China
4.4 million barrels per day
$21.93 billion in profits

 

Corps-Control-World

 

Citations:

 

  1. Bankrate, 10 largest banks of the world
  2. WIkipedia, 2013 United States Federal budget
  3. Wikipedia, ICBC
  4. HSBC
  5. Deutsche Bank
  6. Deutsche Bank at a Glance
  7. Assets Owned by Comcast
  8. Assets Owned by Disney
  9. Assets owned by Time Warner
  10. Assets Owned by News Corp
  11. Food processing Top 100
  12. Tyson Acquisitions
  13. Nestle Brands
  14. JBS US Beef Brands
  15. JBS US Pork Brands
  16. JBS US Chicken brands
  17. InBEv Brands
  18. Forbes, top oil producers
  19. US Oil Consumption
  20. What Corporations Control Almost Everything You Buy Infographic

What You Should Know About the Anti-Government Protests in Venezuela

February 21st, 2014 by Global Research News

The death toll in the week of clashes that began February 12 in Venezuela rose to six Wednesday as President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington of fomenting violent upheavals in the country.

A stray bullet struck 23-year-old student Genesis Carmona in the head during an opposition protest in the northern city of Valencia Wednesday. Carmona, who was named the state of Carabobo’s “Miss Tourism” in 2013, died from her wounds.

Also reportedly killed by gunfire Wednesday was a participant in a march by workers in support of the government in the eastern industrial city of Ciudad Guayana. According to Venezuela’s minister of interior, Miguel Rodríguez, gunmen opened fire upon workers going home or back to their jobs at the end of the march, leaving one dead and at least three others wounded.

The latest fatalities came as violent clashes were being reported in 13 of Venezuela’s 23 states, having escalated and spread since a February 12 demonstration called by the right-wing opposition in Caracas ended in bloodshed.

The government has charged Washington with fomenting the violence, denouncing a statement made by US president Barack Obama in Mexico on Wednesday calling on Caracas to release detained protesters, “engage in real dialogue” and address “the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people.”

Obama also denounced the Venezuelan government’s decision to expel three US embassy personnel for involvement in student protests, accusing it of “trying to distract from its own failings by making up false accusations against diplomats from the United States.”

The Venezuelan foreign ministry responded with an official communiqué accusing Obama of carrying out a “new and gross interference in the internal affairs of our country.”

It demanded that the US government “explain why it finances, encourages and defends the opposition leaders who promote violence in our country.” The statement vowed that the Venezuelan government would continue “monitoring and taking necessary actions to stop US agents seeking to sow violence and destabilization and to inform the world on the nature of the interventionist policy of the Obama administration in our country.”

Washington stepped up its attacks on Venezuela following the arrest Tuesday of Leopoldo Lopez, a Harvard-trained economist who is part of the hardline faction within the right-wing opposition coalition known as MUD (Democratic Unity Roundtable).

Lopez, one of the main organizers of the February 12 demonstration, is the leader of the right-wing Voluntad Popular (VP—Popular Will) Party. A product of Venezuela’s traditional oligarchy, he was one of the leaders of the demonstrations that were organized in April 2002 as part of the abortive CIA-backed coup against Maduro’s predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez. He and his allies elaborated what they called the “exit strategy” for the latest protest campaign, meaning a drive to bring down Maduro, who was elected by a narrow margin last April.

While the government had initially said it would try Lopez for terrorism and murder, when he was arraigned Tuesday at a military prison a judge ruled only that there was evidence to hold him on charges of criminal incitement and arson.

The right wing has called for a mass march on Saturday in Caracas to demand Lopez’s release.

Until now, the main violence has been concentrated in the upper middle class neighborhoods of eastern Caracas—where buses were attacked Wednesday night—and in the western cities of Merida and San Cristóbal. There have been scattered reports of small protests in some more working class areas, including the El Valle and Caricuao boroughs of Caracas, long considered strongholds of the ruling party.

There is unquestionably growing discontent within the working class and more impoverished layers of Venezuelan society under conditions of 56 percent inflation, growing social inequality as Venezuela’s bankers rake in record profits, and attacks on workers’ rights. In the industrial areas of Bolivar state, a number of unions refused to participate in demonstrations called by the ruling party because of the government’s refusal to settle contracts and its attacks on working class militants.

At the same time, however, the agitation of the right, which has its base in the country’s upper classes, has not found support among the masses of working people. The real danger is that, outside of an independent revolutionary movement in the working class, the present crisis can lead to the government’s overthrow and the imposition of a right-wing dictatorship, or to its capitulation and implementation of the policies demanded by the right and US imperialism.

Henrique Capriles, the twice-defeated presidential candidate of the right and governor of the state of Miranda, took to the airwaves on Wednesday to condemn the Maduro government, while at the same time distancing himself from the violence of the right-wing demonstrators.

Capriles also cautioned against what he warned was a threat that elements within the government could use the violence to further their own purposes. “There are elements who are interested in forcing Maduro out, because it means that Diosdado comes in,” he said.

The right-wing politician was referring to speculation that within the government there is growing competition between Maduro and the president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, a former army officer who took part in the failed military coup launched by Hugo Chavez in 1992. Cabello has taken various actions recently that are seemingly of a presidential character, including a recent trip to the western state of Zulia, on the Colombian border, to announce the sacking of military officers implicated in smuggling operations. He has started his own television program on government policy, reminiscent of Hugo Chavez’s “Aló Presidente” show. It was also Cabello who showed up Tuesday at the Palace of Justice to meet Leopoldo Lopez.

The internal friction within the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) reflects the conflicting interests of the social forces upon which it rests, which include the military, sections of the union bureaucracy, petty-bourgeois nationalist layers as well as the so-called boliburguesia, the capitalists and financiers who have enriched themselves through connections to the government.

To the extent that the government is forced to rely on the military to suppress the right-wing agitation, these frictions can only intensify. Maduro announced on Thursday that he was prepared to impose a “state of exception” in San Cristóbal, a city on the border with Colombia where the protests began and have been particularly violent. The government has charged that the upheavals there are the result of a conspiracy involving both US officials and the Colombian right.

The imposition of a state of exception, a form of martial law, would be unprecedented for the government, which even under Chavez during the 2002 coup and the subsequent management strike against the state oil company did not resort to such measures. As it is, the government has announced that it is sending a battalion of paratroopers to the city to secure transportation routes, reinforcing national guard units to restore order and deploying a contingent from the army’s corps of engineers to carry out the cleanup and reconstruction of facilities damaged in attacks.

A protester points a handgun during a clash with police in Kiev. Source: AP

European Union foreign ministers stepped up pressure on the Ukrainian government Thursday as fresh fighting between protesters and police left dozens dead. Estimates of the death toll ranged from 25 to 100, with most reports placing the number at around 70, making Thursday the bloodiest in several days of clashes involving armed protesters and riot police.

At an emergency meeting in Brussels yesterday, European foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on Ukraine, including visa bans, asset freezes and restrictions on the export of anti-riot equipment. The EU decision followed immense pressure from the US for the European powers to take punitive action against the Ukrainian regime. Washington has already imposed travel bans on 20 leading Ukrainian politicians.

Earlier on Thursday, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland traveled to Kiev for talks with the government and opposition aimed at forcing President Yanukovych to stand down.

In statement prior to the EU foreign ministers meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced any fresh sanctions against Ukraine. “America’s sanctions encourage rioters,” Lavrov declared, adding that any new EU sanctions amounted to “blackmail.” He concluded: “We’re worried about Western capitals influencing the situation in the country.”

The Obama administration, the German government and the EU authorities bear the main responsibility for the latest escalation of violence in Kiev and other cities throughout Ukraine.

Following clashes between police and protesters on Tuesday that left 26 dead and hundreds injured, President Yanukovych issued a statement late Wednesday agreeing to a truce and “the start of negotiations with the aim of ending bloodshed and stabilizing the situation in the state.”

The readiness of Yanukovych to call a truce was confirmed by the leader of the right-wing Fatherland party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who said the purpose of the amnesty was to ensure that “the storming of the Maidan (Independence Square) which the authorities had planned today will not take place.”

The fascist Right Sector organization, which, together with the ultra-right, anti-Semitic Svoboda party, is playing the leading role in the street battles, issued a statement Wednesday night declaring that it had not signed up to the government truce and there was “nothing to negotiate.”

According to media reports, the outbreak of violent confrontations on Thursday began early in the morning when protesters armed with axes, knives, truncheons and corrugated iron shields launched an attack on riot police assembled around Independence Square.

Within an hour, the area surrounding the Ukrania hotel, which had been under the control of riot police, fell to the protesters. Following a series of attacks on government buildings and police stations, including the torching of the city’s central trade union offices, far-right elements confiscated large quantities of arms and ammunition. Videos of the fighting on Thursday show protesters armed with rifles firing at police lines.

The widely despised Yanukovych regime responded by mobilising additional units of its Berkut special force to repel the rioters. Yanukovych, who inflamed the ire of the US, Germany and the EU by backing away from a proposed deal with the EU last November and deciding instead to maintain close ties with Moscow, represents different factions of Ukrainian oligarchs from those oriented to the West, who are backing the opposition.

