John Herbst, US ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006 , this week gave an interview to the RT television channel about current developments in Ukraine . According to Herbst, what we are witnessing is a peaceful uprising against an authoritarian, oppressive regime. He is unequivocal about this. He said that the protests and protesters are being smeared and discredited, and the only ones wanting to portray the opposition in Ukraine as being ultra nationalist, neo Nazis and violent are those who fear democracy on their own doorstep (i.e. Russia).

Herbst says the protests are a reaction to four years of oppressive government. While admitting that Yanokovych won a free and fair election in 2010, Herbst argues since that time he has put increasingly authoritarian strictures on the opposition and asserts that Yanokovych authorised the use of armed snipers against unarmed protesters.

In response to certain reports that state it was the opposition that first started any firing, Herbst says that such a claim is simply a lie. Herbst quotes Orwell to imply that people and sections of the media are not only lying, but are propagandising by using smear words about the protesters, such as ‘ultra nationalists’ or ‘anti-Semitic’

As far as an attack on a Jewish synagogue in Ukraine is concerned, he merely asks who attacked it and answers his own question with “Nobody knows” and that it is quite likely the attackers were “provocateurs.” Despite ‘nobody knowing’ he immediately implies it was carried out by former government forces to discredit the opposition.

For a man who refers to Orwell, his words flow easily with doublespeak and hypocrisy. While he doesn’t appear to know who attacked the synagogue, not wanting to apportion any wrong doings to the people the US has supported in Kiev, he is conveniently adamant that government snipers gunned down protesters, which is highly debatable, if not totally untrue (1).

Fine for him to make his unfounded claims that suit US goals and smear Yanokovych, but when others make claims he doesn’t like to hear, backed up with evidence, they are merely looking for a reason to tarnish the US-backed protesters.

During the interview with RT, he was asked how would it be perceived if Occupy protesters were to take over government buildings or a city hall in the US , as the people he supports in Ukraine have done: would it be labelled as a peaceful protest?

Of course it wouldn’t. The US state has long been involved in the illegal monitoring and subversion of perfectly legitimate democratic groups on home soil. Its security and intelligence agencies have been used to crush genuine democracy. From Martin Luther King and the Occupy Movement to Veterans for Peace, the  US  state has used the full panoply of resources to infiltrate, monitor or subvert. Today, democratic movements that seek to legitimately question the influence of Wall Street, US military policy abroad and a range of other policies that have serve elite interests are spied on and ‘neutralised’ (2).

But this is not up for debate. Best to move swiftly along, as indeed Herbst did. In order to prevent further analysis of how the US might or does treat dissent on its own soil, the former ambassador continued with his rhetoric (seemingly in the belief that if you keep on repeating something, people will eventually believe it) and went on to state during the interview:

“But let’s acknowledge something… The policies of Yanukovych were authoritarian and oppressive, and it’s natural that people will respond forcibly against oppressive and authoritarian policies. People were finally fed up with the restrictions as well as the massive corruption. … One side was brutal, slaughtering scores of people. The other was merely seizing buildings… You talk about a new election was scheduled for 2015. We all knew Yanukovic was preparing to steal that election.”

By this reasoning, it would mean that we should have pre-emptive action prior to any election based on fears about who might win and the reason for why they might win. Democracy works the other way around. You have an election and then you protest, if you feel it was discredited in some way, for example like when Bush stole the 2004 election.

And, of course, Herbst would not for one moment contemplate that the US authorities are oppressive, authoritarian and corrupt. For him, such traits are only prevalent in places like Ukraine . Don’t expect the likes of Herbst to be lining up in support of Occupy protestors at home who are demanding similar things that he is supporting in Ukraine (or at least says he is supporting). His moralistic bleatings only apply to other countries.

Although Herbst strived to portray the US as a neutral observer concerning events in Ukraine , it is clearly based on a lie (3,4). It is patently obvious that the US has a definite geo-political agenda aimed at weakening Russia (5). When asked about US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nulan appearing in Kiev handing out cookies, according to Herbst she was just expressing support for peaceful protest, and it did not imply that the US was taking sides in the situation.

How would that look in the US ? How would Herbst feel about Russia ‘s foreign minister doing that in US at Occupy Wall Street?

In response to such questions, Herbst continued to repeat and deflect by saying:

“I think you have trouble understanding there is a repressive government in Ukraine . There is not a repressive government in Washington …. Your problem is that you are a newscaster in a country that is undemocratic and you therefore do not want to see democracy in a country on your doorstep”

When the interviewer said that she does live in a democratic country ( Russia ), Herbst retorted:

“You have to say you live in a democratic country. Just like in the Soviet era journalists had to say that. It was not true then and it’s not true now.”

This comment and many others made by Herbst, displayed all of the arrogance associated with the ideology of US ‘exceptionalism’ in terms of that country being qualitatively different from other states, being a beacon of freedom and democracy and having the right to act in any way as and when it deems fit (6). He also displayed the complete contempt that people like him have for the public with his falsehoods, misleading claims, warped logic and attempts to deceive. Herbst should have realised that he was not talking (down) to a Fox news audience in the US . But, given the US ‘s role in events in Ukraine , maybe this was the best performance that could have been expected by someone in his shoes whose sole aim is to deliberately mislead.

Herbst, Nulan and others would do well to contemplate their country’s post-1945 record of war mongering and destabilisations of democratic governments (7) and which has led to millions of deaths (8), its global surveillance network exposed by Edward Snowdon that illegally spies on individuals and governments alike and its ongoing plundering of resources and countries supported by militarism, ‘free trade’ or the outright manipulation of markets (for example: 9,10,11).

Such ‘champions of democracy’ would also do well to contemplate the debasement of democracy at home and the US ‘s transformation into what increasingly appears to be a police state (12).

But, of course, they are already well aware of this. And they know full well that what the US is doing in Ukraine represents more of the same: the brutality and lies of Empire attempting to hide behind the smokescreen of democracy.














Orwell’s 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual

The Geopolitical History of Ukraine

March 1st, 2014 by Alfred Mendes

This article first published by GR in 2004 sheds light on the history of Ukraine.

It is first necessary to place this amorphous region known as the Ukraine within its historical context: the Catholic/Orthodox schism in the region around 1024 AD had led the newly-formed Jesuits of the 16th century (with not-a-little-help from the dominant Habsburg dynasty) to alleviate this festering wound in the side of the Roman Catholic church by creating the hybrid Uniate Church which would acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope – while retaining its Orthodox liturgy! This was blatant pragmatism. Now just another scapegoat in the struggle between Catholic and Orthodox, the Ukraine would be one of a number of other countries/regions stretching from the Baltic in the north southwards via the Black Sea, the Aegean, the Ionian into the Adriatic – later known as the ‘Intermare’.

With this background in mind, it was inevitable that the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 would result in a sharp aggravation of this schism. The Vatican, now backed by a capitalist West, would confront those ‘atheists’ – those ‘Reds’. And with the assistance of the many ‘White Russian’ émigrés who had fled from their homeland, the Vatican, in collaboration with the French and British Intelligence Agencies, set up, in the mid-30’s, the Intermarium, which was, in essence, a highly influential Intelligence organization which would concentrate on that now crucial line: the Intermare (see above).

In the lead up to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, it was common knowledge that his target was the Soviet Union (those Untermenschen), and that one important aspect of this was the creation of a ‘Greater Ukraine’ which would supply him with Lebensraum (wheat fields, minerals, and industrial development). This suited the anti-communist British and French – for which they paid the price of WW 2!

Hitler’s subsequent invasion of the USSR in June 1941 was aided in no small measure by fascist Ukrainian paramilitaries, such as the nationalist anti-Russian Ukrainian separatist organization – the Melnyk Faction; and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) with its paramilitary force, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (under the command of Stepan Bandera – of whom, more, later), which had, for instance, assisted the Germans in their takeover of Kovel, in northwestern Ukraine.

The Vatican, realizing that it stood to gain from the invasion of the USSR – at the expense of the Orthodox Church – sent Cardinal Lavitrano and a member of the Intermarium, Bishop Ivan (John) Bucko (auxiliary Bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic dioceses in the US until posted to the Vatican in 1941) to reach an accommodation with the Germans. Suffice it to add that the subsequent deportation of millions of young Ukrainians to Germany as slave labor, and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews, partisans, communists et al. – in which the above-mentioned Ukrainian groups played a major role – resulted in deep silence from the Vatican. But more was to come: the Germans now formed the (Ukrainian) Galicia SS Division which was subsequently involved in much anti-Soviet military action.

(At this point, it is pertinent to note that this author can vouch for the fact that Ukrainians had served in the wehrmacht. As a trooper in ‘A’ Squadron of the ‘Royals’ for the latter half of WW 2, in the immediate aftermath of the Armistice we were posted to a recently evacuated German military camp at Silkeborg in Denmark. Not long after arrival, our troop – 3rd Troop – was sent nearby to oversee the disarmament of a Ukrainian regiment serving in the werhmacht. They had just shot their German officer – and had finally agreed to be disarmed. It was an unforgettable scene as we watched from our armored cars as these rugged peasants marched by in long, wide columns – interspersed by the odd horse-drawn cart carrying a woman-or-two – their march accompanied by beautifully synchronized martial song. ..It was awesome – bordering on fearsome.)

In May 1945, the Galician SS Division – now more acceptably known as the First Ukrainian Division – surrendered to the British in Klagenfurt, Austria, whence they were sent to Rimini Camp in Italy, and two years later eight thousand of them – many of them guilty of war crimes – were shipped to Britain to be given civilian status. (Rimini was to gain notoriety for the role it played in the smuggling out of Nazi war criminals to the Americas – with the aid of the Vatican). As noted by Mark Aarons and John Loftus on page 198 of their book “Ratlines”: “Forty years later, in November 1998, a British All-Party Parliamentary Committee determined that the Galician SS had not received even the minimal screening required for normal immigration to Britain, let alone the rigorous scrutiny promised in 1947”. This is hardly surprising in view of other revelations from the same book (p. 200): “The leader of the Ukrainian nationalists, Stepan Bandera [see above], had worked for the SIS [British Intelligence] before the war. In 1945, after the Nazis were defeated, the prodigal Bandera was taken back into the fold. He was not alone.”

In view of the foregoing, only one conclusion can be drawn: the ‘Cold War’ was still very much alive throughout the war, but it is worthy of note that from now on American Intelligence would take over control from their British and French counterparts.

The introduction of the reforms known as Glasnost by Gorbachev in the late ‘80’s led to the economic collapse within the Soviet Union. As Eric Hobsbawn put it in his “Nations and Nationalism since 1870” (p. 167) in reference to Glasnost: “The changes in and after 1989 were thus essentially not due to national tensions…but primarily to the decision of the Soviet regime to reform itself, and in doing so

(a) to withdraw military support from its satellite regimes,

(b) to undermine the central command and authority structure which allowed it to operate, and consequently

(c) to undermine the foundations of even the independent communist regimes in Balkan Europe.” The only conclusion to be drawn from this is that Gorbachev was/is the best friend America ever had!

Ukraine, the most heavily-populated and economically important of the Soviet republics – after Russia – would, understandably, play an important role in the break-up of the USSR in December 1991, perhaps best illustrated by the following brief account (in chronological order) of events concerning same, to be found in “The World Almanac of 1993” (Pan Books) on pages 1 & 2:

Dec. 1 [1991] : “On that day the people of the Ukraine, the so-called breadbasket of the Soviet Union, voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from the USSR”.

Dec. 2: “Pres. George Bush directed Sec. of State James Baker to visit the Ukraine to explore establishing diplomatic relations and to discuss control of nuclear weapons on its territory”.

Dec. 3: Contrary to Gorbachev’s appeal, “Yeltsin recognized the Ukraine as an independent state”.

Dec. 5: Ukraine parliament endorsed result of referendum of Dec 1st.

Dec. 8: Leaders of the three Slavic USSR republics – Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia – signed an agreement to form a “Commonwealth of Independent States” – and invited other USSR republics to join.

Dec. 9: “Gorbachev denounced the agreement as illegal”.

Dec.12: Kravchuk, Pres. of the Ukraine, “declared himself commander of all Soviet troops in Ukraine territory”.

Dec. 21: Leaders of 11 republics met in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, and signed agreements creating the Commonwealth.

The USSR no longer existed, and the oil and gas reserves of Russia would now be available to Corporate America – to say nothing of that vulnerable ‘breadbasket’ – Ukraine!

In 1994, the American-Ukrainian Advisory Committee (AUAC), was formed, under Zbigniew Brzezinski with such prestigiously notorious members as Henry Kissinger, General Gavin (ex-head of NATO), Frank Carlucci, George Soros et al. It would thenceforth hold meetings alternately in the US and Ukraine.

On the Ukrainian side, membership included President Leonid Kravchuk (see above), and his advisor, professor Bohdan Hawrylyshyn (whose nephew, Olech Hawrylyshyn, was on the Soros Foundation payroll while deputy minister of finance!).

Bohdan not only chaired the AUAC’s Ukrainian side – but also the influential International Center for Policy studies (ICPS). On May 2nd and 3rd of 1997, this ICPS organised a meeting of 15 top Ukrainian officials to discuss economic policy, among whom was one Victor Yuschenko, chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine. He was to serve as Prime Minister from 1999 until his removal two years later – only to become a central figure in the 2004 election debacle (see below).

In the meantime, Kravchuk had been replaced as president in the 1994 election by Leonid Kuchma, who during his candidature had visited Soros in the US. Moreover, the Soros foundation would supply $363,100 to support the independent television stations’ coverage of this election – all of it used within 3 months!. Kuchma would later send 1650 Ukrainian troops as allies to the Americans after the latter’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. The above can only be described as a web of intrigue.

It was now self-evident that the AUAC would do all in their power to ensure the election of Yuschenko in 2004. A brief look at the glaring similarities between the events in Belgrade in 2000, in Tblisi, Georgia in 2003, and those in the recent election in Kiev is all that is needed to confirm this:

(a) The similar massive, highly-organised student demonstrations;

(b) the fact that these expensive demonstrations had been organised by the same Serbian-trained group, but under different names – ‘OTPOR’ in Serbia, ‘Khmara’ in Georgia, and ‘PORA’ in Ukraine;

(c) The fact that all three elections were immediately denounced as ‘rigged’; but most importantly (d) the fact that they had all three been manipulated by America

Some years ago, this author received a letter from a media correspondent, with the following quotes pertinent to this article:

“It is a great shame that more people are not aware of what has become the unchallenged power of global capitalism. It has a very pernicious effect, particularly on the thinning of state power and the weakening of democracy……Sadly, understanding the role of the past on the present has become a heresy of much contemporary journalism. Modern technology, which allows instant news reporting, has further segregated journalism from a proper appreciation of historical dialectics and causation”.

The implication here is that the media of today must conform to the wishes/needs of its corporate capitalist ownership – and say what it is paid to say. This is clearly the explanation for the apparent ‘irrationality’noted in the opening paragraph of this article.

US President Barack Obama issued a statement Friday evening denouncing “reports of military movements” taken by Russia in Ukraine, warning that “there will be costs for any military intervention.” The comments come as the US/European-stoked regime change operation in Ukraine threatens to develop into a conflict between Western powers and Russia.

Obama’s White House statement came shortly after the “interim government” installed in Ukraine by the Western powers appealed for United States and Britain to come to its aid, accusing Russia of mounting an “invasion.”

Arsen Avakov, the new interior minister and member of Fatherland, the party of oligarch Yulya Tymoshenko, alleged that the international airport in Sebastopol in the Crimea had been blocked by Russian forces. He wrote on Facebook, “I regard what is happening as an armed invasion and occupation in violation of all international treaties and norms. This is a direct provoking of armed bloodshed on the territory of a sovereign state.”

His choice of words aims to provide a casus belli justifying Western military intervention in Ukraine. He is invoking terms of a 1994 agreement, the Budapest Memorandum—signed by US President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister John Major, Russia’s Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma for Ukraine—promising to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

Article one of the Budapest Memorandum reads: “The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine … to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.”

Sir Tony Brenton, the former British Ambassador to Moscow from 2004 to 2008, warned that if Russia was found to have invaded Ukraine, then war could be an option “if we do conclude the Memorandum is legally binding.”

The newly-appointed head of Ukraine’s National Security Council, Andriy Parubiy, accused Moscow of commanding armed groups at airports in Crimea. “These are separate groups … commanded by the Kremlin,” Parubiy said.

Parubiy was a co-founder of the Social-National Party of Ukraine, the forerunner of the far-right Svoboda. He led the right-wing militias that spearheaded the coup bringing down the regime President Viktor Yanukovych, which was more closely aligned with pro-Russian oligarchs. The militias were composed of members of Svoboda alongside members of the fascist Right Sector. Dmytro Yarosh, head of Right Sector, is Parubiy’s deputy.

Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov of Fatherland warned Thursday, referring to Crimea, that “any movements of troops, especially with troops outside that territory will be considered military aggression.” Turchynov yesterday dismissed the head of the armed forces, Admiral Yuriy Ilin, while Parubiy said a state of emergency could be declared—making possible the deployment of the army against Crimea.

In Simferopol, Crimea’s administrative centre, groups of armed men arrived overnight at the main airport wearing military fatigues. At Sevastopol airport, a military airport that handles few commercial flights, a reported 300 people of “unknown identity” had arrived.

There are reports that the men are wearing Russian-style uniforms without insignia, that flights from Kiev have been barred and that there has been movement of Russian armoured personnel carriers and helicopters. The Russian Black Sea fleet, centred at Sevastopol, is quoted as having taken “anti-terror” measures to protect the fleet and associated outposts, not connected to a broader mobilisation. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that the manoeuvres are in line with bilateral agreements.

The most dramatic claim came from the Ukrainian president’s special representative in the southern peninsula, Sergiy Kunitsyn, who alleged that Moscow had deployed 2,000 soldiers to a military air base near Simferopol.

On Thursday pro-Russian militias seized the regional parliament and other government buildings. The men outside Simferopol airport said they belonged to the pro-Russia Unity Party and had come there on the orders of the new Crimean administration. The majority of the Crimean population is either native Russian or Russian-speaking. The Financial Times reported yesterday, “For almost a week, Kiev’s Crimean opponents have organised grassroots actions to rival those in the capital’s central Maidan (square), recruiting hundreds of local men into self-organised militias.”

Military manoeuvres on Ukraine’s border continued yesterday. The exercises began Wednesday, involving more than 80 combat helicopters and do not immediately impact on the Crimea. Russia also reportedly put fighter jets near the border on alert, as it warned of “a tough and uncompromised response to violations of compatriots’ rights.”

Kiev-appointed regional Premier Anatolii Mohyliov was replaced Thursday by Russian businessman Alexei Chaliy. A referendum on the independence of Crimea has been scheduled May 25, coinciding with planned presidential and local elections throughout Ukraine. Russian lawmakers introduced two bills on Friday meant to simplify the annexing of new territories into the Russian Federation, as well as access to Russian citizenship for Ukrainians.

In his first public appearance since being forced from office, Yanukovych spoke from Russia, insisting that he was the country’s legitimate elected leader and would “continue the fight for the future of Ukraine … Nobody has overturned me. I was compelled to leave Ukraine due to a direct threat to my life and my nearest and dearest.”

Yanukovych said he did not support Crimean secession, stating that Ukraine must remain “united and undivided.” He added, however, “The citizens of Crimea do not want to be subordinate to nationalists and bandits.” He added that he would not ask for Russian military support to return him to power, but was “surprised” that President Vladimir Putin had remained silent to date.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had reaffirmed to him a commitment that Russia would “respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” echoing a commitment that Putin made to President Barack Obama last week.

Such statements by no means rule out military conflict, however. The entire region has been destabilised, bringing with it the danger not only of civil war in Ukraine but of a broader conflict that could yet be fought between the major powers.

The putsch engineered by Washington in alliance with corrupt oligarchs and fascist gangs has set in motion events that bring Russia into direct opposition to the US and European powers on issues of an existential character. The prospect of Ukraine falling into the orbit of the US and the European Union, with the possible loss of Sevastopol as a naval base, is dangerous enough for Putin. The ambitions of the Obama administration and its allies do not stop there, however.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski played a key role in organising the putsch in Kiev, reflecting both Poland’s own long-term designs on Ukrainian territory it ruled prior to World War II and, more importantly, his role as a political ally of the US.

After playing a part as a student in the 1981 strike organised by the Solidarity trade union movement, Sikorski was granted asylum in the UK. At Oxford, he was groomed as a Western political/security asset. He eventually became a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative and a member of the Board of Advisors of the American Committees on Foreign Relations.  Reuters reports,

“The Polish government has been funding civil society projects in ex-Soviet countries such as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova, with much of the aid channelled through a fund controlled by Sikorski’s ministry. Recipients of Polish government money include opposition television stations operating in exile from Belarus, giving Poland influence in a country that, after Ukraine, could be the scene of the next confrontation between Russia and the West.”

Sikorski described the seizure of administrative buildings in Crimea as “a drastic step” that could escalate: “I’m warning those who did this and those who allowed them to do this, because this is how regional conflicts begin.”

Georgia is also set on association with the European Union, which Yanukovych acted to block in Ukraine, setting up the moves to depose him. Defence Minister Irakli Alasania said of Ukraine’s rejection of Russia, “There’s no way back for Ukraine. It’s a first strategic failure for Putin. This is a tectonic geopolitical shift in eastern Europe.” It would embolden other countries in the region, he said, and have a ripple effect.

Earlier this week, Kerry issued a statement pledging US assistance in bringing Georgia closer to the US and the EU.

Many countries around the world are plagued by all kinds of armed rebellions, economic sanctions, civil wars, “democratic” coup d’états and/or wars of “regime change.” These include Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia and Lebanon. Even in the core capitalist countries the overwhelming majority of citizens are subjected to brutal wars of economic austerity.

 While not new, social convulsions seem to have become more numerous in recent years. They have become especially more frequent since the mysterious 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and the 2008 financial collapse in the United States, which soon led to similar financial implosions and economic crises in Europe and beyond.

Despite their many differences, these social turbulences share two common features. The first is that they are largely induced, nurtured and orchestrated from outside, that is, by the Unites States and its allies—of course, in collaboration with their class allies from inside. And the second is that, contrary to the long-established historical pattern of social revolutions, where the desperate and disenfranchised masses rebelled against the ruing elites,in most of the recent struggles it is the elites that have insigatedinsurgencies and civil wars against the masses. The two features are, of course, integrally intertwined: essentially reflecting the shared interests and collaborative schemes of the international plutocracies against the global 99%.

 Fighting to Make Austerity Economics Universal

The official rationale (offered by the U.S. and its allies) that the goal of supporting anti-government opposition forces in places such as Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela is to spread democracy no longer holds any validity; it can easily be dismissed as a harebrained pretext to export neoliberalism and spread austerity economics. Abundant and irrefutable evidence shows that in places where the majority of citizens voted for and elected governments that were not to the liking of Western powers, these powers mobilized their local allies and hired all kinds of mercenary forces in order to overthrow the duly elected governments, thereby quashing the majority vote.

Such blatant interventions to overturn the elections that resulted from the majority vote includethe promotion of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine(2004 and 2014), Rose Revolution in Georgia(2003), Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005) and the Green Revolution in Iran (2009). They also include the relentless agitation against the duly elected governments of the late Hugo Chavez and now his successor NicolásMaduro in Venezuela, as well as the rejection (and effective annulment) of the duly elected Hamas government in Palestine.

 So, the real driving forces behind wars of regime change need to be sought elsewhere; specifically, in the imperatives of expansion and accumulation of capital on a global level. Socialist, social-democratic, populist or nationalist leaders who do not embrace neoliberal economic policies, and who may be wary of having their markets wide open to unbridled foreign capital, would be targeted for replacement with pliant leaders, or client states. This is, of course, not a new explanation of economic imperialism; it is as old as the internationalization of trade and investment.

 What is relatively new, and seems to be the main driving force behind the recent wars of regime change, is that, as the U.S. and other major capitalist powers have lately embarked on austerity economic policies at home they also expect and, indeed, demand that other countries follow suit. In other words, it is no longer enoughfor a country to open its markets to investment and trade with Western economic powers. It seems equally important to these powers that that country also dismantle its public welfare programs and implement austerity measures of neoliberalism.

 For example, after resisting imperialist pressures for years, the late Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi eventually relented in 1993, and granted major oil and other transnational corporations of Western powers lucrative investment and trade deals. Under pressure, he even dismantled his country’s nuclear technology altogether in the hope that this would please them to “leave him” alone, so to speak. None of the concessions he made, however, proved satisfactory to the U.S. and its allies, as his regime was violently overthrown in 2011and he was literally butchered by the thuggish gangs that were trained and armed by Western powers.

 Why? Because the U.S. and its allies expected more; they wanted him to follow the economic guidelines of the “experts” of global finance, that is, of theU.S. and European economic “advisors,” of the International Monetary Fund and of the World Trade Organization—in short,to dismantle his country’srather robust state welfare programs and to restructure its economy after the model of neoliberalism.

The criminal treatment of al-Gaddafi can help explain why imperialist powers have also been scheming to overthrow the populist/socialist regimes of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor in Venezuela, of the Castro brothers in Cuba, ofRafael Correa Delgado in Ecuador, of Bashar Al-assad in Syria and ofEvo Morales in Bolivia. It also helps explain why they overthrew the popularly elected nationalist governments of Mohammad Mossadeqin Iran, of JacoboArbenzin Guatemala, of Kusno Sukarno in Indonesia, of Salvador Allende in Chile, of Sandinistas in Nicaragua, of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.

 The imperialist agenda of overthrowing al-Gaddafi and other “insubordinate” proponents of welfare state programs abroad is essentially part of the same evil agenda of dismantling such programs at home. While the form, the context and the means of destruction maybe different, the thrust of the relentless attacks on the living conditions of the Libyan, Iranian, Venezuelan or Cuban peoples are essentially the same as the equally brutal attacks on the living conditions of the poor and working people in the US, UK, France and other degenerate capitalist countries. In a subtle way they are all part of an ongoing unilateral class warfare on a global scale. Whether they are carried out by military means and bombardments or through the apparently “non-violent” processes of judicial or legislative means does not make a substantial difference as far as their impact on people’s lives and livelihoods is concerned.

The powerful plutocratic establishment in the core capitalist countries does not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in these countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as (al-Gaddafi’s) Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs. Plutocracy’s intolerance of “regimented” economies stems from a fear that strong state-sponsored economic safely net programs elsewhere may serve as “bad” models that could be demanded by citizens in the core capitalist countries.

 In a moment of honesty, former U.S.President Harry Truman is reported as having expressed (in 1947) the unstated mission of the United States to globalize its economic system in the following words: “The whole world should adopt the American system. The American system can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” [1].

In a similar fashion, Lord Cecil Rhodes, who conquered much of Africa for the British Empire, is reported to have suggested during the heydays of the Empire that the simplest way to achieve peace was for England to convert and add the rest of the world (except the United States, Germany and few other Western powers of the time) to its colonies.

 The Mafia equivalent of Truman’s or Rhodes’ statements would be something like this: “You do it our way, or we break your leg.”

The mindset behind Truman’s blunt statement that the rest of the world “should adopt the American system” has indeed served as something akin to a sacred mission that has guided the foreign policy of the United States ever since it supplanted the British authority as the major world power.

 It explains, for example, the real and the main reason behind the Cold War hostilitiesbetween the U.S. and its allies, on the one side, and the Soviet Union and its allies, on the other. While the “threat of communism” has been the official rationale for the start and escalation of those hostilities, there is convincing evidence that not only Joseph Stalin and his successors in the Soviet Union had no plans to wage war against the United States or its allies but that, in fact, they played a restraining role to contain independent revolutionary movements worldwide.“It is often forgotten,” points out Sidney Lens, “that for a few years after the war, he [Stalin] assumed an exceedingly moderate posture. . . . His nation had lost 25 million people in the war, was desperately in need of aid for rebuilding, and continued for a long time to nurture hopes of coexistence. Far from being revolutionary, Stalin in those years put the damper on revolution wherever he could”[2].To accommodate the United States and other Western powers in the hope of peaceful coexistence, Stalin often advised, and sometimes ordered, the pro-Moscow communist/leftist parties in Europe and elsewhere in the world to refrain from revolutionary policies that might jeopardize the hoped-for chances of coexistence.

 The goal or mission of converting other economies to the U.S.-style capitalism also helps  explains why the United States has engaged in so many military operations and engineered so many coup d’états and regime changes around the world.The Federation of American Scientists has recorded a list of U.S. foreign military engagements which shows that in the first decade after the collapse of the Berlin Wall (1989-99) the U.S. engaged in 134 such operations, the majority of which are altogether unknown to the American public [3].

Global financial elites change “unaccommodating” regimes not only in the less developed countries but also in the core capitalist countries. They accomplish this not so much by military means as by utilizing two very subtlebut powerful means: (a) artificial, money-driven elections, peddled as “democracy in action”; and (b) powerful financial institutions and think tanks such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), central banks and bond/credit rating agencies like Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Group. An unfavorable rating report by these agencies on the credit status of a country can create havoc on that country’s economic, financial and currency position in world markets, thereby dooming its government to collapse and replacement. This is how during the ongoing financial turbulence of recent years a number of governments have been changed in places like Greece and Italy—no need for the traditional or military style regime change, the “soft-power” financial coup d’état engineered by the IMF and/or rating agencies would serve the purpose even more effectively.

 Class War on a Global Scale

As noted, all the schemes and wars of regime change, whether by the traditional military means or by the “soft” power of the global financial juggernaut, essentially represent one thing: a disguised class war on a global level, a relentless worldwide economic war by the one percent financial-economic oligarchy against the rest of the world population.

 Class struggle in an economically-tiered society is of course not new. What is relatively new in the recent years’ war of the 1% against the 99% is its escalated pace, its widespread scale and its globally orchestrated character. While neoliberal austerity attacks on the living conditions of the public in the core capitalist countries began (formally) with the supply-side economics of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher more than three decades ago, the brutality of such attacks have become much more severe in the context of the current financial/economic crisis, which began with the 2008 financial crash in the United States.

Taking advantage of the crash (as an economic shock therapy, as Naomi Klein put it), the financial oligarchy and their proxies in the governments of the core capitalist countries have been carrying out a systematic economic coup d’état against the people the ravages of which include the following:

• Transfer of tens of trillions of dollars from the public to the financial oligar­chy through merciless austerity cuts;

• Extensive privatization of public assets and services, including irreplaceable historical monuments, priceless cultural landmarks, and vital social services such as healthcare, education and water supply;

• Substitution of corporate/banking welfare policies for people’s welfare programs;

• Allocation of the lion’s share of government’s monetary largesse (and of credit creation in general) to speculative investment instead of real investment;

• Systematic undermining of the retirement security of millions of workers (both white and blue collar) and civil servants;

• Ever more blatant control of economic and/or financial policies by the rep­resentatives of the financial oligarchy.

 Combined, these policies have significantly aggravated the already lopsided income/wealth distribution in these countries. The massive cuts in social spending have resulted in an enormous transfer of economic resources from the bottom up. The transfer has, indeed, more than made up for the 2008 losses of the financial speculators. In the U.S., for example, the wealthiest one percent now own 40 percent of the entire country’s wealth; while the bottom 80 percent own only seven percent. Likewise, the richest one percent now take home 24 percent of the country’s total income, compared to only nine percent four decades ago [4].

 This shows that, as pointed out earlier, while neoliberal attacks on the 99% in the core capitalist countries may not seem as violent as those raging, for example, in Venezuela, Syria or Ukraine, the financial impact of such attacks on the living conditions of the 99% is not any less devastating.

 Plutocrats of the World Are United

Policies of regime change are usually designed and carried out as collaborative schemes by cross-border plutocracies, that is, by the financial oligarchies of the imperialist countries in partnership with their native counterparts in the less-developed countries.

 In addition to constant behind-the-scenes strategizing, representatives of transnational capital and their proxies in capitalist governments also routinely meet at international conferences in order to synchronize their cross-border business and financial policies—a major focus of which in recent years has been to implement global austerity measures and entrench neoliberal policies worldwide. These include the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the World Bank and IMF annual meetings, the Periodic G20 meetings, the Aspen Institutes Ideas Festival, The Bilderberg Group annual geopolitics forum, and the Herb Allen’s Sun Valley gathering of media moguls—to name only a handful of the many such international policy gatherings.

 Through its global strategies and operations, transnational capital has broken free from national constraints and commitments at homeand successfully shifted the correlation of class forces and social alliances worldwide. Today’s elites of global capitalism “are becoming a trans-global community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home,” writes Chrystia Freeland, Global Editor of Reuters, who travels with the elites to many parts of the world. “Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves,” she adds [5].

Implications for Globalization from Below

What conclusions can the 99% draw from this? What can the working people and other grassroots do to protect their jobs, their sources of livelihood, their communities and their environment? What can communities of ordinary people do to undermine the strategies of the global 1% that block life-sustaining progressive social and economic reforms?

 In the same fashion that, in their fight against the working people, the elites of the international capitalist class are not bound by territoriality or national boundaries, so does the working class need to coordinate its response internationally.

A logical, first step deterrent to transnational capital’s strategy of blackmailing labor and communities through threats such as destroying or exporting jobs by moving their business elsewhere would be to remove the lures that induce plant relocation, capital flight or outsourcing. Making labor costs of production comparable on an international level would be crucial for this purpose. This would entail taking the necessary steps toward the international establishment of wage and benefits, that is, of labor cost parity within the same company and the same trade, subject to (a) the cost of living, and (b) productivity in each country.

 A strategy of this sort would replace the current downward competition between workers in various countries with coordinated bargaining and joint policies for mutual interests and problem-solving on a global level. While this may sound radical, it is not any more radical than what the transnational 1% is doing: coordinating their anti-99% strategies on a global scale.If at an earlier stage of capitalist development “workers of the world unite” seemed an outlandish dream of the leading labor champion Karl Marx, internationalization of capital, the abundance of material resources and developments in technology, which has greatly facilitated cross-border organizing and coordination of actions by the 99%,  has now made that dream an urgent necessity.

As capital and labor are the cornerstones of capitalist production, their respective organizations and institutions evolve more or less apace, over time and space. Thus, when production was local, so was labor: carpenters, shoemakers, bricklayers, and other craftsmen organized primarily in their local communities. But as capitalist production became national, so did trade unions. Now that capitalist production has become global, labor organizations too need to become international in order to safeguard their and their communities’ rights against the profit-driven whims of the footloose and fancy-free transnational capital.

 Many would argue that these are not propitious times to speak of radical alternatives to capitalism. The present state of the sociopolitical landscape of our societies appears to support such feelings of pessimism. The high levels of unemployment in most countries of the world and the resulting international labor rivalry, combined with the austerity offensive of neoliberalism on a global level, have thrown the working class and other grassroots on the defensive. The steady drift of the European socialist, Social Democratic, and labor parties/governments toward the U.S.–style market economies and the erosion of their traditional ideology, power, and prestige have led to workers’ confusion there. The collapse of the Soviet Union, however much some socialists have always distanced themselves from that system, haunts the specter of socialism, and is likely to do so for some time to come. These developments have understandably led to workers’ and other grassroots’ confusion and disorientation globally.

 None of these, however, mean that there is no way out of the status quo. Capitalism is not only “destructive,” it is also “regenerative,” as Karl Marx put. As it captures world markets, universalizes the reign of capital, and disrupts the living conditions for many, it simultaneously sows the seeds of its own transformation. On the one hand, it creates common problems and shared concerns for the majority of the world population; on the other, it creates the material conditions and the technology that facilitate communication and cooperation among this majority of world citizens for joint actions and alternative solutions.

 When the majority of world population, the global 99%, will come to the realization and determination to actually appropriate and utilize the existing technology and material resources for a better organization and management of the world economy, no one can tell. But the potential and the long term trajectory of global socioeconomic developments point in that direction. The distance between now and then, between our immediate frustrations and the superior but elusive civilization of our desire, can be traversed only if we take the necessary steps toward that end [6].

 Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave – Macmillan 2007), the Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989), and most recently, Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis (forthcoming from Routledge, April 29, 2014). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press 2012).


[1] As cited in Jan NederveenPieterse,Globalization or Empire. New York and London: Routledge 2004, P. 131.

[2]The Military-Industrial Complex, Kansas City, MO: Pilgrim Press and the National Catholic Reporter 1970, p. 19.

[3] See Ismael Hossein-zadeh, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism, Palgrave-Macmillan 2006, p. 88.

[4] Henry Blodget, “America Today: 3 Million Overlords and 300 Million Serfs,” Business Insider, April 10, 2013, available at: <>.

[5] “The Rise of the New Global Elite,” The Atlantic, January–February 2011, available at: <>.

[6] For a detailed discussion of this issue see Ismael Hossein-zadeh, Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis, Routledge (forthcoming, April 29, 2014), Chapter 8.

Thailand: Protesters to Refocus Movement

March 1st, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

With the “Shutdown Bangkok” campaign a success, protesters plan on consolidating stages and refocusing with their newly gained momentum. 

The “Shutdown Bangkok” campaign was designed to coordinate pressure on the regime of US-backed dictator Thaksin Shinawatra and his proxy political machine headed by his own sister, Yingluck Shinawatra. Elections held on February 2, 2014 were successfully boycotted by over half the population in an unprecedented display of unified national defiance by the Thai people.

Since the elections, the regime has responded with an expanding campaign of armed terror that has left many dead, and many more horribly maimed, mainly from grenade attacks and gunfire launched by professional mercenaries, pro-regime thugs, and elements of the police loyal to the regime. Among the dead have been children.

Image: Occupy Bangkok has exposed and hobbled the Wall Street-backed regime of Thaksin Shinawatra. With the February 2, 2014 sham-elections an abject failure, the campaign has been a success. The protest leaders are now consolidating stages into one single location from which they can concentrate their efforts to ease the Thaksin regime into permanent collapse.


Consolidating Stages

Before the city-spanning “Shutdown Bangkok” campaign began, there was a single demonstration site including two stages at and near Bangkok’s Democracy Monument. It was announced yesterday evening that beginning on March 3, all of the stages that have been set up for “Shutdown Bangkok” will be consolidated once again, this time at Lumpini Park, near the Silom business district – accessible by Lumpini MRT station and Sala Daeng BTS station.

The move was long overdue – with the regime now fully exposed as both lacking any kind of democratic mandate, and resorting to violence as it clings with increasing desperation to power. The protesters at a single site can now continue organizing action against the regime, as well as direct resources toward the more impressive single-day mass protests (and the warm-up marches proceeding them) that have been the hallmarks of the months-long movement.

Security for a single site will also be easier to manage. In the wake of growing terrorism employed by the regime, and the regime’s Western backers feigning ignorance over who is behind the escalating violence despite overt admissions from the regime and its supporters weeks ago published in the US State Department-linked TIME Magazine.

In TIME’s “Bangkok Shutdown: Yingluck Supporters Prepare to Fight for Democracy,” it’s reported 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.”

What’s Next? 

For protest leaders, the next step is to simply wait for the regime to continue unraveling. It has lost vast amounts of support, even among rural rice farmers who have turned against the regime in the wake of the disastrous rice subsidy program that have left thousands of farmers unpaid, destitute, and desperate, and the nation’s rice industry crumbling.

For the protesters themselves, organizing smaller direct action committees to develop and implement local solutions addressing a wide range of issues, from education to economics, and even helping the victims of the regime including the farmers – would be a good way to continue undermining the regime as well as move constructively toward a different paradigm beyond elections, corrupt politicians, and endless, futile political bickering.

The regime is expected to continue employing violence and terrorism against growing dissent. It, along with its Western backers, have continuously peddled the narrative of a coming “civil war.” As pointed out many times before, this is not even remotely possible. Instead, the regime will use widespread terrorism and propaganda to appear as such, to make increasing violence appear to be a “people’s movement” rather than state-sanctioned brutality.

Recently, the regime’s deputy secretary-general to the prime minister and “red-shirt” leader Suporn Attawong claimed he was assembling a 600,000-strong “pro-government Democracy Protection Volunteers Group,” as reported by the Bangkok Post’s article, “Red shirt hardliner seeks 600,000 men.” With the regime failing utterly to fill even a single stadium in Bangkok to counter massive and prolonged anti-regime protests, the prospect of assembling an able-bodied army of 600,000 men is slim to none.

The regime’s ludicrous posturing heralds increasingly desperate moves as it attempts to cling to power. However, the protests are growing, well led, determined, and highly motivated. Their patience and prudence has and will continue to work against the regime – with the regime’s attempts to strike back only expediting its fall.

by Dylan Murphy and Jo Murphy

”Shortly after operations began, we started to experience extreme headaches, runny noses, sore/scratchy throats, muscle aches and a constant feeling of fatigue. Both of our children are experiencing nose bleeds and I’ve had dizziness, vomiting and vertigo to the point that I couldn’t stand and was taken to an emergency room. Our daughter has commented that she feels as though she has cement in her bones.”Pam Judy 20 July 2011 – Carmichaels Pennsylvania resident

In 2006 Pam Judy and her family had a new home built on their farm. For three years Pam and her family enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the countryside. However, in 2009 that all changed when a gas compressor station was built 780 feet from her home. Within a short space of time Pam and her family were unable to spend time outside any more as they came down with all sorts of mysterious health problems.

 In November 2010 Pam’s son went outside and came home with blisters in his mouth and had extreme difficulty swallowing which led to a visit to the nearby hospital.

This led Pam to conduct research into emissions from compressor stations. She then contacted Calvin Tillman Mayor of Dish in Texas where many people had experienced similar health problems. Mayor Tillman provided Pam with a list of blood and urine tests to determine levels of chemical exposure. The results of the tests revealed measurable levels of benzene and phenol in her blood.

Pam was determined to force the authorities to take action that would protect her family. In June 2010 she persuaded the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to carry out air quality tests over four days on her land. The results revealed the presence of 16 chemicals, including benzene, which are all known carcinogens.

In November 2010 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released a final report into air pollution in the area where Pam Judy and her family live. The report stated that the Department ”could find no emission levels that would constitute a concern to the health of residents living near Marcellus operations …”

Sadly, the experience of Pam’s family is becoming all too familiar to ordinary people all over America who are being poisoned by the toxic chemicals being released by the fracking industry.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a damning report in February 2013 which admitted that there is no systematic air quality monitoring of the emissions from the fracking industry which emits,”large amounts of harmful pollutants that impact air quality on local, regional, and global levels.”

The report further noted how the EPA underestimates chemical pollution from oil and gas wells and did not have a, ”comprehensive strategy for improving air emissions data for the oil and gas production sector …”

Politicians Fail to Protect The Public

At a state level the same failure to protect the public is in evidence. In some states there is open collusion between the oil and gas industry and elected officials. The situation in Texas shows how the interests of big business come first while no action is taken to protect local people who are being poisoned.

Inside Climate News has produced a series of excellent reports that chart the collusion of corrupt Texas officials who worked hand in glove with the fracking industry to prevent regulation of toxic air emissions. In 2011 the Texas legislature approved SB1134, a bill that prevented new environmental regulations from being applied in the Eagle Ford region of South Texas.

Inside Climate News reports that,”Since then, more than 2,400 air emissions permits have been issued in the Eagle Ford without additional safeguards that would have reduced the amounts of benzene, hydrogen sulphide, formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals that drift into the air breathed by 1.1 million people.”

This should be no surprise considering how large sections of the political establishment of Texas has been bought off by the big bucks of the fracking industry. State Representative Tom Craddick, who steered the bill that prevented new regulations from being applied in the Eagle Ford shale region, has shares in five oil companies that are active in the Eagle Ford area and has received $800,000 from industry employees and related political action committees.

To compound matters Craddick’s daughter Christi has received $600,000 from the fracking industry to win a seat on the Texas Rail road Commission. The Rail road Commission issues permits for drilling.

The corruption of the Texas political establishment goes much further. According to a Centre for Public Integrity review of financial disclosure records 42 members of the Texas legislature or their spouses own stock or receive royalties from oil and gas companies active in the Eagle Ford area. Governor Rick Perry who approved SB1134 has revived $11.5 million in campaign contributions since 2000. The attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott has received over $4 million in contributions and has sued the EPA eighteen times for interfering in Texas affairs!

Not all members of the Texas legislature are cheerleaders for the oil and gas industry. Representative Lon Burnham openly admits that the Texas legislature is “a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil and gas industry.”

Environmental group Earthworks carried out an investigation into air pollution in the Eagle Ford area. The report noted how Texas regulators discovered pollution so dangerous they evacuated themselves from the area. Meanwhile, the regulators took no action to warn or protect residents about the dangerous level of air pollutants.

A growing number of residents are suffering adverse health effects from the poisonous air they are breathing in. These include difficulty breathing, severe headaches, eye burning and skin rashes.

Lynn Buehring developed migraine headaches so intense they have induced temporary blindness. Meanwhile one resident reported an odor “so bad that their lungs feel as if they will burst.”

The Earthworks report does not pull any punches. It concluded that negligent regulators and wild west fracking operators are responsible for the slow poisoning of the people of Karnes County Texas.

Evidence from state regulators and Earthworks/ShaleTest investigations indicate that ”air pollution from oil and gas development in the Eagle Ford Shale definitely threatens, and likely harms, the health of Karnes County Texas residents, including the Cerny family. Despite these findings, no action has been taken by regulators to rein in irresponsible operations, or otherwise protect area residents.”

If fracking posed no danger to the public and was perfectly safe why is the CEO of Exxon Mobile Rex Tillerson joing a lawsuit to prevent a fracking project near his Texas home? Tillerson’s company is the biggest natural gas producer in America and fights regulatory oversight at every turn. His name is on the lawsuit that objects to a 160 foot water tower near his luxury home.

The owners of the water tower would sell water to oil and gas explorers ‘‘leading to traffic with heavy trucks on FM 407, creating a noise nusiance and traffic hazards” and an ”unsafe… nuisance to children of the area.”



According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue that the water tower would, ”devalue their [muilti-million dollar] properties and adversely impact the rural lifestyle they sought to enjoy.” It will be interesting to see what success this group of multi-millionaires has against the fracking industry.



Air Pollution in California


All over America independent environmental groups are doing the job of the regulators and finding that fracking causes air pollution that poses a threat to human and animal health.


 In September of 2013 the Center For Biological Diversity in California released a report that detailed its investigation into air pollution caused by the fracking industry in the LA basin. It found that oil companies had used 12 ‘air toxic’ chemicals on over 300 occasions. Air toxic chemicals are considered as extremely dangerous as they can cause cancer, harm the heart and damage the lungs and eyes.

Among the dirty dozen is Crystalline Silica a known carcinogen which has been used 117 times and is harmful to skin, eyes and other sensory organs, respiratory system, immune system and kidneys.

Another toxic chemical that has been used at least 85 times is Methanol that can damage the brain, liver and immune system.

Hydrochloric acid is a very dangerous chemical that has been used 43 times and causes severe burns upon contact with the skin while also posing a threat to eyes, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system and liver, immune system and the cardiovascular system.

There has been a cluster of health problems reported by residents living near the Inglewood oil field due to air borne exposures to these toxic chemicals.

A major problem facing the public is that the oil and gas companies are protected by regulators who allow the companies to keep the identity of certain chemicals hidden on the grounds of ”trade secrets”. Oil and gas companies report certain chemicals as “lubricant,” “surfactant,” or simply “mixture.” In other words, the regulators who are supposed to be protecting the public, don’t have a clue as to what toxic poison is being used and churned out into the air.

“Every Californian deserves to know that oil companies are pumping dangerous chemicals into our air, but disclosure alone won’t protect our hearts and lungs,” said the Center’s Hollin Kretzmann. “The best way to shield ourselves from this pollution is to halt fracking, acidization and other extreme oil recovery techniques. We need Gov. Brown and state lawmakers to put public health ahead of petroleum industry profits and shut these dirty operations down.”

 On 28 February Los Angeles city council voted to support a moratorium on fracking and other dangerous drilling. The motion puts a moratorium on fracking until the city decides that it does not pose a danger to the safety of residents or their drinking water.

This is a big victory for the people of Los Angeles who have faced oil and gas regulators dragging their feet on enforcing exisitng environmental rules. More than 200,000 petitions have been signed by Californians urging Governor Brown to ban fracking throughout the state. Californians Against Fracking have organised a state wide demonstration for 15 March in Sacremento to push Governor Brown and his administration into taking this action.

Air Pollution A Toxic Time Bomb

The fracking industry is releasing a toxic time bomb into the air whose full impact may not be felt for many years to come. The indefatigable Theo Colborn, President of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) and Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Florida, has pointed out that there are no government safety standards for many of these chemicals. Where there is a safety level for some chemicals it is based upon a male worker doing an eight hour shift five days a week. It does not take into account low level exposure for residents exposed 24 hours a day seven days a week.

 In a speech given in 2013 to a conference organised by Citizens For a Healthy Community Professor Colborn identified five sources of airborne chemicals that people can be expected to be exposed to if they happen to live near a fracking well.

Firstly, there is the raw natural gas that comes to the surface during drilling. The gas released by drilling has the following composition: 78.7% methane, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) 17.9% and Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide 3.3%.

Methane is a well known greenhouse gas that is toxic to humans. Professor Colborn is particularly worried by the VOC’s which are extremely toxic and have been given little attention by public health agencies. These fugitive volatile organic compounds can cause irreversible damage to the brain and central nervous system if a person is subject to prolonged exposure over time.

 Secondly, there is the air pollution caused by exhaust from trucks, compressors and other equipment related to fracking. These produce nitrogen oxide and particulate matter that have the secondary effect of producing ozone which can damage lung tissue. The health effects of exhaust fumes include premature birth, low birth weight, early onset lung disease, cardiac ischemia, myocardial infarction and endocrine disruption.

 Thirdly, there are the hundreds of chemicals used during the fracking process itself. The injection of these chemicals into the ground is a well known cause of water pollution across areas affected by fracking.

 Fourthly, there are the chemicals released during the cleaning and maintenance of the drilling pad and equipment. Professor Theo Colborn has highlighted Methylene Chloride used to clean fracking equipment which is extremely toxic and has 12 adverse effects upon human health.

 Last but by no means least there is air borne pollution caused by the waste water that is put into evaporation pits. The objective is to evaporate as much waste fluid before it is hauled off for processing. However, the evaporation process leads to the release of poisonous chemicals into the air. Professor Theo Colborn notes that there is ”very little information” about the air borne pollution coming from thousands of evaporation pits which can also contaminate water supplies.

 Failure To Regulate

 The fracking industry in America has been subjected to light or no touch regulation. Oil and gas industry lobbyists have successfully fended off effective regulation of their industry and won exemptions from most environmental regulations: Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act [RCRA], Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act [CERCLA], Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.

Meanwhile, Congress has agreed not to apply the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to fracking fluids which contain hundreds of poisonous chemicals. Oil and gas companies keep from the public which chemicals are used claiming they are ”trade secrets.” By its own admission the EPA has been ineffective in protecting the public from this rapacious industry which has plans for massive expansion all over America and the rest of the planet.

Earthworks calls the fracking industry a ”reckless endangerment” of the public’s health. As government fails, the public’s health suffers while oil and gas companies rake in massive profits. Never mind the permanent damage to the plant and animal kingdom by the poisoning of the environment.

One thing is clear from a modicum of research into the air borne pollution caused by the fracking industry. We cannot rely upon corporate politicians to protect the air that we breathe.

The clock is ticking. The question you have to ask yourself is: what am I going to do about it?

Feb 21, 2014, marks the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, El Hajj Malik Shabazz, who was gunned down before hundreds of people in Harlem at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in 1965. Nearly five decades since his murder there are still many remaining questions about the conspiracy to eliminate this heroic and iconic figure who was a legend in his own time and has been immortalized since he was taken away from his family, comrades and supporters worldwide.

Malcolm X represented the best within transformational leadership during the 20th century. He was born into a Garveyite family with both of his parents playing leading roles within the Universal Negro Improvement Association–African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).

Malcolm’s parents met at a UNIA Convention held in Montreal, Quebec (Canada) in 1919. This gathering proved to be pivotal in the growth of the Garvey Movement. The following year the UNIA would hold its convention in New York City where for a month the organization would hammer out its program and make an international appeal for the liberation of African people.

 Louise Little, Malcolm’s mother, was originally from the Caribbean island-nation of Grenada. His father, Earl Little, a Baptist preacher, was born in Georgia.

 Earl Little was reportedly killed by the white supremacist organization known as the Black Legion in 1931. This racist and fascist group was similar to the Ku Klux Klan and carried out terror campaigns against African Americans and labor activists in Michigan.

As a result of his father’s brutal murder, his mother became isolated and was committed to a mental institution for nearly three decades. The Little family would be broken up and the children were sent to foster care and to live with other relatives.

Malcolm would eventually move to Boston in 1941 where he fell into the street life and landed in prison by 1946. During his time in prison between 1946-1952, he became an intellectual and later a member of the Nation of Islam under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad.

Of course Malcolm would come to Detroit and Inkster, a suburb outside the city, to work and organize for the NOI. He became an assistant Minister of Mosque Number One where he recruited co-workers, youth, street people, members of churches and anyone willing to listen to the NOI’s views and world outlook.

In 1957, Malcolm was appointed as the national spokesman for the NOI. He traveled around the United States preaching and organizing for Elijah Muhammad.

Later in 1959 Malcolm would take his first trip abroad to Egypt, Ghana, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He was acting as an emissary of Elijah Muhammad and the NOI.

Malcolm brought politics, material historical analysis and international affairs to the NOI. He would found the Messenger Magazine in 1959 that later grew into the Muhammad Speaks newspaper in 1961. This newspaper became widely circulated inside the African American community across the U.S.

