Suzanne Humphries, MD, is an internal medicine and kidney specialist who received conventional medical education. After seeing mainstream doctors and hospital staff categorically ignore routine vaccine injuries occurring in her patients, Dr. Humphries began researching vaccine science which validated her concerns about the injections.

Dr. Humphries, who co-authored Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History in 2013, recently joined Jonathan Landsman for an interview at the Vaccine World Summit, where she exposes the myths and lies surrounding vaccine research.

Related sites:
www.DissolvingIllusions.com
www.VaccineWorldSummit.com

Jonathan Landsman: Welcome to the Vaccine World Summit. I’m your host, Jonathan Landsman. Our guest is a conventionally-educated medical doctor with specialties in internal medicine and nephrology. After seeing vaccine injuries in her own patients that were categorically ignored by the mainstream doctors and administration in her workplace, she started researching vaccines to disprove the claims that doctors made out of ignorance to refute her own experience and those of her patients. The resistance she encountered only showed her how important it is to keep researching and bring out the truths she discovered to the public. She has co-authored a book, Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History, which is available on Amazon.com. And today, you’re about to discover the hidden truths behind the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Suzanne Humphries to our program. Dr. Humphries, welcome.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Thank you, Jonathan. Thank you for having me.

Jonathan Landsman: Dr. Humphries, the mainstream media has been constantly highlighting the Disney Land measles outbreak and blaming this on unvaccinated children. What are the facts about this outbreak?

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Okay, well, it’s very important to understand the exact numbers because if you just listen to the news, you would think that something that has never happened before is going on and the world is being taken by storm by this terrible deadly measles virus. And what happened is as of February 11th of this year, there were a total of 125 measles cases, with rash, that occurred between December 28th, 2014 and February 8th, 2015. It is said that the origin of these outbreaks was at the Disney California theme park, although they have no idea who the index case is or where that person came from. Anything you hear on the news is just surmising and assumption; they have no idea. What we know about the 110 patients that are California residents, there’s a breakdown of who was vaccinated and who wasn’t vaccinated, and this is what to really look for when looking at these reports. Among those 110 California patients, 47 of them, which is nearly half, had an unknown or undocumented vaccination status. And this is very interesting because these cases were all diagnosed and confirmed, yet, for some reason, they weren’t able to determine if these people were vaccinated or not. And so, it’s usually just assumed that these people are unvaccinated when they’re reported.

However, it’s possible that they could have all been vaccinated with one, two, or three vaccines. Okay, then we know there were 13 vaccinated people, 5 of whom had 1 dose of the vaccine, 7 had 2 doses, 1 had 3 doses, and 1 had immunoglobulin seropositivity documented, which indicated a prior vaccination. Now, we have the unvaccinated, of which there were 49. Of them, one quarter of them couldn’t have been vaccinated anyway because they were too young, so they’re counted as unvaccinated, even though these are not people that exempted out. That leaves us with 37 more vaccine-eligible people, and all we know is that 28 of them – 18 of the 28 that are left over were children less than 18 years old, and 10 were adults. Now, we’re left with 9 that we can’t account for, but Dr. Schuchat of the CDC keeps saying that there were many cases that weren’t vaccinated because they were sick at the time when the vaccine was due. And I find that an interesting comment, especially given my history of knowing that when you vaccinate sick people, very bad things happen, yet the CDC is continuously pushing, and the message there is not to opt out of vaccines just because you’re sick. So, all in all, we have 18 patients, out of 110 patients, who we can say were of vaccinating age, less than 18 years old, 28 total that were opting out of vaccines, 10 of which were adults. And this is what we’re making a big fuss out of.

Jonathan Landsman: Just to back up what you’re talking about, Dr. Humphries, I have read, by just digging around a little bit on my own, you can clearly see that there are hospitals in the United States that actually advise cancer patients, people who are really sick, and their family members – anyone who might be visiting these sick people – that those sick people should be avoiding, at all costs, those people who are vaccinated with live viruses.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: That’s right. And they have to say that because they know that these people – I’ve got several articles sitting in front of me that have diagnosed vaccine-strain measles shedding and sick children days to weeks after they’re vaccinated. So, it’s a proven fact, yet it’s continuously denied that measles vaccines can induce shed after they’re injected. The same with inhaled influenza, the same with oral polio vaccines or rotavirus vaccines, and we also know this is true for rubella. So, indeed, we’re told that the unvaccinated are who we should fear, and that’s only in the move to get people 100% vaccinated, but they have to admit, and try to warn people that are immunosuppressed, because otherwise, immunosuppressed people will come down with these diseases and everybody will know for certain how that happened.

Jonathan Landsman: Yeah, you’ve already given me plenty to think about, Dr. Humphries. Now, in shifting gears, there’s a very famous pediatrician, maybe not to everybody out there, but I do want to talk about this doctor, Dr. Paul Offit, who seems to think that all vaccines are good, and, in particular, that religious exemptions to vaccines actually threaten public safety. Talk about his latest article, “What Would Jesus Do”, and why his views are so dangerous.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: So, for those of your listeners who have never heard of Paul Offit, or maybe don’t know much about him, I will tell you that he is the Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania, he is a medical doctor, and he is also the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, which is a diarrhea vaccine, called Rota Teq, which is given to infants. He is also a former ACIP voting member, and these are the people who tell us which vaccines should be given to our children, and he’s the author of several pro-vaccine books, and one that is also against natural supplements. He is an internationally-renowned expert, it seems, on just about everything, including all forms of religion, but basically, he is Big Pharma’s pit bull in a white coat, and the media’s sweetheart pro-vaccinator. So, Paul Offit is very much in favor of removing all exemptions from vaccination, except for the select few who have been wounded, mostly by medical treatments themselves, and then the few who happen to come down with diseases of the immune system. For all the rest of us, all of our philosophical exemptions and all of our religious exemptions have been viciously under attack by him for years, now, and this attack is currently mounting.

And part of his platform is that he goes back into a situation that happened in the late 1980s, early 1990s, and this was: in 1990-’91, there was an epidemic in his hometown of Philadelphia, and about 400 of those people belonged to two different church groups who had kind of extreme views and didn’t believe in doing anything except prayer – they didn’t even believe in intravenous fluids, vitamin A, none of these other things, and not going to the doctor. And as a result of that neglect, actually, there were several deaths in that population, and so, Dr. Offit got very upset about this. There were only 6 children left out of 400 and some who didn’t get measles, so it’s kind of like closing the barn doors after the horse was out; most children had uneventful measles and recovered. And so, he called in the courts, and these remaining 6 children were forcibly vaccinated, but the courts really went overboard at that point, and Dr. Offit goes on about, ‘we did this and we did that,’ when he talks about it. He says the ACLU refused to get involved; what he doesn’t tell you is that that’s not true at all. Because the courts demanded that families notify the city whenever any child missed 3 days of school, whenever public health doctors had to examine preschool children once a month, even after they were immunized, and they were also told to locate all other churches in the city that rejected medical care. And the ACLU actually did get involved in that point, and they said, ‘if you don’t back down on these points, we’ll be appealing them.’

So, there’s something in the article that Dr. Offit talks about, “What Would Jesus Do About Measles?” that he talks about this whole situation that happened in the 1990s, and as a result of this extreme situation, and these very extreme-believing Christians, he wants to take religious exemptions away from everyone and say that they’re child abuse, when, in fact, really, he’s just using this as a tool in order to obtain the end that he wants to obtain. He doesn’t tell you that that year was a year of climbing incidents of measles. See, we had a little honeymoon period in the early 1980s, where the incidents went way down, and then around ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91, we’re seeing between 20-27,000 cases per year. So, he’s making a big deal about these 400; the fact of the matter is that there were 9 deaths in Philadelphia that year, out of some 900 people that were affected, and 5 of those deaths were in children who were severely debilitated with underlying medical diseases, so, in fact, those kids were pretty much sitting ducks to start with, and so, they could have been knocked off at any time from any infection or even from a hospital-acquired infection.

So, Dr. Offit wrote this op-ed piece in the New York Times last week, called “What Would Jesus Do About Measles” and I find this really interesting because he’s outspokenly said that he is an Atheist and he calls himself a Secular Jew. And so, I think it’s really interesting that he’s able to make commentary on the gospels and on what Jesus would have done and saying that he would have lined up every child to have them all vaccinated. I think his comments are totally offensive and they’re totally out of school, and they completely leave out the more important aspects of the situation. And what people are never told is how to deal with a child who has measles, and that was never done by the public health, it’s still not done by public health today, we don’t hear from the CDC; all we hear about are these minority cases, and they’re used as a platform to get us all vaccinated and to shut us all up.

Jonathan Landsman: Dr. Humphries, while you’re talking about this, I think we really need to bring up this aspect, as well, and that’s the pro-vaccine advocates out there, besides Dr. Offit – and, by the way, for those people who are interested in reading directly what his views were, it was a New York Times article. So, I want to ask you, though, about the pro-vaccine advocates that are in the media and other people in conventional medicine. They all say this line – just like they’re all from the same family – they say, ‘all vaccines are safe and effective.’ Can we talk about what they might be hiding from us? Like, for example, how effective are these vaccines? Let’s talk about that.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Okay, well, I’d like to tell you about the measles vaccine and that effectiveness because there is a story, here, that is undeniably backed by a massive amount of scientific literature, that you are not going to hear from Paul Offit or from the mainstream media, and it’s extremely important, and that is that when people used to get the measles, they would develop lifelong immunity, 75-85 years, we know for certain, and that was in the setting of ongoing circulation of the virus. It’s also funny that Dr. Offit will continuously say that the only people who think that measles isn’t a problem are people who didn’t live through epidemics, and I’ve actually found to be quite the opposite; that the people who lived through the epidemics are sitting around saying, ‘I don’t know what the big deal is.’

Okay, so we have that as a baseline of what it used to be like. In those days, little babies never got infected with measles; they were protected by their mothers for a couple of years while they were breastfeeding, and there are even studies that show that this effect of protection from breast milk can last up to 10 years. So, these babies were never on the list of the susceptibles before the vaccine was invented, and neither were older adults. The vast majority of children that were infected started around the school-age children and ended up around 15 years of age, about 95% of all kids were infected by that period. And it came in slow waves, only when there were susceptibles, and it was a very controlled pattern with the benign disease, as you can read in the 1959 British Medical Journal, when doctors were reporting.

So, they decided to create a vaccine because it could be done, as Dr. Langmuir said. And so, they created this vaccine and licensed it in 1963. The first vaccine actually turned out to be a total disaster, and then it caused something called atypical measles, which I don’t have time to get into now, and then they had another vaccine going at the same time which was not very attenuated, meaning it was very virulent and actually caused cases of measles that they had to be giving immune globulin to the kids while they were vaccinating them – which is basically a blood product – and there were all kinds of problems with that. But by around 1980, they finally developed a highly-attenuated vaccine by passaging it through all kinds of cells, including monkey kidney cells, human cells, chicken cells, and they were basically able to make this virus mutate in such a way that it didn’t cause a horrible measles-like disease during the vaccine.

And so, what happened was the rates of transmission did go down after this vaccine was really up and running, the attenuated vaccine, and there were high amounts of uptake throughout the school-age children. And by 1981, the reported cases of measles had dramatically dropped and everybody was celebrating and thought that we had really finally done it, never mind the fact that in the beginning we were told it was going to be one shot and eradication would happen by 1967. Well, that turned out to be a total joke. So, statisticians can rightly call this 1981 period a honeymoon period because it actually ended quite abruptly, and throughout the ’80s, we started to see thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of cases per year back in the United States. And then the second shot was added, and a lot of people think that second shot was added as a booster, but, in fact, it’s well documented, by some of the most prominent vaccinologists today, and in the past, that that second shot was added in order to mop up the cases of people who didn’t respond at all to the first shot. So, that was the intention of that second shot; it wasn’t supposed to be a booster because it was known that there was primary vaccine failure, which was not uncommon at all, and we also now know that there’s secondary vaccine failure meaning that in a period of perhaps 1-10 years, there’s significant waning of immunity that’s induced by this vaccine.

And so, what happened around these years that Dr. Offit is spouting his mouth off about, with this outbreak in Philadelphia, is that there was massive outbreak; what he’s not telling you is that the reason for that is actually because of the vaccine, and, even worse, is that what we were seeing were secondary vaccine failures. What we were seeing were young babies being infected, which never used to happen, what we were seeing were older children and adults being infected, which never used to happen, and we’re seeing that today. Even Dr. Schuchat said there are lots of adults that are getting infected today, and that shouldn’t have happened in this vaccine that is supposed to protect us for life. Well, it turns out that because of the vaccine, the kids that actually handle the disease best are protected for a short period of time, whereas the young babies, and the rest of us, aren’t.

So, what we’re walking around with now is basically a disintegration of any kind of immunity that was built up by the vaccine, and what I predict in the next few years is that all adults are going to be told that we need to have several series of boosters throughout the rest of our lives in order to maintain this “herd immunity.” So, that’s the story that you’re not going to hear from the CDC; all you’re going to hear from them and Paul Offit are these crazy Christians who aren’t vaccinating their kids, these crazy religious people who are lying and opting out of vaccines, these philosophical exemption people who are quacks and don’t understand science – and that would include me, by the way, even though I have several degrees in different sciences, and a degree in physics, and have worked in a lab and done my own research, I’m also considered a quack who doesn’t understand science. Because those of us who do understand the science understand that it is, indeed, a problem of vaccine failure and not just a problem of failure to vaccinate.

Jonathan Landsman: It’s beyond my imagination, as well, Dr. Humphries, when we talk about influenza, the flu shot; everywhere, you hear about the flu vaccine and, conventionally speaking, you have to get it to prevent the flu. But what, again, most people don’t hear about is that the 2014-2015 invention for this winter season, it just doesn’t even work. Conventionally speaking, the CDC, they flat-out admit it, and taxpayers, they fund the CDC, all the money from the Federal government that goes into giving to the pharmaceutical industry, all of this money for the flu vaccine for this year; they’re spending a fortune of money, all of these dosages, and they’re pushing it out in all the pharmacies throughout the United States, and then they admit quietly, somewhere where you have to go look for it in research, which very few people are doing, they admit that this year’s invention is a complete failure.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: They admit that. And guess what? Something about the measles vaccine, that I found really startling in my recent research, is that the vaccine failures that we’re seeing today were actually all predicted in our medical literature. There was a Dr. David Levy, in 1984, who predicted the problems that were to come, and that was during the period where there was just the single vaccine. But then, there’s a Dr. Heffernan, from 2009, who did his own predictions based on very sophisticated mathematical analyses during a two-vaccine period, and what he said, verbatim, is, “we predict that after a long disease-free period, the introduction of infection will lead to far larger epidemics than that predicted by standard models.” And even more compelling, he said that, “large-scale epidemics can arise with the first substantial epidemic not arising until 52 years after the vaccination program has begun,” well, guess what year 52 years is? 2015. So, now, can you see why the CDC is staying up late at night and having panic attacks?

Jonathan Landsman: Wow, this is incredible information, Dr. Humphries. And another thing, too, that I would like to highlight – I’m sure you shake your head at the same thing, as well – in terms of the payouts, we’re talking about people who get injured by all sorts of vaccines, in particular, large amounts of money are mostly paid out because of the flu vaccine. We’re talking, literally, billions of dollars since its invention of this payout for injured people, which was in the mid-’80s, but yet, we keep hearing the same thing – vaccines are safe and effective – and they never mention this court system that they created, which was designed not to give out money to people who get injured for all sorts of reasons, and they still approved billions of dollars in payouts for those that got injured from vaccines. I’m sorry, something like that tells me right away that it is not completely safe and effective, these vaccines, at all.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Well, guess what? If you’d say that to Paul Offit, he’ll tell you, ‘yes, we are so generous that we set up a system whereupon we compensate people for things that really aren’t related to the vaccines, and that is just so that we can feel like we’re really good people and tell you what good people we are.’ But the fact of the matter is that if you look at what they consider to be coincidence and what they consider to be a real problem, I also find interesting when it comes to the measles vaccine because, if you take encephalitis, for instance, their message is always set: if you’re infected with a wild case of the measles, your encephalitis was from that virus. But if you get a vaccine, your encephalitis is only a coincidence, unless they say it happens between 5 and 15 days after the vaccine, whereupon the vaccine court might compensate you if you fit their qualifications, and the reason that’s so interesting is because the vaccine injury compensation plan even ignored that Merck and the FDA stated otherwise that encephalitis can occur within 30 days after vaccination.

So, the vaccine court basically started out with a much broader net, that it would cast over and catch more of these vaccine injuries. And, as Dr. Anthony Morris, who worked at the FDA, so eloquently said, a couple of decades ago, was that because they were paying out so much money back then, they realized they were going to go broke, so what they did is they narrowed down the compensation tables. So, it’s very difficult to get compensated, but all anybody has to do to know that MMR has significant reactions, apart from looking at the data sheets and the records of the billions paid out by vaccine court to the minority of families of injured children, you can just put relevant terms into the search engine for the vaccine adverse event reporting system, and hundreds upon hundreds of cases of side effects and death reports to all these vaccines will come up, including Paul Offits’ vaccine, which causes intussusception, and there are also cases of death after that vaccine was given.

Jonathan Landsman: And, Dr. Humphries, a lot of physicians are actually shocked when I inform them that in the courts today, and in the past, we’re talking billions of dollars that have been paid out by these criminal organizations. It sounds really weird to put it this way, but the pharmaceutical industry has already been convicted in the courts for massive fraud, and right now, as we speak, there is a court case where two virologists are actually suing Merck for the deception, for the outright scientific fraud, for over 10 years, now, where Merck has tried to deceive the public with all of these scientific studies that show how effective the MMR vaccine is; in reality, they’re not effective at all, and these two virologists are saying, flat-out, that they manipulated data just to deceive everybody about how really ineffective these vaccines really are.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: That’s absolutely right, and when you follow the rabbit trail, that’s where you will end up, and that’s why this orchestrated attack on parents, on doctors, on all the anti-vaccine people, even on people like Dr. Dears and Mark Blaxill, who aren’t even anti-vaccine, but are just saying, ‘hey, we need to take a look at this because there seems to be a relationship between vaccines and diseases and vaccines and autism. And what’s really happening is, in my opinion, at the center of this, is the Pennsylvania drug company, as you said, called Merck, which is the manufacturer of the MMR2 vaccine, and Gardasil, and Vioxx, and without a doubt, Merck is keeping the Senate political wheels well-greased, as well as making sure that there are significant news blackouts. Notice – have you seen anything about the whistle-blowers anywhere on CNN, anywhere on any news outlet? No, you haven’t, and it’s notable that not one mainstream media outlet covered the fact that in November last year, a judge threw out every single spurious argument that Merck’s lawyers made to have the MMR whistle-blowers case systematically thrown out of court.

Now, this is a case about how Merck used a fraudulent antibody test to raise the mumps vaccine efficacy somewhere from around 68% on its own up to around 95-100% after several manipulations of testing and data, in order to ensure licensure. The ineffective mumps vaccine continues to rake in money for Merck as this hearing drags on, and it’s pretty amazing when you think of the money and the medical and political power that Merck’s lawyers have, yet not one of them could come up with an argument to convince the judge to dismiss the case. And, in fact, when you read the judgment, which I did, you get the feeling that all Merck’s lawyers did was really annoy that judge. So, Merck and the pro-vaccine movement with people like Paul Offit, Arthur Caplan, and the like, are working cap in hand, and they all need a pro-vaccine majority society to have solidly swung around to their views because in about two years, that case will come to its conclusion, and unless the judge is bribed, it’s highly unlikely that it will go well for Merck.

So, Garadsil isn’t going well for Merck; Gardasil was supposed to reposition Merck’s profitability after the Vioxx disaster and other legal judgments that have gone against them. So, should the MMR case go against them, and a class action for Gardasil also be well-supported, Merck will be history, and that’s one reason why Julie Gerberding was head-hunted from the CDC to head Merck’s vaccine division. So, in this war, the shop window, appearance and sound bites are everything. Anyone who thinks that the constant mantra of ‘the science is settled’ has any validity has allowed someone else to do their thinking for them. So, the bottom line is that Merck is positioning in the likely case that they’re going to lose this court case. If they lose this court case, they need to have nobody be able to exempt from vaccination; that way, Merck stays afloat, and the CDC, the FDA, the politicians, and the like can keep their cash flow going. That’s what’s going on here.

Jonathan Landsman: Dr. Humphries, I want to cover a few other things that I feel are particularly important, and I’m going to be giving a shout-out to all of the conventionally-trained medical doctors that are listening to this summit right now. I know if you’re sitting on the fence and you’re not sure, and you’ve never heard any of this information before, I want you to listen very closely to what you’re about to hear from Dr. Humphries, and I also want the parents out there to listen very carefully, as well, because there’s a lot of anxiety, Dr. Humphries, as I’m sure you can imagine. The regular person out there, the general public, is very confused, they’re getting intimidated by conventional medical doctors, they feel a sense that they don’t want to make a mistake and hurt their own children, their own family; it’s all understandable. I want to cover some of the other things that people never hear about before they get vaccinated, and I’m talking, in particular, about this herd immunity. You brought it up already as a concept. I want to ask you: is it really that important to ensure the safety of the public that we have herd immunity?

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Well, it’s really not possible to have 100% immunity. Let’s look at China, for instance; China is a country who has a 99% vaccination compliance in their children, and last year, they had 100,000 reported cases of measles and 50,000 confirmed cases of measles. So, even in a population where you’re say, 99-100% vaccinated, you’re still going to have the disease; there’s no way around it. So, when you talk about herd immunity, this was a term that was developed by Dr. Hedrich in the early 1900s, when he observed, very meticulously and carefully, the yearly trends of the susceptibles and when outbreaks would happen. And what he noticed was that when the susceptibles rose up to around 45-50%, there would be some outbreaks of measles, and when the susceptibles went down to about 35%, those outbreaks would stop. So, there was still a large amount of children who didn’t get infected during each wave, but there are kind of a slow and steady trend of infections that would happen in the children who could handle it most easily while the rest of the population was protected.

And so, that’s where the term ‘herd immunity’ came from, and it’s basically being co-opted by the pro-vaccine to give some sort of a fantasy that if we have a high enough vaccination rate that these things will go away and be eradicated, when, in fact, that’s really never happened as a result of a vaccine. And that’s really what our book is about because I had to answer some of my own questions – ‘well, where did smallpox go and where did polio go?’ And there are answers to those questions, and it really doesn’t have a heck of a lot to do with the vaccine. So, this whole idea of herd immunity and protecting the kids who can’t get vaccinated is very interesting because there’s this doctor named Dr. Gregory Poland, who comes from the Mayo Clinic and he’s also the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Vaccine, and he’s doing some really interesting and important work right now. And he’s doing work on the genetic variation of all of us, and he’s acknowledging that this one-size-fits-all paradigm of vaccinations isn’t working, and that he says that we need to develop new measles vaccines to better suit the population because we’re so diverse; racially, we’re diverse, ethnogenetically, what we’re eating, what our vitamin status is, and this all affects the genetic response, which is incredibly complicated, to how we respond both on a cellular-immune basis and a humoral-immune basis.

So, to just think about the complexity of us, genetically, to say that we can inject everybody with the same thing and provide immunity, it’s really laughable. It’s actually hysterical; it’s just never going to happen, and what’s going to happen in the meantime is that Merck’s belly is going to get fatter and fatter and fatter as they rake in the money because we’re all going to have to need more and more vaccines, and this is always the trend. Just look at Gardasil: we started out with Gardasil – only had four antigens in it. All these kids lined up for Gardasil, and guess what? Now, we have a new and improved Gardasil, and guess who has to line up again to get that vaccine? And this is what we see for everything; they’re developing a new pertussis vaccine because the old one doesn’t work, and on and on it goes. There’s always improvements and revaccination that can happen because no vaccine has ever been shown to do what it’s predicted to do, period, end of story.

Jonathan Landsman: But clearly, as you said, it definitely is benefitting the pharmaceutical industry for all of these vaccines. I want to address another concept that we hear constantly, at least in terms of conventional wisdom, as that goes, Dr. Humphries, and that is this idea of unvaccinated children being a greater risk to society. Clearly, you’ve already talked about the example in China where everybody’s vaccinated, for the most part, and they still have their issues over there, and they have infectious diseases they have to deal with at the tune of 100,000 more. But what do you say to people who say the unvaccinated children are a grave risk to society. What do we do?

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Well, what we really should look at is who’s not immune, because it’s who is susceptible, it’s not who’s not vaccinated, because for different vaccines, it actually turns out that the unvaccinated actually deal with the diseases better and become less of a problem when it comes to herd immunity. But Paul Offit says that the unvaccinated are a danger to society, but anyone who spreads any infection in society is a potential threat to vulnerable people, whether it’s measles, influenza, herpes simplex – you name the pathogen. So, how many people do you know who get a cold and insist on still going to work? Even in the medical system, you can see doctors and nurses, and you wouldn’t think that they would think any better. So, Offit’s assumption is that unvaccinated are always the ones who start it; that’s the CDC’s assumption, as well. Do we know that the alleged Measles Mary in Disneyland wasn’t vaccinated? After all, there were people with one, two, and three shots during that period, and Dr. Schuchat said, on the 28th of January, that we know adults are now getting it and spreading it.

I have a medical article in my possession today by Dr. Rota on two doctors in a hospital who were three-times vaccinated, who got the measles and then continued to work while they were contagious. In every previous outbreak, look at the medical articles and you will see that doctors’ offices and hospitals are major infection transmission focal points with infection rates over 25%; in one case, I saw 80% of all the measles were gotten in doctors’ offices. So, why not say that the medical system is one of the biggest spreaders, not only of measles – far worse than Disneyland – but many other infections, too, because they are. So, blaming 18 unvaccinated exempted children in California under the age of 18 for this outbreak and ignoring the other parts of the issue, it’s just ludicrous and it’s completely manipulative.

Jonathan Landsman: And we also hear so much that vaccines have a possible link to autism, even in mainstream media outlets; they can’t keep this one out of society and hidden in the dark. But every time they bring it up, they say, ‘well, it was a possible link, and it was linked to some studies by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, and all of that was discredited and nobody should be thinking about it at all.’ So, what do you say, Dr. Humphries? Do vaccines, at all, cause autism?

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Well, it’s really funny to me, also, when I watch Paul Offit and the like on TV and the first thing they say, it’s almost like they were trained, like puppies, how to respond when somebody brings up autism, and the only thing they’ll say is Andrew Wakefield, and it was dispelled and his reputation was destroyed, and they’ll go tell that story. Well, that’s really convenient to make someone into a scapegoat, especially when they threaten your paradigm, and the reality is that Andrew Wakefield, he didn’t even come up on my radar at all until well after I noticed and investigated the science for myself over the real problems with vaccinating adults for flu and pneumonia. And I finally got around to reading his report after it was withdrawn, and I saw that it was just a case study of 12 children, and the conclusions read that more study was needed. That was it. That’s what he said: 12 cases.

Wider reading showed me that he had said some things at a press conference, which started a storm, and then there were allegations that he made lots of money from it, which, when I followed that up, turned out to be untrue. All that money went into the Royal Free Children’s Hospital coffers and paid the bills for a technician to manage the study. Then, there were allegations about some vaccine he was supposed to have an interest in, and that he’s all in it for the money, and at that point, it started to look really ridiculous, especially when you consider that Gregory Poland – his primary interest is measles – has patents on new types of vaccines, especially when you consider that Paul Offit co-invented a vaccine. And it’s okay that the children’s hospital in Pennsylvania sold that royalty for $182 million and Offit received untold millions from that; he said he felt like he won the lottery. So, that vaccine has quite a few deaths and severe injuries, as I mentioned, and while most of us go into medicine because we want to heal people; anyone who tells you that the money isn’t attractive, well, they’re just lying. So, to pick on Wakefield using money as an incentive to do something that he didn’t do anyway is a bit hypocritical.

So, what interested me about measles and autism was this: that there were researchers that came after Wakefield’s 1998 report. One of them – and remember this name, Dr. V. K. Singh – look him up; in 2002, he wrote some articles and did some very good biological studies on this large series of autistic children, and what he found in those studies will blow you away. He basically found that the response to the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, and those autistic children, in their blood, was off the wall compared to normal children, and on top of that, he found that there were myelin basic protein antibodies that correlated highly to those kids who were autistic that were not in the controls. He found antibodies to the caudate nucleus in the brain. He went in front of Congress and he testified the most elegant congressional testimony, and the result of that was the wonderful studies that we know of, the Danish studies, which have been largely refuted as either fraudulent or very poorly designed. But there’s another researcher that we never hear of, because we only hear of Andrew Wakefield, but look into a doctor named Dr. Stephen Walker from Wake Forest University. In 2006, I have a study that he put together, and it was not an easy study to do; he got 275 patients with regressive autism and bowel disease, and what he did is he took some specimens from the bowel and he did polymerase chain reaction analysis, and what he found in there was vaccine-strain measles. His funding dried up for that project, Dr. Singh’s money dried up, we never heard from them again. Dr. Wakefield stuck it out and they stuck it to him, and that’s what happens when you stick a needle in the eye of the giant.

So, is there any relationship between autism and vaccines? Well, how are we supposed to know when scientists who even get close to showing any association are treated the way Dr. Wakefield was. And we don’t know what happened to Dr. Singh; I haven’t heard from him. He’s now doing other kinds of research, but he was literally pleading in front of Congress, passionately, to please look into this connection between the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and autism. Now, personally, I don’t think the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is solely responsible for autism. I think it’s a very complicated process that can start in the womb, and the brain is a very sensitive organ, the immune system in the brain is sensitive, and there are lots of things that can tip it off, and that’s why we can’t just blame mercury on autism, we can’t just blame measles, mumps, rubella vaccine on autism; it’s a constellation of insults that go into creating an autistic brain, and until we do a study that’s on completely vaccinated versus completely unvaccinated children, and look at the breastfeeding trend and the birth modes in those children, we will never be able to make the conclusion, and the pro-vaccine will be able to continue with their mantra that we don’t need to look at it, “science is settled,” and anybody who disagrees with it is a criminal or an idiot.

Jonathan Landsman: Yeah, just to keep this on the ground, Dr. Humphries, of course, the pharmaceutical industry will never do a study like you just described that we would need so that we could actually point to a particular study and say, ‘aha; look at these startling results.’ But the bottom line is, as you were talking about insults, everybody should understand, it’s a common-sense thing, you don’t even have to have a medical degree, that all of these environmental toxins, as you say, Dr. Humphries, from when the woman, before she even conceives, and what the father was eating and the mother was eating. And then, of course, when the child is born, the vaccines that are pumped in, the water, the food, the air quality; we see this from all different levels. We see glyphosate in the environment being sprayed as a toxic herbicide ingredient all over the food that we have, especially since the 1990s, we see this vaccine schedule that has gone way up from when you were a child.

When we add up all of these things, when we see mercury-laced fillings that are being put in the mouths of people all over the world, and they’re telling everybody, ‘oh, it’s just silver fillings, don’t worry about the mercury vapors coming out into your head and causing systemic inflammation and bowel problems which then affect your brain and your heart and your life.’ All of these toxins clearly can’t be good, yet, on the pro-vaccine side, and the pro-chemical side, the answer is always the same: each one of these little topics I brought up, ‘it’s just so little, we shouldn’t worry about it at all; just go back to sleep and don’t think about this.’

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: I couldn’t have said it any better than that. And they will say something like, ‘well, formaldehyde, there’s more formaldehyde in a pear than there is in your injection,’ and completely disrespecting the fact that an injection is brought into the body in a different way than a pear is. And the same goes for aluminum. The data and the information and the hard-core science that’s out there from real scientists, Dr. Offit says that aluminum is no big deal to give to a child because they get tons of it in breast milk and tons of it in formula. Well, Dr. Offit apparently ignored the many studies that show that aluminum disrupts over 200 biological processes in plant and animal life, and the fact that when you inject it into the body, it’s completely different than eating it, and especially when you inject it into a little baby whose kidney function isn’t up to speed, sometimes for up to two years. So, he is completely out of school when he talks about aluminum. So, if you ever want to take on a vaccine battle, take on aluminum, because that, in my opinion, is the easiest one to win because there are even studies by Dr. Thomas Jefferson who looked into this aluminum problem a few years back, and what he found was there was no good data to say that aluminum was safe. But the conclusion was because if we were to take aluminum out of the vaccines, we have nothing to replace it with as an adjuvant, and it could threaten the vaccine program worldwide. And so, in other words, why we might have a dangerous compound in the vaccines that there’s no top limit on, we’re not going to look into it any further because we don’t want to disrupt the vaccination program.

Jonathan Landsman: Dr. Humphries, I want to talk about this a little bit more; again, just mentioning this to the pro-vaccine community, and right away, I’m being labeled as a kook or some crazy person to even suggest that we ought to look at the measles virus itself. And so, I want to ask you: how dangerous is this measles virus? Yes, of course, as you’re an adult, it’s not something you want to get, but let’s talk about it in practical terms. How dangerous is it? And also, more importantly, as a physician, what would you suggest to all those healthcare providers out there that are listening, how would you treat the virus?

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Okay, well, there are a couple of issues that stem from those questions. Yes, the measles virus actually can be very dangerous for children who have a chemically castrated immune system or for babies whose mothers have no antibodies because they’re vaccinated, or for babies that are on infant formula and not breast milk, for children who are fed junk food instead of real food, whose parents have no idea how to treat measles in their children, who don’t understand anything about vitamin A, bone broth, good rest, hydration, fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients and vitamin C because all of those things feed into the frontline cellular immune system, which is the key to dealing with measles. So, if your cellular immune system is not functioning properly, you are a sitting duck for measles. So, that means – and Dr. Gregory Poland has also shown this – that vitamin A changes the epigenetic profile of your cellular immune function. So, we have ways; you feed the cellular immune system properly, and it works.

So, the bottom line is, as always, it’s not about the microbes so much as it’s about the person. So, for some people, measles can be very dangerous; for the vast majority of people who it can be dangerous for, there are things that can be done. And instead of the CDC and Dr. Anne Schuchat coming on and talking constantly about vaccines, if she once in a while even said, ‘make sure your kids are getting a diet plenty in vitamin A, foods that have high vitamin A, make sure they’re well-nourished, make sure you’re giving them bone broth, make sure you’re supporting their cellular immune system by getting proper minerals,’ that would really go a long way. So, that’s that part of the measles danger, but listen to this: the natural measles virus is very different from the vaccine virus, and these are things that I’ve recently discovered, and I’ve actually been quite surprised.

So, as everybody knows, the route of entry of a wild virus is through the mouth – you inhale it, it goes into the lungs, then it goes into the immune system, basically, through infecting certain immune cells in the lungs that have a receptor called CD150. So, it’s able to get into the lymph organs of the body, and it circulates through those lymph organs like the spleen and the thymus and the appendix and the tonsils. And then, after a while, it uses another receptor called Nectin-4, and that’s when it goes to the epithelial cells, where you see those spots in the mouth that look like red spots with white on top, and where you see the rash. So, that’s the normal response to a measles virus, and the rash is actually a good thing because it shows that your cell-mediated immune system is working. The vaccine virus is totally different and it’s really startling. It’s been serially attenuated in many types of human and animal cell cultures for decades, and then it’s injected. So, route of entry is different. Then, it is taken up by a completely different set of receptors in the body called CD46, and what’s interesting about this is that while the CD150 is for the wild measles, the CD46, where the vaccine virus can go into, makes that vaccine virus accessible to every nucleated cell in the body. And the reason that CD46 receptor for the vaccine measles virus and laboratory strains is available is that the original virus was passaged on monkey cells, called Vero cells, which allowed that change in the vaccine virus to go into those receptors.

So, right there, my knowledge stops because, while the medical researchers have a good idea how measles infection spread naturally, nobody has published anything explaining how an injected virus using different receptors spreads throughout the body, yet we know the studies that Dr. Walker has shown, we know the studies that Dr. Singh has shown, we know what Dr. Wakefield has shown – that we’re finding vaccine-strain measles virus retained in the body that shouldn’t be happening. If you have a good immune response because you’ve been infected the proper way and have a good cell-mediated immunity, you don’t retain the virus anymore, and you certainly don’t retain it in diseased organs of your body.

Jonathan Landsman: Dr. Humphries, everything you’re describing here is exactly what most people never hear about: this crazy notion – and I say that with my tongue firmly placed inside my cheek, here – the crazy notion that the immune system can actually handle so many things if given the tools needed, that our bio-terrain is so important inside of us, the fluids in our body, how we feed ourselves, how we emotionally feel, our thoughts. All of this actually has a great deal of power over how strong or how weak our immune system is. None of this is told to people. The message that most people are told is: ‘you’re weak, these germs are out there, these viruses are out there, those bacteria are out there and they’re very dangerous, and you should be very afraid, and stay away from people that are sick, and who knows what could happen to you,’ and it’s a constant state of fear that they want to put everybody in. It’s very disempowering and it also places all the power in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry to come in and save the day, which leads me to a question I need to ask you. In your opinion, why is it that the mainstream media is coming down so hard on people, especially the physicians out there, who have any reservation about vaccines? You talked about it a little bit at the beginning, but I’d like you to address it one more time because it really is the most I have ever seen in years.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: Right, and I talked about why that is – the end-point with Merck and the CDC and the likes of Paul Offit and Arthur Caplan. But let me tell you, basically, what the focus is, because it might just put a few dots together for your listeners. But the first thing is that they want to remove all pockets of unvaccinated children as soon as possible because that will prevent any possibility of doing any large-scale fully-vaccinated and never-vaccinated study. But also, that way, people like myself, and I’ll tell you that I first woke up when I saw a group of never-vaccinated kids in one place, and it’s because they don’t want doctors like me to be able to put the pieces together and see that clinically, the unvaccinated often go through their entire childhood with a level of health that most doctors never see and most doctors would never believe. Second, there’s a massive witch-hunt going on here, which is exemplified by a recent CNN piece where the presenter portrayed various people – it was actually comical because she was talking about how these various people funded organizations that were anti-vaccine and the total was something like $1 million. But Bill Gates and all the billions of dollars that private people give to medical establishments, that’s perfectly fine. Third, they want to shut down all the pro-vaccine parents who are now so vocal about their vaccinated children disintegrating in front of their eyes as a result of vaccination. If they can cut them off at the knees, that will help their goal, so in my opinion, it’s very important today that those parents do not keep quiet. Fourth, Paul Offit is slapping every single radio show host by telling them that they’re part of the problem because they allow air space to people like me, and Jonathan, he would say you should be in journalism jail. Fifth, they would love to de-license any doctor who speaks out against vaccines because they hope that that will leave parents doctorless and bereft of meaningful support for their ideals.

Doctors currently have a lot of pressure on them to do what the vaccine gods tell them to do. Paul Offit is now going around to different medical schools and coaching them how to coach their doctors to persuade their patients to vaccinate. He’s advocating a one-time warning for doctors to kick patients out of the office. So, what does that do? If doctors who disagree with Offit are de-licensed, then where are parents going to go? Parents are tossed out of his wife’s practice, as he says, and they have nowhere to go. So, Offit hypocritically will put those parents in a position where if their children get sick with anything, they have nowhere safe to go. If they end up in a hospital, they have to put up with such venom spat on them, like the likes of Offit, and yes, that happens, and I have some recordings of parents who that has happened to. So, what Offit is doing, actually, is he’s alienating the vaccine refusers with bullying and with absolute crap science and then trying to take away all their alternatives; natural supplements, homeopathy, alternative practitioners, both MDs and DOs, and any practitioners who are against vaccines. So, he’s really got people up against a wall. And I don’t know if you noticed this, but recently, Mayo Clinic partnered with Google to completely change the way health information comes up on Google searches, and the reason they say is because they want to get this quack science out of the way, the pseudo-science out of the way, and deal with the vaccine dispensers.

So, isn’t that interesting, especially given that Mayo Clinic is where Robert Jacobson and Gregory Poland work, two of the most prominent vaccine scientists. I also found it interesting that the congressional hearing this week; it was actually organized before the Disneyland outbreak, and guess what? It wasn’t publicized in a normal way, so nobody really got to put in any dissent, and the most one-sided arguments full of lies that I have actually ever heard about vaccines; it was pretty much the same old story by a congressman who clearly had an agenda. But the focus here isn’t a short-term focus, it’s a long-term. If the Mayo Clinic and Gregory Poland and Paul Offit can restrict your reading to what they want you to know, if they can restrict your access to medical care based on your vaccination status, if they can threaten and silence any doctors who speak against vaccines, if they can stop the media from telling any other story than theirs, and if they can do that in a way that the pro-vaccine parents agree is a wonderful step in the right direction, then what they’ve done is that they have insidiously installed a medical dictatorship and most people would probably never notice.