Rightist and nationalist forces have also gone onto the offensive in a number of cities in the west of the country. On Wednesday, central administration buildings were stormed and occupied by protesters in Khmelnytskyi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhhorod and Ternopil. In Lviv, the largest city in the west, protesters seized the prosecutor’s office and ransacked police stations. They then declared the city’s political autonomy from the central administration in Kiev. Supporters of the autonomy movement set up barricades at the borders with Poland, preventing traffic crossing into the region.

With tensions flaring up on the Ukraine-Polish border, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told Polish TV he had instructed hospitals to prepare for Ukrainian refugees.

Tusk said Hungary and Slovakia were making similar preparations, adding, “What is happening today is not war, but the situation could spiral out of control at any moment… We are ready for the worst case scenarios.”

The provocations of ultra-right groups and hooligans have met with deafening silence from Western politicians and media, which uniformly ascribe responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine to the Yanukovych regime and Russia.

The White House and the EU bureaucracy in Brussels are quite willing to allow these forces to destabilize the state through street violence while they lead the campaign to force the Yanukovych government out of power. The US and the EU powers are striving to impose a client regime in Ukraine pledged to carry out austerity policies demanded by the International Monetary Fund and take a much more confrontational stance towards Russia.

During a trip to Mexico, US President Obama publicly criticised the role played by the Russian government in Ukraine. “Mr. Putin has a different view on many of those issues [people’s basic freedoms] and I don’t think that there’s any secret on that,” Obama said.

“Our approach in the United States is not to see these as some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia,” he continued. “Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future.”

In fact, the Obama administration’s aggressive policy in Central Europe is a continuation of that of the Bush administration, which sought to undermine the influence of Russia over former Soviet republics and former Eastern Bloc allies in Europe, as well as former Soviet Republics in Asia. The real content behind Obama’s bluster about democratic aspirations was most vividly exposed by the recent comments of Victoria Nuland, the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

In a leaked telephone conversation with the US ambassador to Ukraine, Nuland, wife of the neo-conservative cold warrior Robert Kagan, put forward her preferred scenario for a future Ukrainian government, dismissing the opinion of European leaders with the comment, “Fuck the EU.”

Nuland had previously underlined the geostrategic importance of Ukraine to the US when she told an international business conference that the US had invested $5 billion in NGOs and other organizations opposed to the Yanukovych regime.

In Libya and Syria, the Obama administration and its European allies were prepared to utilize the most reactionary political forces to achieve regime-change. Now in Ukraine they are supporting ultra-right groups to overturn the elected government of Yanukovych. In so doing, they are provoking the break-up of the country and its descent into civil war.

The recent two-day first official visit in forty years by an Egyptian defense minister to Russia of Egypt’s strongman Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, accompanied by Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, was indeed an historic breakthrough in bilateral relations, but it is still premature to deal with or build on it as a strategic shift away from the country’s more than three-decade strategic alliance with the United States.

 The US administration sounds not really concerned with this controversy about an Egyptian strategic shift as much as with the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s welcome of al-Sisi’s expected candidacy for president.

“ Egypt is free to pursue relationships with other countries. It doesn’t impact our shared interests,” said State Department deputy spokeswoman, Marie Harf, on this February 13.

 The United States, which has been waging, by military invasion and proxy wars, a campaign of “regime changes” across the Middle East, was miserably hypocritical when Marie Harf invoked her country’s “democratic” ideals to declare that her administration “don’t think it’s, quite frankly, up to the United States or to Mr. Putin to decide who should govern Egypt.”

However, Pavel Felgenhauer, writing in the Eurasia Daily Monitor on this February 13, described the visit as a “geopolitical shift” that “could, according to Russian government sources, ‘dramatically reorient international relations in the Middle East ’.” The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, on the following day described it as an “historic breakthrough” in Egyptian-Russian relations and a “transformation in the strategic compass of Egyptian foreign policy from Washington to Moscow .”

The main purpose of al-Sisi’s and Fahmy’s visit was to finalize an arms deal reportedly worth two to four billion US dollars, al-Ahram daily reported on February 13. The joint statement released after the meeting of both countries’ ministers of defense and foreign affairs in Moscow on the same day announced also that the Russian capital will host a meeting of the Russian-Egyptian commission on trade and economic cooperation on next March 28.

This is serious business; it is vindicated also by the arrival in Cairo on this February 17 of the commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, Lieutenant General Victor Bondarev, heading a six-member team of his commanders, on a four-day visit, according to the Egyptian Almasry Alyoum online the following day.

Egypt is the biggest strategic prize for world powers in the Middle East . “Egypt – with its strategic location, stable borders, large population, and ancient history – has been the principal power of the Arab world for centuries, defining the movement of history there like no other,” Germany’s former Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer wrote on last July 26. No wonder then the flurry of speculations worldwide about whether Egypt ’s Russian pivot is or is not a strategic shift.

In the immediate proximity, this “new concern” has been “preoccupying Israel ’s strategists in recent weeks. They are beginning to worry about the high momentum” with which Putin is capitalizing on America’s “hands off policy” in the Middle East, according to DEBKAfile report on February 16. Al-Sisi’s trip to Moscow, which “put him on the road to the independent path he seeks”  has “incalculable consequences”  the report said, adding that “he is investing effort in building a strong regime that will promote the Nasserist form of pan-Arab nationalism, with Egypt in the forefront.” “This policy may well bring Egypt into collision with the state of Israel ,” the report concluded.

Nonetheless, two former Israeli cabinet ministers of defense, namely Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Ehud Barak voiced support for al-Sisi. The first publicly supported his bid for presidency. Barak said that “the whole world should support Sisi.” However, their voices seem to fall on deaf ears in Washington D.C. , or sounds like it.

Both men’s support is consistent with Israel ’s instructive official “silence” over the developments in Egypt , which is still committed to its thirty five –year old peace treaty with the Hebrew state. “Israel’s main interest,” according to Israeli officials and experts, quoted by The New York Times on last August 16, “is a stable Egypt that can preserve the country’s 1979 peace treaty and restore order along the border in the Sinai Peninsula,” which extends 270 kilometers (160 miles) from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea Israeli resort of Eilat.

Within this context can be interpreted Israel ’s closed eyes to the incursion of Egyptian tanks and warplanes into what is designated by the treaty as a “demilitarized” “Area C” of Sinai.

The Litmus Test

Herein is the litmus test to judge whether al-Sisi’s eastward orientation and his supposed “Nasserist” loyalties indicate or not a strategic shift that trespasses the Israeli and US red line of Egypt ’s commitment to the peace treaty.

Senior associate of the Carnegie Middle East Center , Yezid Sayigh wrote on August 1, 2012 that the United States “will continue keeping a balance between its relations with the (then) Egyptian president (Mohamed Morsi) and the Egyptian army.  The balance will always shift to the side that ensures the continuity of Egypt’s commitment to the following:  The Camp David Peace Treaty, the retention of a demilitarized Sinai, retaining multinational troops and observers led by the US, maintaining gas exports to Israel, isolating Hamas, resisting Iran’s efforts to expand its influence, resisting al-Qaida, and keeping the Suez Canal open.” (Emphasis added).

These are the bedrocks of Egypt ’s strategic alliance with the US and because they were and are still safe in good hands under both the removed president Morsi and the prospective president al-Sisi, it will be premature to conclude that the revived Egyptian – Russians relations indicate any strategic departure therefrom.

Preserving or discarding these Egyptian commitments is the litmus test to judge whether Egypt ’s revival of its Russian ties is a strategic maneuver or a strategic departure.

Other indicators include the financial and political sponsorship of al-Sisi’s government by none other than the very close Arab allies of the US , like Jordan and in Saudi Arabia , United Arab Emirates and Kuwait , who had already together pledged twenty billion dollars in aid to al-Sisi and reportedly are funding his armaments deal with Russia .

Saudi Al Arabia satellite TV station on this February 13 quoted Abdallah Schleifer, a professor emeritus of journalism at the American University in Cairo, as sarcastically questioning President Barak Obama’s performance: “What an extraordinary accomplishment President Obama will take with him when he retires from office – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which provided (late Egyptian president) Anwar Sadat with both moral and financial backing to break with the Russians in the early 1970s and turn towards the United States – may now finance an Egyptian arms deal with the Russians,” Schleifer said.

Al-Sisi’s supposed “Nasserist” and “pan-Arab” orientation could not be consistent, for example, with inviting the defense ministers of the United Arab Emirates , Iraq , Bahrain , Morocco , and their Jordanian counterpart Prime Minister Abdullah al-Nsour to attend the 40th anniversary celebrations of the 1973 October War. Syria was Egypt ’s partner in that war and Jamal Abdul Nasser’s major “pan-Arab” ally, but it was not represented. The countries which were represented were seriously against Abdul Nasser’s Egypt and its pan-Arab ideology, but more importantly they were and still are strategic allies of his US-led enemies and peace partners of Israel .

US Aid Counterproductive

US whistleblowers warning of an Egyptian strategic shift are abundant as part of blasting Obama for his foreign policy blunders. For example, US foreign policy scholars Tom Nichols and John R. Schindler, quoted on this February 13 by The Tower.org staff, who agree that they rarely agree on anything, are agreeing now that Obama’s administration is undermining “nearly seven decades” of bipartisan American efforts aimed at “limiting Moscow’s influence” in the Middle East.