Malcolm X and Global Struggle for African and World Emancipation

Like Garvey, Du Bois, Henry Sylvester Williams, Anna J. Cooper, Addie Hunton, Amy Ashwood Garvey and others before him, Malcolm X realized that the plight of African people inside North America was inextricably linked to the conditions of the masses on the continent and in the Diaspora. He also recognized that the colonized and neo-colonized peoples were engaging in mass and armed struggles to win their national liberation in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean and South America.

In 1960 in New York City at the Teresa Hotel in Harlem he would play leading role in hosting the-then Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro and his delegation which had traveled to the United Nations. The Cuban delegation was treated in a hostile and racist fashion until Fidel moved up to Harlem and won the respect and recognition he and his comrades deserved.

 However, by 1963, Malcolm X would run into obstacles within the NOI. He would be forced out of the organization and in March 1964 he formed the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and later the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) in June of the same year.

His second trip abroad in April and May 1964 was much more political and organizationally directed. He would visit Mecca for Hajj but also spent time in Egypt under the late President Gamal Abdel Nassar and in Ghana, which was led at the time by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, the chief strategist and tactician of the African Revolution.

Upon returning to New York Malcolm indicated that his organizational activities would not be limited to demanding the acquisition of full democratic rights and self-determination for African Americans in North America but would seek allies in Africa, the Arab world and other regions of the globe where oppressed people resided. He went back to Africa, the Middle East and Western Europe between July and November 1964 to further seek working relationships with progressive and revolutionary governments as well as national liberation movements.

 It was Malcolm’s success in internationalizing the Black struggle during 1964 and early 1965 that brought down the raft of U.S. imperialism against him. Even today his death is described by bourgeois commentators and historians as being more of a tragedy rather than a political assault on the movements for emancipation worldwide.

Pan-Africanism and Internationalism Today

In the 21st century the legacy of Malcolm X and those who have followed in his steps is more relevant than it was five decades ago. As Malcolm observed in 1964-65, the imperialists have shifted their focus from direct to indirect rule. Their objective is to halt, frustrate and if necessary, overturn all advancements made by oppressed and working people throughout the globe.

 Capitalism is in a deeper economic and political crisis today than it was during the 1960s. In the second decade of the 21st century the ideologues of the capitalist system put forward no solutions to the problems of poverty, joblessness, environmental degradation, racism and national oppression, gender inequality, etc. All the spokespersons for this exploitative system articulate are more measures leading to greater austerity, war and political repression across the world from Africa, to Europe to the entire Western hemisphere.

Five decades ago the Democratic administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a so-called “War on Poverty.” However, the fundamental causes of poverty and income inequality were never attacked by the system. When the masses of African Americans went into the streets to demand Civil Rights their efforts were thwarted by the state. Later as the movement became more militant and armed it was ruthlessly repressed by the local police, the intelligence services, the National Guard and the Army Airborne Divisions.

After the assassination of Malcolm X, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference would take a position against the U.S. imperialist war being waged on the Vietnamese people respectively in 1966 and 1967. SNCC would be met with political and law-enforcement repression and Dr. King was assassinated as a direct result of their people’s struggle against poverty, racism and war.

 From the period of Johnson’s lackluster “war on poverty” to the “benign neglect” of the Nixon administration and subsequent regimes, structural unemployment and poverty has worsened. In this period the ruling class openly advocates the further mass impoverishment of workers, women, trade unionists, the nationally oppressed, workers in general and even retirees.

In Detroit, where Malcolm X organized during the 1950s, the very social base which served as the cadre for the NOI and subsequent organizations such as the Republic of New Africa (RNA) and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW), has been systematically eroded due to the development of the capitalist system of production and social relations. Notions of a post-industrial or post-capitalist society became an ideological tool to dissuade and demoralize the working class and the oppressed from organizing in their own interests.

If the profits accrued from the exploitation of workers in the U.S. are not enough then the ruling class will move to other areas of the country or outside its borders. The impact of these policies has still not satisfied the owners of the means of production and now they want to repress the masses even further to take away not only the social safety net which grew out of the struggles during the Great Depression and Post-World War II period but to also break its contracts with organized labor stealing their homes, wages, jobs, pensions and healthcare systems.

Due to the crisis of the world capitalist system, even the superficial trappings of bourgeois democracy have been torn asunder. In order to enforce austerity a system of emergency management and forced bankruptcy is being implemented in Detroit and the state of Michigan as a precursor and blueprint for the working class across the U.S.

A key element of this process of the disempowerment and super-exploitation of the masses is imperialist war. The Pentagon budget has grown exponentially even in the aftermath of the Cold War where the must talked about “peace dividend” never materialized during the 1990s and in the successive decades.

The war against working people in the U.S. is an extension of the campaign of vilification, demonization and outright occupation of the oppressed nations. It is only the rich defense contractors, industrialists and bankers who profit from imperialist conquest. Since the beginning of the so-called “war on terror” the overall conditions of working and oppressed people in the U.S. has decline precipitously.

 Consequently, our struggle against the economic crisis, racist violence and austerity is part and parcel of a broader movement taking root around the world. As Malcolm X and later Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would repeatedly state “our problem is not only an American problem, but a world problem.”

Some Recent Case Studies on the Intensifying Global Class Struggle

Egypt and Tunisia

 An indication of the people’s willingness to fight the system of global oppression was illustrated clearly in Tunisia and Egypt during 2011. In southern Tunisia a national rebellion took root leading to the fall of the former dictator Zen Abidine Ben Ali in January of that year.

Later in Egypt, a national uprising, which resulted in the deaths of at least 800 people, erupted on January 25 leading to the removal of Hosni Mubarak who had dominated politics since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in October 1981. The movement in Egypt influenced developments in other parts of Africa and the Middle East–eventually inspiring the Wisconsin capitol takeover and standoff that winter.

 Of course the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) can be traced to the actions in North Africa and Wisconsin. The Occupy Movement spread across the U.S. and indeed the world with occupations in England, Australia and other countries.

 Although these events prove that when pushed far enough the masses will rise up, the question becomes what are we fighting for? How do we transform a righteous people’s rebellion into a revolution that can not only affect the system but overthrow it?

This is why we must place emphasis on the ideological struggle and the necessity of revolutionary organization. V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Party and the Russian Revolution, understood the questions of organization and power. In his works on “The State and Revolution,” “What Is To Be Done?”, and “Marxism and Insurrection,” Lenin takes up these issues.

 One fundamental difference between Marxism-Leninism and Anarchism is how the state is viewed. How can working people transform the state to serve its own interests? Lenin pointed out through his study of Marx and Engels observations related to the Paris Commune of 1870-71 as well as the revolutionary uprisings of 1848-1851, that in order to move towards a classless society the workers and the oppressed must seize state power to fully eliminate all vestiges of exploitation and inequality.

These challenges become even more significant for the African Revolution in light of the legacy of slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism. Today the imperialists are able to rule indirectly through patronage, bribery, the tactical support of bourgeois class forces within the oppressed nations. If these measures are not sufficient the U.S., NATO and its allies can send in their military units to carry out aerial bombardments, drone attacks, counter-intelligence operations, and economic strangulation through sanctions or complete occupations with boots on the ground.

 In Egypt the situation appears to have come full circle with the military back in power where Field Marshall Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi poised to take off his military uniform and run as a civilian president. The U.S., which had subsidized the Egyptian armed forces as rulers for three-and-a-half decades, refuses to label the events as a coup in order to maintain its control and influence over this strategic state.

 In Tunisia, left politicians face assassination and other forms of political repression in order to open the way for a technocratic neocolonial state still in alliance with France and Washington. The form of the political system is emphasized over its essence which is still geared toward pleasing the West and its foreign policy imperatives for the region.

Central African Republic and South Sudan

Dominating corporate news coverage of the African continent recently has been the internal conflicts within the Central African Republic and South Sudan. These states have been the scene of military interventions by France, the U.S., the European Union (EU) and its allies in the region.

When discussing the events in the CAR and South Sudan the western media outlets often emphasize the ethnic-religious aspects of the conflicts and crises. The general tone of the reporting is to provide a rationale for imperialist intervention in order ostensibly restore order or possibly “democracy.”

Nonetheless, the role of these African states in the imperialist system of economic exploitation and oppression is never pointed out. Neither is there any serious mention of the strategic resources that exist in abundance in both the CAR and South Sudan.

 France had colonized the CAR for decades and has always maintained both a military and economic presence inside the country. Paris’ motivations in the CAR are by no means “humanitarian” since colonialism was never a project to improve the conditions of peoples in Africa but to conquer, expropriate and exploit the people and their resources.

As more French troops poured into the CAR the greater the security risks were to its people. Many CAR residents realized this and began to organize demonstrations against the role of the French and Chadian troops.

 The government of interim President Michel Djotodia was forcefully remved in January and a new regime headed by Catherine Samba-Panza, the former mayor of the capital of Bangui, was installed. However, the violence against the minority Muslim population continues. The situation is such that tens of thousands of Muslims, both CAR citizens and foreign nationals from Chad and Sudan are being forced to flee.

 France announced that it will deploy another 400 troops bringing the official total up to 2,000 and that the EU will also send in another 1,000 soldiers. Several thousand troops from Chad, Rwanda and the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville are also in the country under the auspices of the MISCA, a Central African regional initiative, and the United Nations Security Council, which authorized the occupation led by France.

 The Pentagon has been assisting the occupation of the CAR by ferrying troops into the state and providing intelligence and logistical support. In October 2011, the Obama administration had announced that it was deploying Special Forces and military trainers to four East and Central African states including the CAR along with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and South Sudan.

 Mineral resources found in the CAR include gold, diamonds and uranium. The imperialists and their multi-national mining firms want to further exploit these resources for the benefit of Wall Street and the Pentagon.

 In the Republic of South Sudan, the U.S. along with the State of Israel pushed for years in favor of the partition of the Republic of Sudan, which prior to 2011, was the largest geographic nation-state in Africa. The country was emerging as a significant oil-producing state marketing 500,000 barrels per day.

The Republic of Sudan also has natural gas and other hydro-electric potential for regional power generation. Strategically located on the Nile River, a project is underway with neighboring Ethiopia to build a Great Renaissance Dam that would redirect large sections of the Nile so that other states within East, North and Central Africa can deepen their cooperation through power generation and trade.

 British colonialism and U.S. neocolonialism are at the root of the current crisis between the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan as well as the internal problems within the two now divided states. The role of the People’s Republic of China also cannot be ignored since most of the oil concessions in the Republic of Sudan were held by China and other Asian states.

Therefore the partition of the country has brought about economic hardships for both states. Yet these issues are rarely mentioned, if at all, when the situation prevailing inside both the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan are discussed in the Western press.


The role of Uganda, a key U.S. ally, has been instrumental in determining the outcome of the initial phase of the conflict between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and ousted Vice-President Riek Machar. Uganda’s government wants to maintain stability within South Sudan and have therefore sent thousands of its own troops into the country to bolster the Kiir regime.


Peace talks at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia are being undermined by the Ugandan military presence. The U.S. utilized its newly-created East African Response Force, a unit of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), to enter South Sudan with greater force. Pentagon troops were deployed from the AFRICOM military base in the Horn of Africa state of Djibouti at Camp Lemonnier.


All throughout East Africa the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) maintains a strong presence. In Somalia, the CIA has a field station and launches drone attacks against alleged Al-Shabaab operatives in various regions of the country.

 In Somalia there are 22,000 troops occupying the country from several U.S.-allied states in Africa including Uganda, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Djibouti. These forces are maintained through funding and training from Washington and Brussels. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has recently announced that the 2,000 Kenyan Defense Forces troops have been integrated into its operations from the south of the country which also has oil and is strategically located on the Gulf of Aden, one of the most lucrative shipping lanes in the world.

 To secure the utilization of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, there are flotillas of warships off the coast of Somalia from both the Pentagon and the EU Naval Force. The region of East Africa has also witness large-scale findings of additional petroleum and natural gas resources both inland and off shore from Somalia down to Mozambique.

 Consequently, we can expect an escalating presence of the Pentagon and the EU within the East and Central African regions. These military operations are clearly designed as well to contain and block the greater involvement of the People’s Republic of China in this region of the continent.

 South Africa and Zimbabwe

The Republic of South Africa has gained considerable attention with the passing of former African National Congress (ANC) leader and President Nelson Mandela. People within South Africa, the continent and the world mourned the passing of this freedom fighter on December 5, 2013.

 South Africa has the strongest economy on the African continent and the largest working class. The working class in South Africa is still quite militant with ongoing strikes in the mining, automotive, agricultural and service industries of the national economy which is well integrated into the world capitalist system.

 During the 1980s, the working class movement through the trade unions came to the fore making the demise of the apartheid a reality. The combined forces of the mass and trade union movements along with the armed struggle and the international solidarity campaigns proved to be a winning strategy in the defeat of one of the most egregious forms of national oppression internationally.

 Apartheid, like slavery, Jim Crow and classical colonialism, was an economic system of exploitation. Even though the forms of racist discrimination have been legally abolished the South African state and economy still remains within the capitalist sphere of influence.

The South African Communist Party during the anti-apartheid struggle for national liberation characterized the system in the country as “colonialism of a special type.” Nonetheless since the ascendancy of the ANC to political power, South Africa is facing the same problems that other states on the continent are grappling with. There are the aspects of modern-day capitalism, i.e. high unemployment, underemployment, burgeoning class divisions, the intransigence of capital and the threat of imperialist intervention.

With the upcoming elections in South Africa on May 7, a struggle is unfolding between the ANC and its allies within the SACP and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on the one hand and the Democratic Alliance party backed up by the mine owners and industrial magnates on the other. Although we would never claim as some ultra-leftists and reactionaries do, that there has been no progress in South Africa in light of the advances in housing, education, affirmative action, public transport and international relations, there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to re-correct the legacy of the settler-colonial system of apartheid.

Mines which produced 80 percent of the world’s supply of platinum must be nationalized for the benefit of the workers inside the country. This is the only solution to the conditions under which the workers are toiling prompting them to sustain strikes and other labor actions in their demands for better wages and working conditions.

 In neighboring Zimbabwe, the ZANU-PF government in 2000 paved the way for the large-scale redistribution of land which had been stolen by the white settlers during the later years of the 19th century. The government of President Robert Mugabe suffered sanctions and other efforts to both destabilize and overthrow the sovereign state of Zimbabwe.

 Nevertheless, ZANU-PF has been able to hold out from this onslaught over the last fifteen years. There is much discussion now on how to further the empowerment of the African masses through the nationalization of mining and other sectors.

It seems inevitable that South Africa and Namibia will eventually take a similar course as Zimbabwe. These states combined with other regional entities can set the pace for greater mechanisms of economic and political unity throughout Africa.

Most states within the AU have stood by Zimbabwe in its struggle to defeat the western-backed sanctions and other forms of destabilization. At the recent AU Summit in Ethiopia, President Mugabe was voted in as Vice-Chair of the continental organization setting the stage for it takeover of the institution in 2015.

 In the recent elections in Zimbabwe where ZANU-PF won the poll by a landslide, all relevant regional African organizations endorsed the outcome illustrating support for land reform and other forms of empowerment throughout the continent. Despite the sanctions imposed by Britain, the U.S., the EU and Australia, the Republic of South Africa, the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC), the AU in addition to the People’s Republic of China have maintained and enhanced fraternal relations with Zimbabwe.

 Conclusion: Our Tasks as Anti-Imperialists

We must continue our solidarity with the struggles of working and oppressed peoples throughout the globe. The efforts on the part of the ruling class to divide the peoples of the so-called Global South from those residing in the more Northern industrialized regions cannot be allowed to succeed.

Any vestiges of “protectionism” and national chauvinism which remain among the workers in the West can only be described as political reaction emanating from a delusional worldview. These outlooks have gotten workers nowhere in the current period since their wages have been lowered and the ideological offensive on the part of the ruling class is intensifying.

 Workers and the nationally oppressed inside the U.S. must answer the bankers and bosses with acts of solidarity with the peoples of Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and South America. Workers in South Africa should be championed in their heroic struggles for a living wage and control over their wealth and conditions of employment.

 In Colombia workers at General Motors who have been injured on the job are thrown away like trash. A coalition of Detroit workers and community activists have taken up the plight of the injured Colombian GM workers and have provided concrete actions of solidarity through demonstrations, public relations campaigns and material support.

 There is growing support for the revolutions in Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia. Ruling class propaganda against all the forces of progress, socialism and revolution in South America has often been ignored by the people of the U.S. and Western Europe.

Many people who have traveled to these Caribbean and South American states are struck by the degree to which working and poor people have been empowered. In Cuba there are social gains that have been in existence for decades in the areas of healthcare, technological and scientific research that remain unmatched in the U.S.

The attempted isolation by U.S. imperialism of progressive states and socialist construction in South America has not worked. The South American governments are looking to Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region for allies.

 These trends are reflected in the African-South American Summit, the BRICS Summit, and the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), which is currently chaired by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Such developments in international relations are a manifestation of a rising consciousness and unity among the former colonial and neo-colonial states and peoples.

 Workers and oppressed peoples in the West must embrace and defend these gains in order to learn lessons that can be beneficial in the overall global class struggle. The degree to which our solidarity is expressed with the peoples of the world the further we will be along in winning a world devoid of exploitation and oppression therefore creating the conditions for the realization of a socialist future.

The above text are excerpts from remarks made at two public meetings in Boston and Philadelphia on Feb. 22 and 24 respectively. The events were part of an African American History Month tour sponsored by Workers World Party and the International Action Center branches based in both of these cities.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2013

March 1st, 2014 by Global Research News

by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China


The State Department of the United States, which posed as “the world judge of human rights,” made arbitrary attacks and irresponsible remarks on the human rights situation in almost 200 countries and regions again in its just-released Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. However, the U.S. carefully concealed and avoided mentioning its own human rights problems. In fact, there were still serious human rights problems in the U.S in 2013, with the situation in many fields even deteriorating.

– In 2013, 137 people died in 30 mass killings, which caused four or more deaths each, in the U.S.. A shooting rampage in the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C. left 12 people dead.

– The U.S. engaged in a tapping program, code-named PRISM, exercising long-term and vast surveillance both at home and abroad. The program is a blatant violation of international law and seriously infringes on human rights.

– The use of solitary confinement is prevalent in the U.S.. About 80,000 U.S. prisoners are in solitary confinement in the country. Some have even been held in solitary confinement for over 40 years.

– The U.S. still faces grave employment situation with its unemployment rate remained high. Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families have topped 21 percent. The homeless population in the U.S. kept swelling and it had climbed 16 percent from 2011 to 2013.

– There are a large amount of child laborers in the agricultural sector in the U.S. and their physical and mental health was seriously harmed.

– Frequent drone strikes by the U.S. in countries including Pakistan and Yemen have caused heavy civilian casualties. The U.S. has carried out 376 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, causing deaths of up to 926 civilians.

– The U.S. remains a country which has not ratified or participated in a series of core UN conventions on human rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I. On Life and Personal Security

The U.S. was haunted by an increasing number of violent crimes in 2013 with frequent occurrence of firearms-related criminal cases, public information show. American citizens’ lives and personal safety are threatened by an increasingly dangerous environment.

The number of violent crimes has risen sharply. According to the Uniform Crime Reports, released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2013, the U.S. registered 1,214,464 violent crimes in 2012, of which 14,827 are murders and nonnegligent manslaughters, 84,376 forcible rapes, 354,522 robberies and 760,739 aggravated assaults. According to statistics revealed by the Bureau of Justice on October 24, 2013, the rate of violent victimization increased from 22.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2011 to 26.1 in 2012.

On April 15, 2013, twin bombings ripped through Boston Marathon, leaving three dead and 264 injured. Among the killed was an 8-year-old. U.S. authorities called the bombings a terrorist attack (USA Today, December 6, 2013).

The Washington Post reported on January 1, 2014, that Robert Senquan Spencer, 21, was dead from a shotgun blast on a Southwest Washington street, becoming the District’s 80th homicide victim of 2013. The District had 103 homicides in 2013 – a sharp increase from 88 in 2012.

American citizens keep the world’s largest number of privately owned guns. According to figures released by the FBI in 2013, the total number of background checks conducted for gun sales in 2013 add up to 21,093,273, beating the previous 2012 record of 19,592,303 by 1,500,970 (, January 7, 2014). As of 2013, there were about 300 million guns in the U.S.. On average, more than 100,000 Americans are being shot each year, and 30,000 deaths are caused by the use of guns. Victims are either killed in gun-related crimes or died in suicide or nonnegligent manslaughter. The U.S. government failed to take effective measures to control guns.(,

After the mass shootings in Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, there were strong calls in the United States for stricter controls on firearms. On April 17, a bipartisan bill to support expanded background checks on firearms was blocked in the Senate. Previously, plans for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines had already been removed from the gun-control bill (, April 17, 2013). At the same time, states in the U.S. continue to loosen their gun laws. On January 5, Illinois became the last state in the U.S. to allow average citizens to carry around concealed firearms. Anyone with firearm owner’s identification card in the U.S. is allowed to pack heat in places except the no-go zones including schools, parks and restaurants (, January 8, 2014).

Gun violence is rampant in the U.S.. There are 11,000 Americans killed by gun violence every year (, December 17, 2013). Information collected regarding types of weapons used in violent crime showed that firearms were used in 69.3 percent of the nation’s murders, 41 percent of robberies, and 21.8 percent of aggravated assaults, according to the Uniform Crime Reports released by the FBI in 2013. Every year, there is serious gun violence in the U.S.. On October 21, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder said the average number of mass shooting incidents has tripled in recent years. According to Justice Department figures on mass shootings, 404 people were shot and 207 people were killed from 2009 to 2012 (, October 21, 2013). According to a report published on the USA Today on December 16, 2013, 137 people died in 30 mass killings – four or more people killed, not including the killer – in 2013.

On September 16, 2013, civilian contractor and military veteran Aaron Alexis, a resident of Texas, went on a shooting rampage after he entered the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C. in the morning, killing 12 people and injuring several others. An eye witness said the gunman began shooting from a fourth-floor overlook in the hallway and was aiming down at people in the building’s cafeteria on the first floor. Aaron Alexis was shot dead in a 30 minutes’ exchange of gunfire with authorities (, September 17, 2013).

II. On Civil and Political Rights

The U.S. government took liberty in monitoring its citizens, which shocked the world. Tortures in the U.S. prisons raised concerns. Elections and the checks-and-balances systems were plagued by malpractices and inefficiency, impairing civil interests.

The U.S. government exercises massive and unrestrained information tapping on its own citizens. Edward Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, revealed a tapping program carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA), code-named PRISM. Under the program, the U.S. intelligence, by virtue of data provided by nine Internet companies, including the Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Yahoo, and other major telecom providers, tracked citizens’ private contacts and social activities recklessly (, June 7, 2013).

The website of The Washington Post revealed on June 7, 2013, that the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were tapping directly into the central servers of some Internet companies, and users’ data, extracting their emails, chats, audio and video data, documents and photos in real time, and putting certain targets and their contacts under full surveillance. According to a government document disclosed by The New York Times on September 29, 2013, the NSA, since November 2010, had been exploiting its huge collections of U.S. citizens’ data to identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions, and other personal information. The scrutiny program, which links U.S. citizens’ phone numbers and e-mails in a “contact chain”, exposed large amount of citizens’ privacy to the government. The website of the Guardian, a British newspaper, revealed on June 6, 2013, that one of the largest U.S. telecommunications providers, the Verizon Business Network Services Inc, was required to provide to the NSA all the telephony metadata within its system, including telephone numbers, locations and call durations. Germany‘s Spiegel Online reported on September 7, 2013, that internal NSA documents showed that the U.S. intelligence has the capability of tapping user data from the iphone, devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure. The NSA developed cracking programs and tapped users’ data held on the three major smart phone operating systems, including contact lists, SMS traffic, and location information about where a user has been. The NSA is able to infiltrate the computer a person uses to sync their iphone, and the script programs enable additional access to at least 38 iphone features.

The reported on June 14, 2013, nine major international civil liberties groups issued joint declaration that the U.S. federal government’s secretive scrutiny program, PRISM, is a breach of international conventions on human rights. The joint declaration said, “Such vast and pervasive state surveillance violates two of the most fundamental human rights: the right to privacy and to freedom of expression.”

The U.S. federal narcotics officers and other agents, in cooperation with American Telephone & Telegraph, can not only gain access to all the clients’ phone records, but also all the phone calls made through the company’s telephone exchangers (The Huffington Post, December 20, 2013). The Los Angeles Times’ website,, reported on September 26, 2013, the FBI has long used drone aircraft in domestic investigations, exercising clandestine surveillance over the public. The website also reported, the U.S. federal prosecutors secretly obtained records of telephone calls from more than 20 telephone lines belonging to The Associated Press and its journalists in a two-month period in early 2012 (, May 13, 2013).

Inmates treated inhumanely in prisons. The use of solitary confinement is prevalent. According to news reports, in U.S. prisons, inmates in solitary confinements are enclosed in cramped cells with poor ventilation and natural lights, isolated from other prisoners, a situation that will take tolls on inmates’ physical and mental health (, June 12, 2013). About 80,000 U.S. prisoners are in solitary confinement, including nearly 12,000 in California. The California’s Pelican Bay prison has more than 400 prisoners who have been in isolation for over a decade. In many cases, the inmates are isolated for up to 23 hours per day in cells measuring 3.5 by 2.5 meters (, August 23, 2013). Some have even been held in solitary confinement for over 40 years(, October 4, 2013). In the prison system of the New York state, about 3,800 prisoners are in solitary confinement every day (, Feb. 19, 2014). The then 49-year-old prisoner, William Blake, had been held in solitary confinement for 26 years, locked in a cell furnished with only one iron bed (, March 15, 2013). In 2013, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez repeatedly urged the U.S. government to abolish the use of solitary confinement. He argued, even short-term solitary confinement can be counted as torture (, October 14, 2013). In California state prisons, 30,000 inmates began hunger strikes on July 8, 2013 in protest of the use of solitary confinement. The hunger strikes lasted two months ( September 15, 2013).

On January 29, 2014, the British Daily Mail’s web edition published New York photographer Scott Houston’s photos featuring working and living conditions of inmates in Arizona State’s prisons. The images show, inmates are shackled together while working and eating, five on one chain, with just nine feet between them. Houston said, he was left with the impression that the chain gangs working together were similar to the days of slavery. “You could go back 200 years.”

Election becomes the game of a few. A great number of researches showed that the American’s influence on policy is proportional to their wealth. About 70 percent of the population, who are on the lower wealth and income scale, have virtually no influence on policy whatsoever. They are effectively disenfranchised. Only a tenth of one percent essentially get what they want, i.e. they effectively influence policies ( August 17, 2013). The U.S. citizens get less and less enthusiastic about election. The mayoral election of Los Angeles in May 2013 only had 23.3 percent of the city’s registered voters cast a ballot. And the winner got 222,300 votes, just 12.4 percent of the registered voters (, June 11. 2013).

The checks-and-balances system has become an impediment to actions. On October 1, 2013, the U.S. federal government, except for its core functions, entered a shutdown, after Congress failed to pass the budget bill as the Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Francis Fukuyama, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, wrote in an article published on October 4, 2013, on The Washington Post’s website, the American system of checks and balances gradually becomes a “vetocracy”. “It empowers a wide variety of political players representing minority position to block action by the majority and prevent the government from doing anything.” The U.S. government shutdown is the very result of such vicious checks and balances. A new poll found “Americans entered 2014 with a profoundly negative view of their government, expressing little hope that the government can or will solve the nation’s biggest problems.” According to the poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, half respondents said American system of democracy needed either “a lot of changes” or a complete overhaul (www., January 2, 2014). The U.S. president, in his State of the Union Address in January 2014, also criticized the U.S. democratic system full of bickering and debates. “When that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy — when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States — then we are not doing right by the American people.”

III. On Economic and Social Rights

Despite the fact that the economy is recovering, the U.S. citizens’ economic and social rights are still under challenge.

Unemployment rates are high in the US. Employment rates for 25-to 54-year-olds were lower in 35 states in fiscal 2013 than in 2007. In 2007, nearly 80 of every 100 people aged 25 to 54 in the United States had a job. In the 12 months ending June 2013, only about 76 of every 100 people in that age group were working (, November 27, 2013). According to a report by the CNBC on September 16, 2013, in 2012, the average length of unemployment for U.S. workers reached 39.5 weeks, the highest level since World War II. Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression. The overall unemployment rate for U.S. veterans stood at 6.9 percent in October 2013. A total of 246,000 post-9/11 vets are looking for jobs (, November 11, 2013). According to the 2014 State of the Union, “even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by… And too many still aren’t working at all.”

Wealth gap in the US is widening. Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in September 2013 showed more than 47 million U.S. people living in poverty in 2012, and that the poverty rate reached 15 percent. The data also indicated about 6.4 million people aged 65 and older were poor (, November 6, 2013). New research using the U.S. Internal Revenue Service data from 2012 all the way back to 1913 found that the current gap between America’s rich and poor is the widest in history. The richest 1 percent’s share of total household income was a record 19.3 percent in 2012. The top 10 percent of U.S. households controlled 50.4 percent of total income in 2012, the highest figures seen since 1917. In the U.S., the top 1 percent saw their incomes recover by 31.4 percent during 2009 and 2012, accounting for 95 percent of the total gain recognized in the U.S., whereas the bottom 99 percent had to content themselves with growth of only 0.4 percent (, September 10, 2013). The U.S. 2014 State of the Union noted that average wages in the U.S. have barely budged, and inequality has deepened.

Labor unions see eroding leverage. According to data released by the PEW on April 15, 2013, in 2012, unions lost 400,000 members, and states like Indiana and Wisconsin have clipped the organizing rights of state employees and others. Labor leaders see the largest growth potential in the private sector, however, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, only 6.6 percent of private-sector workers belong to a union. On July 18, 2013, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, making it the largest-ever municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Despite the objections from unions including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the United Auto Workers as well as local retiree associations, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled that Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy protection. Representatives of the unions and retirees argued that the decision turned a blind eye to the appeals of the unions. Local citizens took to the streets to protest with anger (, December 3, 2013).

Working conditions and pay are declining. On April 18, 2013, a deadly blast at a fertilizer plant in Texas killed 14 people, left 200 others with injuries and caused some toxic gas concern. It was reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, being chronically underfunded, has never inspected the plant since 1985 (, June 4, 2013;, May 17, 2013). A report titled “Farm Worker Conditions Likened to Modern Slavery” and carried by the Huffington Post on February 1, 2013 quoted a migrant worker as saying that the piece rate has not changed in over 30 years. The report also said that one farm worker dies on the job every day and hundreds more are injured, noting that relevant authorities have failed to exercise effective monitoring and law enforcement regarding the working conditions for farm workers. The USA Today reported on December 5, 2013 that fast-food workers planned one-day labor walkouts at fast-food restaurants in 100 cities, claiming that they can not survive on a minimum wage of 7.25 dollars per hour, or about 15,000 dollars a year. The campaign was called “Fight for 15″– pressing for a minimum wage of 15 dollars per hour (, December 5, 2013).

Homeless population is growing. A report by the Los Angeles Times on November 22, 2013 said the homeless population in the U.S. had climbed 16 percent from 2011 to 2013. Los Angeles County’s homeless population rose 15 percent from 2011 to 2013, to 57,737 people. According to data released by the U.S. Coalition for the Homeless in November 2013, the number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters had risen by more than 71 percent since 2002, and each night more than 60,000 people, including over 22,000 children, experience homelessness.

Social security in the US is problematic. A U.S. Census Bureau report released on September 17, 2013 said that in 2012, a total of 15.4 percent, or some 48 million people in the U.S. were uninsured. The share of people relying on the government for health insurance edged up slightly to 32.6 percent, from 32.2 percent a year ago. Whether they have insurance or not, people spent more on health care in 2012 than in 2011 (, September 17, 2013). According to the U.S. Federal Funds Information for States, some major programs, including most K-12 educational-support programs; the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for the poor; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children; Funds to administer the Unemployment Insurance program; Child nutrition programs and other programs starting on or after October 1 could be affected by the federal government shutdown in 2013 (, September 26, 2013). When the funds run out on December 28, 2013 for a program created during the recession to supplement the federal emergency benefits for jobless people and efforts to renew the benefits stalled in the U.S. Senate, about 1.3 million jobless Americans who were receiving the benefits averaging about 300 dollars a week had been affected (, December 27, 2013).

IV. On Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination systematically exists in the U.S society. The situation of ethnic minorities’ human rights is grim.

Racial discrimination is prevalent in the field of law enforcement and justice. According to a survey carried out in 2012, at least 136 unarmed African-Americans were killed by policemen or security guards in the year (, September 3, 2013). Unarmed black youth Jonathan Ferrell, 24, sought help after a car accident, but was shot multiple times and killed by police (New York Daily News, September 16, 2013). Black lady Diggles, 25, was handcuffed and brutally beaten by two white cops for an unpaid fine (www., June 4, 2013). Racially biased stops and interrogations often occur at streets. The U.S. district judge declared that at least 200,000 stops were made by New York police without reasonable suspicion (, August 18, 2013). A latest report released by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that despite the fact that marijuana use was about the same for both black and white Americans, blacks were four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. One primary reason is that racial bias prevalently exists in the field of justice (, June 24, 2013). Similarly, even though data collected have shown that white women use drugs at roughly the same rate as minority women, two-thirds of women in state prisons incarcerated for drug offenses are Hispanic or black (, December 12, 2013).

In July 2013, protests took place in several cities in the U.S. after a white neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was not found guilty of murdering black youth Trayvon Martin by gun shot (, July 15, 2013). The U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said that “the American legal system has once again failed justice” (, July 14, 2013). On September 3, 2013, the Working Group of Experts on Peoples of African Descent with the United Nations Human Rights Council and Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism lodged a joint appeal, asking the American government to reinvestigate into the Martin case as soon as possible and review the laws that may lead to racial discrimination against African-Americans (, September 3, 2013).

Racial discrimination is rampant in public places. The Los Angeles Times reported on December 2, 2013, racial and sex discrimination exists in the employment and daily workplaces of the Los Angeles Fire Department. From 2006 to 2010, payouts in Los Angeles Fire Department discrimination and harassment cases cost more than 17 million U.S. dollars. New York Daily News reported on October 26, 2013, black star Rob Brown bought his mom a 1,350 U.S. dollars watch at Macy’s, but was suspected of using a fake credit card after being racially profiled by the store. The police handcuffed and detained him for an hour. According to a report by on October 23, 2013, black college student Trayon Christian was buying a 350 U.S. dollars belt at Barneys, but a Barneys sales clerk believed the transaction was fraudulent and called police. Despite showing the officers the receipt for the belt and his ID, he was still handcuffed and taken to a local precinct. Christian’s attorney said that “His only crime was being a young black man.”

Some mainstream media, social organizations and politicians publicize racist comments. On October 16, 2013, American Broadcasting Company’s Jimmy Kimmel Show aired a segment saying “kill everyone in China” and promoted racial hatred. It aroused unease and protests from Asian Americans especially Chinese Americans (, November 8, 2013). The American Family Association, one of the leading religious right groups, claimed that “Latino voters are greedy and lazy socialist, and that’s why they don’t vote for Republicans” (, March 30, 2013). A white women Colorado lawmaker insinuated, via mentioning barbecue and chicken, poor habits and diets should be considered factors to the life expectancy and diseases of blacks. Her remarks were regarded as having a tendency to racism (, August 22, 2013).

Encroachment on indigenous peoples’ rights prevalently exists. On February 13, 2013, Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples highlighted high rates of violence against American indigenous women by non-indigenous men. On September 10, Anaya reiterated the obstacles to implementing the law on ensuring Indian children’s wellbeing and called on the U.S. government to take all necessary measures to safeguard the human rights of Indian children (, February 13, 2013). On September 10, 2013, the Minority Rights Group International accused the U.S. Capital Energy Belize, Ltd of oil exploration in Belize’s Maya communities without consent of indigenous peoples (, September 10, 2013).

V. On Women and Children’s Rights

Sex discrimination is still serious, and children’s rights are not well protected in the United States.

Women are facing serious employment discrimination. According to a report carried by the Los Angeles Times on December 2, 2013, the ratio of women firefighters in the uniformed ranks remains at just under 3 percent — the same as in 1995. Women’s salary is far lower than men’s. On average in 2012, women made about 81 percent of the median earnings of male full-time wage and salary workers, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on March 20, 2013 (, October 2013). Women’s average annual income is 11,500 U.S. dollars less that that of men’s. African American women are paid 69 cents for every dollar paid to all men, and Latinas are paid just 58 cents for every dollar paid to all men, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual survey (www.nationalpartnershipforwomen&, September 17, 2013).

Women and children experienced frequent violent attacks and sexual assaults. In 2013, lawsuits on female suspects being strip-searched were frequently reported. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune on October 10, 2013, several bones were shattered in a woman’s face after she was arrested for drunk-driving. She was shoved, beaten and strip-searched by police. Domestic violence is still serious in the U.S.. According to a report by the National Network to End Domestic Violence in 2013, a survey conducted in September 2012 showed in just one 24-hour period, local domestic violence programs across the country provided help and safety to 64,324 domestic violence victims. Sadly, 10,471 requests of domestic violence victims went unmet on that same day due to lack of funds (

U.S. female soldiers experienced frequent sexual harassment and assault. According to the website of the Military Times, 6.1 percent of active duty women say they experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012 (, May 7, 2013). From 2010 to 2012, there was a 35 percent increase in sexual assault and harassment cases in the military. Fourteen percent of military victims report their assaults and 64 percent of convicted sexual perpetrators were discharged from the military (, July 23, 2013). Cases of children sexual abuse and exploitation occurred frequently. According to a report on the website of Los Angeles Times on July 29, 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a three-day sex-trafficking sweep in 76 cities in July 2013. Some 105 sexually exploited teenagers, some as young as 13, were rescued during the nationwide campaign. Nearly all of them are girls.

Children’s security can not be effectively protected. Children’s security in family is a prominent problem. According to a report carried by the Chicago Tribune on November 16, 2013, 111 children lost their lives from abuse or neglect in Illinois in 2012, a year of record child deaths from abuse and neglect. The majority died before they were one year old. Nationally, the number of child deaths from abuse and neglect was 1,545. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times on December 18, 2013, child abuse is serious under California’s privatized foster care system. The system is so poorly monitored that foster care agencies with a history of abuse can continue caring for children for years. In Los Angeles County, at least four children died as a result of abuse or neglect over the last five years in homes overseen by private agencies. Children have become frequent victims of violent crimes. According to a report carried by the Chicago Tribune on September 15, 2013, all summer long, wounded little children arrived in Chicago’s emergency rooms at a pace of about one a week. Victims’ parents had this revelation: “We’re not safe anywhere!”

Large amount of child labors in agriculture. According to the 2012 childhood agricultural injury survey conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 41,310 youth under the age of 16 were hired on farms. But a representative from the Children in the Fields Campaign believed there were about 400,000 to 500,000 kids who were working in the fields in 2012. Some types of chores, such as agricultural machine operation and pesticide spraying, have directly threatened children’s health, security, or even life (, October 25, 2013). Statistics released by the National Children’s Center For Rural And Agricultural Health and Safety in December 2013 showed that 38 children were injured in agriculture-related accidents each day in the U.S.. In March, 2013, the National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System broadcast in-depth stories about a 14-year-old child who was engulfed by grain and killed while working in a silo in Illinois. And 20 percent of the victims of grain engulfment are young workers (, March 29, 2013).

VI. On Violations of Human Rights against Other Nations

The Untied States is the world’s biggest violator of human rights of non-American persons and has been strongly denounced by the international community in cases of the PRISM program, drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and prisoner torture around the globe.

A large number of overseas surveillance projects conducted by the U.S. violated other countries’ sovereignty and the civil rights of their people. State heads and other leaders, diplomatic agencies and citizens of other countries have long been under surveillance of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). According to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA monitored the phone conversations of 35 leaders of other countries and collected five billion pieces of information every day through tracking cell phone movements around the world (, October 25, 2013;, December 4, 2013). In April 2013, the United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue noted in a report that “the United States renewed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment Act of 2008 extending the Government’s power to conduct surveillance of non-American persons located outside the United States, including any foreign individual whose communications are hosted by cloud services located in the United States” (UN document A/HRC/23/40). On September 9, 2013, the UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay expressed concern about the impact of the U.S. surveillance on the individuals’ right to privacy and other human rights during the opening of the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (, September 9, 2013). The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution of protecting the right to privacy in the digital age at its 68th session on December 19, 2013, stressing that unlawful, arbitrary surveillance, interception, and data collection are a breach of the right to privacy and freedom of expression. Some countries condemned the U.S. as a violator of human rights, as well as the UN Charter principles of respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs (, December 19, 2013).

Frequent drone strikes by the U.S. have caused a large amount of non-American civilian casualties. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent not-for-profit organization in the UK, the U.S. has carried out 376 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, and up to 926 civilians were reported dead (, October 22, 2013). On May 9, 2013, the Peshawar High Court in Pakistan ruled that the U.S. drone strikes on targets in Pakistan illegally breached national sovereignty and were in “blatant violation of Basic Human Rights” and provisions of the Geneva Conventions, according to the New York-based Open Society Foundations (, May 28, 2013). On December 12, 2013, a U.S. drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy in Yemen’s al-Baitha province after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying al Qaeda militants, with 14 people killed and 22 others injured, two Yemeni national security officials told CNN (, December 13, 2013). In October, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism Ben Emmerson, urged the U.S. to disclose more information about its drone programs (, October 31, 2013). The UN special rapporteurs on extrajudicial executions and on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism focused on the issue of civilian casualties caused by drone strikes in their reports to the third committee of the UN General Assembly. The U.S. refused to account for those strikes and take measures to reduce civilian casualties as requested by the UN or other government organizations (, October 31, 2013).

The U.S. tortures prisoners in other countries and regions. In March 2013, the special rapporteur Ben Emmerson noted in a report that on September 17, 2001, the former U.S. President Bush authorized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to operate a secret detention program which involved the establishment of clandestine detention facilities known as “black sites” on the territory of other states, and allegedly authorized the CIA to carry out “extraordinary renditions.” Despite wide criticism against the CIA’s illegal action, no American official has so far been brought to justice (UN document A/HRC/22/52). The program saw terror suspects spirited to secret prisons around the globe without legal process, interrogated and sometimes tortured (, February 18, 2013). The Open Society Foundation said at least 136 individuals were reportedly extraordinarily rendered or secretly detained by the CIA (, February 5, 2013).

Guantanamo Bay detainees’ human rights were severely damaged with many of them held there indefinitely without trial. On October 3 2013, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on its official website the continuing indefinite incarceration of the detainees amounts to arbitrary detention and is in clear breach of international law (, October 3, 2013). A total of 92 Guantanamo military prisoners joined in the hunger strike that began in February 2013, to protest indefinite incarceration and bad treatment (, October 3, 2013). Force feedings were carried out. Inmates were chained to chairs by Army guars, tubes were inserted through their noses by Navy medical workers (, April 24, 2013). The UN human rights office announced that the force feedings of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Detention facility is a breach of international law (, May 1, 2013). On October 3, 2013, the special rapporteur on torture noted indefinite incarceration, solitary confinement, force feeding are a breach of international law (, October 3, 2013). The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in May 2013 that the Guantanamo Bay camp is a typical case of violating human rights while countering terrorism (, October 3, 2013).

The U.S. denies the right to subsistence and development of people in developing countries. On October 29, 2013, the 68th session of the UN General Assembly adopted its twenty-second consecutive resolution calling for an end to the U.S. decades-long economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, with a recorded vote of 188 in favor to 2 (the U.S. and Israel) against with 3 abstentions. The General Assembly criticized the U.S. for violating the Cubans’ right to subsistence and development (, October 29, 2013). The U.S. is indifferent to the right of development of people in developing countries. In September 2013, the twenty-fourth session of the UN Human Rights Council adopted the resolution reaffirming the declaration on the right to development, with a recorded vote of 46 to 1 (the U.S.), with no abstentions (UN document A/68/53/Add.1).

Israel has warned the Lebanese government that it would be held responsible for any retaliation by Hezbollah after this past Monday’s airstrike by the Israeli Air Force that struck areas held by Hezbollah near the Lebanese-Syria border.  The Washington Post reported that “Hezbollah said it would ” choose the right time and place and the proper way to respond.” Israel is prepared to strike targets in Lebanon associated with Hezbollah strongholds. “An unspecified number of Hezbollah militants were killed in the airstrike, according to pan-Arab news channel Al Arabiya”  the Jerusalem Post said in their report which also stated Israel’s position on the matter:

Israel sent a warning to the Lebanese government in Beirut by way of UNIFIL that it would be held responsible for any attacks by Hezbollah that are launched from Lebanese soil, reported al-Akhbar News Agency on Friday

The Israeli Air Force recently launched strikes that hit Hezbollah targets on the border between Syria and Lebanon claiming that they were preventing missiles from reaching Hezbollah coming from Syria.  The Washington Post quoted Maj. Gen. Eyal Ben-Reuven on Monday’s actions undertaken by the Israeli government as he said “Israel has to act in order to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapons,” said retired Maj. Gen. Eyal Ben-Reuven, speaking from northern Israel. “Although I can’t confirm what happened . . . it is very clear that we are trying to prevent this.”

The Washington Post also quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comment on the military strike when he said “We will do all that is necessary to defend our citizens.” Hezbollah disagreed with the Lebanese media claiming that the strike targeted “a missile storage center and killed at least four Hezbollah fighters” Hezbollah said that the site “was only partially damaged” according to the report which also confirmed that a Lebanese intelligence official said that “the strike did target a shipment of missiles that had crossed the border from Syria.”

Tensions are rising on the border between Israel and Lebanon since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. Israel has been in preparation to counter Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since both groups are on their borders. “It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from the territory of Lebanon,” Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel radio “It is the duty of the Lebanese government to prevent any terrorist attack – whether a terrorist or missile attack, or any other kind – on the State of Israel,” the Jerusalem Post stated.  Israel violated another UN resolution as “Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil condemned the Israeli strikes saying that Israel was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, according to the Lebanese news outlet” the report said. The Brookings Institute issued a Report in 2011 called ‘The Next War: How another Conflict between Hizballah and Israel Could Look and How Both Sides Are Preparing for It’ stated how Israel and Lebanon have been in preparation for war:

Israel also has been busy implementing the lessons it learned from 2006 in preparation for the possibility of another conflict with Hizballah. The IDF has instituted greater logistical autonomy and sustainability in its combat units, and has strengthened the ability of its ground forces, navy, and air force to carry out joint operations. It also has trained extensively in large-scale ground operations, employing rapid maneuver techniques and using more robust and flexible equipment to reduce tactical vulnerability. The IDF created several urban warfare centers shortly after the 2006 war, the largest of which, the Urban Warfare Training Center (UWTC), simulates a variety of Lebanese villages, towns, and refugee camps.

The IDF has also introduced a number of new technologies that it is expected to use in any new conflict with Hizballah. These include a multi-tiered missile defense shield to intercept and destroy both Hizballah’s short-range and long-range weapons and Iran’s ballistic missiles. Also, all new tanks are now fitted with the Trophy defense system to protect against anti-armor projectiles. How these new systems cope in a war situation, and with Hizballah’s rocket barrages and anti-armor tactics remains to be seen.

The Brooking Institute also says that Hezbollah is prepared for a war scenario with Israel:

Since the end of the 2006 war, Hizballah has undergone the largest recruitment and training drive in its thirty-year history, swelling its ranks with dedicated cadres and reviving its former multi-sectarian reservist units. In terms of weapons procurement, Hizballah has focused on acquiring long-range rockets fitted with guidance systems to target a list of specific military and infrastructure sites in Israel. Hizballah also is believed to have received training on more advanced air defense systems that could pose an increased threat to low-flying Israeli air assets, such as helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles

Israel can use the “Dahiyah Doctrine” proposed in 2008 that calls for a bombing campaign against civilian infrastructure all across Lebanon which would, according to Israeli officials, deter Hezbollah and the Lebanese government from retaliating with a military attack on Israel since the civilian population would suffer enormously. The Brookings Institute’s report states the following on a possible war between Lebanon and Israel:

Ultimately, the likelihood of renewed war between Hizballah and Israel remains high in the mid- to long-term. It is critically important that as the Middle East convulses with the shockwaves engendered by the “Arab Spring,” the international community continue to pay close attention to the nascent conflict under preparation in Lebanon and Israel.

Given that an accidental trigger is the most likely cause of the next war between Hizballah and Israel, diplomatic efforts should focus on ways to prevent misunderstandings from developing into conflict.

With the United States and the European Union closely watching what happens in the Ukraine on Russia’s border, Prime Minister Netanyahu would possibly seize the opportunity to strike Israel’s perceived enemies in the region.  At any given moment, a new Middle East war could escalate on Israel’s borders.  Maybe, a diplomatic solution would come into play, but with a Western-funded conflict in Syria that continues to plague the Middle East and Washington calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, diplomacy at this stage is impossible.

Svoboda is a Neo-Nazi Party, Ukraine’s fourth biggest party holding 36 seats out of 450 in parliament.

They’re also part of the Alliance of European National Movements along with the BNP and Jobbik.

Svoboda is supported directly by Washington.

This is Svoboda and the “Right Sector”: the Neo-Nazi group which led the “protest movement” in Ukraine. These Neo-Nazis are armed gunmen.

The BBC headlines read: “We are putting our hopes in a new generation of politicians” amidst reports that an arrest warrant has been issued for the democratically  elected president.

Speaker of the Parliament Oleksandr Turchynov who issued the arrest warrant directed against President Viktor Yanukovych stated “We must move towards a national government by Tuesday”. That government, were it to be formed, would be integrated by Svoboda.


That coalition government has now been formed with Neo-Nazis of the Svoboda and Right Sector parties in control of the Armed Forces, National security, Justice and Education.

While Obama is accusing Russia of interventionism, the US and the EU are supportive of both the terrorist Neo-Nazi militia as well as the Svoboda party.  Meanwhile, the media is mum: discussion of EU-US support to Neo-Nazi political formation is a taboo.

The existence of a Neo-Nazi party working in tandem with Brown shirts militia is casually denied.  Those who dare raise the issue are accused of propagandizing

Who is Lying? Who is Telling the Truth?

Scroll down to meet the “new generation of politicians” supported and financed by the Obama administration. Six major portfolios are controlled by the Neo-Nazis.

Svoboda’s Oleh Tyahnybok doing their party salute when re-elected their leader.

John McCain with leader of the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party (right)

John McCain Oleh Tyahnybok

Ukraine protests - links to the far right? (Reuters)

John McCain  with leader of the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party Oleh Tyahnybok. McCain on a “Business Trip” to Kiev (Source Business Insider)

nuland in ukraine

US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland together Neo Nazi Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok (left)

“The far-right in Ukraine are acting as the vanguard of a protest movement that is being reported as pro-democracy.

The situation on the ground is not as simple as pro-EU and trade versus pro-Putin and Russian hegemony in the region.”

Neo-Nazi thugs at the forefront of Ukrainian protests

 Source: The Red Phoenix

 December 2013

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Russia Today. Ukrainian Neo-Nazi skinheads

Reunion of SS and UPA Nazi collaborators and their supporters in 2006 in the Ukraine. Civilisation Ukrainian-Style: Vandalising the Memorials to the Soldiers of the Anti-Hitler Coalition

ukraine protests

“Here protesters clash with riot police, one carries a homemade shield painted with a white power symbol and the numbers 14 and 88.

These numbers are common neo-Nazi slogans;with 14 standing for David Lane’s slogan (We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children) and 88 as code for HH, or Heil Hitler.”

ukraine flag burning

Patriots burn flags, while white power flags are flown throughout the crowd

Ukrainian Skinheads, The Times, 2006 Rally

  Neonazis in Kyiv are ready for the battle.

Neo-Nazi thugs at the forefront of Ukrainian protests

Activists in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv wearing uniforms of the former Ukrainian Insurgent Army (known as UPA, from its Ukrainian language initials) marched in a large scale event in the city center today.

The Svoboda leader also refers to the Nazi Stephan Bandera in the interview: “You must, as Stephan Bandera once said, “reach every Ukrainian” (see below to understand the significance of this statement).

Svoboda’s Oleh Tyahnybok at a ceremony in 2009, celebrating Stephan Bandera, Nazi ally during the WWII, whose organization massacred Jews and Poles, now rehabilitated in Ukraine as “a patriot” and “national hero”.

People holding UPA (horizontal red and black) and Svoboda (3 yellow fingers on blue) flags march through Kyiv to the honor of the Nazi ally, Bandera.

Svoboda march together with UPA and other nationalists to the memory of Nazi ally, Stepan Bandera, Kyiv 2011.

October 2011, torchlight procession in Kyiv, devoted to birthday of Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, and also to all OUN-UPA fighters. The march was organised by the ‘Svoboda’ Pan-Ukrainian Association.

Images compiled by Michel Chossudovsky

Ilavach is a beautiful offshore Island in southern Haiti. The Haiti residents have lived at peace there in this unspoiled paradise, eating the fresh fruits, vegetables off the land, fishing and crafting beautiful art pieces. Enjoying natures’ bounty, the sand, sky and sea. Selling to other local areas, without food, their extra food. In fact, up until recently Ilavach only had two policemen on the Island.

But the Obama crew is pushing for more privatization of Haiti assets and wealth.

So, last May 10, 2013 its puppet Martelly-Lamothe government UNILATERALLY, with no local participation, declared the entire island property of the state. Martelly, the US-picked Haiti president simply DECREED this. The people of Ilavach reject this plan to take their Island, their land to create a tourist haven for white folks and other foreigners. Categorically reject it and need our support. Haven’t the people of Haiti been traumatized and destroyed enough?

The government want the island for hotels, luxurious beachside condos, private airport and golf courses — instead of providing needed services for the people like better schools, clean running water, roads, and electricity.