Jonathan Landsman: This is what I find the most disturbing, Dr. Humphries, and I’m sure you would agree: we’re doing this program, we have experts like yourself and many other physicians speaking out about this, their reservations, their concerns, and talking about things that people are not hearing in the mainstream media. It’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t make it less significant or less necessary that we do these kinds of programs to get the information out. The problem is that a lot of people are not hearing about this information, and what’s most disturbing to me is this one-sidedness, the approach that they’re taking. The pro-vaccine people are quite aggressive with what you’ve been describing, really trying to shut down any kind of opposition, they want to control everything. When we talk about mandatory vaccination policies, they’re being very forceful in their approach, and just on a common-sense level, Dr. Humphries – I’m not a physician, nor do I pretend to be, or any kind of expert in science at all – but just on a common-sense level, if something like the MMR vaccine, the flu shot, any of these vaccines that we hear about, if they were so great, why would they be so upset?

Why wouldn’t they just welcome open debates and come up with the science and come up with the data that supports it? But all the pro-vaccine people all sound the same; they keep name-calling people like you or me kooks or anti-vaxxers or conspiracy-theory people, and it’s a lot of name-calling. And what I hear people who have reservations about vaccines, like yourself, like myself, what we keep bringing up are actual court cases, actual scientific data that explains why we have reservations. It really seems like the opposite of what they’re saying, but what’s most disturbing is the forceful nature and the dictatorial style that you have described in this program. It really is something that needs to stop. We all have to wake up to what’s going on here; it’s a bunch of nonsense, and we cannot put up with this anymore.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries: That’s right. And the reason they do this is because they know that we have the truth on our side, and they know that when we get any mainstream media coverage at all, there are going to be certain factions of the population that listen and go, ‘whoa, there might be something I don’t know that I should look into this.’ And, in fact, I read an article yesterday that talked about: the more that even the pro-vaccinators bring up the controversy, the more non-vaccinators evolve out of the population. So, now, the current situation, the recommendation to all of the media broadcasters, is just to say nothing. So, they stopped the pro-vaccine thing to some degree, and now, they’re just starting to kind of quiet it down. And they know they’re financially winning, they know that they have the politicians; they don’t need to invite debate. But the thing is, Paul Offit said the other day, ‘I don’t know what’s going to un-ring this bell,’ and that’s an old attorney saying because what happens is, in a jury, when someone in the jury hears something, you can’t make them forget it. And, see, that’s why, in a sense, they’re losing, because when people hear the truth and it resonates with them, they don’t forget it, and then they can’t be convinced, and all the convincing that they try to do by training medical students and bullying doctors, all it’s going to do is serve to create more adversity to them. And so, what they have to do is just come down almost like the Gestapo and try to turn this into a medical police state, essentially.

Jonathan Landsman: Dr. Humphries, I want to thank you for your time, and I want to thank our listeners for joining us today. Be sure to listen to the many other shows available to you on this page, and more importantly, please use our social sharing feature to give this information to your friends and family. Plus, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the Natural Health 365 newsletter by entering your email address on the right side of this page. You’ll receive weekly updates on important health topics, access to our free weekly shows, plus some great gifts. I’m your host, Jonathan Landsman; I hope you enjoyed this program. Thank you so much for your support. Talk to you soon. Take care.

As confirmed in an earlier report April 9, 2015, the Security Bureau of Ukraine, on April 7th, had seized and disappeared two Odessa bloggers, who were trying to get an independent investigation, and ultimate prosecution, of the individuals who participated in the 2 May 2014 massacre of regime opponents, and who burned, shot, and clubbed to death perhaps over 200 in the Odessa Trade Unions Building — the event that precipitated the breakaway of Donbass from the rest of the former Ukraine, the country’s civil war. (See  Ukraine “Disappears” Opponents of the Kiev Regime. Abductions of Independent Journalists By Eric Zuesse, April 09, 2015)

And I also reported that April 7th saw the official announcement that,

“The security service of Ukraine … has discontinued operation of a number of Internet sites that were used to perpetrate information campaigns of aggression on the part of the Russian Federation aimed at violent change or overthrow of the constitutional order and territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.”

The follow-up to that story is the news on April 9th, which was reported in the courageous independent Kiev newspaper, Vesti, that “SBU has blocked more than 10,000 websites.” It says that, “Law enforcers seized the servers,” and that one SBU official told the newspaper, “‘We have made the decision of the court and confiscated equipment.’ He promised to return the servers in two months.”

Another news report on April 9th in Vesti tells of seizures of that day’s edition of newspapers by far-right toughs at news stands throughout the city, and the story even shows a video of Right Sector toughs raiding and emptying a Vesti delivery van headed out for distribution. The report also said:

“On Thursday, April 9, machines [coin-operated distribution boxes] that were transporting part of the circulation of the Kiev edition of the newspaper ‘Vesti’ were attacked. The attacks occurred around the metro stations ‘Heroes of Dnepr’ and ’Vasylkivska.’ In both cases, the scenario was the same: the circulation machine was blocked by two cars that emerged containing unidentified men wearing symbols of the ‘Right Sector’ who illegally seized the circulation. In the case near the metro station ‘Vasylkivska,’ a driver was beaten, and the attackers threatened to burn his car.”

Back on 5 July 2014, Vesti had headlined, “Masked men smashed and fired into ‘Vesti’: broke windows, spread tear gas.” A video accompanied that news report, too. The video showed a man outside the newspaper’s office, opening the door, being suddenly attacked by approximately a hundred men who rushed at him from hiding and beat him.

The accompanying news report from a witness said:

“I first heard several shots. Then stones and Molotov cocktails were hurled at windows on the first and second floors. After that, the room filled with tear gas, which quickly spread throughout the office, and it’s still very hard to breathe. One of the guards who tried to stop the thugs was beaten.”

The video shows all of this from the outside of the building.

There are accompanying photos of the ransacked office.

That news report, in turn, linked to an earlier one, on 27 June 2014. That report had said: “Suddenly, four dozen masked strangers came, headed by the controversial deputy of Kyiv City Council, Igor Lutsenko.” These men “began to shout anti-Putin slogans, and then climbed onto the improvised stage” where there was to be presentation of a Constitution Day award. “Finally, radicals tried to throw bricks at our editors, but Maidan volunteers blocked that.”

The head of the Security Bureau of Ukraine, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the man who closed 10,000 online sites on April 7th, was reported, a week earlier, on April 1st, (translation here) saying:

“SBU does not need to invent anything new. It is necessary only to build on the traditions and approaches that were set forth by the Security Service of the OUN-UPA in the 1930-1950 years. They battled against the aggressor [Russia] during the temporary occupation of the territory [Ukraine, which ’temporary’ period was already 350 years], had a patriotic education, military counterintelligence, and relied on the peaceful Ukrainian population, using its unprecedented support.”

This video recounts and shows the history of “OUN-UPA in the 1930-1950 years” and documents that it carried out most of Adolf Hitler’s extermination program in Ukraine during World War II — including 80% of the Babi Yar massacre of Jews, which the Russian poet Yevtushenko memorialized. To the people that the Obama Administration has placed in power in Ukraine, it was a heroic achievement. And yet, far-right Jews are part of it — ideological brothers-under-the-skin, and it also has the support of 98%+ of the U.S. Congress.

The head of the Security Bureau of Ukraine lied about the ‘temporary’ inclusion of Ukraine as part of Russia, and also about how ‘peaceful’ was the reign of Ukraine’s and Germany’s nazis over Ukraine during 1940-1944. But at least he was honest that he is returning to those “traditions and approaches.”

Barack Obama reigned over the entire process and installed these people into power over Ukraine. He has almost 100% congressional support for that within both the Republican and Democratic Parties, even though over two-thirds of Americans who have an opinion on the matter are opposed to his policy. America’s Establishment wants him to pursue this policy more aggressively. And the West’s newsmedia blame Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

 Here is a video of Ukraine’s troops shelling the Donbass village of Slavyansk and joking that they’ll turn it into a “crematorium.”

 As I reported earlier, the founder of Right Sector, Dmitriy Yarosh, was the leader of the thugs who perpetrated the May 2nd massacre, and who also carried out the February 2014 coup that brought these people to power in Ukraine. Starting on April 20th (Hitler’s birthday), his men will be receiving military training and weapons from U.S. troops, whom Obama is sending in to help them and other executioners with their program of exterminating the residents in Donbass — the region that rejects the coup-imposed government. So, Yarosh helps Obama not only by terrorizing the few remaining independent news media in Ukraine, but also by installing Obama’s regime there, and now, increasingly, by fighting his war there. Yarosh is already the most powerful person in Ukraine, and yet his power is still increasing there. He’s a man to watch. He wants Putin dead, so Putin is probably watching him carefully. Obama meanwhile, is watching Putin’s ‘aggression.’

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

¿Quieren EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí dividir Yemen?

April 10th, 2015 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

La inestabilidad en Yemen es causada no por Irán o los huthíes, sino por la interferencia estadounidense y saudí en el país –desde la invasión por Arabia Saudí en 2009 a los ataques con drones de EE.UU. – y las décadas de apoyo que Arabia Saudí ha suministrado al régimen autoritario e impopular en Yemen.

“Líneas de batalla están siendo determinadas en Yemen, el país más pobre del mundo árabe y el último candidato en Medio Oriente para el fracaso del Estado. Si, como parece cada vez más probable, la guerra abierta estalla pronto, solo será empeorada por la competencia por supremacía regional entre Arabia Saudí e Irán. Ambas potencias han mostrado su deseo de armar grupos que consideran que pueden controlar, a pesar del legado que esta destructiva rivalidad ya ha causado en Siria e Iraq,” afirmó la revista Foreign Policy el 6 de marzo.

La alianza huthi con Irán: ¿Pragmatismo o sectarismo?

Los huthíes no son de ninguna manera testaferros iraníes. El movimiento huthi es un protagonista político independiente que emergió como resultado de la represión. Calificar a los huthíes de testaferros iraníes no es empírico e ignora la historia y la política de Yemen. “Si estalla una guerra siguiendo líneas sectarias, no será porque allí se han establecido divisiones históricas en Yemen; será porque los financiadores extranjeros de la guerra inflaman divisiones que antes carecían de importancia”, incluso admite Foreign Policy.

Se reconoce que dirigentes huthíes han rechazado afirmaciones de que aceptan órdenes de Teherán. Esto no ha impedido que funcionarios y medios saudíes y khalijis (del Golfo) hayan utilizado y manipulado las declaraciones de funcionarios iraníes, como la comparación de los huthíes con los basijs de Irán; que presentan a los huthíes como agentes o clientes iraníes.

Precisamente como los huthíes no son testaferros iraníes, no existe ninguna alianza chií entre Teherán y ellos en Yemen. Historias que se concentran en esta narrativa sectaria simplista ocultan la naturaleza política y las motivaciones del conflicto en Yemen y deforma de manera insultante la lucha de los huthíes contra la represión. Desde los años 70 la Casa de Saud ha apoyado realmente a las facciones realistas en Yemen, que eran predominantemente musulmanes chiíes.

Además, los musulmanes chiíes en Yemen o son imamíes o duodecimanos como la mayoría de los musulmanes chiíes en Irán, la República de Azerbaiyán, Líbano, Iraq, Afganistán, Pakistán y la región del Golfo Pérsico. Aparte de focos de chiíes ismailíes –que también pueden ser llamados septimanos– en las gobernaciones de Saada, Hajja, Amran, Al-Mahwit, Sana, Ibb, y Al-Jawf la mayoría de los musulmanes chiíes en Yemen son zaydíes. Los ismaelíes en Yemen son en su mayoría miembros de las sectas davidianas y salomónicas del ismailismo mustali que se apartó del grupo mayor de los ismailíes nizaríes.

La hostilidad estadounidense y saudí hacia el movimiento huthi es lo que ha hecho que inadvertidamente los huthíes se volvieran pragmáticamente hacia Irán en busca de ayuda como contrapeso. En palabras del Wall Street Journal, “militantes huthíes que controlan la capital yemení están tratando de forjar lazos con Irán, Rusia y China para contrarrestar el apoyo occidental y saudí para el presidente depuesto del país”. “El gobierno interino de los huthíes ha enviado delegaciones a Irán en busca de suministros de combustible y a Rusia en busca de inversión en proyectos energéticos, según dos altos funcionarios huthíes. Otra delegación planifica visitar China en las próximas semanas, dijeron”, informó también el Wall Street Journal del 6 de marzo.

Como resultado del esfuerzo del movimiento huthi, Irán y Yemen anunciaron que habrá vuelos diarios entre Teherán y Saná desde el 2 de marzo. Es una importante línea aérea de apoyo para el movimiento huthi.

La narrativa sectaria y la carta sectaria

La inestabilidad en Yemen no es causada por Irán o los huthíes, sino por la interferencia estadounidense y saudí en ese país –la invasión en 2009 por Arabia Saudí y los ataques de drones de EE.UU.– y las décadas de apoyo que Arabia Saudí ha suministrado al régimen autoritario e impopular en Yemen.

Yemen no es un país inherentemente dividido. Aparte del apoyo a al-Qaida por Arabia Saudí y EE.UU., no existe ninguna división o tensiones chiíes-suníes. Para impedir que Yemen sea independiente, los saudíes y EE.UU. han apoyado el sectarismo en la esperanza de crear una división chií-suní en Yemen.

A diferencia de la falsa narrativa, las alianzas de Irán en Medio Oriente no son realmente sectarias. Todos los aliados palestinos de Teherán son predominantemente musulmanes suníes mientras en Iraq y Siria, aparte de los gobiernos, Irán apoya a un variedad trasversal de grupos étnicos y religiosos que incluyen a no árabes y cristianos. Esto incluye a los predominantemente musulmanes suníes kurdos sirios e iraquíes y al ala asiria Sutoro del Partido de la Unión Siriaca (SUP) en Siria. En Líbano, aparte de Hizbulá, los iraníes también son aliados de partidos musulmanes suníes, drusos, y cristianos, incluyendo el Movimiento Patriótico Libre de Michel Aoun – que es el mayor partido cristiano en el Líbano.

Si alguien está involucrado en el sectarismo como política, es EE.UU. y sus aliados en los petro-emiratos. Tanto EE.UU. como Arabia Saudí habían involucrado a los huthíes antes contra la Hermandad Musulmana en Yemen. Además, durante la Guerra Fría, tanto Washington como la Casa de Saud trataron de usar a los chiíes yemeníes contra los republicanos en el norte de Yemen y la República Democrática Popular de Yemen en el sur. EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí iniciaron su hostilidad en su contra cuando el movimiento huthi demostró que no iba a ser un cliente de Washington o Riad.

Preparando la invasión de Yemen

El 20 de marzo, atacantes suicidas atacaron las mezquitas Al-Badr y Al-Hashoosh durante asr salat (plegarias de la tarde). Murieron más de trescientas personas. Abdul Malik Al-Huthi acusó a EE.UU. e Israel de apoyar los ataques terroristas y a EI/ISIL/Daesh y al-Qaida en Yemen. También se culpó a Arabia Saudí.

Mientras hubo silencio en Marruecos, Jordania, y los petro-emiratos árabes, la portavoz del Ministerio de Exteriores iraní Marziyeh Afkham condenó los ataques terroristas en Yemen. De una u otra manera, Siria, Iraq, Rusia, y China también condenaron todos los ataques terroristas en Yemen. Para mostrar el apoyo de Teherán a Yemen, dos aviones de carga iraníes con carga humanitaria fueron enviados a Yemen y la Sociedad de la Media Luna Roja iraní voló más de cincuenta víctimas yemeníes de los ataques terroristas a hospitales dentro de Irán para tratamiento médico.

El fracaso de la Casa de Saud en Yemen

El movimiento de los huthíes es el resultado de las políticas de Arabia Saudí en Yemen y de su apoyo para el régimen autoritario. Al respecto, los huthíes son una reacción a la brutalidad Saudí y al apoyo de la Casa de Saud al autoritarismo yemení. Emergieron como parte de una rebelión que fue dirigida por Hussein Badreddin Al-Huthi en 2004 contra el gobierno yemení.

Los regímenes yemení y saudí afirmaron falsamente que los huthíes querían establecer un imanato en Arabia como medio para satanizar el movimiento. Esto, sin embargo, no logró impedir que este se fortaleciera. Los militares yemeníes no pudieron dominarlos en 2009, lo que condujo a una intervención saudí, llamada Operación Tierra Calcinada, lanzada el 11 de agosto de 2009.

Arabia Saudí no logró derrotar a los huthíes cuando envió a sus militares a Yemen para combatirlos en 2009 y 2010. No ha logrado obligar a Yemen y al movimiento huthi a ponerse de rodillas en señal de obediencia. Cuando exigió que los huthíes y el gobierno de transición yemení siguieran la línea saudí y fueran a Riad para negociar, fue directamente rechazada por los huthíes y por los Comités Revolucionarios de Yemen, porque las negociaciones y cualquier sistema de compartimiento del poder apoyado por los saudíes realmente marginarían a los huthíes y otras fuerzas políticas en Yemen. Por eso la Unión de Fuerzas Populares, el propio Congreso General del Pueblo de Al-Hadi, y el Partido Baaz de Yemen han apoyado todos la posición huthi contra Arabia Saudí.

¿Dividiendo Yemen?

Yemen ha vivido numerosas insurrecciones, intervención militar por EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí, y el fortalecimiento de un movimiento separatista en sus gobernaciones del sur. Los militares de Yemen se han fragmentado y existen tensiones tribales. Se ha estado hablando cada vez más sobre su transformación en un Estado árabe fallido.

En 2013, el New York Times propuso que Libia, Siria, Iraq y Yemen fueran divididos. En el caso de Yemen la propuesta era que volviera a ser dividido en dos. El New York Times dijo que esto podría suceder o sucedería después de un posible referéndum en las gobernaciones del sur. El New York Times también propuso que “todo o parte de Yemen podría entonces convertirse en parte de Arabia Saudí. Casi todo el comercio saudí es por vía marítima, y el acceso al Mar Arábigo disminuiría la dependencia del Golfo Pérsico – y los temores de la capacidad de Irán de cerrar el Estrecho de Ormuz”.

Arabia Saudí y Al-Hadi ahora apoyan a los separatistas del sur en Yemen, que cuentan con el apoyo de cerca de una décima parte de la población. La próxima opción para EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí sería dividir Yemen como medio para mitigar el cambio estratégico causado por una victoria huthi. Esto aseguraría que Arabia Saudí y el CCG tendrían un punto de tránsito meridional al Océano Indica y que EE.UU. conservaría un punto de apoyo en el Golfo de Adén.

Haga clic aquí para leer la primera parte de este artículo.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Fuente: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-geopolitics-behind-the-war-in-yemen-do-the-us-and-saudi-arabia-want-to-divide-yemen/5439749

Strategic Culture Foundation, 30 de Marso de 2015

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

Primera parte en español :

Salman wa Hadi (MDN)

El comienzo de un nuevo frente contra IránLa geopolítica tras la guerra en Yemen (I)

 

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya es sociólogo, analista geopolítico y un reconocido autor.

Britain is currently in the grip of a general election campaign. Voting takes place on 7 May and election fever in the media is building as various commentators and politicians engage in empty rhetoric about British values and democratic principles. Due to the nature of the ‘first past the post’ voting system, the only two parties with a realistic hope of achieving a majority of seats in parliament are Labour and the Conservatives. As in the outgoing parliament, the party most likely to achieve third place, the Liberal Democrats, might hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.

On TV last week there was a ‘leaders’ debate’. The issues debated revolved around the economy, the National Health Service and immigration. Leaders of the three main parties embraced a cosy consensus based on the need to continue with ‘austerity’ but quibbled over the nature or speed of cuts to the public sector and public services. The debate has set the tone for the unfolding campaign.

All three main parties are pro-big business and are aligned with the neoliberal economic agenda set by the financial cartel based in the City of London and on Wall Street and by the major transnational corporations. The likes of Chatham House, Centre for Policy Studies, Foreign Policy Centre, Reform, Institute of Economic Affairs and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (most of which the British public have never heard of) have already determined the pro-corporate and generally pro-Washington policies that the parties will sell to the public. Pressure tactics at the top level of politics, massively funded lobbying groups and the revolving door between private corporations and the machinery of state have also helped shape the policy agenda.

As if to underline this, in 2012 Labour MP Austin Mitchell described the UK’s big four accountancy firms as being “more powerful than government.” He said the companies’ financial success allows them privileged access to government policy makers. Of course, similar sentiments concerning ‘privileged access’ could also be forwarded about many other sectors, not least the arms industry and global agritech companies which armed with their poisons, unsustainable model of industrial agriculture and bogus claims have been working hand in glove with government to force GMO’s into the UK despite most people who hold a view on the matter not wanting them.

The impact and power of think tanks, lobbying and cronyism means that the major parties merely provide the illusion of choice and democracy to a public that is easily manipulated courtesy of a toothless and supine corporate media. The knockabout point-scoring of party politics serves as entertainment for a public that is increasingly disillusioned with politics.

The upshot is that the main parties have all accepted economic neoliberalism and the financialisation of the British economy and all that it has entailed: weak or non-existent trade unions, an ideological assault on the public sector, the offshoring of manufacturing, deregulation, privatisation and an economy dominated by financial services.

In Britain, long gone are the relatively well-paid manufacturing jobs that helped build and sustain the economy. In its place, the country has witnessed the imposition of a low taxation regime, low-paid and insecure ‘service sector’ jobs (no-contract work, macjobs, call centre jobs – much of which soon went abroad), a real estate bubble, credit card debt and student debt, which all helped to keep the economy afloat and maintain demand during the so-called boom years under Tony Blair. Levels of public debt spiraled, personal debt became unsustainable and the deregulated financial sector demanded the public must write down its own gambling debts.

The economy is now based on (held to ransom by) a banking and finance-sector cartel that specialises in rigging markets, debt creation, money laundering  and salting away profits in various City of London satellite tax havens and beyond. The banking industry applies huge pressure on governments and has significant influence over policies to ensure things remain this way.

If you follow the election campaign, you will see no talk from the main parties about bringing the railway and energy and water facilities back into public ownership. Instead, privatisation will continue and massive profits will be raked in as the public forks out for private-sector subsidies and the increasingly costly ‘services’ provided.

There will be no talk of nationalising the major banks or even properly regulating or taxing them (and other large multinationals) to gain access to funds that could build decent infrastructure for the public benefit.

Although the economy will be glibly discussed throughout the campaign, little will be mentioned about why or how the top one percent in the UK increased their wealth substantially in 2008 alone when the economic crisis hit. Little will be said about why levels of inequality have sky rocketed over the past three decades.

When manufacturing industry was decimated (along with the union movement) and offshored, people were told that finance was to be the backbone of the ‘new’ economy. And to be sure it has become the backbone. A spineless one based on bubbles, derivatives trading, speculation and all manner of dodgy transactions and practices. Margaret Thatcher in the eighties sold the economy to bankers and transnational corporations and they have never looked back. It was similar in the US.

Now Britain stands shoulder to shoulder with Washington’s militaristic agenda as the US desperately seeks to maintain global hegemony – not by rejecting the financialisation of its economy, rebuilding a manufacturing base with decent jobs and thus boosting consumer demand or ensuring the state takes responsibility for developing infrastructure to improve people’s quality of life – but by attacking Russia and China which are doing some of those very things and as a result are rising to challenge the US as the dominant global economic power.

The election campaign instead of focusing on ‘austerity’, immigrants or welfare recipients, who are depicted by certain politicians and commentators as bleeding the country dry, should concern itself with the tax-evading corporate dole-scrounging super rich, the neoliberal agenda they have forced on people and their pushing for policies that would guarantee further plunder, most notably the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

However, with a rigged media and all major parties representing the interests of an unaccountable financial-corporate-state elite, we can expect Britain to continue to fall in line behind Washington’s militarism and a further hollowing out of what remains of the economy and civil society.

No matter who wins on 7 May, the public is destined for more of the same. The real outcome of the election has already been decided by the interlocking directorate of think tanks, big business and its lobby groups and the higher echelons of the civil service. The election will be akin to rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship.

Making headlines recently has been Al Qaeda’s temporary seizure of the city of Idlib, in Idlib province, northern Syria. The embattled city lies just miles from NATO-member Turkey’s borders. With the Syrian Arab Army controlling the south of Idlib, it is clear that militants based in and supplied via Turkey took part in the operation, leading the Syrian government itself to accuse the NATO member of directly supporting Al Qaeda.

Reuters in its article, “Syrian military source alleges Turkish role in Idlib offensive,” noted:

A Syrian military source accused Turkey on Monday of helping Islamist rebels to stage an assault on Idlib, a provincial capital which fighters seized at the weekend.

The source declined to comment on the situation in Idlib, citing security considerations, but a monitoring group has confirmed the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and allies now control Idlib and said the Syrian air force bombed the city on Monday.

For years, prominent Western papers, including the New York Times in their report, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” have admitted that Turkey (as well as Jordan to the south) has harbored militants throughout the duration of the conflict, and has even hosted the CIA and other foreign intelligence agencies as they armed, trained, and coordinated with militants bound for Syria. It is a coincidence, we are expected to believe, that now Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Jabhat al Nusra just so happens to be strongest in regions bordering Turkey, and its Arab accomplice, Jordan.

Further implicating Western support behind the recent Al Qaeda offensive, comes not from the Syrian government, but from the Wall Street Journal, who has claimed, with the terrorists not even holding the city for a week, that they are already well underway to “governing” it.

The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “Syrian Opposition Tries to Govern Newly Won Idlib City,” claims:

The rebel groups that took over a provincial capital in northwest Syria over the weekend are now trying to consolidate control and establish civil governance.

After days spent tearing down the ubiquitous images of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the coalition of Islamist groups, which includes al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, say they will help form a civilian government to run Idlib, capital of Idlib province. For now the streets are full of armed fighters with little organizational direction.

Turkey’s media demanded the seized city be used as a seat to host an “interim” government, a scenario hatched by US policymakers years ago in a bid to replicate Western success in dividing, then destroying the North African nation of Libya. Originally it appeared that Aleppo would be the targeted “capital” of the West’s proxy regime, but the window appears to have closed on that opportunity.

By hosting the interim government in Idlib, NATO could be “invited” to provide protection via a “no-fly-zone,” effectively and permanently dividing Syria, and eventually leading to the overthrowing of the nation entirely.

The WSJ also reported that:

The opposition has a lot to prove in terms of governance as much of the territory it controls is beset by crime, corruption and a lack of services— in addition to regular attacks by the Syrian regime. The political opposition in exile, the Syrian National Coalition, has provided funding for local councils but the money has often been scarce and unreliable.

The Journal is apparently using the terms “opposition” and Al Qaeda interchangeably, while also lumping the exiled “Syrian National Coalition” in with the notorious terrorist franchise – a US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization. The Journal is also admitting that the Coalition is funding Al Qaeda to run “local councils.” The narrative, repeated across the Western media, is that Idlib has been irreversibly seized by the “opposition,” and destined to become the capital of Syria’s alleged “opposition.”

America’s Democratic Terrorists 

Only a handful of Western sources include Al Qaeda in their headlines regarding Idlib. Many headlines are referring to Jabhat al Nusra, a US State Department-listed terrorist organization, as the “Syrian opposition,” or a “Jihadi” or “Islamist” coalition. It is clear that the West is attempting to spin the fall of an entire city to Al Qaeda as a victory, rather than a threat to global peace and stability.

Talk from the terrorists themselves attempts to portray a softer image, asking for “consultation” regarding the administration of the city. This comes in the wake of other recent calls by US ally, and host of the US Combat Air Operations Center for the Middle East, Qatar, who openly admitted it was supporting Al Qaeda in Syria, and sought to back it further with the precondition al Nusra scaled back its extremist rhetoric (note: not scale back its actual extremism).

In Reuters’ article, “Syria’s Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity,” it would be reported that:

Leaders of Syria’s Nusra Front are considering cutting their links with al Qaeda to form a new entity backed by some Gulf states trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, sources said.

Sources within and close to Nusra said that Qatar, which enjoys good relations with the group, is encouraging the group to go ahead with the move, which would give Nusra a boost in funding.

Reuters admits inadvertently that al Nusra is already enjoying Qatari support. It is clear that al Nusra has not “severed ties to Al Qaeda” because it is Al Qaeda.

What is forming before the world’s collective eyes is an attempt to sell the concept of an Al Qaeda-led opposition government, based in Idlib, behind which NATO and its Persian Gulf allies will place their support.

While this scenario seems “implausible,” it should be mentioned that from the beginning of the fighting in Libya in 2011, it was pointed out by many geopolitical analysts that the so-called “freedom fighters” were in fact literally Al Qaeda, with NATO providing it  with air cover, weapons, cash, and diplomatic support. In Libya, operational momentum outpaced the public’s awareness regarding the true nature of the opposition. In Syria, the West is desperately trying to reshape the public’s awareness that the opposition is in fact Al Qaeda – before a NATO buffer zone can be created around Idlib.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

The Boston Bombing: Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev an FBI Informant?

April 10th, 2015 by Global Research News

Originally published by Who What Why

by Lara Turner

We asked each member of our Boston Marathon Bombing reporting team to share their personal experience or perspective on one aspect of the bombing or the trial. Stay tuned for more personal perspectives like this as the trial concludes.

The entire defense of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was an effort to avoid the death penalty. Partly for that reason, no attempt was made to address the many unanswered questions surrounding the case, including one that could shed an entirely new light on many aspects of this case: Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev an FBI informant?

Last year, attorneys for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev argued in court motions that his older brother and alleged accomplice had been encouraged to become FBI informants and report on the area’s Muslim and Chechen communities. As the trial drew near, US Circuit Court Judge George A. O’Toole limited the defense’s abilities to discuss in court Tamerlan’s role in the bombing. The discussion of whether Tamerlan was an informant was pushed to the dustbin of case files. It remains to be seen if it will once again appear in the upcoming sentencing phase.

For its part, the FBI has asserted that the Tsarnaev brothers were never sources for the agency nor did it attempt to recruit them as sources.

But, after recent independent investigations, it’s no longer the purview of skeptics to wonder about the true nature of the FBI’s involvement with two young, arguably down-on-their-luck Muslims hailing from a region—Chechnya—rife with turmoil.

In fact, the FBI commonly seeks out these types of young men for help as informants and to lead stings.

In the days leading up to jury deliberations in the Boston bombing trial—two New York women were arrested and charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, citing the Boston Marathon bombings as inspiration. However, a criminal complaint revealed that an undercover law enforcement informant devised and facilitated the alleged plot. The complaint provided little evidence that the two women knew how to make a bomb before they were introduced to the informant.

The Informants

According to researcher Trevor Aaronson, author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, nearly half of the 508 defendants prosecuted for terrorism-related incidents between 9/11 and 2011 were prompted to act by informants—who were paid as much as $100,000 per assignment. Sting operations resulted in the prosecutions of 158 defendants. Among the most high-profile plots of the last decade investigated by Aaronson, only three lacked FBI involvement.

Tamerlan was an out-of-work boxer, married to a nurse’s aide who worked 60 hours a week to make ends meet. How he could come up with $900 cash to send to his mother in Russia two days before the bombings—and afford to buy several backpacks, ammunition, BBs and other supposed bomb-making material—was never answered during the trial. Whether he participated in something illegal or earned the cash in some other manner was not explored.

Also noteworthy was the fact that of all the receipts the average person sticks into his or her wallet while shopping, the only receipts found in Tamerlan’s wallet were those that showed specifically his purchases of materials related to the bombings.

The Bombs

Another issue that was conspicuously glossed over during the trial was the sophistication of the Boylston Street bombs that killed three and maimed hundreds.

Whether or not the Tsarnaev brothers had the money and experience to make such a sophisticated bomb should be questioned.

Whether or not the Tsarnaev brothers had the money and experience to make such a sophisticated bomb should be questioned.

In court, defense attorneys presented copies of the Russian translation of the Inspire magazine [an Al Qaeda publication] that allegedly acted as the impetus for Tamerlan’s desire to build the bombs and carry out the attacks. The article’s authors included a notation that it was a “good article, but novices will not understand.” This underlined the complexity of the bombs.

The prosecution itself inadvertently advanced the notion of additional, unknown, parties playing a role in the bomb-making. When seeking to justify why FBI agents questioned Dzhokhar for two days before reading him his Miranda rights, the prosecution pointed to the sophistication of the bombs, which had led investigators to believe at the time there were others involved. If they ever explained how they came to determine that others weren’t—or how the brothers acquired that purported sophistication, we missed it.

***

If Tamerlan had made the bombs, one would expect to find at least traces on his premises. Yet the prosecution flip-flopped at least three times on the issue of whether any explosive black powder was found in Tamerlan’s apartment.

During the trial, the prosecution would selectively invoke the powder only when useful for proving that the brothers were the sole perpetrators of the bombing, thereby diverting public attention from the role others may have played in the attack.But when it serves the government’s purpose to raise the specter of imminent danger from shadowy accomplices, the explosive residue conveniently disappears. It reappears again when any hint of accomplices might aid the defense in warding off the death penalty.

The Trip

During the trial, much was also made of Tamerlan’s trip to Russia, from January 21 to July 17, 2012—but only in the context of how that trip may have been used to radicalize the elder Tsarnaev brother. While pre-trial motions and a US Senate investigation by the House Homeland Security Committee pointed to a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB in Russian) report requesting the CIA to investigate Tamerlan in 2011, the particulars of this investigation weren’t brought up in court.

The fact that Tamerlan was allowed to travel at all, despite allegedly appearing on a no-fly list, received little attention during the trial. WhoWhatWhy has long pondered this trip, along with Tamerlan’s dealings with a Canadian terrorist named William Plotnikov.

Tsarnaev family members, however, are adamant that Tamerlan spent most of his time with family, including a distant cousin named Magomed Kartashov, the founder and leader of a non-violent organization called Union of the Just, which often speaks out against US policies in the Muslim world. It seems strange that a person on track to bomb the marathon would associate with an organization concerned with non-violence.

The Others

An important potentially-related situation, almost completely ignored by traditional media outlets, was the  relentless persecution, deportation and even killing of many of the Tsarnaev circle. Did this astonishing federal campaign result in any useful intelligence? If so, we haven’t learned of any. Or, was it for some other purpose? Some have charged that the harassment was explicitly accompanied by warnings that friends of the Tsarnaevs not talk to the press.

Three of Dzhokhar’s friends, Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov, were charged with a variety of federal offenses, including making false statements and obstruction of justice. His high school buddy, Stephen Silva, pleaded guilty to drug and gun charges, and then testified, in hopes of a reduced sentence, that he gave the brothers the gun used to kill MIT Officer Sean Collier.

Another of Tamerlan’s friends, Khairullozhon Matanov, pleaded guilty last month in federal court to misleading investigators. Yet another, Mustafa Ozseferoglu, is being threatened with deportation.

But the most high-profile of the brothers’ friends to meet with federal officers is Ibragim Todashev, who was shot and killed in his Orlando apartment by FBI officers after allegedly admitting that he and Tamerlan killed three of Tamerlan’s friends in what appeared to be drug deal gone wrong in 2011.

Todashev’s alleged confession did not match evidence found at the crime scene, and the events surrounding his death are the subject of a $30 million suit filed by his family last month.

That the federal government has so doggedly made sure that so many of the Tsarnaevs’ friends would be unable to speak out about the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing only raises more questions about what these young men knew about the Tsarnaevs’ involvement.

The Author

We’re not the only media entity with questions. Author and journalist Masha Gessen ponders the question of a cover-up in her book about the case, The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy,released on April 7. According to skeptical book reviewer Kevin Canfield, writing for the Kansas City Star:

“Gessen’s thinking goes like this: Because the FBI questioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 and monitored him and his family, agents would have been likely to recognize him in surveillance camera images captured at the site of the bombing, which killed three and injured hundreds. Nonetheless, she writes, agents with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force didn’t initially identify the Tsarnaev brothers.

“A… logical explanation,” Gessen argues, “is that the person or persons who were in a position to recognize the brothers were consciously concealing this fact in order to protect their own or the agency’s reputation—either because it would look like the FBI had fumbled a solid investigative lead, causing tragedy, or worse, because the FBI had considered Tamerlan an informant.”

Even more incendiary is her suggestion that the FBI deliberately kept police at arm’s length as they were pursuing the brothers “because it needed to ensure that no other law enforcement got to Tamerlan Tsarnaev before the FBI had captured—or killed—him. In other words, the explanation that best fits the facts is a cover-up.

If Dzhokhar takes the stand on his behalf during the sentencing phase of the trial, will the public learn more about his brother’s involvement with the Feds or with other sophisticated international entities? If he decides not to speak, will his defense argue the notion that, while his older brother influenced him, it was someone else who influenced Tamerlan?

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorneys have rested their case, admitted his guilt in opening and closing arguments and scuttled any attempt to use the trial as a truth-seeking mission. In effect, the defense has avoided anything that could offend the Boston-based jury in their bid to save his life. Yet questions still remain, and WhoWhatWhy remains committed to seeking answers.

Copyright Lana Turner Who What Why, 2015

The 7th Summit of the 35-member Organization of American States (OAS) will take place in Panama on April 10-11, 2015. It is anticipated that the summit will produce a historic re-establishment of ties between the U.S. and Cuba, with Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama both in attendance.

The OAS is “the world’s oldest regional organization,” having been conceived during the “International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890.” However, it was not officially established until 1948 in Bogotá, Colombia. It currently includes 35 member countries and its main goal is to ensure that its member states achieve “an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence”. Promoting democracy without intervention, respecting human rights, and ensuring security and “respect for the personality, sovereignty, and independence of States,” in addition to supporting economic, social, and cultural development have been main principles of the OAS. Each member is supposed to possess “the right to choose, without external interference, its political, economic, and social system and to organize itself in the way best suited to it, and has the duty to abstain from intervening in the affairs of another State.” However, it is also assumed that “economic cooperation is essential to the common welfare and prosperity of the peoples of the continent.”

Cuba was among the 20 founding member states of the OAS that originally participated in the 1948 Bogotá conference. Cuba’s participation would be relatively short-lived, however, as its membership was suspended at “the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Punta del Este, Uruguay,” which took place on January 21, 1962. At this particular meeting, the Washington representatives were hopeful that Cuba would not only be suspended from the organization, but that the OAS would also place sanctions against the island, largely as a response to the success of the Cuban revolution a few years earlier. However, it was not certain that they could secure the 14 votes required to pass these measures, given that the member states were not unified in their opinions on these matters, as “Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador were opposed to sanctions” and, Uruguay and Haiti were hesitant. For this reason, the U.S. engaged in private meetings with Haiti, where the Haitian representatives were convinced to “support the sanctions against Cuba” in exchange for the provision of aid from the U.S.

At the conclusion of the Punta del Este meetings, the U.S. was able to garner the 14 votes needed to have the OAS implement sanctions against Cuba and suspend the island nation from the organization, despite the abstention of six countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico) and Cuba’s objections. More precisely, Cuba was excluded from participation in the OAS, on the grounds that “Marxism–Leninism is incompatible” with “the principles and objectives of the inter-American system” and the primary goals of the OAS. Although Cuba was still officially a member of the OAS, its Marxist-Leninist government was “denied the right of representation and attendance at meetings and of participation in activities” for the period of January 21, 1962 to June 3, 2009, when its suspension was officially lifted.

It could be argued that these punitive measures directed against Cuba amounted to little more than retaliation against the island’s socialist revolution that allowed it to gain some degree of independence from U.S. imperial power. Cuba’s suspension from the OAS created a tense atmosphere among its member nations; while some hesitated to comment on the suspension, others like Mexico and Argentina explicitly stated that it was a direct outcome to the Cuban Revolution.

Since the 1960s, the Cuban government openly referred to the OAS as “the Ministry of Colonies of the United States of America.” In fact, on May 6, 2005, President Fidel Castro explicitly stated that Cuba would not “be part of a disgraceful institution that has only humiliated the honor of Latin American nations.” However, only a few years later at the 39th General Assembly of the OAS held in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on June 3, 2009, member states voted to lift Cuba’s 47-year suspension from the organization, with even Washington defending Cuba’s readmission. This change in heart was interpreted as an admission that Cuba’s suspension from the OAS, taken nearly half-a-century ago, was an error of the Cold War era and a signal that the country was no longer viewed as an enemy of open economies. Only a few days later, on “8 June 2009”, President Fidel Castro rebuffed the invitation when he “stated that while Cuba welcomed the Assembly’s gesture, in light of the Organization’s historical record ‘Cuba will not return to the OAS’. As recently as January 2014 Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez has said that ‘Cuba’s position in relation to the OAS remains unchanged, we will not return to it.’”

Since Rodriguez made his statement back in January 2014, Washington and Havana held a number of secret meetings culminating with President Barack Obama surprising the world on December 17, 2014 by announcing his intention to negotiate conditions for the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba. President Obama had previously expressed his hope that the U.S. embassy in Havana would be re-opened before the upcoming OAS Summit, which is scheduled to take place in Panama on April 10-11, 2015. Not long after President Obama expressed his optimism, Josefina Vidal “the head of the Cuban negotiators” stated that it will still take some time “before both sides are ready to open embassies”. Even if the embassy has not been opened before the summit begins, the meetings in Panama are, nonetheless, expected to produce the re-establishment of a diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Cuba with Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama both in attendance. Unfortunately, aside from being a symbolic historic moment, the OAS summit in Panama may not produce any actual tangible outcomes for the Cuban economy, as Washington does not appear to be in any hurry to lift the embargo against the island.