But Nael Shama, writing on Middle East Institute website on last December 16, said: “It can be argued that Egypt’s flirtation with Russia does not mean a shift in the country’s foreign policy away from the United States as much as an attempt to induce the United States to shift its Egypt policy back to where it was before … in order to pressure the United States and to arouse concern among American politicians about the prospect of losing Egypt, encouraging them to amend unfavorable policies.”

The Obama administration welcomed al-Sisi’s assumption of power by calling off the biannual joint US-Egypt military exercise “Bright Star” and halting the delivery of military hardware to Egypt, including F-16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, Harpoon missiles, and tank parts and when Last January the US Congress approved a spending bill that would restore $1.5bn in aid to Egypt, it was on the condition (emphasis added) that the Egyptian government ensures democratic reform.

Le Monde Diplomatique in November last year quoted veteran arms trade expert Sergio Finardi as saying that the US aid money “never leaves US banks, and is mostly transferred not to the target country but to US defense manufacturers that sell the equipment to Egypt.”

More important, US aid money is attached to Egypt ’s commitment to the peace treaty with Israel . Such a commitment is compromising Egyptian sovereignty in Sinai, which has become a no-man land where organized crime, illegal trade in arms and terrorist groups enjoy a free hand with a heavy price in Egyptian souls and governance.

  Either the provisions of the peace treaty are amended, or the American conditions for aid are dropped altogether or at least reconsidered to allow Egypt to fully exercise its sovereignty in Sinai, or Egypt would look elsewhere for alternative empowerment, for example to start “a new era of constructive, fruitful co-operation on the military level” with Russia as al-Sisi told his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, according to the official Egyptian news agency MENA on last November 14.

All the foregoing aside, Egypt wants to modernize its military-industrial complex per se. Shana Marshall, associate director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and research instructor at the George Washington University, quoted by http://www.jadaliyya.com/ on this February 10, called this “Egypt’s Other Revolution.” The thirty five-year old arrangements with the United States are not helping out, but worse they have become the main obstacle to fulfill this aspiration.

All these and other factors indicate that al-Sisi is in fact pursuing vital Egyptian national interests and not seeking a strategic shift in his country’s alliance with the US . The Russian opening is his last resort. It is highly possible that he might backtrack should Washington decide not to repeat its historical mistake when it refused to positively respond to similar Egyptian military and development aspirations in the fifties of the twentieth century, which pushed Egypt into the open arms of the former Soviet Union .

‘Abject Failure’ of US Aid

For Egypt to look now for Russian armament and economic help means that the Egyptian – US strategic cooperation since 1979 has failed to cater for its defense needs and development aspirations.

Thirty five years on, during which a regional rival like Iran stands now on the brink of becoming a nuclear power with an ever expanding industrial military complex while the other Israeli rival is already a nuclear power and a major world exporter of arms, Egypt’s military stands weaker, seems stagnant, underdeveloped and pushed out of competition while its population have become much poorer.

Nothing much has changed since the US Middle East Policy Council in its winter edition of 1996 published Denis J. Sullivan’s piece, “American Aid to Egypt, 1975-96: Peace without Development,” wherein he pointed out that “the reality is that Egypt is far from a “model” of effective use of (US) foreign assistance.”

The country, despite the fact that “the US aid program in Egypt is the largest such program in the world” and that “in 21 years, Egypt has received some $21 billion in economic aid from the United States plus over $25 billion in military aid,” Egypt “remains poor, overpopulated, polluted and undemocratic … In short, Egypt in 1996 continues to exhibit virtually all the characteristics the United States has claimed to want to change since it began its massive economic aid program in 1975,” Sullivan wrote.

Seventeen years later David Rieff, writing in The New Republic on this February 4, described what Sullivan said was a “failure” as an “abject failure” of “the US development aid to Egypt.”

Militarily, Carnegie’s Yezid Sayigh’s paper of August 2012 quoted an assessment of US embassy officials in a 2008 cable leaked by WikiLeaks as saying that “tactical and operational readiness of the Egyptian Armed Forces has degraded.” He wrote that “US officers and officials familiar with the military assistance programs to Egypt describe the Egyptian Armed Forces as no longer capable of combat.” He also quoted “leading experts on Egypt Clement Henry and Robert Springborg” as saying that the Egyptian army’s “training is desultory, maintenance of its equipment is profoundly inadequate, and it is dependent on the United States for funding and logistical support … despite three decades of US training and joint US-Egyptian exercises.”

US Back Turned to Egypt

The Tower.org on February 13 reported that the “White House two weeks ago pointedly declined to invite Egypt to a summit of African leaders.”

That was not the first indication that the US foreign policy has been alienating Egypt since Field Marshal al-Sisi assumed power early last July in response to a massive popular protest on last June 30 against the former president Mohamed Morsi.

Since US Secretary of State John Kerry’ visit to Egypt last November, who in this capacity toured the region more than eleven times and seems to spend more time in the Middle East than in US, Kerry has been dropping Egypt out of his itinerary. His president Obama, who is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia next March, receive Israel ’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early in the month and had received King Abdullah II of Jordan on this February 14, had no reported plans either to receive al-Sisi or to visit his country, which was previously a regular stop for US top visiting officials.

Is it a surprise then that al-Sisi’s first visit abroad was to Moscow and not to Washington D.C. , to meet with the Russian president and not with his US counterpart?

Al-Sisi in an interview with the Washington Post early last August accused the US of “turning its back” to Egyptians. “You left the Egyptians, you turned your back on the Egyptians and they won’t forget that,” he said.

However, al-Sisi does by no means dream of disturbing the existing political order in the Middle East, or coming to loggerheads with Israel or the US, but it seems obvious that he’ is fed up with the preconditions attached to US aid that have rendered his country’s military and economy backward in comparison to regional highly upgraded rivals. The US did not help Egypt become a “success story in economic development” as the USAID claims on its website.

Pavel Felgenhauer wrote on February 13 that, “It is clear Egypt is ready to accept Russian aid and weaponry as it did during the Cold War in the 1950s–1970s to show the US it has an alternative source of support.”

Indeed, al-Sisi thanked his Russian counterpart for “giving the Egyptian people economic and defense aid.” Putin said that he was “sure we can increase trade to $5 billion in the future.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “We agreed to speed up the preparations of documents that will give an additional impulse to the development of military and military-technical cooperation.” It is noteworthy that all is without preconditions, political or otherwise.

The Associated Press on February 13 quoted Abdullah el-Sinawi, whom the AP identified as “a prominent Cairo-based analyst known to be close to the military,” as saying that al-Sisi “wanted to send a signal to Washington .” ” Egypt needs an international entrusted ally that would balance relations with America . Egypt will be open to other centers of power without breaking the relations with the US ,” he said.

Abdel-Moneim Said, another Egyptian analyst, wrote in Al-Ahram Weekly on last November 21 that Egypt is “merely seeking to expand its maneuverability abroad” and that “the Russian ‘bear’ that had come to Egypt has had its claws clipped”: “Soviet Union has collapsed, the Warsaw Pact is dead, and the Cold War is over … (and) the US GDP … is eight times more than Russia’s;” moreover the US-led world alliance accounts “for 80 per cent of global gross production and a larger percentage of the world’s modern technology.”

True, Egyptian Foreign Minister Fahmi said on last October 18 that the “Egyptian-American relations have changed after 30 June for the first time in 30 years to a peer relationship” and that “Egyptian decision making is now independent from any state.” A day earlier he told the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper that the bilateral relations were in “a delicate state reflecting the turmoil in the relationship.” “The problem,” he said, “goes back much earlier, and is caused by the dependence of Egypt on the US aid for 30 years.”

Therefore, “Egypt is heading toward Eastern powers,” Saeed al-Lawindi, a political expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Xinhua on February 14, but Talaat Musallam, a strategic and security expert and a former army general, described al-Sisi’s Russian pivot as “a kind of strategic maneuver.” Musallam was vindicated by Fahmi’s repeated assertions that “Egypt’s closeness with Russia is not a move against the US ,” i.e. not a strategic departure from the United States .

However, international relations are not static; they have their own dynamics. Should the US passive sensitivity to Egyptian aspirations continue to be hostage to the 1979 Camp David accords and the Russian opening continue to cater for Egypt ’s military as well as economic vital needs, the “strategic maneuver” could in no time turn into a strategic shift.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. [email protected]

Is Ukraine Drifting Toward Civil War And Great Power Confrontation?

February 20th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

People ask for solutions, but no solutions are possible in a disinformed world. Populations almost everywhere are dissatisfied, but few have any comprehension of the real situation. Before there can be solutions, people must know the truth about the problems.  For those few inclined to be messengers, it is largely a thankless task.

The assumption that man is a rational animal is incorrect. He and she are emotional creatures, not Dr. Spock of Star Trek. Humans are brainwashed by enculturation and indoctrination. Patriots respond with hostility toward criticisms of their governments, their countries, their hopes and their delusions. Their emotions throttle facts, should any reach them. Aspirations and delusions prevail over truth. Most people want to be told what they want to hear. Consequently, they are always gullible and their illusions and self-delusions make them easy victims of propaganda. This is true of all levels of societies and of the leaders themselves.