Konbit peyizan Ilavach (KOPI), the organization put together by the people of Ilavach to secure their interests say the taking of their lands is illegal and the development is not intended to benefit the island residents but foreigners. One resident says he’d rather continue to eat yams, fresh fish, fruits, vegetables off his own ancestral land than have to get a wage job on the Island to service Northern tourists. Haitians took down slavery in 1804 not to return to it in 2014.

The Ilavach folks have no local representation in the puppet government of US occupied Haiti. There has been no local elections, no parliamentary elections in Haiti since the US puppet, Michel Martelly, took office with only 17% of the population voting. The Martelly-Lamothe government, instead of organizing required elections, has enjoyed complete control by constantly postponing local and national elections. Two thirds of the parliament’s mandates are over. There was no mayoral elections as provided for in the Constitution. Dictator Martelly conveniently CHOSE local folks who will rubber stamp his decrees.

Martelly created the local position – Ajan Egzekitif Enterimè or Interim EXECUTIVE agent. The name says it all. In Ilavach the person chosen by Martelly’s government for this position is someone who previously ran for local office that residents say only got 100 votes. “He would not have been elected to represent the people of Ilavach if the people were allowed to vote” one resident said in a radio interview. But it is this man who is selling out the people of Ilavach. Pointing them out for intimidation, imprisonment and even death, says the residents, by Martelly-Lamothe government forces.

As I understand it, Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin, the Minister of Tourism arrived on the Island to talk to the agitated residents. She came without the plan of development that the people asked to see and promised to return with the plan the government said would benefit the people. But then released a youtube video of the government vision for Ilavach. On that same day when the Haiti plan for Ilavach was released on youtube, 100 BIM soldiers – a special Haiti police squad, trained by the occupiers and created to protect foreigners – tourist- in particular, arrived on the Island. (Motorized Intervention Brigade – BMI)

Residents report that these non-local forces have been terrorizing the protestors, going to the school to intimidate their children, arresting the KOPI members, beating up the demonstrators, firing at the unarmed people. No international media is reporting.

HLLN has sent out an urgent action alert. The residents of Ilavach say Radyo VKM has been the only radio station to report on their desperate plight. Vwa Klodi Mizo on Radyo VKM in Southern Haiti has a wealth of information on their site and interviews with updated information (Go to

We’re getting more Haiti radio station to report. AlterPresse, Lakou New York, Hugues Girard, Dady Chery, the Haitian Blogger and Elsie News are writing and posting about this. There may be more we’re not aware of. But we’re asking everyone, everyone to tell this story. Help stop the coming massacre of innocent people. This attempt to make landowning Haitians landless and without food sovereignty. Help stop this big business terror in Haiti.

The Ezili Network is asking Haitians in the Diaspora to call their families in Southern Haiti and Port au Prince, don’t let the resident of Ilavach face the wrath and unbridled greed of the rabid elites alone. Tell their story. reach out to the media, circulate their words, the voices of the people of Ilavache. ( Stand in solidarity with them especially during the days of carnival – this coming Sunday, March 2nd to Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Do not let the fascist US puppet government take the lands of the poor and give it to foreigners. This oppression and coming bloodbath must be stopped. Already the heretofore peaceful resident are being called “bandits.” The government has arrested Carl Oza, Ayizan Silien and others including KOPI vice president, Jean Maltunès Lamy. (See, “Nòt pwotestasyon plizyè òganizasyon kont arestasyon ak anprizònman jean Matulnès Lamy”-

Dady Chery transcribed the following statement, made by the president of KOPI in an interview with Vwa Klodi Mizo on RadyovKM:

“KOPI President Marc Lainé Donald (Jinal) said that KOPI still wants a recall of the May 10, 2013 decree that declared the entire island a zone of public utility. According to Jinal: “This is a lousy decree. This project reflects a macabre plan, a rat trap, a collective suicide, that aims to drive all the residents from the island. It is a cultural genocide that puts everyone in the island’s storm and dispossesses people of their lands. No one has the right to build on the island any more. If Ile à Vache is a hidden treasure, its people should enjoy it and get integrated into the proposed developments. We are craftsmen who have worked to beautify this corner of paradise that is so coveted by Lamothe’s administration.”

Listen to Jinal’s interview (in Kreyòl) with Radyo VKM below:

(For more detailed information, go to -
1.- (Kreyòl);

2. – Emisyon Goute Sel 25 Fevriye Radio Vwa Klodi Mizo Aux Cayes, | Ileavache

3. – Share and circulate these English videos to give voice to the people of Ile-a-Vache and;

4. Dady Chery’s: Haiti’s Peasants Fight Land Grab of Offshore Islands for Ecotourism

This article was first published by WhoWhatWhy.

At least on the surface, the U.S. and Mexico scored a major PR victory Saturday with the arrest of the  most powerful drug kingpin in the world, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. The long-time boss of Mexico’s notorious Sinaloa cartel, the biggest supplier of illegal drugs to the United States, is now in custody. The question is, why now?

After all, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has had El Chapo in its sights almost nonstop. They knew his whereabouts on any given day since at least mid-2010, as WhoWhatWhy previously reported.

More curious is evidence that, for years, the DEA has been in direct contact with Sinaloa leadership through an intermediary, choosing not to arrest the kingpin in exchange for intelligence on rival cartels.

Both the U.S. and Mexico have at times been accused of strategically favoring Chapo’s Sinaloa over other cartels, such as the paramilitary “Los Zetas”—a charge both countries deny.

The arrest of a top Sinaloa leader two years ago added fuel to the fire. Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, Chapo’s logistics coordinator, is facing federal drug charges in Chicago and alleges that, as part of a “divide and conquer” strategy against the cartels, the United States helped arm the cartel through Operation Fast and Furious. That operation, run out of Arizona by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), allowed more than two thousand AK-47 style rifles and even a few 50-caliber guns to slip across the border and right into Sinaloa territory.

The official picture of the drug war has always been a clean one, depicting the authorities and the cartels as separate foes. But Zambada-Niebla’s claims paint a picture of a more tangled relationship. Nevertheless, if the U.S., in effect, protected Guzmán just as police treat informants, things have clearly changed.

Did Chapo finally become a liability for the authorities? Was it time for this chess piece to be removed from the board?

The mainstream media have created an image of Chapo as elusive, a “narcoterrorist” the U.S. security apparatus doesn’t much understand. “So hidden was he that there was uncertainty what he looked like, but American officials believe they have the right man,” the New York Times initiallyreported, before scrubbing that sentence in follow-up stories.

Even this weekend, The Associated Press, which broke the story of Chapo’s arrest, tweeted (in Spanish) that El Chapo is “the Osama bin Laden of Mexico.” That tweet, too, was deleted, though the AP’s bin Laden association stays afloat elsewhere.

But Chapo’s image as “elusive” appears inconsistent with the facts, and suggests that “perception management” may be at work, as authorities spin reports with the image of Chapo they want to create.

Regardless of what happens next—and why he was arrested now—the underbelly of U.S. efforts in the so-called “drug war” is growing more exposed.

There are still many questions, but one thing is clear: stopping El Chapo won’t significantly slow down the flow of illegal narcotics across the border.

Keep a critical eye on the narco coverage in the coming days.

Haiti: Anatomy of a Coup D’Etat

February 28th, 2014 by Michael Welch

Haiti: Commemoration of February 29, 2004 Coup d’Etat

Please read and sign the Letter at

Haiti’s most prominent human rights defender, Attorney Mario Joseph speaks in Ottawa

Friday, Feb. 28, 7 pm, 233 Gilmour St., one block west of Elgin.


In many ways it was much more successful, at least in the short term, than previous imperial triumphs in Iraq (2003), Panama (1989), Grenada (1983), Chile (1973), the Congo (1960), Guatemala (1954), or Iran (1953)…Not only did the coup of 2004 topple one of the most popular governments in Latin America but it managed to topple it in a manner that wasn’t widely criticized or even recognized as a coup at all.” [1]

-Professor Peter Hallward, author of Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment [1]


“… 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.”

-Former Conservative MP Stockwell Day, March 10, 2004 [2]


I’ve heard nothing but criticism of President Aristide from every segment and sector of society. So if you say to me, “Was it an American conspiracy that got rid of Aristide?” I don’t buy that. Sorry, I’m not there.

-Former Canadian Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae in conversation with this writer November 12, 2010.




Length (59:37)
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In the early hours February 29, 2004, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was escorted from his home by US troops, led onto a plane and flown out of his country to the Central African Republic.

Following the removal of Aristide and the installment of the post-coup ‘interim’ government of Prime Minister Gérard Latortue, a human rights disaster ensued.

The Lancet Medical Journal records that in the 22 months following the departure of Aristide there were an estimated 8000 murders in the greater Port Au Prince area, with half of the identified perpetrators being government or foreign actors. About 35,000 sexual assaults of women were also indicated, with UN forces and anti-Aristide groups implicated in many of them. [3]

Haiti has since been subjected to a major earthquake and cholera outbreak, further weakening the major social indicators. Nevertheless, the events of ten years ago seem to have played a vital and important role in the current misery the people of this impoverished country must endure.

Canada played a critical role in these events. It was on January 31, and February 1 of 2003 when a historic meeting known as the Ottawa initiative on Haiti was held at the federal government’s conference centre on Meech Lake near Ottawa. This initiative apparently laid down the groundwork for the forced removal of President Aristide and the government that would replace him. [4]

As the anniversary of this endeavour arrives, a variety of activists are pushing for Canadian officials to apologize for the country’s role in facilitating a coup d’etat.

One is Jean Saint-Vil, a Haitian-born Ottawa resident and activist who helped found the Canada-Haiti Action Network. Another is Michel Chossudovsky, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Founder of the Centre for Research on Globalization. His article, US Sponsored Coup d’Etat. The Destabilization of Haiti, which was published within hours of the actual deposing of the coup, outlines the motivations of the major Western Powers in subjugating Haiti.

Saint-Vil and Chossudovsky appear on this week’s program to reflect on the Coup, its impacts, and what Canada must do to restore justice for Haiti.




Length (59:37)
Click to download the audio (MP3 format)


The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Fridays at 1pm CDT. The programme is also broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by theProgressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET



1) Peter Hallward, “Did He Jump or Was He Pushed? Aristide and the 2004 Coup in Haiti,” December 7, 2007;
2) Hansard 23, Parliament of Canada,Wednesday, March 10, 2004;

3) The Lancet, Volume 368, Issue 9538, Pages 864 – 873, 2 September 2006;

4) Jean Saint- Vil, April 2009, What is Canada Doing in Haiti?;;

A oposição apoiada pelos Estados Unidos se inspira nas manifestações anti-governamentais se desenrolando do outro lado do oceano Atlântico, na Ucraina. Como não conseguiram ganhar nenhuma eleição na Venezuela que lhes pudesse dar  um mandato popular pela parte da maioria da população no decorrer dos últimos anos, os líderes da oposição vieram a recorrer a todas as táticas das chamadas revoluções coloridas, e a uma estratégia de perturbação dentro do mesmo estilo que na Ucraina. O objetivo desses líderes da oposição na Venezuela é de galvanizar os manifestantes anti-governamentais, e criar uma crise política em Caracas. Os principais líderes da oposição trabalham para incitar os manifestantes a agirem a fim de derrubar o governo venezuelano.

Os líderes da oposição, e seus patrocinadores estrangeiros, se servem do pretexto da inquietude, de inegáveis taxas de criminalidade, da corrupção política, e dos problemas econômicos da Venezuela, como camuflagem para o que parece ser essencialmente uma tentativa de golpe de estado. As preocupações sócio-econômicas de um segmento da população são utilizadas para legitimar as ações de violência de rua com a intenção de derrubar o governo.

É irônico que muitos dos que se opõem ao governo venezuelano, em nome da democracia, da igualdade e da segurança, participaram antigamente em governos autocráticos e corruptos, antes da era de Chavez. Há aqui perda de memória e hipocrisia flagrante. Quando as mesmas oligarquias, que recrutam e financiam a oposição venezuelana, e que apoiam e incitam a manifestações antigovernamentais estavam no poder na Venezuela, a corrupção era rampante, as taxas de pobreza eram muito mais elevadas, assim também como a inflação. A Venezuela não era nem mesmo uma democracia funcional.

Apesar do mandato popular do partido no poder na Venezuela, o que inclue o ter ganho a maior parte das eleições municipais do país nas eleições de 2013,  a oposição, apoiada pelos Estados Unidos na Venezuela, quer se utilizar de “flashmobs” para derrubar o governo, e tomar o poder no país. Dos 337 presidentes das Câmaras Municipais eleitos em 2013 , a contagem final dava 256 postos de presidência da câmara ao partido no poder, e as suas coalisões de forças políticas pro governamentais. Isso se mostra uma vitória a altura de 76% do eleitorado nas municipalidades do país sulamericano, o que confirma que a maioria da população apoia o partido atualmente no poder na Venezuela, assim então como seus aliados políticos.

Apesar de suas falhas e deficiências o Partido Socialista Unido da Venezuela, e seus aliados políticos dispõem de um dos mandatos mais democráticos do mundo. Em termos de comparação, quanto a eleições justas, o governo de Caracas tem muito mais legalidade democrática do que governos de países como a Grã-Bretanha, o Canadá, a França e os Estados Unidos, que se auto-determinam como os campeões e modelos da democracia. Cada vez que questões constitucionais do país, ou outras importantes questões relatadas a estrutura política da Venezuela estiveram sendo consideradas,o governo constitucional deixou que o eleitorado tomasse suas decisões através de referenduns populares.

De 1999, de quando a era de Chavez começou em Venezuela, até 2014 houveram seis referendos relacionados a constituição do país, assim como as estruturas sindicais, e até mesmo uma moção da oposição para destituir o Presidente Hugo Chavez, através de um referendo revocatório, caso se mostrassem parcialidades no escrutínio eleitoral. Quatro eleições presidenciais, quatro eleições parlamentares para a Assembléia Nacioal, e quatro eleições regionais para os governos dos estados e as legislaturas da região também se realizaram. A eleição de Nicolas Maduro como presidente, em abril de 2013, poucos meses depois de Hugo Chavez ter ganho as eleições presidenciais, em outubro de 2012, veio  reafirmar o apoio, assim como a confiança que mais da metade da população tem para o governo. Ainda mais, não só houveram quatro eleições a nível municipal, mas os assistentes adjuntos também começaram a ser democraticamente eleitos através das urnas, em vez de serem nomeados; Eram os líderes da oposição, apoiados pelos Estados Unidos, os que preferiam nomear os líderes adjuntos municipais fora do processo eleitoral, em vez de deixar o povo decidir por si mesmos, através do voto.

A oposição venezuelana é antidemocrática

O que a oposição na Venezuela, apoiada pelos Estados Unidos, tem tentado fazer é pegar o poder fora do processo eleitoral. Eles não se importam com a democracia ou o que a maioria dos cidadãos venezuelanos desejem. Quando os principais líderes da oposição não conseguiram obter o apoio popular, ou ganhar nas urnas eleitorais, eles começaram a usar o engano e todas as opções possíveis para se apossar desse país sulamericano. Isso inclui o uso da força, a incitação a violência, as tentativas de golpe, as intensas campanhas de propaganda, e a contínua conivência fraudulenta com o governo dos Estados Unidos, assim como deliberadas flutuações de preços.

Os líderes das manifestações anti-governamentais de 2014, são os mesmos principais líderes da oposição que apoiaram, e colaboraram com o golpe de 2002, executado pos um pequeno círculo de oficiais das forças armadas, coordenado pela Embaixada dos Estados Unidos na Venezuela, e o embaixador dos mesmos, Charles Shapiro. Se bem que os Estados Unidos tenham negado qualquer implicação, o embaixador Shapiro foi rapidamente congratular os lideres do golpe e mesmo alegremente deixou-se fotografar com eles. Isso depois dos militares terem sequestrado o Presidente Chavez. Pelo acesso aos documentos do governo federal dos Estados Unidos, através da FOIA ( Freedom of Information Act, lei sobre a liberdade de informação, ndt ), foi posto fora de dúvidas que a CIA tinha até recebido os planos da conspiração do golpe cinco dias antes que a oposição venezuelana lançasse sua ilegal, e breve, conquista do poder.

Desde esse dia os principais líderes da oposição continuam a mentir desavergonhadamente.Paradoxicalmente eles também foram os maiores beneficiários de muitos dos mecanismos democráticos e de recursos políticos e jurídicos criados por Hugo Chavez como um meio de aumentar a participação democrática, e os canais de poder, para as pessoas e das formas de oposição democrática contra o governo. Os principais líderes da oposição utilizaram uma dessas vias de recursos contra o governo em 2004, em requerendo a destituição do Presidente Chavez, o que desenbocou num referendo nacional.

Todavia a direção da oposição se recusou a reconhecer os resultados eleitorais do referendo de 2004, referendo esse que eles mesmo tinham iniciado, para destituir Chavez através de anular os resultados dos votos, aludindo a uma parcialidade, e isso simplesmente porque os resultados não refletiam seus desejos.

Durante esse referendo de 2004, os principais dirigentes da oposição até tentaram manipular os eleitores venezuelanos e de criar uma crisa política através de uma gravação adulterada, ilegal, a fim de desacreditar o governo e acusar Chavez de fraude. O argumento deles era falacioso porque a gravação era uma paródia, que tinha circulado por meses precedendo a eleição. A direção da oposição a tinha usado  muito simplesmente como uma desculpa por acusar fraude, e deligitimizar o referendo no seu conjunto, assim como então o governo venezuelano.

Os membros dessa mesma oposição boicotaram as eleições parlamentares de 2005, depois de terem criado uma crise eleitoral antes das votações. O Conselho Eleitoral da Venezuela queria utilizar escáneres de impressão digital para assegurar o registro dos eleitores, mas a oposição venezuelana se recusou de participar se isso se realizasse. Uma das razões para usar os escáneres de impressão digital seria a de reduzir a fraude, ou as tentativas de fraude, durante as eleições. Depois que o Conselho Eleitoral Nacional renunciou a decisão de instalar os escáneres, os principais partidos da oposição, de qualquer maneira, boicotaram as eleições parlamentares de 2005, e continuaram a tentar deligitimizar o governo venezuelano.

Esses mesmos líderes da oposição tentaram utilizar a tecnologia em seus esforços para manipular a lei, para de um lado tomar o poder, e de outro conseguir semear discórdia entre o governo e seus aliados. Quando o Presidente Chavez ficou doente e depois veio a falecer, as forças principais da oposição tentaram de se servir de pretextos constitucionais, sob o Artigo 233 da Constituição venezuelana, para que o  presidente da Assembléia Nacional, Diosdalo Cabello assumisse a presidência, por interím. Eles tinham aqui a esperança de criar uma ruptura entre ele e o vicepresidente Maduro o que poderia dividir, e depois debilitar os Chavistas e o Partido Socialist Unido.

Depois que Nicolás Maduro ganhou as eleições presidenciais de abril de 2013, o seu rival na oposição, o governador Henrique Capriles Radonski, da Coalisão Unidade Popular, MUD, recusou, sem mais cerimônias, reconhecer os resultados eleitorais, e declarou fraude. Como apoio inicial dos Estados Unidos o governador Capriles recusou aceitar os resultados, mesmo depois de uma auditoria suplementar de mais da metade dos votos. Auditoria essa realizada por sua própria insistência. Capriles demanda então que todos os votos sejam recontados, o que foi concedido pelo Conselho Eleitoral Nacional. Entretanto, Capriles fez novos requerimentos que incluiam um pedido de auditoria completa do registro dos eleitores e, essencialmente, uma seguida de pista, uma repistagem, de todos os votos emitidos (e não sómente uma recontagem de votos). E mesmo quando o Conselho Eleitoral nacional, com muitas dificuldades tentou satisfazer seus crescentes requerimentos e verificou efetivamente que Maduro tinha ganho a eleição de maneira honesta, o governador Capriles recusou admitir derrota afirmando que a eleição tinha sido um erro. Até mesmo o governo dos Estados Unidos foi constrangido a retirar o apoio a ele.

Após essa derrota o governador Capriles incita seus seguidores a provocar violência de rua. Organizações baseadas nos Estados Unidos, como a  Human Rights Watch, HRW, ignoraram totalmente o papél que Capriles, e da oposição, nesse deslanchar de violência, mas não se esqueceram de pegar a oportunidade para criticar o governo venezuelano.

HRW tinha isso aqui a dizer a respeito da violência urbana que os líderes do MUD tinham deslanchado: “Sob a direção do Presidente Chavez e agora do Presidente Maduro, a acumulação do poder no ramo executivo, e a erosão das garantias sobre os direitos humanos, permitiram ao governo de intimidar, censurar, e de perseguir seus críticos.“ Nem uma vez as ações violentas do grupo principal da oposição, ou a corrupção dos seus líderes nos estados ou nos municípios que eles administravam, foram mencionadas pela HRW.




O governador Capriles e os dirigentes da oposição da Venezuela tem deliberadamente tentado instituir a violência e a perda de vidas humanas como tática para deslegitimizar o governo venezuelano, e justificar a estratégia da oposição, de trabalhar fora de qualquer quadro democrático. Não se consegue enfatizar suficientemente que seus objetivos são de semear o cáos político, e de perturbar a estabilidade política da Venezuela, e isso com o fim de criar um caminho ao poder que justifique suas ações fora dos limites democráticos e das eleições.

Os objetivos dos oligarcas venezuelanos, que controlam a oposição, não são de estabelecer uma sociedade justa, ou de terminar com a corrupção e o crime na Venezuela. Seus objetivos são de reafirmar e enraizar suas posições privilegiadas na sociedade venezuelana, e de desfazer as reformas que Hugo Chavez estabeleceu para ajudar os pobres da Venezuela. Eles querem que a lei proteja seus interesses, e não sirva nada se não o assegurar sua dominância. Através das maiores empresas particulares, das quais são donos, eles induziram as altas dos preços. Ainda mais, entre os inúmeros casos de crime organizado, muitos estão ligados aos próprios oligarcas da América Latina.

Interrogados sobre o legado de Chavez, muitos dos apoiantes dos principais partidos da oposição reconhecem que Chavez ajudou os pobres, mas insistem que Chavez “nada fez para o país” No que pode ser classificado abaixo de psicologia de classes –  “des privilèges et de la perception de l’attribution du droit par Paul Piff de l’Université de Californie à Berkeley  – o que se pode resumir aproximativamente como “Privilégios e Percepção de Direitos”.Haveria então relacionado a expressão “nunca fez nada para o país”, uma atitude que revelava uma psicologia da auto-atribuição do `direito´. Dentro dessa perspectiva, a motivação da oposição venezuelana, em que muitos dos seus membros, como indivíduos, são também individualistas, vê-se “o país” como eles mesmos, do qual estariam excluidos então os pobres. Consequentemente, reduzir a disparidade entre pobres e ricos, e melhorar a qualidade de vida dos cidadãos menos favorecidos da Venezuela, não diz nada para os apoiantes da oposição, e não figura nem mesmo, psicologicamente dizendo, como qualquer coisa favorável para uma melhora da sociedade venezuelana.

Os estudantes são pessoas que não devem ser idealizados

As imagens de ativistas estudantís tem sido uma característica central das manifestações anti-governamentais em Caracas. Valeria a pena de aqui citar a declaração do Conselho de Negócios do Hemisfério, COHA, de 14 de fevereiro de 2014, sobre as manifestações da oposição na Venezuela. A COHA declarou que considerava, “com uma grande inquietude, a violência perpetrada contra o governo democraticamente eleito e os civís da Venezuela, que tinham resultado, até 12 de fevereiro de 2014, em uma confirmação de três mortos, 61 feridos e 69 detenções.” A COHA também notou, na mesma declaração, que o derramamento de sangue em Caracas tinha começado “no final das marchas que, de maneira geral tinham decorrido pacíficamente, para comemorar o aniversário de 200 anos da Batalha da Vitória. Essa foi uma batalha na qual os estudantes tiveram um papél central, na vitória contra as forças da realeza, no curso da guerra para a independência na Venezuela.”

Os estudantes não deveriam ser usados como instrumento, ou vistos como defensores exclusivos das liberdades civís ou da democracia. Tais percepções confusas, aceitas sem nenhum exame real da situação relevante no caso, não tem fundamento concreto, são erradas e sem conxão com a relidade. Os grupos de estudantes podem muito bem representar diversos interesses de classe, ou outros, que contradigam claramente a legalidade e a justiça em suas sociedades e no mundo inteiro. A instrumentalização dos estudantes, e do movimentos estudantís, como defensores da justiça, não faz mais que dar um cheque em branco, e  crédito moral a esses grupos. Os próprios estudantes, assim como os movimentos estudantís, são sustentados pelos fundamentos de suas motivações. É necessário comprender as causas que eles defendem.

No Salvador, um país latinoamericano, comparável em muitos aspectos com a Venezuela, os estudantes da escola de medicina de universidades particulares, fazendo seu tempo de prática como internos, se recusaram a permitir que estudantes de medicina de uma escola do  El Salvador, fazendo seus termos de prática como internos em Cuba, recebessem os mesmos exames que eles. Eles argumentavam que os padrões médicos cubanos seriam menos elevados se comparados em pé de igualdade com os ensinamentos e custos das universidades e escolas de medicina de El Salvador. Demandavam então que os médicos formados em Cuba fizessem um ano suplementar de prática como internos.

Mesmo que o governo de El Salvador tenha respondido que os resultados dos examens deveriam atestar quem era qualificado e quem era desqualificado, os estudantes das escolas de medicina não cubana recorreram a manifestações e a táticas políticas pondo barricadas nas salas de exame e tentando perturbar o sistema de saúde de El Salvador. Isso em vez de deixar que as notas e avaliações profissionais falassem por elas mesmas. Esses médicos das escolas de medicina salvadorenhas, a maior parte deles sendo de universidades particulares, queriam eliminar seus concorrentes salvadorenhos, melhor treinados, impondo restrições suplementares aos seus homólogos instruidos em Cuba, obrigando-os a fazerem um extra ano de internato.

Esse protesto da escola de medicina em El Salvador era claramente um negócio de competição econômica e de interesses pessoais, não uma história de justiça, de imparcialidade, de profissionalismo, ou de padrões de conhecimento ou capacidade. Se fosse uma questão de estabelecer e comparar padrões, os médicos formados em Cuba lhes seriam superiores. Os estudantes das escolas de medicina forçaram, no final das contas, o governo salvadorenho a colocar restrições, ou condições suplementares, aos médicos cubanos, em vez de resolver a situação de uma maneira razoável por exemplo através de um exame universal, que todos os diplomados das escolas de medicina deveriam passar. Nenhuma semelhante tentativa lógica foi feita, o que só poderia significar que se serviram de pressões para se sobrepor aos meios mais lógicos e razoáveis de resolver o problema. Ainda mais, ressalta-se aqui que cada vez que o governo de El Salvador pediu aos médicos que fizessem trabalhos voluntários para ajudar nas iniciativas de saúde da comunidade, sempre foram os médicos educados em Cuba que se apresentaram aos serviços, não os salvadorenhos.

Mas voltando a Venezuela. É importante o se identificar a natureza do envolvimento estudantil nas manifestações anti-governamentais e de levar em conta que os estudantes estão, na realidade, divididos em um campo pró-governamental e um outro anti-governamental. É também igualmente necessário sublinhar que os dirigentes da oposição, e das manifestações anti-governamentais, se escondem atrás das imagens de ativistas estudantís para ganhar um apôio mais abrangente para seu objetivo de delegitimização do governo venezuelano. Como disse a COHA: “Conquanto alguns grupos de estudantes sairam em passeatas para celebrar o Dia do Estudante, as manifestações anti-governamentais tomaram a ocasião para protestar contra a escasses ocasional de certos produtos de base, a persistência do crime, e enfim, de exigir a libertação dos estudantes que tinham sido detidos de quando das precedentes demonstrações.”

Também é importante sublinhar que a facção de estudantes, atrás das quais se escondem os líderes da oposição, vem de maneira geral, de famílias privilegiadas que podem se dar ao luxo de enviar seus filhos a universidades particulares e institutos pós-secundários ou de educação superior. A percepção dos estudantes dessas faculdades, e outras grandes escolas particulares, podem ser radicalmente diferentes das de seus homólogos de universidades públicas sobre temas como a economia neoliberal,os privilégios, e a forma de governo. Se bem que seja necessário com um trabalho de sondagem e de pesquisa sobre a questão, os estudantes das instituições superiores particulares venezuelanas, e de outras partes socialmente polarizadas da América Latina poderão ser mais propensos a aceitar e apoiar golpes, a perceber e avaliar o emprego de militares para levar os grupos que apoiam ao poder, mesmo que isso signifique o derrubar de governos legítimos, assim como a distribuição desigual da riqueza. Esse tipo de opinião poderá estar psicológicamente condicionada pelo grupo social moldado pela propaganda, pelos companheiros, pelas famílias, e pelos meios de comunicação fornecidas ao seu meio social e ao estilo de vida das mesmas.

Construindo falsas histórias sobre as manifestações anti-governamentais e escondendo a violência

Uma falsa história sobre as manifestações anti-governamentais está sendo construida. Muitos dos manifestantes, tendo preocupações legítimas a respeito do crime e da inflação, foram induzidos ao erro pelos líderres das manifestações. Como mencionado acima, não se trata de negar que existam problemas de criminalidade e inflação na Venezuela, mais ainda uma vez, não será demais sublinhar que as motivações da oposição não se baseiam em queixas sócio-econômicas. Suas reclamações e reinvidicações servem sómente de pretexto para manipular os manifestantes.    

Além disso tem-se que se saber de saída que a oposição venezuelana é proprietária de quase todos os meios de comunicação na Venezuela. A oposição tem literalmente a mão sobre o controle da maior parte da informação, conquanto o governo não tem mais que a televisão pública, recebendo um apoio por parte das estações locais de rádio além de ser autorizado, por lei, a fazer com que todas as redes de comunicação na Venezuela transmitam mensagens públicas importantes, de quando necessário. Nesse contexto a direção da oposição utilizou seu controle sobre a mídia para mostrar uma falsa imagem dos acontecimentos e para deformar grossamente as imagens das manifestações anti-governamentais no espírito de suas bases eleitorais, e para esconder as desordens, e os atos de vandalismo que também se manifestam paralelamente as manifestações. O ministro da Comunicação e Informação, Delcy Rodriguez, comentou a esse respeito, afirmando que o governo iria exigir responsabilidade daqueles que fornecessem consciente e intencionalmente encobrimentos e dissimulações das violências urbanas através de falsas informações.



A oposição venezuelana mantém continuamente sua guerra de propaganda. As distorções das manifestações anti-governamentais actuais são sómente o seu capítulo mais recente.

A oposição já esteve envolvida em uma similar campanha de propaganda de quando lançou sua marcha frente ao Palácio Miraflores na sua tentativa de golpe contra o Presidente Chavez. Os líderes da oposição usaram a violência para pressionar, e quanto a sua instigação levou ao derrame de sangue, eles continuaram e se serviram de massacres para justificar então a derrubada forçada, e não democrática, do democraticamente eleito Hugo Chavez.

A direção da oposição está envolvida numa campanha desonesta. Imagens retocadas, e falsas informações, são usadas pelos apoiantes da oposição para apresentar o governo venezuelano como um regime autoritário, que utiliza violência brutal contra demonstrantes civís desarmados. Fotos envergonhantes de policiais argentinos, brasileiros, búlgaros, chilenos, egípcios, gregos e singapurenses foram postas em circulação, de maniera massiva pela oposição venezuelana, como se fossem acontecimentos na Venezuela, em fevereiro de 2014. Isso aqui inclui até mesmo um apoiante do governo ferido por um apoiante da oposição, assim como uma foto retocada de um vídeo pornográfico e homosexuel, onde a polícia força um cidadão a lhe fazer um fellacio, ou seja ao sexo oral, que foi posta em circulação pela atriz anti-Chavez, Amanda Gutierrez. Tem-se então também uma violação, supostamente feita por um grupo de polícias anti-motins, de um manifestante anti-governamental desarmado.

 Quem é Leopoldo Lopez Mendoza?

Também vale a pena o aqui falar a respeito dos atuaus líderes das manifestações anti-governamentais na Venezuela. Leopoldo Lopez Mendoza é um ex-empregado da Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA) e ex Presidente da Câmara de Chacao. Ele vem de uma das famílias mais ricas de Venezuela. A família de Lopez faz parte da oligarquia anti-Chavez que governou a Venezuela como se essa fosse uma propriedade particular deles.




O contexto familiar e a riqueza material da família dele não fazem parte de sua culpa, mas as ações pessoais dele, a fazem. Lopez pessoalmente não possui nenhuma qualificação como defensor da democracia. O seu passado diz mesmo o contrário. Ele apoiou abertamente a suspensão da democracia na Venezuela, e esteve envolvido ao apoio ao curto e efêmero governo golpista que se apossou do governo depois do golpe de 2002, em Caracas. Ele não só assinou o decreto de Carmona para dissolver todas as instituições democráticas do país, agradecendo e despedindo todos os oficiais do judiciário, assim como os dos ramos do executivo e legislativo do governo, mas  ele também foi uma das figuras chaves quando da incitação de manifestantes anti-governamentais, assim como da violência ocorrida na passeata frente ao Palácio Miraflores, violência essa a qual serviu de pretexto para que declarassem Chavez como ilegítimo.

Alguns anos mais tarde, em 2007, Lopez e Alejandro Pena Esclusa foram flagrados e gravados de quando abertamento urdindo intrigas e planos para criar uma crise política na Venezuela para dessa maneira criar instabilidade. Como Esclusa era muito tagarela e falava demais, Lopez se distanciou dele, pelo menos como co-conspirador. Lopez nunca disse nada, que tivesse sido gravado, a respeito da estratégia de destabilização, mas pelo que se pode ver pelas suas atividades entre 2002 e 2014 pode deduzir-se que ele delas se utilizou.

Lopez har além disso uma reputação de desonestidade e corrupção, reputação essa que ele afirma ser obra de Chavez. Mas os fatos de qualquer maneira falam por si mesmos. De quando Lopez trabalhava para a companhia nacional de petróleo da Venezuela, PDVSA, ele fez de maneira que a sua mãe, que também trabalhava para a PDVSA, desviasse pelo menos $160.000 dólares dos fundos da PDVSA, para benefício dele. Lopez declarou que ele não tinha feito nada prejudicial e que tinha simplesmente se servido desse dinheiro para criar a “Primero Justicia”, um grupo de oposição. A lei da Venezuela, entretanto, proibe claramente que donações sejam feitas pelo estado, ou por quaisquer de seus membros constituentes, aos seus empregados ou a servidores públicos. A lei venezuelana também proibe aos empregados das instituições do estado de liberarem donações diretamente a membros de suas famílias, assim também como a quaisquer organizações onde membros de suas famílias estejam envolvidos. Isso por causa dos evidentes  conflitos de interesse e dos riscos levantados por tais atos.

O novo governo venezuelano não tinha se apercebido, ou ficado sabendo, da maneira de como Lopez e sua mãe haviam desviado fundos públicos durante a era de irresponsabilidades, pré-Chavez. Isso então até que Lopez surgiu como objeto de um processo por corrupção e foi julgado como culpado de ter feito uso ilícito de fundos públicos, durante seu tempo como presidente da Câmara de Chacao. Lopez foi entretanto autorizado a continuar seu mandato como presidente da câmara até o final de seu termo, em 2008. Isso entretanto abaixo de intensa supervisão. Após disso ele se tornou ilegível a todas as funções públicas justamente até 2014 como consequência do veredicto de corrupção.

Quem perpetrou a violência em Caracas ? 

2014 chegou e agora Leopoldo Lopez está de volta a suas atividades de provocações. Aqui ainda mais uma vez tem que ser mencionado que afim de justificar o golpe de 2002  a direção da oposição venezuelana se assegurou que haveria sangue derramado e perdas de vidas humanas. Lopes e seus bandos se asseguraram de que haveria sangue e perdas de vidas humanas em colocando homens armados entre os manifestantes, os quais deveriam começar a atirar contra as forças de segurança. Depois de 19 pessoas terem sido assassinadas, os principais meios midiáticos, controlados pela oposição, elaboraram uma falsa história para vender o militar golpe de estado ao povo venezuelano, assim como a comunidade internacional como uma nobre reaçäo face a um governo que tinha perdido a sua legitimidade,  em matando seu próprio povo.

Nesse contexto é importante de se perguntar quem é que foi que perpetrou a violência em Caracas. A violência foi provocada por homens armados infiltrados no meio da oposição sustentada pelos Estados Unidos, e isso para justificar o golpe de 2002 através do derramamento de sangue. A mesma metodologia de provocação a violência foi utilizada uma vez mais em 2014. Provas de vídeo mostram que havia pelo menos um homem armado, incitando a violência durante as manifestações. As imagens de vídeo em Caracas demonstravam também que a brutalidade teve rédeas soltas de quando os segmentos das forças anti-governamentais claramente provocavam a violência e o cáos. Eles atacaram transeúntes inocentes e agentes dos serviços públicos, o que incluia veículos pertencendo a rede dos serviços públicos, assim também como seus passageiros. Essa é o mesmo tipo de bandos que atacaram as clínicas e os hospitais públicos em 2013, como meio de perturbar a vida quotidiana depois de Maduro ter sido eleito. Por sua parte, os apoiantes de Lopez atacaram funcionários e oficiais do governo com os longos e grossos batões de madeira usados nos jogos de baseball, isso além do uso  dos coquetéis Molotoves. Depois também fizeram todo o possível para provocar confrontações, com o claro objetivo de , como o descreveu Lopes ele mesmo, fazer o governo venezuelano entrar em colápso.

Os mesmos oligarcas que controlam a maior parte dos principais meios de comunicação em Venezuela abriram uma guerra econômica para paralizar seu próprio governo e seu próprio país, com o fim de conseguir suficiente apoio de cidadãos comuns para o seu pretendido golpe contra o governo constitucional. Mesmo que eles tentem apresentar Lopez como um elemento que age por conta própria, os oligarcas vêem o Presidente Maduro como um dirigente fraco, e tentam por sua vez usar a crise para obter concessões, sejam essas secretas ou públicas, assim como para amplificar as tensões internas do Partido Socialista Unido, com o fim de que esse se ponha a desmoronar.

Está se usando uma estratégia mixta de chicote e de incentivo na Venezuela.  Enquanto uma facção da oposição usa a força, a outra abre uma frente de negociações com o governo. Enquanto uma pressão vindo da rua está sendo aplicada por Lopes, Capriles começou a entrar em diálogo com Maduro. Nesse sentido as manifestações anti-governamentais na Venezuela, especialmente as desordens e as violências de rua, foram utilizadas pela oposição como uma ferramenta para obter ganhos políticos os quais a oposição nunca pode ganhar através de meios democráticos, no curso dos últimos anos. Além de demonizar o governo democraticamente eleito, a mesma estratégia acima apresentada foi usada nas manifestações anti-governamentais na Ucraina.

O desafio geoestratégico da República Bolivariana da Venezuela para os Estados Unidos

Os Estados Unidos tem um papél principal em apoiar tudo isso. Que näo se cometa nenhum erro a respeito. O governo dos Estados Unidos está muito envolvido nas manifestações anti-governamentais e nas desordens e violências na Venezuela, assim também como fazem o seu papél nas manifestações anti-governamentais tanto na Ucraina como na Síria. A Embaixada dos Estados Unidos visa-se constantemente em contacto e discussões, coordenando-se com a oposição, para a derrubada do governo em Caracas. Como no caso da Ucraina, o governo dos Estados Unidos tem apoiado a direção da oposição, assim como feito declarações públicas a seu favor. Os Estados Unidos também vem mentindo, anos a fio, referindo-se a Venezuela como uma “ditadura” ao mesmo tempo em que se refere a oposição como os “democratas excluidos da vida pública”. [aspas acrescentadas]

A Venezuela e as organizações que ela criou no hemisfério ocidental, são vistas como principais ameaças políticas, econômicas, e estratégicas por Washington. A Aliança Bolivariana para os Povos de Nossa América (ALBA) e a Comunidade dos Estados Latino Americanos e Caribenhos (CELAC) são vistas como uma ameaça ao domínio dos Estados Unidos assim como concorrentes a Organização dos Estados Americanos (OAS) e a não importe qual  outro US regional projeto econômico, tal como a Área de Livre Comércio das Américas (FTA/ALCA), para a América Latina e o Caribe. Uma mudança de regime em Caracas é um pré-requisito a um desmantelamento do Bloco Bolivariano, o qual se constitue da Venezuela, da Nicaragua, de Cuba, da Bolívia, do Equador e do Frente Nacional De Libertação Farabundo Marti (FMLN) me El Salvador, e de vários outros atores na América Latina.

Apesar da desinformação midiática e de toda a pressão econômica sobre a economia venezuelana, um grande número de venezuelanos continua a apoiar o governo e a votar para o Partido Socialista Unido, e seus aliados políticos. A maioria da população venezuelana apoia seu governo, graças as significantes melhoras que Chavez trouxe as suas vidas, em aumentando o nível da qualidade de vida para um grande número de venezuelanos. Que não se tenham ilusões. A República Bolivariana da Venezuela é um país profundamente polarizado e que tem ainda muitos problemas. Mas a Venezuela se tornou num lugar significativamente melhor de se viver durante a era de Chavez. Os autocratas venezuelanos do passado agora se disfarçam de democratas, com o objetivo de muito simplesmente retomar  seus velhos privilégios.

 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Artigo original em inglês :

Rise of the Anti-Government Flash Mobs: First Ukraine, Now Venezuela,  20 de Fevereiro de 2014.

Tradução Anna Malm 

In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

A new U.S. Geological Survey has concluded that pesticides can be found in, well, just about anything.

Roundup herbicide, Monsanto’s flagship weed killer, was present in 75 percent of air and rainfall test samples, according to the study, which focused on Mississippi’s highly fertile Delta agricultural region.

GreenMedInfo reports new research, soon to be published by Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal, discovered the traces over a 12-year span from 1995-2007.

In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Moreover, Roundup’s overuse has enabled weeds and insects to build an immunity to its harsh toxins.

To deal with the immunity issue, Monsanto’s solution has been to spray more and stronger pesticides to eliminate the problem.

The health effects of Roundup are also hard to ignore as research has linked exposure to the pesticide to Parkinson’s disease and various cancers.

For instance, children in Argentina, where Roundup is used in high concentrations, struggle with health problems, with 80 percent showing signs of the toxins in their bloodstreams.

However, Roundup isn’t the only widespread threat to public health. The U.S. Geological Survey, along with others, have identified additional pesticides in the air and water that become more toxic as they mix and come in contact with people.

Spraying Roundup may have short-term economic benefits for Monsanto, but the potential long-term risks could present significant challenges to people in affected regions of the country.

La nuova strategia di guerra della Nato

February 28th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Una Pinotti (Roberta Pinotti, del Partito democratico, ministro della difesa nel governo Renzi) raggiante di gioia, per la sua prima volta alla Nato (il sogno di una vita), ha partecipato alla riunione dei ministri della difesa svoltasi il 26-27 febbraio al quartier generale di Bruxelles.

Primo punto all’ordine del giorno l’Ucraina, con la quale –  sottolineano i ministri nella loro dichiarazione – la Nato ha una «distintiva partnership» nel cui quadro continua ad «assisterla per la realizzazione delle riforme». Prioritaria «la cooperazione militare» (grimaldello con cui la Nato è penetrata in Ucraina). I ministri «lodano le forze armate ucraine per non essere intervenute nella crisi politica» (lasciando così mano libera ai gruppi armati) e ribadiscono che per «la sicurezza euro-atlantica» è fondamentale una «Ucraina stabile» (ossia stabilmente sotto la Nato).

I ministri hanno quindi trattato il tema centrale della Connected Forces Initiative, la quale prevede una intensificazione dell’addestramento e delle esercitazioni che, unitamente all’uso di tecnologie militari sempre più avanzate, permetterà alla Nato di mantenere un’alta «prontezza operativa ed efficacia nel combattimento». Per verificare la preparazione, si svolgerà nel 2015 una delle maggiori esercitazioni Nato «dal vivo», con la partecipazione di forze terrestri, marittime e aeree di tutta l’Alleanza. La prima di una serie, che l’Italia si è offerta di ospitare.

Viene allo stesso tempo potenziata la «Forza di risposta della Nato» che, composta da unità terrestri, aeree e marittime fornite e rotazione dagli alleati, è pronta ad essere proiettata  in qualsiasi momento in qualsiasi teatro bellico.  Nell’addestramento dei suoi 13mila uomini, svolge un ruolo chiave il nuovo quartier generale delle Forze per le operazioni speciali che, situato in Belgio, è comandato dal vice-ammiraglio statunitense Sean Pybus dei Navy SEALs.

La preparazione di queste forze rientra nel nuovo concetto strategico adottato dall’Alleanza, sulla scia del riorientamento strategico statunitense. Per spiegarlo meglio è intervenuto a Bruxelles il segretario alla difesa Chuck Hagel, che ha da poco annunciato un futuro ridimensionamento delle forze terrestri Usa da 520mila e circa 450mila militari in servizio attivo. Non è un primo passo sulla via del disarmo, ma il risultato della nuova strategia, Gli Usa, ha spiegato Hagel, «non intendono  più essere coinvolti in grandi e prolungate operazioni di stabilità oltremare, sulla scala di quelle dell’Iraq e l’Afghanistan». È il nuovo modo di fare la guerra, condotta in modo coperto attraverso forze speciali infiltrate, droni armati, gruppi (anche esterni) finanziati e armati per destabilizzare il paese, che preparano il terreno all’attacco condotto da forze aeree e navali. La nuova strategia, messa a punto con la guerra di Libia, implica un maggiore coinvolgimento degli alleati.

In tale quadro il ministro Pinotti ha avuto l’onore di avere a Bruxelles un colloquio bilaterale col segretario Hagel che, si legge in un comunicato del Pentagono, «ha ringraziato la Pinotti per la sua leadership e per il forte contributo dell’Italia alla Nato, inclusa la missione Isaf». Hagel ha anche espresso il solenne «impegno di continuare a cercare modi per approfondire la relazione bilaterale con l’Italia». C’è da aspettarsi quindi ancora di più dalla «relazione bilaterale» con gli Usa, oltre agli F-35, al Muos di Niscemi, al potenziamento di Sigonella e delle altre basi Usa sul nostro territorio, all’invio di forze italiane nei vari teatri bellici agli ordini di fatto del Pentagono. Soprattutto ora che ministro della difesa è Roberta Pinotti, la cui «leadeship» ha contribuito a far salire l’Italia al decimo posto tra i paesi con le più alte spese militari del mondo: 70 milioni di euro al giorno, secondo il Sipri, mentre si annunciano nuovi tagli alla spesa p

from the redaction-by-random-number-generator dept

The government’s overclassification problem has turned its redaction efforts into a farce. When not deploying questionable exceptions to avoid returning responsive documents to FOIA requests, government agencies are cranking out amateurishly redacted pages that leave info exposed in one response and covered up in the next. No wonder they fear the “mosaic” approachto FOIA requests. If they’d just come up with some meaningful redaction guidelines, they could avoid this. Instead, things like the following bit of stupidity happen.

When outgoing director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee last July that the FBI was in the “initial stages” of developing guidelines for its drone program, a handful of privacy hawks in Congress perked up and requested more details. The FBI released correspondence with three members of Congress—Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)—in its latest bundle. Paul had already posted in full the FBI’s answers to questions about the scope and purpose of domestic UAV surveillance, but FBI FOIA officers still saw fit to sanitize them.

Here are the two versions of the same document, with the legislator’s clean copy up top and the needlessly redacted version sent to Muckrock below it.

The FBI can’t even keep track of what it’s already sent out in unredacted form, making a mockery of its own paranoiac “but for criminals/terrorism” tendencies. What makes this even more ridiculous is that the inverse happened just a couple of weeks ago, when Tom Coburn called out the DHS for producing drone documents to Congress that were more heavily redacted than the ones it supplied in response to an EFF FOIA request (which were also rather heavily redacted).

For 2010 alone, my staff has tallied at least 20 instances in which the publicly-released documents appear to contain legible passages which are redacted entirely or in large part from the documents DHS provided the Committee. In other words, DHS appears to have chosen to withhold information from Congress which the DOJ — and, we must assume, DHS — has determined was appropriate to share with the American public.

Why these agencies even bother redacting anything at this point is inexplicable. There’s obviously no rationale behind what gets released and what gets withheld. It’s apparently an arbitrary decision made by each individual employee tasked with handling responses to outside queries. The stated concerns about “security” are obviously a sham. The public already has the information they’re choosing to redact, which instantly nullifies any justifications given for the redactions.

If the redactions are essentially meaningless, than every redaction should be challenged. We can’t see what’s behind the black ink and whiteout, so we’re expected to assume the info is “sensitive.” But it obviously isn’t if it can be revealed elsewhere without the security of the nation collapsing. The truth appears to be that no one in charge of redacting documents has any real idea what the fuck they’re doing. That calls into question many of the efforts being made in the name of national security, something made even more depressing when you consider the exponential growth of that area of the government over the last 12 years.

Who watches the watchers? Well, we do. And what we’re seeing is a bumbling display of ineptitude, propelled by an outsized sense of paranoia — a bureaucratic farce where the right hand is completely unaware the left hand even exists, much less has any earthly idea what it’s up to.

The self-defense squads that raided Simferopol International Airport during the night have left the airport terminal, but are still patrolling the grounds outside. Airport security says the squads are helping to ensure safety.

UPDATE: ‘Self-defense squads’ partially withdraw from airport

Facts you need to know about Crimea and why it is in turmoil

Crimeans began protesting after the new self-proclaimed government in Kiev introduced a lawabolishing the use of other languages in official circumstances in Ukraine. More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.

The head of the Simferopol airport security service, Vladimir Perepelitsa, said that the people now patrolling the territory of the airport are calling themselves “self-defense squads” and their intention is to prevent possible turmoil.

We are constantly in touch with them,” Perepelitsa said, the Crimean information agency reported. “We protect the passengers inside the airport, and they do the same outside. If everything goes as peacefully as it does now, then they will stay here for as long as it takes to provide security.”

Maksim Pastukhov, a correspondent with RT’s documentary channel who is now at the airport, has also reported that it’s being patrolled by self-defense squads, adding that they in no way are hampering the airport from operating flights according to schedule.

It’s all quiet inside the airport,” he said. “There are much fewer armed people outside than there were in the morning.”

The people patrolling the territory of the airport did not mind being filmed. Only a few spoke to the journalists though. AP managed to interview one person, who said he was member of the People’s Union of Crimea.

“No to radicalism and fascism in Crimea,” the man who only gave his first name, Vladimir, said. “That’s our slogan. And we don’t want radicals either from other regions of Ukraine or from other countries to come to Crimea.”

According to eyewitnesses, in the middle of the night at least three KamAZ trucks without license plates drove to the airport with about 50 men.

At first the group cordoned off the airport’s domestic flights terminal, but then pushed forward.

An airport spokesman, however, rejected reports of a takeover. He said that about 50 armed men arrived at the airport to search for Ukrainian airborne troops. However, after finding out that there were no military personnel present on the tarmac, they apologized and left the territory, Igor Stratilati told Echo of Moscow radio.

Speaking later to the Dozhd (Rain) TV channel, Stratilati said those people weren’t from the Russian military. He added about 30 of them were still outside the airport.

Later reports appeared of Belbek Airport near Sevastopol being seized by a group of unidentified armed people.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet denied allegations that the Russian military were involved in any storming operations.

No units of the Black Sea Fleet were deployed in the area of Belbek [Airport], nor did they take any part in seizing it,” a statement from the fleet’s press service reads.

Crimean PM Sergey Aksyonov says he has situation at both the Simferopol and Sevastopol airports under control.

The situation is difficult, but it’s under control, so we urge everyone to stay calm,” Aksyonov told Life-News. “There’s no threat to anybody’s security. Negotiations are underway.

Armed men patrol at the airport in Simferopol, Crimea February 28, 2014. (Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili)

Armed men patrol at the airport in Simferopol, Crimea February 28, 2014. (Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili)

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea was made part of Ukraine only in 1954 by decree of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, himself an ethnic Ukrainian. The majority of those living in Crimea today (around 58 percent) are ethnic Russians.

Turmoil in Crimea began with the ouster of President Yanukovich, as most of the population in the autonomous region have been skeptical of the new Ukrainian government. Even more so, since the Ukrainian parliament voted to repeal a 2012 law which allowed predominantly Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine to use Russian in official business, education and some other areas.

Thousands of pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators clashed in front of the parliament building in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, on February 26, leaving two people dead and at least 30 injured.

The following day, groups of local ethnic Russians, so called ‘self-defense squads’ took control of and raised Russian flags over the buildings of the Crimean parliament and government in Simferopol. Crimean MPs eventually announced a decision to hold a referendum on the region’s future on May 25. The region’s parliament explained the referendum is about “improving the status of autonomy and expanding its powers.”

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich pledges to fight for Ukraine. He addressed a press conference in southern Russia, appearing in public for the first time since he fled Kiev amid bloody riots.

“No one has ousted me,” Yanukovich told reporters. “I had to leave Ukraine because of a direct threat to my life and the lives of my family.”

According to Yanukovich, “nationalist fascist-like fellows representing the absolute minority of Ukrainians” took over power in Ukraine.

He described the situation in Ukraine as “complete lawlessness,” “terror” and “chaos”, saying that the politicians, including MPs, have been threatened and are working under threats.

It has nothing to do with the unity government that was negotiated with the opposition, he said.

The violence and deaths in Ukraine are the “result of the irresponsible politics of the West, which has encouraged Maidan,” Yanukovich stressed.

US and other Western countries’ representatives “must take full responsibility” for the fact that the agreement between Yanukovich and the opposition leaders was not held, the ousted president stressed. Western powers’ “patronage” of Maidan makes them directly responsible for the situation in Ukraine, he claimed.