Washington’s image has been damaged among OAS members as a result of its enduring economic and financial embargo on Cuba, which was originally imposed in 1962. Washington may expect that re-establishing relations with Cuba and abandoning its failed policies aimed at isolating the island nation will improve its image and help strengthen its role in Latin America. More specifically, the U.S. administration may be hoping to rehabilitate its image in the eyes of certain OAS member countries that openly expressed opposition to American’s hostile policy vis-à-vis Cuba. Thus, the hope is that strengthening its economic, social, and political relationship with Cuba would naturally enhance such relationships with other OAS members and allow Washington to counter the increasing influence of global competitors, like China and Russia, in Latin America and the Caribbean.

However, it is important to remember that Obama has made it clear that Washington does not expect to “achieve full normal relations immediately”, as he stated: “[t]here’s a lot of work that still has to be done.” That is to say, Cuba needs to make more substantial changes, which would include undertaking efforts to “reorganize their economy to accommodate for possible foreign investment.” Given that half a century of isolation and economic restrictions did not work, Obama suggested that Washington needed “to try something new that encourages and ultimately…forces the Cuban government to engage in a modern economy. And that will create more space for freedom for the Cuban people”. Thus, it appears that the U.S. government has not really abandoned its goal of transforming the Cuban economic and political system into one that is based on capitalism.

When Barack Obama was first elected, the members of the OAS expected him to initiate substantial changes with regards to the U.S. relationship with Cuba. Then, on December 17, 2014, he surprised the world by announcing his intent to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and, more recently, stated his desire to re-open American embassy in Havana before the Panama summit of the OAS. Unfortunately, no tangible changes are evident with respect to lifting the embargo as the end of Obama’s second term as president approaches. The Cuban government appears to be taking a very cautious and sensible approach to the negotiations to ensure the normalization of relations on terms that do not facilitate a return to the exploitation and serfdom that Cubans endured prior to the 1959 revolution. If Obama genuinely seeks the re-establishment of a relationship with Cuba, then the embargo should be lifted without any conditions as a first step, as a sign of good will, followed by the negotiation of details for the normalization of diplomatic relations. All things considered, it is highly unlikely that the 7th Summit of the OAS in Panama will conclude with President Obama making a grand announcement that the U.S. will lift the internationally unpopular economic and financial embargo of Cuba. However, there is a good possibility that we will be treated to an array of delightful photographs of firm handshakes between Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival….” – Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852

When President Obama insists that racism is not, and has never been, ‘endemic’ to this country, he is simply identifying himself as an active participant in the ongoing slaughter.”

The United States produced a bumper crop of what Billie Holiday would call “Strange Fruit,” in March: at least 111 bodies, the majority of them unarmed men of color, shot down by police in the blood-fertilized streets of American cities. If one just counts the unarmed victims, that’s a rate of about two extrajudicial executions per day, roughly twice the “one every 28 hours” cited by the Malcolm X Grassroots Network’s 2012 report, Operation Ghetto Storm.

Yet, in the same month, President Obama declared Venezuela a threat to the national securityof the United States, based largely on the death of 14 “dissidents” during a period of anti-government disturbances back in 2014. Many of the dead were pro-government activists killed by “dissidents.” By contrast, Philadelphia police have been shooting an average of one person a week for the last eight years, the overwhelming majority of them Black and brown, according to a new U.S. Justice Department report. As Frederick Douglass said, “for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

All across the country, the granting of impunity for the perpetrators of summary execution of Black men, women and children is “everyday practice” – now certified as “best practice” by Attorney General Eric Holder, who claims court precedents preclude prosecution of killer cops except under the most extreme conditions. (See “It’s Not the Law – but Prosecutors – That Give Immunity to Killer Cops,” December 10, 2014.)

Given the odds against prosecution, officer Michael T. Slager probably counts himself the unluckiest white man in South Carolina. A neighborhood resident’s phone camera captured Slager firing repeatedly into the back of 50 year-old Walter L. Scott, a Black North Charleston father of four with no criminal record who had been stopped for a minor traffic violation, tussled with the officer, and tried to run away.

All across the country, impunity for the perpetrators of summary execution of Black men, women and children is ‘everyday practice.’”

Despite his claims to have been in fear for his life, Slager was charged with murder – a fate he would surely have avoided had he been under the jurisdiction of St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Last year, McCulloch’s team led grand jurors to believe that “the law” allowed police to use deadly force against unarmed persons fleeing a felony, as Ferguson officer Darren Wilson claimed was the case with Michael Brown. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such shootings unconstitutional in 1985, as every public defender knows – and McCulloch surely knew, as well. The South Carolina cop also had the bad judgment to commit murder in clear view of a private citizen’s well-held camera.

Last weekend in the town of Zion, Illinois, about 30 miles north of Chicago, cops killed 17-year-old Justus Howell with two shots to the back while he was running away, according to the coroner’s office. Initially, the police reported no weapon on his body, but later the cops claimed the teenager had stolen a gun from another man minutes earlier, leading them to give chase. In time, the cops produced a gun, which they will connect to the other Black man, who was held on $15,000 bail, and thereby seek to justify the killing of the unarmed, fleeing teenager Justus Howell.

Cleveland cop Michael Brelo distinguished himself as the most murderous member of a mob of 104 cops on a chase-and-shoot spree in Cleveland, Ohio, back in November, 2012. Mistaking a car engine backfire for a gunshot, the crazy cop caravan careened through Cleveland at speeds reaching 100 miles an hour, cornering Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, in a school parking lot. Russell and Williams, unarmed, died in a hail of 137 bullets – 49 of them fired by Officer Brelo, now on trial for voluntary manslaughter. Brelo and his partner fired 15 bullets through their own windshield at the Black victims’ car. Then, at a point when, according to the prosecutor, no cop’s life was in danger (except from other officers), Brelo jumped on the hood of the victims’ car and fired 15 more shots at the mortally wounded man and woman. Today, the cop says he has no recollection of the entire episode.

In December, the U.S. Justice Department concluded that Cleveland cops routinely useexcessive force and are unaccountable to the public. The month before, in November, a city cop killed 12 year-old Tamir Rice as he played with a toy gun at a park. The officer shot the child twice after observing him for a total of two seconds.

The cop says he has no recollection of the entire episode.”

Officer Brelo’s blank memory on the shootings of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, and officer Timothy Loehmann’s blink-of-an-eye deliberations on terminating Tamir Rice, point up the utter lack of value U.S. society places on Black lives. The high-profile killings this week, the obscene death toll last month, the unreported and delayed deaths, are a constant in the bloody history of America. When President Obama insists that racism is not, and has never been, “endemic” to this country, he is simply identifying himself as an active participant in the ongoing slaughter.

The police, as guardians of the State, believe they are simply doing their jobs. They must be right, since they continue to receive praise, protection and overwhelming white support for carrying out their mission as an army of occupation in Black America. The advent of the Internet and a heightened Black community awareness of police depredations, especially since the murder of Trayvon Martin, in February of 2012, has created the perception among many African Americans that police violence has dramatically increased in recent years. However, history and irrefutable statistics tell us that the “militarization” of the police and the criminalization of Black people as a group are fundamental aspects of a national mission begun in earnest in the late Sixties. Michelle Alexander calls it the “New Jim Crow.” Some of us at BAR prefer the term Mass Black Incarceration State, to describe the superstructure of Black control that has been erected over the past 45 years, a machinery that has so relentlessly criminalized the Black community that one out of every eight prison inmates on Earth is an African American. Any genuine movement for criminal justice “reform” must, therefore, aim to abolish the Mass Black Incarceration State, root and branch, by removing the “occupation” army from Black areas and replacing it with a force of Black people’s own choosing.

History and irrefutable statistics tell us that the ‘militarization’ of the police and the criminalization of Black people as a group are fundamental aspects of a national mission begun in earnest in the late Sixties.”

The U.S government set in motion the mass Black incarceration regime in the late Sixties for the purpose of counter-insurgency. The structures of Black containment, control and incarceration are now central to the workings of criminal justice in the United States – to the misfortune of lots of white youth who get sucked into the system as unintended “collateral damage.” The logic of the project dictates that those who attempt to dismantle the Black counter-insurgency regime will be treated as insurgents, themselves – a central fact for the Black Lives Matter movement to grapple with.

The wave of state violence that smashed the Black Panther Party when it challenged the police “army of occupation” in the late Sixties, never subsided, but was instead hard-wired into the criminal justice system, nationwide. That’s why the system’s operatives are still trying to kill Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther and probably the world’s best known political prisoner. That’s why so many other Party comrades are still behind bars – because they are symbols and icons of insurgency, and U.S. police and prison structures have been on a counter-insurgency mission for nearly half a century. And, that’s why the Black Is Back Coalition will hold a national conference on Black Community Control of Police, in St. Louis, April 18 and 19 – because there will be no justice and no peace until the occupying army is gone from our streets.

Black people must decide how that can be accomplished – by any means necessary.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected]

By Rick Perlstein

Around 10:30 this morning, Sam Dreessen, a 26-year-old unemployed DePaul University graduate (and former In These Times intern) who’s been voting in Chicago since 2006, walked into his polling place at Kozminski Community Academy on 54th and Drexel, a mostly black neighborhood in the city’s 5th Ward. He approached the election judge at the table and, like thousands of Chicagoans on this mayoral election day, received a paper ballot and a felt-tip pen. But, he says, one of the two blanks—the one you fill in to vote for Mayor Rahm Emanuel—was already filled in. Dreessen, a volunteer for Emanuel’s opponent, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, smelled a rat.

“I just said to one of them, the one who gave me the ballot, ‘This has already been filled out. I want one that’s blank.’ And he acted surprised. He said, ‘I don’t know how that happened.’ And he even said there had been other ballots with similar problems.’ He gave me one that was blank, and I told him more than once that they should look at all the ballots, the ones that hadn’t been handed out yet, to see if this happened.”

Dreessen says he was too shocked to even take a picture. “And I thought, ‘I don’t know, this must be happening to other people.’ It just seemed to be so crude.”

He reported it next to the Garcia campaign office in nearby Woodlawn, where they said they had already received similar complaints. Then he took to Facebook, where he posts under the name “Barry Lyndon.” As of 6:08, 52 minutes before the polls close at 7, his post had been shared 538 times. He also texted what happened to a neighbor of his who is a city election commissioner, Marisel Hernandez, who said she was sending investigators “right away.”

I learned all this after tracking “Barry Lyndon” down and speaking to him late this afternoon. I was especially interested to confirm his story because on Facebook some Chicagoans, ever wary, feared the reports were a dirty trick from the Emanuel campaign to discourage people from voting. But no, Sam Dreessen is real and stands by his story. And similar accounts are circulating. The Garcia campaign says it has received several accounts of ballots pre-marked for Emanuel and was able to confirm one. DelMarie Cobb, spokesperson for 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, told me she personally talked with one voter who ran into the same problem voting at O’Keeffe Elementary School at 69th and Merrill—an even more heavily minority area. And she had heard similar reports from her boss this morning. (Alderman Hairston, meanwhile, a critic of the mayor, warned about the same ballot irregularity on her own Facebook page this afternoon.) Cobb also fielded a report from a person voting on an electronic machine that tried to register a vote for Emanuel every time she punched in a vote for Garcia.

I have’t been yet been able to turn up any reports of irregularities favoring Chuy Garcia.

Reached by the website DNAInfo, a Chicago Board of Elections spokesman did not deny the story, but did try to wave it away:

“If someone is suggesting that the judges somewhere are trying to slip one past our voters, I think you’re insulting the intelligence of our voters,” Jim Allen said. “If it were a conspiracy, it would probably be the least effective conspiracy in the history of conspiracies.”

This post will be updated if press representatives from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Board of Elections are able to return my calls. As for young Sam Dreessen, he’s had a busy day. “People have been contacting me from ABC, NBC, etc. It’s just kind of crazy. And honestly I feel like they should go to the people who’ve picked up other complaints. I’m just one person. Others have been saying the same thing.”

Copyright Rick Perlstein, In these Times, 2015

It was of course to be expected that, having shown herself to be a better representative of Scotland than Cameron, Milband and Farage can ever hope to be of the United Kingdom, a rightwing paper should immediately come out with a baseless smear against Nicola Sturgeon.  But that is Westminster for you, and yet again I feel shamed by our politics.

I loathe the efforts of politicians and media to persuade me that the Scots hate me or that I hate the Scots.  What have we ever done that would generate such feelings?  I am however experiencing a real abhorrence for Westminster and all it represents.

So I fear the outcome of the general election; I fear the deals made by politicians desperate to stay in power, deals that will further harm the disadvantaged poor.  I fear the ideological belief in ‘austerity’ being the only way out of national debt, an austerity that will never affect those in power, whatever party they represent.  I fear that we may end up with what we already have, that we may not seize this chance for genuine change.

I have no fear for Scotland.  Whatever the outcome of the election, independence for the Scots is edging closer.  Scots have talked about it, studied it and planned it for years.  Whether their politicians are as prepared as the people I don’t know but, judging by the conversations taking place on the internet and surely within the many communities, they’d be daft to ignore their constituents.  And if Sturgeon is anything to go by, they’re not daft.

Reading George Gunn’s article which highlighted the importance of culture, and understanding that debates on independence and land reform have helped the Scots to stay in touch with their roots, I realise how little we English actually know of our own culture.  In so many ways we have accepted the views of the few at the top – witness the hunting and shooting people who bang on about ‘traditional country pursuits’ that simply must be allowed to continue.  As I oncewrote:

“Little is recorded about those at the bottom, and when it is, it is normally recorded by the elite, the literate and educated.  And rarely do they attach names to those that Bulwer-Lytton stigmatised as the Great Unwashed; those who grew the food, sheared the sheep, wove the wool, made the clothes, built the houses and did all those necessary things to keep the world of men ticking.

 

“There is never any recognition of how much the state depended on these nameless people, no admission that without them those in the palaces and great halls would have starved and gone naked.  The temptation is always to write the history which is based on power and money, using the records of the powerful.  This is how we remember history, and how we teach it to the children.”

There is no room for ‘folk’ lore.  I once made the mistake, having read a fulsome review and being very interested in the everyday lives of ordinary people, of buying A Social History of England by Professor (and Baron) Asa Briggs.  What did I find?  Kings and queens, lords and ministers.  Nary an ordinary, powerless and poor person in sight.

England’s culture is missing.   Possibly we move around too much in search of work, and in doing so have torn up our roots.  Now London authorities are relocating people to other places so they can sell off social housing to developers.  Thus we lose connections with families and networks, our ancestors and natural homes.  Our culture, the people’s history, belongs to the landscape, both rural and urban.  That is true of any country.  But it is always the poor that are forced by ‘the economy’ to migrate, the poor who are forced to lose their cultural connections.

Some refuse to let go.  Take my part of England, the West Country.  Like the Orkneys, Arran and Lewis, my stamping ground has a rich Neolithic presence.  Our Bronze Age culture was shared with Wales and Brittany.  With Glastonbury Tor looming over the Somerset Levels, the mythic culture of Arthur and Merlin are part of our landscape.  But so is the Saxon King Alfred, first king of the English, not famous for sitting on a throne but for letting the cakes burn while hiding from the Vikings in the Somerset marshes.

In Dorset’s county town Dorchester one of the Bloody Assizes was held, where the infamous Judge Jeffreys tried and condemned those ‘rebels’ who fought for Monmouth in 1685.  Every time I go down Dorchester’s High Street past the house where Jeffreys stayed I think of him with pity.  He was a man of his time, doing what his king demanded.  But he was also a man suffering from kidney and bladder stones, sitting there day after day rigid with pain while merciless in his judgements – a symbol of those men of power who use their own pain to inflict terrible pain upon others.

Dorchester remembers its Bloody Assize, but with little context.  In Somerset it is different.  Years ago, when English Heritage started to create what felt like ‘theme park England’ they set up a series of Heritage Trails, marked routes where the visitor could ‘walk with history’.  Why not, they thought, do a trail devoted to the Monmouth Rebellion?

There was nearly another rebellion.  The Somerset Tourist Board thought it a good idea.  Somerset people thought otherwise.  In their bones and hearts the Rebellion still sat like a festering sore.  How dare they even think of doing this?  It is a matter for private grief, not tourists.  It’s OURS!

English Heritage retreated and created a nice little trail around Taunton where the penultimate Assize was held.  Not in Bridgwater, the seat of the Rebellion or Westonzoyland, the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor.  The wounds and the ghosts are still there, out on the Levels.

In his article about the Scottish and UK Labour Parties, Dave Cohen wrote “There are pockets of non-UKIP  self-determination in the north and south-west of England, some genuine feelings of injustice, but our (English) regions have never had anything forced on them to match, for example, Highland Clearances or the poll tax.”  Well, I don’t know where he was during the imposition of the poll tax, but in the West Country there was genuine rage among poor rural families, knowing that the rich man and his wife in the big house were paying no more than they were, but out of a vastly greater income.

And does Cohen not remember the London poll tax riots in 1990?  That an English Labour man should have forgotten the English anger over one of Margaret Thatcher’s most hated policies is odd.  Or is this one of those pieces of English culture that has been airbrushed out while we looked the other way?  Because, instead of the Highland Clearances, England had the Enclosures.  The Clearances caused those vast tracts of empty Highland glens and mountainsides stripped of people, communities and ancient forests.  But…

The ‘traditional’ English patchwork of green fields, all hedged and fenced, are the result of centuries of enclosures.  It started in the 13th Century and continued until the end of the 19th.  As acre after acre was claimed by landowners, hedged and fenced, the people lost their common land, their grazing rights.  With woods walled off they lost their fuel supply.  With nowhere to keep their livestock, no land with which to support themselves and their families, they hung on or migrated to the towns.  Either way, it was a life of bitter poverty.

With the start of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of industrial landowners, the English countryside emptied into the cities, into the mills and mines.  Perhaps because it took so long, it became the norm rather than a singular catastrophic event.  Is that why so few of us know about it, let alone see it as something important in our history?  But Clearance or Enclosure, the result was the same: the people were separated from the land.

We are taught to be proud of ‘tradition’, ‘Ye Olde England’, land of Shakespeare, poets and painters – and tourists.  To get in touch with our history, why not watch a medieval joust at some castle, or a Civil War re-enactment?  Visit the ‘stately’ houses dotted all over the landscape, be guided open-mouthed through salons and dining halls and look at the portraits of grand people, wall-papering the rooms and galleries.  But never, never experience the cold cramped attics where the servants were stuffed out of sight, once they’d finished their sixteen-hour day.

It sometimes feels as though we non-city English are being condemned to living in an eternal BBC Classic Serial where even poverty, when it raises its ugly head, is romanticised.  Where, in that word ‘stately’, is our history, our culture?  Where do we find our true ancestors?

There are some.  Down the road is a place called Tolpuddle, the birthplace of trade unions and home of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.  They were tried and convicted in Dorchester too.  Dorset is proud of its Martyrs and they are very much part of our local history.  Every year there is a festival organised by the TUC.  People come from all over the country but apart from the ever-faithful Tony Benn who, until he was too frail, came every year, Westminster politicians stay away.  This is not the awkward history they want us to remember.

So this is the one thing I truly fear if Scotland becomes independent: that Westminster will have its way with the English; that our culture will go on being dictated by a very narrow view of what it means to be English; that England will become that heritage theme park, the countryside split between industrialised farming and the playground of the rich, with Cameron and his ilk careering around on their hunters or banging away with their guns, while the towns become shopping malls and the housing estates are walled-off ghettos.  And London will be nothing but the home of financiers and foreign billionaires.

It is a nightmare with a glimmer of hope however, because I do know one thing – this election will most likely be the last of its kind.  However hard the old guard tries and whatever dirty tricks and smears they use, we will no longer just be voting blue or red.  England is beginning to understand what Scotland has and what we lack.  Conversations are starting.  Push us too far and we may yet follow Scotland in seeking our own independence from the ‘establishment’, because if there is one culture we do not want it is the culture of Westminster.

Lesley Docksey © 09/04/15

UN Accuses Saudi Arabia of Killing Yemeni Civilians

April 9th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

After two weeks of terror-bombing, the UN finally noticed. Special Rapporteur for Internally Displaced Persons Chaloka Beyani accused Saudi Arabia of deliberately killing Yemeni civilians.

Saudi-led warplanes bombed civilian neighborhoods, the Mazraq refugee camp, hospitals, schools and “other civilian buildings,” said Beyani.

Power and water facilities were struck. So were Yemen’s largest food storage and dairy buildings.

Beyani called terror-bombing attacks “a grave violation against some of the most vulnerable of the vulnerable civilians.”

Scores of children were killed. Hundreds of Yemeni civilians were murdered or maimed for life.

Estimates of civilian deaths and injuries are conservative. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 643 deaths, including 74 children – another 2,226 injured.

The true toll may be double these figures.

Beyani warned the international community “to prepare for massive displacement and humanitarian crisis as conflict torn Yemen further descends into chaos and civilians flee the fighting.”

“The international community must prepare for a worst case scenario,” he said.

“While efforts to reach a diplomatic solution are essential, the picture on the ground is extremely bleak and humanitarian responses must be stepped up as a matter of urgency.”

“Unless rapidly resolved, the crisis could lead to mass displacement in the wake of heavy and ongoing fighting and airstrikes.”

“Those responsible for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, must be held accountable.”

Conflict affects 14 of Yemen’s 22 governorates. Perhaps the entire country will be devastated before it ends.

Over 100,000 are internally or externally displaced so far – in just two weeks of conflict.

If continued for months or years like in other US regional wars, the lives and welfare of millions of Yemenis are at risk.

Obama bears full responsibility for slow-motion genocide in multiple conflict theaters. Endless US direct and proxy wars continue.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani accused Saudi Arabia of committing crimes against humanity in Yemen by bombing civilian areas.

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani warned Saudi officials to stop terror-bombing Yemen or face consequences for its actions.

“Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen is a very regrettable event in the Muslim world which should end as soon as possible through talks and negotiations,” he said.

“Otherwise, this blatant aggression of a government which claims (to be leading) Islam, against the Muslim people of another country who want to decide their fate will not remain unanswered.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad  Zarif and Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian urged an immediate halt to fighting on all sides.

Crisis conditions must be settled diplomatically, they said.

Meanwhile, Saudi-led terror-bombing continues – with full US support and encouragement.

A devastating humanitarian crisis worsens daily. Yemen’s soul is up for grabs. So are the lives of its 25 million people.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

“International treaties are being held hostage by the west. There has been a lot of interference inside Iran by Washington.  The nuclear issue is just an excuse to undermine the Islamic Republic and has very little to do with anything else.” - Interview with RT by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, 6 April 2015.

This statement is right on the dot. The artificially created nuclear issue – is just an excuse for regime change… perhaps yes. But there is more to it. While the expressed views on what the recent “Lausanne deal” really brought for Iran and the 5+1 participants may differ widely, one must sense that there is another story behind the story.

A little detail, nobody talks about, and maybe most pundits – even honest ones – are not aware of. In 2007 Iran was about to launch the Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) – an international hydrocarbon exchange, akin to a stock exchange, where all countries, hydrocarbon producers or not, could trade this (still) chief energy source in euros, as an alternative to the US dollar.

This, of course would have meant the demise of dollar hegemony – the liberation of the world from the dollar stranglehold. This was inadmissible for Washington. It would have meant the end of the dollar as the world’s chief reserve currency, and giving up the instrument of coercing the world into accepting Washington’s dictate, the tool that serves to dish out sanctions left and right – no way!

Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of hydrocarbons are traded on a daily basis; huge amounts of dollars that find no justification in the US economy, but – they allow the FED to print money at will – and every new dollar is a dollar of international debt, filling the reserve coffers of nations around the world, thereby also gradually devaluing the US currency, but barely affecting the US economy.

As long as petrol and gas are traded in dollars – a ‘negotiated’ imposition on Saudi Arabia by Father Bush, friend of the House of Saud, in the early 70s under the Carter Administration, in return for military protection – and as long as the world needs hydrocarbons to fuel its industries, so long the world will need dollars, insane amounts of dollars. The so-called Quantitative Easing (QE) allowed the US to print hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars to finance wars and conflicts around the globe, and to fund the relentless Zionist-Anglo-Saxon lie and propaganda machine. No problem. It’s just debt. Debt – paradoxically carried by the very countries that the empire eventually fights and lies to; countries which hold dollars in their reserves.

Hardly anybody knows that the real US debt, consisting of ‘unmet obligations’ has risen in the last 7 years from about 48 trillion to close to 130 trillion dollars in 2014 (GAO – General Accounting Office), about seven and a half times the US GDP. Comparatively speaking, a debt by a multiple higher than that of ‘troika’ (EU-IMF-ECB) badgered and shattered Greece.

Allowing a country like Iran destroying the US hegemon’s power base by taking a sovereign decision to abandon the dollar for oil and gas trading – no way. A pretext had to be invented to surmise the country which according to George W. Bush became a link of the axis of evil. What better than the nuclear threat – with the full support of Israel, of course. Bolstered by worldwide media manipulation, Iran became a nuclear menace not only for Israel and the entire region, but also for the US of A. A threat for the empire, some 15,000 km away, when at that time the most powerful Iranian long-range missile had a range capacity of about 2,000 km.

This sounds almost like the latest (bad) Obama joke, accusing Venezuela to be an imminent threat to the United States. It would be laughable, if it wouldn’t be so sad, so criminal actually. Because this lie is followed by economic warfare, akin to the one led against Russia – which – eventually backfired punishing the ‘sanctioneers’ themselves, especially the Europeans. When the real impact of the ‘sanctions’ became evident, the MSM were simply silent. People easily forget. Without opening their eyes, they remain gullible for the next lie.

The dollar is the ultimate pillar of the empire’s world hegemony. Without it, it is doomed. Washington knows it. You don’t have to look far to find similar examples to that of Iran. When Saddam Hussein announced in the late 1990’s that he would sell Iraq’s petrol in euros, as soon as the embargo would end in 2000, a reason had to be found to invade his country. The WMD menace that never existed was sold around the world, including at the UN Security Council, and – bingo – the western media killing machine had created a motive for invading Iraq and to murder Saddam. As if this wasn’t enough, he was suddenly linked to 9/11 – and big miracle, Americans bought even this lie.

Muammar Gadhafi was another victim for asserting his country’s sovereignty. He announced a new hard currency for Africa, the Gold Dinar, backed by Libyan gold. Libyan and African hydrocarbons could henceforth be traded in an alternative currency to the dollar, the Gold Dinar. Gadhafi also intended to free Africans from the western predatory telephone giants, by introducing a Libya sponsored low-price mobile network throughout Africa. Gadhafi was atrociously murdered by CIA handlers on 20 October 2011. Libya today is a hotbed of civil unrest and murder.

Iran’s case is a bit more complicated. Iran has Russia and China backing. Nevertheless, with the propaganda machine painting a nuclear danger to the world, Iran could be brought to her knees, no problem. No matter what logic said and still says, no matter that the 15 US key intelligence agencies assured the then Bush Administration that Iran has no plans of manufacturing a nuclear bomb, that Iran was genuine in using its enriched uranium for power generation and for medical purposes.

No matter that Iran’s enrichment process reached a mere 20% purity, enough for medical purposes, but far from the 97% required for a nuclear bomb, Iran had to be oppressed and under a web of lies made a pariah state, a risk for the world. That’s what the average American and European today believes. It’s a shame. Nobody openly dares talking about the only nuclear threat in the Middle East, Israel. That is another shame.

No matter what the Lausanne deal is today, or next June, after three more months of intense, but useless negotiations, no matter what a UN resolution would say about the deal, about the lifting of sanctions – Washington will always find a pretext to keep the stranglehold on Iran. As Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich said, “International treaties are being held hostage by the west”- there is no international compact or law that prevents the only rogue state in the world, the atrociously criminal US empire from crushing its way to satisfy its abject greed.

Always – that is, as long as empire survives. And yes, the economic survival is only a question of time. Fifteen years ago some 90% of worldwide reserve holdings were kept in US dollars, or dollar denominated securities. In 2010 the ratio shrunk to about 60%; today it is approaching 50%. When it sinks below 50%, governments around the globe may gradually lose confidence in the greenback, seeing it as what it is and has been for the last 100 years, nothing else but a fraudulent Mickey-Mouse currency at the service of a Zionist dominated western financial system, not worth the paper it’s printed on; a currency that has been abusing and impoverishing the ‘non-aligned’ world at will.

Iran knows it, Russia knows it – without direct confrontation, the empire’s grip may not hold as long as the Iran deal is planned to last, some 20 to 30 years. Therefore, the large concessions that Iran had to make for ‘peace’ – to reduce its enrichment process to 3.37% just enough to fuel power plants, and to sell or transfer its stock of 20% enriched medical-grade uranium abroad – these concessions to reach this ‘glorious’ interim agreement, are unimportant. It is a winner for Iran, as announced by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as Russia’s Sergei Lavrov. Even if Washington derails the agreement within the next three months, or at any time at will, as is likely, Iran has won a battle of credibility worldwide, as she is ready to adhere to a signed agreement, no matter how far its sets her back.

In fact, the rotten palaces of empire are crumbling as these lines are going to print. Two new international Asian based development and investment banks have been created within the last two years. The BRICS Development Bank was signed into existence in Brazil in July 2014 by the leaders of the 5 BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Earlier this year sponsored by China and 20 other countries, the Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank – AIIB, located in Shanghai, was created. Iran is a founding member of the AIIB.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister has also just announced that the Venezuela sponsored Banco del Sur – development bank for the Latin American hemisphere – will become operational in the course of 2015. These three banks are direct challenges to the Washington dominated IMF, World Bank and IDB (Inter-American Development Bank). Guess which ones are the most notorious ‘allies’ of Washington and which against the will of the White House, are joining AIIB’s forty-some membership? – They include the epitome of neoliberal Europeans – UK, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

Washington’s seemingly blind and preposterous arrogance drives the closest allies into the ‘adversary’s camp. The FED (Federal Reserve Bank) announced on 2 April 2015 that it fined the German Commerzbank with 1.7 billion US dollars for dealing with Cuba, Sudan and Iran – Washington sanctioned countries.

This can only happen as long as all international banking transactions have to be channeled through US banks and controlled by the Rothschild dominated BIS – Bank for International Settlement. Russia, China and other SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) aligned countries have already broken away from the dollar system for international contracts and money transfers, including hydrocarbon trading. They are about to launch an alternative to the western ruled privately owned SWIFT transfer systems. The new system could be joined by any country wanting to break loose from the predatory dollar claws.

When even the staunchest stooges of empire seek alliances in the East, the writing is on the wall, that the economic winds are shifting, that a tectonic sea-change is in the offing and that the Iran nuclear deal, one way or another, doesn’t really matter in the foreseeable future.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik News, the Voice of Russia / Ria Novosti, TeleSur, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

The US is waging geopolitical warfare against the Russian Federation in Eurasia through preparing colour revolutions, coups, destabilisation operations and strategically-motivated alliances in an attempt to weaken Moscow’s position and isolate the nation.

This complex strategy involves destabilising countries in Russia’s sphere of influence which creates numerous security problems for Moscow simultaneously, stretching the Kremlin’s ability to stabilise the chaos that has been deliberately contrived. Coupled with the attempt to build strategic partnerships with states close to Russia’s borders, this geopolitical strategy is a potent one that threatens the survival of the current Russian regime and is the logical next step in the West’s war against Moscow. After staging a colour revolution on Russia’s Western frontier in Ukraine which severely weakened relations between Moscow and Kiev, the West is aiming at replicating this model in numerous Eurasian countries including in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan.

Washington Targets Eurasian Alliances

Fragmenting the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a key objective of Washington. Composed of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, the security alliance serves to enhance cooperation in strategic issues amongst the member states. In a meeting in November of last year, the CSTO Chief Nikolay Bordyuzha accused the West of attempting to destabilise CSTO countries and asserted that the activities of “NGO’s financed by Western Agents” has increased. As a CSTO press release states on Bordyuzha’s comments during the meeting:

“Bordyuzha said that the West is guilty of destabilising the situation in the CSTO countries. He said that evidence of this was a “disproportionate increase in the number of officials in Western embassies, especially those of the U.S.” as well as “the activization of the work of the many NGOs financed by Western grants.” Bordyuzha said that several years before the change of government in Ukraine the staff of the American embassy in Kiev grew to almost 1,500 workers.”The emergence and development of hotbeds of conflict in the CSTO space in most cases is connected with the activization of external influences,” Bordyuzha said. “The West crudely interferes in the internal affairs of other governments, trying to manipulate public opinion, economically and financially affecting the government and population.”

Weakening the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is also part of the grand agenda, in addition to attempting to break the growing alliance between Russia and China through creating wedges between the two states in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is set to join the EEU in a matter of months in addition to the nation being a member of the SCO and the CSTO, meaning destabilising the Central Asian state is a key objective of the US. A colour revolution in Kyrgyzstan is on the horizon in the near future with the appointment of Ambassador Richard M. Miles as the interim Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek by no means coincidental, as Miles served as the US Ambassador to Georgia from 2002 to 2005 where he engineered the Rose Revolution in 2003.

In combination with destabilising Kyrgyzstan, the US is attempting to form a strategic partnership with Uzbekistan and break any ties between Moscow and Tashkent. In an article by political analyst and journalistAndrew Korybko featured in the Oriental Review titled: The coming Color Revolution chaos and ‘Media Crimea’ in Kyrgyzstan, Korybko details Washington’s strategy in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan:

“Richard Miles return from retirement in order to staff the US Embassy in Bishkek is more than just a random event. The Color Revolution specialist was ordered to Kyrgyzstan not to gently shuffle papers, but to forcibly shuffle the composition of the government. This is in accordance with the 21st-century Reagan Doctrine that Hillary Clinton publicly unveiled in December 2012, whereby it was decreed that the US will do whatever it can to roll back Russian influence in the Near Abroad.”

Korybko continues:

“In conjunction with the US-inspired destabilisation that is projected to hit the country around the October Parliamentary elections, Washington also envisions pulling Tashkent away from its flirtation with Moscow through coaxing it into a ‘media Crimea’ in the Kyrgyz Fergana Valley. Dividing Uzbekistan from Russia in the same manner that Ukraine was separated from it a year prior is the ultimate strategic goal of the US in the region, since it would create a long-term Lead From Behind proxy to challenge Russian influence in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan’s role, or more precisely, that of Southern Kyrgyzstan, is intended as nothing more than a permanently failed state abutting the Eurasian Union, Uzbekistan, and China, in order to continuously inflict destabilizing pressure on them.”

Creating chaos in Kyrgyzstan is a multi-faceted geopolitical weapon as it presents a security crisis for Kazakhstan, Russia and China, given Kyrgyzstan’s geographical position.  If Uzbekistan is unable to be enticed into a strategic alliance with Washington and opts instead to move closer to Moscow, the US could unleash chaos in Uzbekistan also – a sufficient plan B for Washington.  Triggering instability in this region is certainly feasible as “every one of the new Central Asia states is potentially vulnerable to internal violence, each of them is insecure,” as Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in his book Strategic Vision.

Colour Revolutions in the Caucasian States?

In February, the US assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland travelled to the Southern Caucasus to visit the governments of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, stoking fears by many in the region as to the nature of her visit considering her role in the Ukrainian coup. Nuland’s trip was intended on the one hand to pressure certain Caucasian states into compliance with US interests, and on the other to prepare the groundwork for colour revolutions and destabilisation operations if allegiance is not purchased.

Nuland reportedly meet with representatives of Armenian NGO’s behind closed doors on her trip to Yerevan, a country that is a member of the CSTO and the EEU. There is no doubt that destabilising Armenia is a goal of the US and if a pro-Western regime is installed in Yerevan, it would weaken two important Eurasian alliances. Russia and Armenia are well aware of Washington’s desires however, and are working to stave off attacks. Armenia is moving closer to enacting more stringent NGO laws that would enable the Azeri government to monitor their activities more closely, an essential step in inhibiting foreign nations from agitating and fostering animosity in the nation.

Unnerved by the chaos they have witnessed in Ukraine, many individuals in the Azeri government fear a Western-sponsored colour revolution could be on the horizon in their country in the near future. Colour revolution kingpin George Soros criticised the Azeri government in January of this year after meeting with Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev, with a Baku-based branch of his Open Society Foundation increasingly coming under pressure by government authorities. Richard D. Kauzlarich outlines the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Baku in an article for the Brookings Institution titled: The Heydar Aliyev Era Ends in Azerbaijan Not with a Bang but a Whisper, in addition to detailing the fears officials have of a Ukrainian-style coup in Azerbaijan:

“On December 3, 2014 the Heydar Aliyev era in Azerbaijan ended. With it went the previously close political relationship between the United States and Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev, who was President of Azerbaijan from 1993 until his death in 2003, presided over a foreign policy that emphasized energy relations with the West, and political and security engagement with the United States and a range of transatlantic institutions… His son and successor, Azerbaijan’s current president Ilham Aliyev, has increasingly moved away from his father’s path and now seems to have approved a final rupture with the past…. U.S.-Azerbaijan relations are clearly now in serious crisis, and indeed have been for some time.”

Kauzlarich continues:

“The end came in a little noticed Russian-language polemic by the long-serving head of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Apparatus, Ramiz Mehdiyev. In his article, Mehdiyev asserts that from the beginning of Heydar Aliyev’s presidency, the U.S. was plotting with domestic opposition elements to create a “fifth column” to promote “color revolutions” while pursing a policy of “double standards” to interfere in the internal affairs of states around the world and Azerbaijan in particular…. Now, Mehdiyev, declares, Azerbaijan must move away from the dominant world power, and choose a new path of national consolidation built around “strong presidential power and stability in society”… From Baku’s perspective, Washington backed the overthrow of the Ukrainian president and, left unchecked, the United States and the local individuals and NGOs engaged in democracy and human rights promotion in Azerbaijan would likely attempt to do the same”.

An article that appeared in Open Democracy – an organisation whose supporters include the George Soros Open Society Foundation, the Rockefellers Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation –titled: The crackdown in Azerbaijan, calls for the “West to urge Azerbaijan to initiate democratic reforms” in the country:

“The regime in Azerbaijan still favours Putin’s authoritarianism, and considers democracy a threat to the regime’s own hold on power. That is why the West, associated with democracy, came under the fiercest attack by Azerbaijani officials. The U.S. and its institutions were chosen as a primary target…. It is imperative for Azerbaijan to maintain good relations with the West; and for the West in turn to urge Azerbaijan to initiate democratic reforms, in order to protect its own interests and allies in the region.”

As any informed reader understands, the US and the wider West have no real interest in democratising countries and merely use slogans such as “undemocratic” or “human rights violators” as pretexts to meddle in nations for Western geopolitical interests.

A coup could also take place in Georgia in the coming months following the Rose Revolution in 2003, a topic that Henry Kamens has written about for New Eastern Outlook. Despite signing a partnership agreement with the European Union (EU) last year in addition to moving closer to NATO membership, the Tbilisi authorities have disobeyed Washington by still pursuing the former president and US puppet Mikhail Saakashvili for corruption charges.

With geopolitical warfare being launched by Washington in Russia’s sphere of influence, Moscow will be working overtime to check Western moves and encourage stability in Eurasia. One possible reason for Putin advocating the creation of a currency union between EEU countries is to secure and cement the alliance, as Ukraine serves as an example of how Western coups can disrupt the strategic orientation of a nation that was in Moscow’s orbit.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

By Ben Bryant

The UK Foreign Office (FCO) has further delayed publication of flight records for Diego Garcia, following disclosures by a senior Bush administration official that interrogations took place at a CIA black site on the British island.

FCO officials are “still assessing the suitability of the full flight records for publication”, nine months after they were first requested from the government by human rights NGO Reprieve.

Campaigners believe that the logs — written records of all flights landing on and leaving the atoll — could provide crucial, previously undisclosed details of flights involved in the intelligence agency’s post-9/11 rendition and torture program.

‘It is now over seven years since the UK government was forced to admit that CIA torture flights were allowed to use the British territory of Diego Garcia, yet we still seem no closer to the publication of flight records which could provide crucial evidence of what went on.’

However, the UK government has so far declined to publish the logs, and has dismissed the new claims made by a former senior Bush administration official — published by VICE News— that the CIA did in fact detain prisoners on Diego Garcia, despite years of assurances from British ministers to the contrary.

“We have responded publicly in recent years to previous claims,” wrote Hugo Swire, the FCO minister of state, in a letter to Reprieve. “However, Colonel Wilkerson has not presented any new evidence to support his allegation that detainees were held on Diego Garcia.”

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told VICE News in January that the island was home to “a transit site where people were temporarily housed, let us say, and interrogated from time to time.” His information came from four well-placed CIA and intelligence sources, he said.

Swire said that the British government “seeks regular reassurance from the US government” on renditions, in the letter dated March 3.

“All previous assurances on transfer of detainees provided by the US government since 2008 remain valid and correct,” Swire wrote.

“Whilst I am not able to make public the details of diplomatic correspondence, I can confirm that the most recent assurances were received this month.”