We are witnessing this today in western Ukraine where a mixture of witless university students, pawns in Washington’s drive for world hegemony, together with paid protesters and fascistic elements among ultra-nationalists are bringing great troubles upon Ukraine and perhaps a deadly war upon the world.

Many of the protesters are just the unemployed collecting easy money. It is the witless idealistic types that are destroying the independence of their country. Victoria Nuland, the American neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State, whose agenda is US world hegemony, told the Ukrainians what was in store for them last December 13, but the protesters were too delusional to hear.

In an eight minute, 46 second speech at the National Press Club sponsored by the US-Ukraine Foundation, Chevron, and Ukraine-in-Washington Lobby Group, Nuland boasted that Washington has spent $5 billion to foment agitation to bring Ukraine into the EU. Once captured by the EU, Ukraine will be “helped” by the West acting through the IMF. Nuland, of course, presented the IMF as Ukraine’s rescuer, not as the iron hand of the West that will squeeze all life out of Ukraine’s struggling economy.

Nuland’s audience consisted of all the people who will be enriched by the looting and by connections to a Washington-appointed Ukrainian government. Just look at the large Chevron sign next to which Nuland speaks, and you will know what it is all about. http://www.sott.net/article/273602-US-Assistant-Secretary-of-State-Victoria-Nuland-says-Washington-has-spent-5-billion-trying-to-subvert-Ukraine  

Nuland’s speech failed to alert the Ukraine protesters, who are determined to destroy the independence of Ukraine and to place their country in the hands of the IMF so that it can be looted like Latvia, Greece and every country that ever had an IMF structural adjustment program. All the monies that protesters are paid by the US and EU will soon be given back manyfold as Ukraine is “adjusted” by Western looting.

In her short speech the neoconservative agitator Nuland alleged that the protesters whom Washington has spent $5 billion cultivating were protesting “peacefully with enormous restraint” against a brutal government.

According to RT, which has much more credibility than the US State Department (remember Secretary of State Colin Powell’s address to the UN setting up the US invasion of Iraq with his “evidence” of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, a speech Powell later disavowed as Bush regime disinformation) Ukrainian rioters have seized 1,500 guns, 100,000 rounds of ammunition, 3 machine guns, and grenades from military armories.

The human-rights trained Ukrainian police have permitted the violence to get out of hand.  A number of police have been burned by Molotov cocktails. The latest report is that 108 police have been shot.  A number are dead and 63 are in critical condition. http://rt.com/news/ukraine-kiev-firearms-weapons-police-934/   These casualties are the products of Nuland’s “peacefully protesting protesters acting with enormous restraint.” On February 20, the elected, independent Ukraine government responded to the rioters use of firearms by allowing police to use firearms in self-defense. 

Perhaps the Russophobic western Ukrainians deserve the IMF, and perhaps the EU deserves the extreme nationalists who are trying to topple the Ukraine government.  Once Ukrainians experience being looted by the West, they will be on their knees begging  Russia to rescue them.  The only certain thing is that it is unlikely that the Russian part of Ukraine will remain part of Ukraine.

During the Soviet era, parts of Russia herself, such as the Crimea, were placed into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, perhaps in order to increase the Russian population in Ukraine. In other words, a large part of today’s Ukraine–eastern and southern provinces–are traditional Russian territory, not part of historical Ukraine.

Until Russia granted Ukraine independence in the early 1990s, Ukraine had experienced scant independence since the 14th century and had been a part of Russia for 200 years. The problem with the grant of independence is that much of Ukraine is not Ukrainian. It is Russian.

As I have reported previously, Russia regards the prospect of Ukraine as a member of the EU with NATO with US bases on Russia’s frontier as a “strategic threat.”  It is unlikely that the Russian government and the Russian territories in Ukraine will accept Washington’s plan for Ukraine. Whatever their intention, Secretary of State John Kerry’s provocative statements are raising tensions and fomenting war.  The vast bulk of the American and Western populations have no idea of what the real situation is, because all they hear from the “free press” is the neoconservative propaganda line.

Washington’s lies are destroying not only civil liberties at home and countries abroad, but are raising dangerous alarms in Russia about the country’s security. If Washington succeeds in overthrowing the Ukrainian government, the eastern and southern provinces are likely to secede. If secession becomes a civil war instead of a peaceful divorce, Russia would not be able to sit on the sidelines.  As the Washington warmongers would be backing western Ukraine, the two nuclear powers would be thrown into military conflict. 

The Ukrainian and Russian governments allowed this dangerous situation to develop, because they naively permitted for many years billions of US dollars to flow into their countries where the money was used to create fifth columns under the guise of educational and human rights organizations, the real purpose of which is to destabilize both countries. The consequence of the trust Ukrainians and Russians placed in the West is the prospect of civil and wider war.

Surely one could be forgiven for thinking that when the Washington Post’s Chico Harlan (February 17) described the conclusions reached by the UN Human Rights Commission’s investigation into North Korea that he was really describing his own country, the United States. Harlan wrote,

“The report makes for devastating reading, laying out the way North Korea conducts surveillance on its citizens (see Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s spying on US citizens…and everyone else), bans them from travel (anyone up for a visit to Cuba?), discriminates against them based on supposed ideological impurities (has the United States ever been kind to Marxist-Leninists?), tortures them (water boarding and Abu Ghraib) and sometimes banishes them to isolated prison camps, where they are held incommunicado” (recently Guantanamo and other CIA torture camps around the world to which opponents of the US regime have been rendered, more distantly, the incarceration of German-, Italian- and Japanese-Americans during WWII.)

The report recommends that North Korea be referred to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, but if the charges against North Korea are true, then surely the case for referring the United States to the same court is at least as compelling. Add the United States’ record of extrajudicial assassination, its world-leading rate of incarceration, its illegal wars, and its support for the most vile human rights violators on the planet, among them Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, and the case for referring US leaders to The Hague is overwhelming.

The UN report says that North Korea is committing human rights violations “without any parallel in the contemporary world,” a conclusion that could only be reached by wilful blindness to the human rights violations of the United States, its democracy-abominating allies in the Gulf, and its south Korean neo-colony. South Korea, whose affronts against human rights are passed over largely in silence by the Western media (and it seems by the UN Human Rights Commission too), conducts surveillance on its citizens, bans them from travel to North Korea, discriminates against them if they hold views sympathetic to North Korea, its official Juche ideology or Marxism-Leninism, and uses its highly repressive National Security Law to lock up and intimidate anyone who has a good word to say about North Korea.

The UN report can hardly be taken seriously. It is a transparent effort to discredit a government that has, for more than half a century, been in the cross-hairs of a US program of military intimidation, economic warfare, diplomatic isolation and ideological assault, targeted for regime change for rejecting participation in a US-superintended global capitalist order. More than that, by passing over regimes that do what North Korea is accused of doing, it sanitizes the behavior of the United States and its allies, buttressing the ideological fiction that anti-capitalist governments are uniquely human rights violators, while upholders of global capitalism are uniquely champions of human rights.

If a case is to be pressed to refer North Korea to the ICC, then referrals of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea to The Hague—to start—are long overdue. Until this oversight is rectified, it is impossible to regard the UN report—and the western media’s coverage of it—as anything but sops to the propaganda imperatives of US foreign policy.

Letter from San Quentin Death Row: Fighting The Oppressor

February 20th, 2014 by Kevin Cooper

Hunger strikes and other acts of rebellion convey images of prison as a place of defiance. But a large proportion of the inmate population “refuse to even raise an ink pen to write about the oppressor and this oppressive system of death that has us all imprisoned, and is trying to execute us.” Instead, they fight each other.

This essay speaks to one of the many forms of oppression.

As an African American who is committed to fighting, and ending oppression, no matter where it happens, or who it happens to, I have to speak the truth. And my truth is what I have witnessed and personally experienced here in San Quentin Prison on Death Row since 1985.

I find myself in a real life-and-death situation here on Death Row, where hate, and for certain people, self-hatred, is an ongoing situation. Of course, this is not true concerning all the death row inmates, and I would be lying if I said that it was.

But what I am writing about happens enough to deserves attention.

Here, in this institution, as well as in all other modern day plantations there are only two types of people. They are the Oppressors and Oppressed! I am an oppressed person, and in truth, all the other inmates within these walls are Oppressed, even if some of them don’t think that they are, or aren’t aware that they are.

There are certain inmates, who instead of uniting as one strong oppressed people in order to make all of our lives more peaceful and better, would rather (and in fact do) raise their fists in violence than raise their voice. They speak words of disrespect towards other oppressed inmates for whatever reason, (even if that reason is a made-up one), in order to hate and start trouble and keep madness going among us. Yet, these very same inmates refuse to raise their voice to the oppressor. They refuse to even raise an ink pen to write about the oppressor and this oppressive system of death that has us all imprisoned, and is trying to execute us—this system that is made to destroy us mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and every other type of way that it can before it murders us physically.

Whether these inmates do this consciously or unconsciously isn’t known by me or other inmates who also see this and shake their heads in disbelief like I do. What we do know however is this truth: The oppressor and his supporters love for this to happen, and they love to see it happen. They want and need to keep us oppressed people fighting each other. The good old game of divide and conquer is one of their most effective tools. These so called Brothers who are doing the oppressors’ work for them claim to know all about this game of divide and conquer, yet they still keep participating in this game to the detriment of we who are oppressed!