The current Ukrainian parliament is “not legitimate,” and the people in power are spreading the propaganda of violence, Yanukovich asserted.

When asked if he feels ashamed of his actions, Yanukovich replied that he feels ashamed and sorry for“not having been able to stabilize the situations and stop the mayhem” in Ukraine.

“I want to apologize to the Ukrainian people for what has happened in Ukraine and that I lacked strength to maintain stability.”

Yanukovich also apologized to the Ukrainian riot police, Berkut, for having to “suffer” while doing their duty of maintaining peace and order. Police officers had to stand their ground while rioters set them on fire with petrol bombs, he reminded.

Yanukovich stressed he had not given any order for police to shoot live fire until the rioters started using firearms, putting the officers’ lives under threat.

According to Yanukovich, the early Ukrainian elections announced for May 25 are “illegitimate” and he will not take part in them.

However, he said that he will “remain in politics.”

Crimea must remain a part of Ukraine while maintaining a broad autonomy, Yanukovich stressed.

He ruled out any possibility that he will ask Russia for military help to resolve the situation there.

Yanukovich said he understands the concerns of Crimeans, who want to “protect their homes and families” from “extremists.”

When asked why he chose to leave Ukraine for Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovich said that he has “an old friend there,” who can provide him with a “temporary safe haven.”

Yanukovich made it to Russia thanks to “patriotically-minded officers,” who helped to “save his life.” He has not met Russian President Vladimir Putin, but they have already talked over the phone.

Yanukovich received a lot of questions on Russia’s role and possible actions in the Ukrainian crisis.

While saying “it is not correct” to tell Moscow what to do, Yanukovich said he believes “Russia cannot abandon Ukraine to its fate and should use all possible means to prevent chaos and terror in its neighboring country.”

There remains, however, a chance for the country to change its course and not to slip into chaos, Yanukovich believes.

He said that he will return to Ukraine as soon as he receives “international safety guarantees.”

The ousted president refused to comment on Ukrainian parliament’s intention to try him in the International Criminal Court, saying that an independent investigation has to be carried out first.

However, he stressed that “the scenario of bloodshed… was not drafted in Ukraine.”

Yanukovich left Ukraine’s capital amid the worst surge of violence in the country’s post-Soviet history, which left dozens of people dead and hundreds injured. The new regime immediately capitalized on his absence from the capital, voting to strip Yanukovich of his powers and announcing early elections for May 25.

The Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) has voted in favor of trying Yanukovich at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for alleged “crimes against humanity during the recent peaceful protests.” A Kiev court on Friday issued an order for the ousted president’s arrest.

Under a program code-named “Optic Nerve,” the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), working in coordination with the American National Security Agency (NSA), has been collecting webcam images in bulk and saving them to agency databases.

According to documents obtained by the Guardian (“Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ”), GCHQ targeted 1.8 million webcam users in a single six-month period in 2008. Collection of images has been carried out indiscriminately, without regard to whether users were targets of an intelligence investigation.

The operations collected imagery from the webcams by saving screen shots every five minutes during live video chats. The GCHQ documents also mention possible surveillance efforts involving other web-based video technologies, including the Xbox 360 “Kinect” camera, and indicate that Optic Nerve was still active as of 2012.

Yahoo has responded with a statement condemning the surveillance operations, saying, “This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users’ piracy that is completely unacceptable, and we strongly call on the world’s government to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December.”

Despite Yahoo’s criticisms, the major telecommunications companies have been collaborating with the NSA’s surveillance operations for years. The PRISM surveillance program, for instance, has been systematically spying on millions of users of Skype, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and others since 2007. An NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden last year stated that PRISM relies on “assistance of communications providers in the US” and specifically lists AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk and Yahoo with the dates on which they “joined” PRISM.

Optic Nerve has also involved experimental efforts with facial-recognition technology. A GCHQ document cited by the Guardian shows that the agency has sought to develop the capability to search through ongoing webcam sessions for faces already included in the database.

The program collected information via GCHQ’s “Internet cable taps” operated by the agency’s TEMPORA program, through which the agency dips directly into the fiber-optic lines that carry vast quantities of data around the world.

As the Guardian noted in relation to the close collaboration of US intelligence with its British partner, “Optic Nerve was based on collecting information from GCHQ’s huge network of internet cable taps, which was then processed and fed into systems provided by the NSA. Webcam information was fed into NSA’s XKeyscore search tool, and NSA research was used to build the tool which identified Yahoo’s webcam traffic.”

The Guardian reported that the webcam material “included large quantity of sexually explicit images,” estimating the quantity of sexually explicit material at between 3 and 11 percent of the images collected. As the GCHQ document put it, “it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.”

These latest revelations further expose the contempt of the US and British governments for the democratic rights and privacy of the world’s population. Far from narrowly targeted operations directed against terrorists and criminals, these agencies are running mass data collection programs directed against the population as a whole. The state is seeking to accumulate as much information, in whatever form it can use, for the purpose of targeting political organizations and individuals.

These revelations come on the heels of reports that the spy agencies monitor the personal habits of targets as part of their human intelligence (HUMINT) efforts. The operations, revealed in a leaked GCHQ document, “The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations,” seek to discredit and disrupt groups deemed hostile to the state, through systematic blackmail and intimidation. The most intimate aspects of Internet users’ lives are being actively compiled by government units such as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), in preparation for political and psychological operations aimed at suppressing opposition to the ruling elite.

Also this week, the Justice Department sought permission from the FISA court for the NSA to retain telephone metadata on an indefinite basis. This data includes phone records for millions of Americans, showing when they placed calls, with whom they spoke, and for how long.

“The United States must ensure that all potentially relevant evidence is retained which includes the [business records] metadata obtained in bulk from certain telecommunications service providers pursuant to this court’s production orders,” said the Justice Department filing.

Current rules drawn up by the FISA court limit retention of metadata by the surveillance agency to five years. In its filing submitted Wednesday, the Justice Department asserted that data must be kept indefinitely to preserve evidence relevant to lawsuits brought against the government by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other civil liberties groups.

US, Europe Step Up Threats Against Russia Over Ukraine

February 28th, 2014 by Stefan Steinberg

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stepped up pressure on the Russian government after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday.

“We expect other nations to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and avoid provocative action,” Hagel declared. “That’s why I’m closely watching Russia’s military exercises along the Ukrainian border, which they just announced yesterday.”

Hagel’s warning comes a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry issued his own threat against Russia. “Any kind of military intervention that would violate the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine would be a huge, a grave mistake,” he told reporters in Washington. “The territorial integrity of Ukraine needs to be respected.”

Kerry and Hagel’s threats were echoed by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen before the NATO meeting: “The situation in Ukraine, especially in Crimea, fills us with great concern. The situation is very confusing and difficult, and it is now important that especially a breakup of Ukraine is prevented and the moderate forces will be strengthened in the country.”

US and European demands that other countries avoid “provocative action” are utterly hypocritical. It is the US and European powers, led by Germany, that have carried out a reckless and provocative policy, working with fascist groups to push Ukraine to the brink of civil war.

Their policy aims to break Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence and weaken Russia itself. The return to a new “cold war” between east and west, now referred to in numerous media commentaries, is the direct consequence of the reckless support given by US and European leaders in recent months to nationalist and fascist forces in western Ukraine and the country’s capital, Kiev.

In response to threats by far-right forces based in the west of Ukraine, which vowed to march into Crimea, pro-Russian militants occupied the regional parliament and government headquarters in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, on Wednesday night. A group of around 50 armed men seized the buildings and ran up the Russian flag.

Crimea has a predominantly Russian-speaking population and is home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Underscoring the danger of military conflagration, a former colonel of the Russian General Staff, Igor Korotchenko, wrote in the Russian online newspaper that “if illegal armed formations attempt to overthrow the local government in Crimea by force, a civil war will start and Russia couldn’t ignore it.”

As for the “moderate forces” in Ukraine referred to by the German Defence Minister, they are nowhere to be found in the new cabinet voted into office on Thursday by a large majority of the Ukrainian parliament. The new cabinet is reactionary to the core. All the key positions have been taken by either veterans of previous governments, fascists or the representatives of oligarchic interests. In an attempt to cloak the reactionary nature of the new regime, a number of government posts were awarded to figures active in the Independence Square protests.

As expected, the post of prime minister went to former banker Arseniy Yatseniuk, leader of the right-wing Fatherland party, founded by the oligarch and convicted embezzler Yulia Tymoschenko. Yatseniuk is a former head of the National Bank of Ukraine, foreign minister and speaker of the Ukrainian parliament.

Yatseniuk is also the chosen representative of Washington—which refers to him as “Yats”—as the infamous recording of the telephone conversation between the State Department’s top European official, Victoria Nuland and US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt revealed.

No less than three posts, including that of deputy prime minister, have been given to the fascist Svoboda party, whose militants played a decisive role in attacking security forces last week and ousting President Viktor Yanukovych.

Svoboda Party deputy Oleksandr Sych was appointed deputy prime minister. In his career as a parliamentary deputy, Sych sought to introduce legislation to ban all abortions, including pregnancies caused by rape. His contribution to Svoboda’s glorification of “Ukrainian family values” was to call upon women to avoid rape by not drinking alcohol and “controversial company.”

Two other Svoboda members have taken over the ecology and agriculture ministries. The new agriculture minister, Oleksandr Myrnyi, is, according to Forbes, in the top five of Svoboda’s highest earners, with an estimated income of Hr 17 million ($1.6 million) in 2012. His main business interests are concentrated in agriculture—a blatant conflict of interests with his new appointment.

Another Svoboda member, Oleh Makhnytsky, heads the strategically important general prosecutor’s office. Appointed a week ago, Makhnytsky issued an international arrest warrant this week for the ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, who is allegedly seeking asylum in Russia.

Another key post is to be occupied by Andriy Parubiy, who was a cofounder of the forerunner of Svoboda, the Social-National Party of Ukraine. Parubiy founded the organization in 1991 together with Oleh Tyahnybok, the current head of Svoboda. Parubiy, who led the right-wing militias that conducted the assaults on Yanukovych’s security forces, has now been appointed head of the National Security Council.

According to the Libération newspaper, Dmitri Yarosh, the leader of the pro-Nazi Right Sector group, is to be Parubiy’s deputy. This means that Svoboda and other ultra-rightists head key posts in the security apparatus and will be responsible for organizing the shock troops to repress future social unrest.

The key post of Finance Ministry in the new regime has been taken by Oleksandr Shlapak , a former deputy head of PrivatBank regarded as a guarantor of the interests of finance capital.

Other nominees share close links to various oligarchs. Volodymyr Groysman, the new deputy minister for regional policy, began his career in agribusiness and real estate. He was a member of the party of former President Viktor Yushchenko, and is now reportedly close to millionaire businessman and member of parliament Petro Poroshenko. The new energy minister, Yuri Prodan, previously worked in Kyivenergo, the capital’s energy monopoly supplier, and played a central role in the creation of the National Energy Market. Prodan has been described by the Ukrainian media as close to the Privat Group of billionaire Igor Kolomoisky.

The task of the new government is to implement the “extremely unpopular steps” that Prime Minister Yatsenyuk complained had not been carried out by previous governments. i.e., hikes in energy prices, the closure of large sections of heavy industry and massive social cuts.

The country faces a financial crisis and needs an estimated $35 billion in bailout loans to be able to pay its bills for the next two years. Nearly half of this sum, $15 billion, is owed to western banks.

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said Thursday that the IMF would send a team to Ukraine to assess the economic situation and spell out to the newly installed regime “the policy reforms that could form the basis of a Fund-supported program.” In previous dealings with the Yanukovych government, the IMF already dictated such “reforms,” i.e., extreme austerity measures, including drastic cuts in wages and pensions and an end to gas subsidies, which would send consumer prices soaring.

Since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, the European Union with US support has installed unelected governments in Greece and Italy to implement austerity and remunerate western banks. Now, for the first time, the same imperialist alliance mobilized extreme nationalist and fascist forces to topple an elected government and install a new pro-western regime.

Ukraine was a Playbook CIA Coup d’état

February 28th, 2014 by Francis A. Boyle

The very first act of the western-backed insurrectionists which represent a small percentage of the population and have managed to overthrow the government was to attempt rob Russian speakers in Ukraine of their language.

This denial by the Bandera nazi [sic] extremists and the illegitimate power in Kiev of a basic human rights for a huge percentage of the population runs contrary to international law and the European Convention of Human Rights to which Ukraine is a signatory.

According to the United Nations General Assembly Declaration of Principles of International Law and under the terms of the United Nations Charter, effectively the Russia population have a right to secede from Ukraine. In an interview with the Voice of Russia Harvard Professor Francis Boyle says that there is no real government in Ukraine right now, and called it a gang of neo-Nazis, fascists and rightist thugs. There is clear cut discrimination against Russians in Ukraine with public demands in Kiev that Russians be killed. According to Professor Boyle what happened in Kiev was a playbook coup d’état by the CIA. Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, working with the US Ambassador, were instrumental in carrying out the coup d’état, as it has been proven they were working with “the brown shirts”: Svoboda, the right sector, the Bandera Nazis and skinheads .Ukraine was a playbook CIA coup d'état – Prof Francis Boyle

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 in Champaign in Illinois.

Robles: Hello, sir.

Boyle: Hi, John, how are you doing? My best to your listening audience.

Robles: And thanks for agreeing to speak with me. I’m doing well by the way. You’ve made several comments and you‘ve written several very hard-hitting pieces regarding the rights of people to secede. In this case we are speaking about Ukraine and the Russian speaking population which is a very large percentage of the population in that country. Can you give us some details on that and your views on what is going on in Ukraine right now, please?

Boyle: Right, John. Well,let me just look at it to start out as a legal matter. What you had here, as you know, was this rump Ukrainian Parliament voted to terminate Russian as one of the official languages of Ukraine and you have, I would say, maybe a 30% or more of the population are native Russian speakers.

Now the problem with this is that it does provide, or at least start to provide, grounds for succession under international law. I’m not saying here I’m asking for succession, although I do note there are now people in the Russian speaking areas of Ukraine especially in Crimea and Sevastopol asking for succession.

So the test for succession, and let me read it here for you, taken from the United Nations General Assembly Declaration of Principles of International Law under the terms of the United Nation’s Charter, and it’s set forth in a paragraph which I sent to you, effectively what it says is that if a government, and here in Ukraine right now there is no government, there is just a gang of neo-Nazis, fascists, rightist thugs and whatever in charge of Kiev

But if a government does not quote: “conduct themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and possess a government representing the whole people, belonging to the territory without distinction as to race, creed or color”, then that provides grounds for succession.

And here you have the Russians being stripped of their language, so it’s clear cut discrimination here against Russians. You are hearing public demands in Kiev that Russians be killed, and things of this nature.

So I’m not saying that I’m supporting succession, but this is very dangerous what the rabble in charge of Kiev have done here in stripping the Russian speakers of their native language, and as we know the capability to speak a language goes to the very heart of any people, no matter who they are.

And this is a serious issue between the First and Second World War, when you had collapse of all these empires and the arbitrary creation of nation states, and speakers of one language put in, as a minority in another state.

So it is a very dangerous step they have taken here. As you know they have also outlawed the Communist Party – that is serious. I don’t think legally it is as serious as stripping Russian speakers of their language, in dealing with the state. But even there, Ukraine is a party to the European Convention of Human Rights.

There is a right of association, and political association, and to establish political parties. I’m not a Communist myself, I’m a political independent, but they certainly have a right to have a Communist Party if they want to, and today we just saw that the leader of the Communist Party in Kiev – they burned his home down. So, we have a chance that Russians and Communists and Jews should be killed over there. So it’s a very bad sign for maintaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Now so far, I think Foreign Minister Lavrov has taken the correct position, that is: ‘we are not going to interfere in the domestic affairs of Ukraine’, which is correct under international law. But he said ‘others should not do the same either’, but unfortunately, as we know, the United States and Germany, at a minimum, are over there interfering in the domestic affairs of Ukraine.

So, it is a very difficult, dangerous situation. I think the thugs ruling there in Kiev right now are playing with fire.

Robles: Now you mentioned some things that are very alarming, and they have been alarming for many Russian officials. I’d like your comment, if you could, first off: Russia’s Human Rights Ombudsman, he said that this was a violation. Let me pull up the quote here, he said: ‘the attack on the Russian language in Ukraine is a blatant violation of the rights of the ethnic minority;it is against the principal of the rule of law’. That was stated by Konstantin Dolgov today. The figures that we have …

Boyle: He is correct, he is certainly correct, and I’m suggesting it’s far more serious than that – in that it provides a legal basis for the Russian speakers in the Russian areas of Ukraine to declare succession,if that’s what they want to do.

So it’s even far more serious than your minister there is pointing out, there was far more grave, serious violation of their basic human rights. Yes, but I agree with what he is said, yes.

Just a reminder you are listening to an interview with Professor Francis Boyle.

Robles: You mentioned death threats against Russians and Jews. Can you tell us about a little bit about those? And how is it possible that the West is continuing to support these people, these thugs that have basically just occupied all the houses of government?

Boyle: But, the United States’ government has been overthrowing democratically elected governments since the Mosaddegh Government in Iran and putting the Shah of Iran in power – that was Kermit Roosevelt – and even as he publicly bragged about it in his book Countercoup, and even have a manual in circulation there at the CIA based on this, on how you overthrow governments.

So it seems to me this was a playbook coup d’état by the CIA. Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, working with the US Ambassador, we now have the tape on that. So this is a classic coup d’état, and working with what I can call ‘the brown shirts’ over there: Svoboda, the right sector, the Bandera people, skinheads– they list these types of people they want.

So that is people that they were working with to overthrow ademocratically elected government, and basically shred the Constitution. They are paying no attention at all to any constitutional arrangement there. And as we know, as of today, Tuesday evening my time, they still don’t have a government in Kiev, they can’t agree on one.

So, it does appear the Americans favor putting Tymoshenko back in power, because you had that very famous picture of her with Ambassador Pyatt, that was clearly a symbol that she is the American favorite. But I think the neo-Nazis, and the fascists, right sector don’t even want her.

So I don’t know how all this is going to shake out. And in the meantime, it is extremely dangerous in Kiev and the non-Russian speaking parts for Communists, Jews,Russian speakers. We will have to see what happens, I really don’t know.

Robles: Couple of other things here now. Klitschko said, earlier today Moscow time, that he wanted to run for president. Then we have Yarosh, he is the leader of the nationalists who have been training in western Ukraine for about a decade to carry all this out – he wants to be the president – he wants to lead the country. And it would be something unbelievable in modern times, something like a Nazi regime is what he wants to bring about. People call him “The Führer”.

Also, Jewish leaders have called for Jews to leave Kiev, and possibly leave the country. Was the US aware of all this? I find that hard to believe they were that ignorant what they were unleashing.

Boyle: I’m sure they knew exactly what they were doing. Look, the United States government works with anyone they need to work with, to accomplish their objectives, as you see in Syria-they are working with Muslim extremist terrorist groups to overthrow the Assad government in Syria – I’m not saying he is democratically elected.

They did the same thing in Libya to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi – I’m not saying he was democratically elected. So it doesn’t really matter, whatever gets the job done- they will do.

So in Ukraine they decided to work with the neo-Nazis, fascists, right sector, Bandera people, those who trace their origins back to the German invasion of Ukraine and exterminating millions of Ukrainians, including maybe 2 million Jews, we don’t even know the exact number.

Nuland made it clear in that conversation that she does not support Klitschko, and she called him Klits, he is basically a creation of the German government, and Yatsenyuk, he is in there, and Svoboda- they don’t support them, they are too far right.

But they made it clear they support Tymoshenko. She is their errand girl, and they want her in power. They figure she is the best ‘face’, but as Nuland said: she should be talking to Klitschko and the head of Svoboda there, was it four times a week? Or something like that.

Robles: Yeah, four times a week she said.

Boyle: So, that is what the Americans want. Whether they’ll get it, I don’t know.

Robles: There’s one problem – that is not what the Ukrainian people want. I mean, when Tymoshenko was rolled out, most of the people were not that happy to see her.

So, I mean, sure that’s somebody the US wants, but how they are going to put her in power if the Ukrainian people don’t want her?

Boyle: Well I agree with you, but this is a coup d’état. I mean, the Iranian people didnot want the Shah of Iran either, but that is what they got. The Americans working with the rabble over there, and the brown shirts in Iran, they, against the wishes of the Iranian people, put the Shah in power and he stayed there from 1953 until 1979.

So if it doesn’t appear she is going to work, the Americans willplay a little around and find someone else who does work, and is more acceptable. I can’t say, John.

But the Americans want their person in power, in Kiev, and if it is not Tymoshenko, then maybe they will go with Klitschko first -who knows? If that doesn’t work out they could even go with Svoboda, and try to rehabilitate Svoboda. I can’t say. I’m still trying to figure this out now.

Robles: Yeah, we are talking about this matter-of-factly, like we are discussing like the choosing of a team, but what we are talking about here is completely illegal under international law, isn’t it? You can’t install governments at will no matter who you are.

Boyle: Well, that is correct. It is clearlyillegal, we discussed this before – it’s condemned by the World Court and the Nicaragua decision,when the Reagan Administration tried to overthrow theSandinistagovernment in Nicaragua, and they were not democratically elected at all, but the United States government has been doing this starting with the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran, then Guatemala, and moving on from there, I mean, I can’t recall the exact number of governments they’ve overthrown.

Robles: Over 70.

Boyle: Yeah, Bill Blum has a book called ‘Killing Hope’.

Robles: Yeah, I read it, I know Bill, I know Bill. I think 77 he said.

Boyle: He has got the exact number and the circumstances – all in his book “Killing Hope”. And Bill used to work for the State Department, and resigned in protest over the Vietnam War. He is a very solid person.

Robles: Yeah, I’ve interviewed him several times.Professor Boyle, we are out of time. I really appreciate it, if maybe if you could in less in a minute if you could give us your prediction and your advice for all the players in this.

Boyle: Oh, John, I mean, we did discuss this the last time, and at this point I really don’t know what to say. All I can say is that Foreign Minister Lavrov has so far – I’ve commended him before – I think he is an outstanding diplomat and representative of the Russian Federation and far superior to Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of State Kerry, but he has taken the principle position under international law, that Russia is not going to interfere in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. And that is a correct position to take.

Now, beyond that, I would not know how to advise the Russian government right now what to do. I think president Putin and his National Security Council, as you know they met last week, are trying to sort all this out. You know, it could be, President Putin might decide to try to stabilize the situation in Ukraine. He might decide that he doesn’t really want a civil war in Ukraine right on the borders with Russia.

So those, very well, might be his calculations, and I certainly would not disagree with those conclusions if that was what he and his National Security Council were to decide. I think if there were to be a civil war in Ukraine it would make what happened in Yugoslavia child’s play. So, that might be the way President Putin is seeing things now as we speak.

 John Robles with Professor Francis Boyle. Professor in International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Illinois.

Newly-released Snowden documents show that the British and American spy agencies gathered and stored many millions of images from Yahoo web cam streams … and that a large percentage are naked or pornographic images.

Given that the spy agencies use porn to discredit activists – and apparently to blackmail critics -  it is worth asking whether that was the larger purpose for this spy program.

Indeed, Glenn Greenwald – who has seen all of the Snowden documents – tweets:

Regarding GCHQ/NSA collection of sex chat photos, remember they plot to use online sex activity to harm reputations ….

The Associated Press notes:

The stockpiling of sexually explicit images of ordinary people had uncomfortable echoes of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” where the authorities — operating under the aegis of “Big Brother” — fit homes with cameras to monitor the intimate details of people’s home lives.


The collection of nude photographs also raise questions about potential for blackmail. America’s National Security Agency has already acknowledged that half a dozen analysts have been caught trawling databases for inappropriate material on partners or love interests. Other leaked documents have revealed how U.S. and British intelligence discussed leaking embarrassing material online to blacken the reputations of their targets.

And Bill Binney – the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, a 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees, an expert on spying by the Soviets, interviewed by virtually all of the mainstream media, including CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, PBS and many others – told Washington’s Blog:

This is just one of the ways to make controlling people possible.  Standard KGB/Stasi tactics.

In addition, top security experts have pointed out that spy agencies’ mass surveillance leaves such information vulnerable to hackers and other malicious actors.

So even if those nude pictures aren’t used for smear campaigns or blackmail (or drooled over) by GCHQ or NSA personnel, others might still abuse them.

There’s good propaganda and bad propaganda. Bad propaganda is generally crude, amateurish Judy Miller “mobile weapons lab-type” nonsense that figures that people are so stupid they’ll believe anything that appears in “the paper of record.” Good propaganda, on the other hand, uses factual, sometimes documented material in a coordinated campaign with the other major media to cobble-together a narrative that is credible, but false.

The so called Fed’s transcripts, which were released last week, fall into the latter category. The transcripts (1,865 pages) reveal the details of 14 emergency meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in 2008, when the financial crisis was at its peak and the Fed braintrust was deliberating on how best to prevent a full-blown meltdown. But while the conversations between the members are accurately recorded, they don’t tell the gist of the story or provide the context that’s needed to grasp the bigger picture. Instead, they’re used to portray the members of the Fed as affable, well-meaning bunglers who did the best they could in ‘very trying circumstances’. While this is effective propaganda, it’s basically a lie, mainly because it diverts attention from the Fed’s role in crashing the financial system, preventing the remedies that were needed from being implemented (nationalizing the giant Wall Street banks), and coercing Congress into approving gigantic, economy-killing bailouts which shifted trillions of dollars to insolvent financial institutions that should have been euthanized.

What I’m saying is that the Fed’s transcripts are, perhaps, the greatest propaganda coup of our time. They take advantage of the fact that people simply forget a lot of what happened during the crisis and, as a result, absolve the Fed of any accountability for what is likely the crime of the century. It’s an accomplishment that PR-pioneer Edward Bernays would have applauded. After all, it was Bernays who argued that the sheeple need to be constantly bamboozled to keep them in line. Here’s a clip from his magnum opus “Propaganda”:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Sound familiar? My guess is that Bernays’ maxim probably features prominently in editors offices across the country where “manufacturing consent” is Job 1 and where no story so trivial that it can’t be spun in a way that serves the financial interests of the MSM’s constituents. (Should I say “clients”?) The Fed’s transcripts are just a particularly egregious example. Just look at the coverage in the New York Times and judge for yourself. Here’s an excerpt from an article titled “Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”:

“The hundreds of pages of transcripts, based on recordings made at the time, reveal the ignorance of Fed officials about economic conditions during the climactic months of the financial crisis. Officials repeatedly fretted about overstimulating the economy, only to realize time and again that they needed to redouble efforts to contain the crisis.” (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)

This quote is so misleading on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin.

First of all, the New York Times is the ideological wellspring of elite propaganda in the US. They set the tone and the others follow. That’s the way the system works. So it always pays to go to the source and try to figure out what really lies behind the words, that is, the motive behind the smokescreen of half-truths, distortions, and lies. How is the Times trying to bend perceptions and steer the public in their corporate-friendly direction, that’s the question. In this case, the Times wants its readers to believe that the Fed members “misread the crisis”; that they were ‘behind the curve’ and stressed-out, but–dad-gum-it–they were trying their level-best to make things work out for everybody.

How believable is that? Not very believable at all.

Keep in mind, the crisis had been going on for a full year before the discussions in these transcripts took place, so it’s not like the members were plopped in a room the day before Lehman blew up and had to decide what to do. No. They had plenty of time to figure out the lay of the land, get their bearings and do what was in the best interests of the country. Here’s more from the Times:

 ”My initial takeaway from these voluminous transcripts is that they paint a disturbing picture of a central bank that was in the dark about each looming disaster throughout 2008. That meant that the nation’s top bank regulators were unprepared to deal with the consequences of each new event.”

Have you ever read such nonsense in your life? Of course, the Fed knew what was going on. How could they NOT know? Their buddies on Wall Street were taking it in the stern sheets every time their dingy asset pile was downgraded which was every damn day. It was costing them a bundle which means they were probably on the phone 24-7 to (Treasury Secretary) Henry Paulson whining for help. “You gotta give us a hand here, Hank. The whole Street is going toes-up. Please.”

Here’s more from the NYT:

“Some Fed officials have argued that the Fed was blind in 2008 because it relied, like everyone else, on a standard set of economic indicators. As late as August 2008, “there were no clear signs that many financial firms were about to fail catastrophically,” Mr. Bullard said in a November presentation in Arkansas that the St. Louis Fed recirculated on Friday. “There was a reasonable case that the U.S. could continue to ‘muddle through.’ (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)

There’s that same refrain again, “Blind”, “In the dark”, “Behind the curve”, “Misread the crisis”.

Notice how the Times only invokes terminology that implies the Fed is blameless. But it’s all baloney. Everyone knew what was going on. Check out this excerpt from a post by Nouriel Roubini that was written nearly a full year before Lehman failed:

“The United States has now effectively entered into a serious and painful recession. The debate is not anymore on whether the economy will experience a soft landing or a hard landing; it is rather on how hard the hard landing recession will be. The factors that make the recession inevitable include the nation’s worst-ever housing recession, which is still getting worse; a severe liquidity and credit crunch in financial markets that is getting worse than when it started last summer; high oil and gasoline prices; falling capital spending by the corporate sector; a slackening labor market where few jobs are being created and the unemployment rate is sharply up; and shopped-out, savings-less and debt-burdened American consumers who — thanks to falling home prices — can no longer use their homes as ATM machines to allow them to spend more than their income. As private consumption in the US is over 70% of GDP the US consumer now retrenching and cutting spending ensures that a recession is now underway.

On top of this recession there are now serious risks of a systemic financial crisis in the US as the financial losses are spreading from subprime to near prime and prime mortgages, consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans, student loans), commercial real estate loans, leveraged loans and postponed/restructured/canceled LBO and, soon enough, sharply rising default rates on corporate bonds that will lead to a second round of large losses in credit default swaps. The total of all of these financial losses could be above $1 trillion thus triggering a massive credit crunch and a systemic financial sector crisis.” ( Nouriel Roubini Global EconoMonitor)

Roubini didn’t have some secret source for data that wasn’t available to the Fed. The financial system was collapsing and it had been collapsing for a full year. Everyone who followed the markets knew it. Hell, the Fed had already opened its Discount Window and the Term Auction Facility (TAF) in 2007 to prop up the ailing banks–something they’d never done before– so they certainly knew the system was cratering. So, why’s the Times prattling this silly fairytale that “the Fed was in the dark” in 2008?

I’ll tell you why: It’s because this whole transcript business is a big, freaking whitewash to absolve the shysters at the Fed of any legal accountability, that’s why. That’s why they’re stitching together this comical fable that the Fed was simply an innocent victim of circumstances beyond its control. And that’s why they want to focus attention on the members of the FOMC quibbling over meaningless technicalities –like non-existent inflation or interest rates–so people think they’re just kind-hearted buffoons who bumbled-along as best as they could. It’s all designed to deflect blame.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying these conversations didn’t happen. They did, at least I think they did. I just think that the revisionist media is being employed to spin the facts in a way that minimizes the culpability of the central bank in its dodgy, collaborationist engineering of the bailouts. (You don’t hear the Times talking about Hank Paulson’s 50 or 60 phone calls to G-Sax headquarters in the week before Lehman kicked the bucket, do you? But, that’s where a real reporter would look for the truth.)

The purpose of the NYT article is to create plausible deniability for the perpetrators of the biggest ripoff in world history, a ripoff which continues to this very day since the same policies are in place, the same thieving fraudsters are being protected from prosecution, and the same boundless chasm of private debt is being concealed through accounting flim-flam to prevent losses to the insatiable bondholders who have the country by the balls and who set policy on everything from capital requirements on complex derivatives to toppling democratically-elected governments in Ukraine. These are the big money guys behind the vacillating-hologram poseurs like Obama and Bernanke, who are nothing more than kowtowing sock puppets who jump whenever they’re told. Here’s more bunkum from the Gray Lady:

 ”By early March, the Fed was moving to replace investors as a source of funding for Wall Street.

Financial firms, particularly in the mortgage business, were beginning to fail because they could not borrow money. Investors had lost confidence in their ability to predict which loans would be repaid. Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, sold itself for a relative pittance to Bank of America. Bear Stearns, one of the largest packagers and sellers of mortgage-backed securities, was teetering toward collapse.

On March 7, the Fed offered companies up to $200 billion in funding. Three days later, Mr. Bernanke secured the Fed policy-making committee’s approval to double that amount to $400 billion, telling his colleagues, “We live in a very special time.”

Finally, on March 16, the Fed effectively removed any limit on Wall Street funding even as it arranged the Bear Stearns rescue.” (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)

This part deserves a little more explanation. The author says “the Fed was moving to replace investors as a source of funding for Wall Street.” Uh, yeah; because the whole flimsy house of cards came crashing down when investors figured out Wall Street was peddling toxic assets. So the money dried up. No one buys crap assets after they find out they’re crap; it’s a simple fact of life. The Times makes this sound like this was some kind of unavoidable natural disaster, like an earthquake or a tornado. It wasn’t. It was a crime, a crime for which no one has been indicted or sent to prison. That might have been worth mentioning, don’t you think?

More from the NYT: “…on March 16, the Fed effectively removed any limit on Wall Street funding even as it arranged the Bear Stearns rescue.”

Yipee! Free money for all the crooks who blew up the financial system and plunged the economy into recession. The Fed assumed blatantly-illegal powers it was never provided under its charter and used them to reward the people who were responsible for the crash, namely, the Fed’s moneybags constituents on Wall Street. It was a straightforward transfer of wealth to the Bank Mafia. Don’t you think the author should have mentioned something about that, just for the sake of context, maybe?

Again, the Times wants us to believe that the men who made these extraordinary decisions were just ordinary guys like you and me trying to muddle through a rough patch doing the best they could.

Right. I mean, c’mon, this is some pretty impressive propaganda, don’t you think? It takes a real talent to come up with this stuff, which is why most of these NYT guys probably got their sheepskin at Harvard or Yale, the establishment’s petri-dish for serial liars.

By September 2008, Bernanke and Paulson knew the game was over. The crisis had been raging for more than a year and the nation’s biggest banks were broke. (Bernanke even admitted as much in testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2011 when he said “only one ….out of maybe the 13 of the most important financial institutions in the United States…was not at serious risk of failure within a period of a week or two.” He knew the banks were busted, and so did Paulson.) Their only chance to save their buddies was a Hail Mary pass in the form of Lehman Brothers. In other words, they had to create a “Financial 9-11″, a big enough crisis to blackmail congress into $700 no-strings-attached bailout called the TARP. And it worked too. They pushed Lehman to its death, scared the bejesus out of congress, and walked away with 700 billion smackers for their shifty gangster friends on Wall Street. Chalk up one for Hank and Bennie.

The only good thing to emerge from the Fed’s transcripts is that it proves that the people who’ve been saying all along that Lehman was deliberately snuffed-out in order to swindle money out of congress were right. Here’s how economist Dean Baker summed it up the other day on his blog:

“Gretchen Morgensen (NYT financial reporter) picks up an important point in the Fed transcripts from 2008. The discussion around the decision to allow Lehman to go bankrupt makes it very clear that it was a decision. In other words the Fed did not rescue Lehman because it chose not to.

This is important because the key regulators involved in this decision, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, and Timothy Geithner, have been allowed to rewrite history and claim that they didn’t rescue Lehman because they lacked the legal authority to rescue it. This is transparent tripe, which should be evident to any knowledgeable observer.” (“The Decision to Let Lehman Fail”, Dean Baker, CEPR)

Here’s the quote from Morgenson’s piece to which Baker is alluding:

“In public statements since that time, the Fed has maintained that the government didn’t have the tools to save Lehman. These documents appear to tell a different story. Some comments made at the Sept. 16 meeting, directly after Lehman filed for bankruptcy, indicate that letting Lehman fail was more of a policy decision than a passive one.” (“A New Light on Regulators in the Dark”, Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times)

Ah ha! So it was a planned demolition after all. At least that’s settled.

Here’s something else you’ll want to know: It was always within Bernanke’s power to stop the bank run and end to the panic, but if he relieved the pressure in the markets too soon (he figured), then Congress wouldn’t cave in to his demands and approve the TARP. Because, at the time, a solid majority of Republicans and Democrats in congress were adamantly opposed to the TARP and even voted it down on the first ballot. Here’s a clip from a speech by, Rep Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in September 2008 which sums up the grassroots opposition to the bailouts:

“The $700 bailout bill is being driven by fear not fact. This is too much money, in too short of time, going to too few people, while too many questions remain unanswered. Why aren’t we having hearings…Why aren’t we considering any other alternatives other than giving $700 billion to Wall Street? Why aren’t we passing new laws to stop the speculation which triggered this? Why aren’t we putting up new regulatory structures to protect the investors? Why aren’t we directly helping homeowners with their debt burdens? Why aren’t we helping American families faced with bankruptcy? Isn’t time for fundamental change to our debt-based monetary system so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks? Is this the US Congress or the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs?”

But despite overwhelming public resistance, the TARP was pushed through and Wall Street prevailed. mainly by sabotaging the democratic process the way they always do when it doesn’t suit their objectives.)

Of course, as we said earlier, Bernanke never really needed the money from TARP to stop the panic anyway. (Not one penny of the $700 bil was used to shore up the money markets or commercial paper markets where the bank run took place.) All Bernanke needed to do was to provide backstops for those two markets and, Voila, the problem was solved. Here’s Dean Baker with the details:

“Bernanke deliberately misled Congress to help pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He told them that the commercial paper market was shutting down, raising the prospect that most of corporate America would be unable to get the short-term credit needed to meet its payroll and pay other bills. Bernanke neglected to mention that he could singlehandedly keep the commercial paper market operating by setting up a special Fed lending facility for this purpose. He announced the establishment of a lending facility to buy commercial paper the weekend after Congress approved TARP.” (“Ben Bernanke; Wall Street’s Servant”, Dean Baker, Guardian)

So, there you have it. The American people were fleeced in broad daylight by the same dissembling cutthroats the NYT is now trying to characterize as well-meaning bunglers who were just trying to save the country from another Great Depression.

I could be wrong, but I think we’ve reached Peak Propaganda on this one.

(Note: By “good” propaganda, I mean “effective” propaganda. From an ethical point of view, propaganda can never be good because its objective is to intentionally mislead people…..which is bad.)

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

Please read and sign the Letter @ (I already did!)

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the February 29, 2004 Coup d’Etat that toppled Haiti’s democratically-elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, hundreds of Canadians, across the country, have signed a letter of apology to Haiti for the role they say Canada played in the violent overthrow.

University of Ottawa Professor of Economics Michel Chossudovsky says the Canadian Government should, in fact, face legal action for the part it played in the Haitian 2004 Coup d’etat, ” a crime against humanity” (plus que des excuses – AUDIO Excerpt of Bouyon Rasin, Feb 23, 2014 Interview, in French)

In the online Letter of Apology ( ), the authors cite Records of the Canadian Parliament which show that on March 10, 2004, ten days after the coup, Conservative MP Stockwell Day, then-foreign affairs critic for the 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.”

Haiti solidarity actions, commemorating the Coup d’etat are held in several Canadian cities, this week.

Haiti’s most prominent human rights defender, Attorney Mario Joseph, will speak in:

  • Toronto: Monday, Feb. 24, 7 pm, at U of T, 45 Willcocks St. (New College). Organized by Toronto Haiti Action Committee.
  • Ottawa: Friday, Feb. 28 (Press Conference @ 11 am – Videotron Press Room, 25 Laurier Ave., Gatineau, & Discussion @ 7 pm, 233 Gilmour St., one block west of Elgin. Organized by Akasan, Kozayiti/Ottawa Haiti Solidarity Committee, others. Info: Contact Jean Saint-Vil (613) 482-2549

A closing Haiti Solidarity event will take place in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia: Saturday March 1, a protest organized by The Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network

President Barack Obama leaves his podium after addressing the nation on an agreement reached with Iran that would temporarily freeze Tehran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping accord, at the White House in Washington, November 23, 2013. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Obama administration officials insist “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program must be resolved to the satisfaction of the IAEA to complete a nuclear agreement. But the term refers to discredited intelligence from suspect sources.

One of the issues Obama administration officials are insisting must be resolved to the satisfaction of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before any nuclear agreement may be concluded involves “possible military dimensions.” That term refers to documents long discredited by German intelligence but which the United States and the IAEA have maintained came from a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

A former senior German official has now revealed that the biggest collection of documents cited as evidence of such a covert Iran program actually came from a member of the Iranian terrorist organization Mujihedin-E-Khalq (MEK) and that German intelligence sought to warn the George W. Bush administration that the source of the documents was not trustworthy.

The use of those documents to make a case for action against Iran closely parallels the Bush administration’s use of the testimony of the now-discredited Iraqi exile called “Curveball” to convince the US public to support war against Iraq. The parallel between the two episodes was recognized explicitly by the German intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), according to Karsten Voigt, who was the German Foreign Office’s coordinator of North American-German relations.

Voigt provided details of the story behind the appearance of the mysterious Iran nuclear documents in an interview with this writer last March for a book on the false narrative surrounding Iran’s nuclear program that is newly published, Manufactured Crisis. 

Voigt recalled that the purported Iranian documents were acquired by BND in 2004 from a member of the Iranian anti-regime terrorist organization MEK and that the BND was concerned that the Bush administration was about to use intelligence from that dubious source to make a case for war only two years after it had relied on testimony of the notorious “Curveball” to make the case for war in Iraq.

The BND officials were concerned that Bush administration appeared to be making the case that Iran was working on nuclear weapons on the basis of the information that was now in question, according to Voigt.

Voigt told me he learned about the Iranian nuclear documents after remarks to reporters by Secretary of State Colin Powell in mid-November 2004 had caused consternation among senior officials of the BND. Powell had referred to “information” that Iran was “working hard” at combining a missile with a “weapon,” clearly implying that it was a nuclear weapon. Voigt said senior BND officials contacted him immediately after the story of Powell’s remarks had been reported by news media.

The BND officials told Voigt that they were familiar with the “information” to which Powell had referred, which they described as a set of drawings of different ways to redesign the reentry vehicle of the Iranian Shahab-3 missile. They told Voigt that the drawings were part of a large collection of papers that had been turned over to the BND by an Iranian who had been an occasional intelligence source for the agency, though not an actual BND intelligence agent. But the BND officials explained to Voigt that the source was not someone inside the Iranian defense establishment, as Bush administration officials would leak to selected journalists, but a member of the MEK. The officials made it clear to Voight that they did not have confidence in the source. “They believed the source was doubtful,” Voigt recalled.

The BND officials were concerned that Bush administration appeared to be making the case that Iran was working on nuclear weapons on the basis of the information that was now in question, according to Voigt. “They didn’t like the way it was being used by the United States,” he told this writer.

The BND officials were alarmed by Powell’s comment on the information from the documents, because they still had vivid memories of the “Curveball” episode  involving a German intelligence informant two years earlier. “We had such a situation in the Iraq war,” recalled Voigt.

In a series of interviews with BND officers beginning in 2000, “Curveball” had provided a series of vivid accounts of mobile biological weapons laboratories developed by Saddam Hussein’s government. The BND had passed on reports of those accounts to the CIA, apparently without assessment of the source, as the usual practice by intelligence services sharing information with counterparts in other nations’ services.

Now they were afraid of the same drama being replayed, with the Bush administration using information from an Iranian “Curveball” to make a case for a military confrontation with Iran.

As BND officials continued to interrogate Curveball, however, they had begun to find inconsistencies in his account and to doubt the story. By the time CIA Director George Tenet asked the BND directly, in December 2002, whether the White House could use Curveball’s information for public statements, the BND officials had lost confidence in the source and were convinced that the Bush administration was planning to cite the Iraqi defector’s claims to justify war in Iraq, according to the account in investigative journalist Bob Drogin’s book Curveball.

August Hanning, the head of BND then wrote a two-page letter to Tenet that warned, “Please be cautious about using this source,” Hanning recalled, in an interview for a BBC documentary. Nevertheless, only a few weeks later, Colin Powell had gone ahead to cite Curveball’s testimony as the centerpiece of his February 2003 UN Security Council speech making the case for war against Iraq.

The same senior BND officials who had been involved in the Curveball issue – including Hanning himself – were still at the agency in November 2004. Now they were afraid of the same drama being replayed, with the Bush administration using information from an Iranian “Curveball” to make a case for a military confrontation with Iran. And Powell was again playing the role of presenting the case to the public.

Voigt said that the senior BND officials did not tell him explicitly that they wanted him to warn the United States against relying on the documents from their source. Nevertheless, he was convinced that they expected him to do so. “They tell you, ‘this is confidential,’ ” said Voigt, “but you get the story.”

Voigt was no ordinary German civil servant. He had been a Social Democratic Party (SPD) member of parliament for more than two decades and was the party spokesman on foreign policy in the Bundestag before assuming his job as the coordinator for relations with the United States at the Foreign Office in 1998. He was named to the position by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of the SPD, who opposed the Bush administration’s war in Iraq and was worried about a potential war against Iran. And he was known to maintain many contacts with American officials, think tanks and news media.

He did not wait long to get the message of warning about the purported Iranian nuclear documents to the United States. On November 22, 2004, a few days after his conversation with the BND officials, the Wall Street Journal reported Voigt as saying that the information mentioned by Powell on Iran’s work on a nuclear weapon had been provided by “an Iranian dissident group” and said the United States and Europe “shouldn’t let their Iran policy be influenced by single-source headlines.”

Keeping Powell in the dark was necessary to the Iran strategy the neoconservatives were quietly pursuing.

Senior CIA officials who knew about the documents could hardly have missed the message. And if they had not already learned about the BND’s conclusions about the doubtful MEK source in November 2004 directly from Hanning himself, they could have easily gotten an explanation of the Voigt warning simply by having the CIA station chief in Berlin ask his BND contacts about the issue.

But the new director, Porter Goss, and other senior CIA officials were evidently not interested in sharing the information about the MEK member as the source of the documents or BND’s doubts about his reliability with Powell. Powell told his former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson that he had been told nothing about that, Wilkerson said, in response to a query from this writer. Powell had been similarly fed information from “Curveball” in 2003 to be used in his United Nations speech on WMD in Iraq that Tenet knew from BND director Hanning had been discredited by German intelligence.

Keeping Powell in the dark was necessary to the Iran strategy the neoconservatives were quietly pursuing in 2004. The MEK had been on the US list of terrorist organizations since 1997, because it had killed six US military advisers and civilians in Iran in the 1970s and carried out terror bombings of Iranian government civilian gatherings in the early 1980s. It had been based in Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s patronage since the early 1980s. In 2004, Powell and his State Department team still regarded the MEK as a disreputable terrorist organization, but the neoconservatives in the administration viewed it as useful as an anti-regime tool.

The MEK was known to have served the interests of Israel’s Mossad by providing a way to “launder” intelligence claims that Israel wanted to get out to the public but didn’t want identified as having come from Israel. In the best-known case, the group’s political front organization, the National Council of Resistance in Iran, had revealed the location of the Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Natanz in an August 2002 press conference, but it had been given the coordinates of the construction site by Israeli intelligence, according to both a senior IAEA official and an Iranian opposition group source, cited by Seymour Hersh and New Yorker writer Connie Bruck, respectively.

The purported Iranian documents conveyed by the MEK to Western intelligence also displayed multiple indications of having been fabricated by an outside actor. The clearest and most significant anomaly was that the drawings of efforts to redesign the Shahab-3 missile to accommodate a nuclear weapons showed a missile that had already been abandoned by Iran’s Defense Ministry by the time the drawings were said to have been made, as was confirmed by former IAEA deputy director general for safeguards, Olli Heinonen, in an interview with this writer.

The Iranian abandonment of the earlier missile design became known to foreign analysts, however, only after Iran flight-tested a completely new missile design in August 2004 – after the “laptop documents” had already been conveyed to the BND by its MEK source. Whoever ordered those drawings was unaware of the switch to the new missile design, which would rule out a genuine Iranian Defense Ministry or military program.

A former IAEA official familiar with those documents recalled in interview with Truthout that senior officials at the IAEA were immediately suspicious of the entire collection of documents given to the agency in 2005. “The documents were never really convincing,” said the former official. The creators of the documents had taken publicly available information about people, organizations and location and had “woven their own narrative” around them, he said. Furthermore, he recalled finding anomalies in the stamps and signature blocs of documents.

The fabricated documents, depicting Iran as redesigning their missile reentry vehicle to accommodate a nuclear weapon, among other things, fit into a Bush administration strategy – coordinated with Israel – that was aimed at justifying a military confrontation with Iran. The working assumption, as was revealed by David Wurmser, special assistant to Bolton and then to Cheney, in October 2007, was that the United States would probably need to use force to bring about that change once Iraq was brought under control. Bolton recalls in his memoirs that his aim was to move the Iran nuclear issue out of the IAEA to the United Nations Security Council, where the Bush administration would call for international action against Iran, and failing that, take unilateral action.

The purported Iranian documents conveyed by the MEK to Western intelligence also displayed multiple indications of having been fabricated by an outside actor.

The threat of force was set aside in favor of an economic sanctions strategy after Condoleezza Rice become secretary of state in 2005, but the documents continued to be at the center of the strategy. In 2005, the Bush administration turned the entire collection of documents over to the IAEA and pressed the agency to demand explanations from Iran – but without sharing any of the documents with Iranian officials. Iran denounced the documents as fabrications from the beginning, but in 2008, the IAEA Safeguards Department abandoned any pretense of a neutral role on the issue and began to refer to them as “credible.” US diplomatic cables from early 2008 made public by WikiLeaks reveal that the head of the Safeguards Department, Olli Heinonen, was working closely with US officials to develop a common political strategy to isolate Iran over the purported Iranian documents.

The IAEA got more documents and intelligence directly from Israel in 2008 and 2009 claiming Iranian work on nuclear weapons, according to then-IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei. The intelligence passed on by Israel included the claim that Iran had installed a large metal cylinder for high explosives tests at its Parchin military facility in 2000, which it intended to use for hydrodynamic tests of nuclear weapons designs. But the IAEA never revealed the information had come from Israel, covering up the primary fact relevant to its reliability and authenticity.

The Safeguards Department had been prepared as early as 2009 to publish a dossier on what it called the “possible military dimensions” of the Iranian nuclear program that would accept all the intelligence reports and documents provided by Israel as genuine and accurate. But ElBaradei’s successor, Yukiya Amano, waited to do so until November 2011, when the Obama administration was ready to organize an international coalition for harsh sanctions against Iran’s oil export sector.

The Obama administration returned to the “possible military dimensions” last November, insisting on a provision in the interim Iran nuclear agreement that required Iran to “resolve” all the “concerns” about that issue. A “senior administration official” briefing the press on the agreement November 24 said there would be no final agreement unless Iran showed that it had “come into compliance with its obligations under the NPT and its obligations to the IAEA.”

It is unclear how Obama expects Iran to do that. In another background briefing February 17, an unnamed senior official suggested that Iran would have to satisfy the IAEA, but Amano has no incentive to admit that the claims about Iran that it has published are false.

In response to a request from Truthout for a confirmation or denial of the revelation by Karsten Voigt of the MEK role in transmitting the purported Iranian documents to the BND in 2004, NSC officials declined to comment on the matter, according to NSC spokesperson Bernadette Meehan.

Some observers believe US negotiators hope to get Iran to admit to having had a nuclear weapons program. However, Iran is certainly not going to admit that the documents and intelligence reports it knows to be fabrications are true. But the Obama administration may well believe so strongly in the Iran nuclear narrative it inherited from the Bush administration and in the idea that the sanctions against Iran confer ultimate negotiating leverage on the United States that it sees an Iranian confession as a realistic goal. In any case, the decision to introduce the falsified evidence of the past into the final negotiations is bound to bring them to an impasse unless the United States is prepared to back down.

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

The U.S. is once again preparing to play its “humanitarian” military intervention card in Syria, with the help of corporate media. Washington’s real goal is cold-blooded: “Generalized mayhem, reducing the population to dependence on their networks and territorial dismemberment have all moved the administration toward realization of its strategic objective.”

With the predictable failure of the Syrian peace conference, the call for the Obama administration to wage a humanitarian war to save civilians in Syria is once again being championed by some elements of the mainstream media in the U.S. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, since certain powerful voices in the U.S. corporate media have long been in lock-step with some of the most hawkish elements in the Obama administration regarding the use of force in Syria.

A sober, clear-eyed analysis of the logic of the decisions by the Obama administration suggest that the failure of the peace conference was a programmed outcome. The inescapable conclusion as to why the conference was even held, therefore, is that administration hawks saw the failure of the conference as a valuable public relations weapon to move public opinion in favor of more direct military involvement.

Before I am accused of being overly cynical or even conspiratorial, a review of the decisions made in the days and weeks leading up to the conference provides more than adequate evidence to support this contention.

If the Obama administration had been even remotely committed to brokering some kind of diplomatic solution, would it have insisted that all of the parties to the talks be bound by the terms of the Geneva communiqué that called for “regime change” in the form of a transitional government? Would the administration have excluded Iran or been committed to pretending that the “legitimate opposition” was represented by the Syrian National Coalition, a motley crew of slavish opportunist exiles who everyone knows have no real connection to the political and military situation on the ground?

The propaganda value of the talks seems to be the only plausible explanation for why the administration would engineer the elaborate charade in Geneva. The decision to hold the talks knowing that they were going to lead to failure is where the real cynicism lies.

As I have argued since the beginning of this manufactured conflict, peace and particularly the humanity of the Syrian people are the last things on the minds of U.S. policy-makers. The often-invoked concerns for the starving people of Homs and all of the other innocents in this brutal conflict continue to be no more than a crude subterfuge to allow the administration to pursue its broader regional geostrategic objective – the elimination of the Syrian state.