Swire did not explain whether the FCO contacted the US in direct response to Wilkerson’s disclosures, but did say that the most recent assurances were made “after Colonel Wilkerson’s claims were made.”

Donald Campbell of Reprieve said the publication of the flight logs was necessary to reassure the public that Britain is not involved in a cover-up of torture evidence.

“It is now over seven years since the UK government was forced to admit that CIA torture flights were allowed to use the British territory of Diego Garcia,” he said,

“yet we still seem no closer to the publication of flight records which could provide crucial evidence of what went on.

“Last summer, after the records reportedly suffered ‘accidental’ water damage, ministers promised that they were ‘assessing their suitability for publication.’ Eight months later, they say they are still ‘assessing.’ It is hard to see how such a long delay could be justified.”

It is far from the first time that Diego Garcia’s role in the CIA’s post-9/11 rendition and torture program has been disputed.

The tiny atoll in the Indian Ocean, which has been leased to the US for use as a military base since 1966, has been the subject of CIA torture program claims and counter-claims stretching back more than a decade. The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee torture report in December confirmed that the CIA did operate a post-9/11 global rendition and torture program, with secret prisons all over the world — but the heavily redacted document did not reveal whether Diego Garcia was a part of the CIA’s international network of black sites.

The UK’s changing position on Diego Garcia’s unpublished flight records

The British government says it has received repeated assurances from the US that no CIA rendition flights landed on Diego Garcia — bar two rendition planes which stopped briefly to refuel in 2002.

The government has been slow to release flight logs for the atoll, however, and the position of the Foreign Office in relation to the records has shifted as pressure for them to be released has grown.

February 21 2008: The UK admits that two rendition flights stopped over on Diego Garcia to refuel.

David Miliband, then the foreign secretary, tells parliament he is “very sorry indeed” to report that contrary to earlier assurances, two rendition flights carrying a single detainee each did, in fact, land on Diego Garcia.

July 2008: … but the UK claims that records on these two flights — and for the whole of 2002 — are no longer held.

Miliband tells the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) that records “are unfortunately no longer held for the period when the two cases of rendition occurred [2002],” because they are generally only held for up to five years.

June 26 2014: NGO Reprieve asks the foreign secretary whether flight records from 2002 onwards are held…

Reprieve writes to William Hague, who has by then taken over as foreign secretary, asking:

“Can you confirm whether the government holds monthly statistics of flights through D[iego] G[arcia] from January 2002 onwards; daily logs from October 2002 onwards; and general aviation reports from January 2004 onwards? And can you confirm that all planes and flights recorded in all these logs and statistics have been investigated, and discounted as being possible rendition flights?”

July 8 2014: …and the Foreign Office says they are held, but 2002 flight records are incomplete due to ‘water damage.’

Mark Simmonds, a Foreign Office minister, tells members of parliament (MPs) that “though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage.”

July 14 2014: … but then the foreign secretary says he believes that there’s actually a complete set of flight logs for 2002.

Hague replies to Reprieve’s letter saying that actually only a small number of flight records have been irretrievably damaged:

“I am satisfied that for the period you are asking about, we have a complete set of information about types of aircraft, passenger and crew numbers landing and departing Diego Garcia.”

July 15 2014: The Foreign Office confirms that the water damaged 2002 flight records have not been lost after all — because they’ve “dried out.”

Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds tells MPs that water-damaged records have “dried out”:

“Since my answer of 8 July, BIOT [British Indian Ocean Territory] immigration officials have conducted a fuller inspection, and previously wet paper records have been dried out. They report that no flight records have been lost as a result of the water damage.”

He says that “a small number of immigration arrival cards from 2004″ have been damaged, however.

August 19 2014: The Foreign Office says that not all flight records from 2002 onwards are complete, but they should be able to get a full set anyway.

Responding to a letter from Reprieve asking for clarification on which flight records are damaged, Philip Hammond, now foreign secretary, writes:

“The Administration of the British Indian Ocean Territory holds several different types of record about flights entering the territory, though not all of these are complete for the period you are referring to. By combining different types of records, we are confident we can establish what types of aircraft landed on a particular day, and passenger and crew numbers on these aircraft, for the period since 2002.”

September 4 2014: It turns out the heavy weather that damaged the records wasn’t so heavy after all…

VICE News obtains the government’s own records which show that the so-called “extremely heavy weather” in June 2002 amounted to 3.25 inches of rainfall — considerably less than the average for that month.

“I don’t think it’s very helpful for us to have a discussion about how much rain is a lot of rain,” a FCO spokesperson told VICE.

Follow Ben Bryant on Twitter: @benbryant

Copyright Ben Bryant Vice News 2015

China is ready to counterbalance the dominance of the dollar in the International Monetary System through the yuan. In 2009, Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People’s Bank of China, called for a transformation in the global reserve system; the violent fluctuations of the dollar demanded more stability and trust in the world economy. In the end, China opposed to carrying the costs of the crisis that had started at the stock exchange in New York.

In the same light, the news agency Xinhua started editorial controversy in October 2013 about the world’s de-Americanisation: the irresponsible indebtedness by the Obama registration increased the ‘structural imbalances’ and thereto revealed the necessity of decreasing the power and influence of the United States[1]. In March 2015, Li Keqiang, the Chinese prime minister, requested the incorporation of the yuan into the Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

SDR are international reserve assets created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the 1960s in order to complement the reserves of central banks and support the system of fixed parities established in 1944. At first, the SDR was based on the worth of 0.888 grams of gold. However, once the American president Richard Nixon put an end to the agreements of Bretton Woods in the early 1970s, SDR were defined based on a currency basket.

In practice, the IMF member states buy the SDR to comply with their obligations. In other cases they sell them to adjust the composition of their international reserves. In this context, the IMF intermediates between member states and prescribed holders of the SDR to guarantee exchanges between ‘freely usable’ currencies.

Every 5 years the revision of SDR by the IMF has to put the importance of its currencies in financial systems and global markets into theory. However, despite the growing role of emerging countries in the world economy, the SDR composition has remained unaltered: the US dollar maintains 42% of the portfolio, followed by the euro with 37.4%, the pound sterling with 11.3% and, ultimately, the Japanese yen with 9.4%.

How is it possible that, despite the downfall of the dollar from 70 to 60% in the composition of reserves of central banks during the last 15 years, the share of power of the United States in the IMF has not been modified to a minimum? It is evident that the leaders of the Communist Party, who sustain leadership of China in the world economy, disagree. China deserves a greater share in decision-making within the IMF, as well as the integration of the yuan into the SDR.

In general terms there are two criteria that decide whether or not a currency can be incorporated into the SDR. In the first place, the economy in question needs a high level of participation in global export. China absolutely complies with this requirement. In the second place, the currency needs to be fully convertible, that is, the sending country has to maintain its capital account open (which include the credit portfolio and portfolio inflows), enabling investors from the rest of the world to buy and sell determined financial assets in the considered currency and enabling the ‘free market forces’ to determine its price.

In China’s case, the second aspect is the most controversial one. In 2010, in light of the 41st anniversary of the SDR, the IMF officials rejected the incorporation of the yuan with the argument that it was subject to capital control. Additionally, they emphasized that only some countries effected transactions under its denomination. Finally, they sustained that the People’s Bank of China kept the exchange rate undervalued and thereto underpinned the manufacturing supremacy of the Asian giant at the global market.

The authorities of the IMF cannot conceive that, unlike the other emerging countries, the Chinese government determines when the market opens. The experiences of the financial crises in Latin America and Asia during respectively the 1980s and 1990s showed the world the terrible consequences of adopting the principles of the Washington Consensus without restraint.

China, however, learned well from economic history. China had avoided successfully to fall for the provocations of the Treasure Department and the Federal Reserve System, the institutions that accuse China of manipulating the exchange rate using the IMF president as a global spokesperson. As a consequence, they insist that China open its capital account indiscriminately.

Without a doubt, in the middle of the economic fragility that started at the subprime mortgage crisis, it is more convenient for the US administration to use scapegoats instead of assuming its own responsibility.

All in all, the Chinese concentrate their efforts on looking inwards and gradually moving the process of financial liberalisation forward. On one hand, the incentives to participate in the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) program will increase. At the same time, the project «Stock-Connect» will be pushed forward. Since November 2014, this pilot mechanism permits buying and selling stock from businesses in continental China through the financial centre of Hong Kong.

Even though it is true that private banks will have a bigger gravitation to the credit circuits, the Chinese government has made risk management a priority: the tendency to deflation (price plunge) threatens to undermine economic growth and financial stability. During the coming months China will implement a system of deposit insurance. That way banks will pay insurance premiums and a central organism will take care of administrating the money. In case of insolvency, a maximum compensation of 500 000 yuan (81 500 US dollars) per deposit will have to be paid. This measurement is necessary in order to liberalise the deposit rates and, later on, the interest rates. The aim is to expand the use of the yuan.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that in 2005, the yuan broke its peg to the dollar (8.28 yuan per dollar) and reached a fluctuation margin around 0.3%. From then on, the currency’s flotation limits were increased on 3 occasions. The most recent extension took place in March 2014, when the margins settled at 2%.

Although the yuan has been appreciated more than 10% in comparison to the US dollar over the course of the last 5 years, the Chinese economic muscle is strengthening itself. The geopolitical closed door policy towards Southeast Asia constructed by the Pentagon and the Department of State failed as a containment policy: China increases its trade flows and investment in Latin America and the Caribbean, North African countries, the Middle East, Europe, etc.

China has even forged closer economic ties with the United States. Between 2007 and 2014 the Chinese government doubled the total amount of its importation from 62 000 to 124 000 US dollars, according to the US Census Bureau. Then what exactly are the terrible consequences of ‘commercial disloyalty’ and ‘exchange rate manipulation’ for American companies?

While the United States act unilaterally regarding finances and geopolitics, China opens up by an exorbitant increase of its international trade which, by the way, is the most important strength of the internationalisation of the yuan. When China became the biggest export power, beyond the United States, in 2007, its exchanges started adopting the yuan as a substitution for the dollar. According to the projections from the HSBC, the proportion of Chinese trade denominated in yuan will increase from 25 to 50% during the coming 5 years[2].

In October 2013, the yuan surpassed the euro as the second most used in trade finance[3]. Through continental China, Hong Kong and Singapore as the most important emission zones, the participation in commercial loans denominated in yuan was registered at 9.43% in the beginning of 2015, which is a 30% increase in comparison to 2013[4].

Unprecedentedly, the yuan became the fifth most used currency in global transactions, surpassing the Canadian and Australian dollar, according to a report from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)[5]. Barely 4 years ago, a small group of 900 banking institutions operated in yuan. At the end of 2014, this number increased to more than 10 000 entities.

According to Christine Lagarde, the IMF president, including the yuan into the SDR is imminent. However, she refuses to specify when this will happen[6]. At the moment, when it comes to reforms in the representation system of the IMF, the United States are opposed to any change that is orientated at weakening the role of the US dollar.

However, as opposed to other decisions that need a mandatory 85% approval by IMF member states, the voting to incorporate a currency into the SDR only requires a 70% approval, which makes the veto power of Washington (17.69%) totally irrelevant.

Which changes will come in the field of international finance if the yuan obtains access to the SDR? The accumulated reserves in yuan would finally be recognised by the IMF; the emission of bonds and the opening of bank accounts in yuan would increase significantly. Furthermore, the decrease of transaction costs would stimulate the expansion of Chinese companies overseas. Once embedded in the SDR, the Chinese currency would exceed the relative importance of both the Japanese yen and the pound sterling[7].

Undoubtedly, the rise of the yuan has become unstoppable. According to Massimiliano Castelli, the head of Global Strategy in Global Sovereign Markets at UBS, in 2020 the central banks reserves denominated in the “people’s currency” (renminbi) will increase to 500 billion US dollars.

The debates about the incorporation of the yuan into the SDR will take place from May onwards. The voting on the Chinese initiative would eventually take place in November and the changes will become effective in January 2016. Will the United States and its allies be able to overturn the majority of the IMF member states to vote against the internationalisation of the yuan?

Ariel Noyola Rodríguez is an economist who graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Notes:

Translation from Spanish: Thirza Toes.

[1]«Commentary: U.S. fiscal failure warrants a de-Americanized world», Xinhua, 13 October, 2013.

[7]«Guest post: IMF decision could propel renminbi past sterling and yen», Jukka Pihlman, The Financial Times, 15 December, 2014.

The Spanish version of this article was originally published by RT Spanish

http://actualidad.rt.com/opinion/ariel-noyola-rodriguez/170673-desafio-china-fmi-yuan-deg

Asalto a la Integridad y Dignidad: Venezuela

April 9th, 2015 by Mario R. Fernández

El 9 de marzo se cumple un mes de que el gobierno de Estados Unidos declarara un “estado de emergencia por amenaza inusitada y extraordinaria que representa Venezuela para la seguridad nacional del país.” Sabemos la gravedad que significa esta declaración, deberíamos saber que no es una sorpresa porque el gobierno de E.U. y sus  agencias, con la colaboración del imperialismo europeo y de las plutocracias y oligarquías venezolana y latinoamericanas, han, por más de 15 años, tratado de destruir el proyecto bolivariano. Lo mismo que han hecho durante 55 años con la revolución cubana para lo que han usado también todas las formas y métodos -desde los más criminales y groseros hasta los más hipócritas, sin haber logrado su cometido. Esta agresividad última directa del gobierno de E.U. contra Venezuela no es, entonces, una acción espontánea sino debidamente premeditada.

Varios analistas de izquierda han venido expresando, en opiniones y artículos, que se trata de una política irreflexiva y no debidamente planeada, y hasta incluso algunos han definido esta última agresividad como una “metida de pata” del gobierno imperialista, quizás porque en los últimos tiempos Estados Unidos ha mostrado incapacidades y falta de criterio en la geopolítica global. Aun cuando conoce a América Latina y la entiende como su territorio de dominación y sabe muy bien quienes están a su lado y quienes no lo están. Este incremento de la agresividad contra Venezuela es un paso más; otros intentos de derrocar al gobierno bolivariano han fracasado, por lo que amenazar Venezuela tiene que haber sido explorado, quizás hasta consultado, con los gobiernos de confianza que los E.U. tienen en el continente latinoamericano, por ejemplo, los miembros de la Alianza del Pacifico (México, Colombia, Perú y Chile) una alianza política disfrazada de económica impulsada por E.U., o con el gobierno de Panamá,  país anfitrión de la próxima Cumbre de la Américas y camaleón disfrazado de “imparcial” pero totalmente al servicio de Estados Unidos.

Las declaraciones de rechazo a la amenaza estadunidense contra Venezuela, por parte de organizaciones de países latinoamericanos, son positivas para Venezuela, es positiva también la recolección de firmas de rechazo a la injerencia americana en Venezuela aquí en Canadá por ejemplo –donde es la única protesta permitida a nivel federal en el país. Pero la solidaridad de los gobiernos del ALBA es la única confiable para Venezuela. La UNASUR y la CELAC tendrían que haber sido capaz de reunir a todos sus presidentes miembros, como lo hizo el ALBA, y declarar en conjunto y de frente con los rostros visibles  de los gobiernos latinoamericanos, incluso deberían de haber pedido una reunión de emergencia en la OEA. Pero, en cambio se delegó el rechazo y se llamó a un “diálogo” –pero ¿de que se va a dialogar? Los enemigos internos y externos de Venezuela quieren destrozar su constitucionalidad usando abiertamente la conspiración y el crimen, no dan espacio al dialogo. El ataque diario contra Venezuela tiene su expresión escrita obsesiva más notable en los tres pasquines principales de España  que son parte de la campaña de odio y desprestigio contra Venezuela, similar sólo a la que Cuba ha sufrido estos últimos tiempos.

Esta amenaza del gobierno de Estados Unidos contra Venezuela es ilegal y carece de argumentos, pero no por ello, como dijo un analista latinoamericano, es imposible que termine en un bloqueo naval o económico contra Venezuela.  La oportunidad de demostrar rechazo y hacer presión contra tales políticas Estadunidenses, se da durante la VII Cumbre de las Américas a realizarse en Panamá los días 10 y 11 de Abril próximos. La Cumbre es parte de la agenda política imperialista de Estados Unidos por lo que rechazarla y presionar en solidaridad con Venezuela boicoteando la Cumbre sería una forma práctica de darle definitivamente a entender a los Estados Unidos que los países latinoamericanos no toleran su injerencia.  Pero los países latinoamericanos parecen no ver, o no querer ver, el papel que tiene la Cumbre y hasta Venezuela misma –atacada y en peligro, acudirá a la cita con Obama. Bien sabemos que las Cumbres no son más que eventos imperiales, donde la figura central además de ser Obama son los oportunistas, disidentes y mercenarios venezolanos y cubanos que el imperio destaca, y que la Falsimedia mundial ha de poner al centro del evento como si fueran relevantes. Y entre los presidentes latinoamericanos que asistirán a la Cumbre, como se ha dado ya antes, estarán sin duda quienes se excitan con la pura oportunidad de hacerse ver por Obama, ridículos unos, serviles otros, vasallos la mayoría, que si hablan algo de inglés se acercaran al emperador para decirle alguna bobada, bobadas y rostros que Obama con total seguridad olvida minutes después de terminada la Cumbre, quizás antes, quizás nunca los nota. Porque las Cumbres existen para eso, para garantizar –como todos los eventos imperiales, que todo sigue igual, que no hay gran novedad y el imperio sigue estable.

El plan actual de Estados Unidos, con el apoyo del imperialismo europeo y de las oligarquías del continente latinoamericano, es claro: la prioridad en América Latina es terminar, destruir, el proyecto bolivariano de Venezuela a como dé lugar. Para los demás países del ALBA esta destrucción sería quizás fatal para su propia existencia. Estados Unidos ha actualizado su estrategia con Cuba buscando otros acercamientos pero no abandonando su meta de destruir la revolución. El gobierno lulista de Dilma Rousseff en Brasil también está en la mira, aunque se comporta como un buen neoliberal, corrupto y todo, y aunque si bien no ataca a Venezuela tampoco la defiende, esto primero, no atacar a Venezuela, es suficiente para que Brasil pierda el favor imperial porque los Estados Unidos desea tener un México en América del Sur.  El imperio ve a Argentina en forma similar, pero usa contra estas tácticas incluso más destructivas y peligrosas; entonces, aunque el gobierno argentino ha tratado de mantener un balance con Estados Unidos y con Venezuela, el gobierno de Argentina no ha dejado de ser un objetivo a destruir.

El contexto mundial en el que América Latina existe, es uno en el que el imperialismo occidental no acepta la autodeterminación, ni de Latinoamérica ni de otros; efectivamente occidente se muestra sin duda intolerante con Rusia y con China aunque estas son dos potencias nucleares –y de hecho países totalmente capitalistas también. Ni en Rusia ni en China queda casi nada de sus sistemas social-económicos anteriores; pero occidente no ceja en su política de acoso sin duda frustrado por no haber podido copar el sistema político de las dos potencias, una tarea pendiente que puede poner en peligro al mundo. Occidente no ha podido instalar un gobierno lacayo en estos dos países y parece imposible que lo logre ahora que la decadencia económica se transforma cada vez más en decadencia civilizatoria occidental. Hugo Chávez, líder fundador del proyecto venezolano bolivariano, visionaba esta situación; su estrategia fue desarrollar oportunidades de independencia para América Latina involucrando a China, Rusia e Irán. Su foco fundamental han sido los países latinoamericanos grandes, como Brasil y Argentina, que Chávez consideraba tenían que estar en una sola línea para asegurar que la unión fuera verdadera; pero lo que se ha logrado no parece suficiente y en el presente existe quizás más retórica que unión real.

En Latinoamérica el sometimiento al imperialismo occidental ha sido gratuito, incluso costoso; la historia muchas veces prueba que un conjunto de países o naciones puede acercarse al dominador para sacar alguna ventaja, para ganar prebendas. Pero la historia de las oligarquías Latinoamericanas ha sido de sometimiento incondicional donde incluso se sacrifican recursos en una relación totalmente desigual. La unidad latinoamericana es esencial, porque país a país el imperio avasalla, pero le sería más difícil avasallarnos en grupo. Una Latinoamérica unida podría hacerse respetar, hacer imposible que medios de comunicación serviles levante calumnias e injurien a líderes de valor, sería imposible que se implementaran acciones ilegales y criminales o que se conspire a diario como se hace contra Venezuela, o contra quien el imperio decida. No habría espacio para que el imperialismo intentara, y menos organizara,  golpes de estado contra líderes políticos elegidos legítimamente, pero estos se vienen repitiendo, incluso en los últimos años, igual que se han dado por un siglo con consecuencias aterradoras para los latinoamericanos que les toca vivirlos.

Los poderosos, los ricos, los aristócratas y sus secuaces, han, por miles de año, degenerado la humanidad, torciéndole el destino a la especie humana, que es una especie creadora, han destruido nuestro medio ambiente para su enfermizo beneficio, han tratado de abatir la felicidad espontánea y la seguridad de los hombres y mujeres comunes, le han robado el futuro a los niños y niñas a través de la colonización para esclavizarlos. Es una infamia, aparte de una injusticia, que un  gobierno y su pueblo, como Venezuela, tenga que vivir defendiéndose las 24 horas del día de la infamia, simplemente por tratar de levantar un proyecto propio, que si bien no es perfecto es un proyecto humanitario y de justicia para los venezolanos y una inspiración para Latinoamérica toda. Entonces, es también una vergüenza para nuestro continente y para el mundo aceptar o permitir la agresión contra Venezuela, como lo es también aceptar o permitir las agresiones de occidente contra tantos otros países.  ¿Acaso no tiene valor hacer el bien? ¿Qué civilización estamos defendiendo, la del mal?

Mario R. Fernández

Police Murder in South Carolina

April 9th, 2015 by Joseph Kishore

Officials in South Carolina have charged North Charleston police officer Michael Slager with murder in Saturday’s killing of Walter Scott, a 50-year-old father of four. The decision came only after the release of a cell phone video of the killing, which was taken by a bystander and provided to the New York Times by a lawyer for Scott’s family.

The video shows an unambiguous act of murder and attempted cover-up. Scott and Slager are together in an empty lot. Scott, unarmed, begins to run from Slager, who then takes out his weapon and fires eight bullets into Scott’s back from about 20 feet away.

The police officer then walks calmly toward Scott, yelling at the motionless man to put his hands behind his back. With Scott unresponsive, Slager proceeds to cuff him. He then jogs back to the site of the original confrontation, picks up what appears to be a Taser stun gun, and drops it near the lifeless body. A second officer who has come onto the scene witnesses the attempted frame-up.

No attempts are made to provide CPR or otherwise administer aid to Scott, who is lying face down in the mud. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

The killing of Scott exposes not only the savage violence carried out by police every day in American cities, but also the modus operandi used to justify these actions. In the three days between the shooting and the release of the video, police and local officials, together with the media, were giving out the standard rationalizations and lies.

The police officer “felt threatened last weekend when the driver he had stopped for a broken light tried to overpower him and take his Taser,” the local Charleston, South Carolina Post and Courier reported on Monday. The newspaper went on to say that Scott had a criminal record and the cop feared for his life. Officers performed CPR and administered aid, it reported, but nothing could be done.

It was a “tragic incident” all around, Slager’s lawyer was quoted as saying.

All lies, exposed only because of the video footage. Walter Scott Sr., the victim’s father, noted in an interview with NBC on Wednesday that without the video, “It would never, never come to light. They would have swept it under the rug, like they did with many others.” He added, “The way he was shooting that gun, it looked like he was trying to kill a deer.”

The murder of Scott is horrific, but it is not an aberration. According tokilledbypolice.net, so far this year police officers across the country have killed 312 people, or more than three per day. At the present rate, the number of people killed by police this year will surpass last year’s total of 1,100.

Some of the more recent incidents include:

* Philip White, 32, in Vineland, New Jersey on March 31. A video shows the unarmed White, prostrate on the ground, being hit by police and bitten in the face by a police dog. One officer is seen attempting to confiscate the cell phone of the person recording the arrest. White later died in what Vineland Police Chief Timothy Codispoti called an “in-custody, non-shooting death.”

* Eric Harris, 44, in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 2. A police officer claims he shot the unarmed Harris once while arresting him, “inadvertently” using his gun instead of his Taser.

* Justus Howell, 17, in Zion, Illinois on April 4. Howell died from two gunshot wounds in his back. Police claimed that he had attempted to steal a gun earlier, but there are no indications that he posed a threat to officers in any way. There is no video of the killing.

* An unidentified man in Phoenix, Arizona on April 4. Police say the man, evidently mentally disturbed, had been stabbing himself in the street. A local news report states that when officers arrived “the man reportedly lunged toward” the officers. They “felt threatened and fired their weapons.”

The same basic story is repeated over and over again. Police officers, armed to the teeth with military-grade weaponry, have been given a license to kill, which they use with shocking regularity and almost always with complete legal impunity.

Slager must be convicted for his actions and punished to the fullest extent of the law. All those who sought to cover up for the murder must also be arrested and prosecuted.

However, this is only the beginning of real accountability. The entire state is culpable in the development of what is, in fact, a paramilitary occupying force, composed of death squads operating under the cover of the law.

Today is exactly eight months since the August 9 murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which provoked popular outrage and demonstrations throughout the country. The political establishment responded by orchestrating the exoneration of police officer Darren Wilson, including the decision by the Obama administration last month not to bring civil rights charges. The wholesale transfer of military equipment to local police forces has continued unabated.

This has been interpreted by police as a green light to escalate their murderous rampage, resulting in at least 746 deaths since Brown’s killing.

The homicidal behavior evident in the actions of Slager and countless others reflects a mentality deliberately and systematically cultivated in the police. The population has no rights. Any act of disobedience can become a capital offense. The lives of workers and poor people are expendable.

Media commentary on the killing of Scott has centered on the fact that Scott is black and Slager white. However, police violence in America, and the determination of the state to defend this violence, cannot be explained simply or primarily by reference to racism, whatever role it might play in any particular incident. The focus on race is aimed at obscuring the more basic questions.

Police repression within the United States is the domestic expression of the same methods employed by the ruling class to defend its interests abroad, through endless wars and drone assassinations. Within the country, the corporate and financial aristocracy, which has amassed its wealth through fraud and criminality, stands atop a crisis-ridden system, with historically unprecedented levels of inequality threatening to trigger explosive social conflicts. It responds with violence and brutality.

In the murderous actions of the police, one sees the reality of class rule in America.

Under pressure from right-wing Ukrainian-Canadian groups, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) removed Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa as the featured soloist at two Toronto concerts that were to be held this week. The TSO sought to replace Lisitsa with another pianist, but after a public outcry simply cancelled the concerts.

An internationally recognized pianist who has played with major orchestras in North America and Europe and has a large online following, Lisitsa has drawn the ire of the right wing because she has challenged their false narrative about the “democratic” character of the pro-western Kiev regime.

In Twitter postings stretching back to the weeks following the US-German-orchestrated, fascist-led coup that drove Ukraine’s elected president from office, Lisitsa been heavily critical of the Kiev regime. She has denounced it for its rampant corruption, ties to Nazi sympathizers like the Right Sector, and mistreatment of the Russian minority, and for the brutal war it has waged against the pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.

The cancellation of Lisitsa’s performances of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is a brazen act of political censorship.

The management of the TSO, one of the country’s leading cultural institutions, initially sought to cover up why it had cancelled Lisitsa’s performances. It simply said she was no longer available to play in Toronto and had been replaced.

Only after Lisitsa revealed that she had been dumped from the TSO program and instructed by management not to reveal why did TSO President Jeff Melanson acknowledge that the cancellation was due to pressure from Ukrainian nationalists .

Melanson justified the decision by citing “ongoing accusations” from” Ukrainian media outlets” that Lisitsa has used “deeply offensive language.” In an attempt to intimidate the musician, the TSO had previously forwarded Lisitsa a letter from a prominent lawyer at the country’s largest law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais, that said she could be denied entry into Canada under section 319 of Canada’s criminal code, which makes the “willful promotion of hatred” illegal.

The TSO’s actions threaten artistic freedom and freedom of speech and have ominous implications for musicians and artists everywhere. As Cara Zwibel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association put it in comments to the CBC, “I think there is a problem with the message that this sends to artists that they may have trouble getting jobs or keeping jobs if they express views that are unpopular or controversial.”

The TSO’s banning of Lisitsa represents a cowardly capitulation to reactionary political forces—forces that enjoy the strong backing of the Conservative government of Stephen Harper.

Protests against Lisitsa’s appearance came from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), a right-wing organization that purports to represent Canada’s large Ukrainian diaspora community. Heavily influenced by extreme Ukrainian nationalism, the UCC is virulently anti-communist and anti-Russian. Some of its affiliates were founded by veterans of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which collaborated with the Nazis in World War II, including in the mass extermination of Jews, and many continue to venerate OUN leader Stepan Bandera.

Lisitsa has for some time been a target of the Ukrainian right because she has rejected the Western-backed propaganda that the Ukraine crisis has been caused by Russian aggression. Her concerts have repeatedly become the occasion for protests by Ukrainian nationalist groups. Last September, the EuroMaidan Press website published an appeal for supporters to join them in calling for a boycott of Lisitsa’s concerts in Pittsburgh.

The TSO’s ban will encourage these right-wing elements to go after Lisitsa elsewhere, as well as other artists who take a critical position towards the pro-western Kiev regime.

So as to ostracize Lisitsa, her Ukrainian nationalist opponents have labelled her a stooge of Russian president Vladimir Putin. This is a slur. What they object to is her heartfelt challenge to their false narrative.

As Lisitsa explained in the Facebook posting announcing the TSO’s banning, she initially had great hopes that what she terms the “Maidan Revolution” would end the domination of Ukraine by a corrupt oligarchy, but these hopes were quickly dashed.

“I was so proud of my people!” wrote Lisitsa.

“But the ruling class doesn’t let go easily. They managed to cunningly channel away the anger, to direct it to other, often imaginable, enemies—and worse, to turn people upon themselves. Year later, we have the same rich people remaining in power, misery and poverty everywhere, dozens of thousands killed, over a million of refugees.”

In her statement, Lisitsa explains that she felt she could not remain silent as “the country of my birth, of my childhood, of my first falling in love…was sliding ever faster in to the abyss. Children die under bombs, old ladies die of starvation, people burned alive”

She said that she has been seeking to expose the abuses going on in Ukraine, particularly against the Russian-speaking minority.

“I took to Twitter in order to get the other side of the story heard, the one you never see in the mainstream media.

“To give you just one example: one of my feats was to confront French fashion magazine Elle who published a glowing cover story about women in Ukrainian army. After the research I have shown to the magazine in my Twitter posts that the ‘cover girl’ they have chosen to show was in fact a horrible person, open Neo-Nazi, racist, anti-Semite who boasted of murdering civilians for fun! The magazine issued a written public apology.”

The ability of the UCC and its supporters to aggressively target those hostile to its right-wing positions is made possible thanks to the close collaboration they enjoy with the Canadian government and more generally the unanimous support the ruling class and political elite have given to the US-NATO drive to transform Ukraine into a Western satellite.

Canada has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the Kiev regime since the February 2014 coup and is participating in the build-up of NATO forces on Russia’s borders.

The Harper government is supplying non-lethal military aid to the Ukrainian army. But it is also facilitating the supply of weapons, including guns and drones, to the Ukrainian army and aligned ultra-nationalist and fascist militias through the UCC and its Army SOS organization. Two Conservative MPs attended a recent Army SOS fundraising event in Toronto that raised more than $50,000 to be spent on arms and military gear (see “Canada helping arm Kiev regime to fight Ukrainian civil war”).

At a UCC gathering in Toronto on February 22, Conservative immigration minister Chris Alexander delivered an inflammatory speech in which he gave the government’s full backing for an aggressive course towards Russia. He called the conflict with Russia “the biggest issue facing the world today,” stressed that “ every option” is “on the table” in regards to defeating Putin—a euphemism for all-out war with Russia—and said there was “ no scenario” for peace and security for this world” that does not involve defeating Russia in Ukraine.

Such are the sentiments being encouraged by the Harper government among its far right allies in the UCC, and it is in this context that the targeting of Lisitsa must be seen. Anyone who questions the official narrative of the Ukraine crisis is to be demonized as a supporter of Putin and Russian aggression.

That the TSO has bowed to this campaign is a disturbing development. Under conditions in which democratic rights are under sustained attack, the TSO has made it clear that it is willing to sacrifice the rights of freedom of speech and artistic freedom to meet the demands of the Canadian ruling class and its far right allies.

The justification the TSO has provided for its decision could hardly have been more hypocritical. The TSO statement read,

“As one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, our priority must remain on being a stage for the world’s great works of music, and not for opinions that some believe to be deeply offensive.”

The TSO has not merely provided a platform for groups defending the reactionary politics of the Kiev regime, including the persecution of Ukraine’s Russian minority. Its capitulation to the censorship demands of the UCC has strengthened precisely those forces pushing for the US and its allies to intervene militarily in Ukraine against Russia, a move that threatens to trigger an all-out conflict between the major powers.

US Agribusiness, GMOs and The Plundering Of The Planet

April 9th, 2015 by Colin Todhunter

Small family/peasant farms produce most of the world’s food. They form the bedrock of global food production. Yet they are being squeezed onto less than a quarter of the planet’s farmland. The world is fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands of rich and powerful land speculators and agribusiness corporations.

By definition, peasant agriculture prioritises food production for local and national markets as well as for farmers’ own families. Big agritech corporations on the other hand take over scarce fertile land and prioritise commodities or export crops for profit and foreign markets that tend to cater for the needs of the urban affluent. This process displaces farmers from their land and brings about food insecurity, poverty and hunger.

What big agribusiness with its industrial model of globalised agriculture claims to be doing – addressing global hunger and food shortages – is doing nothing of the sort. There is enough evidence to show that its activities actually lead to hunger and poverty - something that the likes of GMO-agribusiness-neoliberal apologists might like to consider when they propagandize about choice, democracy and hunger: issues that they seem unable to grasp, at least beyond a self-serving superficial level.

Small farmers are being criminalised, taken to court and even made to disappear when it comes to the struggle for land. They are constantly exposed to systematic expulsion from their land by foreign corporations. The Oakland Institute has stated that now a new generation of institutional investors, including hedge funds, private equity and pension funds, is eager to capitalise on global farmland as a new and highly desirable asset class. Financial returns are what matter to these entities, not ensuring food security.

Consider Ukraine, for example. Small farmers operate 16% of agricultural land, but provide 55% of agricultural output, including: 97% of potatoes, 97% of honey, 88% of vegetables, 83% of fruits and berries and 80% of milk. It is clear that Ukraine’s small farms are delivering impressive outputs.

However, The US-backed toppling of that country’s government seems likely to change this with the installed puppet regime handing over agriculture to US agribusiness. Current ‘aid’ packages are contingent on the plundering of the economy under the guise of ‘austerity’ reforms and will have a devastating impact on Ukrainians’ standard of living and increase poverty in the country.

Reforms mandated by the EU-backed loan include agricultural deregulation that is intended to benefit foreign agribusiness corporations. Natural resource and land policy shifts are intended to facilitate the foreign corporate takeover of enormous tracts of land. (From 2016, foreign private investors will no longer be prohibited from buying land.) Moreover, the EU Association Agreement includes a clause requiring both parties to cooperate to extend the use of biotechnology, including GMOs.

In other words, events in Ukraine are helping (and were designed to help) the likes of Monsanto to gain a firm hold over the country’s agriculture.

Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director of the Oakland Institute last year stated that the World Bank and IMF are intent on opening up foreign markets to Western corporations and that the high stakes around control of Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector, the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat, constitute an oft-overlooked critical factor. He added that in recent years, foreign corporations have acquired more than 1.6 million hectares of Ukrainian land.

Western agribusiness had been coveting Ukraine’s agriculture sector for quite some time, long before the coup. It after all contains one third of all arable land in Europe.

An article posted on Oriental Review notes that since the mid-90s the Ukrainian-Americans at the helm of the US-Ukraine Business Council had been instrumental in encouraging the foreign control of Ukrainian agriculture.

In November 2013, the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation drafted a legal amendment that would benefit global agribusiness producers by allowing the widespread use of genetically modified seeds. Oriental Review notes that when GMO crops were legally introduced onto the Ukrainian market in 2013, they were planted in up to 70% of all soybean fields, 10-20% of cornfields, and over 10% of all sunflower fields, according to various estimates (or 3% of the country’s total farmland).

According to Oriental Review, “within two to three years, as the relevant provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU go into effect, Monsanto’s lobbying efforts will transform the Ukrainian market into an oligopoly consisting of American corporations.”

It amounts to little more than the start of the US colonisation of Ukraine’s seed and agriculture sector. This corporate power grab will be assisted by local banks. Apparently these banks will only offer favourable credit terms to those farmers who agree to use certified herbicides: those that are manufactured by Monsanto.

Interestingly, the investment fund Siguler Guff & Co has recently acquired a 50% stake in the Ukrainian Port of Illichivsk, which specialises in agricultural exports.

We need look no further than to Ukraine’s immediate neighbour Poland to see the devastating impact on farmers that Western agribusiness concerns are having there. Land grabs by foreign capital and the threat to traditional (often organic) agriculture have sparked mass protests as big agribusiness seeks to monopolise the food supply from field to plate. The writing is on the wall for Ukraine.

The situation is not unique to Poland, though; the impact of policies that favour big agribusiness and foreign capital are causing hardship, impacting health and destroying traditional agriculture across the world, from India and Argentina to Brazil and Mexico and beyond.

In an article by Christina Sarich, Hilliary Martin, a farmer from Vermont in the US, encapsulates the situation by saying:

“We are here at the [US-Canadian] border to demonstrate the global solidarity of farmers in the face of globalization. The corporate takeover of agriculture has impoverished farmers, starved communities and force-fed us genetically-engineered crops, only to line the pockets of a handful of multinational corporations like Monsanto at the expense of farmers who are struggling for land and livelihood around the world.”

The US has since 1945 used agriculture as a tool with which to control countries. And today what is happening in Ukraine is part of the wider US geopolitical plan to drive a wedge between Ukraine and Russia and to subjugate the country.

While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is intended to integrate the wider EU region with the US economy (again ‘subjugate’ may be a more apt word), by introducing GMOs into Ukraine and striving to eventually incorporate the country into the EU the hope is that under the banner of ‘free trade’ Monsanto’s aim of getting this technology into the EU and onto the plates of Europeans will become that much easier.

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy reader.

Canadian Foreign Policy: Harper is playing a Double Game on Terror

April 9th, 2015 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Replacement of the Trident is a joke by UK politicians who have no idea of the actual position.

The fact is that Chancellor Merkel of Germany has already altered the balance of power in the Middle East and of Europe by supplying Israel, without any prior consultation with the EU, five Dolphin Class nuclear powered submarines – with a sixth due for delivery – that have already been converted by the Israeli navy to being armed with ICB nuclear missiles. This has given the Israeli state ‘deep sea dominance’ that is now virtually irreversible.  This nuclear-armed fleet, assumed to be already patrolling the Mediterranean unseen, is powerful enough to destroy not only Britain but virtually the whole of Europe.

Giving a Middle East country, which is in a permanent state of war, the power to dominate Europe, with a second strike capability, is an abdication of national security by the EU in respect of all its 28 member states of half a billion people.

It could properly be termed political and military negligence on a scale never before experienced in European history.

KOD is a Haitian political party founded in February 2014. The following declaration was read in Kreyòl by one of KOD’s leaders, Oxygène David, at the “Bar de l’air” in Port-au-Prince on Apr. 7, 2015.

 On the anniversary of the death of Toussaint L’Ouverture on Apr. 7, 1803 in Fort de Joux in France, the Dessalines Coordination (KOD) patriotically salutes the Haitian people.

For the past few weeks, the ruling classes in cahoots with foreign embassies have been throwing bones in the road of mobilization. Hypocritical politicians, as soon as they find a bone they can suck, forget everything else. They forget all the positions they used to take against the regime [of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Evans Paul] and against the occupation [by 7,500 troops of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti or MINUSTAH]. They don’t even stop to look, reflect, and ask: who threw those bones, and why did they do it now? Isn’t it a trap? They don’t have time for that, so tasty are the election bones.

We in KOD say to the people: we are not going to suck on the election bones, nor split the electoral cake with our enemy. We are fighting so change can happen in the country, so Haiti can get out of the chronic underdevelopment into which the imperialist countries have put her to make us pay for our temerity in being the first people in the world to abolish the slave system. We disrupted their business; that’s why they are always angry with us.

Today, the traditional political class, the opportunist sellers of the country have entered into the rigged game with the Martelly/Paul regime to continue the policy of exclusion, of removing the people from the political scene, of doing anything to get ahead, the neoliberal policy.

The electoral bone is to prevent the people from struggling to change their reality. This electoral mascarade is to continue to keep the Haitian state dependent on the imperialist powers, which don’t want anything to change in Haiti. This election is a drug to make the people forget their problems, forget their demands, which have never been satisfied, above all on Ile à Vache [where peasants have been expropriated to make way for a tourist development] and downtown Port-au-Prince, where they have demolished the homes of people to sell the land to their big multinational bosses.