In 1964, the late Malcolm X stated to a crowd of people in Harlem that, “If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing”! He further stated, “The Oppressor is fighting you in the morning, fighting you at noon, fighting you at night, and fighting you all in between, and you still think it’s wrong to fight them back! Why?”

This is exactly what is going on within this and other modern day plantations to one degree or another. I must also ask “Why?” As I and other inmates continue to do our part in this historical struggle for our collective human rights we do so consciously, and we refuse to do the oppressors’ work for him!

They want and need to keep us oppressed people fighting each other.”

Though I and others are forced to live in such a place against our will doesn’t mean that we have given up or given in. It doesn’t mean that we will let the oppressor make us turn on each other in a negative way. We will continue to work to end all of our collective oppression as best we can.
Those inmates who choose to work against us and for the oppressor either don’t know, or don’t care that they are being misused by the oppressor. As the late Bantu Steven Biko, who is the father of Black Consciousness in South Africa, once said: “The most powerful weapon of the oppressor is the minds of the oppressed!”

Many of us on these modern day plantations refuse to give our minds or our spirits to these wholesale oppressors.  Those that do, “That’s their bad.” Only in acknowledging what is going on, can some of us avoid this trap that is easy to fall into here behind enemy lines.

In Struggle and Solidarity from Death Row at San Quentin Prison,

Kevin Cooper is still on San Quentin’s death row despite being innocent. Learn more about his case at http://www.savekevincooper.org/.

The U.S. thinks it has found a formula for regime change, beginning with destabilization from within. Venezuela’s democratically elected government has long been a target. “Over the last decade or so we have seen this strategy attempted in Zimbabwe, Libya, Iran, and Syria.

The political plan for Venezuela took stage in the streets of Washington DC February 15, 2014. Passers-by on Georgetown’s 30th Street on a freezing Saturday were perplexed at the standoff between two groups assuming opposite sides of the street. One ethnically mixed group of mostly Latino, Black, and White had taken the side of the street in front of the Venezuelan Embassy to show solidarity with Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. The group on the other side was the all white, privileged youth of the Venezuelan elite residing in the U.S. who want to see their country’s return to the days when they dominated the economic and political process.

The latter are hoping that the recent unrest in their country signals the end of the Bolivarian process and the overthrow of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, successor to the late President Hugo Chavez. The protest they staged at the Embassy was to help this become so.

The current situation started in Venezuela February 12, 2014 with violence perpetrated against the democratically elected government and civilians resulting in three deaths, 61 persons wounded and 69 detained. This followed what were, for the most part, peaceful marches marking the 200th anniversary of the battle of La Victoria, in which students played a critical role in a victory against royalist forces during Venezuela’s war of independence. Some student groups marched in celebration of the Day of the Student but violent anti-government demonstrators used the occasion to protest episodic shortages of some basic goods, persistent crime, and to demand the release of students who had been arrested in earlier demonstrations.

“In Merida… opposition students and youth, some armed, marched through the city centre and protested outside the state government building, and another small march was held in the nearby town of Ejido. Marchers chanted ‘Maduro resign now!’”

“Observers told Venezuelanalysis.com that they witnessed opposition protestors firing live ammunition indiscriminately into buildings, throwing rocks and attempting to storm a communal house in the city centre.”

While the Obama Administration and capitalist news media want everyone to believe a repressive Venezuelan government is attacking peaceful protests, there are videos of protestors using fire and rocks against the police. The Merida state governor, Alexis Ramirez released aphoto on twitter showing one of the armed protestors. “The governor also alleged that one student who had been arrested claimed that he had been paid 150 bolivars by far right opposition leader, Villca Fernandez to protest. Almost all students protesting wore balaclavas.”

This is the general blueprint used for essentially the same brand of regime change in Libya adapted for Venezuela. Particulars between the two countries may be different but this general strategy of U.S. imperialism is the same. Imperialism uses hidden hands to instigate incidents in countries that take anti-imperialist stands. Then it uses its media and official spokespersons to make things look to the rest of the world as if they are other than they are, demonizing the actual victims.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a February 14th press briefing, “So we are deeply concerned by rising tensions, by the violence surrounding these February 12th protests, and by the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. We join the Secretary General of the OAS in condemning the violence and calling on authorities to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of peaceful protestors. We also call on the Venezuelan Government to release the 19 detained protestors and urge all parties to work to restore calm and refrain from violence.”

To claim in the same statement that they are concerned for opposition leader Lopez and 19 detained protestors, yet call on the Venezuela Government to bring to justice those responsible shows that the U.S. is up to it same old covert shenanigans. The public is not suppose to consider that bringing those responsible for the violence to justice likely means arresting Leopoldo Lopez, the ultra-right wing leader of the Voluntad Popular party who played a role in the short-lived coup against former President Hugo Chavez in 2002 and who now has been calling for intensified demonstrations and the “exit” of Maduro from the government.

Before going into hiding Lopez insisted that his intention is to lead peaceful protests. President Maduro has accused Lopez of trying to instigate violence in a bid to mount a coup.

Don DeBar of Community Progressive Radio in New York reported “Maduro and other senior government officials said the violence was centered with small groups operating according to a plan which was being managed by Lopez with the assistance of a handful of other opposition figures. According to a report from Informativa Pacifica, the plan was organized in Mexico and included a current mayor of a Venezuelan city, who is also a close friend of former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe Velez.

A recording of a telephone conversation surfaced that appears to show two former right wing officials discussing or planning the implementation of the violence Wednesday, a day before it began. The two former officials – Fernando Gerbasi and Mario Carratu Molina – compared what was to come to April 11, a reference to the beginning of the 2002 coup attempt against former President Hugo Chavez, that was ultimately defeated by a massive popular uprising in defense of the socialist government.”

The day things kicked off I was asked by a couple people, “What’s going on in Venezuela?” One added “Twitter ablaze with reports of protests, military crackdown, deaths, etc in Venezuela…anyone know what’s going on?” It is important to know and understand the machinations of imperialism so we are never caught off guard or fooled by its modus operandi or its propaganda.

It has perfected this regime change strategy of causing unrest in places to get the target government in question to react with violent repression. Then fanning social media and news media reports that accuse and depict said government of being the aggressor in the hope it can maneuver things toward their ultimate goal. Over the last decade or so we have seen this strategy attempted in Zimbabwe, Libya, Iran, and Syria.

So, “what is going on in Venezuela” is the typical attempts by neo-colonial, imperialist backed forces inside a country to seize power by destabilizing the country away from its revolutionary path and if possible create a pretext for more direct imperialist intervention. We see it over and over again in countries taking an anti-imperialist stand and asserting their sovereign right to national self-determination. Countries like Zimbabwe have so far been able to fend off such assaults. Others like Libya were not successful.

Had counter demonstrators not been in Washington standing in solidarity with Venezuela’s Bolivarian Government, surely the media spin of what took place would have been different. It would have been one of a traumatized Venezuelan exile community desperately seeking justice and the restraint of the needlessly violent government.

Instead the coddled class of Venezuelans showed their true selves and how much of the disposition they share in common with those of them back home who can’t civilly accept the progressive course democratically chosen by the masses in their country.

Switching between Spanish and English but speaking most times in Spanish, that day they yelled racist insults at the demonstrators, raised middle fingers at us, and implied that we were homeless people getting paid to be there. “Go back to your shelter!” and “How much are they paying you? Come over to our side and we’ll pay you double.”

To them it is difficult to understand that there can be any other reason for so many people who were not Venezuelan to be there without the more selfish and superficial interests that motivate them. They are unable to understand the selflessness of revolutionary and humanist convictions. And they also called us “communistos” with the same fanatical contempt that a racist would call someone the “N” word. Evidently the Bolivarian revolution evokes from them the same crude regard and understanding of communism as propagated during the “Cold War” era.

This right-wing is now planning another protest at the Organization of American States for Wednesday, February 19, 2014, the other part of an inside-outside strategy. The success of their strategy depends largely on the public swallowing their hype and lies.

When we think for ourselves about Venezuela what is obvious is that, “It stretches the bounds of credibility to argue that the government would seek to destabilize itself when it has come out the winner in two important elections (presidential and municipal), has made reducing violence and crime a top priority, has recently met with opposition mayors to find ground on which to cooperate, and seeks a peaceful implementation of the government’s six year plan (Plan de la Patria).”

This is not to mention the popularity the government has earned from providing universal healthcare, education, and processes of participatory democracy not seen in most parts of the world.

There is a real chance to make sure Venezuela does not go the way of Libya by thinking for ourselves, equipping others with the information to do the same, then taking a stand against U.S. imperialism against Venezuela.

Netfa Freeman is a long time human rights and Pan-African activists, and a radio co-producer/co-host for Voices with Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM in Washington, DC.

Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism in Europe

February 20th, 2014 by Eric Draitser

The violence on the streets of Ukraine is far more than an expression of popular anger against a government.  Instead, it is merely the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich.

Recent months have seen regular protests by the Ukrainian political opposition and its supporters –  protests ostensibly in response to Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s refusal to sign a trade agreement with the European Union that was seen by many political observers as the first step towards European integration.  The protests remained largely peaceful until January 17th when protesters armed with clubs, helmets, and improvised bombs unleashed brutal violence on the police, storming government buildings, beating anyone suspected of pro-government sympathies, and generally wreaking havoc on the streets of Kiev.  But who are these violent extremists and what is their ideology?