That is why the Islamic fundamentalist groups that U.S. intelligence services helped to arm, train and deploy with destructive efficiency (without much real concern if they were affiliated with al-Qaeda) have targeted all of the institutions of the Syrian state – schools, hospitals, government agencies, electrical stations, water and sanitation facilities, food distribution networks – as part of their strategy. Generalized mayhem, reducing the population to dependence on their networks and territorial dismemberment have all moved the administration toward realization of its strategic objective. But because of the successes of the Syrian armed forces and the uncertainties generated as a result of internal conflicts breaking out among Islamist forces in the country, Washington decision-makers want to make sure that the Syrian government is not able to retake or reconsolidate its influence in contested zones. This can only be assured as a result of more direct military intervention on the part of the U.S. and its allies.

So the next act in this macabre play is now centering on the very real sufferings of the Syrian people. The administration’s man at the U.N., Lakhor Brahimi, set this direction in motion by skillfully moving the peace talks toward the issue of humanitarian concerns. No longer needing the chemical weapons excuse, the administration along with its coterie of collaborationist human rights organizations and media apologists, are now demanding U.N. access to the areas where the Syrian governmental forces have hemmed in the armed groups.

Taking a page from its Libyan playbook on how to manipulate the public to support war, the Obama administration had a draft U.N. Security Council resolution circulated that placed the full blame on the Syrian government for the humanitarian situation in the country.

The language in the resolution was seen as so one-sided and belligerent by some U.N. members that it had no chance of being supported, which of course was the real objective. Orchestrated by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, the resolution appeared aimed at invoking a veto in the Security Council that would set the stage for another illegal NATO-led military assault on the Syrian armed forces. Instead, a resolution was passed over the weekend that some characterized as more balanced because it called on “all sides” to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians and condemned acts of terror. But all of the delegations understand that this compromise resolution is primarily targeting the Syrian government.

This concern for the humanity of the Syrians is comical if it was not so deadly serious. Sen. John McCain – the same Vietnam-era war criminal who was silent on the uprising of the people in Bahrain, the slaughter of innocent civilians in the various military assaults by Israel in Gaza and who supported the illegal war against Iraq that resulted in the deaths of over a million Iraqi’s – loudly condemned the Obama administration for not doing more for people suffering in Syria.

McCain as well as the hawks in the Obama administration and in the media know that they have a powerful weapon with the imperial and racist notion of the U.S. government’s “responsibility to protect.” The New York Times, Washington Post and a number of other major newspapers are now on record suggesting that the “use of force” by the Obama administration to end the starvation of innocents trapped in besieged cities is morally justified.

No one can deny the reality of tens of thousands of innocents suffering from the savage brutality of war. And who can disagree with relieving the sufferings of innocent civilians trapped in the middle of warring factions? U.S. decision-makers are well aware that most polling data suggest that when issues of humanitarian concerns are introduced, public support for more direct involvement in Syria shifts from a majority that is opposed to a slight majority that would support it.

So the U.S. public has been saturated over the last two weeks with stories about the trapped civilians, the cruel al-Assad government opposing humanitarian access and the innocent American administration that only wants to help the suffering Syrian people. The sad part of all of this is that with the anti-war and anti-imperialist movement in shambles, suffering from a combination of institutional weakness, marginalization and the effects of the “liberal virus” that has confused and disarmed U.S. radicals, the administration may very well be successful in maneuvering the public into supporting more direct military involvement.

The consequence of all of this for the people of Syria will be more violent destruction, brutality and displacement. But I am sure that the pro-imperialist and pro-war Democrats in the Obama administration have concluded that for the Syrian people, freedom – as they define it – is “worth the price” in death and destruction. And they will not see any irony in this.

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist and organizer. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. His latest publications include contributions to two recently published books “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA” and “Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral.”

Logo of Ukraine’s extreme right-wing nationalist party, Svoboda.

There’s been much celebration in U.S. political and media circles over the violent ouster of Ukraine’s democratically elected president. Nearly everyone is hailing this putsch and ignoring that it was spurred on by neo-Nazi militias.

There was always a measure of hypocrisy but Official Washington used to at least pretend to stand for “democracy,” rather than taking such obvious pleasure in destabilizing elected governments, encouraging riots, overturning constitutional systems and then praising violent putsches.

But events in Ukraine and Venezuela suggest that the idea of respecting the results of elections and working within legal, albeit flawed, political systems is no longer in vogue, unless the “U.S. side” happens to win, of course. If the “U.S. side” loses, then it’s time for some “shock doctrine.” And, of course, the usual demonizing of the “enemy” leader.

Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was surely no one’s idea of a pristine politician, though it looks like there are few to none of those in Ukraine, a country essentially controlled by a collection of billionaire oligarchs who jockey for power and shift their allegiances among corrupt politicians.

But Yanukovych was elected in what was regarded as a reasonably fair election in 2010. Indeed, some international observers called the election an important step toward establishing an orderly political process in Ukraine.

But Yanukovych sought to maintain cordial relations with neighboring Russia, which apparently rubbed American neocons the wrong way. Official Washington’s still-influential neocons have been livid with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin because he cooperated with U.S. President Barack Obama in averting U.S. wars against Iran and Syria.

In both cases, the neocons thought they had maneuvered Obama into confrontations that could have advanced their long-term strategy of “regime change” across the Middle East, a process that started in 2003 with the U.S. invasion of Iraq but stalled with that disastrous war.

However, last year, prospects for more U.S. military interventions in two other target countries – Iran and Syria – were looking up, as Israel joined with Saudi Arabia in stoking regional crises that would give Obama no choice but to launch American air strikes, against Iran’s nuclear facilities and against Syrian government targets.

Putin’s Interference

That strategy was going swimmingly until Putin helped bring Iran to the negotiating table over guarantees that its nuclear program would not lead to a nuclear weapon. Putin also brokered a deal to avert threatened U.S. air strikes on Syria over disputed evidence regarding who launched a chemical attack on civilians outside Damascus. Putin got the Syrian government to agree to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal.

So, Putin found himself in the center of the neocons’ bulls-eye and – given some of his own unforced errors such as defending Russia’s intolerance toward gays and spending excessively on the Sochi Olympics – he became the latest “designated villain,” denounced and ridiculed across the neocon-dominated op-ed pages of the Washington Post and other major news outlets.

Even NBC, from its treasured spot as the network of the Olympic Games, felt it had no choice but todenounce Putin in an extraordinary commentary delivered by anchor Bob Costas. Once the demonizing ball gets rolling everyone has to join in or risk getting run over, too.

All of which set the stage for Ukraine. The issue at hand was whether Yanukovych should accept a closer relationship with the European Union, which was demanding substantial economic “reforms,” including an austerity plan dictated by the International Monetary Fund. Yanukovych balked at the harsh terms and turned to Ukraine’s neighbor Russia, which was offering a $15 billion loan and was keeping Ukraine’s economy afloat with discounted natural gas.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether the EU was driving too hard a bargain or whether Ukraine should undertake such painful economic “reforms” – or how Yanukovych should have balanced the interests of his divided country, with the east dominated by ethnic Russians and the west leaning toward Europe.

But protesters from western Ukraine, including far-right nationalists, sought to turn this policy dispute into a means for overthrowing the elected government. Police efforts to quell the disturbances turned violent, with the police not the only culprits. Police faced armed neo-Nazi storm troopers who attacked with firebombs and other weapons.

Though the U.S. news media did show scenes of these violent melees, the U.S. press almost universally blamed Yanukovych – and took almost gleeful pleasure as his elected government collapsed and was replaced by thuggish right-wing militias “guarding” government buildings.

With Yanukovych and many of his supporters fleeing for their lives, the opposition parties seized control of parliament and began passing draconian new laws often unanimously, as neo-Nazi thugs patrolled the scene. Amazingly, the U.S. news media treated all this as uplifting, a popular uprising against a tyrant, not a case of a coup government operating in collusion with violent extremists.

In the upside-down world that has become the U.S. news media, the democratically elected president was a dictator and the coup makers who overthrew the popularly chosen leader were “pro-democracy” activists.

A Curious History

There’s also a curious history behind U.S. attitudes toward ethnically divided Ukraine. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency – as he escalated Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union – one of his propaganda services, Radio Liberty, began broadcasting commentaries into Ukraine from right-wing exiles.

Some of the commentaries praised Ukrainian nationalists who had sided with the Nazis in World War II as the SS waged its “final solution” against European Jews. The propaganda broadcasts provoked outrage from Jewish organizations, such as B’nai B’rith, and individuals including conservative academic Richard Pipes.

According to an internal memo dated May 4, 1984, and written by James Critchlow, a research officer at the Board of International Broadcasting, which managed Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, one RL broadcast in particular was viewed as “defending Ukrainians who fought in the ranks of the SS.”

Critchlow wrote, “An RL Ukrainian broadcast of Feb. 12, 1984 contains references to the Nazi-oriented Ukrainian-manned SS ‘Galicia’ Division of World War II which may have damaged RL’s reputation with Soviet listeners. The memoirs of a German diplomat are quoted in a way that seems to constitute endorsement by RL of praise for Ukrainian volunteers in the SS division, which during its existence fought side by side with the Germans against the Red Army.”

Harvard Professor Pipes, who was an informal adviser to the Reagan administration, also inveighed against the RL broadcasts, writing – on Dec. 3, 1984 – “the Russian and Ukrainian services of RL have been transmitting this year blatantly anti-Semitic material to the Soviet Union which may cause the whole enterprise irreparable harm.”

Though the Reagan administration publicly defended RL against some of the public criticism, privately some senior officials agreed with the critics, according to documents in the archives of the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. For instance, in a Jan. 4, 1985, memo, Walter Raymond Jr., a top official on the National Security Council, told his boss, National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, that “I would believe much of what Dick [Pipes] says is right.”

This three-decade-old dispute over U.S.-sponsored radio broadcasts underscores the troubling political reality of Ukraine, which straddles a dividing line between people with cultural ties oriented toward the West and those with a cultural heritage more attuned to Russia. Though the capital Kiev sits in a region dominated by the western Ukrainians, the Russian-allied Ukrainians represent most of the population, explaining Yanukovych’s electoral victory.

Loving a Putsch

Now, right-wing militias, representing those historical resentments toward the Russians and hostility toward the Jews, have seized control of many government buildings in Kiev. Faced with this intimidation, the often-unanimous decisions by the remaining legislators would normally be viewed with extreme skepticism, including their demands for the capture and likely execution of Yanukovych.

But the U.S. press corps can’t get beyond its demonization of Putin and Yanukovych. The neocon Washington Post has been almost euphoric over the coup, as expressed in a Feb. 24 editorial:

“Ukraine has shaken off its corrupt president and the immediate prospect of domination by Russia — but at the risk of further conflict. The decision by Viktor Yanukovych to flee Kiev over the weekend triggered the disintegration of his administration and prompted parliament to replace him and schedule elections for May.

“The moves were democratic — members of Mr. Yanukovych’s party joined in the parliamentary votes — but they had the effect of nullifying an accord between the former government and opposition that had been brokered by the European Union and tacitly supported by Russia.

“Kiev is now controlled by pro-Western parties that say they will implement the association agreement with the European Union that Mr. Yanukovych turned away from three months ago, triggering the political crisis.

“There remain two big threats to this positive outcome. One is that Ukraine’s finances will collapse in the absence of a bailout from Russia or the West. The other is that the country will split along geographic lines as Russian speakers in the east of the country, perhaps supported by Moscow, reject the new political order.”

The Post continued, “What’s not clear is whether Mr. Putin would accept a Ukraine that is not under the Kremlin’s thumb. The first indications are not good: Though Mr. Putin has been publicly silent about Ukraine since Friday, the rhetoric emanating from his government has been angry and belligerent. A foreign ministry statement Monday alleged that ‘a course has been set to use dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods to suppress dissenters in various regions.’”

So, the Washington Post’s editors consider the violent overthrow of a democratically elected president to be “democratic” and take comfort in “democratic” actions by a legislature, despite the curious lack of any no votes and the fact that this balloting has occurred under the watchful eye of neo-Nazi storm troopers patrolling government offices. And, according to the Post, the Russian government is unhinged to detect “dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods.”

The New York Times editorial page was only slightly less celebratory, proclaiming: “The venal president of Ukraine is on the run and the bloodshed has stopped, but it is far too early to celebrate or to claim that the West has ‘won’ or that Russia has ‘lost.’ One incontrovertible lesson from the events in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, is that the deeply divided country will have to contend with dangerous problems that could reverberate beyond its borders.”

There has been, of course, a long and inglorious history of the U.S. government supporting the overthrow of elected governments: Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Allende in Chile in 1973, Aristide in Haiti twice, Chavez in Venezuela briefly in 2002, Zelaya in Honduras in 2009, Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and others. After Yanukovych, the next target of these U.S.-embraced “democratic” coups looks to be Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

In these cases, it is typical for the mainstream U.S. news media to obsess over perceived flaws in the ousted leaders. On Wednesday, for instance, the New York Times made much of an unfinished presidential palace in Ukraine, calling it “a fugitive leader’s folly.” The idea seems to be to cement in the minds of impressionable Americans that it is okay for the U.S. government to support the overthrow of democratically elected presidents if they have flaws.

The outcomes for the people of these countries that are “saved” from their imperfect leaders, however, often tend to be quite ugly. Usually, they experience long periods of brutal repression at the hands of dictators, but that typically happens outside the frame of the U.S. news media’s focus or interest. Those unhappy countries fade from view almost as quickly as they were thrust to center stage, next to the demonization of their elected leaders.

[For more on Ukraine, see’s “Neocons and the Ukraine Coup.”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

US Supreme Court Backs Police on Warrantless Searches

February 27th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

In a 6-3 decision issued Tuesday, the US Supreme Court further narrowed the application of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits police searches without a judicial warrant.

The decision in Fernandez v. California significantly curtailed the effect of an earlier ruling, in the 2007 case of Georgia v. Randolph, where the court barred the use of evidence recovered by police who searched an apartment after one of the two residents objected, while the other gave permission.

In the California case, Walter Fernandez vociferously objected to the police entering the apartment he shared with Roxanne Rojas, standing in the doorway and declaring, “You don’t have any right to come in here. I know my rights.”

The police then arrested him on suspicion of domestic violence against Rojas, took him away, and came back an hour later. After 20 minutes of bullying, including a suggestion that her children could be taken away if she continued to resist, Rojas agreed orally and in writing to a search. This produced evidence that was used to convict Fernandez of several gang-related crimes and send him to prison for 14 years.

The majority decision upholding the police search is a mass of contradictions papered over with cynical doubletalk, of the kind that gives rise to the phrase “lawyers’ arguments.”

The two most reactionary justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, dissented in Georgia v. Randolph and wanted to overturn it outright, giving the police the right to enter a home without a warrant in the face of a resident’s objection, so long as at least one other resident consented.

They nonetheless signed off on the Fernandez decision, which upholdsRandolph, since it further narrows the constitutional restriction on police powers to search without a warrant, the goal they sought to accomplish.

The other four justices in the Fernandez majority included conservatives Samuel Alito, who wrote the opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy, as well as Stephen Breyer, one of the four moderate liberals.

Alito’s opinion acknowledged a “dictum” in the Randolph case, which noted that while a resident must be physically present to assert his objection to a police search, a search might still be barred if “there is evidence that the police have removed the potentially objecting tenant from the entrance for the sake of avoiding a possible objection.”

While this clearly applied to the California case—police arrested Fernandez after he objected to the search, took him to the station, then immediately returned to his apartment and browbeat his partner into permitting the search—the majority opinion held that as long as the arrest itself was legal, the police motivation was irrelevant.

“We first consider the argument that the presence of the objecting occupant is not necessary when the police are responsible for his absence,” the majority opinion declares, concluding, “We do not believe the statement should be read to suggest that improper motive may invalidate objectively justified removal.”

The dissenting opinion, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, argued that such reasoning gives a license to police to manipulate those targeted for an illegal search. “Instead of adhering to the warrant requirement,” she wrote, “today’s decision tells the police they may dodge it, never mind ample time to secure the approval of a neutral magistrate.”

Having arrested Fernandez, there was no urgency to dispense with the usual procedure of obtaining a judicial warrant, she noted, since “with the objector in custody, there was scant danger to persons on the premises, or risk that evidence might be destroyed or concealed, pending request for, and receipt of, a warrant.”

The dissent pointed to the far-reaching constitutional implications of the ruling, and the threat to democratic rights, citing the famous statement of Justice Robert Jackson—who also served as chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trial of Nazi war criminals—that the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a judicial warrant for a police search is one of the “fundamental distinctions between our form of government, where officers are under the law, and the police-state where they are the law.”

Remarkably, the court majority never acknowledges the constitutional presumption that a warrantless police search should be an exception, permitted only under special circumstances. Instead, the majority opinion treats the requirement of a warrant as an undesirable imposition that “may interfere with law enforcement strategies.”

“The warrant procedure imposes burdens on the officers who wish to search, the magistrate who must review the warrant application, and the party willing to give consent,” their opinion claims.

“When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, Dick wanted to see the dismantlement not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world,” wrote former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his recently published memoirs. Gates was referring to the then-Secretary of Defense, and later US Vice President, Dick Cheney.

The statement sheds light on the geopolitical dimensions of the recent putsch in Ukraine. What is at stake is not so much domestic issues—and not at all the fight against corruption and democracy—but rather an international struggle for power and influence that stretches back a quarter of a century.

The Financial Times places the recent events in Ukraine in the same light. In an editorial on February 23, it wrote: “For a quarter of a century this huge territory perched precariously between the EU and Russia has been the object of a geopolitical contest between the Kremlin and the west.” In 2008, a clumsy attempt by President George W. Bush failed to draw the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, “But the Maidan revolution now offers a second chance for all parties to reconsider the status of Ukraine on the fault line of Europe.”

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 was an unexpected gift to the imperialist powers. The October Revolution in 1917 had removed a considerable part of the world’s surface from the sphere of capitalist exploitation. This was regarded as a threat by the international bourgeoisie, even long after the Stalinist bureaucracy betrayed the goal of world socialist revolution and murdered an entire generation of Marxist revolutionaries. In addition, the economic and military strength of the Soviet Union presented an obstacle to US world hegemony.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the introduction of the capitalist market created conditions for the social wealth created by generations of workers to be plundered by a handful of oligarchs and international finance. The social gains made in the field of education, health care, culture and infrastructure were smashed and left to decline.

This was not enough, however, for the US and the major European powers. They were intent on ensuring that Russia could never again threaten their global hegemony, as is made clear in the above cited statement of Dick Cheney.

By 2009 the US-dominated NATO military alliance had absorbed into its ranks almost all of the East European countries that had once belonged to the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. But attempts to incorporate former Soviet republics into NATO failed—with the exception of the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—due to resistance from Moscow. Ukraine, with its 46 million inhabitants and its strategic location situated between Russia, Europe, the Black Sea and the Caucasus, invariably was at the centre of these attempts.

As far back as 1997, former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote that without Ukraine, any attempt by Moscow to rebuild its influence on the territory of the former Soviet Union was doomed to fail. The core thesis of his book The Grand Chessboard is that America’s capacity to exercise global primacy depends on whether America can prevent the emergence of a dominant and antagonistic power on the Eurasian landmass. (See: “The power struggle in Ukraine and America’s strategy of domination”)

In 2004 the US and the European powers supported and financed the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine that brought a pro-western government to power. The regime rapidly broke apart, however, due to internal strife. The attempt in 2008 to draw Georgia into NATO by provoking a military confrontation with Russia also failed.

Now the US and its European allies are intent to use the putsch in Ukraine to once again destabilize other former Soviet republics as well and draw them into their own sphere of influence. In so doing they risk an open armed conflict with Russia.

Under the headline “After Ukraine, the West Makes Its Move for the Russian Periphery,” the Stratfor think tank, which has close links to the US secret services, writes: “The West wants to parlay the success of supporting Ukraine’s anti-government protesters into a broader, region-wide campaign.”

“A Georgian delegation is currently visiting Washington, and the country’s prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili, is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry this week,” Stratfor reports. Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca is also scheduled to visit the White House for a meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden on March 3. “High on the agenda of both visits are the countries’ prospects for Western integration—in other words, how to bring them closer to the United States and the European Union and further from Russia.”

Lilia Shetsova from the US foundation Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (sic) in Moscow, also argues that the coup in Ukraine be extended to other countries and Russia itself. “Ukraine has become the weakest link in the post-Soviet chain,” she writes in a comment for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We should keep in mind that similar upheavals in other countries are possible.”

Shetsova stresses a feature of the Ukrainian revolution that she wants to retain at all costs: the mobilization of militant fascist forces. “Yanukovych’s downfall is essentially due to the ‘radical elements’ on the Maidan, including among others, the Right Sector, which have become a serious political force.” She continues: “Ukraine’s future will depend on whether the Ukrainians can maintain the Maidan.”

The “radical elements” which Shetsova wants to retain at all costs are armed fascist militias, which base themselves on the vilest traditions of Ukrainian history: the pogroms and mass murder of Jews and Communists carried out during the Second World War. The future role of these fascist militias will be to terrorize and intimidate the working class.

It took just a few hours for the reactionary social content of the upheaval in Ukraine to become clear. The “European values ” allegedly brought to the country by overthrow of the old regime consist of massive attacks on the already impoverished working class. As a condition for loans the country urgently needs to prevent impending bankruptcy, the IMF is demanding the floating of the exchange rate of the hryvna, a brutal austerity program and a six-fold increase in the price of household gas prices.

The floating of the country’s currency will lead to raging inflation, a corresponding increase in the cost of living, and the destruction of any remaining savings by ordinary Ukrainians. The austerity program will be primarily directed against pensions and social spending and the increase in gas prices will mean that many families cannot heat their homes.

Ukraine is to be reduced to a country where well-trained workers and professionals earn wages far below those currently paid in China. This is of especial interest for Germany, Ukraine’s second largest trading partner (after Russia) and, with a volume of $7.4 billion, the second largest investor in the country.

While for the United States the isolation of Russia stands in the foreground, Germany is interested in the economic benefits of Ukraine, which it has already militarily occupied twice, in 1918 and 1941. It wants to exploit the country as a cheap labor platform and use it to drive down wages in Eastern Europe and Germany even further.

According to statistics compiled by the German Economic Institute, labor costs in Ukraine are at the low end of the international scale. At €2.50 per hour worked, average labor costs (gross wages plus other costs) for workers and clerical employees are already well below those of China (€3.17), Poland (€6.46) and Spain (€21.88). In Germany, an hour of labor costs €35.66, i.e 14 times as much.

The Ukrainian Statistical Office estimates the average monthly wage at 3,073 hryvna (€220). Academics are also very poorly paid.

Former President Yanukovych himself was a representative of Ukrainian oligarchs. He only turned down the Association Agreement with the EU because he feared he would not politically survive the social consequences. Now his downfall serves as a pretext to introduce a level of poverty and exploitation totally incompatible with democratic norms and will lead to new social uprisings. It is precisely in order to suppress future social unrest that the fascist militias are to be retained.

Photo: Haitian protesters, November 2013.

The media coverage of the events unfolding in Venezuela provides a troubling example of how the imperial ambitions of the United States can magnify crises – especially when contrasted with the current political situation in Haiti.

Both Venezuela and Haiti have been facing anti-government protests, with the respective oppositions citing poor leadership, corruption, electoral fraud, and a deteriorating economy as their primary motivations in calling for change. However, the international media’s escalation of the Venezuelan crisis and their complete silence when it comes to Haiti, raises some important questions about the United States’ inconsistency in upholding the values of human rights and democracy.

Haiti has been enduring a political crisis since the highly controversial election of President Michel Martelly, who received his mandate from only 16.7% of registered voters, and has been running the country without a fully functioning government in order to avoid dealing with constitutionally mandated checks and balances. For the third year in a row, Martelly has promised to hold elections to fill legislative and local seats without yet following through.

As evidence of Martelly’s unbridled commitment to democracy, instead of holding elections for mayors whose terms expired in 2012, he personally handpicked the representatives, appointing them as “municipal agents.” As a result of Martelly’s political inaction on the national level, one third of the seats in the Haitian Senate remain empty. This congressional inability to establish quorum on issues of national importance has been particularly convenient for the President. In September 2013, the Senate put forward a resolution to indict President Martelly, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, and the Minister of Justice Jean Renel Sanon for high treason, lying to the public, and playing a harmful role in the death of Judge Jean Serge Joseph.

Earlier in 2013, Judge Joseph had been given the task of overseeing a high profile corruption investigation against President Michel Martelly’s wife Sophia and their son Olivier. Judge Joseph had reported receiving threats to dismiss the corruption case during a meeting with Martelly, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Justice and Public Security. Joseph refused, and two days later he died undersuspicious circumstances.

Because the Haitian Senate has only 16 of 30 members currently active, the impeachment vote was not passed on a technicality. This was in spite of the decision, which saw 7 of the 16 members vote in favor of Martelly’s impeachment, with 9 abstentions and 0 voting against the motion. According to the Haitian Constitution, abstentions do not count as votes – with Article 117 stating that “All acts of the Legislature must be approved by a majority of the members present [emphasis added].” Thus, in regular circumstances the decision by the Senate would move forward with the impeachment. Therefore, this purposefully fragmented political system does a great deal to serve the interests of impunity.

This political crisis is especially worrying when the murder of opposition leaders in Haiti has gone largely unreported in the international press. Most recently, on Feb. 8, Daniel Dorsainvil, one of Haiti’s leading human rights activists, and his wife Girldy Larêche were gunned down in Port-au-Prince. While conflicted motives for the shooting have emerged, Haiti’s human rights community fears that the murders were politically motivated. Dorsainvil was the Coordinator of the Platform for Haitian Organizations for the Defense of Human Rights (POHDH). POHDH was established after the coup d’état against Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991. According to POHDH’swebsite, “The systematic suppression of the military against the democratic and popular movement, which followed this event, and the mass amount of human rights violations in general, was the motivation for social and community development organizations to regroup with the purpose of initiating actions specifically in the field of human rights.”

A civil engineer by training, Dorsainvil had been a tireless advocate for justice, routinely speaking out against the Martelly government for its disregard of human rights, political scandals, and the consistent delaying of elections. Dorsainvil’s latest initiative was the establishment of the Patriotic People’s Democratic Movement (MPDP), a group of thirty political and social organizations openly standing in opposition to Martelly’s government. While this attack is tragic on its own, it comes after numerous threats against Haitian human rights defenders such as Patrice Florvilus, Mario Joseph, and André Michel.

In May 2013, Patrice Florvilus, the Executive Director of Defenders of the Oppressed, was subjected to numerous death threats. Margaret Satterthwaite, Director of the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law, remarked: “The targeting of Patrice Florvilus and other attorneys demonstrates a troubling pattern of state obstruction of legitimate human rights work in Haiti…The government’s use of state institutions such as law enforcement, and its failure to address judicial and extra-legal threats leave human rights defenders dangerously exposed. All sectors of the government, from the police to the courts, are responsible for safeguarding human rights.”

Due to the neglect and failure of the Haitian government to protect Florvilus and his family from attacks, he has had to relocate to Montreal in December 2013.

In October 2013, human rights lawyer André Michel was arrested by the Haitian National Police due to his initiation of legal proceedings against Martelly’s wife and son related to charges of corruption, which Judge Joseph oversaw before his death. Haitian human rights organizations condemned the arrest as an arbitrary and politically motivated attempt to intimidate human rights activists and members of the opposition.

Thus, while Martelly was praised by President Obama in early February for his leadership, Haiti has also seen a slew of anti-government protests due to the political crisis, human rights abuses, and economic decline. The lack of media attention regarding Martelly’s consistent attacks on popular organizations and human rights defenders in Haiti, in contrast to Venezuela is a stark reminder of how abuses of power can be marginalized if one has influential friends in the right places.

The media bias facing Venezuela – be it due to Venezuela’s fervent anti-U.S. policy and rhetoric, or the fact that it sits on the largest oil reserves in the hemisphere – allows the United States to shape public perception toward the country on its own strategic terms. In the absence of this insistence on sovereignty, human rights abuses and the suspension of political liberties can continue indefinitely in Haiti – as long as the government is set on accommodating the interests of the United States instead of challenging them.

Kevin Edmonds is a NACLA blogger focusing on the Caribbean. For more from his blog, “The Other Side of Paradise,” Edmonds is a former NACLA research associated an a current PhD student at the University of Toronto, where he is studying the impact of neoliberalism on the St. Lucian banana trade. Follow him on twitter @kevin_edmonds.

A number of different initiatives are being pursued at the grassroots level, all aimed at building resilient and sustainable communities. These include local currencies, buy-local campaigns, Transition Towns, farmer’s markets, community gardens, local co-ops, and others. Such initiatives are springing up all over the world. The movement is growing geographically, but unfortunately it is not succeeding in significantly transforming very many local economies.

Activists are leading the initiatives, and early-adopters are participating, but most people are not typically getting involved. Without widespread participation in these initiatives, at the local level, the benefits to the community remain marginal. The fact is that most people are not willing to spend their time with idealistic pursuits, and most people don’t think it’s realistic to expect to change society by our own grassroots efforts. If we want to get more people involved in our initiatives, we’ve got to find a way to offer people a reason that appeals to their immediate self-interest. If our localization initiatives could offer significant economic benefits, we can bring in those who aren’t motivated by idealism.

The underlying goal of our localization initiatives is to create a viable, local sub-economy, with minimal dependence on the unstable globalized economy. The problem is that we’re approaching the problem piecemeal. We create a local currency, and hope people will think of things to trade using it. We promote buy-local, but people can buy what they need cheaper from the big chains. We promote Transition Towns, but most people aren’t interested in developing five-year plans.

Our initiatives do make economic sense, but we need to pursue them in a systematic, integrated way, if we really want to create viable sub-economies. We need to weave the pieces together in a way that unleashes the potential synergies among the various initiatives. To put it bluntly, we need to take a business-like approach to localization.

We need widespread participation if we want to transform our communities economically, and we need widespread participation if we want to create communities in which people are engaged in controlling their own destinies. We haven’t been able to achieve widespread participation by promoting these kinds of idealistic goals, but we may be able to achieve it by drawing people in, by offering them significant economic advantages. The best way to wake people up to empowerment is by giving them the experience of empowerment. As people learn to run their own affairs, they may begin to embrace the goals that motivate our initiatives.

 Creating a viable local sub-economy

The appropriate framework for a viable sub-economy is a democratically governed cooperative. Not just a consumer co-op, nor just a single-product worker’s co-op, but a cooperative entity that includes a variety of enterprises and shared resources, so that there are significant internal transactions. In this way we get the benefits promised by a local currency, as the internal transactions can simply be recorded on our books as co-op credits and debits.

Such a cooperative can be seen from two different perspectives. Viewed from the inside, the co-op is modeling the kind of society we want to create. Viewed from the outside, the co-op is a viable start-up business. By being a model of what we want, it is ‘building the new’; by being a viable start-up business, it is thriving ‘in the shadow of the old’. In order to serve as a model of the new, our co-op needs to operate in the way we want our new society to operate. In order to be a viable start-up business, our co-op needs to be launched with a sound business plan.

If we can ‘build it’ – a co-op that offers people real economic benefits – then ‘they will come’. If the co-op grows and prospers, more people will join. Ultimately, the community itself could be operating as a cooperative, participatory, entity. We would be building the new society in the shadow of the collapsing old society. A society in which people control their own destinies, working together. A society with a transformed culture, a culture based on participation, collaboration, empowerment, and inclusiveness.

 A straw-man example

Imagine a cooperative that includes several worker-owned businesses, a supermarket / general store, supply agreements with local farmers and other suppliers, a community / conference center, warehouse space for startup ventures and other uses, several electric vehicles, a small apartment building, and a co-op bank / revolving-loan-fund. If the co-op owns its own wind turbine, the credits obtained by selling energy to the grid would provide enough free energy to run all co-op operations and households. Members would enjoy many kinds of benefits and discounted services. As the co-op grew, it could increasingly become a supplier of local electricity, employment, housing, food, and transport – and transactions could increasingly be done in a local currency, or simply as local bookkeeping entries.

This sketch is admittedly short on details; it is meant simply to spark your imagination about what might be possible, if we put our minds to it.

Essential elements for success

Economic viability is essential if we want to build a localization movement that can bring in ‘ordinary people’, but we need more than that if we want to transform our culture and our society. Our co-op needs to model the culture we want to create – a culture based on participation, collaboration, empowerment, and inclusiveness.

 All members need to have an equal say in determining co-op policies, and our co-op needs to be inclusive: anyone who wants to join our co-op, and embrace its culture, needs to be welcome – regardless of religion, ideology, or political views. And we need to use effective processes to ensure that all voices are heard and all concerns are taken into account.

 Membership needs to involve participation – being a member means you put in hours working with other members in doing the overhead work of the co-op. Not only does this help build a culture of collaboration, it also enables this overhead labor to be accounted for in our local currency / accounting system. And in putting in their hours, people can choose those jobs they are best at and most enjoy.

Mondragon Cooperatives – a useful model

From Wikipedia: “The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker-owned cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain.”…“Scholars such as Richard D. Wolff, American professor of economics, have hailed the Mondragon set of enterprises, including the good wages it provides for employees, the empowerment of ordinary workers in decision making, and the measure of equality for female workers, as a major success and have cited it as a working model of an alternative to the capitalist mode of production.”


Harmonizing everyone’s concerns

All to often we equate ‘decision-making’ with ‘debate’. Our competitive culture has a deeply imbedded assumption that one side must win, and another lose. We take it as obvious that there must be a vote, if a decision is to be made, with the majority winning. In order to win the voting game, people gather into sides, each side comes up with a proposal, and then the biggest side passes its one-sided proposal.

 There is, fortunately, a quite different way of approaching decision-making and problem solving. Underlying every proposal is some set of concerns. If we start by getting everyone’s concerns on the table, we can then enter into a creative conversation, a collaboration, to find solutions that address everyone’s concerns in a fair way. This can be done, and the solutions found are typically better than anyone’s original proposal.

 In aboriginal cultures all over the world, this is how decision-making has been routinely approached. In one culture, their process was described this way: “We keep going around the circle, each one speaking from their heart, until finally it is clear to everyone what needs to be done”. Our culture doesn’t give us these kinds of harmonizing experiences, and that’s why attention to process is so important – if we hope to model participatory democracy, where everyone is empowered, not just a majority ‘side’.

There is a whole universe of group processes and facilitation methods, with different ones being appropriate to different situations, kinds of problem, number of people involved, etc. Sometimes considerable time must be invested in facing a difficult problem, and sometimes a skilled facilitator is needed, but the investment is well worth it. When everyone’s concerns are included in the solution, then everyone is motivated to do their part in implementing the solution – voluntary collaboration becomes an effective management paradigm.

 In setting up one of our cooperative entities, attention to process is just as important as attention to sound business practices, and attention to relevant technical expertise. Tom Atlee, author of The Tao of Democracy, has assembled a sizable list of group processes, along with links, on his website. You can check it out here.

Richard K. Moore at [email protected]


Como a OTAN cavou na Ucrânia

February 27th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

« Cave bem, velha toupeira ! » assim descreveu Marx o trabalho preparatório da revolução do século XIX. Essa mesma imagem poder ser utilizada hoje no sentido inverso para descrever a operação conduzida pela OTAN na Ucrânia. Ela começou em 1991, de quando depois do Pacto de Varsóvia a União Soviética veio a se desintegrar : no lugar de um só estado se formaram quinze, inclisive então aí a Ukraina.

Os Estados Unidos e seus aliados europeus se ativaram imediatamente para tirar tantas vantagens quanto possível dessa nova situação geopolítica. Em 1999  a OTAN demoliu, através de guerra, a Federação Iugoslava, um país que poderia ter sido um obstáculo para a desejada expansão ao Leste e começa então a englobar os primeiros países do ex-Pacto de Varsóvia : a Polônia, A República Chéquia e a Hungria.

Depois em 2004 e 2009  a englobalização se estende a Estônia. Lituânia e Letônia (ex-partes de União Soviética); Bulgaria, Romênia, Eslováquia ; Eslovênia e Croácia (republicas da ex-Iugoslávia) assim como a Albânia. O território da Ucrânia, de 600milhas de km2, faz uma espécie de zona de segurança, um tampão, entre a OTAN e a Rússia, sendo que o território da Ucrânia é atravessado por colares energéticos situados então entre a Rússia e a União Européia. A Ukraina mantem-se, contrariamente aos acima mencionados, autônoma. Entretanto ela veio a entrar no « Conselho de Cooperação Norte-Atlântico », em contribuindo para as operações de « manutenção da paz » nos Balcãs.

Em 2002 foi adotado o « Plano de Ação OTAN-Ucrânia » e o presidente Kuchma anunciou sua intenção de aderir a OTAN. Em 2005, nas águas da « revolução laranja » [ou seja as derrubadas de governo usando diversas cores a representá-las] o presidente Yushchenko foi convidado ao summit da OTAN em Bruxelas. Imediatamente depois disso foi lançado o « diálogo intensificado sobre a aspiração da Ucrânia em tornar-se membro da OTAN ». Em 2008 o summit de Bucareste dá a luz verde para sua entrada. Em 2009 Kiev assinou um acordo permitindo o trânsito terrestre de provisões para as forças da OTAN, no Afeganistão, através do seu território.

Depois disso a adesão da Ucrânia a OTAN parecia coisa certa, mas em 2010 o presidente Ianukovych, agora novamente eleito, anunciou que mesmo que desejando continuar com a cooperação, uma adesão a União Européia, UE, não estaria na agenda de seu governo. Contudo, no meio tempo a OTAN começou a tecer uma rede de ligações no seio das forças armadas ucranianas.

Oficiais de alto grado vem participando, já a anos, nos cursos do Colégio Militar da OTAN,  -em Roma e em Oberammergau na Alemanha- sobre temas que dizem respeito a integração das forças armadas ucranianas as da OTAN. É nesse cenário que se insere a instituição, ao pé da Academia Militar ucraniana, de uma nova « faculdade multinacional » com a bandeira da OTAN.

Há também um considerável desenvolvimento da cooperação técnico-científica no sector dos armamentos para facilitar, através de uma grande interoperacionalidade, a participação das forças armadas ucranianas as das « operações conjuntas para a paz » abaixo da direção da OTAN.

Agora, dado que « muitos ucranianos não teriam suficiente conhecimentos sobre o papél e os objetivos da aliança, e ainda teriam a lembrança dos estereótipos do tempo da guerra fria » a  OTAN instituiu em Kiev um centro de informações. Esse centro organiza discussões e seminários, e mesmo visitas de « representantes da sociedade civíl » ao quartel-general de Bruxelas.

E como não existe só o que se vê, é evidente que a OTAN tem uma rede de contactos, nos meios militares e civís, de muito maior extensão do que o aparente. Isso se pode confirmar pelo ton de comando com o qual o secretário geral da OTAN se dirigiu, em 20 de fevereiro, as forças armadas ucranianas, em as advertindo quanto ao ficarem “neutras” sobre penas de « graves consequências negativas para as nossas relações ». A OTAN deve se sentir depois disso certa de poder dar um novo passo quanto a sua extensão ao Leste, em englobando provavelmente a metade da Ucrânia, ao mesmo tempo em que ela continua a sua campanha contra « os passados estereótipos da guerra fria ».

 Manlio Dinucci


Edição de terça-feira, 25 de fevereiro 2014, de il manifesto,

Tradução Anna Malm, artigospoliticos.wordpress.compara


El analista de La Sorbona Salim Lamrani habló con MDZ sobre las diferencias entre Capriles y López, y sobre qué es el “fascismo” opositor a Maduro.

Salim Lamrani es un periodista francés especializado en las relaciones entre EEUU, Cuba y Venezuela, autor de más de una docena de libros, en español y francés, sobre la temática vinculada. Su mirada, desde una posición distante de EEUU, lo ha colocado en numerosas conferencias como conferencista junto a marxistas de la talla del lingüista Noam Chomsky, el ex alcalde de Londres Ken Livingstone, el periodista Ignacio Ramonet y el ya fallecido Howard Zinn. Su último libro se titula Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

Su pluma lo ha llevado como invitado, sin embargo,  a universidades estadounidenses tales como Massachusetts Institute of Technology, la Northeastern University de Boston, la Thomas Jefferson School of Law de San Diego, la Universidad de Santa Barbara, la Sarah Lawrence College de New York, la Sonoma State University, la Universidad de Stanford y la Universidad de San Francisco.

Está particularmente activo durante esta crisis de Venezuela y sus columnas de análisis y opinión muchas veces son esgrimidas como espadas por la guardia militante del chavismo. Por ello, en lugar de hablar sobre el gobierno de Venezuela, de lleno, preferimos consultarle sobre la oposición, a la que el presidente Nicolás Maduro califica bajo el duro y genérico término de “fascista”, y también sobre “las oposiciones”, porque no hay una sola en ese país.

Lamrani responde como doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV. Es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión.

En siete preguntas y siete respuestas, el entrevistado afirma que no hay internas en el PSUV (el Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela) y sostiene que no hay capacidad de triunfo en los partidos de la oposición, a pesar del último resultado presidencial que la colocó 1,5 puntos por debajo del chavismo.

¿Cree que el término “fascista” utilizado por el presidente Maduro es claramente descriptivo de “la oposición” venezolana, siendo esta tan amplia y variada? ¿Por qué? 

- Hay claramente un sector de la oposición venezolana que siempre ha apostado por el golpismo pues sabe a ciencia cierta que le será muy difícil conseguir el poder mediante las urnas, mediante la vía democrática y republicana. Apuesta entonces por la subversión, la violencia y el crimen para conseguir lo que no puede obtener por voluntad popular.

¿En cuántos sectores identificaría usted a los opositores al chavismo?

- No todos los opositores al actual gobierno democrático de Venezuela quieren una ruptura del orden constitucional. Hay sectores insatisfechos por motivos válidos como la violencia, la inflación, la corrupción administrativa en los niveles intermediarios de la estructura estatal, que quieren cambios pero por la vía legal y pacífica. Esa oposición es respetuosa y respetable y absolutamente necesaria para la democracia venezolana. Lamentablemente, los más activos son los golpistas que se benefician no sólo del apoyo de Estados Unidos cuyo objetivo es un cambio de régimen – incluso por la fuerza, y también de los medios informativos occidentales que sólo presentan la realidad venezolana desde la perspectiva del sector más radical de la oposición, obviando lo que ocurrió en abril de 2002.

¿Qué hay, desde su punto de vista, con el rol de los partidos de izquierda que se plantan en contra de Maduro?

- La izquierda venezolana no es monolítica. Es plural y crítica como debe ser. Lo más importante es que sea constructiva y que respete la legalidad constitucional. No creo que haya divergencia de objetivos entre los chavistas y los demás sectores de la izquierda. Todos quieren construir un mejor futuro para todos los venezolanos y edificar la Patria de todos. La disensión es útil si toma en cuenta el interés general y respeta la voluntad popular expresada en las urnas

¿Los chavistas (o ex chavistas) que se dicen proscriptos, pero que valoran un “chavismo inicial”, como Raul Baduel, qué grado de relevancia tienen a la hora de hablar de “oposición” en Venezuela?

- No sé lo que es el “chavismo inicial” pues la Revolución Bolivariana es un movimiento de masas y de ideas en constante evolución. Todos los que enmarcan su acción en la legalidad tienen derecho a expresar sus puntos de vista y criticar la actuación del gobierno, incluso Raúl Baduel.

¿Cree que los medios de comunicación pueden derrocar a Maduro?

- Los medios informativos venezolanos, que se encuentran en manos privadas para el 80% de ellos, ya realizaron un golpe de Estado en abril de 2002 contra el gobierno democrático de Hugo Chávez. Hay una preocupante reminiscencia de los acontecimientos de 2002 con las manifestaciones actuales. Todo empezó del mismo modo: llamados de la oposición a protestar, muertos de ambos lados, condena general de los medios privados, sublevación de una parte del ejército y golpe de Estado. No hay que subestimar el peligro de una ruptura del orden constitucional por la violencia.

¿Es Leopoldo López diferente a Henrique Capriles?

- Leopoldo López parece más radical que Capriles en las actuales manifestaciones pues promueve abiertamente un golpe de Estado. Pero conviene no olvidar que ambos son golpistas pues participaron en la ruptura del orden constitucional en abril de 2002.

¿Puede reconocerse una oposición “silenciosa” desde adentro del PSUV para con Nicolás Maduro?

- No creo que haya que personificar al proceso bolivariano. El PSUV no es un partido monolítico. Hay tendencias distintas, criterios diferentes. Pero no creo que haya militantes en el PSUV que quieran derrocar a Maduro.

 Entrevista por Gabriel Conte@ConteGabriel 26 de Febrero de 2014

25 verdades sobre as manifestações na Venezuela

February 27th, 2014 by Salim Lamrani

Como em 2002, a oposição radical, incapáz de tomar o poder pelas urnas multiplicou as suas ações violentas com o fim de romper a ordem constitucional.

1. Nicolás Maduro, Presidente legítimo da Venezuela desde abril 2013, enfrenta uma oposição que tem meios, e que é apoiada pelos Estados Unidos. Essa oposição aspira a retomar o poder, o qual perdeu em 1998.

O presidente da Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro durante uma conferência de imprensa no salão Simón Bolivar do Palácio Miraflores

2. Depois de ter perdido as eleições presidenciais de abril de 2013, por uma diferença de 1.59%, a oposição primeiramente rejeitou os resultados eleitorais, as quais tinham sido aceitas como legais pelas mais importantes instituições internacionais, pelas da União Européia e as organizações dos Estados Unidos, as quais incluem o Centro Carter, de Jimmy Carter. A oposição exprimiu sua cólera através de violências que custaram a vida a onze militantes chavistas.

3. A pequena margem separando o candidato da oposição Henrique Capriles do vencedor Nicolás Maduro galvanizou a direita, motivada pela perspectiva de reconquistar o poder. Ela fez então das eleições municipais de dezembro de 2013 uma aposta estratégica.

4. Contra tudo o que se esperava, as eleições municipais se transformaram num plebiscito para o poder chavista que ganhou 76% das presidências das câmaras municipais (256), contra 23% (76) para a coalisão MUD, que regrupava toda a oposição.

5. Demoralizados pela série de reversos, vendo a perspectiva de reconquistar o poder por via democrática a fugir-lhes das mãos — as próximas eleições serão as legislativas de 2015 — a oposição se decidiu a reproduzir o esquema de abril de 2002, que tinha desembocado num Golpe de Estado, militar e midiático, contra o presidente Hugo Chavez.

6. Começando em 2014, o sector radical da oposição passou a ação. Leopoldo López, lider do Partido Voluntad Popular, que participou do golpe de estado em abril de 2002,  lançou um apelo em 2 de fevereiro de 2014 : “ Nós queremos lançar um apelo de rebelião ao povo venezuelano [...].  Nós pedimos ao povo venezuelano que diga `isso já chega´- basta [...]. A partir de agora nós temos a discutir só um objetivo :  A saida ! Como sair desse desastre´? ” .

7. Em 2 de fevereiro de 2014, de quando de uma manifestação, Leopoldo López designou o poder como o responsável por todos os males : “ As penúrias que estamos sofrendo hoje são consequências das ações de um só culpado. Esse culpado é o poder nacional”.

8. Em fevereiro de 2014, Antonio Ledezma, uma personagem da oposição, assim como presidente da Câmara de Caracas, também lançou um apelo para mudança dizendo:  “Fazem já 15 anos que esse governo vem prometendo uma confrontação. Hoje começa a união nas ruas de toda a Venezuela ”.

9. Maria Corina Machado, deputada da oposição, lançou um apelo para se pôr fim a “tirania” : “ O povo da Venezuela tem uma resposta : “Rebelião! Rebelião!”. Ela lançou claramente um apelo para o rompimento da ordem constitucional : “Alguns dizem que desemos esperar as eleições dentro de alguns anos. Será que os que não conseguem alimentar seus filhos podem esperar? Será que os funcionários, os agricultores, os comerciantes, a quem foram tirados o direito ao trabalho e a propriedade podem esperar? A Venezuela não pode esperar mais “.

10. Em 6 de fevereiro, logo após uma manifestação da oposição, uma centena de estudantes, usando máscaras, atacaram a residência do governador do Estado de Táchira, ferindo uma dezena de policiais.

11. Na mesma semana, várias manifestações da oposição se sucederam em diferentes estados, degenerando todas em violência.

12. Em 12 de fevereiro, uma outra manifestação orquestrada pela oposição, frente ao Ministério Público, manifestação essa constituida de estudantes de universidades particulares em Caracas, organizados em tropas de choque, foi de uma violência enorme, causando a morte de três pessoas, mais uma centena de feridos, assim também como de uma considerável destruição.

13. Como de quando do Golpe de Estado de abril de 2002, as três pessoas assassinadas foram todas abatidas com uma bala na testa.

14. Entre os mortos se encontrava o militante chavista Juan Montoya e Basil Alejando da Acosta, um membro da oposição. De acordo com os resultados balísticos, todos os dois foram mortos pela mesma arma.

15. Nos dias seguintes esses protestando foram oficialmente mobilisados abaixo do slogan “contra a vida cara e a insegurança” e instalados na Praça Altamira, situada num quarteirão rico de Caracas.

16. Depois de alguns meses a Venezuela vem sendo submetida a uma guerra econômica orquestrada pela oposição que controla ainda muitos sectores, podendo assim organizar – artificialmente – as penúrias sofridas pelos venezuelanos. Dentre múltiplas outras coisas, esses podem comprar enormes quantidades de alimentos e produtos de primeira necessidade e tirá-los do mercado, escondendo-os, assim como fazer outras formas de especulação.

17. Assim, em 5 de fevereiro de 2014, as autoridades puderam confiscar no Estado de Táchira, mais de mil tons de produtos alimentares de primeira necessidade como arroz, açucar, óleo e café, entre outras mais escondidas em armazéns. Depois de janeiro de 2013, mais do que 50.000 tons de alimentos foram confiscados dos esconderijos pelas autoridades.

18. O governo bolivariano se decidiu a agir e punir os especulantes desse negócio. Em novembro de 2013,  a cadeia Daka de produtos elétricos foi apreendida pelas autoridades, que também se decidiram a regular os preços. Essa empresa estava realmente faturando seus produtos com mais de 1 000% de lucros, o que fazia os produtos inacessíveis para a maioria dos venezuelanos.

19. Agora a margem máxima não poderá ser superior a 30%.

20. O presidente Nicolás Maduro denunciou uma tentativa de golpe de estado e apelou aos cidadãos que fazessem frente contra o “fascismo”. “ Nada nos desviará do caminho da pátria e da voz da democracia”, ele afirmou.

21. Em 17 de fevereiro de 2014, três diplomatas dos Estados Unidos, com postos em Caracas, foram expulsos do país por causa de suas implicações no sangrento desenrolar dos fatos. De acordo com as autoridades eles tinham se reunido aos estudantes das universidades particulares a fim de coordenar as manifestações.

22. Em 18 de fevereiro de 2014, Leopoldo Lópes foi preso por sua responsabilidade política frente as manifestações violentas, e entregua a justiça.

23.  A administração de Obama condenou o governo de Caracas pela violência, sem jamais evocar a responsabilidade da oposição que tentou realizar aqui um golpe de estado. Muito pelo contrário, o Departamento do Estado dos mesmos exigiu a libertação imediata de Leopoldo López, o principal instigados dos dramáticos acontecimentos que acabaram por custar a vida a muitos venezuelanos.

24.  A imprensa do ocidente ocultou os atos de violência dos grupos armados, assim como a pilhagem dos edifícios da administração pública, os feitos dos magasines Mercal [1000% de lucros?]  – onde o povo se fornecia de alimentos de primeira necessidade ! – assim como as vandalizações. Isso tudo encobriram, assim também como o fato da Televisão Venezuelana ter sido atacada com armas de fogo.

25.  A imprensa ocidental longe de apresentar os acontecimentos na Venezuela com toda a imparcialidade, tomou o partido dos golpistas, colocando-se contra o governo democraticamente eleito e legítimo de Nicolás Maduro. Eles não hesitaram em manipular a opinião pública em apresentando a situação como uma rebelião popular massiva contra o poder governamental, mesmo sendo que o governo, democrática e comprovadamente, tem o apoio da grande maioria dos venezuelanos, como o demonstraram não só as gigantescas demonstrações em favor da Revolução Bolivariana.

Salim Lamrani

25 de fevereiro de 2014


Artigo original em espanhol :

venezuela-carte25 verdades sobre las manifestaciones en VenezuelaComo en 2002, la oposición radical multiplica las acciones con el objetivo de romper el orden constitucional

Fonte original :

Tradução Anna Malm


Salim Lamrani: Doutor de Estudos Ibéricos e Latinoamericanos da Universidade de Paris IV- Sorbonne,  Salim Lamrani é Maître de Conferências na Universidade de La Réunion, e jornalista especializado das relações entre Cuba e os Estados Unidos. O seu novo trabalho se intitula “Cuba: Les médias face au défi de l´impartialité” (Paris, Editions Estrlla, 2013) o qual tem um prefácio por Eduardo Galeano.

 [“Cuba: A imprensa face ao défice da imparcialidade”]

Contact : [email protected]

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El escándalo de corrupción en El Salvador que involucró a Francisco Flores, ex presidente de El Salvador entre 1999 y 2004 ha abierto la puerta para el reconocimiento diplomático de la República Popular de China por el siguiente gobierno en San Salvador y que el FMLN falló en confirmar bajo el período del presidente Mauricio Funes. El negociado que compromete a Flores ha creado la oportunidad política apropiada para que el Frente Farabundo Martí de Liberación Nacional formalmente suspenda sus vínculos diplomáticos con Taiwán (formalmente conocido como República de China) si el FMLN elige el presidente el próximo mes de marzo del 2014.