This election also shows us the limits of the hard-headed petit-bourgeois who, the minute they have two or three people behind them, think they are popular. They are obsessed with being president; they enter into any kind of compromise or accommodation to sell out the masses’ struggle.

KOD is not opposed to elections in principle. But the elections the U.S. capitalists prepare are always rigged. They are elections they use to put in power their own candidates. We in KOD want no part of that. We denounce with all our might the imperialists’ project to ensure the corrupt state’s continuity.

Remember how, before the eyes of the entire world, they stole the 2012 election in Mexico and then the 2013 election in Honduras. Even when the people in those countries protested afterwards, denouncing the election theft, they paid no attention to them. Instead, they mobilized the police and army to crush the protests.

Here in Haiti, the international reactionaries have also stolen our elections. That’s why we say to the people: Be careful! Remain vigilant! Remain on your toes, so you don’t have to say later “if I’d only known.” Don’t divert water to the mill of the opportunists. Tomorrow, it’s you who will pay the price.

Don’t forget how they put Martelly in power in the 2010-2011 elections. It was MINUSTAH, the Organization of American States (OAS), and Hillary Clinton who decided the election, not Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). When we say occupation, that’s one of the occupier’s roles: deciding for us!

Don’t listen to anybody telling you to believe in Santa Claus. There is only one way for us to counter the maneuvers of the Macouto-bourgeois-imperialist laboratory: to hold high the flame of mobilization. To stop our mobilization against our enemy, to collaborate with them, to enter into the electoral game with them, a game they control, is to give them more legal means to finish with us, to completely crush us.

We in KOD, we don’t summon the name of [Haiti’s founding father Jean-Jacques] Dessalines for demagoguery, to bluff people, to show off, to make a joke out of Dessalines.

All those who want to go drink wine in the U.S., French, and Canadian embassies, who line up for the election-selections with Michel Martelly and Evans Paul, that is their choice.

KOD repeats what it proposed since September 2013: “There cannot be free, honest, sovereign elections with Martelly! There cannot be free, honest, sovereign elections under MINUSTAH’s military occupation!”

Everyone who wants to struggle for another Haiti, a Haiti which is its own master, come join a popular forum which will be held on Apr. 14, 2015 in the “Bar de l’air” for us to sit and reflect together how to continue the mobilization to build an anti-Martelly, anti-opportunist, anti-Duvalierist, anti-occupation, anti-imperialist project.

The rendezvous is at “Bar de l’air,” Tue. Apr. 14, 2015 at 10 a.m.

It was in battle that our ancestors beat the slave-owning nations, it is in battle also that we will find a solution to defeat the big imperialist nations.

(Translated from the original Kreyòl by Kim Ives)

CIA Director: Iran Deal Good for America

April 9th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

“Those That Say This Deal Provides a Pathway to Iran Developing a Nuclear Bomb Are Being Wholly Disingenuous”

CIA director John Brennan is a hawk …

As we noted in 2013, Brennan endorsed torture, assassination of unidentified strangers without due process, and spying on all Americans.

But even Brennan thinks the Iran deal is good for the United States:

This is not surprising, given:

  • Contrary to widespread claims, there is that Iran is building a nuclear weapon.  Even Israel that Iran has not decided to build a nuclear bomb.
  • that Iran poses very little threat to the West or Israel . Top American and Israeli military and intelligence officials say that – even if Iran did build a nuclear bomb – it would not be that dangerous, because Israel and America have so many more nukes. And see this
  • The people pushing for war against Iran are the same people who pushed for war against Iraq, and said it would be a “cakewalk”. See this and this
  • They’ve been pushing for another round of regime change in Iran for decades
  • The CIA admits that the U.S. overthrew the moderate, suit-and-tie-wearing, Democratically-elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. He was overthrown because he had nationalized Iran’s oil, which had previously been controlled by BP and other Western oil companies. As part of that action, the CIA admits that it hired Iranians to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its prime minister
  • If the U.S. hadn’t overthrown the moderate Iranian government, the fundamentalist Mullahs would have never taken over. (Moreover, the U.S. has had a large hand in strengthening radical Islam in the Middle East by supporting radicals to fight the Soviets and others)

In Odessa — the same city where the Ukrainian civil war started on 2 May 2014 with a massacre of opponents that had been carefully planned by a team connected to the U.S. White House — there are reported to be two bloggers for the “Voice of Odessa” political site who were seized by the Security Bureau of Ukraine on April 7th, and whose “whereabouts are unknown.” This report appeared in the local Odessa News. 

The “Voice of Odessa” site was formed right after the massacre, in order to get an independent investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of that massacre, in which officially 46 people were burned, shot and clubbed to death, but unofficial estimates run over 200, all victims who have not been heard from since, and some of whom had allegedly even been abducted from hospitals after the massacre.

This report’s translated headline reads “SBU Detained Activists at Kulikov Field.”  Kulikov Field is the square or plaza in front of the former Odessa Trade Unions Building, which is the building where the massacre-victims, who had been printing and distributing pamphlets opposing the newly installed government, were murdered, by Right Sector troops in plain clothes, and also by mercenaries in the private army of Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, who had allegedly announced in advance that he would pay $5,000 per corpse. (There has been no reported follow-up, regarding whether he actually paid everyone who participated, or how he paid them.)

The report on these disappearances says that the names of the missing bloggers are Svetlana Naboka and Marina Zhavoronkova, and that both women were seized at around 10 in the morning of April 7th. Furthermore, “one of the detainees seized during the search is now lacking her home computer, telephone and other personal belongings,” which presumably, were also taken by the state security force.

Whereas none of the perpetrators of the massacre has been prosecuted, the regime is trying to eliminate its opponents. On the same day that the two bloggers were seized, there was a related headline, “SBU reported on the closure of a number of sites for anti-Ukrainian propaganda.” That news report carried the following statement, from the SBU:

“The security service of Ukraine … has discontinued operation of a number of Internet sites that were used to perpetrate information campaigns of aggression on the part of the Russian Federation aimed at violent change or overthrow of the constitutional order and territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.”

Presumably, the abduction, and perhaps elimination, of Svetlana Naboka and Marina Zhavoronkova, was part of that “discontinued operation” by the SBU against “aggression of the Russian Federation.”

The coup-established regime was not ‘the constitutional order’ in Ukraine. It overthrew the constitutionally elected President, and violated the Ukrainian constitution. However, “Big Brother” is based upon the Big Lie. So, it’s ‘the constitutional order.’ A good video shows the coup being carried out, but it actually started much earlier, in Spring of 2013. The same videographer also did a good video of the Odessa massacre.

Resistance to America’s Russia-hating Ukrainian regime is increasing, and it’s not only in Donbass — the region that has formally declared its separation from Ukraine, after Viktor Yanukovych, who had received 90+% of the vote there in the last democratic Ukrainian election, 2010, was overthrown by Obama. For example, barely more than three weeks ago, on March 12th, a column of Ukrainian tanks on trucks was blocked by overtly pro-Russian Ukrainians, who even showed the pre-communist (1710/1721-1858 &1883–1917/1918) flag of the then-single nation of Russia (from the time when Ukraine was part of Russia), which was until the Bolshevik Revolution. The video of this event, the courageous blocking of those trucks, was headlined “People stop military, sent by Kiev government, at Volnovaha.” The people who were blocking it are visible in the video carrying the three-striped — white, blue, and red —  flag of the Russian Empire. Russian Television on March 16th headlined about this, “Defensive blockade: Activists stop Kiev’s military trucks heading to Russian border,” and reported that, “Activists in eastern Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions [but not in the part that’s in liberated Donbass] are blocking columns of heavy military equipment heading from Kiev to the border with Russia.” Ukraine is massing tanks on the Russian border to either invade Russia (which Ukraine repeatedly has threatened to do) or else to defend against a Russian invasion (which Russia has not threatened to do). These truckers encountered such hostility that they backtracked and took an alternate route (presumably more northerly).

Officially in Ukraine, all opponents of the Obama regime there are ‘terrorists.’ (Thus, the government’s constant bombings of them are in an ‘Anti Terrorist Operation’ or ATO.) The Obama team told its people to use this terminology because gullible individuals anywhere will oppose anyone who is merely labeled a ‘terrorist’ — even when the actual terrorism is on the part of the U.S. Government and its installed regimes, such as is the case in Ukraine.

The United States has become George Orwell’s Oceania. He got all the basics right. He is already the modern Nostradamus. However, Big Brother, the U.S. aristocracy, isn’t publishing that fact. Now, why would that be the case? Publishing that fact would confirm that they’re collectively Big Brother. That explains why the Brookings Institution is urging Obama to bomb Donbass longer and harder, and why over 98% of the U.S. Congress are urging him likewise, even though over two-thirds of the U.S. public who have any opinion on the matter, are against it. Obama, who did the coup, hasn’t pursued the extermination-program with the persistence that Big Brother demands. Big Brother demands more follow-through on his part. And, apparently, they’ll get it.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

As NATO-backed protests were beginning to take off in Ukraine after then-president Viktor Yanukovich agreed to accept a financial deal with Russia as opposed to the greater integration/austerity package proposed by the European Union, evidence of US involvement in the Euromaidan color revolution began to surface in the Ukrainian Rada.

Indeed, early on, there were individuals in the Ukrainian government who recognized that there was an international and NATO-centered plot at work in their country designed to overthrow the President and other elected officials using “swarming adolescents” and other more violent elements of protest and destabilization.

While color revolutions are often manifested through a variety of channels — the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, IRI, NDI, are just a few examples, — there were a number of relatively new participants in the game of national destabilization at play in Ukraine this time around.

For instance, even something as a seemingly innocuous “TechCamp” acted as a front for the color revolution apparatus in Ukraine. While the “TechCamp” concept is one that is presented as bringing influential and important members of the public together with members of the technology community for the purposes of greater training and understanding, the truth is that these “TechCamps” are actually operations used to disseminate methodologies for the implementation of color revolutions throughout the target country.

This was recognized early on by Oleg Tsarev, former Deputy of Ukraine and now a member of the separatist parliament in Eastern Ukraine. In November, 2013, before he was ousted from his position in the Ukrainian government, Tsarev attempted to warn the Rada of the involvement of the West with the protests taking off in Ukraine and the use of the “TechCamp” as a tool of destabilization.

Tsarev took his chance to speak to the Rada amongst howls of protest and managed to produce a speech that ultimately went unheeded to say the least. He stated,

In my role as a representative of the Ukrainian people…activists of the public organisation “Volya” turned to me…providing clear evidence…that within our territory…with support and direct participation…of the US Embassy in Kiev…the “TechCamp” project is realised…under which preparations are being made for a civil war in Ukraine.

The “TechCamp” project prepares specialists for information warfare…and the discrediting of state institutions using modern media…potential revolutionaries……for organising protests…and the toppling of the State Order.

The project is currently overseen and under the responsibility…of the US ambassador to Ukraine…Geoffrey R. Pyatt.

After the conversation with the organisation “Volya“… I have learned…that they succeeded to access Facilities in the project “TechCamp“…disguising as a team of IT specialists.

To their surprise, briefings on peculiarities of modern media were held.

American instructors explained how social networks and Internet technologies…can be used for targeted manipulation of public opinion…as well as to activate protest potential…to provoke violent unrest on the territory of Ukraine…Radicalisation of the population and triggering of infighting.

American instructors show examples of successful use of social networks…used to organise protests…in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

“TechCamp” representatives currently hold conferences throughout Ukraine. A total of five events have been held so far.

About 300 people were trained as operatives, which are now active throughout Ukraine.

The last conference “TechCamp” took place on 14 and 15 November 2013…in the Heart of Kiev on the territory of the US Embassy!

You tell me which country in the world would allow…a NGO to operate out of the US Embassy?

This is disrespectful to the Ukrainian government, and against the Ukrainian People!

I appeal to the Constitutional Authorities of Ukraine with the following question:

Is it conceivable that representatives of the US Embassy…which organise the “TechCamp” Conferences…misuse their diplomatic mission?

At this point, Tsarev was interrupted to the point that the officer chairing the session was forced to intervene in order to restore order and allow him to continue.

He picked back up where he left off and finished his statement. Tsarev said,

UN Resolution of 21 December 1965 regulates…inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of a state…to protect its independence and its sovereignty…in accordance with paragraphs one, two and five. I ask you to consider this as an official beseech…to pursue an investigation of this case. Thank You!

TechCamp

Tsarev’s statements were no mere “conspiracy theory.” Nor were they the ravings of a man about to be removed from power. They were simply the statement of fact that was itself admitted by the US Embassy in Ukraine via the US Embassy website.

For instance on March 1, 2013, the US Embassy posted a press release about the “Techcamp” that took place on the same day. It stated,

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv in partnership with Microsoft Ukraine hosted TechCamp Kyiv 2.0 on March 1, 2013 at the Microsoft Ukraine Headquarters. TechCamps support the U.S. State Department’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative that builds the technological and digital capacity of civil society organizations around the world.

During the full day interactive workshop, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv paired leaders in the technology community with civil society organizations to provide in-depth exposure to low-cost and easy to implement technologies. More than 60 civil society leaders from throughout Ukraine came together to get hands-on training in a variety of areas ranging from fundraising using crowdsourcing, citizen journalism, PR tools for NGOs, Microsoft software and programs for NGOs, and more. These civil society organizations will be poised to use new technologies to grow their networks, communicate more efficiently, and keep pace with the changing world.

To date, State Department sponsored TechCamps in Ukraine have trained more than 200 civil society organizers from throughout the country and Belarus. The technologies and approaches presented help to build new networks of relationships, enhance skill development, and create new avenues for communication. Adoption of these technologies by civil society organizations will help support the missions of these groups as well as broader social goals of democracy, transparency and good governance in the 21st Century.

TechCamp Kyiv 2.0 was a follow-up to the original TechCamp Kyiv held in September of 2012. The mission of TechCamp Kyiv 2.0 was to transform TechCamp into a sustainable movement of civil society and technology experts networking and working together to build a thriving dynamic third sector in Ukraine. Two more TechCamps 2.0 will be held in Donetsk in April and Ivano-Frankivsk in May. U.S. Embassy Kyiv is also hosting a series of virtual TechCamp Meet-Ups with U.S. technologists sharing new approaches to combat social problems.

Besides the flashing neon Warning sign above anything involving the promotion of “democracy” by the United States, the press release is only a thinly veiled covering over an admission of a training session designed to enable color revolution NGOs and other destabilization organizations to implement social disorder and regime change. Indeed, the use of technology and communicationsare part of the reason the color revolution system has worked so well over the last several decades.

Technology and Communications In Color Revolutions

Indeed, what made the color revolution grow more successful is the predominance of the technology that now exists in today’s society. With the advent of cell phones, the Internet, social media and other forms of electronic communication, the ability of the color revolution to act in a more coordinated and effective fashion has been multiplied exponentially. Jonathan Mowat addresses this issue in his article “A New Gladio In Action: ‘Swarming Adolescents,’” when he states,

What is new about the template bears on the use of the Internet (in particular chat rooms, instant messaging, and blogs) and cell phones (including text-messaging), to rapidly steer angry and suggestible “Generation X” youth into and out of mass demonstrations and the like—a capability that only emerged in the mid-1990s. “With the crushing ubiquity of cell phones, satellite phones, PCs, modems and the Internet,” Laura Rosen emphasized in Salon Magazine on February 3, 2001,”the information age is shifting the advantage from authoritarian leaders to civic groups.” She might have mentioned the video games that helped create the deranged mindset of these “civic groups.” The repeatedly emphasized role played by so-called “Discoshaman” and his girlfriend “Tulipgirl,” in assisting the “Orange Revolution” through their aptly named blog, “Le Sabot Post-Modern,” is indicative of the technical and sociological components involved.

The emphasis on the use of new communication technologies to rapidly deploy small groups, suggests what we are seeing is civilian application of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s “Revolution in Military Affairs” doctrine, which depends on highly mobile small group deployments “enabled” by “real time” intelligence and communications. Squads of soldiers taking over city blocks with the aid of “intelligence helmet” video screens that give them an instantaneous overview of their environment, constitute the military side. Bands of youth converging on targeted intersections in constant dialogue on cell phones constitute the doctrine’s civilian application.

This parallel should not be surprising since the US military and National Security Agency subsidized the development of the Internet, cellular phones, and software platforms. From their inception, these technologies were studied and experimented with in order to find the optimal use in a new kind of warfare. The “revolution” in warfare that such new instruments permit has been pushed to the extreme by several specialists in psychological warfare. . . . .

The new techniques of warfare include the use of both lethal (violent) and nonlethal (nonviolent) tactics. Both ways are conducted using the same philosophy, infrastructure, and modus operandi. It is what is known as Cyberwar. For example, the tactic of swarming is a fundamental element in both violent and nonviolent forms of warfare. This new philosophy of war, which is supposed to replicate the strategy of Genghis Khan as enhanced by modern technologies, is intended to aid both military and non-military assaults against targeted states through what are, in effect, “high tech” hordes. In that sense there is no difference, from the standpoint of the plotters, between Iraq or Ukraine, if only that many think the Ukraine-like coup is more effective and easier.[1]

In his speech, “Between Hard and Soft Power: The Rise of Civilian-Based Struggle and Democratic Change,” military-industrial complex theoretician Dr. Peter Ackerman suggested that youth movements, not American military might, could be used to bring down North Korea and Iran and that they could have been used to bring down Iraq. Ackerman also stated in his speech that he was working with Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, the U.S. weapons designer, for the purpose of creating new communications technologies that might be used by these “youth insurgencies.”[2]

Yet the theory of “youth insurgencies” in no way began with Ackerman. As far back as 1967, the Tavistock Institute, the major psychological experimentation wing of the military industrial complex, was studying the effects of using “swarming adolescents” as an instrument of governmental disruption and regime change. As Jonathan Mowat summarizes,

As in the case of the new communication technologies, the potential effectiveness of angry youth in postmodern coups has long been under study. As far back as 1967, Dr. Fred Emery, then director of the Tavistock Institute, and an expert on the “hypnotic effects” of television, specified that the then new phenomenon of “swarming adolescents” found at rock concerts could be effectively used to bring down the nation-state by the end of the 1990s. This was particularly the case, as Dr. Emery reported in “The next thirty years: concepts, methods and anticipations,” in the group’s “Human Relations,” because the phenomena was associated with “rebellious hysteria.” The British military created the Tavistock Institute as its psychological warfare arm following World War I; it has been the forerunner of such strategic planning ever since. Dr. Emery’s concept saw immediate application in NATO’s use of “swarming adolescents” in toppling French President Charles De Gaulle in 1967.[3]

Facebook, Twitter, and Social Media in the Euromaidan

Tsarev’s words were not only accurate but, considering their implications, they were somewhat prophetic since many of the technologies and methodologies presented and shared in the TechCamp were no doubt employed in the Euromaidan color revolution. Regardless of whether or not the TechCamp was the actual center of color revolution technology activity (it was most likely only one part of a much larger effort), the methods and tools of technology and communications were no doubt employed. As Carola Frediani of Tech President wrote in her article “How Ukraine’s Euromaidan Played Out Online,”

After three months of demonstrations and fighting on the streets, ending with the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, there are few doubts that the Internet and social media played major roles in the revolution. While the Ukrainian press coverage was often limited, technology and online platforms not only materially sustained the protesters, but also helped them to reach an international audience.

Protestors began to mobilize on Nov. 21, 2013, after the Ukrainian governmentsuspend preparations for the EU-Ukraine Association agreement. They gathered in Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev and used the hashtags #euromaidan and #евромайдан on Twitter and Facebook. The Facebook posts of Hromadske TV journalist Mustafa Nayem, encouraging Ukranians to gather at Maidan,received more than 1,000 shares in a few hours. At the same time, a number of independent video streams were set up, on platforms like UStream, live broadcasting what was happening on the streets.

The demonstrations swelled on November 24 when ultimately 250,000 people took to Kiev’s streets, demanding reforms as well as Ukraine’s European integration. The first social media pages also started to gain traction: the Euromaidan Facebook pagegained 70,000 followers in less than a week. As noted by two NYU researchers in the Washington Post, Facebook was being used much more actively than Twitter, acting as a news hub, as well as coordinating protests by noting the location of demonstrations, providing logistical and support information, distributing flyers for printing and dissemination, giving tips on how to behave and react to police, and uploading videos of police brutality.

A recent independent research study conducted by Kyrylo Galushko and Natalia Zorba from the National Pedagogical University ’M.P. Drahomanov’ in Kiev confirmed the predominance of Facebook in organizing the protests. According to a poll of 50 Ukrainian social media experts and Internet opinion leaders, conducted between December 2013 and January 2014, Facebook played the largest role in mobilization. Twitter came in second place, followed by the Russian social networking site,Vkontakte, which is the second most popular social networking site in Europe. “Social networking services were the leading communication feature of protesters, instrument of mobilization for taking part in different actions and establishing other forms of social support,” explains Galushko to techPresident.

The EuroMaidan Facebook pages were set up in both Ukranian and English with the latter, “aiming to deliver information on ongoing events in Ukraine to the non-Ukrainian and non-Russian speaking community,” explains EuroMaidan News Team coordinator Irina Pakhomova to techPresident. “The project consists of two parts: a blog, that is meant to be a publishing source of analytical materials and a Facebook communitythat gives timely releases of events around the clock.” The EuroMaidan News Team is a group of 25 volunteers, including 4 people from Brazil who broadcast the news in Portuguese.

Pakhomova notes how online social networks has also allowed for unprecedented speed in communication. “Back in 2004, during the Orange Revolution, neither Facebook nor Twitter existed, so information was available only through conversations with witnesses who were present at demonstrations, or through newspapers, journals and TV,” says Pakhomova. “Today, social networks spread information in seconds, which helps to inform communities – be it news broadcasting or requests for assistance.”

[...]

“Social media was the lifeblood of the protest movement,” says Revnuets. “Still is and will remain so until the job is done. The protests aren’t over. We have to make sure the new government doesn’t screw up like the Orange folks did back in 2005. After over 80 people killed by the regime, we have no right to let that happen again.”

Taras Demchu, another well-known blogger from Kiev, agrees. “Twitter was a source of the newest news and information while Facebook was for long discussions and coordination of protests,” she explains to techPresident. “Also, video streams were important at a time when traditional TV-channels didn’t tell the truth. For example, Hromadske.tv, which is like a new media crowdsourcing TV-channel, has become very popular.”

Frediani also notes the importance of the involvement of various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in the Euromaidan protests as well, an important role that very few in the mainstream or alternative media are willing to discuss.

It should also be noted that what is referred to as “civil society organizations” are in reality protest groups, NGOs, and other “revolutionary” actors. The name “civil society organization” is merely a covering to mask the true nature of the groups.

Foundations, NGOs, and Color Revolutions

While color revolutions have tended to be vastly more successful in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe than in the Middle East, what is important to understand, whether color revolution or death squad organization, is that the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), Foundations, and “Human Rights” organizations are always acting as on-the-ground trainers, manipulators, and propagandists of and for the “revolutionaries.”

As Eric Pottenger and Jeff Frieson of Color Revolutions and Geopolitics describe the color revolution process,

Color revolutions are, without a doubt, one of the main features of global political developments today…

It’s a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and “channel” local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership.

Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks.

Yet the color revolution is not merely some communiqué presented to a small group of people than organically gains a life of its own. There is an entire science behind the application of a movement of destabilization. As Pottenger and Frieson write,

Many are the professions that utilize this type of understanding, including (but not limited to) marketing, advertising, public relations, politics and law-making, radio, television, journalism and news, film, music, general business and salesmanship; each of them selling, branding, promoting, entertaining, sloganeering, framing, explaining, creating friends and enemies, arguing likes and dislikes, setting the boundaries of good and evil: in many cases using their talents to circumvent their audiences’ intellect, the real target being emotional, oftentimes even subconscious.

Looking beneath the facade of the color revolutionary movement we also find a desire-based behavioral structure, in particular one that has been built upon historical lessons offered by social movements and periods of political upheaval.

It then makes sense that the personnel of such operations include perception managers, PR firms, pollsters and opinion-makers in the social media. Through the operational infrastructure, these entities work in close coordination with intelligence agents, local and foreign activists, strategists and tacticians, tax-exempt foundations, governmental agencies, and a host of non- governmental organizations.

Collectively, their job is to make a palace coup (of their sponsorship) seem like a social revolution; to help fill the streets with fearless demonstrators advocating on behalf of a government of their choosing, which then legitimizes the sham governments with the authenticity of popular democracy and revolutionary fervor.

Because the operatives perform much of their craft in the open, their effectiveness is heavily predicated upon their ability to veil the influence backing them, and the long-term intentions guiding their work.

Their effectiveness is predicated on their ability to deceive, targeting both local populations and foreign audiences with highly-misleading interpretations of the underlying causes provoking these events.

With this explanation in mind, consider the description provided by Ian Traynor of the Guardian regarding the “revolutions” and “mass movements” which was taking place in Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus, and Georgia in 2004 and the time of the writing of his article. Traynor writes,

With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory – whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.

Ukraine, traditionally passive in its politics, has been mobilised by the young democracy activists and will never be the same again.

But while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

That one failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade.

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev.

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.

Traynor’s article represents a rare moment of candor allowed to seep through the iron curtain of the mainstream Western media regarding the nature of the Eastern European protests in 2004. Even so, Traynor’s depiction of the methodology used by the Foundations, NGOs, and government agencies stirring up dissent and popular revolt is equally illuminating. He writes,

In the centre of Belgrade, there is a dingy office staffed by computer-literate youngsters who call themselves the Centre for Non-violent Resistance. If you want to know how to beat a regime that controls the mass media, the judges, the courts, the security apparatus and the voting stations, the young Belgrade activists are for hire.

They emerged from the anti-Milosevic student movement, Otpor, meaning resistance. The catchy, single-word branding is important. In Georgia last year, the parallel student movement was Khmara. In Belarus, it was Zubr. In Ukraine, it is Pora, meaning high time. Otpor also had a potent, simple slogan that appeared everywhere in Serbia in 2000 – the two words “gotov je”, meaning “he’s finished”, a reference to Milosevic. A logo of a black-and-white clenched fist completed the masterful marketing.

In Ukraine, the equivalent is a ticking clock, also signalling that the Kuchma regime’s days are numbered.

Stickers, spray paint and websites are the young activists’ weapons. Irony and street comedy mocking the regime have been hugely successful in puncturing public fear and enraging the powerful.

These slogans and symbols are the product of mass marketers employed by State Departments and intelligence agencies for the sole purpose of destabilizing and/or overthrowing a democratically elected or unfavorable (to the oligarchy)government.

Still, Traynor sheds even more light on the mechanism and methodology used to create and implement a color revolution when he mentions the regional players such as the various agencies, Foundations, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are involved in movements such as the ones mentioned above. Traynor continues,

The Democratic party’s National Democratic Institute, the Republican party’s International Republican Institute, the US state department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaign

US pollsters and professional consultants are hired to organise focus groups and use psephological data to plot strategy.

The usually fractious oppositions have to be united behind a single candidate if there is to be any chance of unseating the regime. That leader is selected on pragmatic and objective grounds, even if he or she is anti-American.

In Serbia, US pollsters Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates discovered that the assassinated pro-western opposition leader, Zoran Djindjic, was reviled at home and had no chance of beating Milosevic fairly in an election. He was persuaded to take a back seat to the anti-western Vojislav Kostunica, who is now Serbian prime minister.

In Belarus, US officials ordered opposition parties to unite behind the dour, elderly trade unionist, Vladimir Goncharik, because he appealed to much of the Lukashenko constituency.

Officially, the US government spent $41m (£21.7m) organising and funding the year-long operation to get rid of Milosevic from October 1999. In Ukraine, the figure is said to be around $14m.

Conclusion

The results of the Euromaidan color revolution are, as they say, history. Yet it is not distant history but a one that is playing out before our eyes as a shaky ceasefire agreement continues to hold in Eastern Ukraine while the West does everything it possibly can to violate the agreement and initiate a war with Russia which could take the form of WW3 or even thermonuclear war.

The American people and the world’s population as a whole must become more streetwise regarding movements that appear to oppose corrupt governments as the vast majority of the movements are nothing more than the “Order out of Chaos” strategy employed by governments themselves – foreign or domestic – for agendas that have nothing to do with the interest of the general population.

We must quickly learn the formula behind color revolutions, destabilizations, and the agendas of the world oligarchy before it becomes too late for us all.

Notes:

[1] Tarpley, Webster G. Obama: The Postmodern Coup. Mowat, Jonathan. “A New Gladio In Action: ‘Swarming Adolescents.’” Progressive Press. 2008. Pp. 243-270.
[2] Tarpley, Webster G. Obama: The Postmodern Coup. Mowat, Jonathan. “A New Gladio In Action: ‘Swarming Adolescents.’” Progressive Press. 2008. Pp. 243-270.
[3] Tarpley, Webster G. Obama: The Postmodern Coup. Mowat, Jonathan. “A New Gladio In Action: ‘Swarming Adolescents.’” Progressive Press. 2008. Pp. 243-270.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

Philadelphia, PA — The ongoing wave of Islamophobia continues to leave its muddy footprints in American streets. Earlier in January, it was reported that 50 buses in San Francisco, CA had been plastered with anti-Islam ads from the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a known anti-Muslim and pro-Israel group. They made their way to New York, Washington DC, and now, they’ve made their way to public transport in Philadelphia.

One particular ad features a message reading, “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran. Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop racism, end all aid to Islamic countries.”

The photo beside the text features Adolf Hitler in 1941 talking with Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini, a well-known Palestinian Arab nationalist and a loud critic of Zionism. In other words, according to these ads, Muslims are the same as Nazis.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, otherwise known as SEPTA, reluctantly signed a $30,000 contract allowing the controversial ads to appear on 84 buses for a month under orders from a federal judge. As a result, SEPTA has changed their policy and now rejects any ads concerning political or public issues. Nonetheless, since the contract was signed before the change in policy, the ads must remain up for the remainder of the month.

However, days after the ads initially launched in Philly on April 1st, a counter billboard sponsored by the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia was put up to overlook I-76. The billboard features people of diverse ethnicities and cultural backgrounds with an ad for DareToUnderstand.org.

One can’t help but find a sense of irony in these “Islamic Jew hatred” ads. Specifically since one of the major factors that lead up to the holocaust was hateful propaganda directed at a very broad group of people. Just like this. It seems odd that an ad comparing Muslims to Nazis can be so reminiscent of Nazi propaganda.

These Islamophobic ideas will continue to spread like the cancer they are if they’re not put in check. They’re gilded with messages of peaceful outcomes, while history tells us that bigotry and oppression directed at a single (yet large) group of people does not end in peace. Islam is made of approximately 1.6 billion people in the world, and these ideas condemn an entire people because of the actions of extremists; many of which aroseafter the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Coincidence?

The leader behind this campaign is a conservative blogger by the name of Pamela Geller. If you’d wish to voice your opinions to her, she can be emailed at: [email protected]

This article was written 12 years ago in the immediate wake of the Battle of Baghdad.  Media propaganda played a crucial role. The media was “embedded” within the US Armed Forces. This was the basis of war propaganda. And it was tightly controlled.

Independent journalists who had not been officially approved by the US Armed Forces, namely those who were “unembedded” were targeted and killed.  

“Two prominent journalist were killed by US forces, they were deliberately targeted.  This was not an accident.  In fact, it was consistent with Pentagon “guidelines” regarding the independent “unembedded journalists”. 

Today, war propaganda has taken an even more dramatic turn in Obama’s war against a large number of countries including Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Mali, the Central African  Republic, Nigeria …

The struggle against America’s Global War is ongoing.

The text below has not been modified, updated or edited since its publication on April 11, 2003

Michel Chossudovsky, April 9, 2015

*     *     *

The tragic death of two journalists on the 8th of April bears a direct relationship to the timing of US military operations in Baghdad. The killings were an integral part of the Pentagon’s war plans.  They marked a turning point in the disinformation campaign.

On the 8th of April,  Al Jazeera and Reuters were deliberately targeted.  This was not an accident.  In fact, it was consistent with Pentagon “guidelines” regarding the independent “unembedded journalists”, who had been reporting since the beginning of the war under the “protection”  of the Iraqi Ministry of Information.

A week prior to the war, the Pentagon had intimated that it would target the transmission of information by independent  journalists, from their satellite mobile phones.  (Of course, that does not mean that  they would actually kill the journalists.) According to veteran BBC correspondent Kate Adie, in an interview with Irish TV, the Pentagon had:

 ”threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists. Uplinks is where you have your own satellite telephone method of distributing information, the telephones and the television signals. According to the Pentagon official they would be ‘targeted down… Who cares.. ..They’ve been warned’” (See transcript of interview with Katie Adie, Pentagon Threatens to Kill Independent Reporters in Iraq)

The underlying objective was to unseat the “unembedded media” and disrupt factual and objective reporting from the war theatre. The killing of the journalists was also a warning to media organizations from Asia and the Middle East, which were covering the war from Baghdad, without due accreditation of the US military.

With the entry of US troops into Baghdad, the independent journalists, who were  operating under the protection of the Iraqi Ministry of Information, were brought under the direct control of the US military. In turn, the approved USCENTCOM  “embedded journalists”, attached to various US and British divisions, were now reporting directly from Baghdad, overshadowing and silencing many of their independent “nonembedded” colleagues, who had been operating out of the Palestine Hotel.

This shift in jurisdiction over the independent journalists in Baghdad took place on the 8th of April, with the breakdown of the Ministry of Information and the killing of two independent journalists by US forces.

The Al-Jazeera correspondent Tariq Ayoub was killed when two US missiles struck Al Jazeera’s Baghdad offices:

 ”The Al Jazeera cameraman was killed on the roof ‘getting ready for a live broadcast amid intensifying bombardment of the city when the building was hit by two missiles.’”

“Another journalist died and four others were also injured when a US tank round later hit the Palestine Hotel where at least 200 international correspondents, including Al-Jazeera reporters, are staying…”  (See Al Jazeera report, 8 April 2003)

“A Reuters reporter, photographer, television cameraman and television technician were taken to hospital after the blast. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.” (Reuters, 8 April 2003)

According to the Pentagon, “American soldiers who killed two foreign journalists in a Baghdad hotel had ‘exercised their inherent right to self-defence’. (quoted in the Advertiser, 10 April 2003).

The Pentagon’s objective was clear: foreclose independent reporting of the ongoing battle of Baghdad. How to achieve this objective:

-intimidate the un-embedded journalists and oblige them to seek approval and/or accreditation with the US military,

-exert direct censorship on the flow of information out of Baghdad.

Targeting “Unembedded” Humanitarian Organizations

Coincidence? On the same day, April 8th, a convoy of seven vehicles of the Red Cross (ICRC), involved in re-supplyng the city’s hospitals .was “caught in cross fire”. Thirteen people were killed including the ICRC delegate in Baghdad (who is a Canadian). The vehicles “were clearly marked with large red crosses visible from a distance.” (Health Newswire Consumer, 10 April 2003). The press reports suggest that the convoy had been deliberately targeted. The Red Cross was the last independent international aid agency operating in Baghdad. It suspended its operations that same day, April 8th.

The attack on the Red Cross, which had been working closely with Iraqi health officials and hospital staff, was also an important turning point. It laid the groundwork for bringing in the Pentagon’s approved (“embedded”) humanitarian organizations and aid agencies.

Saddam’s Statue: A Media Staged Event

The following day, 9th of April, broadcast live by network TV, the whole world had its eyes riveted on the collapse of Saddam’s 40 foot statue, portraying   “a jubilant crowd.”

A couple of hundred people at most, mainly by-standers gathered in Al-Fardus Square, while the statue was brought down by US Marines in a carefully staged media event.  An Aerial photograph of the event suggests that the square had been  “sealed off and guarded by tanks” (NYC Indymedia) . The Marines had draped an American flag over Saddam’s statue and forcefully pulled it down with a tug from a tank recovery vehicle. A hundred or so people, at most,  were shown on TV screens, rejoicing. (The Video is available online at Reuters. Photographs of the event are also available)

The “liberation footage” was replayed obsessively by network TV. “Iconic images” of the toppled statue were plastered on the front page of major newspapers. In chorus, the Western media portrayed this staged event as “historic”, as a spontaneous mass movement of “thousands” of “happy Iraqis”, celebrating the “Liberation of Iraq” by American troops.

Reuters first released the story on the 9th, following the Live TV newscast. The report said that  “dozens” of people were celebrating the collapse of the statue. Hours later, this story had already been changed. The AFP report also acknowledged that “dozens” of people were rejoicing:

“Tanks had rumbled by late afternoon into the central Al-Fardus (Paradise) Square, where dozens of Iraqis quickly set about the massive bronze statue of the Iraqi president, a symbol of his 24-year iron-fisted rule…. Dozens of Iraqis jumped on the fallen figure shouting with joy and venting their anger by breaking it into pieces.” (AFP, 9 April 2003)

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s mouthpiece, the London Daily Express, casually inflated the “dozens” to “thousands”:

“In historic scenes reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin Wall, thousands of civilians cheered as young men mounted the statue and tied a makeshift noose around Saddam’s neck.” (Daily Express, 10 April 2003)

Baghdad was not rejoicing. Since the outset of the war, several thousand civilians had been murdered and maimed by US and British troops. US occupation forces invoking the pretext of self-defense continue to shoot indiscriminately at civilians, as evidenced by several press reports. (See for instance ABC TV broadcast, 10 April 2003). Baghdad has a population of 5.6 million and most people, fearing for the lives, decided to stay home. With the entry of US troops, a reign of terror prevails in Baghdad.

Media Spin

The bringing down of the statue of Saddam played a crucial role in the Pentagon’s propaganda campaign. Relayed by Fox News and CNN,  it was immediately heralded by TV channels and news media around the World as marking an end to the war. While fighting was still ongoing, with heavy casualties on both sides, the Western media had decided in chorus: “It’s in the end game now,”

In turn, the toppling of Saddam’s statue had become a symbol of Iraq’s “Liberation” by US forces, overshadowing everything else, including the atrocities committed by US and British forces.

Since the entry of US troops into Baghdad, civilian casualties are no longer front-page news. The slaughter of women and children and the crisis in the hospitals, is no  longer an issue. The impending humanitarian crisis, reported by the relief agencies and the UN is no longer mentioned. Civilian deaths are view as “the price to pay” to “liberate Iraq”:

 ”the number of Iraqi civilians accidentally killed has been far, far less than the number that would have been killed by Saddam Hussein’s evil regime in the normal scheme of things” (Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 8 April 2003)

. “I’m sure there will be more casualties, but it is one of the prices we have to pay” (Washington Post, 10 April 2003)

“‘one day’ the mothers of children killed or maimed by British cluster bombs will thank Britain for their use (British Defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon quoted in the Independent, 5 April 2003)

In turn, because “the war is nearly over”, detailed and accurate reporting from the war theatre is no longer deemed necessary.

Meanwhile, financial markets rejoice. Investors on Wall Street “applauded images of a statue of Saddam…[which] sent sent stocks surging…” (UPI, 9 April 2003).

This “liberation euphoria” also serves to disarm the critics and create divisions within the anti-war movement. A segment of the anti-war movement now views as “positive” the demise of the Iraqi regime, thereby tacitly signifying their approval of the US military intervention in support  of “regime change”.

“Peace”, “reconstruction”, “democracy” and “the post-Saddam era” are the buzz words.  The main justification for waging the war (i.e. Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction) is no longer deemed relevant. The fact that the invasion was a criminal act in blatant violation of the UN charter and the Nuremberg charter on war crimes is no longer an issue. (For further details see Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal. Adopted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations, 1950 ).

The Pentagon’s propaganda apparatus had taken over. The targeted killing of journalists in Baghdad marked a crucial turning point. Independent reporting out of Baghdad has been seriously impaired.

News media from Arab countries including Al Jazeera, which had been threatened for their “non-Western news perspective”, were towing the line. Since the attack on its office in Baghdad, Al Jazeera’s news reports seem to have taken on a different tone.

Virtually the entire news chain has become “embedded”.

The War is not over

How best to disarm the anti-war movement and silence the critics: Convey the illusion that the war is over.

But the war is not over.

Heavy fighting is ongoing. The evidence suggests that a significant part of the Iraqi arsenal and troops is still intact. (For further details see the report of Richard Bennett published on April 5, 2003) .  Thousands of Iraqi troops and armed civilians including volunteers from neighboring countries are confronting the invaders.

The Pentagon has acknowledged that it only controls part of the city.

The Battle of Baghdad is not over.  The struggle against US occupation has commenced.


Remember those flagrant claims that Big Biotech made, that genetically modified foods were a big reason why the world was enjoying food with less pesticide residues? Well, it turns out, those promises were like all the other biotech claims – baseless.

What has really happened is one class of harmful pesticides has simply been replaced by another. A massive increase in bee-toxic neonicotinoids has replaced chemical insecticides used previously.