The political formation is known as “Pravy Sektor” (Right Sector), which is essentially an umbrella organization for a number of ultra-nationalist (read fascist) right wing groups including supporters of the “Svoboda” (Freedom) Party, “Patriots of Ukraine”, “Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense” (UNA-UNSO), and “Trizub”.  All of these organizations share a common ideology that is vehemently anti-Russian, anti-immigrant, and anti-Jewish among other things.  In addition they share a common reverence for the so called “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” led by Stepan Bandera, the infamous Nazi collaborators who actively fought against the Soviet Union and engaged in some of the worst atrocities committed by any side in World War II.

While Ukrainian political forces, opposition and government, continue to negotiate, a very different battle is being waged in the streets.  Using intimidation and brute force more typical of Hitler’s “Brownshirts” or Mussolini’s “Blackshirts” than a contemporary political movement, these groups have managed to turn a conflict over economic policy and the political allegiances of the country into an existential struggle for the very survival of the nation that these so called “nationalists” claim to love so dearly.  The images of Kiev burning, Lviv streets filled with thugs, and other chilling examples of the chaos in the country, illustrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the political negotiation with the Maidan (Kiev’s central square and center of the protests) opposition is now no longer the central issue.  Rather, it is the question of Ukrainian fascism and whether it is to be supported or rejected.

For its part, the United States has strongly come down on the side of the opposition, regardless of its political character.  In early December, members of the US ruling establishment such as John McCain and Victoria Nuland were seen at Maidan lending their support to the protesters.  However, as the character of the opposition has become apparent in recent days, the US and Western ruling class and its media machine have done little to condemn the fascist upsurge.  Instead, their representatives have met with representatives of Right Sector and deemed them to be “no threat.”  In other words, the US and its allies have given their tacit approval for the continuation and proliferation of the violence in the name of their ultimate goal: regime change.

In an attempt to pry Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence, the US-EU-NATO alliance has, not for the first time, allied itself with fascists.  Of course, for decades, millions in Latin America were disappeared or murdered by fascist paramilitary forces armed and supported by the United States.  The mujahideen of Afghanistan, which later transmogrified into Al Qaeda, also extreme ideological reactionaries, were created and financed by the United States for the purposes of destabilizing Russia.  And of course, there is the painful reality of Libya and, most recently Syria, where the United States and its allies finance and support extremist jihadis against a government that has refused to align with the US and Israel.  There is a disturbing pattern here that has never been lost on keen political observers: the United States always makes common cause with right wing extremists and fascists for geopolitical gain.

The situation in Ukraine is deeply troubling because it represents a political conflagration that could very easily tear the country apart less than 25 years after it gained independence from the Soviet Union.  However, there is another equally disturbing aspect to the rise of fascism in that country – it is not alone.

The Fascist Menace Across the Continent

Ukraine and the rise of right wing extremism there cannot be seen, let alone understood, in isolation.  Rather, it must be examined as part of a growing trend throughout Europe (and indeed the world) – a trend which threatens the very foundations of democracy.

In Greece, savage austerity imposed by the troika (IMF, ECB, and European Commission) has crippled the country’s economy, leading to a depression as bad, if not worse, than the Great Depression in the United States.  It is against this backdrop of economic collapse that the Golden Dawn party has grown to become the third most popular political party in the country.  Espousing an ideology of hate, the Golden Dawn – in effect a Nazi party that promotes anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant, anti-women chauvinism – is a political force that the government in Athens has understood to be a serious threat to the very fabric of society.  It is this threat which led the government to arrest the party’s leadership after a Golden Dawn Nazi fatally stabbed an anti-fascist rapper.  Athens has launched an investigation into the party, though the results of this investigation and trial remain somewhat unclear.

What makes Golden Dawn such an insidious threat is the fact that, despite their central ideology of Nazism, their anti-EU, anti-austerity rhetoric appeals to many in the economically devastated Greece.  As with many fascist movements in the 20th Century, Golden Dawn scapegoats immigrants, Muslim and African primarily, for many of the problems facing Greeks.  In dire economic circumstances, such irrational hate becomes appealing; an answer to the question of how to solve society’s problems.  Indeed, despite Golden Dawn’s leaders being jailed, other party members are still in parliament, still running for major offices including mayor of Athens.  Though an electoral victory is unlikely, another strong showing at the polls will make the eradication of fascism in Greece that much harder.

 Were this phenomenon confined to Greece and Ukraine, it would not constitute a continental trend.  Sadly however, we see the rise of similar, albeit slightly less overtly fascist, political parties all over Europe.  In Spain, the ruling pro-austerity People’s Party has moved to establish draconian laws restricting protest and free speech, and empowering and sanctioning repressive police tactics.  In France, the National Front Party of Marine Le Pen, which vehemently scapegoats Muslim and African immigrants, won nearly twenty percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections.  Similarly, the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands – which promotes anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant policies – has grown to be the third largest in parliament.  Throughout Scandinavia, ultra nationalist parties which once toiled in complete irrelevance and obscurity are now significant players in elections.  These trends are worrying to say the least.

It should be noted too that, beyond Europe, there are a number of quasi-fascist political formations which are, in one way or another, supported by the United States.  The right wing coups that overthrew the governments of Paraguay and Honduras were tacitly and/or overtly supported by Washington in their seemingly endless quest to suppress the Left in Latin America.  Of course, one should also remember that the protest movement in Russia was spearheaded by Alexei Navalny and his nationalist followers who espouse a virulently anti-Muslim, racist ideology that views immigrants from the Russian Caucasus and former Soviet republics as beneath “European Russians”.  These and other examples begin to paint a very ugly portrait of a US foreign policy that attempts to use economic hardship and political upheaval to extend US hegemony around the world.

In Ukraine, the “Right Sector” has taken the fight from the negotiating table to the streets in an attempt to fulfill the dream of Stepan Bandera – a Ukraine free of Russia, Jews, and all other “undesirables” as they see it.  Buoyed by the continued support from the US and Europe, these fanatics represent a more serious threat to democracy than Yanukovich and the pro-Russian government ever could.  If Europe and the United States don’t recognize this threat in its infancy, by the time they finally do, it might just be too late.

Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.com.  He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City.  You can reach him at [email protected].

Venezuela: Economic and Social Performance Under Hugo Chávez

February 20th, 2014 by Center for Economic and Policy Research

This article initially published in March 2013 is of significance in the understanding of the staged protest movement and current attempts to destabilize the Maduro government

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez passed away after 14 years in office.

Below is a series of graphs that illustrate the economic and social changes that have taken place in Venezuela during this time period.

1. Growth (Average Annual Percent)
GDP PerCap

Source: Banco Central de Venezuela

This graph shows overall GDP growth as well as per-capita growth in the pre-Chávez (1986-1999) era and the Chávez presidency.

From 1999-2003, the government did not control the state oil company; in fact, it was controlled by his opponents, who used it to try to overthrow the government, including the devastating oil strike of 2002–2003.  For that reason, a better measure of economic growth under the Chávez government would start after it got control over the state oil company, and therefore the economy.

Above you can see this growth both measured from 2004, and for the 1999-2012 period. We use 2004 because to start with 2003, a depressed year due to the oil strike, would exaggerate GDP growth during this period; by 2004, the economy had caught up with its pre-strike level of output. Growth after the government got control of the state oil company was much faster.

2. Public vs. Private Growth – 1999-2012 (Average Annual Percent)
Private Public
Source: Banco Central de Venezuela

This graph shows the growth of the private sector versus the public sector during the Chávez years.

3. Inflation: Pre-Chávez vs. Chávez Years
inflation
Source: Banco Central de Venezuela

Inflation in Venezuela, consumer price index.

4. Unemployment Rate: Before and After Oil Strike
unemployment
Source: Banco Central de Venezuela, INEC

After the oil strike (and the deep recession that it caused) ended in 2003, unemployment dropped drastically, following many years of increases before Chávez was elected. In 1999, when Chávez took office, unemployment was 14.5 percent; for 2011 it was 7.8 percent.

5. Poverty and Extreme Poverty Rate
poverty
Source: INEC

Poverty has decreased significantly, dropping by nearly 50 percent since the oil strike, with extreme poverty dropping by over 70 percent.

6. Gini Coefficient, 2001-2003 – Latin America
gini
Source: Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean

The Gini coefficient, measuring income inequality, fell from 0.5 to 0.397, the lowest Gini coefficient in the region.

7.  Social Spending as a Percent of GDP
socialspending
Source: SISOV

Social spending doubled from 11.3 percent of GDP in 1998 to 22.8 percent of GDP in 2011.

8. Education: Net Enrollment
net enrollment
Source: SISOV

9. Graduates from Higher Education
higher ed
Source: Ministerio del P.P. para la Educación Universitaria

10.  Child Malnutrition- Age 5 and Under
malnutrition
Source: Instituto Nacional de Nutrición

11. Venezuelans Receiving Pensions
pensions
Source: Instituto Venezuela de los Seguros Sociales

The number of Venezuelans receiving pensions has increased from less than 500,000 in 1999 to nearly 2 million in 2011.