La cuestión diplomática además, revela la coordinación entre bastidores que se está dando entre Beiyín y Taipei. La situación pinta un cuadro de cordial vía hacia la unificación china entre Taiwán y la China Continental y no un cuadro de rivalidad. Ni Beiyín ni Taipei han puesto mayores obstáculos en la vía, reconociendo que finalmente habrá una sola China.

Francisco Flores y la Oligarquía salvadoreña 

Francisco Flores fue presidente de El Salvador cuando la Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, más conocida por sus iniciales en castellano ARENA gobernaba esta república centro-americana. Se trata de un miembro de la corrupta oligarquía, aliada de Estados Unidos, que de hecho ha degradado a El Salvador reduciéndolo a la condición de colonia norteamericana, siguiendo órdenes de Washington DC. Ejemplo de esta relación es que durante el período presidencial de Flores, El Salvador enviaría a cientos de militares para ayudar a Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña durante la ilegal ocupación de Irak.

La oligarquía salvadoreña, para todos los efectos, ha operado como una clase elitesca compradora, lo cual significa que por último ella sirve como representante local o gerente de corporaciones, gobiernos e intereses extranjeros. En este caso, la oligarquía salvadoreña ha actuado colectivamente como una clase elitesca compradora al servicio de las elites de Estados Unidos las cuales serían descritas de manera más precisa como parasitarias debido al hecho que ellas succionan la mayor parte de la riqueza y recursos de los países que ellas han subvertido a través de su influencia. Históricamente estas elites norteamericanas han penetrado las estructuras de poder y las jerarquías de América Latina luego que la influencia de las elites parasitarias españolas originales en la cima de la jerarquía económica en el Hemisferio Occidental se vino a menos. Muchos países latinoamericanos hasta tenían un funcionario norteamericano o ministro, supervisando su gobierno, incluso sus asuntos cotidianos.

Bajo el gobierno de Flores y ARENA, El Salvador perdió su soberanía monetaria, el colón. La divisa nacional de El Salvador fue eliminada por órdenes del gobierno de Flores y ARENA. El colón fue reemplazado por el dólar norteamericano como la moneda oficial de El Salvador. De este modo, El Salvador se unió a las filas de varios territorios controlados por Estados Unidos, como Timor Oriental, Panamá y Ecuador donde la divisa norteamericana es la moneda oficial.

Bajo el gobierno de ARENA se establecieron numerosos e injustos monopolios privados legalizados por seguidores y miembros de ARENA. Se tornó ilegal y casi imposible comprar medicinas de cualquiera que no fuera Alfredo Cristiani, oligarca que fue el presidente de ARENA en El Salvador anterior a Armando Calderón Sol y posteriormente Funes. Cristiani no solo inició la restructuración económica neoliberal de El Salvador, sino que también empleó su monopolio privado de las medicinas para sobrecargar los precios e incluso vender medicamentos vencidos con toda impunidad. Lo mismo fue con los fertilizantes y otros productos agrícolas los cuales fueron monopolizados privadamente por Cristiani. El régimen de ARENA no permitía ningún tipo de competencia. Así mismo, Cristiani privatizó el sistema bancario salvadoreño permitiendo que su familia utilizara el Banco de Cuscatlán para expandir su influencia en Centroamérica, actualmente este banco es de propiedad del Citibank.

Sin embargo, la corrupción política todavía merodea en El Salvador, el basamento criminal de los anteriores gobiernos de ARENA aparece explícitamente reconocido en los informes y archivos administrativos de su propia policía. Los archivos policiales de inteligencia demuestran que cada presidente, cada ministro de justicia y director de la policía estaba vinculado al crimen organizado hasta que el FMLN asumió el gobierno en San Salvador. Aun más, Alfredo Cristiani, amante del Fondo Monetario Internacional, IMF y del Banco Mundial, está ampliamente reconocido como el padre del crimen organizado en El Salvador.

Los autores de la Opción Salvadoreña

Antes que ARENA se formara oficialmente, los oligarcas salvadoreños empleaban a los militares y a la policía para llevar adelante una feroz guerra con la completa participación del gobierno de Estados Unidos y el Pentágono contra los pueblos indígenas, los campesinos, los pobres en general, contra los intelectuales, los sindicatos, la Iglesia Católica Romana y contra cualquiera que exigiera democracia e igualdad de derechos en El Salvador. La brutal represión y consiguiente guerra civil fue parte de los esfuerzos de la oligarquía para mantener su control sobre la sociedad salvadoreña.

Fue durante el dominio de estos oligarcas que la infame Opción Salvador engendrada por los escuadrones de la muerte afines con Estados Unidos exterminaran aldeas completas de manera lenta, cruel y grotesca. Empleaban picahielos para vaciar ojos y deformar rostros mientras los miembros eran sistemáticamente descuartizados por caballos o vehículos. El asesinato del Arzobispo de San Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero, mientras decía misa fue uno de los hechos más conocidos. El hombre detrás del asesinato de Monseñor Romero fue el Mayor Roberto D’Aubuisson, que sería el fundador de ARENA.

No obstante, el asesinato de Monseñor Romero es solo una de las muchas atrocidades cometidas por estos oligarcas con pleno conocimiento, apoyo y complicidad de Washington. Los oficiales militares salvadoreños fueron entrenados en la infame Escuela de las Américas y por el Pentágono en muchas de las técnicas de tortura y asesinato empleadas por los escuadrones de la muerte, cursos dictados por instructores militares norteamericanos. Por otra parte, muchísimos combatientes guerrilleros salvadoreños recuerdan haber luchado contra tropas norteamericanas y escuchado por radio órdenes de los norteamericanos para bombardear la selva y las aldeas de El Salvador, tanto en inglés como en castellano.

Casi toda la población indígena de El Salvador iba a ser exterminada por los oligarcas. Familias completas serían asesinadas mientras sus bienes serían saqueados o destruidos. Ni siquiera los niños y los animales se salvarían. Tanto las violaciones como la profanación de tumbas fueron prácticas comunes y sistemáticas.

Una de las peores masacres fue cometida el 11 de diciembre de 1981. La masacre la realizaron en la aldea El Mozote en el Departamento de Morazán. Ochocientos (800) civiles, incluyendo niños fueron sistemáticamente torturados, humillados, violados y asesinados por una unidad de operaciones especiales entrenada por Estados Unidos.

Washington enviaría gente como James Steele y John Negroponte a Irak bajo la ocupación anglo-norteamericana para recrear el reino de terror que Estados Unidos contribuyó a crear en El Salvador. Exactamente los mismos patrones y tácticas de asesinato y tortura serían empleados en Irak ocupado, revelando a Estados Unidos como el origen de los escuadrones de la muerte tanto en El Salvador como en Irak ocupado por los anglo-norteamericanos.

¿Soborno Taiwanés?

Mientras la Asamblea Nacional o la Asamblea Legislativa de El Salvador iniciaba una investigación sobre la corrupción, se descubrió que 10 millones de dólares habían sido depositados en una cuenta personal a nombre de Francisco Flores. Cuando Flores fue interrogado acerca de esta enorme cantidad de dinero, él respondía que el dinero le había sido entregado por el gobierno de Taiwán y que en realidad él había recibido más que esa cantidad de parte de Taiwán. Después de esto, Flores trató de huir de El Salvador o aparentó hacerlo. Lo intentó luego que se le ordenó que compareciera de nuevo frente a la Asamblea Nacional en vísperas de la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales salvadoreñas del 2014.

Los fondos que Francisco Flores obtuvo eran en realidad parte de un conjunto de pagos secretos hechos anualmente por Taiwán. Taiwán tiene muy estrechos lazos con El Salvador y Centroamérica. Aparte de los estados latinoamericanos patrocinados por Estados Unidos, el gobierno taiwanés se ha unido a Estados Unidos e Israel en apoyo a los oligarcas de El Salvador en su lucha contra el FMLN durante la guerra civil que azotó a El Salvador.

Los pagos secretos hechos por Taiwán a Flores fueron originalmente acordados con el objeto de impedir que El Salvador reconociera al gobierno de Beiyín como el legítimo gobierno de China. Mientras que originalmente los pagos pudieron ser anti-Beiyín o un premio taiwanés por el reconocimiento de Taiwán en vez del gobierno de la China Continental, pareciera que estos se hacían con un sentimiento anti-Beiyín cada vez menor. Los continuos pagos de Taiwán se mantuvieron con el propósito de sostener el tratamiento ventajoso para los intereses comerciales taiwaneses y obtener concesiones económicas en El Salvador, incluyendo el monopolio sobre el sector geotérmico salvadoreño el cual es completamente de propiedad de Taiwán.

Vale la pena notar que el gobierno salvadoreño y Taipei han estado intercambiando información sobre el escándalo de corrupción. Esto en parte se debe al hecho que Chen Shui-bian era el presidente de Taiwán cuyo gobierno le enviaba a Flores los fondos. Shui-bian y su esposa están actualmente en la cárcel en Taiwán condenados por corrupción y es probable que exista una investigación paralela en Taipei que examina el rol de Shui-bian y sus asociados.

La Estrella Ascendente de China

La República Popular China es un actor de creciente importancia en América Latina. Un proyecto importante que involucra a China es la construcción de un mega canal para conectar el Océano Atlántico con el Océano Pacífico, una especie de segundo Canal de Panamá. Sin embargo, este segundo canal de Panamá tendrá su base en Nicaragua y se llamará el Gran Canal de Nicaragua. El gobierno nicaragüense ya firmó un acuerdo el año 2012 con la recién formada empresa con base en Hong-Kong denominada Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., Ltd. Dirigida por un empresario chino como un imán para captar inversionistas internacionales para la construcción del canal. El proyecto se iniciará en el futuro cercano.

Cuando el FMLN logró que Mauricio Funes fuera elegido presidente, hicieron que de inmediato estableciera relaciones diplomáticas con Cuba en el momento de su ascensión el 1º de junio del 2009. El anterior gobierno de ARENA se negó a tener relaciones con La Habana y contribuyó al bloqueo norteamericano contra Cuba y se opuso a Venezuela y a sus aliados regionales. Del mismo modo, el FMLN estableció relaciones diplomáticas con Vietnam, Cambodia y Rusia. No obstante, no lo hicieron con la República Popular China debido a una multitud de factores.

El no reconocer a Beiyín se debió a la oposición del presidente Funes. Actualmente él, que es presidente saliente de El Salvador, fue empleado de CNN y un popular hombre de radio local que fue apoyado por el FMLN. Funes no es miembro del FMLN como algunas personas en el exterior lo creen. Dentro del acuerdo que Funes tuvo con el FMLN las carteras ministeriales del gabinete salvadoreño fueron divididas entre militantes del FMLN e individuos ajenos a éste (Amigos de Funes) escogidos por Funes. Bajo este acuerdo de poder compartido, Funes controlaba los aspectos estratégicos, la economía nacional y el secretariado para las reformas políticas, en tanto que el FMLN manejó las carteras responsables de la salud, educación y seguridad. Fue dentro de este marco que Funes pudo atascar el reconocimiento de la República Popular China y poner trabas a las reformas políticas y económicas que el FMLN promovía.

En el momento en que el gobierno salvadoreño contactó a funcionarios oficiales de Beiyín, el gobierno chino se mostró un tanto frío ante la idea de establecer lazos diplomáticos. Esto probablemente se debió a la dilación que el gobierno chino tal vez pudo considerar como insultante para la dignidad de Beiyín. Aunque el FMLN como partido político tiene vínculos directos con la República Popular China a través de su oficina de relaciones internacionales y delegaciones suyas han sido invitadas a Beiyín, el FMLN buscará las vías para establecer relaciones diplomáticas formales con Beiyín cuando el FMLN gane las elecciones presidenciales en la segunda vuelta el próximo mes de marzo de este año. En este contexto, un segundo período presidencial del FMLN brindará la oportunidad para que el Frente rectifique el error y reconozca rápidamente a Beiyín bajo un nuevo capítulo cuando el Vicepresidente, Salvador Sánchez sea el próximo presidente.

El gobierno salvadoreño y el FMLN le han dejado en claro a Taiwán en el sentido que finalmente intentan reconocer a Beiyín como el legítimo gobierno de China. Lo que resulta interesante es que no ha habido oposición alguna de parte de Taiwán contra esta decisión. Tampoco la suspensión de los vínculos diplomáticos con Taipei pondrá fin a las relaciones comerciales con El Salvador. Incluso existe un tipo de coordinación silenciosa entre Taiwán y la República Popular China respecto del derrotero que finalmente terminará en el marco de la unificación china.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya se encuentra viajando por Centro América. Actualmente se encuentra en León, Nicaragua, bastión del Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN. Estuvo presente como observador internacional durante la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales en El Salvador y sostuvo conversaciones con funcionarios salvadoreños sobre economía y política exterior.

Traducción desde el inglés para Aporrea por Sergio R. Anacona.


 “Once You Give Up Your Rights, You Can Never Get Them Back. Once You Turn On That Police State, You Can Never Turn It Off.”

Richard Clarke is one of the four White House panelists on NSA spying, and the former top counter-terror czar in the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Clarke has previously said that mass surveillance isn’t needed to keep us safe. And see this.

As Tech Target reports:

Revelations about NSA monitoring activities over the last year show the potential for a police state mechanism, according to the former U.S. cybersecurity czar, but there is still time to avoid the dire consequences.


“[T]hey have created, with the growth of technologies, the potential for a police state.”


“Once you give up your rights, you can never get them back. Once you turn on that police state, you can never turn it off.”

Indeed, top American officials have warned for decades of a police state enabled by the NSA.

And a former top NSA official said that we’ve already got a police state.  He told Washington’s Blog:

I am glad he [Clarke] also understands the threat to democracy.

The only reason I recognized that in 2001 is because I worked the Soviet problem for close to 30 years … and what NSA was doing was exactly what the Soviet’s tried to do (as well as the Stasi and the Gestapo/SS).

And see this.

U.S. Government and Mexican Cartel, Partners in Drug Plot?

February 27th, 2014 by Clarence Walker

The recent capture in Mexico of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the world’s richest, most dangerous and powerful drug lord labeled by U.S. Government as Public Enemy Number 1. Guzman’s high-profile arrest has triggered a worldwide news media frenzy as government authorities here in the U.S. and abroad work together to take down the remaining Mexico’s Cartel leaders and their henchmen. Responsible for thousands of drug-related murders and once considered the most elusive wanted outlaw behind Osama bin Laden, Joaquin Guzman is the biggest story in the drug world.

But there is another story with links to Guzman’s empire that is expected to take center stage in trial later this year in Chicago involving one of Guzman’s top operatives, a trial that will bear Guzman’s bloody hands in the dope trade, and expose him as one of the world’s worst turncoats to enter the narcotic game.

Recent allegations circulating in the global media allege that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other federal agents had forged a secret alliance with top level Sinaloa drug cartel members by permitting the narco gangsters to traffic drugs into the U.S., and in a reverse sting, the DEA is accused of allegedly allowing the dealers to ship U.S. made weapons into Mexico without facing prosecution. All this work was done on behalf of the U.S. government to achieve the government’s grand mission to play one cartel off another to destroy feuding narcotic organizations.

These allegations have triggered a firestorm of controversy and conspiracy theories in the Mexican nation and throughout the United States as well.

Informants from the Sinaloa Cartel who once worked for the federal government by snitching off on other cartel groups now feel betrayed by arguing the U.S. Government reneged on a promise to grant the Sinaloa immunity from prosecution as long as they provided secret information on their rivals.

“I was an informant for U.S. Federal Agents, and the agents cut a deal with (me), and members of the Sinaloa Cartel that allowed us to traffic tons of narcotics into the U.S., and to traffic illegal guns across the Mexico-U.S. Border without fear of prosecution under an immunity agreement,” said Vicente Zambada-Niebla in a bombshell court filing in federal court in Chicago Illinois.

As the logistical coordinator for the Sinaloa, the sweeping indictment against Zambada-Niebla and 36 co-defendants, allege that the traffickers conspired to import tons of cocaine and “multi-kilo” quantities of cocaine, heroin and marijuana into Chicago Illinois and throughout other U.S. cities between 2005 and 2008. Zambada (right) coordinated the drug loads by using trains, ships, Boeing 747 cargo jets and even submarines.

Extradited from Mexico to Illinois in February 2010 where he is confined in maximum security lockup under 24-hour security awaiting trial, Zambada-Niebla made quick attempts to get off the hook by filing multiple motions in late 2011 to present a “Public Authority” Defense.”

According to federal statue, to mount a Public Authority Defense, the court must find the defendant, “knowingly committed criminal acts but did so in reasonable reliance upon a grant of authority from a government official who had actual authority as opposed to merely authority.”

The major distinction between “actual authority” and “merely authority” boils down to this: If DEA or FBI agents told Zambada-Niebla that he could traffic drugs into the U.S. without facing arrest by snitching on other cartel groups this “merely authority”, as opposed to the higher echelon of “actual authority”, which such agreements are similar to immunity, must first be approved by Justice Department officials.

Federal prosecutors fired back. They suggested during court hearings on the matter that “even if Zambada-Niebla was an informant that he was not authorized to commit the drug crimes as alleged in the indictment.”

The almighty Feds added that Zambada should not be allowed to use the Public Authority Defense unless he can provide the names of agents or officials who approved his illegal activities.

Here’s where things get sticky. Most of the Sinaloa Cartel communications with the DEA were through the Sinaloa’s lawyer identified as Humberto-Loya Castro, according to Zambada Niebla.

Zambada-Niebla is the son of Ismael Zambada-Garcia who is second in charge of the Sinaloa cartel behind top boss Jose “El Chapo” Guzman (right). Sinaloa lawyer Humberto Loya-Castro became a DEA informant in 1995, after being indicted on cocaine conspiracy charges along with top boss Joaquin Guzman. These ongoing controversial stories follow years of suspicion that Guzman who controls the Sinaloa has only succeeded in eluding capture because of his fellow members cooperating with U.S. federal agents, and Mexico authorities.

Guzman is well known for using government authorities against his enemies like he did against rivals within his own organizations identified as Alfredo Beltran and Ignacio “El Nacho” Villareal.

Newspaper Story Controversy and Past Government Corruption

According to a story in the January issue of El Universal, Mexico’s leading newspaper, the team writers reported in an investigative expose that after interviewing numerous sources and reading voluminous court records documented by Mexico and the U.S., that the American Feds worked closely with the Sinaloa Cartel from 2000 to 2012—as part of a “divide and conquer” strategy to eliminate dope rivals competing against the Sinaloa in exchange for the Sinaloa players to provide the government with damaging information on targeted rivals like the blood thirsty Zetas and the La Familia groups.

To prove the government engaged in previous similar practices, court filings by Zambada-Niebla’s attorneys also pointed out: “The United States Government and its various agencies have a long history of providing benefits, permission and immunity to criminals and their organizations to commit crimes, including murder, in return for receiving information against other criminals,” the court motion said.

Attorneys compared Zambada-Niebla’s case with another high-profile case: “Perhaps no better example, is the celebrated case of Whitey Bulger, the Boston Irish crime boss and murderer, who, along with other group members of criminal organizations were given “Carte Blanche” authority by the FBI to commit murders to help the FBI take down the Italian Mafia in the New England area.”

Subsequently Whitey Bulger was convicted of several murders, drug trafficking, racketeering and obstruction of justice.

Government complicity in the drug trade is not new.

During the early 1990’s, the American-based CIA and cabinet members of then-President Ronald Reagan participated in the Iran-Contra scandal by allowing cocaine to be sold throughout America’s ghettos.

To fund the Contra Rebels war against Nicaragua’s socialist government the CIA teamed with Colombian Cartels to traffic drugs into Los Angeles California and throughout the nation, with the profits shipped back to Central America.

Utilizing every trick in the bag to get off the hook, Zambada Niebla unloaded another bombshell by disclosing another secret the Sinaloa had with the government.

He insisted that himself and cartel allies were in cahoots with the Fast and Furious investigation orchestrated by the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm), a gun-walk program responsible for agents allowing informants to traffic into Mexico a cache of American purchased weapons in efforts to build federal weapons charges against targeted cartel organizations.

Zambada’s court depositions further stated that a second part of the immunity agreement,” the ATF armed the Sinaloans with several high-caliber assault rifles to use the firepower to destroy rival drug dealers.”

Led by Senator Darrell Issa (R-Calif), Fast and Furious later became the target of critical Senate hearings to determine which members of the Justice Department authorized the gun-walk operation that reeled in only 34 gun traffickers.

Referring to ATF’s Fast and Furious investigation, Zambada’s attorneys, George Panzer and George Santiangelo further argued in court that if the government will allow guns to be transported across the Mexico-U.S. Border and tried to cover-up the botched scheme then the government is capable of allowing the Sinaloa Cartel to ship illegal drugs into the United States. ATF lost track of approximately 1,700 guns as part of the ill-fated operation including the recovery of an AK-47 used by a Mexican National in December 2010, to murder Brian Terry, a Customs-Border Protection Agent.

Aside from his drug immunity claim, Zambada’s version about his role in “Fast and Furious” raise suspicion for a number of reasons, the most obvious being is that Zambada was arrested in March 2009–more than six months before ATF initiated Fast and Furious.

Despite this red flag, it didn’t stop news blogs and conservative online media from reporting Zambada’s claim about his part in the gun-walk program. Nor has it stopped El Universal stories from inferring that DEA was guilty of granting immunity to the Sinaloa cartel, but once the government used the members to achieve their goal they reneged on the immunity deal.

Even without a written immunity agreement, crack lawyers for Zambada-Niebla went a step further by invoking the Classified Information Procedure Act (CIPA). CIPA is a law focused on showing the government is hiding evidence to exonerate a defendant. No hearing has been set on this matter.

Following El Universal’s big scoop story, many news agencies scrambled to write a titillating spin to vilify the government as conspirators with drug cartels. What sounded like a great story but either the reporting team honestly forgot or downplayed the significant decision of Illinois Federal Judge Ruben Castillo who has already ruled in 2012, that Zambada’s evidence heard in court failed to prove the government granted him immunity from prosecution.

So why did the El Universal story slant its piece to infer that newly released U.S. Government documents suggested a conspiracy between the Sinaloa Cartel and DEA agents simply because DEA admitted meeting with Zambada-Niebla and Sinaloa lawyer Humberto Loya-Castro to discuss information that Zambada wanted to give up on other narco traffickers.

Here are excerpts of the release of U.S. Government documents which firmly refute Zambada’s immunity claims:

(1) DEA agents and Justice Department officials met with Sinaloa and Gulf Cartel top-level members to gather information on other rivals.

(2) During a series of meetings U.S. Officials succeeded in establishing a network of cartel informants.

(3) DEA passed the obtained information from the cooperating cartels to Mexican authorities who used the intelligence to execute narcotic raids.

(4) Mexican authorities never revealed to Mexican media exactly where the information came from that took down high-level dealers and killer squads.

 The Mexican government emphasized in their written court response that meeting with cartel members to get information only represents normal intelligence gathering procedure.

Was it Zambada-Niebla Idea to Seek Immunity?

Another major but missing point the El Universal story failed to explain clearly to its readers- the DEA and a Justice Department prosecutor documented evidence that it was Zambada-Niebla who first tried to score an immunity deal through the Sinaloa’s lawyer Loya-Castro who himself was a DEA informant and wanted at the time on the same federal drug charges against Zambada.

The story went down this way:

In 2008, Loya-Castro proposed a meeting with his DEA contact and Zambada-Niebla. On March 17th 2009, both Sinaloa members met with DEA agents at a Sheraton Hotel in Mexico city. DEA agent Manuel Castanon recalled the meeting during an April 2012–court hearing.

“I met for approximately 30 minutes in a hotel room in Mexico City with Zambada-Niebla, DEA agent David Herrod and a cooperating source (Sinaloa lawyer Loya-Castro), with whom I’ve worked as an informant since 2005. I did all of the talking on behalf of the DEA,” the agent testified.

Castanon further said, “Zambada-Niebla communicated interest and willingness to cooperate with the government.”

The agent responded to Zambada’s offer by explaining, “We were not authorized to meet with him, much less have substantive discussions with him,” Castanon recalled, in his matter-of-fact tone.

Shortly after leaving the hotel Zambada was arrested by Mexico authorities on the U.S. drug trafficking warrants and placed in jail to await extradition to the United States.

Patrick Hearns, a Justice Department prosecutor told Federal Judge Ruben Castillo that according to Special Agent Steve Fraga that it was Sinaloa lawyer Loya-Castro who gave information which previously led to a 23 ton cocaine seizure including other big seizures down through the years.

Hearns also pointed out that Sinaloa underboss El Mayo Zambada anxiously requested his son Zambada-Niebla to cooperate with U.S. authorities. Zambada claimed he only met with DEA agents at the hotel under the assumption that the cartel’s lawyer Loya-Castro had already negotiated immunity for his protection but instead was arrested.

If this was true; why did DEA agents allowed Zambada to be arrested?

Informant Guidelines

What is highly noted, according to narcotic experts, is the fact the immunity allegations explicitly detailed in Zambada’s court filings indicating the Sinaloa had free rein for years to ship drugs into America—glaringly deviates from the Fed’s guidelines for informants. High-level confidential informants must sign detailed agreements delineating the crimes an informant may be allowed to involved themselves with–in strict accordance with the Attorney General’s guidelines.

For example, such authorization can run up to 90 days or longer, and the primary law enforcement agency is tasked with close supervision over the informant’s crime activities. The downside to the immunity allegations detailed in Zambada’s court filings skeptically deviates from the Fed’s normal informant practice.

Former experienced federal agents affirm the government’s view on working with informants (who did not have immunity) to gather information on other targets but the same informants were later indicted for crimes although they assisted in having other drug dealers taken off the streets.

Retired DEA agent Joe Toft who headed the U.S. Justice Department’s “Capture or Kill” investigation of Colombian Medellin Cartel Drug Lord Pablo Escobar is familiar with the practice in big cases. Toft, in a phone interview dismissed Zambada’s immunity claim.

“I cannot imagine the DEA and Justice Department agreeing to immunity for the Sinaloa Cartel who brought lots of drugs into this country. Only the Justice Department and Attorney General can sign off on these things,” Toft explained.

Lewis “Big Lew” Rice, a retired DEA Special Agent in Charge of the New York and Detroit Michigan division agrees with Toft.

“My experience in the DEA is that they would never authorize large amounts of drugs to hit the streets.” In very rare circumstances, Lewis said, “personal use amounts of drugs could be authorized on a case specific basis, and agents would have to make a strong case as to why this was necessary, and detail the other investigative steps that were tried, and why it failed.”

Comparing the intelligence gleaned from the Sinaloa and other narcotic informants as typical business, Rice continued.

“Major drug dealers possess a wealth of intelligence but the goal is to collect that information without hurting the public,” Rice concluded.

A drug trafficking book author offered a similar view but with a pessimistic twist.

“It would not surprise me if certain rogue agents would cut corners to bust the worse of two evils to achieve their goals, but I doubt the Justice Department or higher ups would officially sanction something like this,” says Ron Chepesiuk, author of Black Caesar; The Life and Disappearance of Kingpin Frank Matthews.

Chepesiuk also wrote the American Gangster book based on the Life of Harlem Drug Kingpin Frank Lucas, a story later immortalized in a movie with the same name starring iconic actor Denzel Washington.

Since Zambada-Niebla confessed to snitching off rival narco players leads to a provocative question: why was he giving up people if no reward or benefits or some kind of immunity were promised to Zambada? Law enforcement officers say that the public must understand the dope world is a cutthroat business and that drug dealers often snitch off the competition to gain more profits, which, Zambada-Niebla himself provided information to his lawyer Humberto Loya-Castro who forwarded Zambada’s information to DEA.

The following is a breakdown of information explaining how the law deals with informants:

(1) Recruiting Informants Not a Criminal Conspiracy:

Insight Crime Journalist Charles Parkinson wrote the following analysis; “The detailed revelations shows how the U.S. government continues to work with criminal elements as part of anti-narcotics efforts to focus on priority targets to build cases.” Parkinson’s analysis indicate just because DEA recruited informants from the Sinaloa Cartel; or if any informant voluntarily offered intelligence on drug trafficking to earn reward money from asset seizures, then the mere fact that Zambada-Niebla and his crew were informants does not imply the Feds granted immunity to the Cartels.

(2) Informant Status:

Unless authorized in writing, informant status is not rewarded with immunity to avoid prosecution, particularly if the informant go outside his scope of duty with his controlling agent and break the law. This proves true when Zambada-Niebla was arrested outside a Mexico hotel after meeting with DEA agents in 2009. As the Insight story points out, the U.S. Government can still work against a cartel while simultaneously juicing information from criminals within organizations.

Insight story further noted how U.S. Federal Officials worked diligently with Cali Colombian Cartel described as “blood death” rivals of Medellin Kingpin Pablo Escobar when the drug lord had a “kill or capture” warrant hanging over his head.

Retired DEA agent Joe Toft reaffirms the government’s scheme “to gain intelligence on drug organizations like the Cali and Medellin who were killing each other off.”

Toft now says when the Cali and Medellin group were ferociously battling each other the DEA capitalizes on the bloodshed similar like recent tactics used by DEA in dealing with Zambada’s Sinaloa Cartel against the Zetas and Juarez narco groups.

“The theory that drug rivals often provide information on each other is not new,” Toft says. “When we were hunting Pablo Escobar during my time as head of DEA operation in Colombia I would get information on Escobar’s organization from the Cali group, and then we would get information on the Cali Cartel from Escobar’s guys.”

“This is probably what happened with the Sinaloa Cartel,” Toft further explained. “I bet that Sinaloa lawyer (Loya-Castro) was playing both ends between the DEA and the Sinaloa by pumping the group for information on other dealers considering the fact that the lawyer himself was already working as a DEA informant.” Toft said most likely the lawyer would “tell the Sinaloa the DEA had given them immunity from prosecution in order to have those guys to keep feeding the lawyer with intel on other competition, and that the lawyer probably made the reward money for any drug busts.”

In Escobar’s case the DEA and Colombian officials used Diego Murilllo aka Don Berman to help locate Escobar. When Escobar died in a bloody gun battle in 1993 with authorities, Murillo reigned as the new Medellin boss until U.S. government extradited Murillo to America where he is currently serving a long prison stretch on narcotic and money laundering charges.

As a federal informant, Murillo’s case is a classic example that shows; although Murillo helped the government to take down Escobar, the world’s notorious drug kingpin, his snitch work did not stop the Feds from arresting him.

So why would the Feds treat Zambada-Niebla any different?


Reasonable doubt in a court of law is a doubt based on “Reason” and common sense. Doubt will take center stage surrounding the government’s alleged immunity deal with the Sinaloa Cartel. What it will boil down to: Who has more credibility in this finger-pointing affair; the government or Zambada-Niebla?

To sway the jury to acquit Zambada-Niebla, lawyers for the narco gangster must convince them the government lied when they alleged (no) immunity agreement was given to Zambada for trafficking drugs and guns in exchange for the Sinaloa players to snitch on their rivals in the dope game.

Expect Zambada’s attorneys to put the government’s integrity on trial.

U.S. Government should prevail by showing none of their agents gave written or verbal immunity to the Sinaloa Cartel but the imminent danger for the government at trial provokes this question:

What if the jury inherently mistrusts the government? Or what if they are well aware of past government corruptions like the Benghazi cover-up by the Obama administration, the Iran-Contra drugs for cash crimes, Obama’s questionable NSA Spy Surveillance and the Fast and Furious ATF cover-up?

Past scandals looming in the mix are an edge for the defense because all it takes for a guilty person to walk free is reasonable doubt.

To paraphrase the iconic actor Denzel Washington’s well-spoken words in the blockbuster movie “Training Day“, the Oscar-winning actor famously said; “It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove!”

 Journalist Clarence Walker can be reached at: [email protected]


We feel the need to help achieve change in the music industry, a favourable change, that is. Artists must remain in control to the extent that this is possible”Puerto Rico’s Calle 13 Collaborated on a new album with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine (RATM) and Palestinian Singer Kamilya Jubran. Other tracks on the album feature author of Open Veins of Latin America, Eduardo Galeano. The album called ‘Multi_Viral’ against news manipulation and political repression is to be released this coming March. It is political and indeed very interesting. It is a new generation of protest music that will grab worldwide attention. According to an online magazine

Multi_Viral is Calle 13’s first album under their own record label, El Abismo (The Abyss), allowing them to have more creative and artistic freedom than ever before. “An artist should have control over their art in every way possible”, says René, vocalist and songwriter of the band. It’s this state-of-mind that has set Calle 13 apart from the reggaeton genre pushing boundaries with satirical lyrics and social commentary about Latin American issues and culture

Multi-viral music video is in Spanish, English and Arabic.

Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, a non-profit news organization that gained worldwide attention when they released 250,000 US classified documents to several news outlets which exposed the U.S. government’s global agenda. Julian Assange is currently residing in an Ecuadorian embassy in London, England after Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa granted him Diplomatic Asylum.

Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine (RATM), An American rock band known for their political views, critical of the US government’s policies which reflect in their music. It also features Kamilya Jubran who is a Palestinian singer born in Akka, within the State of Israel. Kamilya was Sabreen’s lead song performer, and player of several oriental instruments including the Oud and the Qanoon among others. In her official website it says

“From 1982 to 2002, Kamilya along with Sabreen represented the voice of resistance; struggle for freedom, and a deep and dynamic artistic-political process that created a new style of a modern Arabic song.”

The Buenos Aires Herald wrote a story called ‘Calle 13 multi-viral trend’ and said that “Calle 13 will then take its vigorous message through the Caribbean, the US, Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. Highlighting its true commitment to social and political issues, band members René Pérez and stepbrother Eduardo Cabra go by the most telling nicknames of “Resident” and “Visitor” respectively.” Calle 13 is releasing a new album that exposes the mainstream media. “After seven years on the road and releasing no albums with new material, Calle 13’s Multi-viral was published under its own label, El Abismo. In keeping with its spirit, Multi-viral was cowritten by René Pérez and Julian Assange to address the manipulation of information in the media” the report said. The Associated Press reported on December 2013 on Rene Perez’s comments on Palestine’s political situation in comparison to Puerto Rico ‘Calle 13 singer says Palestinians like Puerto Rico.’ It said:

Speaking to the Associated Press in Bethlehem, where he is shooting the band’s latest music video, Rene Perez said Puerto Ricans were linked to Palestinians “because we are a colony of the United States. Here you have the situation with Israel.

Perez, also known as Residente, added that Puerto Rico and the Palestinians both have “cosmetic” governments. “Here most people want to be free, they fight for their country,” he said in the West Bank city, the traditional birthplace of Jesus. “It would be good to start building bridges between Palestine and Puerto Rico

The Associated Press also reported that Calle 13 is anti-establishment:

Perez, who performs along with his step-brother Eduardo Cabra, has emerged as a leading antiestablishment rapper and is a strong supporter of the Puerto Rican independence movement. Calle 13 has a long history of lacing social messages over bass-thumping beats

Perez said he chose to come to the Palestinian territories to shoot the majority of the band’s latest video, “Multi Viral.” He said the song is about manipulation of the media and how it distorts information. He said he worked on the song with Tom Morello, a former guitarist with Rage Against the Machine, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

“I think music never stops being music. It always keeps being music and the message can be social, political, anything,” Perez said.

Recently the New York Times published an article about Calle 13’s new album ‘Still Rebels, Even as Maturity Looms’:

Multi_Viral,” Calle 13’s fifth album, is the work of a duo reckoning with both its global perspective and its contentious artistic impulses, determined to maintain a rebellious spirit even as maturity looms. Mr. Pérez described his new lyrics as “more existential” than previous Calle 13 efforts.

“Suddenly I’ve started to be more aware, or worried, about living and dying,” Mr. Pérez, 36, said. “I thought, maybe I can do something bigger than politics”

It is much bigger than politics; in fact it is about exposing what the media conveys to the public as truth. It also exposes other Global issues the world is facing.

The Gatekeepers, originally a documentary film and now a book, continues to offer a wealth of inside information about the Israeli national security apparatus.  The latest tidbit an Israeli friend gleaned is this September 2003 Yediot article recounting the decisions made during an Israeli security cabinet meeting chaired by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:

He Will Be Gotten Rid Of

The cabinet decision of last night to get rid of Yasser Arafat has no immediate impact since the timing has not been determined.  Sharon, who formulated the decision [during the meeting], preferred to leave the matter vague and indeterminate between expulsion or assassination.  The decision was supported by every member of the [security] cabinet except for Interior Minister Poraz, who opposed.

assassinate arafat

Within 14 months of this meeting, Arafat was dead.  It is about as clear as anything can be that the cabinet voted to give Sharon carte blanche to determine where, how and when to remove Arafat as a threat to Israel.  Sharon could choose life (in exile) or death.  We know the result.  It almost doesn’t matter whether Swiss forensic scientists can prove he was poisoned and by whom.  We know who did it.  We just don’t know precisely how he achieved the result.

There is a wealth of circumstantial evidence offered by an Israeli confidant of Sharon and others arguing that Sharon intended to kill Arafat.  This news report adds another piece to the puzzle.

 Farmers and herders from northwestern Senegal have travelled to Europe to demand the scrapping of a land deal that threatens the lives and livelihoods of some 9,000 people. A murky international conglomerate, Senhuile SA, has leased 20,000 hectares of land in the Ndiaël Reserve, land which has been used for decades by residents of some 40 villages in the area. The villagers want the project stopped, saying it will cut off their access to grazing land, water, food and firewood – ultimately forcing them off their homes and land.

 Senhuile SA is a joint venture controlled by Italy’s Tampieri Financial Group, Senegalese investors, and Agro Bioethanol International, a shell company registered in New York. The herders, along with representatives of the Conseil National de Concertation et de Coopération des Ruraux (CNCR) and the Senegalese non-governmental organisations ENDA Pronat and ActionAid, are in Europe from today to 6 March 2014 to mobilise citizens to call on Tampieri, Senhuile’s majority shareholder, to close down the project. The project was initially established in another location, Fanaye, where violence resulting from local opposition led to the death of two villagers and dozens more injured in 2011.

A new report released today by the Oakland Institute exposes the numerous flaws with this project, including the lack of consultation with and consent from local communities, the opaque nature of Senhuile’s operations, as well as the devastating impact of the project on people’s livelihoods. Some 6,000 hectares have already been cleared and planted with different crops. The company has built irrigation canals and fences that restrict locals’ access to grazing land, water and firewood. “Villagers complain of harassment, intimidation and physical assault by the police and private guards hired by the firm,” said Frédéric Mousseau, Policy Director of the Oakland Institute.

According to Ardo Sow, spokesperson for Ndiaël Collective of villages resisting the Senhuile project: “The disdain for local communities is far too obvious. An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment was only conducted months after the start of the project, and was never made available to the public. Moreover, the map produced by state technicians before the start of the project identified the existence of only 6 of the 40 villages and hamlets using the land to be leased to Senhuile.”

The Ndiaël Collective, CNCR, ENDA Pronat, ActionAid Senegal, ActionAid Italy, Peuples Solidaires – ActionAid France, Re:Common, GRAIN, and The Oakland Institute are launching today an Urgent Appeal to get Tampieri to withdraw from the Senhuile project. “As concerned international organizations, we support the call of the communities for the project to be stopped and the land to be returned to the people,” said Katia Roux, of Peuples Solidaires in France. “Local farmers and pastoralists need recognition and support to develop their own sustainable, small-scale food systems.”

 The organisations call on all concerned groups and individuals to participate in this action against this land grab in support of the Senegalese farmers and herders by sending a letter to Tampieri here:

Public events in Europe:

Paris, 28 February 2014, 19:00:
Rome, 3 March 2014, 19:00:


For more information:

– Oakland Institute, “Surrendering our future”, 27 Feb 2014,
– Walking on the South, “Voices of Ndiaël”, 27 Feb 2014,
– CRAFS/GRAIN/Re:Common, “Who is behind Senhuile-Senethanol?”, 7 Nov 2013,

Regional parliament members in a Ukrainian city held a session at gunpoint when one of the radical nationalist opposition leaders came to them, armed to the teeth, as the law of power seems to be prevailing in the tumultuous post-coup country. (Watch video here.)

A Kalashnikov appears to be the best argument in a debate for Aleksandr Muzychko, an activist of the nationalist “Pravy Sektor” (Right Sector) movement and one of the Maidan’s most prominent and controversial leaders.

On Tuesday he came to the Rovno regional parliament, where he threatened the regional MPs with a machine-gun and a number of other weapons as he demanded a decision on granting apartments to the families of protesters who were killed during last week’s violent clashes in central Kiev.

“Who wants to take away my machine-gun? Who wants to take away my gun? Who wants to take away my knives? I dare you!” Muzychko said.

His lobbying methods have apparently been imported from Chechnya, where the man, aka Sashko Bilyi, was fighting alongside separatist forces in the 1990s. He now boasts of having demolished Russian tanks and killed Russian soldiers.

While Sashko Bilyi was intimidating the Rovno MPs into signing bills, his fellow activists in Kiev were putting pressure on Central Election Commission (CEC) officials ahead of the early elections in May.

“Pravy Sektor” members together with activists from another nationalist movement, “Spilna Sprava”(Common Cause), have demanded a complete replacement of staff at the CEC, as well as changes in electoral law. The movements are also calling for the prosecution of those MPs they claim were involved in “rigging” previous elections in Ukraine, despite the results being recognized internationally.

“The corrupt, criminal composition of the CEC must be completely replaced,” Spilna Sprava activist Aleksandr Shevchenko said in a statement, adding that there was no point in holding elections under the watchful eye of the “world’s best election cheats.” In order to guarantee “fair and transparent elections,”activists will stay in CEC offices to “swiftly inform the Maidan” about any suspicious activity, he said, adding that he was not trying to “exert any pressure.”

Officials across the country have been resigning from the former ruling Party of Regions fearing retribution, as events on the ground suggest that Ukrainian radicals have been resorting to scaremongering to suppress counter-revolutionary feelings.

On Monday, the prosecutor’s office in the Volyn region in western Ukraine and members of the Party of Regions in the adjacent Rovno region said they were being pressured and urged to resign by radicals.

A statement by the 24 employees of the office in Volyn says that radicals from the Right Sector intimidated them with “physical threats to them and their families… by displaying firearms, entering premises of public institutions, including the prosecutor’s office and demanding the dismissal of management.”

Deputy Chairman of the Party of Regions in Rivne, Alla Ivoylovoy, said that “armed masked youths burst into the homes” of the party’s members, demanding a list of activists who “participated in the so-called anti-Maidan protest, threatening physical violence and arson of houses.”

The Ukrainian Communist Party, which has been closely aligned with Yanukovich’s Party of Regions, has also been under attack. The house of the party’s leader, Pyotr Simonenko, was set on fire on Monday.

Simonenko’s wife, Oksana Vashenko, told Radio Svoboda that assailants broke into their house to seek incriminating evidence against her husband. Unable to find any evidence, men brought “several boxes” of Molotov cocktails into the house to burn the residence down, to “hide the fact that nothing was found there,” Vashenko said.

The party said it was concerned with the recent burst of “anti-communist psychosis” and the “acts of vandalism and violence” which resulted in toppling the statues to former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and monuments to the ‘Soviet Soldier’ commemorating the collective sacrifice of the Soviet army fighting against Nazi forces.

The country’s new leadership, Communist Party officials said, is not condemning these actions, while neo-Nazi movements are on the rise in the country.

The former head of the Presidential Administration, Andrey Klyuyev has suffered a gunshot wound to his leg. He was attacked on his way back to Kiev after submitting his resignation personally to Yanukovich in the Crimea, his press secretary Artyom Petrenko said. Klyuyev’s house was raided twice by a crowd of unknown assailants earlier on February 23 and 24, Potrenko said. The former official is now being treated in hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.

Molotov cocktails for churches

The coup has heightened religious tensions in Ukraine, where the majority of Orthodox churches are subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate, while some pledge loyalty to the Kiev one, established in 1992 and unrecognized by Eastern Orthodox communion.

Inspired by the anti-Russian feeling of the Maidan protests, radical activists have been coming up with all kinds of threats to Orthodox churches under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

On Tuesday, a group of 10 men arrived at the Diocese of Sumy Ukrainian Orthodox Church to force the clergy to pray for the activists in Ukraine.

“They said they are outraged that the clergy of Sumy diocese are allegedly not praying for the victims of the Maidan,” Itar-Tass reported a statement from the diocese as saying.

Archbishop Eulogy met with one of the men who tried to convince the bishop of the need for joint worship with the Archbishop Methodius of Kiev Patriarchate at the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral.

“Having received clarification that canonical rules do not allow him to do so, the men said that the building of the diocese and the cathedral will be bombarded with Molotov cocktails,” the diocese’s press service said.

In a separate incident on the same day, the entrance to the famous Pochaevsky Monastery in western Ukraine was blocked by activists belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Kiev Patriarchate.

“Around noon, six buses drove up to the monastery,” said the monk. “They blocked the entrance, not letting the pilgrims in, people are alarmed.” The group tried to enter the monastery but were prevented from doing so because of their “aggressive behavior.”

The Kiev Patriarchate eventually had to deny rumors that there was a plan to seize churches of the Moscow Patriarchate.

“The Kiev Patriarchate is not calling for attacks on or for seizures of churches under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. We have been calling on our brothers and sisters in the Moscow Patriarchate to unite into one manorial Orthodox church. That’s why we are not interested in instigating enmity in those we wish to unite with,” the Kiev Patriarchate said in a statement, Interfax reported.

Reality on the ground in Ukraine contradicts the incompetent and immoral Obama regime’s portrait of Ukrainian democracy on the march.  

To the extent that government exists in post-coup Ukraine, it is laws dictated by gun and threat wielding thugs of the neo-Nazi, Russophobic, ultra-nationalist, right-wing parties. Watch the video of the armed thug, Aleksandr Muzychko, who boosts of killing Russian soldiers in  Chechnya, dictating to the Rovno regional parliament a grant of apartments to families of protesters.  

Read about the neo-nazis intimidating the Central Election Commission in order to secure rule and personnel changes in order to favor the ultra-right in the forthcoming elections.  Thug Aleksandr Shevchenko informed the CEC that armed activists will remain in CEC offices in order to make certain that the election is not rigged against the neo-nazis.  What he means, of course, is the armed thugs will make sure the neo-nazis win.  If the neo-nazis don’t win, the chances are high that they will take power regardless. 

Members of President Yanukovich’s ruling party, the Party of Regions, have been shot, had arrest warrants issued for them, have experienced home invasions and physical threats, and are resigning in droves in hopes of saving the lives of themselves and their families. The prosecutor’s office in the Volyn region (western Ukraine) has been ordered by ultra-nationalists to resign en masse .

Jewish synagogues and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches are being attacked.

To toot my own horn, I might have been the first and only to predict that Washington’s organization of pro-EU Ukrainian politicians into a coup against the elected government of Ukraine would destroy democracy and establish the precedent that force prevails over elections, thereby empowering the organized and armed extreme right-wing.

This is precisely what has happened.  Note that there was no one in the Obama regime who had enough sense to see the obvious result of their smug, self-satisfied interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine. 

If a democratically elected president and ruling party are so easily driven from power by armed neo-nazis, what chance do Washington’s paid stooges among the so-called “moderates” have of forming a government? These are the corrupt people who wanted President Yanukovich out of office so that they could take the money instead.  The corruption charge against Yanukovich was cover for the disloyal, undemocratic “moderate” schemers to seize power and be paid millions of dollars by Washington for taking Ukraine into the EU and NATO.

The Washington-paid schemers are now reaping their just reward as they sit in craven silence while neo-nazi Muzychko wielding an Ak-47 challenges government officials to their face: “I dare you take my gun!”

Only Obama, Susan Rice, Victoria Nuland, Washington’s European puppets, and the Western prostitute media can describe the brutal reality of post-coup Ukraine as “the forward march of democracy.”

The West now faces a real mess, and so does Russia. The presstitutes will keep the American  public from ever knowing what has happened, and the Obama regime will never admit it.  It is not always clear that even the Russians want to admit it.  The intelligent, reasonable, and humane Russian Foreign Minister, a person 100 cuts above the despicable John Kerry, keeps speaking as if this is all a mistake and appealing to the Western governments to stand behind the agreement that they pressured President Yanukovich to sign.

Yanukovich is history, as are Washington’s “moderates.”  The moderates are not only corrupt; they are stupid.  The fools even disbanded the Riot Police, leaving themselves at the mercy of the armed right-wing nazi thugs.

Ukraine is out of control. This is what happens when an arrogant, but stupid, Assistant Secretary of State (Victoria Nuland) plots with an equally arrogant and stupid US ambassador (Pyatt) to put their candidates in power once their coup against the elected president succeeds.  The ignorant and deluded who deny any such plotting occurred can listen to the conversation between Nuland and Pyatt here:

The situation will almost certainly lead to war.  Only Putin’s diplomatic skills could prevent it. However, Putin has been demonized by Washington and the whores who comprise the US print and TV media.  European and British politicians would have their Washington paychecks cut off if they aligned with Putin.

War is unavoidable, because the Western public is out to lunch. The more facts and information I provide, the more emails I receive defending the “sincere [and well paid] protesters’ honest protests against corruption,” as if corruption were the issue.  I hear from Ukrainians and from those of Ukrainian ethnicity in Canada and the US that it is natural for Ukrainians to hate Russians because Ukrainians suffered under communism, as if suffering under communism, which disappeared in 1991, is unique to Ukrainians and  has anything to do with the US coup that has fallen into neo-nazi hands,

No doubt. Many suffered under communism, including Russians.  But was the suffering greater than the suffering of Japanese civilians twice nuked by the “Indispensable people,” or the suffering by German civilians whose cities were firebombed, like Tokyo,  by the “exceptional people”?  

Today Japan and Germany are Washington’s puppet states.  In contrast, Ukraine was an independent country with a working relationship with Russia.  It was this relationship that Washington wished to destroy.  

Now that a reckless and incompetent Washington has opened Pandora’s Box, more evil has been released upon the world. The suffering will not be confined to Ukraine.

There are a number of reasons why the situation is likely to develop in a very bad way. One is that most people are unable to deal with reality even when reality directly confronts them.  When I provide the facts as they are known, here are some of the responses I receive: “You are a Putin agent;” “you hate Ukrainians;”  “you are defending corruption;” “you must not know how Ukrainians suffered at the hands of Stalin.”  

Of course, having done Russian studies in graduate school, having been a member of the US-USSR student exchange program in 1961, having traveled in Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, having published in scholarly journals of Slavic and Russian studies, having twice addressed the Soviet Academy of Sciences, having been invited to explain to the CIA why the Soviet economic collapse occurred despite the CIA’s predictions to the contrary, I wouldn’t know anything about how people suffered under communism. The willingness of readers to display to me their utter ignorance and stupidity is astonishing. There is a large number of people who think reality consists of their delusions.

Reality is simply too much for mentally and emotionally weak people who are capable of holding on to their delusions in the face of all evidence to the contrary. The masses of deluded people and the total inability of Washington, wallowing it its hubris, to admit a mistake, mean that Washington’s destabilization of Ukraine is a problem for us all.

RT reports that “Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent military drill to test combat readiness of the armed forces across western and central Russia.”  According to Russia’s Defense Minister, the surprise drill tested ground troops, Air Force, airborne troops and aerospace defense.  

The Defense Minister said: “The drills are not connected with events in Ukraine at all.”

Yes, of course.  The Defense Minister says this, because Putin still hopes that the EU will come to its senses.  In my opinion, and I hope I am wrong, the European “leaders” are too corrupted by Washington’s money to have any sense.  They are bought-and-paid-for. Nothing is important to them but money.

Ask yourself, why does Russia need at this time an urgent readiness test unrelated to Ukraine? Anyone familiar with geography knows that western and central Russia sit atop Ukraine.  

Let us all cross our fingers that another war is not the consequence of the insouciant American public, the craven cowardice of the presstitute media, Washington’s corrupt European puppets, and the utter mendacity of the criminals who rule in Washington.

In every part of the globe, the world’s sovereign nations are feeling the wrath of a US imperialist system in decline.  US imperialism is losing its grip as the most dominant capitalist economy on the planet.  To reconcile its humiliation and maintain its waning economic dominance, US imperialism has resorted to building a vast military empire abroad to submerge independent states under its thumb.  From 1945 and through the GW Bush era’s call for a “New American Century”, the overthrow of democratically elected governments and overt acts of war either had to gain popular consensus in the US first or be done covertly by the CIA. Now, with the global capitalist economy in permanent crisis, the US and its allies are sponsoring so called “protest movements” and “opposition” groups to wage wars most Americans no longer support.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Venezuela, North Korea, and Ukraine. As in Libya and Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine are struggling to defeat Washington-backed “opposition” groups looking to install US-friendly regimes. Venezuela’s democratically elected government was never forgiven for betraying the wishes of the neo-colonial oligarchy and completely reforming its electoral and economic basis to align with the interests of Venezuela’s poor majority.  The Bolivarian government has made important gains in the areas of poverty reduction, healthcare, literacy, and education.  But the corporate media and US political leaders are having us believe that “anti-government” protesters funded at 5 million per year by the US government itself somehow represent the interests of the Venezuelan majority.  Undoubtedly, the Venezuelan oligarchy and their sugar-daddys in Washington are bitter that their representatives lost over 70 percent of municipalities in the local elections and failed to become the ruling party in what Jimmy Carter called the most democratic Presidential election process in the world in 2012.

In Ukraine, a fascist “protest” movement has been growing with armed support from NATO and the US.  These “protesters”, armed with heavy artillery and shwastika banners, are demanding the Ukrainian government open up relations with the EU and allow their economy to become a nest for finance capital. The Ukrainian government has defied the wishes of fascists and their Western allies by swearing allegiance to Russia. The US-NATO-EU alliance sees Ukraine as a possible NATO military base and an economic asset to mend the austerity and crisis ridden European capitalist order. Only a coup at this point can achieve these ends. The replacement of President Yanukovych with a EU friendly government would exacerbate economic woes and set back the hopes of Russia and its allies for a multi-polar economic and military global order.