This isn’t the first time a scientific study revealed that Monsanto and their ilk actually cause greater pesticide use, but a new study points out specifically how biotech has caused a “rapid increase” in neonicotinoid insecticide use – especially in the widely planted GM corn and soy crops. Just how much of an increase are we talking about, for all who want to claim there is no ‘statistical’ evidence against GM agriculture?

More neonics were used to the tune of 34−44% more for GM soybeans and 79−100% of GM corn hectares being treated in 2011.

I’d say that accounts for a ‘dramatic increase’ no matter how you want to look at the numbers. We aren’t arguing over half a percentage point here – biotech has caused an almost 100% increase in damaging chemical pesticides in the last several years.

Margaret Douglas, graduate student in entomology at Pennsylvania State University and an author of the study, commented:

“Previous studies suggested that the percentage of corn acres treated with insecticides decreased during the 2000s, but once we took seed treatments into account we found the opposite pattern. Our results show that application of neonicotinoids to seed of corn and soybeans has driven a major surge in the U.S. cropland treated with insecticides since the mid-2000s.”

 

No wonder the bees and butterflies are dying. The study also found that over 40 million hectares of land are doused in neonics since the industry has promoted an “insurance-based approach to pest management” causing a now limited availability of neonicotinoid-free seed, farmers are running out of other options.

What’s more, the study outlines that Bt crops planted were not included in the original Big Biotech studies which allowed them to claim that their manipulated crops were allowing for fewer pesticides to be sprayed – that’s because Bt crops ARE a pesticide. The Bt toxins are inside every fiber of the plant once it grows, and insects that eat them end up, essentially, with an exploded gut as their form of a quick and painful death.

Put more gently, the researchers stated that studies claiming that Bt crops have decreased insecticide use “do not seem to have considered seed treatments, and so may have overstated reductions in insecticide use.”

I’ll say. Monsanto’s Bt toxins don’t just kill insects. They have also been known to harm human embryo cells. E Toxin Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has also been found in the blood of pregnant women and baby’s cordblood. Yet Monsanto asserts that their pesticide in the form of Bt crops are safe.

Read: List of Foods we Could Lose Without the Bees

Straight from Monsanto’s Pages:

“Are foods and ingredients developed through biotechnology (or GMOs) safe to eat?

Yes. Plants and crops with GM traits have been tested more than any other crops—with no credible evidence of harm to humans or animals.

As consumers ourselves, we place the highest priority on the safety of our products and conduct rigorous and comprehensive testing on each. In fact, seeds with GM traits have been tested more than any other crops in the history of agriculture – with no credible evidence of harm to humans or animals.

Governmental regulatory agencies, scientific organizations and leading health associations worldwide agree that food grown from GM crops is safe to eat. The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, among others that have examined the evidence, all come to the same conclusion: consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is safe to eat and no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredi¬ents from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques (i.e. plant breeding).”

Misleading Studies

As just an example of the type of data switcheroonie that Monsanto likes to play with, there was a meta-analysis published by Klumper and Qaim, which claimed a 37% reduction in chemical pesticide use from GM crops overall and a 42% reduction from Bt insecticidal crops. Of course this study was hyped by pro-GMOers – “look, see, we aren’t really poisoning you!” This report completely disregarded insecticidal seed treatments when claiming reductions in chemical insecticide use from GM crops. This has been highlighted in of GMO Myths and Truths, as well as by Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman.

Gurian-Sherman explains, “In reality, corn engineered to kill certain insect pests – AKA Bt corn – has mainly resulted in the replacement of one group of chemical insecticides with another.” The new study proves the point with hard data.

The study’s authors warn:

“This pattern of use may have unintended consequences, namely resistance in target pests, outbreaks of nontarget pests, and pollution with detrimental effects cascading to wildlife… some of these effects have already emerged.”

It is certainly advice to heed considering that another new study found the neonicotinoid insecticide, clothianidin, has been found in milkweed (the food of the monarch butterfly) at levels harmful to monarch larvae (abstract below).

This means that bees, butterflies, etc are being decimated due to additional ‘stressors’ in the form of GM herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides – it doesn’t matter what you call them, or how they are applied – sprayed on, or genetically insinuated into the plant by altering its DNA – its toxic #%&%*% that shouldn’t be used in our food supply.

A good read for the biotech industry would be Prof Robert Van Den Bosch’s book “The Pesticide Conspiracy,” which explains that pesticide use actively creates pest attacks by wiping out the natural pest predators. A more recent book, Poison Spring, by former US EPA staffer Evaggelos Vallianatos, demolishes the notion that pesticide use is based on any kind of sound science at all.

The abstract says:

“Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) frequently consume milkweed in and near agroecosystems and consequently may be exposed to pesticides like neonicotinoids. We conducted a dose response study to determine lethal and sublethal doses of clothianidin using a 36-h exposure scenario. We then quantified clothianidin levels found in milkweed leaves adjacent to maize fields. Toxicity assays revealed LC10, LC50, and LC90 values of 7.72, 15.63, and 30.70 ppb, respectively. Sublethal effects (larval size) were observed at 1 ppb. Contaminated milkweed plants had an average of 1.14 ±0.10 ppb clothianidin, with a maximum of 4 ppb in a single plant. This research suggests that clothianidin could function as a stressor to monarch populations.”

Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

Tuesday 8 April 2003 was a dark day in Iraq for the many journalists who wanted to ensure that coverage from Baghdad would continue to reach the outside world.

Most journalists presumed they were relatively safe in their temporary offices at the Palestine hotel. They were wrong.

Tuesday’s first victim was Tareq Ayyoub, a 34-year-old Jordanian reporting for al-Jazeera. Ayoub and his cameraman Zuheir Iraqi were wounded when US missiles struck al-Jazeera’s office in Baghdad, less than a mile from the Palestine hotel. Ayyoub died shortly after in hospital. Nearby, coalition artillery battered the Baghdad office of Abu Dhabi television, trapping more than 25 reporters who phoned for help from the basement.

When a US A10 “tank killer” plane fired a missile at al-Jazeera’s office in Baghdad, the pilot circled the building and fired another missile, apparently making sure the hit was a success.

There was a huge “PRESS” sign, in yellow, on the roof. The exact location of al-Jazeera was well known to the US forces. Richard Myers, a US general, once said: “We are capable of directing our weapons not just to certain buildings, but to a certain window in a given building.”

What a perfectly strange coincidence that the US had also “mistakenly” bombed the al-Jazeera press office in Kabul during the Afghan action.

Hours later, it was the turn of the Palestine hotel, the home for some 300 non-embedded journalists. The 15th floor of the hotel was hit by a US tank shell, which struck the offices of the Reuters wire service.

Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, 35, and Spanish cameraman Jose Couso, 37, were killed. A Japanese cameraman working for Fuji TV, three other Reuters journalists and another Western reporter were also injured.

At Central Command Headquarters in Doha, Vincent Brooks, a US general, tried to deny that coalition forces were intentionally targeting journalists. But journalists in Baghdad did not agree. Many felt they had become targets.

“We cannot guarantee the safety of reporters unless they are with us,” a US army spokesperson stated. This statement made it very clear that reporters outside the wing of the US forces were now military targets.

Farewell freedom of the press. Farewell international law guaranteeing security and safety of reporters in war zones. Farewell truth.

The brother of Jose Cousodemonstratin in front of
the US Embassy in Madrid in 2003 [AFP}

Reuters’ editor-in-chief, Geert Linneban, said that the shelling of the Palestine hotel “raises questions about the judgment of the advancing US troops who have known all along that this hotel is the main base for almost all foreign journalists in Baghdad”.

According to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie, the US defence department threatened to target the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq.

In an interview with Irish radio, Adie said a senior US officer, when questioned about the potential consequences, stated: “Who cares…. They have been warned.”

Also according to Adie, the US attitude was “entirely hostile to the free spread of information”.

She warned that the Pentagon was vetting journalists according to their stance on the war and intended to take control of US journalists’ satellite equipment in order to control access to the airwaves.

Phillip Knightley, a war writer, also mentions threats from the Pentagon, directed at the free press: “They may find it necessary to bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the Iraqi side.”

The then Lebanese information minister, Ghazi Aridi, also denounced the attacks saying: “The freedom the US is talking about is the freedom of killing everyone without exception, especially journalists, to prevent them from informing public opinion about the massacres committed in Baghdad and Iraqi cities.”

Aridi reminded that the then US secretary of state, Colin Powell, called on journalists to leave Baghdad before the war started “so that no witness remains to testify about the committed massacres”.

Martin Bell, a former BBC correspondent, said: “I think it’s very worrying that independent witnessing of war is becoming increasingly dangerous and this may be the end of it.

“I have a feeling that independent journalists have become a target because the management of the information war has become a higher priority than ever.”

Those words were prophetic. Between the invasion of 20 March and the events on 8 April, 16 media professionals were killed in Iraq.

Jose Couso, Tele Cinco cameraman; Taras Protsyuk, Reuters cameraman; Tareq Ayyoub, al-Jazeera reporter; Julio Anguita Parrado, reporter for Spanish newspaper El Mundo; Christian Liebig, journalist for German Focus magazine; Terry Lloyd, ITN correspondent; Paul Moran, freelance Australian cameraman; Kaveh Golestan, freelance BBC cameraman; Michael Kelly, US journalist and Washington Post columnist; Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed, BBC translator; Gaby Rado, Channel 4 News foreign affairs correspondent; David Bloom, NBC TV correspondent; Veronica Cabrera, Argentinian freelance journalist; Frederic Nerac, French journalist who went missing; Hussein Othman, ITN correspondent; unknown translator, working for Malaysian journalists.

A woman passes a placard of Taras Protsyuk, an Ukrainian cameraman
killed in Iraq while working for Reuters Television [AFP]

The US occupation of Iraq turned out to be the deadliest conflict for journalists in history. By the end of 2014, 422 had died in Iraq, according to the BRussells Tribunal database, among them 391 Iraqis.

In 2014, Iraq was yet again the deadliest place on earth for media professionals, as was the case in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Added to this tragedy is the total impunity. In its annual Global Impunity Index, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, CPJ, spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and the killers go free.

From the 2014 report: “With 100 journalists murdered in the last decade and 100 percent impunity, Iraq is the worst offender on the Impunity Index, a spot it has held since 2008, when CPJ first compiled the index.”

There have been attempts to hold US soldiers accountable. Following the death of the Spanish cameraman Jose Couso, there were protests in front of the US diplomatic posts in Spain and several civil and judicial actions in order to determine the liability of the people involved.

Up to now, there are still concentrations of people demanding justice on the 8th of each month in front of the US embassy in Madrid. On 29 July 2010, Santiago Pedraz, a Spanish judge, issued search and arrest warrants against the three US soldiers, but they have never been detained.

Dima Tareq Tahboub, Ayyoub’s widow, continues her mourning for her late husband, which she said has been compunded by the lack of justice.

“No justice has been achieved to this day after 10 years,” she told al-Jazeera in 2013.Tahboub has filed lawsuits in Belgium, the US and Jordan, but “none of the cases were successful and the American lawyer finally informed us that US soldiers were granted immunity from prosecution”.

This is unacceptable for a country that likes to call itself ‘the greatest democracy on earth’.

The US administration and the installed Iraqi government should be reminded of the Third Geneva Convention, as mentioned in the International Review of the Red Cross, March 2004 , The protection of journalists and news media personnel in armed conflict:

“The recent war in Iraq is a perfect illustration of the growing risks faced by journalists working in conflict zones. It is therefore important to call renewed attention to the fact that attacks against journalists and media equipment are illegal under international humanitarian law, which protects civilian persons and objects, as long as they are not making an effective contribution to military action.

“The media cannot be considered a legitimate target, even if they are being used for propaganda purposes, unless they are being exploited to instigate grave breaches of humanitarian law.

“Journalists and media personnel also benefit from precautionary measures - not confined to them alone - such as the principle of proportionality and the obligation to give advance warning.”

Authors of a new report published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings say that dramatically higher prices for cancer medications are beginning to have a negative effect on patient care in the U.S., as well as the American health care system overall.

“Americans with cancer pay 50 percent to 100 percent more for the same patented drug than patients in other countries,” wrote S. Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, one of the authors of the recently posted report. “As oncologists we have a moral obligation to advocate for affordable cancer drugs for our patients.”

Rajkumar and a colleague, Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, write that the average prices of cancer medications for about 12 months of treatment grew between $5,000 and $10,000 before the year 2000 to more than $100,000 by 2012, or a 100-fold increase.

Over roughly the same period of time, the average American household income fell by about 8 percent, perhaps in large part to the Great Recession of 2008-09.

In their paper, the authors refute the primary arguments used by Big Pharma to justify such dramatic increases and continued high cost of cancer drugs, especially that it costs so much to conduct research and development of drugs, the comparative benefits to patients, that eventually market forces will equalize and stabilize prices, and that putting price controls on cancer medications would quash further R & D.

All rules favor Big Pharma

“One of the facts that people do not realize is that cancer drugs for the most part are not operating under a free market economy,” wrote Rajkumar. “The fact that there are five approved drugs to treat an incurable cancer does not mean there is competition.

“Typically,” he continued, “the standard of care is that each drug is used sequentially or in combination, so that each new drug represents a monopoly with exclusivity granted by patent protection for many years.”

The authors go onto to say that there are other reasons for the high cost of cancer medications. Included among them is legislation that prevents Medicare from being permitted to negotiate drug prices (in a likely sop to Big Pharma political contributors) and a lack of value-based pricing, which they say would attach the cost of a drug to its relative effectiveness in comparison with other medications.

But the authors recommended some solutions they believe would decrease prices, some of which are already being utilized in other developed countries. They include:

– Permit Medicare to negotiate prices, because doing so would result in lower costs for taxpayers;

– Develop new cancer treatment guidelines and pathways that incorporate the cost and benefit of the drugs;

– Permit the Food and Drug Administration or doctor panels to make recommendations regarding prices that are based on a drug’s sum benefit (value-based pricing);

– Get rid of “pay-for-delay” strategies that enable a Big Pharma company with a brand name drug to share profits with a generic drug maker for the duration of the patent period, thereby eliminating competition and any patent challenges (which keep prices artificially high);

– Allow drugs to be imported from abroad, for personal use;

– Empower cancer advocacy organizations like the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to consider cost in any recommendations;

– Build patient-driven grassroots networks and groups that can advocate effectively for cancer patient interests, in order to balance the overt and overwhelming influence of Big Pharma companies, insurance firms, pharmacies and hospitals.

Now, for a natural treatment…

And we would add even more recommendations, such as:

– Allow for equal presentation of evidence that cancer treatment alternatives to chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery exist and are effective in some patients;

– Give holistic physicians equal opportunity to compete for cancer patients;

– End the mainstream medical industry’s campaign of disinformation and lies regarding holistic, natural and alternative cancer treatments.

You can see more of those treatments, and learn about the official duplicity behind keeping them hidden, here.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150316092809.htm

http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org

http://www.naturalnews.com

Jurors in the trial of 21 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are hoping to return a verdict on Wednesday, following weeks of testimony in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.

Tsarnaev faces either life in prison or the death penalty.

Here are five stunning questions that were not asked during this historic trial in Massachusetts…

1-Tamerlan-Tsarnaev 5. Was older brother Tamerlan working as an informant for the FBI?

Ever since the two Tsarnaev brothers were announced by the FBI as their “prime suspects” in the Boston Marathon Bombing, every major US media network and government agency assumed that they were guilty – based solely a single photograph and a series of still photos created to look like CCTV footage, purporting to place them at the scene of the main event. Despite a wall of denial and evasion, some smarter elements of the media discovered that not only did the FBI know who BOTH brothers were, but elder brother Tamerlan (photo above) had already been recruited by the agency as an informant years before the Boston Bombing (his file is likely classified, meaning the public will not allowed to know the whole story), and although he is not live to tell his side of the story – he was most likely working for either the FBI or another agency in that capacity. This explains why Tamerlan traveled overseas in the summer of 2012 to attend the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus – an event that was organized by theJamestown Foundation – a well-known CIA front, which is part of a vast network “controlled by Freedom House  and linked to the CIA”, as explained in detail by Voltaire Network. Former British diplomat and intelligence analyst Craig Murray has also weighed-in with a similar conclusion.

One year ago, defense attorneys for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke about how the FBI attempted to recruit his older brother Tamerlan to spy on Muslims and the Chechen community in the city, which began prompting some journalists in the US to ask how well the FBI knew the Tsarnaevs and whether or not the FBI could have prevented the bombings taking place. Something happened between now and then whereby the defense appears to have completely ‘thrown in the towel’, as it wear. Federal District Court Judge George O’Toole intervened early on to limit testimony showing any connection that Tamerlan manipulated Dzhokhar into participating in the ‘bomb plot’. Oddly, the defense team, led by Judy Clarke, were quick to proclaim their client’s guilt and did not cross-examine any victims, and only called four witnesses – before resting their case. It’s as if they wanted this to be over with as quickly as possible.

According to the Huff Post, “Securing a life sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev [and not maintaining any innocence] has been seen as the defense team’s overriding goal.” Killing two birds with one stone, Clarke also threw Dzhokhar’s dead brother Tamerlan under the bus in order to reinforce the official narrative. “We don’t deny that Dzhokhar fully participated in the events, but if it were not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened,” said Clarke during closing arguments. Unfortunately for him, Tamerlan was never afforded any due process – and in the eyes of Judy Clarke and the federal prosecution -  was always assumed guilty.

The FBI knew who Tamerlan was long before the said crime took place. This fact alone should cast doubt upon the entire official narrative of the events on April 15, 2013.

4. Why were Craft International mercenaries active at the finish line, and did one of them place a backpack on the ground just before the bomb went off?

Initially the FBI made a public plea for any photographs from bystanders to help them locate the perpetrators. What followed was a flood of photographs, many of them posted up on the popular hacking forum 4Chan. These photos would have shocked anyone who saw them, only they were completely blacked-out by the US mainstream media – as if they did not exist. They clearly depicted multiple mercenaries, some of whom wore the insignia for Craft International, a private mercenary and special ops agency based in Dallas, Texas. Some photos even detailed a backpack left on the ground by one of the operatives depicted in the photos. Almost immediately after the 4Chan photo dump surfaced online, the FBI staged a press conference to tell the public not to look at any other photos and declared that ‘no other suspects should be considered’ – except for two brand new faces, those of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. An FBI spokesperson then went on national TV to insist that, ‘these two are the only suspects we are looking for now.’ The FBI claimed they did not know the names of the two men, or that they were even brothers, and then proceeded to ask the general public for ‘any information relating to these two new faces.’

Taking these facts into account, along with multiple live terror drills that were taking place thatsame day along the Boston Marathon, jurors may have drawn a completely different conclusion to the prepackaged narrative which was presented to them by both the prosecution and the defense.

1-Boston-Manhunt 3. Why were Boston Police previously in hot pursuit of two completely different named suspects before the Tsarnaevs were  named, and why are they both dead?

The most disturbing fact in the FBI’s ‘Tsarnaev Brothers’ storyline, is that hours before the fugitive brothers’ photos were thrust into the national spotlight by the FBI, two other suspects were being pursued on April 18th, and may have been killed following that multiple manhunt. The first two names which were announced as suspects by the police were Mike Mulugeta,reportedly as shot dead, and the other suspect was that missing 22 year old Brown University student named Sunil Tripathi.

Photos: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Sunil Tripathi.

This was also confirmed by CBS local: “Boston police on Friday revealed the names of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, one of whom is an Indian origin person, Sunil Tripathi, reported CBS-affiliated television station WFSB.” 

Previously, Tripathi was reported missing and even appeared on an official FBI Missing Persons List from March 16th, which coincidentally followed a series of bomb explosions between Providence, RI and Boston – taking place approximately one month earlier on March 12th. At 11pm on April 18th, an SUV was allegedly carjacked by Tsarnaev brothers after an MIT campus policeman was shot, at which time Tripathi’s Facebook page was immediately taken down. Either US military or DHS could be heard over the Boston police scanners on April 19th – referring to “Operation Tango 911.” Days later, Sunil Tripathi was reported as dead, after being found floating face-down in a pond. His family wrote in a statement, “On April 23, our beloved Sunil was discovered in the waters off India Point Park in Providence.”

Mike Mulageta and Sunil Tripathi were the first to be named by the police as suspects in the Boston Bombing, and both were killed.

tamerlan tsarnaev and someone2 2. Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev alive while in police custody?

A video (below) appears on TV which appears to depict the Boston Police Dept arresting suspect bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev – showing the 26 year old being escorted to BPD vehicle whilst naked and handcuffed – but not wounded, which in total contradiction to official reports which claim Tamerlan was shot by police and then run-over by his younger brother in a stolen SUV in Sommerville, MA. If this was Tamerlan, then this means he was executed, or brutally murdered after this news footage was shot. Watch:

In addition to this, another piece of eyewitness evidence has surfaced from a radio broadcast which aired on Friday April 19, 2013 on WEEI 93.7 FM in Boston, where a caller named “Linda” explains how the shootout transpired on Dexter Street in Watertown during the early morning hours. Listen:

She is describing how she saw the first suspect, Tamerlan, was run over by a police SUV and then mortally wounded by multiple police gun shots, after which time the police began their incredible manhunt for the second suspect Dzhokhar. She ends the interview by stating how the police had ordered her to stay inside, or ‘shelter in place’ for the remainder of the evening. 

To date, some ‘debunking’ websites have tried to discredit these pieces of evidence, but none have been able to explain away the clear forensic merits of both.

1-confession-boston-marathon-bombing 1. Dzhokhar exited the boat uninjured, yet, he was hospitalized later with a ‘throat injury’. How could he have penned such a perfect confession whilst hiding under a boat tarp in the middle of a fire fight?

Still image from helicopter footage of Dzhokhar.

21WIRE has demonstrated how our original analysis of the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was indeed correct – that a police firing squad had tried to murder the unarmed suspect when he was discovered hiding under a tarp in a boat. The FBI, however, declined to discuss what prompted the mass gunfire by police. Moreover, Boston Police have yet to explained how Dzhokhar’s throat became so badly lacerated as to end up in serious condition, hospitalized at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and left unable to speak for many weeks afterwards. Helicopter footage from the arrest appears to show the suspect climbing out from under a tarp in very good form, even though police insist he was bleeding all day from “gun shot wounds” sustained during his escape.

Then there is the amazing, perfectly scripted ‘confession’ note (photo above), said to have been written by Dzhokhar at night and in the dark under the tarp of a boat during the police stand-off, neatly scribbled on the inside wall of the boat and adorned with perfect blood dripping and even bullet holes coming through the words of a jihad polemic, including media favorites like ‘Mujahideen’, ‘Koran’ and ‘paradise’. This set of images were absolutely key pieces of evidence presented the prosecution to exact guilt, yet these photographs which submitted by the DOJ appear to be ‘undated.’

These are only a few of the serious questions and obvious anomalies surrounding the Boston Marathon case, yet none of these were ever addressed, or included by either the defense of the prosecution in court – leading 21WIRE to conclude that the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a classic ‘show trial’ – one which was never intended to discover anything which wasn’t already prearranged or choreographed in advance. With that in mind, and with a federal ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction‘ case stacked against him, it’s certain that Dzhokhar would have done or said anything – in order to avoid the death penalty.

Israel Has Spied On American Citizens for Decades

April 9th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

One of Our Closest Allies Massively Spies On Us

The NSA considers Israel one of America’s top spying threats.  Israeli spying on America is so rampant that U.S. officials have labeled it “alarming, even terrifying”.

Israeli companies hoover up all of the U.S. data through their equipment. And have been doing so for years and years.  And see this.

Israelis were spying on the 9/11 hijackers within America before 9/11. See thisthisthisthis and this.

The NSA voluntarily shares the raw  data it collects on American citizens with Israel.  This includes raw data on U.S. government officials.

Indeed, leaked NSA documents show that U.S. intelligence officials are concerned that the NSA may be putting Israel’s security needs ahead of America’s.

This article is translated from Russian

The negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program that were held all last week in Lausanne and the resulting joint action plan received such massive media coverage that we wanted to figure out – what exactly happened in this quiet Swiss resort town?

Misconception # 1: The international community and Iran came to an agreement.

Reality: There is no treaty. Yes, there is an “understanding,” but only sort of (which means there is not even a memorandum of understanding). The wording of the preamble is fascinating: (“Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”) But there’s no real need to read the other paragraphs, since they might all change while everything is being “agreed,” and none of those paragraphs are binding anyway. The only firm commitment the parties undertook was a promise to knuckle down and try to put together something serious that could be signed by June 30.

Hence the question – what was the point of this useless scrap of paper? Well, it was needed so that Obama and the Iranian diplomats could announce their historic victory and avoid the shameful necessity of admitting that the negotiations, on which great hopes had been pinned, had actually ended in naught. As long as they emerged with this document, they can always later point their fingers at each other for the breakdown of any agreement. That’s a standard practice.

Misconception # 2: Obama can sign a long-term agreement with Tehran that will bring an end to the Iran crisis.

Reality: The most Obama can do is sign an agreement that will be valid until he leaves office. The majority of the Republicans in the Senate (and the next US president will be almost certainly be a Republican) recently sent an official letter to the government in Tehran that offered the Iranian leaders a clear picture of the senators’ opinion of any potential treaty with that country.

At best, a future agreement with Iran will provide a semblance of stability for no more than 18 months. It should also be kept in mind that the Senate will do everything it can to torpedo this treaty, and subversive Democratic senators who would be dissatisfied with any deal will also lend a hand in that. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has spoken out against the treaty, and AIPAC is the most powerful lobbying organization in the United States, wielding significant leverage in both the House and the Senate, as well as within the US president’s own administration. And while Obama has essentially nothing to lose, many members of his party are quite hesitant to ruffle AIPAC’s feathers and thereby kiss their political careers goodbye. Incidentally, in America it’s commonly believed that the party favored by AIPAC wins the White House. Thus, even the Democrats have a strong motivation to deep six any deal with Iran in order to prevent a Republican from moving into the Oval Office.

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has promised to call Obama “on the carpet,” stating, “In the weeks ahead, Republicans and Democrats in Congress will continue to press this administration on the details of these parameters and the tough questions that remain unanswered.”

Peregovory-v-Lozanne-sanktsii-snimut-yadernye-obekty-ne-zakroyutMisconception #3: An agreement between the US and Iran will bring peace to the region.

Reality: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s initial reaction to the outcome of the talks in Lausanne was tocall it a “historic mistake.” That was followed by a three-hour conversation with Obama, during which the American president tried to pacify the furious prime minister. At least that’s how the Israeli press describes the situation. As a result, Netanyahu decided to convene an emergency meeting of the National Security Council and stressed that the agreement with Iran represented an “existential threat” to his country. Let us ponder the question of what Israel’s military and political leaders might have discussed at that Security Council meeting. Possible answers:

А. A plan to resettle Jews in Argentina, Crimea, or the South Pole. It doesn’t matter – just somewhere far from Iran and its bomb

В. A plan to launch a preemptive military strike against Iran, assuming they don’t succeed in derailing later negotiations.

Probably option B was discussed, with an emphasis on the potential involvement of Saudi Arabia, for which a perfect sort of casus belli has been created, namely – Iran’s support for Shiite rebels in Yemen, which is a threat to the Shiite provinces in Saudi Arabia itself.

There were great hopes for the Lausanne talks, but peace in the region seems very far off. The existential contradictions inherent within the Tel Aviv – Riyadh – Tehran triangle will eventually explode.

Misconception # 4: Lifting the sanctions on Iran will decimate the price of oil

Reality: It will not. The Iranian government and some Western analysts believe that lifting sanctions will put an extra million barrels of oil onto the market each day, but this is an overly optimistic assessment. In an interview with CNBC, the managing director of JBC Energy, Johannes Benigni, claimed that one year after the hypothetical signing of any peace treaty and the lifting of sanctions against Iran, realistically there would be “more [Iranian] oil in the market, eventually, but only to the extent of 300,000 barrels a day.” That will be important for the Iranian treasury, but will not have a critical impact on the global market. Iran did not while away its time under sanctions, but stayed busy trading oil while sidestepping the injunction, which included selling oil to Asian markets, in the guise of “processed products.” The lifting of sanctions, which is still quite far off and entirely theoretical, will merely make it easier for Iran to conduct its trade and will slightly increase oil sales to Europe. The oil market’s initial reaction to the news of the outcome of the negotiations offers a hypothetical confirmation of this conclusion. Brent crude for June delivery is now trading for about $56.09 a barrel in London, and no panic selling has been noted. Moreover, the market is in what is called “contango,” which means that the futures price is currently higher than the expected spot price. For example, Brent for December delivery is trading at $60.74, which is very difficult to reconcile with the panicked media reports of an impending “collapse” of the market.

In summary: we’re not seeing any sharp drop in oil prices, and even the most ideal resolution of the Iran problem will not bring down the oil market. A wave of euphoria may usher in a temporary price drop, but there is simply no long-term basis for prices to fall just because of a treaty with Iran.

Source in Russian: PolitRussia.com

China: The Largest Cheap Labor Factory in the World

April 9th, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

This video describes China’s system of despotic capitalism, under a “Communist” label.

Wages are exceedingly low, productivity is high. These are the social realities of commodities “Made in China”, marketed Worldwide.

China is an advanced capitalist economy integrated into the World market.  Wages for non-skilled labor in Chinese factories are as low as 100$ a month, a small fraction of the minimum wage in Western countries.   

The factory price of a commodity produced in China is of the order of 10% of the retail price in Western countries. Consequently, the largest share of the earnings of  China’s cheap labor economy accrue to distributors and retailers in Western countries. 

Capitalist Restoration

In 1981-82, based at the University of Hong Kong, Centre for Asian Studies (CAS), I started my research on the process of capitalist restoration in China. I took a crash course in Mandarin at the HKU Language School as well as in Taiwan.  This research –which extended over a period of 3 years–  included fieldwork conducted in several regions of China (1981-83) focussing on economic and social reforms, analysis of the defunct people’s commune and the development of privately owned capitalist industry including the cheap labor export economy.

I started reviewing Chinese economic history including structures of the factory system prior to 1949, the development of the treaty ports established in the wake of the Opium wars (1842) and came to the realization that what was being reinstated in terms of extraterritorial economic zones was influenced by the history of the treaty ports, which granted extraterritorial rights to Britain, France, Germany, the US, Russia and Japan.

In the 1980s, the consensus among Leftists was that China was a socialist country. Debating the restoration of capitalism in China in Leftist circles was a taboo.

Most “Left wing”  economists and social scientists dispelled my analysis: “What you are saying Michel is an impossibility, it goes against the laws of history” said Brazil’s political economist  Theotonio dos Santos (in response to my presentation, Second Congress of Third World Economists, Economistas del Tercer Mundo, Havana, 26-31 April 1981).

A dogmatic perspective prevailed: Chinese socialism could not be reversed. The Socialist Mainstream refused to even acknowledge the facts pertaining to land concentration, owership, the collapse of social programs and the rise of social inequality.

I completed the manuscript of my book entitled “Towards Capitalist Restoration? Chinese Socialism after Mao” in 1984. It was  casually turned down by Monthly Review Press: “We unfortunately have no market for a book on this subject”.  While this  was a slap in the face from what I considered to be an important and powerful socialist voice, I came to realize that MR (Harry Magdoff in particular) throughout the 1980s remained  firmly supportive of the post-Mao regime under the helm of Deng Xiaoping.  I had previously met and was in contact with both Paul Sweezy and Harry Magdoff for whom I had high regard. The book was subsequently published by Macmillan in 1986.

Eighteen years later, Monthly Review came out with a book by Martin Hart-Landsberg and Paul Burkett entitled “China and Socialism: Market Reforms and Class Struggle” (Monthly Review, 2004) which concludes that

“market reforms” have fundamentally subverted Chinese socialism…. Although it is a disputed question whether the Chinese economy can be still described as socialist, there is no doubting the importance for the global project of socialism of accurately interpreting and soberly assessing its real prospects.

The editors’ introduction by Harry Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster, while acknowledging “the reemergence of capitalist characteristics” associated with rapid economic growth tends to skirt the broader issue of capitalist restoration, a historical process which has been ongoing since the early 1980s:

To summarize our argument—once a post-revolutionary country starts down the path of capitalist development, especially when trying to attain very rapid growth—one step leads to another until all the harmful and destructive characteristics of the capitalist system finally reemerge. Rather than promising a new world of “market socialism,” what distinguishes China today is the speed with which it has erased past egalitarian achievements and created gross inequalities and human and ecological destruction. In our view, the present essay by Martin Hart-Landsberg and Paul Burkett deserves careful study as a work that strips away the myth that Chinese socialism survives in the midst of some of the most unrestrained capitalist practices. There is no market road to socialism if that means setting aside the most pressing human needs and the promise of human equality. (emphasis added)

Many Marxists including Theotonio dos Santos believe that the reemergence of capitalist characteristics in the People’s Republic of China had its roots in post-1949 socialist construction rather than in the semi-colonial structures prevailing in China prior to 1949.  The issue of high growth of GDP is misleading. The rate of growth during the  Maoist period was equally significant, its focus and “social composition”, however, was different.  The main thrust of GDP growth in the post Mao era has been the cheap labor “Made in China” export economy which relies on abysmally low wages and high levels of unemployment, not to mention the dynamic development of luxury consumption in the internal market (what Marxists call department IIb).  Moreover, while contributing to impoverishing the Chinese people, a large share of the profits of this capitalist growth process have largely been transferred via international trade to the Western countries.

The video below should dispel any doubts concerning the nature of contemporary Chinese society. Levels of income inequality are higher than in the U.S according to a 2014 University of Michigan study.   Social inequality in China is among the highest in the World.

Income inequality has been rising rapidly in China and now surpasses that of the U.S. by a large margin, say University of Michigan researchers.

That is the key finding of their study based on newly available survey data collected by several Chinese universities.

“Income inequality in today’s China is among the highest in the world, especially in comparison to countries with comparable or higher standards of living,” said University of Michigan sociologist Yu Xie. University of Michigan study. 

While China plays an important balancing role on the geopolitical chessboard, it does not constitute a viable alternative to Western capitalism. Moreover, in contrast to the US, China has no imperial ambitions.

Michel Chossudovsky, February 15, 2015

 

For all its rhetoric about “liberal democracy” and “freedom,” Europe has quietly become a hotbed of political repression. While some groups are allowed to express themselves openly – from fascists that praise Nazi collaborators of the World War II period, to feminist and gay rights groups – there is one particular brand of free speech that is simply not allowed: anti-war protest.

Masking the repression of anti-war, anti-NATO, and anti-imperialist groups behind defamatory rhetoric and demonization, the mass media in Europe attempts to portray such activists as little more than “pro-Kremlin” puppets whose strings are secretly being pulled by the wicked villains of Moscow. Rather than engaging with the critical issues raised by such groups, the political and media establishment instead targets them for repression.

Police and state repression, often of a violent nature, has been carried out under the auspices of “fighting terrorists” in Ukraine all throughout the conflict that erupted in early 2014. So too has such repression reared its ugly head in Lithuania in recent months, as anti-imperialist leftist organizers have been singled out for political persecution by the vehemently Russophobic, Euro-sycophant government. Additionally, Estonia has continued its systematic oppression of its Russian-speaking population which has been forced to exist as second class citizens, with dubious legal protections to say the least.

But these forces of repression have been unable to stem the growing tide of anti-war, anti-NATO sentiment throughout Eastern Europe, as protests against the US-NATO agenda in Ukraine and beyond gather steam. From moderate Czech Republic to belligerent Poland, countless citizens are beginning to organize themselves into true anti-imperialist movements demanding peace in Europe, and rejecting the insanity of aggression directed at Russia.

Domestic Repression in the New Europe

The US-backed coup in Ukraine, and the subsequent civil war it touched off, has rocked Europe, polarizing various political factions, drawing stark dividing lines in a number of countries. In Ukraine, there is a mountain of evidence documenting continued political persecution of anything that can be branded as “pro-Russian” or “anti-Ukrainian”. While these terms are utterly devoid of any real meaning or substance, they serve as political scarlet letters meant to justify any sort of vile repression of forces deemed to be a threat to the US puppet government in Kiev.

The infamous May 2 massacre of leftist activists at the Trade Unions House in Odessa – the single most heinous act of repression since the war began – marked a major turning point in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. That shocking display of barbarism by the fascist thugs of Right Sector and their soccer hooligan co-conspirators, coupled with the impunity provided them by the police and the Ukrainian government, served as a message to the world, and especially to other peace activists and assorted leftists, that the so called “New Ukraine” was neither democratic nor respectful of the rule of law. Naturally, the western media whitewashed the massacre, conveniently referring to it as “clashes” in an attempt to both obscure the fact that the fascists presented to western audiences as “nationalists” and “patriots” were little more than Nazi thugs, and to present the illusion of equivalence between the two sides. This was no clash, it was a one-sided slaughter.

Activists from the leftist organization Borotba (Struggle) have been systematically persecuted in Ukraine. Svetlana Licht, an organizer and activist with Borotba explained:

In late April, the police attempted an illegal search of the Kharkov Borotba headquarters. Before that, there was a wave of arrests of those who took part in the second capture of the Kharkov Regional State Administration building — more than 100 people were arrested. Because of the repression, activities of Kharkovites began to fall sharply. Then came the May 2 Odessa… Fewer people came out onto the streets. On May 8 — just before Victory Day [anniversary of the Soviet victory over German fascism in World War II] — the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) illegally seized our headquarters, destroyed everything and took all the newspapers, leaflets, flags, sound-amplifying equipment and generator.

Such repression goes hand in hand with the attacks upon the Communist Party and its grassroots organizers all throughout Ukraine, as the pro-fascist government and police systematically attacked, and ultimately dissolved the entire Party which had been traditionally one of the most popular parties in the country. So Ukraine has, for all intents and purposes, entirely purged any significant political opposition to the Kiev government’s vicious war against Donetsk and Lugansk. Moreover, the fascists and their state-sanctioned collaborators have effectively intimidated and otherwise discouraged anti-war, anti-fascist activists all throughout Ukraine.

This same trend has now shown itself in Lithuania. In recent weeks, the government of the Social Democratic Party led by PM Algirdas Butkevičius, has engaged in a heavy-handed crackdown against a number of anti-war activists and groups that have been organizing against the US-EU-NATO drive for confrontation with Russia. According to Kristoferis Voiška, one of the organizers of the movement:

If anyone in Lithuania does not support the general line…that Russia is to be blamed for all our problems, that we are supposed to prepare for war, then you are immediately labeled a so-called “Russian agent”…In reality, being patriots of Lithuania, we believe that any war between Russia and the West would be, firstly, potentially suicidal because of nuclear conflict, secondly…it would destroy the middle and eastern European region, and thirdly…the only ones who would benefit would be the big businesses of the military-industrial complex.

Voiška explains the political climate in Lithuania, which should be seen as a parallel to that of the other Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia, not to mention Poland. The Russophobic hysteria, fed by US-NATO propaganda, has reached a fever pitch in recent months as the anti-war movement has gained momentum. Voiška explains that:

In Lithuania we see the slow but quite active development of an anti-war, anti-imperialist movement of…different groups speaking about the social and economic problems of our country, who are opposing the diktats coming from Washington and from Brussels…we support the neutrality of our country, non-intervention, secession from NATO and from the EU…for this we are labeled “Russian agents”…the political regime here [are resorting to] more extreme methods to suppress any kind of dissent or alternative opinion.

Indeed, Voiška’s claim is supported by the recent arrests of a number of prominent anti-war, anti-imperialist organizers from the National Workers movement and the political party the Socialist People’s Front; the activists’ homes were searched, with books, computers, video equipment, phones, and other items confiscated. The allegations made by the authorities include the spurious charge of participation in a “conspiracy to create anti-constitutional groups” in order to “illegally change the established constitutional order in favor of Russia,” which the authorities allege is financing these movements.

What is self-evident is the fact that, just as with Borotba in Ukraine, these courageous anti-imperialist activists are being intimidated, and having their human and political rights violated in a witch-hunt designed to suppress any dissent against the belligerent posture of the government vis-à-vis Russia. Is this the “Democratic Europe” whose praises were sung at Maidan and in the halls of power in Brussels, Berlin, and Washington?

Additionally, one must consider the continued oppression of the ethnic Russian population of neighboring Estonia. These Russian speakers, who were left out in the cold with the collapse of the Soviet Union and establishment of the modern Estonia, have been systematically marginalized by the Estonian government. While forsaking the heroism of the Red Army which liberated Estonia (and the rest of Europe) from the specter of Nazism, the government has equally shirked its responsibility to provide for its Russian-speaking minority.

In the city of Narva along the Russian border, the discriminatory practices of the Estonian government are quite apparent. Even the vehemently anti-Russian Globe and Mail reported:

Here in Estonia, as well as neighbouring Latvia, which has a similarly sized Russian-speaking population, ethnic Russians are convinced (with some justification)…that they are discriminated against in their countries. They vote en masse for pro-Russian political parties… When the USSR fell, residents of Narva continued to define themselves as Russians. The textile industry collapsed, leading to nostalgia for the “good old days” of the Soviet Union… Estonia’s Russians say it’s their own government, rather than the one in Moscow, that’s causing the friction in society. Oleg Belov… has lived in Estonia all his life, but still carries only a grey ‘Alien’s Passport.’… ‘It’s an occupier’s passport. That’s how they see us, as occupiers,’ he says bitterly.