Berlin and Washington Foment Civil War in Ukraine

February 20th, 2014 by Peter Schwarz

Recent events in Ukraine are a warning to the working class. They make clear that political leaders in Washington, Berlin and Brussels are prepared to split the country, drive it into civil war and risk a conflagration across the entire region to achieve their geopolitical goals.

Following the failure of the Ukrainian opposition and its Western supporters to overthrow President Viktor Yanukovych by means of demonstrations and replace his regime with an EU-friendly government, armed fascist gangs are being mobilized to achieve the same aim.

On Tuesday, Kiev witnessed the bloodiest clashes since the protests began three months ago. Twenty-six people, including several policemen, were killed, and some 1,000 were injured when gangs armed with paving stones, guns and firebombs engaged in violent street battles with government security forces.

Even Western media outlets, which have propagandized in support of the opposition, could not entirely ignore the role of ultra-right forces in the violent protests. The Financial Times reported, “Some demonstrators wearing camouflage clothing, military helmets and bullet proof vests responded with what appeared to be hand guns.” The same newspaper wrote: “Right Sector, one of the most militarized protest groups, urged citizens with guns to join the encampment.”

German news channel N24 reported that the “radicals of Right Sector have hijacked the protest movement.” Noting that the group consists of “supporters of ultra right-wing organizations across the country,” it added, “With their faces hidden behind masks or helmets, they attack the police in Kiev with batons and iron bars.”

The US and German governments are supporting these paramilitary neofascist groups in order to increase pressure on Yanukovych and his government. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung expressed this bluntly. It “no longer matters if it was radical opponents of the regime or the security forces who first resorted to violence on Tuesday,” the paper stated. “Now only one thing can help: the rapid resignation of Yanukovych.”

On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warmly received Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko, but turned down their call for sanctions. After the bloody riots in Kiev, she reversed herself and expressed support for sanctions against the Yanukovych government. In a joint appearance with French President François Hollande, she denounced the security forces in Ukraine for brutality.

Similar comments were made by the US government, which called on the Ukrainian government to withdraw its riot police. “There will be consequences if people cross a line,” President Barack Obama threatened.

The fact that Berlin and Washington are prepared to exploit the services of paramilitary fascist gangs for their own purposes exposes the official propaganda, which states that what is at issue in Ukraine is the rule of law and democracy. In fact, the aim is to replace the regime of Yanukovych with one that will distance itself from Russia, subordinate itself to the European Union and impose brutal austerity policies on the Ukrainian working class.

This is also the aim of the opposition led by Klitschko, Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok, whose Svoboda party openly celebrates the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and espouses anti-Semitism and racism.

The battle for Ukraine is part of efforts by the US and the European powers to incorporate all of Eastern Europe into their sphere of influence and isolate Russia. This process began with the restoration of capitalism, continued with the incorporation of the former Eastern Bloc countries and the Baltic States into NATO and the EU, and is now to be extended to large parts of the former Soviet Union.

Ukraine, with its network of energy pipelines, strategically important military bases and heavy industry, is a major target of American and European imperialism. On two occasions in the last century, in 1918 and 1941, German imperialism invaded Ukraine. In World War II, Hitler’s armies massacred millions of Ukrainians.

Ukraine also serves as a base to draw other former Soviet republics into the sphere of influence of the EU. In an article for Carnegie Europe, journalist Judy Dempsey referred to the crisis in Ukraine as “a great opportunity for the EU.” She continued: “Now is the time for the EU to start selling itself, not just in Ukraine but also in Georgia and Moldova.”

The installation of a client regime in Ukraine or imperialist carve-up of the country is ultimately aimed against Russia itself. Various think tanks are studying the ethnic and political tensions that could be exploited to bring about regime change in Russia and dismember that country as well.

The policies pursued by Washington, Berlin and Brussels in Ukraine, with the support of their right-wing and fascist allies, are directed against the social and democratic rights of the working class. They risk civil war and increase the danger of a military confrontation with Russia.

The Ukrainian working class cannot avoid these dangers by supporting the camp of Yanukovych. His regime is corrupt and bankrupt, representing a different faction of oligarchs than those backing the opposition. They all agree when it comes to the looting of public property and the impoverishment and suppression of the working population.

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) model bill for disclosure of chemicals injected into the ground during the controversial hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process is back for a sequel in the Sunshine State legislature.

ALEC’s model bill was proposed by ExxonMobil at its December 2011 meeting and is modeled after a bill that passed in Texas’ legislature in spring 2011, as revealed in an April 2012 New York Times investigative piece. ALEC critics refer to the pro-business organization as a “corporate bill mill” lending corporate lobbyists a “voice and a vote” on model legislation often becoming state law.

The bill currently up for debate at the subcommittee level in the Florida House of Representatives was originally proposed a year ago (as HB 743) in February 2013 and passed in a 92-19 vote, but never received a Senate vote. This time around the block (like last time except for the bill number), Florida’s proposed legislation is titled the Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act (HB 71), introduced by Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues. It is attached to a key companion bill: Public Records/Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act (HB 157).

HB 71 passed on a party-line 8-4 vote in the Florida House’s Agriculture and Environment Subcommittee on January 14, as did HB 157. The next hurdle the bills have to clear: HB 71 awaits a hearing in the Agriculture and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee and HB 157 awaits one in the Government Operations Subcommittee.

Taken together, the two bills are clones of ALEC’s ExxonMobil-endorsed Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act. That model — like HB 71 — creates a centralized database for fracking chemical fluid disclosure. There’s a kicker, though. Actually, two.

First kicker: the industry-created and industry-owned disclosure database itself — FracFocus — has been deemed a failure by multiple legislators and by an April 2013 Harvard University Law School studySecond kicker: ALEC’s model bill, like HB 157, has a trade secrets exemption for chemicals deemed proprietary. 

First “Halliburton Loophole,” then “ExxonMobil Loophole”

Back when the ALEC model bill was debated in the Texas legislature in spring 2011 (and before it was endorsed by ExxonMobil and eventually adopted as a model by ALEC), the bill was touted as an antidote to the lack of transparency provided at the federal level on fracking chemicals by both industry and environmental groups, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Texas League of Conservation Voters (LCV).

“[T]his is proof positive that the public, environmental groups, and the state’s energy industry can work together to ensure the health and safety of Texans,” the Texas LCV said in May 2011.

Rep. Rodrigues said he was impressed by these dynamics when researching the bill online in comments provided by email to DeSmogBlog.

“I was pleased to see the Environmental community and the Energy community jointly draft this legislation,” he said.

FL Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R); Photo Credit: Florida House of Representatives

The lack of federal level transparency is mandated by law via the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as outlined in a sub-section of the bill best known as the “Halliburton Loophole.”

The “Halliburton Loophole” — named such because Halliburton is an oil services company that provides fracking services and because when it was written, the company’s former CEO, Dick Cheney, was vice president of the United States and oversaw the industry-friendly Energy Task Force — gives the oil and gas industry a free pass on fracking chemical disclosure, deeming the chemicals injected into the ground during the process a trade secret.

Yet, far from an antidote to the “Halliburton Loophole,” a new loophole has been created in its stead at the state level — the “ExxonMobil Loophole” — which now has the backing of ALEC. The results haven’t been pretty.

An August 2012 Bloomberg News investigation revealed FracFocus merely offers the façade of disclosure, or a “fig leaf” of it, as U.S. Rep. Diane DiGette (D-CO) put it in the piece.

“Energy companies failed to list more than two out of every five fracked wells in eight U.S. states from April 11, 2011, when FracFocus began operating, through the end of last year,” wrote Bloomberg. “The gaps reveal shortcomings in the voluntary approach to transparency on the site.”

As we reported on DeSmogBlog in December 2012, FracFocus is a public relations front for the oil and gas industry:

FracFocus’ domain is registered by Brothers & Company, a public relations firm whose clients include America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Chesapeake Energy, and American Clean Skies Foundation, a front group for Chesapeake Energy.

FracFocus was listed as an industry “ally” in the recently revealed scandalous Ohio Department of Natural Resources memo from 2012 — now part of an Ohio House of Representatives investigation — which discussed how to push through fracking on public lands and divide Ohio’s environmental community. It also received an initial $1.5 million in seed money in the aftermath the meetings between members of the industry-stacked 2011 Obama Administration Department of Energy Fracking Subcommittee.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be shocking, then, that one of the bill’s original co-introducers, Texas Rep. Lon Burnam (D), told Bloomberg, “This disclosure bill has a hole big enough to drive a Mack truck through.”

Texas’ track record on fracking chemical fluid disclosure speaks for itself.

“Drilling companies in Texas, the biggest oil-and-natural gas producing state, claimed similar exemptions about 19,000 times this year through August,” explained Bloomberg. “Trade-secret exemptions block information on more than five ingredients for every well in Texas, undermining the statute’s purpose of informing people about chemicals that are hauled through their communities and injected thousands of feet beneath their homes and farms.”

Or, as the Harvard University Law School study put it:

FracFocus prevents states from enforcing timely disclosure requirements, creates obstacles for compliance for reporting companies, and allows inconsistent trade secret assertions. Furthermore, the reliance on FracFocus by numerous states as a de facto regulatory mechanism sends a strong signal to industry that careful reporting and compliance is not a top priority.