At the level of soft power, a new report emerged from the UN that used interview data from exiles residing in the West and South Korea. The report concluded that the leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong Un, should be referred to the International Criminal Court for “crimes against humanity.”  Hypocrisy stains this report from top to bottom. The US never ended its war against Korea, only signing an armistice in 1953 that kept the country divided between socialist DPRK and the neo-Colony South Korea.  The US has never been referred to any international body for its war crimes let alone for its horrific bombing campaign that left Korea in ruins and forced thousands into death or homelessness. Nor will the UN report admit that US-imposed sanctions on the DPRK beginning after the fall of the Soviet Union is a blatant act of war. The US, not the DPRK, uses “food as a weapon” on the people of North Korea by blocking its ability to receive needed resources abroad to increase its foodstuffs.  Lastly, The UN remains silent on the crimes of the South Korean government, which presides over masses of impoverished people and imprisons dissidents of its fascist regime. The UN and its ruler, the US, never criticize South Korea’s military operations, which violate of North Korea’s sovereignty. Indeed, the UN report was conducted for the sole purpose of justifying further US intervention against North Korea in pursuit of geopolitical dominance.

The reality is that the US imperialist system is in such a terrible economic state that it must rely on waging war in every corner of the globe to maintain its relevancy.  No longer is US imperialism able to conduct widespread bombing campaigns or overthrow democratically elected governments through the CIA with impunity.  In order to bypass Russia and China in the United Nations, US imperialism must resort to mass manipulation through the corporate media and a network of intelligence agencies, private military contractors, and allied nations in imperial organizations like NATO to train and fund so called “protest movements” and “opposition” groups.   Venezuela, Ukraine, and North Korea have fallen victim to media deception and mercenary terrorism sponsored by the Wall Street ruled US-Western alliance.  Anti-imperialists in the United States need to defend these countries right to sovereignty and organize resistance to US imperialism at home.  Furthermore, anti-imperialists residing in the US must explain to the people the connection between US imperialism abroad and the increased austerity, poverty, racism, and massive prison and police state at home.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston area. You can contact Danny at: [email protected] 

A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago. 

If true, the revelations cast new light on the $1 billion lawsuit filed by the sailors against Tokyo Electric Power. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy.The Reagan had joined several other U.S. ships in Operation Tomodachi (“Friendship”) to aid victims of the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami. Photographic evidence and first-person testimony confirms that on March 12, 2011 the ship was within two miles of Fukushima Dai’ichi as the reactors there began to melt and explode.

In the midst of a snow storm, deck hands were enveloped in a warm cloud that came with a metallic taste. Sailors testify that the Reagan’s 5,500-member crew was told over the ship’s intercom to avoid drinking or bathing in desalinized water drawn from a radioactive sea. The huge carrier quickly ceased its humanitarian efforts and sailed 100 miles out to sea, where newly published internal Navy communications confirm it was still taking serious doses of radioactive fallout.

Scores of sailors from the Reagan and other ships stationed nearby now report a wide range of ailments reminiscent of those documented downwind from atomic bomb tests in the Pacific and Nevada, and at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. A similar metallic taste was described by pilots who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and by central Pennsylvanians downwind of Three Mile Island. Some parts of the atolls downwind from the South Pacific bomb tests remain uninhabitable six decades later.

Among the 81 plaintiffs in the federal class action are a sailor who was pregnant during the mission, and her “Baby A.G.,” born that October with multiple genetic mutations.

Officially, Tepco and the Navy say the dose levels were safe.

But a stunning new report by an American scholar based in Tokyo confirms that Naval officers communicated about what they knew to be the serious irradiation of the Reagan. Written by Kyle Cunningham and published in Japan Focus, “Mobilizing Nuclear Bias” describes the interplay between the U.S. and Japanese governments as Fukushima devolved into disaster.

Cunningham writes that transcribed conversations obtained through the Freedom of Information Act feature naval officials who acknowledge that even while 100 miles away from Fukushima, the Reagan’s readings “compared to just normal background [are] about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out to sea.”

On the nuclear-powered carrier “all of our continuous monitors alarmed at the same level, at this value. And then we took portable air samples on the flight deck and got the same value,” the transcript says.

Serious fallout was also apparently found on helicopters coming back from relief missions. One unnamed U.S. government expert is quoted in the Japan Focus article as saying:At 100 meters away it (the helicopter) was reading 4 sieverts per hour. That is an astronomical number and it told me, what that number means to me, a trained person, is there is no water on the reactor cores and they are just melting down, there is nothing containing the release of radioactivity. It is an unmitigated, unshielded number. (Confidential communication, Sept. 17, 2012).The transcript then contains discussion of health impacts that could come within a matter of “10 hours. It’s a thyroid issue.”

Tepco and the Navy contend the Reagan did not receive a high enough dose to warrant serious concern. But Japan, South Korea and Guam deemed the carrier too radioactive to enter their ports. Stock photographs show sailors working en masse to scrub the ship down.

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct a counter-measure wash down on the flight deck to remove potential radiation contamination while operating off the coast of Japan providing humanitarian assistance in support of Operation Tomodachi, March 22, 2011. Picture taken March 22, 2011.

The $4.3 billion boat is now docked in San Diego. Critics question whether it belongs there at all. Attempts to decontaminate U.S. ships irradiated during the Pacific nuclear bombs tests from 1946-1963 proved fruitless. Hundreds of sailors were exposed to heavy doses of radiation, but some ships had to be sunk anyway.

Leaks at the Fukushima site continue to worsen. Despite its denials, Tepco recently admitted it had underestimated certain radiation releases by a factor of 500 percent. A new report indicates that particles of radioactive Cesium 134 from Fukushima have been detected in the ocean off the west coast of North America.

Global concerns continue to rise about Fukushima’s on-going crises with liquid leaks, the troubled removal of radioactive fuel rods, the search for three missing melted cores, organized crime influence at the site and much more. The flow of information has been seriously darkened by the pro-nuclear Abe Administration’s State Secrets Act, which imposes major penalties on those who might report what happens at Fukushima.

But if this new evidence holds true, it means that the Navy knew the Ronald Reagan was being plastered with serious radioactive fallout and it casts the accident in a light even more sinister than previously believed.

The stricken sailors are barred from suing the Navy, and their case against Tepco will depend on a series of complex international challenges.

But one thing is certain: neither they nor the global community have been getting anything near the full truth about Fukushima.

Obama Drones On: The Slaughter of Pakistani Civilians

February 26th, 2014 by William Boardman

In 2009, my home was attacked by a drone. My brother and son were martyred. My son’s name was Hafiz Zahinullah. My brother’s name was Asif Iqbal. There was a third person who was a stone mason. He was a Pakistani. His name was Khaliq Dad…. Their bodies were covered with wounds. Later, I found some of their fingers in the rubble.” – Kareem Khan, a Pakistani journalist, speaking of his personal experience with civilians killed by Americans, in the documentary “Wounds of Waziristan,” 2013

…it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war. And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.” – President Obama, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University

President Obama should be justly haunted by the slaughter of innocents, especially the ones he has personally condemned to death on untested evidence. But it’s hard to imagine him actually being haunted by any of his lethal failures, perhaps least of all by innocents condemned by the mere turning down of his imperial thumb in these or any other circumstances. The Nobel Peace Prize winner hardly sounds haunted when he’s quoted saying, “Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”

 Such sadistic preening, regardless of possibly ironic intent, helps explain why his  haunting, real or imagined, has mostly led his administration to deny the killings and to refuse any succor to the innocent victims’ innocent families. It is as if Obama plays Macbeth and says to the Banquo’s ghost of drone murder, “Thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me” – a deluded and specious lawyer’s argument even then, and still false to its deepest moral roots.

Presumably Kareem Khan would like to see Obama haunted much more vigorously by the living. For more than four years Kahn has been doing what he could to bring at least some Americans to justice for killing his son and brother. As of February 19, he was in Europe as part of a campaign against the CIA drone assassination program, scheduled to visit with political leaders in Germany, the Netherlands, and UK. Khan is a freelance journalist and now an anti-drone activist. He once lived near Mir Ali in North Waziristan until the Americans destroyed his house and its occupants. Khan, who is in his fifties, now lives in Rawalpindi with his wife and his other, younger children, who were present when he was kidnapped by apparent secret police in the early hours of February 5.    

 “When a person is blindfolded […] they feel very bad, and when you are being treated this way, you feel like you are going crazy.” – Kareem Khan describing his captivity to Al Jazeera 

For the next five days, local police refused to file a report on the event, much less acknowledge that that Khan had been disappeared in classic totalitarian style. On February 10, a local court ordered police to make a report, which then dryly noted that a kidnapping case was filed against “unidentified persons,” adding that those persons were not local police. According to witnesses, these unidentified persons numbered as many as 20, eight of whom wore some sort of police uniforms, perhaps Punjab Police. Some police state agency had taken Khan. 

 Khan’s lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, also filed a habeus corpus request with the Rawalpindi bench of Lahore High Court. The court responded by ordering the Ministry of the Interior, which oversees Pakistani intelligence agencies (ISI), either to produce Khan by February 20, or to explain to the court, in writing, why Khan was seized and held. Presently, there are more than 900 open cases of missing Pakistanis allegedly disappeared by their government. The ISI did not respond to the court about Khan. But in the early hours of February 14, unidentified persons threw Khan, still blindfolded, from a van onto a public street in a neighborhood of Rawalpindi

 Before releasing him, Khan’s captors had warned him not to talk to the media. Later the same day, Khan issued a statement and talked to the media about his experience of being kept blindfolded and handcuffed for eight days in a basement where he and perhaps a dozen other prisoners were held in cells and periodically tortured.   

 “There were different types of torture. There was mental torture – they would abuse me using very harsh and dirty curse words. Physically, they would punch me and slap me, on the face and shoulder. I was hit with a stick, on my arms and legs. They hit me on my open palms….  they would hang me upside down, and then one of them would hit the soles of my feet with a leather strap so that it did not leave a mark. But it was very painful.”– Kareem Khan, in Al Jazeera, February 14, 2014

 Within hours of his release, Khan travelled to Europe in a delegation sponsored by Reprieve, the British human rights charity that has supported Khan’s efforts since 2010 as part of its program against abuses in counter-terrorism (“Reprieve investigates extra-judicial killing and detention around the world and reunites ‘disappeared’ prisoners with their legal rights”). The Reprieve delegation to Europe included, in addition to Kareem Khan:

Noor Behram, 42, is a photo-journalist from North Waziristan who started documenting drone atrocities in 2008. In his experience, he said: “For every 10 to 15 people killed, maybe they get one militant. I don’t go to count how many Taliban are killed. I go to count how many children, women, innocent people, are killed…. The youth in the area surrounding a strike gets crazed. Hatred builds up inside those who have seen a drone attack. The Americans think it is working, but the damage they’re doing is far greater.” He is president of the Tribal Union of Journalists, the representative body of journalists in the region. 

 Shazad Akbar, 50ish, an attorney who represents Kareem Khan, is a human rights lawyer in Islamabad, where he founded and runs the human rights organization Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR). He currently holds a Legal Fellowship from Reprieve. Shahzad qualified as a Barrister from Lincolns Inn and also holds a LLM from University of Newcastle. In November 2010, Shahzad Akbar filed a lawsuit against the CIA on behalf of Kareem Khan for the wrongful deaths of his son and brother. The lawyer later said publicly: “If the US believes in the rule of law, it should not be hindering my advocacy of claims against the CIA for wrongful death and injury.”  The U.S. government barred him from the country in May 2011 when he was invited to speak at Columbia University. Shahzad Akbar filed another lawsuit on behalf of drone victims in May 2012, this time demanding that the Pakistani government take action against the U.S. for war crimes, but also bring the issue of drone assassinations before the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice to stop them. The U.S. again barred the lawyer from entering the country, then relented in the face of public outcry, and he spoke at the first international Drone Summit in April 2013 in Washington. The U.S. barred him yet again in the fall, keeping him away when his clients testified before Congress in another case

 Jennifer Gibson, 32ish, is a U.S. lawyer based in the UK, a staff attorney who leads Reprieve’s work on drones in Pakistan. She has a doctorate in international studies from the University of Cambridge and a law degree from Stanford. While at Stanford, she was part of a research team that visited Pakistan and she is a co-author of “Living Under Drones” – a 2012 project that reaches devastating conclusions about American aerial murder: (1) “In addition to killing and maiming, the presence of drones exacts a high toll on civilian life in northwest Pakistan;” (2) “Evidence gathered in the report casts doubt on the legality of drone strikes in northwest Pakistan;” (3) “Drone strikes foster anti-American sentiment and undermine the rule of law.” Soon after the report’s release, Gibson wrote: “Unfortunately, many commentators missed the report’s key message: drones are terrorising an entire civilian population…. because no one knows who the informants are, people are reluctant to invite neighbours into their homes. The entire community withdraws from the public square, afraid to venture out, but equally afraid to bring the outside in. This is what it means to live under drones. It has turned North Waziristan into the world’s largest prison.” When the U.S. barred Shahzad Akbar from accompanying his clients before Congress, Jennifer Gibson appeared in his place and told the lawmakers that “every child who loses life or limb persuades dozens more tribes in Pakistan that the United States does not distinguish friend from foe.” 

“The CIA killer drones programme is the death penalty without trial, and the new face of state lawlessness in the name of counter-terrorism. Reprieve is assisting victims’ families to seek legal accountability for drone attacks, with the goal of exposing the programme to scrutiny and restoring the rule of law.”  

Reprieve statement on American drones in Pakistan

 “America does not take strikes to punish individuals; we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat.  And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set….”– President Obama, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University

Obama’s use of “near certainty” is about as deceitful as it gets. In the first place, the government has no honest idea of the actual identities of the men, women, and children they’ve killed beyond 10 per cent or, generously, maybe 30. In the second place, the government refuses to tell the truth about what it does or doesn’t know. In the third place, the government defines “militants” as any male of military age, a flexible category that the president may expand to include women and children as exigency demands (as when the U.S. killed American citizen Abdulrahman Awlaki who was 16). The critical evidence of a person’s guilt is that the U.S. killed that person.

In other words, every published report of drone strikes killing “militants” is unverifiable and probably false, yet media everywhere report the government version uncritically, with few exceptions. The argument over the number of civilian casualties is ridiculous at its unknowable heart. The number of identified executed civilians can be only a minimum measure of American-inflicted carnage.

The New America Foundation is a somewhat paranoid, threat-obsessed Washington think tank devoted to “appropriate methods to secure the homeland.” Without providing meaningful context, the foundation reports that the number of “jihadist extremists” in the U.S. “has continued to decline from its peak in 2009,” which is similar to the trend for icebergs in the South Atlantic. The foundation has gone to great pains to try to rationalize the irrational, creating databases for drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries, citing “the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, and the Columbia University Law School for their valuable work on this subject.”

For all its manifest bias in favor of a security state with a siege mentality that allows the U.S. to kill anyone for any imagined reason, the foundation does offer a more rational way of assessing the usefulness of America’s drone crimes war. Tucked in the middle of its “Key Findings,” the foundation states: “Only 58 known militant leaders have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, representing just 2% of the total deaths.” [emphasis added] That represents an American moral calculus in which one “known militant leader” (whatever that means) is worth another 49 dead Pakistanis who are not “known” to have been anything but previously alive, whether they were grunts or civilians.

“Under the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 particularly Article 199 thereof put this Court under  tremendous obligation to safeguard & protect the life &  property of the citizen of Pakistan and any person for the  time being in Pakistan, being fundamental rights, hence,  this Court is constrained to hold as follows:  

i.              That the drone strikes, carried out in the tribal areas (FATA)  particularly North & South  Waziristan by the CIA & US  Authorities, are blatant violation of  Basic Human Rights and are against  the UN Charter, the UN General  Assembly Resolution, adopted  unanimously, the provision of  Geneva Conventions thus, it is held  to be a War Crime, cognizable by the  International Court of Justice or  Special Tribunal for War Crimes,  constituted or to be constituted by the  UNO for this purpose. 

ii.            That the drone strikes carried out  against a handful of alleged  militants, who are not engaged in  combat with the US Authorities or  Forces, amounts to breach of  International Law and Conventions  on the subject matter, therefore, it is  held that these are absolutely illegal  & blatant violation of the  Sovereignty of the State of Pakistan  because frequent intrusion is made  on its territory / airspace without its  consent rather against its wishes as  despite of the protests lodged by the  Government of Pakistan with USA on  the subject matter, these are being  carried out with impunity. 

 iii.          That the civilians casualties, as  discussed above, including  considerable damage to properties,  livestock, wildlife & killing of  infants/ suckling babies, women and  preteen children, is an uncondonable  crime on the part of US Authorities  including CIA and it is held so.”  

– Judgment of Peshawar High Court [excerpt] on petition #1551-P/2012 and two other cases, issued May 9, 2013 

 “So it is in this context that the United States has taken lethal, targeted action against al Qaeda and its associated forces, including with remotely piloted aircraft commonly referred to as drones.” – President Obama, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University

The two most familiar U.S. serial-killing drones are appropriately named Reaper and Predator, with a wingspan of about 65 feet, almost twice as long as the body. A drone’s payload of almost two tons can include a mix-to-taste array of air-to-ground missiles, air-to-air missiles, and laser-guided bombs with explosive power in the 500-2000 pound range. Drones have flown hundreds o missions over Pakistan since 2004, bombing a country with which the U.S. is not at war, a country which has officially demanded that the U.S. stop violating Pakistani sovereignty while simultaneously doing nothing about it. 

 The Pakistani government has done nothing to enforce the Peshawar High Court’s order of May 2013. Even suggesting that the government act to protect its people creates controversy. An uncertain number of other cases are still pending in Pakistani courts.  One of those is Kareem Khan’s 2010 wrongful death suit against the CIA for killing innocent people in his house in 2009.

On New Year’s Eve in 2009, Kareem Khan was a respected working reporter in Islamabad, Pakistan, perhaps wishing he could be home that night. At 9 pm on December 31, 2009, an American drone controlled by the CIA attacked Kareem Khan’s house in North Waziristan, killing all three civilians inside: Khaliq Dad, a visiting stone mason; Asif Iqbal, a secondary school teacher and Kareem Khan’s brother; and Zahin Ullah Khan, a government security employee and the reporter’s 18 year old son.

None of these three had any connection to militants in the region, nor did Kareem Khan, other than sometimes reporting on them.

Attorney Shahzad Akbar, working with Reprieve, filed Kareem Khan’s wrongful death suit in late 2010, seeking $500 million from the CIA. The case is still pending. In the interim, another 35 Pakistanis have joined the suit, seeking justice for the wrongful deaths of members of their families.

Will the International Criminal Court act on war crimes?

On February 19, Kareem Khan and Attorney Akbar were at The Hague, where they filed a complaint against NATO countries for committing war crimes by aiding and abetting U.S. drone assassinations. A press release from Reprieve announcing the filing said: “It has been revealed in recent months that the UK, Germany, Australia, and other NATO partners support US drone strikes through intelligence-sharing. Because all these countries are signatories to the Rome Statute, they fall under The ICC’s jurisdiction and can therefore be investigated for war crimes. Kareem Khan… is at The Hague with his lawyers from the human rights charity Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights who have filed the complaint on his behalf.”  

[Last fall, a group of Egyptian lawyers filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, charging President Obama with crimes against humanity in connection with U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood. In June 2013, in South Africa, the Muslim Lawyers Association there petitioned the court to arrest and try President Obama for war crimes and crimes against humanity resulting from the American drone killing program.]

 Accused of murder, the United States has offered no explanation, no defense, no information whatsoever to justify this extrajudicial execution campaign in which President Obama functions as judge, jury, and executioner, although he sometimes delegates some of these activities to underlings. The United States has become a rogue state and a state sponsor of terrorism and apparently the best justification the president has to offer for a decade-long killing spree in Pakistan and wanton lawless executions elsewhere is that – they do it too!

 Never mind that the countries the U.S. is “protecting” are tired of the American protection racket. What’s important, according to the president in his May 23, 2013 speech is to keep in mind that crimes against humanity justify other crimes against humanity, although he put it somewhat more obliquely:

“Remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.  So doing nothing is not an option.” 

 How is that any different from the Hellfire missile victim who says: “If God gives me the chance of getting to Obama, I will. He is not only the killer of my son and brother, but he is the killer of many Muslims. The punishment or killing is to be killed. I would kill [Obama].”

Or are we facing another, grimmer parallel from Macbeth as he approaches the endgame and observes:

“All causes shall give way. I am in blood

“Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,

“Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”

National elections were held in Haiti less than one year after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010 had killed 220,000 or more, left 1.5 million people homeless, and ravaged the country’s infrastructure. Accusations were rampant that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had introduced cholera into Haiti’s river system; the resulting epidemic would kill over 8,500 and sicken hundreds of thousands. The November 28 election was contested under crisis conditions. Hundreds of thousands of voters were either shut out of the electoral process or boycotted the vote after the most popular party in the country—Fanmi Lavalas—was banned from competing, as it had been numerous times since being overthrown in a coup in 2004. Many of those displaced by the earthquake were not allowed to vote, and in the end less than 23 percent of registered voters had their vote counted.

Eyewitness testimony on election day reported numerous electoral violations: ballot stuffing, tearing up of ballots, intimidation, and fraud. Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), responsible for overseeing elections, announced that former first lady Mirlande Manigat had won but lacked the margin of victory needed to avoid a runoff. The Organization of American States (OAS) dispatched a mission of “experts” to examine the results. As a result, candidate and pop musician Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly was selected to compete in the runoff instead of the governing party’s candidate Jude Célestin.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) subsequently released a report showing that there were so many problems with the election tallies that the OAS’s conclusions represented a political decision rather than an electoral one. CEPR reported that the CEP either didn’t receive or quarantined tally sheets for some 1,326 voting booths; as a result, about 12.7 percent of the vote was not included in the final totals released by the CEP on December 7, 2010.  When the OAS mission stepped in to review the tally sheets, it chose to examine only 8 percent of them, and those it discarded were from disproportionately pro-Célestin areas, as CEPR also noted. Nor did the OAS mission use any statistical inference to estimate what might have resulted had it examined the other 92 percent.

The runoff was finally scheduled for March 20, 2011, and Martelly was declared the winner with 67.6 percent of the vote versus Manigat’s 31.5. Turnout was so low that Martelly was declared president-elect after receiving the votes of less than 17 percent of the electorate in the second round.

Into the fray stepped Ricardo Seitenfus, a respected Brazilian professor of international relations, who had been working as a special representative of the OAS in Haiti since 2008. After observing the electoral process, Seitenfus made statements to Swiss newspaper Le Temps criticizing international meddling in Haiti in general, and by MINUSTAH and NGOs in particular. He was abruptly ousted on Christmas Day. (The press was equivocal on whether Seitenfus was fired or forced to take a two-month “vacation” before his tenure as special representative ended in March 2011.)

In his new book, Haiti: Dilemas e Fracassos Internacionais (“International Crossroads and Failures in Haiti,” to be published in Brazil later this year by Editora Unijui), Seitenfus takes a long view of the electoral crisis that he witnessed in 2010. In his account, Haiti’s tragedy began over two centuries ago in 1804, when the country committed what Seitenfus terms its “original sin,” an unpardonable act of lèse-majesté: it became the first (and only) independent nation to emerge from a slave rebellion. “The Haitian revolutionary model scared the colonialist and racist Great Powers,” Seitenfus writes. France demanded heavy financial compensation from the new republic as a condition of its honoring Haiti’s nationhood, and the United States only recognized Haiti’s independence in 1862, just before abolishing its own system of slavery. Haiti has been isolated and manipulated on the international scene ever since, its people “prisoners on their own island.”

Was Seitenfus let go for calling the relationship between the government of Haiti and NGOs “evil or perverse”? For his accusations about the cholera cover-up? Or, more troubling, because of his knowledge of how a secret “Core Group” was quietly orchestrating the elections against then-President Rene Préval? In this interview, Seitenfus shares his view of international plans for a “silent coup d’etat,” electoral interference, and more.

Q: Before getting to the 2010 election, let’s start with the cholera epidemic we now know was caused by MINUSTAH in October 2010. You write about the “shameless” attitude of the UN and ambassadors of the so-called “friends of Haiti”countries that refused to take responsibility after MINUSTAH introduced cholera to Haiti. You say that this “transforms this peace mission into one of the worst in the history of the United Nations.” Would you be willing to testify in the current class action lawsuit, filed in a U.S. federal court, accusing the UN of gross negligence and misconduct on behalf of cholera victims in Haiti?

RS: There is no doubt that the UN—especially former MINUSTAH head Edmond Mulet and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon—systematically denied its direct and scientifically verified responsibility for the introduction of Vibrio cholera into Haiti, projecting a lasting shadow over that peace operation. What is shocking is not MINUSTAH’s carelessness, but the lie, turned into strategy, by the international community, including the “Group of Friends of Haiti.” It constitutes an embarrassment that will forever mark the relations of these countries with Haiti.

Even former U.S. President Bill Clinton, serving as the UN’s special envoy to Haiti, publicly admitted in 2012 that it was UN employees who brought cholera to the country. Yet the UN is hiding behind the immunity clause conferred by the July 9, 2004 agreement signed with Haiti legalizing MINUSTAH’s existence. This despite the fact that this agreement was signed not by the acting president of Haiti (as stipulated by the Haitian constitution), Boniface Alexandre, but by Prime Minister Gerard Latortue. According to the 1969 and 1986 Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties, any treaty signed by someone who lacks jus tractum—that is, treaty making power—is null.

With its contempt for Haitian constitutional rights and international law, the UN demonstrated once again the levity with which it treats Haitian matters. Responsible for establishing the rule of law in the country, according to its own mission, the U.N. does not follow even its own fundamental provisions, thus making the text that it supports and that should legalize its actions in Haiti void and ineffective.  Because MINUSTAH’s very existence is plagued with illegalities, the UN’s attempt to deny its responsibility for introducing cholera in Haiti can be easily circumvented. I am and will always be available to any judicial power that deals with this case, including federal courts in the United States.

Q: In your book, you write about international collusion in plans for a “silent coup.” Why wait until now to name the perpetrators?

RS: No. It is not true that I kept quiet. I gave interviews to the Brazilian and international press, in late December 2010 and early January 2011, mentioning this and other episodes. (See, for example, my interviews with the BBC [Portuguese] and Al Jazeera.) The problem is that the international press was manipulated during the electoral crisis and never had an interest in doing investigative journalism. In the interviews that I gave, and especially in my book (International Crossroads and Failures in Haiti), soon to be published in Brazil and other countries, I describe the electoral coup in great detail.

Furthermore, the vast majority of the elements I reveal, I discovered in a scientific research project over the past three years. Many questions were hanging in the air, without adequate answers. I believe I managed to connect the different views and actors, providing the reader a logical and consistent interpretation about what happened. We are dealing with a work that is required by the historical memory, without any shadow of revenge or settling of scores.

Q: You describe a “Core Group” who you say had decided who the next president of Haiti would be before the elections even took place. Who is in this Core Group, and what else can you tell us about them? What other kinds of decisions do they make for Haiti?

RS: As a coordination agency for the main foreign actors (states and international organizations) in Haiti, a limited Core Group (which includes Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United States, France, the UN, the OAS, and the European Union) is an indispensable and fundamental instrument in the relations between the international community and the Haitian government. I do not question its existence in itself. The majority of the decisions in which I participated as representative to the OAS in the Core Group during the years 2009 and 2010 were sensible and important.

However, I was able to verify that on November 28, 2010 [election day], in the absence of any discussion or decision about the matter, [then head of MINUSTAH] Edmond Mulet, speaking on behalf of the Core Group, tried to remove [then president of Haiti] René Préval from power and to send him into exile. Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince published a press release at 9 p.m. the same day dismissing the results of the vote and imposing its position on the whole Core Group.

On that Sunday, November 28, 2010, when visiting a voting center in the city of Léogane, at around 8:30 a.m., Mulet reiterated in interviews with radio and TV stations that everything was going normally, in spite of timely complaints by some voters who could not find their names in the list of the voting station where, as they thought, they were supposed to vote. According to Mulet,

In general everything is going well, everything is peaceful. I see a great passion of citizens and from citizens for democracy in this country. MINUSTAH is here. There is no reason to be frightened. It’s an electoral celebration. There are some small administrative problems, but no big problem that is going to reduce participation.

Only four hours after making these statements, Mulet convened the Core Group for an urgent meeting in view of an alleged crisis. Before the gathering started he confided in me, with some concern, in a natural and calm way, as if what he was about to tell me was in the order of things, that: “I just finished talking on the phone with Préval, informing him that an airplane would be at his disposal to leave the country. In forty-eight hours, at the latest—that is, until Tuesday, the 30th—Prevál will have to leave the presidency and abandon Haiti.”

I don’t know how I managed to hide my indignant surprise in the face of such an absurdity. I kept calm, hiding behind a false sense of casualness, in order to find out what had been Préval’s reaction. Mulet responded: “President Préval says he is not Aristide, but that he is Salvador Allende.” 1 And, sounding disheartened, Mulet concluded, in Spanish: “Ricardo, we are not doing very well.”

When [then Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max] Bellerive arrived at the meeting, he asked directly, without beating about the bush, bluntly: I would like to know whether President Prevál’s mandate is on the negotiation table? Yes or no?” He looked across the room at his audience, who remained in silence. A heavy and very long silence. Glances met. It was a moment of extreme seriousness. Well beyond the fate of the then-president, the response was going to be decisive, both for the future of Haiti and for the integrity of MINUSTAH.

Mulet’s words, Préval’s alleged reaction, and the assertions by some of those present—in apparent agreement with Préval’s departure, were all still echoing in me.

The presence of [OAS Assistant Secretary General] Albert Ramdin—a major official in the OAS present in the meeting—tied my hands and silenced my voice. What to do? In the face of Bellerive’s direct question, the exalted coup plotters of the Core Group fell silent; their words still echoing in the room. A sense of the unusual was met by cowardice. Yet, it was necessary to act quickly because the first action in this tense environment would guide the debate.

We were about to commit a moral disgrace and a gross political error. With the active and crucial participation of the international community, we would be once again throwing Haiti toward the precipice.

To break a silence that seemed to have no end, and convinced that I was interpreting basic principles and not mere circumstantial interests, I took the initiative and asked to speak. It was necessary to do so, for we were about to commit a moral disgrace and a gross political error. With the active and crucial participation of the international community, we would be once again throwing Haiti toward the precipice mentioned by the American Luigi R. Einaudi (then-Acting Secretary General of the OAS) during the February 2004 crisis. I did not even consider the possibility of unpleasant consequences, both personal and professional, that could affect me. It was the opposite. To oppose the absurdity that was intended by the international community appeared to me a simple obligation. A democratic conscience and the respect for the Haitian institutions guided my attitude. It was not going to be the OAS representative in Haiti who would speak. It would be the Brazilian and the university professor.

Taking care to state that I was speaking on my own behalf and not on behalf of the OAS, I told them that I was doing this out of a duty of loyalty to colleagues. Moreover, everyone knew the work I had done in Haiti in the preparation of the voter registry, in conditions of great difficulty. I had legitimacy, therefore, to speak. Essentially speaking to the non-Americans [i.e., those not from the Americas] present who, in theory, were not used to our political and judicial rules, I pointed out that In 2001, in the Americas, a document entitled the Inter-American Democratic Charter was signed. This Charter signals that any modification to the mandate of a democratically-elected president, outside of the constitutional precepts, should be considered to be a putsch.”

There was silence once again. A long and heavy silence. Before it got too long again, I looked at the Brazilian ambassador, who had positioned himself in front of me in this imaginary circle that we were forming, and asked: “I would like to know Brazil’s position.”

Igor Kipman said immediately: Brazil shares the same interpretation.”

I was relieved I was no longer alone. Next in line was the Argentinian Rodolfo Matarollo, the UNASUR [Union of South American Nations] representative, who made a similar statement. Looking desolate, [then-U.S. Ambassador to Haiti] Kenneth Merten was shaking his head, signalling his dissatisfaction with how the meeting was unfolding. When he broke his silence it was to recognize that the coup by the Core Group against Préval would fail and he said: We’re not going to talk about this anymore.”

After aborting the maneuver to repeat with Préval what had been done with Aristide in February 2004, I was confident in defending my position. Outraged by the prospect that presented itself and still shocked and stunned by what I was experiencing, I concluded that when it comes to Haiti, the international community does not have limits for the actions it takes. Legality and common sense had prevailed. Until when? My hopes were still alive and I did not notice that a common international front had formed that would decide the electoral path to be followed by Haiti.

Q: You suggest that the press conference held by the various presidential candidates—excluding the governing party’s candidate Jude Célestin—on the day of the election, calling for the vote to be annulled, was planned beforehand. If the Core Group already had a plan to bar a Célestin victory, why did all these candidates take part in the press conference? Were they unaware of the Core Group plan? Did the plan not involve any Haitian politicians? Was the plan always to have Martelly win, or was it simply to not let Célestin win?

RS: In my presence, the Core Group, until the fateful meeting in Edmond Mulet’s residence on the early afternoon of November 28, 2010, had not taken any decision or even discussed a strategy to give Martelly Haiti’s presidency. What did happen, constantly, was an undercutting of Jude Célestin’s candidacy. They accused him of being Préval’s son-in-law and of being his puppet. Mulet, despite having no evidence, said that ministers would travel to the countryside with “suitcases full of money to buy votes.”

Inite’s [the party of Préval and Célestin] electoral campaign, being a major political party and considering the situation, was also more visible, the most well organized and the one with the most resources. Later, these advantages would become disadvantages. The version of rampant corruption was gaining credibility.

The main leader in the process of dismantling the incumbent party’s candidacy was MINUSTAH’s chief himself. Mulet always spoke negatively when mentioning Jude Célestin. It was in this breeding ground that two major factors intervened during the day of the election. On the one hand, there was the gathering of twelve of the eighteen candidates denouncing an alleged electoral fraud and demanding the annulment of the election. On the other, and much more decisive, were the demonstrations—mostly peaceful—that supposedly forced the members of the Core Group to seek refuge in their homes. In that moment, a dilemma presented itself and the atavistic fear of foreigners reemerged: what to do if Martelly’s youth movement were to degenerate? Would MINUSTAH be willing to control it? Would it have the capacity? And at what cost?

Convinced that it would be less risky to retract itself, the Core Group decided to sacrifice the elections. Their cowardice served as an inexhaustible source of inspiration to throw away the hard work of thousands of individuals to organize the elections in extreme conditions. The logic of this strategy was to reward the main grave-diggers of the young Haitian democracy.

In short, for the international community, Haiti is not worth the trouble. Or better said, its recurring crises have made us grow accustomed to act, moved by principles that we always condemn. For someone who arrived in Haiti as a professor of democracy, our lessons leave much to be desired.

Q: What can you tell us about the OAS expert mission that intervened in Haiti’s elections? How were these “experts” chosen? How was their mandate to look at the results negotiated?

RS: There is little I can say since I was no longer in Haiti. I know that Brazil, Spain and the European Union pressured, in vain, to place their specialists in the OAS/CARICOM vote recount mission. The suggestion by the CEP Advisor Ginette Chérubin proposing the formation of a Special Verification Commission (SVC), fully independent from the executive and formed exclusively by Haitians, was not even considered, starting with President Préval. The nationalism and foreign non-interventionism underlying the formation of this SVC is not an item on the agenda. It would be the foreigners, and them exclusively, who were to define the will of the Haitian voter.

Although the foreign technicians, hired by the UNDP, were responsible for counting the votes, it was not enough. It was necessary to change the result of the first round. The only possibility was to annul the results in certain ballot boxes that favored Célestin. That way, he would fall back to third place at the same time that the candidate anointed by the international community would go on to participate in the second round, along with Mirlande Manigat.

After making the decision of transforming the OAS/CARICOM Observation mission into a vote recountingmission, it became necessary to sign an agreement to complement and reinforce the original one. A first draft of the agreement, written under the supervision of Albert Ramdin, OAS Deputy Secretary—in spite of the inevitable and very harsh conditions imposed on the Haitian electoral authorities—made explicit in the second article, in an unprecedented manner in the annals of the organization’s electoral cooperation, that the mission would be formed by specialists “chosen by the OAS Office of the Secretary General in consultation with the governments of Canada, France and the United States of America.”

What to everyone should be an unacceptable condition is an object of criticism by the European Union and Spain. However, the reserve soldiers do not interfere with the electoral diktat imposed on Haiti by the Imperial Trident (Canada, the United States, and France). Much to the contrary. The claims originated in Brussels and Madrid derived from the absence of any specific mention providing for the ex officio presence of their supposed specialists in being part of the new mission.

Insulza realizes that he should not allow—formally and legally—the recount mission to put itself at the exclusive service of the interests of three states, one of them not an OAS member. He then accepts Préval’s considerations to demand a new version of the agreement. The agreement changes in form; never in its objectives or contents. Rewritten, the supplementary agreement is signed on December 29 by Gaillot Dorsainvil, CEP President; by Jean-Max Bellerive and by the Chief of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM), Colin Granderson.

Formed by nine individuals, two of them OAS career officials—from the United States and Chile—it is interesting to note the nationality of the others: there were three citizens from the United States, two from France, one from Canada, and one from Jamaica. The traditional powers that control Haitian politics reserved for themselves the lion’s share, since seven out of the nine participants were nationals from these countries.

Latin America, in turn, who aspired to play a dominant role, returned to her historical insignificance and was conspicuous by her absence. In effect, although Brazil tried to include one or two ministers from the Supreme Electoral Court in the recount mission, backed both by its financial contribution to the EOM as well as by the technical expertise of these individuals, the fact is that the OAS did not take into account the suggestion. It is very likely that the Brazilian presence would have made it difficult for the Imperial Trident to attain the mission’s political objectives.

Once the agreement was signed, there was the challenge of making it operational. This was a complex task since the mission, with its new clothes and functions, was to replace the country’s electoral authorities. Accordingly, it was essential to maintain the appearance that the CEP’s autonomy and independence remained unharmed. This “Corneille’s choice”2 was impossible to fulfill without the connivance of the CEP advisers, who opposed the maneuver.

The mission was to invent rules and principles that were nonexistent in the Haitian electoral regulations and entirely unknown in all other electoral systems.

The recount mission had two objectives. On the one hand, to get Jude Célestin out of the second round, and on the other, to impose this as if it were legal before the Haitian Constitution and Electoral Law. Given that there could be no doubt about the results of the recount, the mission was to invent rules and principles that were nonexistent in the Haitian electoral regulations and entirely unknown in all other electoral systems. We are talking about an unprecedented and innovative operation that will remain in the annals of electoral audits. Thus, it decided that no candidate could have more than 225 votes—even when the average number of registered voters was 460—in each polling station. It was of little importance what level of local and regional approval each candidate had.

Still unsatisfied, the mission applied this innovative method to the candidate Jude Célestin, dismissing ex officio those ballot boxes in which he obtained 225 or more votes. To maintain a good appearance, they decided, nonetheless, to eliminate some of the votes for Mirlande Manigat and Michel Martelly. Thus, 13,830 votes were eliminated from the former and 7,150 from the latter, while Jude Célestin saw 38,541 votes disappear, or 60 percent of all the votes that were eliminated.

Although having applied a revolutionary method, the recount, unfortunately, did not reach the percentages needed to reverse the official results announced by the CEP. Since it had already abandoned all qualms and principles, the mission decided then to reduce to 150 the cutoff for the votes going to Célestin. Next, they extrapolated the votes obtained in these ballot boxes to the other candidates through simple prorating. When the reversal of Célestin’s and Martelly’s places was accomplished, it decided it was satisfied and concluded the operation.

It was never a concern for the recount mission to identify the existence of fraud. It did not perform any analysis of the voting tallies, of the data transfer, or of the voters’ identity cards.

It also had no interest in auditing the results of the ballot boxes. Despite calling itself a recount instrument, it did not perform any audit of the votes or count of them. It simply acted until it reached its objective and decided its work was completed. Therefore, the number of votes obtained by each of the candidates will never be known.

Swiftly, promptly and in bad faith, on January 13 the EOM, equipped with its unprecedented powers and applying a methodology below any suspicion, decided that Mirlande Manigat remained in first place with 31.6 percent of the vote, with the second place now going to Michel Martelly (22.2 percent). Jude Célestin was relegated to third place, after obtaining 21.9 percent. There was a slight reversion of the percentages, enough to rid that candidate from the second round.

Once again, the international community had behaved in Haiti as if it were in conquered territory. It boldly put into practice, absent any legal, technical or moral basis, a white coup and a blatant electoral intervention.

Once its alleged recount work was over, and anticipating the official release of its recommendations to the Haitian authorities, the results of the recount mission were leaked out to the press through two international news agencies. Coinciding with the nationality of a good portion of the alleged experts in the mission, the American Associated Press (AP) and the French Agence France-Presse (AFP) were selected, agencies which lent themselves willingly to the maneuver. Since in this game no one is naïve, the leaks had the clear objective of becoming accomplished facts. Later they did.

In the fifty years of electoral cooperation offered by the OAS to the member states, it had never dared to adopt these procedures. It had never so evidently and shamelessly replaced not only the electoral authorities of the sponsoring state, but also the voters themselves.

The basic rules that guide the OAS observation and electoral monitoring missions were violated. Its procedures manual was not followed. As a result of the debacle of one of the most respected instruments of the American [i.e., Americas] system, the Director of the OAS Department of Electoral Cooperation, the Chilean Pablo Gutiérrez, presented his resignation.

This episode marked the OAS with a permanent stain and became the most regretful, though little known, event in [OAS Secretary General] José Miguel Insulza’s administration.

One cannot disagree with René Préval when, faced with the ratification of the election of a candidate imposed by the United States through the international community, he asked himself: In this case, why were elections held?”

Georgianne Nienaber is a freelance writer and author and frequent contributor to the Huffington PostDan Beeton is International Communications Director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and a frequent contributor to its Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog.

A full version of the interview is available at CEPR and the LA Progressive.


1. Haiti’s democratically-elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was flown out of Haiti in 2004 in what he called a “kidnapping in the service of a coup d’etat.” Chile’s democratically-elected president Salvador Allende committed suicide in the presidential palace during the country’s September 11, 1973 coup.

2. French expression referring to a difficult choice.

Glenn Greenwald’s piece on manipulation of the Internet by intelligence agencies gives examples – based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden – of how governments disrupt social media websites.

Other whistleblowers have provided very specific information about how agents disrupt social media news sites.

This essay will focus one specific technique: the “Counter Reset”.

To explain the Counter Reset technique, we have to understand the concepts of “momentum” and “social proof”.

Specifically, the government spends a great deal of manpower and money to monitor which stories, memes and social movements are developing the momentum to actually pose a threat to the status quo.  For example, the Federal Reserve, PentagonDepartment of Homeland Security, and other agencies all monitor social media for stories critical of their agencies … or the government in general.   Other governments – and private corporations – do the same thing.


Because a story gaining momentum ranks high on social media sites.  So it has a high probability of bursting into popular awareness, destroying the secrecy which allows corruption, and becoming a real challenge to the powers-that-be.

“Social proof” is a related concept.  Social proof is the well-known principle stating that people will believe something if most other people believe it. And see this.  In other words, most people have a herd instinct, so if a story ranks highly, more people are likely to believe it and be influenced by it.

That is why vested interests go to great lengths – using computer power and human resources – to monitor social media momentum.   If a story critical of one of these powerful entities is gaining momentum, they will go to great lengths to kill its momentum, and destroy the social proof which comes with alot of upvotes, likes or recommendations in social media.

They may choose to flood social media with comments supporting the entities, using armies of sock puppets, i.e. fake social media identities. See thisthisthisthis and this. Or moderators at the social media sites themselves can just censor the stories.

Or they can be more sneaky … and do a Counter Reset to destroy momentum.

Giving specific examples will illustrate the technique.   Reddit moderators have continuously reset the counter over the last couple of days on the new Greenwald/Snowden story, to destroy momentum which would otherwise have guaranteed that the story was the top story.

Similarly, the owners of popular Youtube channels have repeatedly reported that Counter Resets are done on their most controversial news stories.

The attractiveness of the Counter Reset from a moderator’s perspective is that it destroys momentum, while leaving some plausible deniability.

If users point out that the story keeps getting spiked, the moderator can say that it hasn’t been censored, but instead that the moderators have allowed it to stay up (with periodic Counter Resets along the way).

Alternatively – if the moderators have continuously deleted the story each time it is posted – the moderators can say that it has been posted “numerous times”, and pretend that shows that they are letting the story gather momentum, when they are in fact deleting it again and again.  For example, when hundreds of Redditors complained yesterday that the Greenwald/Snowden story kept getting deleted, moderators chimed in on every thread proclaiming that the story had run multiple times … without admitting that it had been deleted each time.

Now that you know about the Counter Reset, watch your favorite social media sites to see how this technique is used for the hardest-hitting stories and videos which directly challenge the legitimacy of the powers-that-be.

President Obama has placed whole nations on his Kill List. Syria and Venezuela are to join Libya and Iraq as states that have been made to fail, while Ukraine is snatched into the NATO-EU orbit. “The neo-conservative project for a new American century has reached full fruition under a Democratic president, who now has many notches on his gun.”

The word imperialism fell into disuse in recent decades. If it seems slightly retro, that is only because there aren’t enough Americans committed to telling the ugly truth about their government.

During the cold war era we were told that communism increased in influence via a domino effect, knocking down nations one by one and forcing them into Moscow’s or Beijing’s orbit. In the 21st century there is a new domino theory which puts every part of the world into America’s cross hairs.

Barack Obama has succeeded in expanding America’s influence in ways that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney could only dream about. The neo-conservative project for a new American century has reached full fruition under a Democratic president, who now has many notches on his gun. He and the rest of the NATO leaders began the trail of destruction with Libya, tearing that country asunder under the guise of saving it.

Using lies and their servants in the corporate media, they constructed a tale of a tyrant and a people yearning for protection. That evil success emboldened them and their gulf monarchy allies further and they decided that Syria would be the next domino.

That plan didn’t work quite as well as Obama and the rest of murder incorporated team thought it would. When the British parliament said no to new military adventures Obama was left sputtering on national television. He was forced to back down from an adamant position he had taken just days earlier.

The semi-comedic setback was only temporary because the monster must be fed at all cost. The system can no longer sustain itself and brute force is the only out. There is nothing old fashioned about imperialism. This malevolent force is still alive and well.

George W. Bush made efforts to overthrow the democratically elected Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela when he plotted with the opposition against the late Hugo Chavez. Obama is clearly more committed to violence than his predecessor and has helped to stir up right wing Venezuelans who want to rid themselves of Nicolas Maduro. Maduro has been weakened by the ginned up protests and is now forced into talks with an opposition that won’t be satisfied until he is dead and gone too.

The Venezuelan people have voted for their revolution numerous times. The U.S., a country that never ceases to call itself a democracy, has thwarted their clearly expressed will time and time again. But that is the essence of empire after all.

While armed force against Syria was temporarily blocked, the West, the Persian gulf monarchies, Israel, and jihadists have not given up their effort to topple the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria. The savage war has made thousands of Syrians homeless and starving refugees, all because the empire needs its next domino.

Not only does United States meddles in its own backyard, it also relentlessly interferes on the other side of the world in far away Ukraine. Popular discontent against that country’s president became a successful effort to bring that country into the western sphere of economic influence but with the awful strings of austerity attached. Ukraine has the choice of going bankrupt or being bailed out and dying a slow death a la Greece.

While the machinations were afoot, president Obama warned Vladimir Putin away with threats of sanctions. The scenes of sometimes violent street protests in Ukraine made a fortuitous tableau for the United States which claimed the infamous “responsibility to protect” which never protects anyone who actually needs help and which has brought so much suffering to people around the world. Every invasion, occupation and disruption in recent years can be laid at the feet of the United States and its allies. Iraq has been destroyed quite literally, Iran has been destroyed economically. Libya was taken out and Syria is on the brink.

The United States quite openly makes it clear that it wants to have its way in the world. If Russia attempts to use its influence then it is vilified and caricatured as a cruel dictatorship controlled by a tyrant. No matter how many elections Chavez and now Maduro won, they are called dictators by American talking heads.

A superpower can foment conflict anywhere it wants to at anytime it chooses. Venezuelans must knuckle under or face the prospect of more turmoil and violence. Ukraine must sign onto economic policies which have already proven disastrous. The United States leaves its fingerprints in these and many other places and that is the essence of imperialism. It is all about control with the rawest brute force available.

The United States hasn’t officially made Venezuela or any other a colony but it doesn’t have to do that. It just has to show that it is boss and the dominos will fall wherever it chooses.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at 

Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

Oleh Tyahnybok, Svoboda Party

Attempts to set up a government by the Western-backed Ukrainian opposition forces that seized power in Saturday’s fascist putsch have collapsed amid rising demands for social attacks on the working class from Washington and the European Union (EU), and military tensions with Russia.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton left Kiev yesterday after two days of fruitless talks attempting to bring the different opposition parties together in a government. The putsch, cynically hailed by the Western media as a struggle for democracy, is proving to be an operation to forcibly install a filthy dictatorship of imperialist finance capital. Opposition officials estimated this week that Ukraine needs up to $35 billion to refinance its debts. However, the major international banks have effectively cut off credit to Ukraine, charging ruinously high interest rates that it cannot afford. Meanwhile, Russia has withdrawn its offer of $15 billion in aid after the putsch toppled Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych.

EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials are demanding austerity measures, such as deep cuts to state subsidies for consumer energy prices, in exchange for a $1or 2 billion payment to stave off immediate bankruptcy. Yanukovych rejected a planned association agreement with the EU entailing such cuts last autumn—the decision which led to the opposition protests against him—fearing that the cuts might lead to social upheavals that would bring down his regime.

Now, the pro-Western opposition, supported by gangs of fascist thugs from the Svoboda party and the neo-Nazi Right Sector group, is trying to push this reactionary, anti-democratic agenda through. Arseniy Yatsenyuk of billionaire oligarch Yulya Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party, whom Washington has identified as its preferred right-wing figurehead in Ukraine, called on the opposition to join government and do the banks’ bidding despite popular opposition. “This is about political responsibility. You know to be in this government is to commit political suicide, and we need to be very frank and open,” Yatsenyuk told reporters outside Parliament.

Such remarks underscore that the opposition aims to run roughshod over the Ukrainian people, trying to use violently anti-working class forces like Svoboda or Right Sector, which openly glorify Nazism and the Holocaust, to crush whatever popular opposition emerges.

Reports of broader public opinion in Ukraine indicate popular hostility not only to Yanukovych, but also to the leading opposition oligarch, Tymoshenko. One woman told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, “They are all crooks, the ones like the other, and Yulya [Tymoshenko] is no better.”

Tensions are escalating with Russia over the Western powers’ move to snatch Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence. In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry attacked US and EU policy in Ukraine as driven “not by a concern for the fate of Ukraine, but by unilateral geopolitical calculations … A course has been set to use dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods to suppress dissenters in various regions.”

Speaking to Interfax on Monday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev denounced the putsch in Kiev. He said, “Strictly speaking, there is no one to talk to there. The legitimacy of a whole host of government bodies raises huge doubts … If people crossing Kiev in black masks and Kalashnikov rifles are considered a government, it will be difficult for us to work with such a government.”

Medvedev added, however, that Russia would honor legally-binding energy contracts to provide Ukraine with natural gas. “Those agreements which are legally binding must be honored. We are not cooperating with personalities or isolated individuals. These are inter-state relations. We are neighbors, close nations, and we cannot run away from one another. Whatever has been signed must be honored. For us, Ukraine remains a serious and important partner.”

The opposition has abolished the status of Russian—which is widely spoken, particularly in the east of Ukraine—as an official language. There is widespread fear of possible fighting, including Russian intervention, if opposition forces in Kiev attempt to conquer the east or take over Russian military installations in the Crimea.

NATO commander in Europe General Philip Breedlove spoke with Russian Chief of General Staff General Valery Gerasimov in a tense exchange on Monday, in which both “expressed concern over the situation in Ukraine.”

Such remarks highlight the bankruptcy of the Russian regime of President Vladimir Putin, and the disastrous geo-strategic implications of the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the USSR, 23 years ago. Dependent on Ukrainian pipelines to transport its natural gas to European markets, the Kremlin oligarchy has no more popular base than the corrupt Yanukovych regime. It is vulnerable to similar right-wing provocations by middle class opposition forces or internal ethnic conflicts, such as the one in Chechnya, fueled by the United States and its allies. To the extent that it tries to use its military machine to block the offensive of imperialism’s far-right proxies, Moscow only runs the risk of triggering all-out war with NATO.

The only way forward is to mobilize the working class in Ukraine and internationally against the imperialist powers’ drive to impose far-right, neo-colonial regimes throughout the former USSR. In the absence of this, the imperialist powers will simply press ahead with mobilizing right-wing, middle class forces to destabilize the entire region, ultimately aiming to dismember Russia. The ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, whose US-backed government fought a brief war with Russia in 2008 after attacking Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, is now applying for a EU association agreement like that turned down in Ukraine by Yanukovych.

In yesterday’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lilia Shevtsova of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank in Moscow indicated that pro-Western opposition forces are preparing for operations like the Ukrainian putsch throughout the territories of the former USSR, including in Russia itself.

Praising the fascist-led putsch in Kiev in Orwellian fashion as “a new form of national self-realization, with its own leaders and heroes,” and calling for Ukraine to join NATO, she wrote: “Ukraine proved to be the weakest link in the post-Soviet chain. One must keep in mind that similar uprisings are also possible in other countries.”

Pointing to the foreign policy of German President Joachim Gauck, who has called for Germany to abandon restraints on its foreign and military policies observed since the fall of the Nazi regime, Shevtsova raised the possibility that Berlin might support similar operations against Russia.