While the assorted fascist groups that glorify Nazi collaboration, and look with scorn and utter contempt on all things Russian and Soviet, are given a free pass in “Democratic Europe,” groups such as Estonia’s Russian speakers remain utterly marginalized, victims of systematic and institutional repression. Such is the case throughout the former Soviet bloc, whether in Donetsk and Lugansk, or in Transnistria, or in Narva. And who will protect these groups? Who will speak for them when no one in the European establishment wants to view them as anything other than “Russian agents?”

The Rising Tide of Resistance

Despite attempts to suppress all forms of dissent against the Washington-London-Brussels consensus, there is an unmistakable spirit of protest emerging in various corners of Europe.

In late March 2015, hundreds of protesters assembled in the center of Prague to demonstrate their disgust with, and resistance to, a US military parade through the streets of the Czech capital. With signs that read ‘Tanks? No Thanks!’ and ‘Stop US Army,’ the demonstrators unequivocally made their opposition to US-NATO militarism abundantly clear. The assembled activists denounced ‘Operation Dragoon Ride,’ a US army convoy that was greeted with boos and jeers in a number of stops throughout Eastern Europe. While the Czech Republic has figured centrally in Washington’s designs with regard to the so called missile shield for Europe, as well as part of NATO’s grand strategy on the continent, it seems that a significant segment of the population has had enough.

So too is this the case in what is undoubtedly the most vehemently anti-Russian country in Europe: Poland. While Warsaw continues to agitate for further belligerence toward Russia, thousands of Polish citizens are standing up to demand an end to the madness. A major demonstration against Poland’s participation in the training and arming of Ukrainian Nazi fighters is scheduled for April 10, with at least 5,000 demonstrators expected. As protest organizer Mlodzi Malopolscy Patrioci stated, “This protest wants to show our opinion about our relationship with Ukraine, real relationship, not the relationship like the Polish government is feeling…We still remember about the Volyn in 1943 and what Ukrainian ‘soldiers’ did to our people. We don’t want conflicts with Russia.”

At the national level, there is also a growing sentiment that the bellicose policies and rhetoric must stop. In Hungary, the right wing government of PM Viktor Orban has resisted pressure from European allies to cut ties with Moscow, and instead has chosen to further expand the mutually beneficial relations that his country enjoys with Russia, especially in the arena of energy imports. In Greece, the left wing SYRIZA government has taken a much more positive view of its relations with Russia than the European establishment would like, going so far as to reject the sanctions imposed by the West, though the tone of their statements indicated an attempt to soften the language of the rejection.

Taken in total, it is clear that Europe is far from unified over the anti-Russian policy pursued by the US-EU-NATO establishment. Moreover, thousands upon thousands of Europeans have begun to make their dissatisfaction known, clearly rejecting the drive to war being promoted from the halls of power in the West. They talk of regaining their sovereignty, standing up to the US-EU-NATO imperial system, and protecting the rights of marginalized Russian speakers. Whether in Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, or the Czech Republic, the sentiment is the same: We don’t want NATO’s war!

But those interested in peace must do more than reject war. We must demand an end to the repression of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Lithuania. We must unite and, if necessary, peacefully bring down those quisling governments marching their people to the brink of war. We must, like our grandparents before us, destroy the fascist menace, and all those who seek to use it for their own advantage.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

In November 2014,  Britain’s Counter-Terrorism Bill was introduced in the House of Commons.  

Prime Minister Cameron announced  impending “new powers” and “very radical reforms” in relation to the alleged “jihadist” threats, These would also include provisions to strip UK citizens of their passport as well “their right to leave and return to the UK“, which in essence strips them of their citizenship.

The  Counterterrorism bill, which derogates fundamental rights of UK citizens was “fast-tracked” through the British Parliamentary system. Less than two months later, on February. 12, 2015, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTSA) became law. Most Brits are totally unaware of the provisions contained in this “legislation”.

For the complete text of the CTSA click here.

 

CTSA 2015 and the Rights of Children 

What is distinct in this legislation is that it also applies to children and adolescents under 18 years of age.

British police are now arresting children under the anti-terrorist provisions of the Cameron government which essentially gives a green light to detain and imprison on a mere suspicion.

According to the Evening Standard report 

The 14-year-old boy was arrested in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Thursday, while the girl, 16, was arrested after police raided a house in Longsight, Manchester, on Friday.

They were both arrested as part of the same investigation on suspicion of terror-linked offences and have been bailed until May 28.

The investigation involves the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Lancashire Constabulary.

Police said on Thursday the examination of what they described as a “number of electronic devices” led them to execute the search warrant at the house in Blackburn.

The 14-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

The day after officers from GMP’s Tactical Aid Unit and North West Counter Terrorism Unit executed a warrant at a house in Longsight, south Manchester.

The 16-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

The arrests come as nine individuals from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, are being held in Turkey after allegedly trying to cross the border into war-torn Syria.

It is not believed the arrests in the UK are linked to events in Turkey. (Alexandra RuckiEvening Standard, April, 2015, emphasis added)

Needless to say, Western politicians in high office who provide support (including weapons) to the “Islamic State” brigades through their respective intelligence agencies (e.g.MI6), are exempt from prosecution under the Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015.

While the Cameron government channels covert support to ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria, a 14 year old boy and a 16 year old girl are “Arrested on Suspicion of Preparing Acts of  Terrorism”.

Double standards? Criminalization of Her Majesty’s government? Treason.

Part I

The previous part provided an overview of Laos’ most important regional relations and described the key infrastructural projects it’s partaking in to boost its pivot credentials. In this concluding article, China’s specific containment-breaking strategies as related to Laos are elaborated upon and contrasted with the US’ countermoves in blocking Beijing.

The Double Flip

The crux of China’s grand strategy is to use Laos and its infrastructural advantages to enact and solidify a geopolitical reorientation in both Thailand and Cambodia, the former from the US and the latter from Vietnam. The end objective foresees China using its geopivotal position in Laos to exert equal influence on Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in its struggle to wiggle out of the US’ tightening containment noose.

The New Myanmar:

Thailand’s ultimate geostrategic purpose in China’s eyes is to become the ‘New Myanmar’, in that it can be a transport, logistics, and infrastructure hub for Beijing’s regional vision and a critical outlet to the southern seas. Earlier it was mentioned that Myanmar had been moving closer to the West, and it needs to be underlined at this point that its reorientation was at the expense of strategic projects with China such as the Bay of Bengal railroad. Although an alternate project was later approved, this doesn’t change the fact that it, too, could one day be canceled or used as eventual blackmail against China in the same way that Ukraine’s infrastructure has lately been used against Russia. What China needs is a replacement ally that satisfies the former stability and political trust that Myanmar once enshrined, and the perfect opportunity has presented itself with Thailand.

Tony Cartalucci has masterfully written many analytical articles on Thailand and its geo-significance to regional and global affairs, and the reader is highly recommended to peruse his writings for in-depth background information on the topic, but in short, the military there recently removed a pro-Western proxy and has since then been cultivating closer relations with China. This development could potentially represent a shattering reversal of the US’ Pivot to Asia strategy, but it must be emphasized that the new government’s hold is not yet fully secure, and the ousted authorities and their supporters may resort to a terrorist struggle and continued destabilization in order to undermine events. This makes China’s ASEAN Silk Road all the more important for Thailand, since the economic benefit that it would sow along its path could do much to strengthen the populace’s support for the revolutionary government and diminish whatever remaining legitimate resistance there may be to its rule.

Ideally, China would like for a pragmatic and possibly allied government in Thailand to become the transport hub of Indochina, thereby giving Beijing associated reach throughout the region. The railroad plans are simply a means towards reaching these ends, and the larger idea is to deepen Chinese-Thai infrastructural and economic integration to the point where even a reversal of relations by an anti-Chinese government in Bangkok would not preclude cutting off these links. If the ASEAN Silk Roads, especially the main conduit through Laos, can become so important to Thailand’s economy that ties with China cannot be realistically endangered without catastrophic consequences, then Beijing would have achieved one of its most pressing geostrategic objectives, which is the creation of an anchor in ASEAN that abuts the dually strategic coasts of the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand (fringes of the larger Indian Ocean and South China Sea, respectively).

While it’s not foreseen that Thailand would ever host covert Chinese naval bases like it’s Myanmar is falsely accused of doing, the Southeast Asian state could still provide Beijing with a strategic naval foothold by helping it avoid the Malacca Strait chokehold through integrated port-rail infrastructure along the ASEAN Silk Road or even a Nicaraguan-styled canal across the Isthmus of Kra. If these plans come to fruition, then Thailand wouldn’t just become the ‘new Myanmar’, but it would actually acquire a positive significance for China far beyond what Myanmar ever could have given it.

Good Cop, Bad Cop In Cambodia:

The second state that China hopes to flip is Cambodia, and it plans to utilize a good cop/bad cop dynamic to help make it happen. China doesn’t necessarily have any issues with Cambodia nowadays (although the legacy of its support for the Khmer Rouge is obviously a sore sticking point), but the fact remains that Prime Minister Hun Sen still behaves like a Vietnamese client, most likely due to him owing his entire political career to his gigantic eastern neighbor. This relationship of client to caretaker still persists despite enormous amounts of Chinese aid, although it’s evident that China is now giving Vietnam a run for its money in possibly usurping this role. Should it be successful in doing so, not only would Beijing stand to gain yet another ASEAN ally to add to its growing list (which would make a total of three when one includes Laos and Thailand, and potentially four if Myanmar can be convinced to stay within its sway), but it would also allow it to pressure Vietnam even further, since Hanoi would have then lost its two former Indochinese satellites.

By this manner, the strategy of ‘stealing allies’ from Vietnam represents China’s asymmetrical counter to Hanoi’s boisterousness in the South China Sea, and it gives Hanoi a ‘taste of its own medicine’ by reversing the flow of pressure and putting it on the strategic defensive. China’s ‘good cop’ mechanisms are manifested through its aid flows and investment, while its ‘bad cop’ ploy can be carried out through proxy via Laos’ hydroelectric projects. If China can secure a commanding influence in Cambodia’s northern neighbor, then it can indirectly use the dam issue to its advantage in squeezing Cambodia towards accommodating whatever future interests it has in mind. Complementing this ‘bad cop’ approach is yet another ‘good cop’ front that can be played this time by Thailand, which would be coordinating its activities with China in the event of a full-fledged Sino-Thai Strategic Partnership, an earlier-mentioned goal of Beijing’s. This would see Thailand working to woo Cambodia (which was previously under its influence prior to becoming a French protectorate in 1863) through their deepening bilateral economic links via the eastern vector of China’s ASEAN Silk Road and the Southern Economic Corridor (which links Dawei in southeastern Myanmar to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam via Cambodia and Thailand).

Lao PDR, Nam Ngum 5 Hydropower Project.

Booby-Trapping Beijing

The current state of affairs in Southeast Asia is that China is using Laos as its ‘special weapon’ in proactively cutting through the US’ containment net, while Washington is invested in booby-trapping Beijing’s ‘advance’ to make sure that every step it takes is fraught with the risk of grand strategic collapse. Other than finding a way to delay, suspend, and/or cancel Laos’ hydroelectric projects, here are two of the most impactful plans that the US could set in motion to sabotage China’s containment-shattering ambitions:

Chaos Calls:

Using its tried and tested tactics, the US could inspire the external chaos in Myanmar to migrate over to Laos, which would in that case stop the central route of the ASEAN Silk Road dead in its tracks. Ethnic warfare has been occurring on and off for the past 60 years in Myanmar, and although 16 rebel groups are set to sign their first multilateral ceasefire with the government sometime soon, it’s not a guarantee that their problems will dissipate and stability will be restored in all corners of the country. One should keep in mind the seemingly spontaneous nature of the latest outbreak of violence in Kokang, as it shows that a serious crisis can materialize in Myanmar unexpectedly at any moment due to the fragile balance of power there between various groups and the military. In order for the violence to spill over into Laos, the Myanmar military would have to go on the advance deep into Shan State, which could in turn lead to the hodgepodge of rebel groups there retreating into Laos and using the country’s territory as a rear base for regaining their land on the other side of the Mekong. While this forecast doesn’t appear all too likely at the moment, it’s telling that Myanmar and Laos both pledged to step up their security cooperation last month, in what may be a sign that both countries understand their vulnerability to this dire scenario.

But chaos doesn’t only have external origins, as it can also take form within the target state as well. In this case, the US and its allies could foster a Color Revolution or related domestic destabilization in an attempt to overthrow the current government or initiate an unconventional war along the Myanmar model. After all, Laos may contain as many as 249 ethnic groups within its tiny borders, and ethnic Lao only comprise 55% of the population. In fact, the ethnic situation is so complicated inside Laos that the authorities have attempted to simplify them into a few geographic and linguistic groups in an effort to better manage them. The degree of ethnic cooperation or tension is unascertainable from afar seeing as how any news about Laos, let alone that which is verifiably accurate, is extraordinarily difficult to procure without being physically present in the country and its various provinces for an extended period of time. Thus, it’s challenging to gauge the viability of this scenario, but if the West’s destabilization template is any indication, then the presence of large amounts of (foreign) NGOs could possibly lay the long-term groundwork for provoking inter-communal, inter-ethnic, and anti-government discord, although Vientiane appears to have already anticipated this scenario and is preventively enacting strict controls on their activity.

Thai Trickery (Or Trickery In Thailand):

Thaksin Shinawatra deployed some 300 heavily armed terrorists in Bangkok in 2010 triggering bloodshed that would claim nearly 100 lives and leave the city in flames after a final day of serial arson was carried out by his political supporters.

The second booby-trap that the West plans to set for China would be to revert Thailand’s government to its previous pro-Western loyalties, either by means of a Color Revolution or some other underhanded measure, in order to take over China’s ‘transport hub’ and control the flow of products along its various ASEAN Silk Road lines. Additionally, an anti-Chinese Thai administration could then follow Western guidance and use its cultural and civilizational ties with Laos to influence Vientiane to pull away from China, possibly even applying its newfound economic links with its smaller neighbor as a form of asymmetrical blackmail. If Laos drops its high-speed rail project with China in the same fashion as Myanmar did, then it would represent a double-whammy for Beijing’s hopes of breaking through the US’ Asia Pivot containment. Under the scenario of a ‘Bangkok back step’ in relations to China, Laos could be tempted to pivot away from Beijing if Thailand and Japan (which just signed a strategic partnership with Laos last month) join forces to offer multilateral investment and infrastructural projects to replace the lost Chinese ones, with a prime example being a heightened emphasis on developing Laos’ position along a Myanmar-Vietnam counter-Silk Road.

Another possibility that could develop would be an intensification of the West’s regime change efforts against Thailand, with a specific aggravation of the situation in Thailand’s northeast region of Isaan. Abutting the Lao border and encompassing a sizeable chunk of the country, Isaan is pivotal to the country’s stability (or lack thereof), and it’s essential that any ruling government in Bangkok have the area under its control. ‘Activists’ in the region had previously organized against the country’s martial law before it was recently repealed and voiced their opposed to the authorities, signaling that the region could potentially be activated for further destabilization sometime in the future. Other than Isaan, there’s also the threat that the South Thailand conflict could be reignited with direct or implicit American support to both apply pressure against the government and prevent the ASEAN Silk Road from reaching Malaysia and Singapore. As a dual benefit, a renewed insurgency would also pose a risk to Malaysia’s stability as well, and an outbreak of violence in the Thai border region could complement the Color Revolution pressure on Kuala Lumpur to remain compliant to Washington’s regional agenda and walk back its increasing ties with China.

Concluding Thoughts

China’s overall goal is to flip Thailand and Cambodia over to its interests and away from their previous patrons, using its general influence in Laos via the two types of ongoing infrastructure projects there to exert continued influence upon Bangkok and Phnom Penh to keep them within its strategic sphere. The combined effect of simultaneously courting Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia is to asymmetrically weaken Vietnam’s position in continental ASEAN, since any Chinese gains in Laos and Cambodia would represent relative losses for Vietnam. Laos is the fulcrum in projecting Chinese influence throughout the region because it’s used both to push a positive and cooperative agenda with Thailand, while also presenting a potential asymmetrical risk to Cambodia’s socioeconomic security if it ever contravenes Beijing’s forecasted vision and turns its back to ‘Yuan diplomacy’.

The US will obviously be trying to stop China’s parallel grand strategies of an ASEAN Silk Road, a Sino-Thai Strategic Partnership, and Mekong hydroelectric regional leverage every step of the way, but Washington has met a formidable match in going up against a civilization that has over 5,000 years of diplomatic and strategic experience. Accordingly, in order for Beijing to succeed in its epic containment-shattering strategy, it must make securing and deepening its position in Laos its highest priority in continental ASEAN in order to turn the tiny pivot state into the geostrategic staging ground of multipolar power projection that it’s intended to be.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Image: A man searches for the names of victims written on a memorial plaque, on the eve of the 69th anniversary of the Distomo massacre committed by the Nazis during World War Two, at the village of Karakolithos near Distomo village, about 165 km (103 miles) northwest of Athens (Reuters/John Kolesidis)

Germany owes Greece no less than €278.7 billion in World War II reparations, Athens said, referring to the destruction wrought upon the nation during the Nazi occupation. The sum exceeds Greece’s total debt of €240 billion to the EU.

“According to our calculations, the debt linked to German reparations is €278.7 billion euros, including €10.3 billion for the so-called forced loan. All the other amounts are related to allowances for individuals or infrastructure,”

said the country’s deputy finance minister, Dimitris Mardas.

The figure was calculated by a parliamentary committee and the Greek supreme court. The numbers have previously varied between €269 billion and €332 billion.

Mardas added that at the 1946 Paris Conference the amount of reparations was set at $341.2 billion.

In response, Gabriel Sigmar, Germany’s economy minister and vice chancellor, described Greece’s demand as “stupid.” He said he suspected the demand was just the country’s attempt to squeeze some money from Eurozone countries to resolve its own debt crisis problems. “And this leeway has absolutely nothing to do with World War II or reparation payments,” he said.

Many Greeks blame Germany, as the country’s biggest creditor, for the tough austerity measures and record high unemployment it faced after getting two international bailouts total worth 240 billion euros.

The Greece’s statement comes ahead of left-wing Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’s visit to Moscow and meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. The newly elected PM is planning to boost cooperation and strengthen ties with Greece’s eastern neighbor.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed on Tuesday that finance and loans would be discussed at the Moscow talks.

Kommersant newspaper reported a source in Russian government as saying that the Greek PM is also seeking credit from Russia. Other media reports claim that Tsipras plans to negotiate a possible reduction in gas prices from Russia and the lifting of the embargo on certain types of Greek products

Greek lawmakers voted Tuesday to favour of establishing a special committee to examine the circumstances which led the country to enormous bailouts from troika of international creditors – the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC).

“After five years of parliamentary silence on the major issues that caused the bailout catastrophe, today we commence a procedure that will give answers to the questions concerning the Greek people,”

Tsipras said.

The issue of war reparations dating from the 1941-44 Nazi occupation of Greece is likely to increase already heightened tensions between Athens and Berlin. The two countries are already squabbling over Greek demands to renegotiate the terms of a €240 billion ($260 billion) Troika bailout.

The movement in Greece to get Berlin to pay up has become stronger over the last few years as Athens experiences financial hardships following austerity measures, which were a prerequisite of being given the bailout money, to stop the country from falling into financial ruin.

The left-wing Syriza government has decided to raise the issue of war reparations again with Berlin.

Germany has never properly paid reparations for the damage done to Greece by the Nazi occupation,” Prime Minister Tsipras, the leader of the anti-austerity Syriza party, said in March. “The crimes carried out by the Nazis are still vivid, and we have a moral obligation to remember what the forces did to the country.”

Berlin has flatly denied it owes Athens any more money, saying it already paid Greece war damages of $25 million in the 1950s, equivalent to $220 million today, and also paid out 115 million Deutschmarks (a sum worth around $230 million today), to victims of Nazi crimes in the early 1960s.

A 2012 report by the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, estimated the value of the loan at $8.25 billion (€7.57 billion). Greece, however, puts the value of the loan at €11 billion, the To Vima newspaper reported in January, citing confidential financial documents.

Greece says it always considered that money as only an initial payment and expected the rest of the money to be paid back following German reunification.

After Nazi forces took control of Greece in 1941, the stage was set for one of the bloodiest confrontations of World War II as Greek resistance fighters put up a fierce struggle to end the occupation.They were powerless, however, to prevent the Third Reich from extracting an interest-free 476 million Reichsmarks loan from the Greek central bank, which devastated the Greek economy.

The varied left histories dating back to the long 19th century gained momentum during the tumultuous first decades of the 20th century and for some time after. They came to an end, at one point or another, between the military coup in Chile (1973), the elections of Margaret Thatcher (1979) and Ronald Reagan (1981), the political u-turns by Francois Mitterrand (1986) and Deng Xiaoping and the collapse of Soviet communism(1991).

Since that time, communist parties in the West have shrunk to insignificance (with the partial exceptions of the French and Greek parties).

Social democratic parties surrendered the countervailing power they had acquired during the long post-war boom to the imperatives of international competitiveness. New parties of the left that originally positioned themselves somewhere between social democracy and communism lost their points of reference and have proven, thus far at least, unable to invent a socialism for a world after Soviet communism and social democratic welfare-states.

Social movements, often presenting themselves as more democratic and inclusive alternatives to party bureaucracies opportunistically chasing voters from all walks of life, in the case of social democracy, or, in the case of communists, claiming to be the vanguard of narrowly defined working classes, are in no better shape than the parties of the left. When they were new decades ago now, they could legitimately claim to voice the concerns of social strata – women, ethnic minorities, immigrants, and sexual minorities – excluded from the welfare-state bargain. It is also thanks to the new social movements that the ecological destruction that was one of the prices to be paid for prosperity and welfare-state expansion became an issue even staunch earth-haters can’t ignore. However, rather than forging one pluralistic and democratic movement, the new social movements quickly splintered into multitudes of single-issue campaigns. Ironically, in many cases, their professed anti-statism served as an entry ticket into an emerging NGO-world picking up the pieces from a welfare state already under siege from neoliberal anti-statism. At the same time, grassroots initiatives became more and more dependent on activists with a background in left party politics.

A List of Failures

More recent attempts to build a movement of movements, the approach suggested by the World Social Forum and its regional offspring, initially created much excitement. But they proved unable to sustain momentum. Massive mobilizations in the short-run, from the February 15, 2003 demonstrations against the war in Iraq to the Arab Spring and Occupy, shouldn’t conceal the fact that, at this historical juncture, social movements in themselves neither represent significant countervailing powers nor an alternative project to neoliberal capitalism.

Underlying the failures and defeats of left parties and movements from the late 1970s onwards was an unmaking of the working-class movement. This movement had developed collective agencies of change in industrial unionism and socialist parties over the 19th century, waving a variety of red and sometimes black flags. The movement moved into action during an ‘age of catastrophe’ from 1914 to 1945. The subsequent period of unprecedented economic prosperity saw the institutionalization of working-class movements and significant material gains for a majority of workers.

Whether this period of welfare state expansion really led to a profit-squeeze in the 1970s that undermined the boom, as some Marxists proclaim, or whether it was fuelled by flourishing consumer demand, as left Keynesians say, doesn’t matter much with regards to the fate of socialism. What matters is that ruling classes in the West saw the ‘new left’ and new social movements as forces that could potentially unlock the working-class majorities that had been successfully caged in the bureaucracies of welfare capitalism. Warding off this danger in the short run made it necessary to defeat or co-opt these movements before they built alliances with revitalized unions, left-wing social democrats or assorted neo-communist groupings. Inhibiting the return of future challenges from the left induced ruling classes to restructure production and distribution processes in such a way that the social fabric in workplaces and working-class communities was torn apart.

No matter how rigid the ‘life-worlds’ of workers and their organizations might have been, as long as they existed they allowed for the reproduction of the institutionalized power of the working classes. And they also served as a seedbed of their rebellious offspring. Destroying the social basis of left parties, unions, and social movements was the political intent of neoliberal politics as it emerged in the 1980s and, in the course of things, undermining the organizational base of socialists. The latter’s ability to organize and mobilize dwindled, their ideas no longer resonated with the very people they were meant to speak to.

The unmaking of the organizations of working classes through the 1980s ushered in a crisis of socialist ideas. Endless debates about strategies, tactics and goals in earlier times were exhausting, and at times inhibited real advancements, but they were the lifeblood of socialism. The more working classes were unmade by a combination of relocation, new technologies and new organizational forms of labour processes, the more socialist discussion became whistling in the dark. Against their best intentions, the insistence of socialist intellectuals on the continuing objective existence of working classes and their indispensable role in surplus value creation only underscored the weakness of socialism. It certainly didn’t do anything to mobilize anyone outside of the shrunken circles of socialist diehards.

Capitalism and its Discontents

While capitalists had every reason to celebrate their victory over socialism of any kind, they soon ran into troubles of their own making. The acceleration of profit expectations they had used as a lever to roll back wages, taxes, and social and environmental standards soon reached heights that could never be satisfied. Profit expectations were always ahead of the production of surplus value no matter how much restructuring spurred the latter. Moreover, realization of at least parts of the drastically increased surplus value required extending credit lines to income-stripped working-class households and fiscal authorities. Keeping the debt loads of workers at sustainable levels would have required raising wages and taxes, respectively. Yet, these were key factors used to push up the rate of surplus value. Consequently profit expectations, expressed through an ever-expanding baroque of financial products, and debt rose in tandem. This spurred accumulation up to a point, but accompanied by a continual cycle of financial and general economic crises – from the 1980s debt crises in the South and Eastern Europe, to the 1990s crises in Mexico, Asia and Russia, hitting Wall Street in 2001 and the entirety of American finance and the world market from 2008-10. Privatization of public assets, raids on social spending and new lines of credit for private households regularly ‘freed’ the collateral to kick-start another cycle of debt-speculation-driven accumulation over which course further layers of union-protected jobs would be downgraded to precariousness levels.

Not surprisingly, the downgrading of ever more layers of the working classes along with increasing downgrading fears among the salariat and petty bourgeoisie soon produced its discontent. The brighter Wall Street shone, the more people were standing in its shadows or at least fearing to become invisible in its shadows. Yet anyone who might have thought that discontent with capitalism, or with its neoliberal incarnation, would inexorably lead to a resurgence of socialist or other left movements was soon disappointed. Rather, such discontents found their expression in votes for social democratic parties in the 1990s, and even into the 2000s. However, the social democratic parties in power only produced more disappointment as their ‘third-way’ politics only meant some minor shifting neoliberal policies. Explosions of protests, like the anti-globalization movement and Occupy, have expressed the political frustration. But so, too, and more sinisterly, has the emergence of right-wing populism.

The New Right-Wing Populism

Right-wing populism thrives because it allows the articulation of discontent within the neoliberal narrative of austerity and free markets. Indeed, it doesn’t have to invent and popularize a counter-narrative but can build on the contradictions between the neoliberal narrative and actually existing neoliberalism. One contradiction is that austerity was never meant as austerity for all, it was always propagated as the necessary price to pay to eventually see wealth trickling down from the top.

The question, then, is whether and for how long one has to pay the belt-tightening price. Right-wing populists simply suggest that belts of some chosen groups could be relaxed if only the truly undeserving ones would be radically excluded from well-paying jobs or any form of government assistance. The distinction between deserving wealth creators and undeserving rent-seekers or free riders is at the core of neoliberalism. Right-wing populists extend this division to include ethnically, religiously, or sexually defined groups amongst the deserving; and then mobilize discontent with economic and social conditions against these allegedly undeserving groups.

The other main contradiction between neoliberal ideology and its practice is that between the ideology of free markets and the omnipresence of the state. Whenever the invisible hand of the markets and the private appropriation of profits that lingers behind it needs a helping hand, the state lends it. Since this is a very visible hand, discontent may have its roots in the conditions produced by capitalist markets and the state, but it is usually the state that takes most of the blame. The reason is simple. It is the state which declines applications for unemployment benefits and sends the police to foreclose homes. It is the state that cuts services and raises fees and taxes for those whose gross incomes are already under austerity pressure. This makes it easy for right-wing populists to present the state as the culprit of the conditions produced by the state-market linkages that are necessary for capitalism to function at all. The logical conclusion, then, is ‘more markets’.

Right-wing populism, in short, is radicalized ‘free marketeering’ integrating different varieties of nationalist, racist, and religious fundamentalists united in their hate of the postmodern left with its feminists, environmentalists, civil-rights-advocates and socialists. This right-wing trajectory is what produces the clash of cultures, or better the Muslim fundamentalisms which conservatives have seen as history’s defining feature after the defeat of left challengers.

Not everyone chooses fundamentalism to articulate his or her discontent. Many just try to defend their moral values, often derived from the same religions that fundamentalists misuse for their hate-preaching. There are also people who clearly see that the clash of fundamentalism makes a world that’s already bad under neoliberal capitalism even worse and thus seek alternatives to right-wing alternatives. The question, of course, is whether there are existing left-wing alternatives and, if not, what’s to be done to build them.

Union Organizing

Union organizing is an obvious starting point for the building of left alternatives. Unions were an indispensable part of past socialisms, without necessarily being socialist themselves, and they will be for future socialisms, too. Increasing numbers of today’s post-welfare state jobs resemble those of pre-welfare state days in terms of insecurity, employer’s control of workers, and sometimes even wage-levels. Yet, the craft and industrial unionisms of the past that were, more or less, suitable at different points of capitalist development clearly have limits in today’s world of international networks of production and distribution. The challenge is to invent effective forms of organization and representation along the supply-chains of production. As these chains typically cut across borders, future union organizing also needs to be international to be effective. The duality of international rhetoric and national organizing practice that was so characteristic of past workers’ movements can’t be resurrected at current levels of internationalization of production and distribution.

Things are very different, however, in the public sector. Paradoxically if one considers neoliberalism’s animosity toward unions and the public sector, unions took a series of beatings but still survived while their private sector counterparts were either broken or marginalized. Despite the massive shift of union presence from the private to the public sector, though, the way most people think, including unionists at all levels, is still very much shaped by the relations between capital and labour that gave rise to unionism in the first place. Such thinking, along with mobilization and bargaining efforts based thereupon, contributes to the weakness of public sector unions who are not bargaining over the distribution between wages and profits but a share of tax revenue.

As neoliberalism turned tax payments more and more into a working-class privilege, public sector bargaining turned more and more into a distributional struggle between different segments of the working-class. As long as public sector unions and their actual and potential allies don’t address this issue, neoliberals of more centrist or fundamentalist persuasions find it easy to mobilize hard working private sector workers, whose unions they helped to destroy in the past, against allegedly pampered public sector workers whose unions they seek to destroy in the future.

This distributional struggle between private and public sector workers cannot avoid addressing the question of whether public sector workers provide services to both public and private sector workers or that public sector production only serves the upper classes. This question, of course, also raises the issue of who is paying the tax bill. These issues cannot be resolved in collective bargaining; such fiscal policies raise the question of working-class representation in the political system.

Party-Building

The significance of government policies might be particularly obvious in the case of public sector workers and their unions but that doesn’t mean that these policies aren’t of the highest importance to all workers. The policies decide the availability, or lack thereof, of public services and infrastructures, and who is paying for them. They also decide under which conditions private employers can hire workers or, in the case of undocumented immigrant workers, where the threshold for employers undercutting legal standards lies. Through its schooling, certification and immigration systems, states contribute to the fragmentation of working classes. Through financial sector regulation and the underwriting of private finances, via the issuing of government bonds, they also prop up the profit-expectations-generator used to squeeze workers of all stripes at different times and to different degrees.

The state is, from all this, necessarily a key arena of class struggle. This was long noted in the early socialist movement by figures like Rudolph Hilferding and Otto Bauer during the infancy of welfare capitalism, and was reiterated by the new left in the 1970s when ruling classes were turning against further welfare state expansion. If three decades of neoliberal counter-reform has not diminished the share of public spending measured against GDP significantly, it has changed its character drastically. The institutions that were developed during a time of welfare state expansion were restructured in such a way that, rather than mitigating the inequalities between wages and profits, they started to amplify them.

Working-class representation within the state through a socialist party is, then, crucial to fight further austerity and to win social reforms. It is equally important to build working-class capacities outside the state. Without such capacities, that includes left media and discussion and activist groups, parties get absorbed by the state rather than engaging in class struggle inside of it.

Changing the balance of power within the capitalist state – and eventually moving beyond it – requires the building of working-class capacities outside the state. And it also depends upon international cooperation with left parties and other organizations in other countries. The room for shifting the balance of power within a country is not only dependent on the social forces inside of it but also on the respective forces in other countries and the capacity to cooperate across borders. It took neoliberalism, whose hegemony seems impenetrable today, almost two decades, from the military coup in Chile until the collapse of Soviet communism, until it had consolidated itself into an international ruling bloc. Undoing this bloc and replacing it with a progressive alternative, which may or may not be socialist, might take equally long.

Where to Begin?

The reinvention of socialist politics starts on a level playing field. Soviet communism and social democracy, the actually existing socialisms of the 20th century, are gone and there is no reason to wish them back. Soviet communists waded through years of terror before establishing a paternalistic regime that allowed workers social advancement but also alienated them to a degree that they, the workers, didn’t raise a hand when sections of the ruling bureaucracy decided it was time to reinvent themselves as ruling oligarchy in a neo-capitalist system. Social democrats shared the communists’ paternalism but avoided, for the most parts, domestic terror, which didn’t stop them from engaging in neo-colonial warfare in the South. Dissident communists and social democrats, along with various anarchist currents, can rightfully claim that they suggested alternatives to the failures of actually existing communism and social democracy, but have to ask themselves why they never had the power to realize their socialist alternatives.

Thus, nobody can say that his or her favourite variety of socialism is better than anybody else’s. One way or the other, all socialisms that were advanced in the 20th century failed either when they were in power or because they never got near it. What this history of failures and defeats leaves us, though, is an immense wealth of experiences. Socialists in the late 19th and early 20th century, who wanted to be so scientific, had to carry on a utopian element as they didn’t have the same real world experiences with socialism that we have today. In that sense, we can be much more scientific and should use the accumulated experiences of past socialisms to draw from them lessons for a new, and still unspecified, socialism. But we should also dare to dream. Without having an idea where we want to go, we sure won’t go anywhere. Such an idea can’t be but utopian, as it pertains to an unknown future. One of the lessons to draw from communist and social democratic experiences is that claims to know what the future will look like are delusional and harmful to socialist politics of whichever kind.

Ideas play a key role in reinventing socialism, indeed. This includes ideas about the future but also ideas about the understanding of the past and present, from which we can derive strategies to build a socialist future. The working classes of the past were made out of an amalgam of disparate struggles, and efforts to make sense of such practical efforts and failures in order to try something else the next time. The back and forth between practical efforts and theoretical reflection, were not confined to intellectual circles but also had a presence in the various counter-cultures of their respective times, forged collective identities and understandings that eventually constituted working classes as agents of change.

There is no reason to assume that the remaking of working classes will take a very different form from the original making of working classes in the long 19th century. We might actually already be part of this remaking. Protest waves around the World Social Forum, the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, and Occupy and the Arab Spring didn’t yield many tangible results. Yet, they have established contacts between discontented people seeking left alternatives, and allow collective reflection about future steps. The recently revived interest in political organizing is one of the outcomes of these reflections. It rests on the idea that the changing-the-world-without-taking-power philosophy underlying those movements was one of the reasons for their failure. Another outcome is the absence of institutions that could preserve collective memories when mobilizations on the streets are at a low.

What can be done in North America at this point is to organize reflection about past struggles and strategies of socialists for the future in a more systematic way. Discussion groups that discuss left history, theoretical works and current struggles with an eye to supporting today’s conflicts and remaking working classes. Left theory is as much in need of reinvention as left practice. These groups might maintain contact amongst each other through various left media outlets. Members of these groups should also engage in various struggles. The point would be to engage activists in various campaigns into discussions about socialist possibilities, drawing on the ideas and experiences obtained in such campaigns, within socialist discussion circles.

The unmaking of the working-class and socialist movements means, in some senses, that we are starting over. In this setting, the Communist Manifesto might well be quoted to describe the immediate tasks ahead:

“In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.

“In all these movements, they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.

“Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.”

Needless to say, at this point, socialists and communists today support every reformist movement. Unlike Marx and Engels writing the Manifesto on the eve of the 1848 revolutions, we are in a state of defeat without revolution on the horizon. The property question might be extended to the question of democratic organization of workplaces and the coordination between them. We now know well that the transition from private to state property alone does not lead to workers’ power and self-government. Socialists have built different types of parties since the Manifesto was written. These are all part of the left history, of failures and defeats, of resistances and victories. If it is safe to say that it is time to build a party of a new type, it is not yet possible to provide a detailed sketch of what this type will look like.

Ingo Schmidt is a political economist teaching at Athabasca University in Alberta.

US-Sponsored Slow-Motion Genocide in Yemen

April 9th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Washington planned war on Yemen months ago – preemptive naked aggression by any standard with Saudi-led proxies doing Obama’s dirty work.

Plus direct US involvement. Reports indicate one or more American warships shelled Yemeni targets. Israeli warplanes are involved.

Millions of Yemenis are experiencing the horrors of Obama’s terror wars – including willfully targeting residential areas, hospitals, schools, power facilities, Yemen’s largest food storage center and largest dairy plant, and other nonmilitary sites.

Noncombatant men, women and children are being murdered and maimed in cold blood. Bodies are piling up in streets.

Yemeni terror bombing survivors report the ground shaking beneath their feet.

An Uzbek citizen Russia airlifted to safety said

“(w)e couldn’t sleep for the last eight days.”

“We are thankful to Russia and (President) Putin for organizing the evacuation.

Russia was the only country (offering help). No one else has done that.”

A French evacuee called nightly terror-bombing impossible to bear. A Russian citizen airlifted out feared her children would die.

“The whole city (Sanaa) shook from all sides. That is what made me leave,” she said.

On April 7, Pentagon-controlled Stars and Stripes said Washington “is expediting arms deliveries to the Saudi-led coalition that is battling Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, according to US officials.”

Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visiting Riyadh said “we have expedited weapons deliveries.”

“We have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation center.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said “the US military continues to support the efforts of Saudi Arabia and some of their partners in the region to try to address the security situation along their border that they’re justifiably concerned about.”

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said shipments include “a combination of pre-existing orders made by our partner nations and some new requirements as they expend munitions.”

He gave no details on what’s shipped. Saying only “we’re working very closely with our partners there to get them what they need.”

Washington provides intelligence, air-refueling, logistical help and terror-bombing targets to strike – including residential and other nonmilitary areas murdering civilians.

On Wednesday, at least six children died and others were injured when Saudi warplanes terror-bombed a school in central Yemen.

UNICEF’s Julien Harneis said children “are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted.”

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said many injured have no access to healthcare. The ICRC indicated it’s very hard delivering desperately needed medical supplies.

A spokesperson said if they don’t reach Yemen soon, many more people will die.

Over 100,000 Yemenis have been displaced. Others join them daily – fleeing for their lives, many with nowhere to go.

An ICRC spokesperson called conditions in Yemen’s southern port city Aden “catastrophic.”

It bears repeating. Obama’s war on Yemen is naked aggression by any standard.

International law expert Prof. Francis Boyle calls it a “case of raw, naked, brutal aggression.”

“It is about the United States, by means of its proxies and puppets Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), trying to reassert its control over Yemen because of its strategic location,” he explained.

“The only way there could be any type of lawful military intervention in Yemen is if it comes from the UN Security Council, and that so far hasn’t happened.”

UN Charter Article 2, paragraph 3 states:

“All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”

According to paragraph 4:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Paragraph 7 states:

“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter…”

Article 53 prohibits military force without Security Council authorization. None was forthcoming – nor will there be any. Russia and perhaps China won’t permit it.

Horrific ongoing crimes of war and against humanity are being committed. Catastrophic conditions worsen daily.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signaled possible greater US involvement saying Al Qaeda’s activities in Yemen are expanding.

It’s vying for greater power, he said. Al Qaeda is a US creation. It’s used as both ally and enemy in different conflict areas. Carter didn’t explain.

He ludicrously warned its “ambition (is) to strike Western targets and the United States.”

Will Washington get more directly involved in Yemen’s conflict it initiated? It remains to be seen.

One thing looks certain. Another US targeted country is being ravaged and destroyed.

Millions of lives are at risk. Many tens of thousands may die before fighting ends. It could continue for years.

A Final Comment

Russia urges resolving Yemen’s conflict diplomatically. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said waging it has no “international legal basis.”

“We were, of course…disappointed that the operation was launched without any consultations with the UN Security Council or any bilateral talks, and that our partners…post factum came to the Security Council and asked for the approval of their actions,”

he explained.

“We can’t do this, because it is a request to approve just one side of the conflict and to outlaw the other side.”