Asked why HB 157 was introduced as a companion to HB 71 to begin with, Rep. Rodrigues cited the “Halliburton Loophole.”

“HB 157 was introduced because there are existing exemptions for trade secrets in both state and federal statutes,” he said. “Therefore HB 71 must be made compliant with existing law. Otherwise, HB 71 could be challenged in court and thus not enforced.”

ALEC Legislator Ties to Florida Bills

At the January 14 Agriculture and Environment Subcommittee hearing in which HB 71 and HB 157 passed, Rep. Ray Rodrigues told his Subcommittee colleagues he got the idea for the proposed pieces of legislation from Texas Rep. James “Jim” Keffer (R).

“I contacted the Texas state representative who filed the bill, Jim Keffer, and asked him to send me that bill, which he did,” said Rodrigues at the hearing (begins at 9:57). “That bill was the foundation of which was submitted last year.”

 

TX Rep. James “Jim” Keffer (R); Photo Credit: Texas Tribune

At the time he co-introduced the bill in 2011, Keffer was an ALEC member, according to SourceWatch.

Two of the Agriculture and Environment Subcommittee members who up-voted HB 71 and HB 157 — Rep. Ray Pilon (R) and Rep. Matt Caldwell (R)have ALEC ties. Further, three members of the Agriculture and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee — Pilon, Rep. Ben Albritton and Rep. Debbie Mayfield — which is the next destination for HB 71, also have ALEC ties.

For HB 157, two members of the Florida House Government Operations Subcommittee have ALEC tiesRep. Clay Ingram and Rep. Larry Ahern. Were both bills to advance to the House State Affairs Committee, three members of that committee have ties to ALEC, too: Albritton, Caldwell and Rep. Jason Brodeur.

Will the Bills Pass?

After contacting multiple sources in Florida, it appears far from a sure bet that the two bills will advance out of the current subcommittees.

Kevin Cleary, spokesman for Rep. Albritton, chair of the Florida House Agriculture and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, told DeSmogBlog Rep. Albritton has no intention to bring HB 71 to a committee vote for now.

A member of the Florida environmental community, who requested anonymity due to the speculative nature of his analysis, said he expects the bills to be tabled for the year, especially since elections loom in November.

“Since this is an election year, leadership may be considering whether to put their members in the position of having to vote for an unpopular bill when it’s not likely to pass,” said the source. “If that’s the case, they might have sent word down the line to let them die quietly. But we’re not relaxing, and won’t until the bill is dead.”

Studies by the U.S. government, Harvard University and many other prestigious organizations show that fluoride in water may reduce intelligence and cause other health problems.

Moreover, the type of fluoride used in 90% of U.S. fluoridated water supplies has never been tested for safety.

Dartmouth University wrote in 2001:

In a recent article in the journal NeuroToxicology, a research team led by Roger D. Masters, Dartmouth College Research Professor and Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government Emeritus, reports evidence that public drinking water treated with sodium silicofluoride or fluosilicic acid, known as silicofluorides (SiFs), is linked to higher uptake of lead in children.

Sodium fluoride, first added to public drinking water in 1945, is now used in less than 10% of fluoridation systems nationwide, according to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) 1992 Fluoridation Census. Instead, SiF’s are now used to treat drinking water delivered to 140 million people. While sodium fluoride was tested on animals and approved for human consumption, the same cannot be said for SiFs.

Masters and his collaborator Myron J. Coplan, a consulting chemical engineer, formerly Vice President of Albany International Corporation, led the team that has now studied the blood lead levels in over 400,000 children in three different samples. In each case, they found a significant link between SiF-treated water and elevated blood lead levels.

We should stop using silicofluorides in our public water supply until we know what they do,” said Masters. Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency have told Masters and Coplan that the EPA has no information on health effects of chronic ingestion of SiF-treated water.

***

Also requiring further examination is German research that shows SiFs inhibit cholinesterase, an enzyme that plays an important role in regulating neurotransmitters.

“If SiFs are cholinesterase inhibitors, this means that SiFs have effects like the chemical agents linked to Gulf War Syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and other puzzling conditions that plague millions of Americans,” said Masters. “We need a better understanding of how SiFs behave chemically and physiologically.”

Here is Masters’ scientific paper on SiFs (also called “fluosilicic acid” and “fluorosilicic acid“).

Several years later, Dr. Masters pointed out that SiFs also increase crime:

Lead, a toxin that lowers dopamine function, has been associated with violent behavior as well as learning deficits. Hydrofluosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride, which were substituted for sodium fluoride without testing as chemicals for public water treatment,increase absorption of lead from the environment and are associated with violent behaviorGiven the costs of incarcerating violent criminals, these side-effects justify a moratorium on using silicofluorides for water treatment until they are shown to be safe.

***

My work with Myron Coplan on hydrofluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) and sodium silicofluoride (Na2SiF6) has provided epidemiological evidence that these silicofluorides — now used for over 90% of water fluoridation — increase absorption of lead from the environment into children’s blood (UNLIKE sodium fluoride, which doesn’t have this effect). Given the evidence associating lead with loss of impulse control and violence, we’ve also studied and published evidence on theassociation between silicofluoride use and violent crime rates.

***


The Sierra Club notes:

If fluoride is added to municipal water supplies, sodium fluoride rather than flourosilicate compounds should be used because the latter has a greater risk of being contaminated with such heavy metals as lead and arsenic.

Where does this compound come from?

As ABC News’ medical and scientific journalist Nicholas Regush writes

Fluoride is a by-product of aluminum and fertilizer manufacturing and contains heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and chromium. Fluoride is not a high-purity pharmaceutical, to put it conservatively.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program, reported in 2001:

Sodium hexafluorosilicate is produced by treating fluorosilicic acid with sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, or sodium chloride; alkalinity is adjusted to avoid the release of the fluoride. Fluorosilicic acid is mainly produced as a byproduct of the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers where phosphate rock is treated with sulfuric acid.

***

The major use of sodium hexafluorosilicate and fluorosilicic acid is as fluoridation agents for drinking water.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey:

Fluorosilicic acid is a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry and is not manufactured for itself alone …

The USGS also notes:

An estimated 40,000 tons of fluorosilicic acid (equivalent to about 70,000 tons of 92% fluorspar) was recovered from phosphoric acid plants processing phosphate rock. Fluorosilicic acid was used primarily in water fluoridation, either directly or after processing into sodium silicofluoride.

As Edward Urbansky from the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, National Risk management Research Laboratory, Water Supply and Water Resources Division wrote in 2002:

The most common fluoridating agents used by American waterworks are sodium fluoride (NaF), hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6), and sodium hexafluorosilicate (Na2SiF6) as shown in Figure 1.14 Although 25% of the utilities reported using NaF, this corresponds to only 9.2% of the U.S. population drinking fluoride-supplemented tap water. … The cost savings in using fluorosilicates result in large systems using those additives instead.***

In the United States, the primary sources of fluoridating agents are rocky mineral deposits containing mixtures of fluorite and apatite; the fluoridating agent itself is produced as a byproduct of phosphate fertilizer manufacture.

***

The EPA is aware of papers positing links between fluoridation agents and lead in the bloodstream or challenging the accepted chemistry. To truly investigate such hypotheses, better chemical knowledge of the speciation is required.

In other words, even though neither the EPA or any other government agency has studied the effects of long-term ingestion of fluorosilicic acid, it is being used instead of sodium fluoride because it gets rids of a toxic disposal problem for fertilizer plants, and it is slightly cheaper for cities.

And yet the EPA hasn’t done any testing of the health problems – or crime increase – caused by fluorosilicic acid.

And watch this must-see 9-minute Congressional testimony by PhD chemist William Hirzy, Senior Vice-President of the union representing EPA toxicologists, biologists, chemists, engineer and lawyers:

Britain’s Security State Crushes Ever Tighter

February 20th, 2014 by Craig Murray

 The disgraceful judges of Britain’s High Court – who have gone along with torture, extraordinary rendition, every single argument for mass surveillance and hiding information from the public, and even secret courts – have ruled that it was lawful for the Home Office to detain David Miranda, a journalist as information he was carrying might in some undefined way, and if communicated to them, aid “terrorists”.

Despite the entire industry, both private and governmental, devoted to whipping up fear, it is plain to pretty well everyone by now that terrorism is about the most unlikely way for you to die. A car accident is many hundreds of times more likely. Even drowning in your own bath is more likely. Where is the massive industry of suppression against baths?

I had dinner inside the Ecuadorian Embassy on Sunday with Julian Assange, who I am happy to say is as fit and well as possible in circumstances of confinement. Amongst those present was Jesselyn Radack, attorney for, among others, Edward Snowden. Last week on entering the UK she was pulled over by immigration and interrogated about her clients. The supposed “immigration officer” already knew who are Jesselyn Radack’s clients. He insisted aggressively on referring repeatedly to Chelsea Manning as a criminal, to which Jesselyn quietly replied that he was a political prisoner. But even were we to accept the “immigration officer’s” assertion, the fact that an attorney defends those facing criminal charges is neither new nor until now considered reprehensible and illegitimate.

As various states slide towards totalitarianism, a defining factor is that their populations really don’t notice. Well, I have noticed. Have you?