She wrote, “One can therefore hope that the Ukrainians will not be disappointed in Europe again, and also that the democratic forces in Russia will be able to overcome their current disappointment with Europe.”

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a five-year budget plan for the Pentagon Monday which calls for restoring all the cuts in future military spending contained in the current spending deal between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans.

The plan takes as its point of departure the $496 billion in spending authorization for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins October 1, 2014, set under the bipartisan budget deal last December. This does not include an additional $80 billion in spending on the war in Afghanistan, set aside in an overseas contingency operations fund.

Thereafter, however, the budget plan assumes that the sequester cuts for FY 2016 and subsequent years will not take effect. Hagel and Dempsey warned that those cuts would dramatically worsen the readiness and effectiveness of the US military, essentially demanding that Congress rescind them, which would add $115 billion to military spending over the five-year period.

While the Hagel plan has been portrayed in the American media as a drastic scaling back of the US military—with headlines focusing on the cutback in total Army personnel to a level last seen before World War II—the real content of the budget is a shift in the military strategy of American imperialism.

Instead of protracted wars of occupation like Iraq and Afghanistan, involving hundreds of thousands of ground troops stationed overseas for many years, the Pentagon restructuring is geared to different types of warfare envisioned in coming decades.

The Pentagon plan would reduce the size of the active-duty military by 13 percent and the reserve force by 5 percent, but it would increase the size of US Special Forces by 6 percent, adding about 3,000 troops. These are the units that have been deployed to Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and other strife-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East, in addition to the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

At the other end of the combat spectrum, the Pentagon plan is geared to a major war against China, which would involve attacks by sea, air and cyberspace, with less emphasis on significant ground combat on the Asian mainland, the only form of battle in which China, with its enormous manpower, might have an advantage.

A war against Iran would be a lesser example of the same type of conflict and could perhaps serve as a trial run: instead of a land invasion of a country four times the size of Iraq, with three times the population, the preferred strategy of US imperialism involves crippling the country with air, sea and cyberwar attacks, accompanied by a blockade to strangle its economy and starve the Iranian people.

Such strategic considerations explain many of the decisions outlined by Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a press conference Monday.

Hagel proposed, for example, to eliminate the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft, originally designed to destroy Soviet tanks in the event of a full-scale conventional war in central Europe. The A-10 is currently used as air support for ground troops in Afghanistan, but this capability would be replaced by increasing the number of Apache helicopter gunships, shifting all those now in use by the National Guard to the regular Army.

The Navy is being reconfigured for military operations in the Western Pacific, as part of the overall “pivot to Asia,” which will increase the proportion of US military assets deployed in the Asia-Pacific region from the present 50 percent to 60 percent or more.

Hagel proposes to develop a new frigate design that would likely replace the littoral combat ship, or LCS, which was originally developed for naval operations in critical waterways like Strait of Malacca, through which much of China’s trade and fuel supplies pass. Four US littoral combat ships were stationed last year at Singapore, but new orders for such ships are being halted.

At the press conference, Hagel hinted that the modernization of Chinese naval forces had made the LCS obsolete. “We need to closely examine whether the LCS has the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary and emerging new technologies, especially in the Asia Pacific,” he said.

Hagel warned more generally that many US military advantages were being eroded. “The development and proliferation of more advanced military technologies by other nations mean that we are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted,” he told reporters.

Hagel proposed the retention of all 11 US aircraft carriers, rejecting a proposal to mothball one carrier for budgetary reasons. But he warned that if Congress did not rescind the sequester cuts, such a reduction in carrier strength would be unavoidable. To underscore this blackmail threat, he ordered the carrier USS George Washington to enter long-term refitting this year, a process that could become an outright scrapping in the unlikely event Congress fails to pay up.

In addition, the Pentagon plan would retain 11 naval cruisers, previously scheduled for retirement, and modernize them to extend their life as air-defense platforms.

At the press conference and in subsequent meetings with congressional leaders, Hagel and Dempsey focused attention on the need for fiscal discipline, by which they meant, not significantly scaling back the gargantuan American military machine, and limiting its worldwide operations, but carrying out a program of military aggression more cheaply and efficiently. “This is a time for reality,” Hagel said. “This is a budget that recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges …”

In practice, this means cutting subsidies and benefits for military servicemen and veterans. “Personnel costs reflect some 50% of the Pentagon budget and cannot be exempted in the context of the significant cuts the department is facing,” Adm. John Kirby, the Defense Department’s top spokesman, told the press. “Secretary Hagel has been clear that, while we do not want to, we ultimately must slow the growth of military pay and compensation.”

The Pentagon plan calls for a symbolic one-year pay freeze for general and flag officers, while the 1 percent raise for lower ranks, provided in December’s budget deal, will go forward. Retired military personnel will pay more for their health care, up from 8 percent to 11 percent of the total cost, although this figure remains far below the share that most civilian workers pay. Other changes in retirement benefits will await the outcome of a special commission studying military pensions, to report in 2015.

There will be significant cuts in subsidies for military commissaries at US bases, which will fall from $1.4 billion to $500 million. Housing subsidies will be capped, meaning that military personnel will begin to pay a greater share of the cost, as rents and utility charges rise.

Meanwhile, the gravy train continues for the giant corporations that have drunk deeply at the Pentagon’s trough. Notably, stock prices for defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics rose Monday in the wake of Hagel’s press conference.

According to one analysis, the Pentagon will end a four-year scaling back in weapons purchases and research and development, areas where most of the spending goes to US-based corporations. One key initiative is for a new and more fuel-efficient jet engine, where General Electric is a prime contractor. Hagel also reaffirmed future purchases of Lockheed’s F-35 jet fighter, the most expensive warplane ever built.

Washington y el Vaticano andan mano en la mano

February 26th, 2014 by Oscar Fortin

Washington, centro del poder del imperio, se interesa especialmente al Estado del Vaticano, centro del poder religioso y político de los católicos en el mundo.

Bajo los dos últimos papas, la alianza entre estos dos poderes fue especialmente intensa e indefectible. Se tiene que pensar en la entrega por el Presidente G.W. Bush de la medalla de libertad al papa Juan-Pablo II o también a este aniversario de Benedicto XVI, celebrado en los jardines de la Casa-Blanca. Para quienes querrían ver todas las ramificaciones y sutilezas, les invito a que lean este otro artículo que encontrarán aquí.

La llegada del papa Francisco no está sin suscitar algunas inquietudes en Washington. Su amor de los pobres se vuelve cada vez más molestoso, sobre todo porque comienza a identificar las causas estructurales, entre ellas, el capitalismo salvaje, el individualismo, la codicia y las ambiciones de poder. Las desigualdades sociales son cada vez más evidentes y la paz por las armas no puede sino engendrar más guerras.

Washington no sabría permanecer los brazos cruzados como si no pasaría nada. Necesita colocar a sus hombres, como lo hace en la mayoría de los Gobiernos del mundo, con quienes podrá contar en puestos estratégicos del poder. En el Vaticano, son los puestos cerca del papa. Lo más importante de éstos, después del puesto papal, es él del Secretario de Estado del Vaticano, un puesto central, como él de un Primer Ministro. Ahí tienes lo que dice la Constitución Pastor Bonus :

«Son competencia suya las relaciones diplomáticas de la Santa Sede con los Estados, e incluido el establecimiento de Concordatos o acuerdos similares, la representación de la Santa Sede cerca de las conferencias y organismos internacionales; en circunstancias particulares, bajo mandato del Soberano Pontífice y después de la consulta de los Dicasterios competentes de la Curia, la preparación de los nombramientos en las Iglesias particulares, así como la constitución de estas últimas o su modificación; los nombramientos de los obispos en los países que han concluido con la Santa Sede tratados o acuerdos de derecho internacional, en colaboración con las Congregaciones para los Obispos. »

En el momento de escribir estas líneas, en junio pasado, este puesto de Secretario de Estado del Vaticano no estaba aún colmado y la suerte del cardenal hondureño, Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, presentido por varios para este puesto, no estaba aún sellada. Desde entonces, el nuncio apostólico en Venezuela, Pietro Parolin, ha sido nombrado Secretario de Estado del Vaticano y el cardenal Maradiaga fue nombrado Coordinador del Comité especial para aconsejar al papa sobre la reforma de la Curia romana. Nombramientos que tienen ciertamente sus secretos. Los dos personajes mas importantes, Pierto Parolin, secretario del Estado del Vaticano y el cardinal Mardiaga, brazo derecho del papa Françisco, tienen en comun el no compartir el socialismo de la revolucion bolivariana.


Se trata obviamente de un personaje importante en la Iglesia y, a no subestimar, en la geopolítica de América Latina. En varias ocasiones el papa le significó que había toda su confianza.

Ya en 2005, en el Cónclave para elegir al sucesor del papa Juan-Pablo II, estaba en la lista de los candidatos serios para el papado. En la época, se había adquirido una determinada reputación de un cardenal próximo a los pobres y simpático a la corriente de pensamiento de la teología de la liberación.

Esta reputación se evaporó rápidamente cuando se asoció, en 2009, a los golpistasquiénes se apoderaron, por la fuerza, de los poderes del Estado Hondureño, expulsando por las armas al Presidente legítimamente elegido, Manuel Zelaya. Este 28 de junio de 2009 habrá sido determinante para descubrir detrás de este cardenal de los pobres, el aliado indefectible de Washington y de las oligarquías nacionales.

Estos acontecimientos reflejaron el personaje político del cardenal. Sabemos que la decisión del golpe de Estado fue, antetodo, motivada por el hecho de que el Presidente Zelaya se había juntado al grupo de la Alianza bolivariana para los pueblos de nuestra América – Tratado de comercio de los Pueblos (ALBA – TCP).

“En primer lugar evocada por Hugo Chávez, presidente de Venezuela, en una cumbre, en diciembre de 2001, de los Jefes de Estado de la Comunidad caribéenne, el ALBA fue lanzada oficialmente en abril de 2005, con la firma del “Tratado comercial del pueblo ” entre Cuba y Venezuela. Desde entonces, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica y Honduras se asociaron a esa iniciativa, que miraba en primer lugar a promover una alternativa a la ZLEA (Zona de libre comercio de las Américas) promovida por Washington. »

Se trataba por los putschistas, de un paso a no dar de parte del presidente Zelaya con el ALBA.

Los habituados de la reciente historia de América Latina saben muy bien que ningún golpe de Estado sería posible sin el acuerdo y el apoyo de la Iglesia institucional. Honduras no escapa a esta norma.

El cardenal Maradiaga ha sido implicado en encuentros preparatorios a este golpe de Estado. Él no podía ignorar que el motivo oficial alegado para derrocar al Presidente legítimo era inconsiste. De hecho, se trataba de una consulta no vinculante en cuanto a la pertinencia de hacer votar, en una cuarta urna, la formación de una asamblea constituyente para elaborar una nueva constitución.

El presidente Zelaya no estaba en la lista de los candidatos a la presidencia. Este echo no modificó en nada el apoyo del cardenal a este golpe de Estado militar, juzgado totalmente legal por él y la conferencia de los Obispos.

Además, no podía ignorar que la firma al pié de la supuesta carta de dimisión del Presidente era una falsificación de su firma y una maniobra injusta para hacer tragar esta culebra (de golpe de Estado) por la opinión mundial. Lejos de denunciar el carácter criminal, hizo como si no pasaba nada.

Durante todo el período de represión que siguió, se hizo muy silencioso sobre los crímenes cometidos. Periodistas han sido asesinados y dirigentes sindicales eliminados. No se lo vio levarse en contra de los militares y estas élites que llevaban al Estado como bien les parecían.

De parte de un supuesto simpatizante de la teología de la liberación, como algunos les gustaban decirlo, era un vuelco a la democracia y a los dejados por cuenta.

Su sectarismo y sus escogencias ideológicas se revelaron plenamente en la homilía que pronunció, el 3 de febrero de 2010, con motivo de la misa de Acción de gracia en el honor del nuevo presidente, Porfirio Lobo. He aquí un extracto de estas palabras elogiosas que tuvo con respeto al principal golpista, Roberto Micheletti:

« Hoy es un día especial para dar gracias a Dios, por la Virgen María, para nuestro Honduras, para la libertad, la soberanía y la independencia que Don Roberto Micheletti supo defender con las fuerzas armadas y al lado de millares de Hondureños que quieren formar parte de las soluciones, no de los problemas ».

El 10 de febrero de 2010, añadía en presencia de los nuevos electos:

“Alégrense, queridos hermanos y queridas hermanas, Ustedes que deben dirigir este país. Dios los ha elegido, ya que Dios bendice Honduras”.
“Queremos que reinen entre nosotros la comunión, la fraternidad, la reconciliación y la paz”.

“Nos alegramos en el Señor cuando un Hondureño respeta otro que piensa diferentemente, cuando nosotros no nos tratamos como enemigos, pero como hermanos, cuando nos miramos en los ojos y reconocemos a los hijos de Dios, de un mismo padre, de Honduras y de Nuestra Señora de Suyapa”.

“Somos llenos de esperanza, ya que sabemos que el humanismo cristiano guiará esta nueva etapa de Honduras, y deseamos poder colaborarlo todos en este proyecto para el bien de la nación”.

He aquí un discurso que merecería por sí solo un análisis profundo. No obstante, se puede plantearse desde ahora una cuestión de fondo. ¿Por qué no haber tenido este discurso ante las oligarquías y los golpistas, antes de cometer sus crímenes, en junio de 2009? Lejos de allí, él sugiere incluso que los electos de Dios, que son los nuevos dirigentes oligárquicos, sean los auténticos portadores del humanismo cristiano y que los otros, los que los precedieron, no eran ni los electos de Dios, ni los portadores del humanismo cristiano. Ya se ve por donde va el cardenal.

Les refiero a un artículo, escrito sobre el tema en julio de 2009. También hay este debate que suscitó la invitación del Instituto Católico de París al cardenal Maradiaga para hacerlo Doctor Honoris Causa. Sobre esta cuestión, les refiero también a este artículo de Golias. Esta ceremonia, a raíz de las numerosas protestas, fue cancelada.

Estamos obviamente lejos de la presentación que nos hace Wikipédia. Todo no se para allí. Se convirtió en el hombre clave de Washington para sus relaciones con la Iglesia y América Latina.


Numerosos acontecimientos y varios análisis permiten descodificar una estrategia de intervención que transforma en salvador a quien no lo es y en diablos a los otros. Podríamos llamarla la estrategia de los dos extremos con miras a crear el espacio necesario para que un nuevo salvador pase por el medio.

Sabemos por experiencia de vida que entre dos extremos, hay siempre quienes hacen figura de gran sensatez y que se presentan como una alternativa razonable a estos dos polos extremos. Para eso, es necesario y obvio que existan estos dos extremos o por falta de existencia, es necesario crearlos.

El ejemplo perfecto para hacer comprender bien este enfoque me viene del discurso desarrollado por algunas autoridades eclesiales. Últimamente, el papa Francisco en su exhortación apostólica “Evangelii Gaudium” denunció con fuerza uno de estos extremos, representados por estas fuerzas ocultas de las finanzas y de la economía que reduce la persona humana a residuos para la basura. El nombre de este extremo es el capitalismo y el imperialismo.

¿Mientras tanto, qué permanece como alternativas? Inevitablemente varios portarán sus miradas sobre los países emergentes de América Latina que se inspiran en un socialismo que definen del siglo XXI. Ahora bien, este socialismo, lo sabemos, es la bestia negra de los episcopados latinoamericanos y coincidentemente de los Estados Unidos, los cuales son lugares y sitios del imperio.

Se plantea entonces la cuestión de saber cómo, sin negar las pláticas del papa Francisco, deshacerse de esta alternativa más bien molesta para el episcopado latinoamericano y para el imperio con quien coopera.

Aquí, entra en acción nuestro cardenal Maradiaga. He aquí un extracto de la entrevista concedida a periodistas, en su paso por Berlín en enero pasado. En esta entrevista, añade más sobre las declaraciones del papa hablando del fracaso de la globalización y de la corrupción endémica que alcanza a todos los dirigentes latinoamericanos. En el mismo soplo, hace igual con el socialismo del siglo XXI que asocia a Venezuela y que califica no solamente de fracaso, sino de un “gran” fracaso.” ¿Qué persiste entonces, si no es la llegada de una primavera latinoamericana que hará aparecer nuevas figuras para una nueva gobernanza? Un espacio necesario para que Washington y sus aliados, bajo exteriores de un renacimiento, vuelvan a tomar el control de los Gobiernos, bajo la forma, sin duda, de un humanismo cristiano, versión Maradiaga.

Religión digital da cuenta de una entrevista concedida por el cardenal a periodistas, bajo el título: Maradiaga: “La globalización fue un fracaso: es una mascarada para un monopolio disimulado” Traduzco para ustedes el informe en español.

“En un encuentro con los periodistas en Berlín, Rodríguez Maradiaga, Salesiano y el Presidente de Cáritas Internacional, consideró que la política en América Latina se convirtió en una “industria” dónde lo principal es el beneficio personal de la clase dirigente y no la búsqueda del bien común.

Esta situación generó una corrupción increíble, acompañada de una gran “impunidad” causando profundas desigualdades que dividen el subcontinente, uno de los problemas principales de América latina.

Eso conduce a la tentación de otro tipo de gobernanzadando el ejemplo de Venezuela, cuyo sistema igualmente es un gran fracaso y que, a su modo de ver, implica la misma corrupción, pero bajo otra cara.

“¿Para cuándo la llegada de una primavera latinoamericana, se preguntó el cardenal Hondureño, haciendo la aproximación con lo que pasó con las revoluciones que tomaron su despegue en 2011 en el mundo árabe?”

Aquí, la mesa está puesta para que el imperio, amante de esta democracia sobre la cual detiene el máximo control, se implique y haga posible las condiciones para una revolución cuyo primer objetivo consistirá en poner fin a este socialismo del siglo XXI y volver a tomar el control de los Estados.

Es necesario decir que el cardenal no perdió tiempo a analizar lo que pasa en Bolivia, en Ecuador e incluso en Venezuela. No tomó más tiempo para detenerse en la dinámica de los organismos regionales como MERCOSUR, UNASUR, CELAC, ALBA, etc. En resumen, él no ve que ya existe una primavera latinoamericana en plena extensión, una primavera que se realiza no por la violencia, los saqueos y los homicidas sino por la resistencia y la democracia. De esta primavera, el cardenal prefiere no hablar, ignorándola y fundiéndola en lo genérico de “toda América Latina” corrompida. Asi, Lula, Dilma Rousseff, José Mujica, Rafael Correa, Evoi Morales, Hugo Chavez y ahora Nicolas Maduro son todos corruptos.

Nos salta a la vista que la intervención del cardenal se sitúa en el marco de un plan global, seguramente establecido por Washington y algunas autoridades eclesiales, de las cuales forma parte.

Así pues, el gran lobo malévolo de la globalización volverá a ser, esta vez, vestido de la ropa del Buen Pastor, el salvador de un mundo corroído por la corrupción y la utopía engañosa. Sin perder nada de sus prerrogativas anteriores, sabrá dar a todas sus intervenciones el aspecto de la moderación y de una gran sensatez. Los socialistas malévolos habrán sido borrados del mapa y los capitalistas sin conciencia habrán encontrado su lugar bajo exteriores más encantadores y humanos. Igualmente, sin duda, más generoso con Cáritas Internacional.

El papa emérito Benedicto XVI, en su libro “Jesús de Nazaret, volumen 1”, habla también de una falta de alternativa a este capitalismo, guardándose, no obstante, de hablar de esta alternativa que puede representar el socialismo del siglo XXI, en vigor en Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela y Nicaragua. Nos recomienda más bien, inspirado del profeta Ezequiel 9,4, el ejemplo de los que “gimen y que claman á causa de todas las abominaciones que se hacen en medio de la ciudad ». Se trata de hombres y mujeres que no gritan con “los lobos y que no son cómplices de las injusticias”.

« a estas personas que no se dejan entrenar a hacerse cómplices de la injusticia que se ha convertido natural, sino que al contrario la padecen. Incluso, si no es en su poder de cambiar en su conjunto esta situación, oponen al reino del mal la resistencia pasiva del sufrimiento, la tristeza que asigna un límite al poder del mal” (p.108).

El cardenal Maradiaga, hombre de acción, no lo entiende de esta manera. Declara, de su autoridad episcopal y sin otras explicaciones que su personal convicción, que el régimen en desarrollo en Venezuela es un gran fracaso y que el tiempo ya vino para abrir la vía a esta primavera latinoamericana. Se guarda bien de reclamar esta primavera para su país, el Honduras. Uno de los países más pobres y dónde la violencia es la más grande. Es más fácil para él de hablar de América Latina en su conjunto y de Venezuela en su particular.

No cabe duda de que los últimos acontecimientos de violencia en Venezuela, que tomaron su despegue el 12 de febrero último, se presentan como una respuesta a su llamada para una primavera latinoamericana.

Washington, con tal hombre eclesiástico, puede dormir en paz en su lucha para reconquistar los países que se liberaron de su poder de dominación. No es sorprendente que los episcopados latinoamericanos se asocien a este movimiento de reconquista del imperio.

El cardenal se convertirá en el profeta que habrá anunciado el día de la liberación de los pueblos de América Latina. La violencia, el saqueo y los muertos harán obviamente parte, para estos nuevos liberadores, de los daños colaterales o, si se puede hacerlo creer, de una represión excesiva por parte de los gobiernos.

Los medios de comunicación, bien rodados al pensamiento único, sabrán formatear los espíritus para decir que América Latina vive tiempos nuevos. Seguramente como fue el caso en Irak, Libia, Egipto, y ahora en Siria.

Con el cardenal Maradiaga y el Secretario de Estado del Vaticano, Pietro Parolin, solidarios del episcopado venezolano, Washington y el Vaticano caminan mano en mano. ¡Qué el pueblo venezolano y todos los demás que avanzan por el mismo camino se lo tengan por dicho!!!

En relación con los datos objetivos de la evolución social, económica y política del país les refiero al un estudio que nos da por gráficos lo antes de Chavez y lo a partir de Chavez. Datos que el cardenal debería tomar en cuenta cuando dice que el régimen de Venezuela es un gran fracaso. Esos datos, lejos de confirmar lo que dice el cardenal, confirman mas bien todo lo contrario.

Oscar Fortin
Québec, el 20 de febrero 2014

Traductor : Marius Morin

Come la Nato ha scavato sotto l’Ucraina

February 26th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

«Ben scavato, vecchia talpa!»: così Marx descriveva il lavoro preparatorio della rivoluzione a metà Ottocento. La stessa immagine può essere usata oggi, in senso rovesciato, per decrivere  l’operazione condotta dalla Nato in Ucraina. Essa inizia quando nel 1991, dopo il Patto di Varsavia, si disgrega anche l’Unione Sovietica: al posto di un unico stato se ne formano quindici, tra cui l’Ucraina. Gli Stati Uniti e gli alleati europei si muovono subito per trarre il massimo vantaggio dalla nuova situazione geopolitica. Nel 1999 la Nato demolisce con la guerra la Federazione Iugoslava, stato che avrebbe potuto ostacolare la sua espansione a Est, e ingloba i primi paesi dell’ex Patto di Varsavia: Polonia, Repubblica ceca e Ungheria. Quindi, nel 2004 e 2009, si estende a Estonia, Lettonia, Lituania (già parte dell’Urss); Bulgaria, Romania, Slovacchia; Slovenia e Croazia (repubbliche della ex Iugoslavia) e Albania. L’Ucraina – il cui territorio di oltre 600mila km2 fa da cuscinetto tra Nato e Russia ed è attraversato dai corridoi energetici tra Russia e Ue – resta invece autonoma. Entra però a far parte del «Consiglio di cooperazione nord-atlantica» e, nel 1994, della «Partnership per la pace», contribuendo alle operazioni di «peacekeeping» nei Balcani.

Nel 2002 viene adottato il «Piano di azione Nato-Ucraina» e il presidente Kuchma annuncia l’intenzione di aderire alla Nato. Nel 2005, sulla scia della «rivoluzione arancione», il presidente Yushchenko viene invitato al summit Nato a Bruxelles. Subito dopo viene lanciato un «dialogo intensificato sull’aspirazione dell’Ucraina a divenire membro della Nato» e nel 2008 il summit di Bucarest dà luce verde al suo ingresso. Nel 2009 Kiev firma un accordo che permette il transito terrestre in Ucraina di rifornimenti per le forze Nato in Afghanistan. Ormai l’adesione alla Nato sembra certa ma, nel 2010, il neoeletto presidente Yanukovych annuncia che, pur continuando la cooperazione, l’adesione alla Nato non è nell’agenda del suo governo. Nel frattempo però la Nato è riuscita a tessere una rete di legami all’interno delle forze armate ucraine. Alti ufficiali partecipano da anni a corsi del Nato Defense College a Roma e a Oberammergau (Germania), su temi riguardanti l’integrazione delle forze armate ucraine con quelle Nato.

Nello stesso quadro si inserisce l’istituzione, presso l’Accademia militare ucraina, di una nuova «facoltà multinazionale» con docenti Nato. Notevolmente sviluppata anche la cooperazione tecnico-scientifica nel campo degli armamenti per facilitare, attraverso una maggiore interoperabilità, la partecipazione delle forze armate ucraine a «operazioni congiunte per la pace» a guida Nato. Inoltre, dato che «molti ucraini mancano di informazioni sul ruolo e gli scopi dell’Alleanza e conservano nella propria mente sorpassati stereotipi della guerra fredda», la Nato ha istituito a Kiev un Centro di informazione che organizza incontri e seminari e anche visite di «rappresentanti della società civile» al quartier generale di Bruxelles. E poiché non esiste solo ciò che si vede, è evidente che la Nato ha una rete di collegamenti negli ambienti militari e civili molto più estesa di quella che appare. Lo conferma il tono di comando con cui il segretario generale della Nato si rivolge il 20 febbraio alle forze armate ucraine, avvertendole di «restare neutrali», pena «gravi conseguenze negative per le nostre relazioni». La Nato si sente ormai sicura di poter compiere un altro passo nella sua espansione ad Est, inglobando probabilmente metà Ucraina, mentre continua la sua campagna contro «i sorpassati stereotipi della guerra fredda».

Manlio Dinucci

Is the US backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?

February 25th, 2014 by Max Blumenthal

As the Euromaidan protests in the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev culminated this week, displays of open fascism and neo-Nazi extremism became too glaring to ignore. Since demonstrators filled the downtown square to battle Ukrainian riot police and demand the ouster of the corruption-stained, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, it has been filled with far-right streetfighting men pledging to defend their country’s ethnic purity.

White supremacist banners and Confederate flags were draped inside Kiev’s occupied City Hall, and demonstrators have hoisted Nazi SS and white power symbols over a toppled memorial to V.I. Lenin. After Yanukovich fled his palatial estate by helicopter, EuroMaidan protesters destroyed a memorial to Ukrainians who died battling German occupation during World War II. Sieg heil salutes and the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol have become an increasingly common site in Maidan Square, and neo-Nazi forces have established “autonomous zones” in and around Kiev.

An Anarchist group called AntiFascist Union Ukraine attempted to join the Euromaidan demonstrations but found it difficult to avoid threats of violence and imprecations from the gangs of neo-Nazis roving the square. “They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists,” one of its members said. “There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult.”

“There are lots of Nationalists here, including Nazis,” the anti-fascist continued. “They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.”

One of the “Big Three” political parties behind the protests is the ultra-nationalist Svoboda, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has called for the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” After the 2010 conviction of the Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for his supporting role in the death of nearly 30,000 people at the Sobibor camp, Tyahnybok rushed to Germany to declare him a hero who was “fighting for truth.” In the Ukrainian parliament, where Svoboda holds an unprecedented 37 seats, Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is fond of quoting Joseph Goebbels – he has even founded a think tank originally called “the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center.” According to Per Anders Rudling, a leading academic expert on European neo-fascism, the self-described “socialist nationalist” Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector.

Right Sector is a shadowy syndicate of self-described “autonomous nationalists” identified by their skinhead style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fascination with street violence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: “Ukraine above all!” In a recent Right Sector propaganda video [embedded at the bottom of this article], the group promised to fight “against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, for traditional national morality and family values.” With Svoboda linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties through the Alliance of European National Movements, Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on “a great European Reconquest.”

Svoboda’s openly pro-Nazi politics have not deterred Senator John McCain from addressing a EuroMaidan rally alongside Tyahnybok, nor did it prevent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from enjoying a friendly meeting with the Svoboda leader this February. Eager to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism, the Svoboda leader recently hosted the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine. “I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patriotic feelings,” Tyahnybok has remarked. “Probably each party in the [Israeli] Knesset is nationalist. With God’s help, let it be this way for us too.”

In a leaked phone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, Nuland revealed her wish for Tyahnybok to remain “on the outside,” but to consult with the US’s replacement for Yanukovich, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “four times a week.” At a December 5, 2013 US-Ukraine Foundation Conference, Nuland boasted that the US had invested $5 billion to “build democratic skills and institutions” in Ukraine, though she did not offer any details.

“The Euro-Maidan movement has come to embody the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies,” Nuland proclaimed.

Two weeks later, 15,000 Svoboda members held a torchlight ceremony in the city of Lviv in honor of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B). Lviv has become the epicenter of neo-fascist activity in Ukraine, with elected Svoboda officials waging a campaign to rename its airport after Bandera and successfully changing the name of Peace Street to the name of the Nachtigall Battalion, an OUN-B wing that participated directly in the Holocaust. “’Peace’ is a holdover from Soviet stereotypes,” a Svoboda deputy explained.

Revered by Ukrainian nationalists as a legendary freedom fighter, Bandera’s real record was ignominious at best. After participating in a campaign to assassinate Ukrainians who supported accommodation with the Polish during the 1930’s, Bandera’s forces set themselves to ethnically cleanse western Ukraine of Poles in 1943 and 1944. In the process, they killed over 90,000 Poles and many Jews, whom Bandera’s top deputy and acting “Prime Minister,” Yaroslav Stetsko, were determined to exterminate. Bandera held fast to fascist ideology in the years after the war, advocating a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe while his affiliated Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) carried out a doomed armed struggle against the Soviet Union. The bloodbath he inspired ended when KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959.

The Right Connections

Many surviving OUN-B members fled to Western Europe and the United States – occasionally with CIA help – where they quietly forged political alliances with right-wing elements. “You have to understand, we are an underground organization. We have spent years quietly penetrating positions of influence,” one member told journalist Russ Bellant, who documented the group’s resurgence in the United States in his 1988 book, “Old Nazis, New Right, and the Republican Party.”

In Washington, the OUN-B reconstituted under the banner of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), an umbrella organization comprised of “complete OUN-B fronts,” according to Bellant. By the mid-1980’s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members, with the group’s chairman Lev Dobriansky, serving as ambassador to the Bahamas, and his daughter, Paula, sitting on the National Security Council. Reagan personally welcomed Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983.

“Your struggle is our struggle,” Reagan told the former Nazi collaborator. “Your dream is our dream.”

When the Justice Department launched a crusade to capture and prosecute Nazi war criminals in 1985, UCCA snapped into action, lobbying Congress to halt the initiative. “The UCCA has also played a leading role in opposing federal investigations of suspected Nazi war criminals since those queries got underway in the late 1970’s,” Bellant wrote. “Some UCCA members have many reasons to worry – reasons which began in the 1930’s.”

Still an active and influential lobbying force in Washington, the UCCA does not appear to have shed its reverence for Banderist nationalism. In 2009, on the 50th anniversary of Bandera’s death, the group proclaimed him “a symbol of strength and righteousness for his followers” who “continue[s] to inspire Ukrainians today.” A year later, the group honored the 60th anniversary of the death of Roman Shukhevych, the OUN-B commander of the Nachtigall Battalion that slaughtered Jews in Lviv and Belarus, calling him a “hero” who “fought for honor, righteousness…”

Back in Ukraine in 2010, then-President Viktor Yushchenko awarded Bandera the title of “National Hero of Ukraine,” marking the culmination of his efforts to manufacture an anti-Russian national narrative that sanitized the OUN-B’s fascism. (Yuschenko’s wife, Katherine Chumachenko, was a former Reagan administration official and ex-staffer at the right-wing Heritage Foundation). When the European Parliament condemned Yushchenko’s proclamation as an affront to “European values,” the UCCA-affiliated Ukrainian World Congress reacted with outrage, accusing the EU of “another attempt to rewrite Ukrainian history during WWII.” On its website, the UCCA dismissed historical accounts of Bandera’s collaboration with the Nazis as “Soviet propaganda.”

Following the demise of Yanukovich this month, the UCCA helped organize rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests. When several hundred demonstrators marchedthrough downtown Chicago, some waved Ukrainian flags while others proudly flew the red and black banners of the UPA and OUN-B. “USA supports Ukraine!” they chanted.

Max Blumenthal is an award winning journalist and the bestselling author of “Republican Gomorrah: Inside the movement that shattered the party”

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The Crisis In Ukraine: What it Means to be Looted by the West

February 25th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

In 2004 Hungary joined the EU, expecting streets of gold.  Instead, four years later in 2008 Hungary became indebted to the IMF.  The rock video by the Hungarian group, Mouksa Underground sums up the result in Hungary today of falling into the hands of the EU and IMF.

The song is about the disappointing results of leaving socialism for capitalism, and in Hungary the results are certainly not encouraging.  The title is “Disappointment with the System Change.” Here are the lyrics:

Over twenty some years now

We’ve been waiting for the good life

For the average citizen

Instead of wealth we have poverty

Unrestrained exploitation

So this is the big system change

So this is what you waited for

No housing No food No work

But that’s what was assured wouldn’t happen

Those on top

Prey upon us

The poor suffer everyday

So this is the big system change

So this is what you waited for


When will real change occur?

When will there be a livable world

The ultimate solution will arise

When this economic system is forever abandoned

So this is the big system change

So this is what you waited for


There is no solution but revolution

Perhaps if the Kiev students had listened to the Hungarian rock group instead of to Washington’s NGOs, they would understand what it means to be looted by the West,  and Ukraine would not be in turmoil and headed toward destruction.

As Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland made clear in her speech last December and in the leaked recording of her telephone conversation with the US ambassador in Kiev, Washington spent $5 billion of US taxpayer dollars engineering a coup in Ukraine that overthrew the elected democratic government. 

That it was a coup is also underlined by the obvious public lies that Obama has told about the situation, blaming, of course, the overthrown government, and by the total misrepresentation of Ukrainian developments by the US and European presstitute media.  The only reason to misrepresent the events is to support the coup and to cover up Washington’s hand.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the coup is a strategic move by Washington to weaken Russia. Washington tried to capture Ukraine in 2004 with the Washington-funded “Orange Revolution,” but failed.  Ukraine was part of Russia for 200 years prior to being granted independence in the 1990s. The eastern and southern provinces of Ukraine are Russian areas that were added to Ukraine in the 1950s by the Soviet leadership in order to water down the influence of the nazi elements in the western Ukraine that had fought for Adolf Hitler against the Soviet Union during World War 2.  

The loss of Ukraine to the EU and NATO would mean the loss of Russia’s naval base on the Black Sea and the loss of many military industries.  If Russia were to accept such strategic defeat, it would mean that Russia had submitted to Washington’s hegemony.

Whatever course the Russian government takes, the Russian population of eastern and southern Ukraine will not accept oppression by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and neo-nazis.

The hostility already shown toward the Russian population can be seen in the destruction by Ukrainians of the monument to the Russian troops that drove Hitler’s divisions out of Ukraine during World War 2 and the destruction of the monument to Russian General Kutuzov, whose tactics destroyed Napoleon’s Grand Army and resulted in the fall of Napoleon.  

The question at the moment is whether Washington miscalculated and lost control of the coup to the neo-nazi elements who seem to have taken control from the Washington-paid moderates in Kiev, or whether the Washington neocons have been working with the neo-nazis for years.   Max Blumenthal says the latter:

The moderates have certainly lost control. They cannot protect public monuments, and they are forced to try to pre-empt the neo-nazis by legislating the neo-nazi program. The captive Ukrainian parliament has introduced measures to ban any official use of the Russian language. This, of course, is unacceptable to the Russian provinces.

As I noted in a previous column, the Ukrainian parliament itself is responsible for the destruction of democracy in Ukraine. Its unconstitutional and undemocratic actions have paved the way for the neo-nazis who now have the precedent to treat the moderates the same way that the moderates treated the elected government and to cover up their illegality with accusations of crimes and arrest warrants. Today the illegally deposed President Yanukovych is on the run.  Tomorrow will the current president, Oleksander Turchinov, put in office by the moderates, not by the people, be on the run?  If a democratic election did not convey legitimacy to President Yanukovych, how does selection by a rump parliament convey legitimacy to Turchinov?

What can Turchinov answer if the neo-nazis put to him Lenin’s question to Kerensky: “Who chose you?”

If Washington has lost control of the coup and is unable to restore control to the moderates whom it has aligned with the EU and NATO, war would seem to be unavoidable. There is no doubt that the Russian provinces would seek  and be granted Russia’s protection. Whether Russia would go further and overthrow the neo-nazis in western Ukraine is unknown.  Whether Washington, which seems to have positioned military forces in the region, would provide the military might for the moderates to defeat the neo-nazis is also an open question, as is Russia’s response. 

In a previous column I described the situation as “Sleepwalking Again,” an analogy to how miscalculations resulted in World War 1.

The entire world should be alarmed at the reckless and irresponsible interference by Washington in Ukraine.  By bringing a direct strategic threat to Russia, the crazed Washington hegemon has engineered a Great Power confrontation and created the risk of world destruction.

The situation in Ukraine is evolving by the hour.  Right wing ultranationalists and their “liberal” collaborators have taken control of the Rada (Ukrainian parliament) and deposed the democratically elected, though utterly corrupt and incompetent, President Yanukovich.

Former Prime Minister, and convicted criminal, Yulia Tymoshenko has been freed, and is now making common cause with Noe-Nazi Right Sector, Svoboda, and other fascist elements, while the opposition’s nominal leaders such as Arseny Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko begin to fade into the background. 

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin undoubtedly watches with anxiousness.  In Washington, Victoria Nuland and the Obama administration rejoice.  However, perhaps the most critical development of all is soon to emerge in Europe, as the forces of Western finance capital prepare to welcome Ukraine into the fold.  They will come bearing the usual neoliberal gifts: austerity and “economic liberalization.”

With the overthrow of the Yanukovich government, the $15 billion of promised Russian financial assistance to Ukraine is in doubt.  According to Moody’s rating agency, “Ukraine will require $24 billion to cover a budget deficit, debt repayments, natural gas bills and pension support just in 2014.”  Without Moscow’s continued bond purchasing and other forms of financial aid, and with pro-EU forces taking control of the country’s economic and foreign policy, the outcome is not hard to predict: a rescue package from Europe and the IMF with all the usual austerity conditions attached.

In exchange for European “aid”, Ukraine will be forced to accept the driving down of wages, significant cuts to the public sector and social services, in addition to a rise in taxes on the working class and slashing of pensions.  Moreover, the country will be compelled to accede to a liberalization program that will allow Europe to dump goods into the Ukrainian market, deregulation and the further opening up the country’s financial sector to predatory speculation and privatization.

It doesn’t take psychic powers to predict these developments.  One merely has to look at the wave of austerity in European countries such as Greece and Cyprus.  Furthermore, Eastern European countries with similar economic and historical conditions to Ukraine – Latvia and Slovenia specifically – provide a roadmap for what Ukraine should expect.

The Model of “Success”

As Ukraine’s pro-EU “leadership” under Tymoshenko & Co. (and the fascist Right) begins to eye the future, they will immediately look to Europe to address the most pressing economic concerns.  The Ukrainian people however would do well to examine the precedent of Latvia to understand what lies in store for them.  As renowned economists Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers wrote in 2012:

What enabled Latvia to survive the crisis were EU and IMF bailouts…Elites aside, many emigrated…Demographers estimate that 200,000 have departed the past decade – roughly 10 per cent of the population…Latvia experienced the full effects of austerity and neoliberalism. Birth rates fell during the crisis – as is the case almost everywhere austerity programs are imposed. It continues having among Europe’s highest rates of suicide and of road deaths caused by drunk driving. Violent crime is high, arguably, because of prolonged unemployment and police budget cuts. Moreover, a soaring brain drain moves in tandem with blue-collar emigration.

The myth of prosperity to follow EU integration and bailouts is just that, a myth.  The reality is pain and suffering on a scale far greater than the poverty and unemployment Ukraine, especially the western portion of the country, have already experienced.  The most highly educated, those most equipped to take up the mantle of leadership, will flee en masse.   Those leaders who remain will do so while lining their pockets and ingratiating themselves to the European and American financiers who will flock to Ukraine like vultures to carrion.  In short, the corruption and mismanagement of the Yanukovich government will seem like a pleasant memory.

The “liberalization” that Europe demands will create massive profits for speculators, but very few jobs for working people.  The best land will be sold to foreign corporations and land-grabbers, while the resources, including the highly regarded agricultural sector, will be stripped and sold on the world market, leaving farmers and city dwellers alike in grinding poverty, their children going to bed hungry.  This will be the “success” of Ukraine.  One shudders to think what failure would look like.

In Slovenia, another Eastern European country that has experienced the “success” Europe strives for, the economic dictates of Brussels have ravaged the country’s working people and its institutions.  The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a 2013 report in which it recommended that, as a first step, Slovenia act to “help the banking sector stand on its feet again,” adding that, “additional and radical measures are necessary as soon as possible.”

Furthermore, the OECD recommended the full privatization of Slovenia’s banks and other major firms, despite predicting a more than 2% contraction of the economy.  In laymen’s terms, Europe recommends that Slovenia sacrifice itself and its people to the forces of international finance capital, nothing less.  Such is the cost of European “integration.”

Ukraine is undergoing a transformation of the worst kind.  Its political institutions have been trampled upon by a motley collection of delusional liberals, slick politicians in fancy suits, and Nazi extremists.  The social fabric is tearing apart at the seams, with each region searching for a local solution to the problems of what used to be their nation.  And, in the midst of it all, the specter of profit-seeking financiers with dollar signs in their eyes is all the Ukrainian people can expect.

OAS Insider Reveals Details of Illegal Foreign Intervention Against Haitian Democracy

February 25th, 2014 by Center for Economic and Policy Research

In 2010, a secret “core group” of foreign dignitaries sought to force the president of Haiti out of office in a coup. They also engineered an intervention in Haiti’s presidential elections that year that ensured that the governing party’s candidate would not proceed to a runoff. These are the revelations being made by the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Special Representative to Haiti at the time, Ricardo Seitenfus. In an exclusive interview published by Dissent Magazine, Seitenfus – who was present at some of these meetings – describes these and other bombshells detailed in his new book being published in his native Brazil, titled International Crossroads and Failures in Haiti.

In the written interview with Dan Beeton of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and journalist Georgianne Nienaber, Seitenfus provides new details regarding threats against then-president of Haiti René Préval. Seitenfus also corroborates the conclusions of CEPR’s earlier analysis of an OAS “Expert” Mission sent to verify the election: that the OAS overturned the results of the first round in a political intervention. The OAS took this unprecedented step without so much as a recount or calling for a new election, something that had never been done before by an international body. This was a “white coup and a blatant electoral intervention,” Seitenfus says.

“[W]hen it comes to Haiti, the international community does not have limits for the actions it takes,” Seitenfus writes in the interview.

The OAS “Expert” Mission, most of its members coming from the U.S., Canada and France, recommended changing the result of the first round of the election after findings that CEPR’s analysis determined to be “methodologically and statistically flawed, and arbitrary.” The international community – especially the U.S. government – then exerted strong pressure for the Haitian government to accept the mission’s recommendations, which would remove governing party candidate Jude Célestin from the runoff, to be replaced by Michel Martelly. Martelly went on to win the second round of an election versus another conservative opponent, Mirlande Manigat, with less than 17 percent of the vote from the eligible electorate.

Seitenfus’ account of events corroborates the results of this statistical analysis:

It was necessary to change the result of the first round. The only possibility was to annul the results in certain ballot boxes that favored Célestin. That way, he would fall back to third place at the same time that the candidate anointed by the international community would go on to participate in the second round, along with Mirlande Manigat.

Seitenfus names names in a blow-by-blow account of a secret discussion on whether Préval should be removed from office, which he says would have been “a moral disgrace and a gross political error.” In his account, Seitenfus says that then-head of the U.N. Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Edmond Mulet told Préval he would have to “leave the presidency and abandon Haiti.” Seitenfus also suggests that the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti at the time, Kenneth Merten, supported forcing Préval out of office. Ultimately, the ambassadors of Brazil and Argentina – and Seitenfus himself – opposed the plan, he says, and it was dropped.

In the full interview (available on CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog), Seitenfus also levels sharp criticism at the U.N., the OAS, the U.S. government and other key actors in Haiti, laments the lack of coordination among large NGOs and international organizations, and praises PetroCaribe and other assistance from Venezuela, which he describes as “a counter model to traditional development aid from the developed countries and international organizations” that has “take[n] away from the Haitian state the little financial autonomy that it possesses.”

Ucrânia : A Conexão Clinton-Pinchuk

February 25th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Na mesa de negociações de Kiev onde então se decidiu o acordo formal entre o governo, a oposição, a UE, e a Rússia, não se encontrava oficialmente nenhum representante da poderosa oligaquia interna, que está mais ligada a Washington e a OTAN do que a Bruxelas e a UE. Tem-se aqui então que foi essa mesma oligarquia que levou a Ucrânia em direção ao ocidente. Emblemático é o caso de Victor Pinchuk,  magnata do aço, classificado pela revista Forbes entre os homens mais ricos do mundo.

A fortuna de Pinchuk começou de quando ele em 2002 casou-se com Elena, a filha de Leonídio Kuchma, o segundo presidente da Ucrânia ( 1994- 2005). Em 2004 o ilustre sogro privatisou o maior complexo siderúrgico ucraniano, o de Kryvorizhstal, vendendo-o a sociedade Interpipe, onde o seu genro é co-proprietário, por $ 800.000.000, oitocentos milhões de dólares, isso significa 1/6 do seu valor real.

A Interpipe também monopoliza a fabricação da canalização em aço. Em 2007 Pinchuk criou o grupo “EastOne”, uma sociedade de consultações para investimentos internacionais a qual fornece para as multinacionais todos os instrumentos necessários para a penetração das economias do Leste. Ele se transformou ao mesmo tempo em proprietário de quatro redes de televisão e de um jornal popular, (Fatos e Comentários) o qual tem uma difusão de mais de um milhão de exemplares. Entretanto, ele não negligenciou as obras de caridade criando então a Fundação Victor Pinchuk, considerada como a maior “fundação filantrópica” ucraniana.

Victor Pinchuk e sua esposa Elena

Foi através dessa fundação que Pinchuk se aliou aos Clintons, apoiando a Clinton Global Iniciativa, a qual foi estabelecida por Bill e Hillary Clinton, em 2005.  A missão dessa initiativa seria a de “reunir os líderes mundiais para criar soluções inovadoras frente aos desafios mundiais mais urgentes”. Por detrás desse brilhante lema encontra-se o real objetivo:  criar uma rede internacional de poderosos que apoiem Hillary Clinton, a ex-primeira dama, que depois de ter sido senadora de Nova Iorque em 2001- 2009, e Secretária de Estado de 2009 à 2013, tenta de novo a ascensão a presidência.

Tendo começado em 2007 – de quando Bill Clinton agradecia a: -“Victor e Elena Pinchuk por sua vigorosa atividade social assim como ao apôio dado ao nosso programa internacional” – a colaboração apresentam-se agora como vantajosa.

Tem-se então que Pinchuk concretizou o prometido com uma primeira contribuição de 5 millhões de dólares para a Iniciativa Global dos Clintons, aos quais se seguiram outros.

Isso abriu a Pinchuk as portas de Washington : ele empregou por $ 40.000 dólres mensais o lobbysta Schoen, que organizou para ele uma série de contactos com personagens influentes, assim como arrumou cerca de uma dezena de encontros, entre 2011 e 2012, com altos funcionários do Departamento do Estado. Isso favorece também os negócios permitindo a Pinchuk o aumeto das exportações para os Estados Unidos, mesmo se atualmente os metalúrgicos de Pensilvania e Ohio o acusem de estar vendendo os tubos de aço aos Estados Unidos por preços que eles vêem como sendo abaixo do razoável.


 Pinchuk e Hillary Clinton

Fonte da foto:-


Para reinforçar ainda mais seus laços com os Estados Unidos, e o ocidente, Pinchuk lançou a Yalta European Strategy, YES,  “a maior instituição social de diplomacia pública na Europa oriental”, onde o objetivo oficial é o de “ajudar a Ukraina a se desenvolver em um país moderno, democrático e economicamente poderoso”.

Graças a grande disponibilidade financeira de Pinchuk (para festejar seu aniversário de 50 anos ele gastou mais de $5 milhões de dólares numa localidade francesa de esqui) a YES mostra-se na condição de montar uma grande rede de contactos internacionais, o que se pode ver nas conferências anuais, em Yalta. Nessas podem  participar “mais do que 200 políticos, diplomatas, homens de estado, jornalistas, analistas, assim como dirigentes do mundo dos negócios, provenientes de mais de 20 países”. Entre esses notam-se os nomes de Hillary e Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, George Soros, José Manuel Barroso e Mario Monti, os quais participaram no encontro de setembro do ano passado. Ao lado desses poderiam ser encontradas personagens menos conhecidos, mas não menos influentes, como por exemplo dirigentes do Fundo Monetário Internacional e (entre esses então Dominique Strauss-Khan, voir NdT).

Como explicou Condoleezza Rice na conferência do YES  em 2012, “as transformações democráticas requerem tempo e paciência, requerendo também apôio tanto do exterior como interno”. Essa é uma excelente síntese da estratégia que o ocidente adota abaixo da cobertura de “apôio externo” para favorecer as “transformações democráticas”. Uma estrtégia que vimos consolidada da Iugoslávia à Líbia, assim como da Síria á Ucrânia : pôr a ênfase nas falhas, que todos os países as tem, com o objetivo de arrebentar as bases dos mesmos, e apoiar ou atiçar revoltas anti-governamentais (tipo da de Kiev, sendo demais pontuais e organizadas para poderem ser consideradas como simplesmente espontâneas). Isso se dando então ao mesmo tempo em que se desencadeia uma enorme campanha midiática contra o governo que querem abater. Ao que concerne a Ucrânia, o objetivo é o de derrubar o governo do país, ou dividí-lo em dois : uma parte que entraria na OTAN e na UE, e uma outra que restaria maioritariamente ligada a Rússia. É nesse cenário que a Yalta European Strategy – YES,  da oligarquia amiga dos Clintons, se enquadra.

Manlio Dinucci

Edição de sábado, 22 de fevereiro o il manifesto

Tradução Anna Malm, artigospoliticos.wordpress.compara

E aqui alguns aspectos da Conexão Pinchuk-França (NdT)

“Quarta-feira, 27 de março de 2013,  a Ministra da Cultura e da Comunicação, Madame Aurélie Filippetti, entregou as insígnias de cavalheiro da ordem de Artes e Letras à Victor Pinchuk, com a saudação de que se via nele “a imagem européia do mecenato” assim como o “feliz casamento entre a indústria e a cultura. Assim como a imagem da monumental instalação de Olafur Eliasson, na qual o ferro se mostra em súbitos e constantes mudanças de estado, metamorfoseia-se também a nova fabricação do aço de Pinchuk” ( ).

“Meu professor de arte contemporânea é francês, Nicolas Bourriaud (crítico de arte que dirigiu “le Palais de Tokyo” – “o Palácio de Tóquio” com Jérôme Sans de 2002 à 2006 e que atualmente é o diretor des “Beaus-Arts de Paris”- “Belas-Artes de Paris”, desde outubro de 2011). Eu o chamo mesmo de meu gurú! Eu o reencontrei em 2002 por intermédio do meu amigo Marcel Gross, diretor associado da Euro RSCG”. ( )

“Como existir socialmente em seu país sem se fazer nada de política?” É a Euro RSCG, na pessoa de Français Stéphane Fouks, que vai fornecer a Pinchuk uma resposta contendo três pontos centrais : 1. Criando um museu de arte contemporânea que valorize a arte ucraniana. 2. Criar um grupo de discussões (think tanks) para magnificar a Ukraina e sua entrada na Europa. 3. Criar uma fundação anti-sida abaixo da direção de sua esposa.

O oligarca se investe na filantropia

[...] “ Num certo período da vida apresenta-se o tempo de dar de volta o que se recebeu, guiado então por uma visão”, disse Pinchuk. Tem-se aqui então depois que a Ukraina não perde o seu rumo : o frenesi artístico não é mais que uma etapa de conquista. Em cada outono europeu, em Yalta na Ukraina, o seu grupo de discussões YES, Yalta European Strategy, trabalha para magnificar a Ukraina com convidados como Tony Blair ou Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Em Davos, a margem do summit, ele imprimiu sua marca em 27 de janeiro organizando uma mesa redonda com a jovem Cheikha Mayassa, princesa do Qatar, a qual se interessera muito pelas artes, e Paulo Coelho”. ( ).


The alternative media has documented for 5 years that the government uses disinformation and disruption  (and here) on the web to discredit activists and manipulate public opinion, just like it smears traditional television and print reporters who question the government too acutely.

We’ve long reported that the government censors and manipulates social media. More proof here.

New Edward Snowden documents confirm that Britain’s spy agency is doing so.

As Glenn Greenwald writes today:

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction.


These agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself. Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.


Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes….


It is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups. [Background on Sunstein here and here.]

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government.


Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell”, devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”….


Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack”, while dissecting how human beings can be manipulated using “leaders”, “trust, “obedience” and “compliance”:


The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:


No government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse?

Here are the newly-released Snowden documents in full:

The Art of Deception