“Our position is different. Right now we are actively working with our Saudi and Egyptian colleagues, with other countries that are taking part in this operation, and are calling for a peaceful settlement.”

“To do this, both belligerents have to take certain steps: the Houthis should stop the combat operation in southern Yemen where there are attempts to capture new territories.”

“The ceasefire must be unconditional. The coalition must stop air strikes.”

“The forces, which confront the Houthis on the ground, also must join the ceasefire.”

“(A)ll parties must come to the negotiating table. This is not beyond our capabilities.”

“The capitals of the region’s countries, possible hosts for the talks, are currently being discussed.”

“They should be acceptable for all of Yemen’s parties and allow for the return to dialogue and peaceful initiatives.”

“The country is in need of national unity and new elections. We have seen all that in Ukraine.”

Obama didn’t wage proxy war on Yemen to quit – not until Washington regains control of its former client state.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

“Australia is holding more than 30 people in indefinite detention for undisclosed reasons.  These people are recognised refugees who cannot return home due to the dangers they face there.” Remedy Australia, Petition

Daniel Flitton, senior correspondent for The Age, sees the lack of interest in Australia’s novel approach to indefinite detention for refugees as unfathomable.  Concerns about metadata retention, and the elasticity of surveillance powers, may have been registered on the Australian pulse, but “People don’t much care that in Australia a confidential judgment by ASIO has condemned more than 30 people to endless incarceration.”[1]

 Earlier this year, the same paper reported that, “without fanfare or public notice, 10 men slipped recently into the Australian community.  They are now tasting a freedom denied to some of them for up to five years” (The Age, Jan 10). According to sources, “ASIO had assessed the men, most of whom were Tamil, to be a threat to national security, but in the past few weeks this decision has been reversed.”  Such is the arbitrariness of bureaucratic judgment.

More importantly, this is Australia’s contribution to legal purgatory, its healthy bite size offer in the revisions of refugee rights.  It is a view that finds non-citizens as subjects of indefinite detention not by any genuine legal standard, but in accordance with the shoddy, often ill-informed speculations of the domestic intelligence service, ASIO.

ASIO, in other words, maintains a judicial foothold it should scant have.  International conventions do not factor in such assessments – the primacy of sovereignty, the hoarse, over-stated voice of national security, counts above all else.  By the same token, the agency does not have the powers of detention the Minister for Immigration has.

A security assessment, for its presence or lack of quality, is to be fed into what should amount to a range of factors.  Immigration ministers are, however, notoriously fickle on the subject, deferring to the espionage service as a reflex.  ASIO’s position is always that such individuals are assessed on “knowledge and information available at the time and in the context of the security environment.”

The result of such determinations is a twilight zone of control and monitoring.  As a refugee assessment to the Commonwealth Ombudsman went, the detainees in question with an adverse security assessment are being accommodated in a low security facility and are able to participate in excursions to the movies, the temple, the market and other public places; but are told that they cannot live in the community because they are a threat to Australia” (The Age, Mar 28).

Australia has, like its bosom ally of note, the United States, been attempting to come up with a range of legal exotica in this regard.  The rather crabbed view of the Abbott government to the institutional disease we call indefinite detention was to simply justify it on other grounds.  The UN Human Rights Committee in 2013 took the government to task in the indefinite detention cases of FKAG et al and MMM et al. The response from Canberra in both cases has been crass and predictable.

In FKAG et al v Australia (HRC, 2013), the Committee found violations in articles 7 (inhuman and degrading treatment, and 9(1) (arbitrary detention) and 9(4) (habeas corpus) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for the 37 authors of the complaint, 36 of whom were Sri Lankan Tamils including three children, and one a Burmese man of Rohingya ethnic minority.[2]  The Committee recommended that the applicants be released “under individually appropriate conditions” and provided full “rehabilitation and appropriate compensation.”  Finally, Australia was encouraged to comply with the prohibitions on inhuman and degrading treatment and arbitrary treatment outlined in the Covenant.

The response to the Committee recommendations was cool.  A mild admission that the Covenant had some relevance to Australia’s legal obligations was noted, along with the injunction against arbitration and indefinite detention.  But ASIO’s “assessment on whether it would be consistent with the requirements of security” to take certain “administrative action” was admitted as gospel.  “It is Australia’s policy that unlawful non-citizens who are the subject of adverse security assessments from ASIO will remain in held immigration detention, pending the resolution of their cases.”[3]

Then came the ticking off.  The Committee had not “given adequate weight to various processes and policy developments outlined in Australia’s submissions.”  The Australian government submission reads like an apologetic justification for abuse.  Besides, Australian officials were being generous.  There were regular reviews of an “independent” sort.  And it wasn’t all that bad.  “As at 27 November 2014, a total of 12 adult authors have been released from immigration detention following new security assessments by ASIO.”

The recent interest in this self-contrived legal vacuum was only sparked by such organizations as Remedy Australia, a body that has persistently argued that detention of such a nature is unwarranted and patently unjust.[4]  On top of that, they have argued that any such individuals should be compensated on release.  They have as their allies in such figures as Harvard law professor Gerald Neuman, who served on the HRC when it decided the relevant cases.  The jurist found the response from Canberra striking.  “You have to give people notice of the reasons why they are being held.”[5]

The point to be made is that the main parties, those clumsy political players who simply swap government positions like picnic chairs, agree with such extra-judicial treatment.  “Neither Labor or the Coalition,” explained The Age (Jan 10) editorial, “can take credit for anything but callous subservience to political expediency.”

The altar of national security requires its perverse sacrifices, none of which actually hold any content of truth or value.  The state is mere hologram and fiction, a nonsensical compact held together by assumption and fantasy about its security.  That such fantasy should wander into the world where desk bound agents, rather than the judges, don the wig of authority and the gown of wisdom, is something that Australia, and other countries, have become complicit in.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Notes

We have compiled a number of  official documents by the US military and its NATO allies as well as press reports which shed light on US-NATO War preparations directed against Russia.  

These reports are for informational purposes only. 

 

Operation Atlantic Resolve-South: Pentagon Prepares Romania For Conflict With Russia

U.S. Army Europe
April 5, 2015

BUCHAREST, Romania: Leadership assigned to 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment met with their military counterparts assigned to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC,) Romanian Land Forces (ROULF,) at the Land Forces Headquarters in Bucharest, Romania on Apr. 2, 2015.

Amongst the leaders representing 2nd Squadron “Cougar,” were Lt. Col. Theodore A. Johnson, 2nd squadron commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Peter D. Johnson, squadron command sergeant major; 1st Lt. Nathan P. Swire, a liaison officer and 2nd Lt. William Crawford, a public affairs liaison, both assigned to the squadron…

“The meeting reflected the strong relationship that is developing between our military organizations,” said Johnson. “We have established the course for our combined efforts to improve military’s capabilities to conduct operations with NATO Allies…”

Copyright US Army Europe, 2015

Commitment To NATO: U.S. Army Supports Latvian Special Forces Drill

U.S. Army Europe
April 7, 2015

U.S. Army Aviators support Latvian Spec. Ops. training
By Capt. Scott C. Hetzel

KATTERBACH, Germany: Aviators from the Bravo Company, 3-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, provide aviation support for helocast training April 2, 2015, with Soldiers from the Latvian Special Forces over the Daugava River in Latvia.

Helocasting is a technique used by small unit, special operations forces to conduct airborne insertion into an area of operations, usually over water.

The “Stormriders” from 3-158th are currently deployed to Latvia in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO…in the region, in light of Russia…

Army Europe is leading the Operation Atlantic Resolve enhanced land force multinational training and security cooperation activities taking place across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to ensure multinational interoperability, strengthen relationships among allied militaries, contribute to regional stability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to NATO.

Copyright US Army Europe, 2015

Ukraine To Sign Military, Technical Cooperation Agreement With NATO: Yatseniuk

Interfax-Ukraine
April 8, 2015

Ukraine to sign military and technical cooperation agreement with NATO – Yatseniuk

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has said that the Ukrainian government will sign an agreement on military and technical cooperation with NATO, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine will seek to meet NATO standards.

“The government is signing an agreement on cooperation in the field of support with NATO. It is an agreement on support between the Ukrainian Cabinet and NATO, which envisages the implementation of four trust projects with NATO, including military and technical cooperation, communications, new communications and information technologies,” Yatseniuk said at a government meeting on Wednesday.

He said that Ukraine needed to rebuild its armed forces using the example of the strongest armies and associations which are fighting for global peace, and which adhere to NATO standards.

“We are moving in this direction,” Yatseniuk added.

Copyright Interfax Ukraine, 2015

Pentagon, NATO Gear Up For 21st-Century War In Europe

U.S. Army Europe
April 5, 2015

17 Nations get lasered up for Saber Junction 15
By Sgt. Jacob A Sawyer (USAREUR)

HOHENFELS, Germany: More than 4,700 participants from 17 Allied and European partner nations have arrived here for exercise Saber Junction 15. But before most of them do anything, they’ve got to get their lasers.

At the beginning of every training rotation, all Soldiers, vehicles and weapons systems are required to receive a Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, or MILES, that allows the training engagements to occur and record the data for analysis and feedback during after-action reviews.

The MILES warehouse at Hohenfels is responsible for the installation of vehicle MILES components, personnel MILES, and the overall integration into the JMRC Hohenfels Training Area battlefield.During Saber Junction 15, the MILES warehouse will install battle tracking systems on over 1,000 vehicles and 3,100 personnel…

Copyright US Army Europe, 2015

Georgia, Romania: NATO Consolidates Control Of Black Sea

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 6, 2015

Meeting between Defence Ministries of Georgia and Romania

Within the official visit to Georgia, Defence Ministries of Georgia and Romania held meeting at the MoD today.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mindia Janelidze expressed gratitude for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspiration. The sides overviewed regional security issues.

Mindia Janelidze delivered information to his Romanian counterpart on the performed and scheduled reforms in the Georgian defence sphere. As Georgian Defence Minister outlined the top priority of 2015 is effective execution of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and thanked Romanian side for readiness to send a representative to NATO Core Team…

Very soon NATO Core Team will start active work for the implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package…

Copyright Ministry Defense Georgia, 2015

NATO Naval Group Drills With Moroccan Navy 

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

April 7, 2015

SNMG2 trains with Royal Moroccan Navy

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed passing exercises with the Royal Moroccan Navy (RMN) off the coast of Casablanca following the Group’s visit to the city.

Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the U.S. flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), Canadian ship HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), Italian ship ITS Aliseo (F 547), German oiler FGS Spessart (A 1442), Turkish ship TCG Goksu (F 497) and French oiler FS Marne (A 630).

RMN ships RMNS Allal ben Abdellah (F 615) and RMNS Hassan II (F 612) participated in the exercises at sea…

These exercises were incredibly valuable for NATO, and I am extremely honoured to have trained with our partners in the Royal Moroccan Navy,” said Williamson. “The professionalism and precision in which they operate their ships truly impressed me. NATO’s partner nations are critical to the security of the Mediterranean and we welcome their robust participation with NATO in the future…”

 Copyright NATO, 2015

Poland Erects Observation Towers On Russian Border

Polish Radio
April 6, 2015

Poland places observation towers by Russian border

Poland’s 200-kilometre land border with the Russian Kaliningrad exclave is to be bolstered with the construction of six observation towers.

The towers – which range in height between 35 and 50 metres – are to aid border guards in monitoring the border 24 hours a day, with images streamed to local border control posts.

“We are currently in the test phase of the technical installations on the towers,” Mirosława Aleksandrowicz from the Warmia-Masurian Border Guard told the PAP news agency, adding that “we plan to be fully operational by June this year”.

The total cost of the investment is over PLN 14 million, with 75 percent of the cash coming from the EU’s External Borders Fund.

Poland’s border with Russia is also the external border of the European Union, and has four road crossings into the Kaliningrad exclave, in Gronowo, Grzechotki, Bezledy and Gołdap.

Last year, 3.2 million Poles and 3.3 million Russians passed through the border crossings, up from 2.9 million Poles and 3.2 million Russians passing through in 2013, PAP reports.

Copyright Polish Radio, 2015

U.S. Launches Yet More War Games In Estonia

UNIAN
April 6, 2015

155mm FH70 howitzer

Estonia and US start joint military exercises

Estonian army units on Monday began military exercises with the U.S. Air Force, Baltic news portal Delfi.lt has reported.

“Within the framework of the exercises, the military will work out techniques of defensive battles and constraints,” the commander of the Estonian Artillery Battalion Kaarel Mäesalu said, according to Ukrainian newspaper Europeiska Pravda.

“In addition, soldiers will be able to practice giving military assistance to allied aircraft,” Mäesalu said.

The exercise will take place in two stages. The first stage will last until April 9 and will focus on tactical activities and exercises, including defense from air attacks.

The second stage of exercises will start from April 10 and will include shooting from 155mm FH70 howitzers, and exercises involving F-16 fighter aircraft.

Copyright UNIAN, 2015

U.S. May Arm Ukraine This Year: Bellicose Ex-Envoy

Ukrinform
April 6, 2015

United States may give weapon to Ukraine this year – former ambassador

KYIV: Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (2003-2006) John Herbst believes that Washington will decide on arms supply to Ukraine this year.

He said this in an interview to Inter Ukrainian TV channel.

“We must stop aggression of Putin here in Ukraine. I do not think that the U.S. president understands that. I think he is short-sighted and does not see the depth of problem and, therefore, has not yet decided on issue of arms supplies to Ukraine,” Herbst said.

At the same time, he added that American political circles understood that the issue concerned the vital interests of the United States.

“So I think that this year Washington will decide on the supply of arms of Ukraine, but the president has not approved that so far,” he said.

According to Herbst, arms supplies to Kyiv could reduce the likelihood of a new attack by Russia.

Copyright Ukraine Inform 2015

U.S. Shifts A-10s To Romania

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

April 2, 2015

A-10s deploy to Romania for Operation Atlantic Resolve
By Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

CAMPIA TURZII, Romania: Twelve U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs deployed as a 90-day theater security package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to Campia Turzii, Romania, March 30.

As part of the deployment, the U.S. and Romanian air forces will be flying together over the plateaus in the heart of Transylvania for Dacian Thunder 2015.

The U.S. Air Force’s 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and the Romanian air force’s 71st Air Base’s MiG-21 fighter aircraft will conduct the training to increase relations and interoperability while building upon both nations’ joint capabilities and ensuring a stronger partnership.

About 200 Airmen and support equipment from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, will participate as a combat capable force able to respond to a wide variety of operations.

The A-10 supports Air Force missions around the world as part of the U.S. Air Force’s current inventory of strike platforms, including F-15 and F-16s. As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the aircraft will later forward deploy to locations in to reassure Eastern European NATO countries…

Copyright US Air Force, 2015

“If NATO Goes To War”: U.S. Trains With Estonian Joint Terminal Attack Controllers

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

April 2, 2015

Pilots, ground forces exercise Forward Air Controller (Airborne) mission over Estonia
By 1st Lt Allie Delury
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. F-16s

Ämari Air Base, Estonia: At the invitation of the Estonian government, American pilots from the 510th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, have a unique opportunity to learn the value of the Forward Air Control (Airborne) mission with Estonians from Amari Air Base and U.S. instructor pilots from Luke Air Force Base.

FAC(A)s provide control of both airborne and ground forces in a close air support role and work closely with the ground commander to coordinate ground targets and de-conflict air assets. This flying training event ensures that pilots gain valuable experience with low-level flying and work with Estonian Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on the nearby Tapa Range…

“It’s important to work with all NATO allies because if we ever go to war, we have to understand each other and understand how different nations function,” said Piirisild. “The main mission is to enhance cooperation between the United States Air Force, NATO and Estonia…”

 Copyright US Air Force 2015

24-Hour War Production: Ukraine “Hits Unemployment” With Tanks, Armored Personnel Carriers – Poroshenko

Interfax-Ukraine
April 4, 2015

Poroshenko: we hit unemployment with tanks, APCs

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko again stressed that Ukrainian defense industry has picked up steam and new jobs have been created.

“Ukrainian defense industry that switches to three-shift operation is quickly boosting Ukraine’s military power,” the head of state said in the training center of the National Guard of Ukraine in Novi Petrivtsi (Kyiv region) on Saturday.

He said that “we hit unemployment with tanks and APCs.”

Poroshenko said that thousands of new jobs that have been created at defense enterprises is a contribution in restoration, including in Ukraine’s industrial potential.

An Interfax-Ukraine correspondent reported that on Saturday the presentation of weapon and military equipment samples was held in the training center of the National Guard of Ukraine in Novi Petrivtsi with the participation of the Ukrainian president.

Products of Ukroboronprom State Concern and some other Ukrainian enterprises were exhibited. Special exporters of Ukroboronprom also showed modern devices and equipment made by foreign companies..

Copyright Interfax, 2015

Black Sea: U.S. F-15s To Participate In War Games In Bulgaria

Sofia News Agency
March 31, 2015

USAF F-15s to Take Part in Military Drills in Bulgaria from April 10

US Air Force F-15 fighter jets will arrive in Bulgaria next month to join military exercises in the eastern European country, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Up to 12 F-15s will arrive after Apirl 10, the newswire quoted a Bulgarian defence ministry official as saying.

The deployment, part of the Pentagon’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, will take place from April 10 to June 30.

The operation aims to demonstrate the commitment of the US military to NATO allies in view of tension along the Alliance’s flank in eastern Europe prompted by Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

Moscow has denied Western accusations of providing support to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine.

Copyright Sofia New Agency 2015

U.S. Deploys F-15s For Impending Conflict In Europe

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

April 3, 2015

ANG general welcomes F-15 deployment to Europe
By Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

LEEUWARDEN AIR BASE, Netherlands: The second theater security package consisting of twelve F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft arrived at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, March 31 through April 1, marking the beginning of their six-month deployment to Europe.

The 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, Jacksonsville, Fla., leads this first ANG theater security package to deploy in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The aircraft and Airmen are based out of units in Florida, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and various bases throughout Europe. Regardless of their origin, together, they make up the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

Maj. Gen. Eric Vollmecke, ANG assistant to the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, welcomed the Airmen and stressed the importance of the TSP in Europe during a visit April 3.

“We are here to reinforce to our allies that the security of Europe is a priority for the U.S.,” Vollmecke explained to the 159th EFS.

The squadron will fly with NATO allies and support OAR [Operation Atlantic Resolve], a demonstration of U.S. European Command and United States Air Forces in Europe’s continued commitment to the collective security of NATO…in the region…

Copyright US Army Europe, 2015

Turkey: NATO Commander Speaks On Future Air and Space Power

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

April 3, 2015

SACT participates to the International Conference on Air and Space Power

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros participated to the International Conference on Air and Space Power (ICAP) at Turkish Air War College, April 2nd 2015.

The ICAP 2015, an International Conference organized in Turkey for the second time, was hosted by Air War College with Turkish Air Force’s contribution. The subjects discussed during ICAP will ensure that today’s and future changing principles of Air and Space Power are clearly understood with the contributions of speakers from partner and allied nations from all over the world..

Copyright NATO , 2015

Reposting on occasion of attack on Yemen: Open Letter on Saudi Arabia

Open Letter
Anthony B. Newkirk

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) ChairmanHouse Committee on Foreign Affairs Howard L. Berman (D-CA)Ranking MemberHouse Committee on Foreign Affairs

June 22, 2012

Honorable Members:

On October 20, 2010, the Obama administration announced approval of projected arms transfer agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totaling over $60 billion in value. On February 16, 2011, I wrote a letter to you requesting further information. As I have not yet received a response, I am resubmitting my questions in a more public forum.

It is not hard to fathom why the United States and Saudi Arabia have very close ties. The perception that our country is dependent on “Arab oil” is firmly implanted in popular opinion. But the topic of security assistance for Saudi Arabia is not, an example being the 2010 Saudi arms deal. Of course, this is hardly the only problem facing our nation in this time of assaults on job security, social services, and civil liberties. It is also far from being the only problem in the Middle East. However, the Saudi arms deal focuses attention on a range of issues related to America’s fiscal soundness, security, and defense of human rights…

U.S. Guided Missile Destroyer To Enter Black Sea

Sofia News Agency
April 2, 2015

US Navy Destroyer Jason Dunham to Enter Black Sea Friday

US Navy guided-missile destroyer Jason Dunham will enter the Black Sea on Friday in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the US 6th Fleet has announced.

“The ship’s presence in the Black Sea demonstrates the United States’ commitment to working closely with allies to enhance maritime security and stability, readiness, and naval capability,” the US 6th Fleet said in a statement

Some 750 US Army tanks and thousands of troops were deployed to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for Atlantic Resolve activities, in a move described as a means “to deter Russian aggression.”

US and NATO have said they are holding Atlantic Resolve drills to strengthen security in the alliance’s member states in light of the conflict in Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern over growing number of NATO military drills in eastern Europe.

The build-up of NATO forces in Eastern Europe “is an unprecedentedly dangerous step” that violates Russia’s agreements with the alliance, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

Copyright  Sofia New Agency 2015

This compilation was undertaken by Rick Rozoff, initially published on STOP NATO.   

The whole world knows of the horrors inflicted on Kenyan civilians by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab. But, the “corporate media tells Americans little if anything about Somalia’s road to ruin,” paved by the United States and its Ethiopian and Kenyan allies. “If there were true justice in this world the United States and its puppets would not only have to leave that country but make restitution as well.”

There is so much killing committed by so many nations, groups, and individuals that it is hard to know where to begin in condemning it all. Of course the biggest mass killers are and always have been governments. As time passes, states around the world have ever more horrifying capabilities of taking human life. In the process they create resentments, hatred, and ultimately the desire for revenge. The Somali group Al-Shabaab is an example of this predictable and horrifying phenomenon.

On April 2, 2015, Al-Shabaab fighters stormed a university located in Garissa, Kenya, and killed 147 people. Survivors report that Muslims were separated from non-Muslims, and non-Muslim students and staff were summarily executed. In 2013 Al-Shabaab attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi under the same circumstances and killed 67 people. In 2015 as in 2013, the group immediately claimed responsibility and made their rationale clear. In an online statement Al-Shabaab repeated that it seeks revenge for the destruction of Somalia by the United States and its allies.

“In Somalia, the Kenyan military has committed a countless number of atrocities against the Muslim population. With their government’s approval, the Kenyan military embarked on a series of mass killings, torture and systematic rape of the Muslim women in Somalia. Tens of thousands of Muslims were displaced from their homes, hundreds more were killed and thousands injured as a direct result of the Kenyan invasion. Kenyan jets shelled refugee camps and hospitals, killing dozens. They strafed entire villages from the air, killed livestock and bombarded Madrassas and educational institutions, crushing, with such malice, the dreams and hopes of an entire generation.”

Somalia is a nation long torn apart by civil war aided and abetted by neighboring states Ethiopia and Kenya who work in league with the United States. When Somalia began to emerge as a stable nation the United States and Ethiopia acted quickly to make sure that it remained weak and vulnerable. Ethiopia invaded Somalia at America’s urging and was later joined in the aggressions by Kenya and other African puppet governments who remain in that country.

No one wants to live in an occupied country with foreign armies, starvation, and death, and Somalis are no exception. The United States continues drone strikes which claim to kill a particular “Al-Shabaab leader” and in so doing keep Somalia in a state of failure. No stone is left unturned in the effort to keep Somalia from becoming a thriving nation with its sovereignty intact.

In February of this year the United States government ended the ability of any American bank to transfer funds to Somalia. Remittances from Somalis living abroad account for some 50% of that country’s gross national income and total over $1 billion. The rationale for this latest destruction was keeping funds out of the hands of Al-Shabaab. Of course ordinary citizens will suffer far more. In the past the United States even withheld food aid for the same stated reasons and suffering still falls largely on a vulnerable population.

Al-Shabaab fighters can’t reach the United States, but they can reach Kenya, with which it shares a border. Kenyans shopping in a mall or attending university run the risk of being victimized too. That is the point which Al-Shabaab makes implicitly and explicitly with each attack. If their people can be killed, then the citizens of an occupying nation can be killed too.

Once again we see painful and heart rending images of victims and grieving families. The corporate media tells Americans little if anything about Somalia’s road to ruin which the United States directed. They don’t reveal the American violence directed at Somalis or present images of starving people or bodies left by war and drone strikes.

In the American mind Al-Shabaab is just another group of crazed foreigners who have bizarre grievances. In fact their grievances are justly held and if there were true justice in this world the United States and its puppets would not only have to leave that country but make restitution as well.

When Barack Obama makes his official visit to Kenya later this year he will no doubt make mention of Garissa. He will say that Al-Shabaab is made up of evil cowards who have no regard for human life but he won’t mention how the United States helped to kill up to 1 million people in neighboring Somalia through war and starvation. Every president since George H.W. Bush has either sent United States troops to conduct “humanity missions” or killer drones to “fight terrorism.” Somalia suffers from an unfortunate geography. It is too close to the Persian Gulf and access to oil. It also suffers because America has reached the apex of imperialism and looks for new places to bring under its influence, even when that means a great loss of human life.

Al-Shabaab may well have the last word. In their statement they warned that Garissa would not be the end of their violence perpetrated against Kenyans. “For as long as your government persists in its path of oppression, implements repressive policies and continues with the systematic persecution against innocent Muslims, our attacks will also continue. No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities.”

Those words could have been written by the United States. In Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria there is no escape from American aggression either. Al-Shabaab has learned a lot about how to kill.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as athttp://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

Foto : Mercenarios en Panamá 
El opositor cubano participa en la Cumbre de las Américas los días 10 y 11 de abril de 2015 en Panamá y llevará la palabra de Washington, su principal patrocinador.
1.      Nacido en 1962, Manuel Cuesta Morúa es un opositor cubano, fundador, entre otros, del Partido Arco Progresista de Cuba. También es coordinador de la Plataforma “Nuevo País”, que agrupa a una parte de la disidencia.
2.      Favorable a un cambio de sistema en Cuba, Cuesta Morúa, quien no obstante militó en la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas (UJC), es un feroz detractor del Gobierno y publica regularmente acerbas crónicas en el sitio Cubanet, que recibe subvenciones de la Agencia Estadounidense Internacional para el Desarrollo (USAID), ella misma financiada directamente por el Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos.
3.      La Fundación Nacional para la Democracia (National Endowment for Democracy, NED) financia las actividades de oposición de Cuesta Morúa. La NED fue creada por el antiguo presidente estadounidense Ronald Reagan en 1983, en una época en que la violencia militar había tomado el paso sobre la diplomacia tradicional en los asuntos internacionales. Gracias a su poderosa capacidad de penetración financiera, la NED tiene como objetivo debilitar a los gobiernos que se opondrían a la política exterior de Washington.
4.     Según el New York Times [artículo de marzo de 1997], la NED “se creó hace 15 años para realizar públicamente lo que la Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ha hecho subrepticiamente durante décadas. Gasta 30 millones de dólares al año en apoyar a partidos políticos, sindicatos, movimientos disidentes y medios informativos en decenas de países”.
5.      En septiembre de 1991 Allen Weistein, padre de la legislación que dio nacimiento a la NED, expresó lo siguiente al Washington Post: “Mucho de lo que hacemos hoy lo hizo la CIA hace 25 años de modo clandestino”.
 
Liaena Hernández Martínez, miembro del Comité Nacional de la Federación de Mujeres Cubanas
Liaena Hernández Martínez, miembro del Comité Nacional de la Federación de Mujeres Cubanas
6.      Carl Gershman, primer presidente de la NED, explicó en junio de 1986 la razón de ser de la Fundación: “Sería terrible para los grupos democráticos del mundo entero aparecer como subvencionados por la CIA. Vimos eso en los años 60 y por eso acabamos con ello. Es porque no podíamos seguir haciéndolo por lo que se creó la Fundación”.
7.      Así, según el New York Times, Allen Weinstein y Carl Gershman, Manuel Cuesta Morúa está financiado por una oficina pantalla de la CIA.
8.      Manuel Cuesta Morúa condenó el ataque al cuartel Moncada del 26 de julio de 1953 que lanzó Fidel Castro contra la dictadura militar de Fulgencio Batista apoyada por Estados Unidos, acción que desató la Revolución Cubana. El disidente fustigó a todos los dirigentes latinoamericanos por viajar a Cuba con el fin de celebrar al 60 aniversario de la sublevación popular en 2013 y hacer, según él, “apología de la violencia”. Según él, “esta alabanza latinoamericana y caribeña es […] una falta de respeto hacia nuestra historia”.[1]
9.  Para Cuesta Morúa la Revolución Cubana, cuyas conquistas sociales son alabadas por las más prestigiosas instituciones internacionales –particularmente en el campo de la salud –, es un fracaso total. Según sus palabras, con el advenimiento del socialismo, Cuba se ha convertido en un “país sin baños públicos, con portales con tres décadas de suciedad, edificios a medio derrumbar, hospitales listos para transmitir infección”. [2]
10.  Según el opositor, el mercado del empleo en Cuba es sinónimo de “regreso de la esclavitud en el trabajo, ahora sin trata negrera”.[3] La Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) no comparte este punto de vista y al contrario califica el sistema cubano de seguridad social de “milagro” por la protección que brinda a los trabajadores y por la baja tasa de desempleo.[4]

11.  Nelson Mandela, héroe de la lucha contra el apartheid, símbolo del combate por la emancipación humana, rindió homenaje a la intervención cubana en África para ayudar a los movimientos de liberación nacional en Angola y Namibia, entre otros, y al Congreso Nacional Africano (ANC) en su lucha contra el régimen de Pretoria: “Desde sus días iníciales, la Revolución Cubana ha sido una fuente de inspiración para todos los pueblos amantes de la libertad. El pueblo cubano ocupa un lugar especial en el corazón de los pueblos de África. Los internacionalistas cubanos hicieron una contribución a la independencia, la libertad y la justicia en África que no tiene paralelo por los principios y el desinterés que la caracterizan”.[5] Thenjiwe Mtintso, embajadora de Sudáfrica en Cuba, recordó la verdad histórica a propósito del compromiso de Cuba en África: “Hoy Sudáfrica tiene muchos amigos nuevos. Ayer estos amigos se referían a nuestros líderes y a nuestros combatientes como terroristas y nos acosaban desde sus países a la vez que apoyaban a la Sudáfrica del apartheid. Esos mismos amigos hoy quieren que nosotros denunciemos y aislemos a Cuba. Nuestra respuesta es muy simple, es la sangre de los mártires cubanos y no de estos amigos la que corre profundamente por la tierra africana y nutre el árbol de la libertad en nuestra Patria”.[6] Pero Cuesta Morúa, por su parte, lejos de rendir tributo a la solidaridad internacionalista de su país, denuncia lo que llama “el imperialismo revolucionario hacia el Tercer Mundo”.[7]

12.  Del mismo modo, mientras el mundo entero celebra las misiones internacionalistas humanitarias cubanas por todo el planeta, con más de 50.000 médicos y otro personal sanitario que trabaja voluntariamente en más de 60 países del Tercer Mundo –el ejemplo más reciente la intervención cubana en el oeste de África para luchar contra la epidemia de ébola–, Manuel Cuesta Morúa estigmatiza, al contrario, “el imperialismo revolucionario hacia el Tercer Mundo: en forma de misiones militares o de misiones médicas y educativas”.[8]

 13.  Para el opositor “la Revolución Cubana ya no existe” pues “fue, por naturaleza, una revolución conservadora” sin “posibilidades de una  modernización social, política y cultural coherente, en consonancia con la dinámica mundial: el feminismo, los negros y el movimiento homosexual  y de lesbianas”.[9] Aquí también Cuesta Morúa contradice a las más eminentes instituciones internacionales que multiplican las alabanzas a Cuba  por su política de integración de las minorías. A guisa de ejemplo, hay unanimidad entre los estudiosos para reconocer que la Revolución Cubana ha  sido sinónimo de emancipación de la mujer. Con una esperanza de vida de 80 años, una tasa de mortalidad infantil de 4,6 por mil, una tasa de  mortalidad materna de un 0,02%, una tasa de fecundidad de 1,5 hijos, un salario estrictamente igual al del hombre por un empleo similar, un derecho  a una pensión plena después de 30 años de cotización, la mujer cubana goza de un estatus único entre los países en vía de desarrollo. También  representa el 60% de los estudiantes, el 44% de la población activa, el 66,4% de los técnicos y profesionales del país de nivel medo o superior  (profesores, médicos, ingenieros, investigadores, etc.), el 66% de los funcionarios civiles, el 46% de los cargos de dirección en el sector económico y  el 48,66% de los diputados del Parlamento nacional.

14.  Para Manuel Cuesta Morúa, la hostilidad de Estados Unidos hacia Cuba es una fabricación de las autoridades de La Habana: “El gobierno cubano construyó un enemigo formidable para enmascarar un régimen autoritario”.[10] Así, la invasión de Bahía de Cochinos de 1961, la amenaza de desintegración nuclear en 1962, el financiamiento del terrorismo contra Cuba (3.478 muertos y 2.099 discapacitados), las sanciones económicas, la agresión política, diplomática y mediática sólo son un “muro narrativo” inventado por “el régimen cubano”.
15.  Según él la política de Estados Unidos hacia La Habana desde 1959 “ayudó a poner de relieve el tema de los derechos humanos en Cuba”.[11]
16.  Manuel Cuesta Morúa está a favor de la Ley de Ajuste Cubano que adoptó el Congreso de Estados Unidos en 1966, destinada a fomentar la emigración ilegal y el robo de cerebros. Única en el mundo, estipula que todo cubano que entre legal o ilegalmente a Estados Unidos, pacífica o violentamente, después del 1 de enero de 1959, consigue automáticamente al cabo de un año y un día el estatus de residente permanente. Para el disidente, la eliminación de dicha legislación “sería contraproducente para el control legal del flujo migratorio”.[12]
17.  Manuel Cuesta Morúa minimiza el impacto de las sanciones económicas contra la población cubana. Según él se trata de un simple “embargo” y no de un “bloqueo” y omite señalar así el carácter extraterritorial, es decir contrario al derecho internacional, del estado de sitio impuesto a la isla desde 1960.[13]
18.  El disidente cubano está cercano a los círculos de poder estadounidenses. Intervino ante el Senado a invitación del senador Marco Rubio, acérrimo opositor a todo acercamiento a Cuba y exigió que se dejara de “culpar al vecino del norte por los problemas de la isla”. [14] Según él las sanciones económicas son una excusa del Gobierno cubano para justificar las dificultades que enfrenta el país, contradiciendo así a la comunidad internacional que condenó en 2014, con abrumadora mayoría de 188 votos contra 2 (EE.UU. e Israel), por vigesimotercer año consecutivo, el estado de sitio impuesto a los cubanos, que constituye el principal obstáculo al desarrollo de la isla.
19.  Según Cuesta Morúa el acercamiento entre Washington y La Habana constituye una “victoria estratégica de los Estados Unidos frente al Gobierno cubano”.[15] El presidente Obama, por su parte, no comparte este punto de vista y reconoce que la política de hostilidad hacia Cuba ha sido un fracaso total: “Vamos a poner fin a un enfoque obsoleto que ha fracasado durante décadas en promover nuestros intereses. […] Ninguna nación nos ha seguido en la imposición de esas sanciones. […] Después de todo, esos últimos cincuenta años han demostrado que el aislamiento  no ha funcionado. Es tiempo de adoptar un nuevo enfoque. […] La política estadounidense hacia Cuba ha aislado a Estados Unidos de sus socios regionales e internacionales, ha limitado [la] capacidad de influencia en el continente americano”.[16] John Kerry, secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, comparte el análisis: “No sólo esta política ha fracasado […] sino que también ha aislado a Estados Unidos en vez de aislar a Cuba”.[17]
20.  El disidente cubano es un gran admirador del modelo estadounidense. Según él “el modelo de éxito y bienestar, y no solo para la generación de nuestros hijos, radica en los Estados Unidos. Muchos de nuestros padres y abuelos viajan allí para insertarse en la generosa estructura de seguridad social que se ofrece en aquel país para los ancianos”.[18] Poco importa si todos los indicadores contradicen esta afirmación. A guisa de ejemplo, según las estadísticas oficiales, mientras Estados Unidos es el país más rico del mundo, al menos el 14,5% de la población vive por debajo del umbral de pobreza, o sea 45,3 millones de personas. Del mismo modo el 19,9% de los niños menores de 18 años sufren pobreza.[19]

Manuel Cuesta Morúa
Manuel Cuesta Morúa
21.  Manuel Cuesta Morúa denuncia a los países de la nueva América Latina, a saber, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Brasil y Argentina y fustiga “el antinorteamericanismo histórico de la región [que] […] pospone […] la defensa íntegra de los valores democráticos en el hemisferio”. [20] Según él ninguno de los presidentes que llegaron al poder mediante escrutinios reconocidos por su transparencia por las instituciones internacionales es legítimo: “¿Cree alguien de verdad que la Kirchner, o los Lula, Correa, Morales, Ortega y Maduro son demócratas?”
22.  En cambio el disidente cubano rinde homenaje a la Organización de Estados Americanos, “única organización […] que cuenta con mecanismos consolidados, con una referencia y una experiencia tradicional”.[21] No obstante esta entidad, tradicionalmente sumisa a Estados Unidos al punto de recibir el apodo de “Ministerio de las Colonias”, suscita un rechazo creciente en América Latina, en beneficio de nuevas estructuras de integración basadas en la igualdad soberana y la reciprocidad como la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC), fundada en 2011, que agrupa a los 33 países del continente americano –más allá de las diferencias políticas e ideológicas– con la excepción de Canadá y Estados Unidos.
23.  De hecho Manuel Cuesta Morúa expresa su oposición a los procesos de integración en América Latina si no se realizan bajo la tutela estadounidense. Para él la CELAC es un “fantasma político de reciente estreno”, “sin mecanismos, instituciones, [ni] representatividad política”, “de la que nadie en su sano juicio hablará en largo rato, si acaso lo hace en el futuro”.[22]
24.  Desde 1959 uno de los principales pilares de la política exterior de Estados Unidos hacia Cuba ha consistido en organizar, asesorar y financiar a una oposición interna con el fin de conseguir un “cambio de régimen”. Si esta política fue clandestina de 1959 a 1991, ahora es pública y está asumida por Washington. Así, la ley Torricelli de 1992, la ley Helms-Burton de 1996, la Comisión de Asistencia para una Cuba Libre en sus informes de 2004 y 2006, prevén un financiamiento de la oposición interna en Cuba que llega a 20 millones de dólares anuales.

25.  En una palabra Manuel Cuesta Morúa, que reside en Cuba y se beneficia de todas las ventajas del sistema de protección social del país, es un disidente vinculado al poder estadounidense mediante la NED, una oficina pantalla de la CIA que contribuye financieramente al desarrollo de sus actividades de oposición al Gobierno de La Habana.

 

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2015, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano. http://monthlyreview.org/books/pb4710/ Contacto: [email protected] ;[email protected] Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel 

[1] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, “Progresistas muy raros”, Cubanet, 2 de agosto de 2013. http://www.cubanet.org/articulos/progresistas-muy-raros/(sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[2] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «La revolución pudo haberse escapado por la alcantarilla», Cubanet, 12 de agosto de 2013.http://www.cubanet.org/otros/la-revolucion-pudo-haberse-escapado-por-la-alcantarilla/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[3] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «La piñata, la represión y el capitalismo en Cuba», Cubanet, 2 de mayo de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/63383/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[4] Granma, «Director regional de OIT califica de ‘casi un milagro’ sistema cubano de seguridad social», 30 de marzo de 2005.

[5] Salim Lamrani, Cuba. Ce que les médias ne vous diront jamais, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2009, prologue.

[6] Piero Gleijeses, «Cuito Cuanavale: batalla que terminó con el Apartheid», Cubadebate, 23 de marzo de 2013. 

[7] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «Los muertos no hablan de revolución», Cubanet, 22 de enero de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/destacados/los-muertos-no-hablan-de-revolucion/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[8] Ibid.

[9] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «Los muertos no hablan de revolución», Cubanet, 22 de enero de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/destacados/los-muertos-no-hablan-de-revolucion/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[10] Agustina Ordoqui, «‘La apertura de Cuba es el fin del modelo, pero no del gobierno’», Infobae, 15 de marzo de 2015.http://www.infobae.com/2015/03/15/1716051-la-apertura-cuba-es-el-fin-del-modelo-pero-no-del-gobierno (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[11] Ibid.

[12] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «La ley ‘asesina’ que permite comer a muchos cubanos», Cubanet, 28 de noviembre de 2013.http://www.cubanet.org/articulos/la-ley-asesina-que-permite-comer-a-muchos-cubanos/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[13] Ibid.

[14] 14ymedio, “Opositores cubanos hablaron en la audiencia del Senado de Estados Unidos”, 3 de febrero de 2015.http://www.14ymedio.com/internacional/Opositores-hablaron-audiencia-Senado-Unidos_0_1718828110.html (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[15] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «Cuba: la derrota estratégica I », Cubanet, 21 de mayo de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/cuba-la-derrota-estrategica/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[16] The White House, « Barack Obama’s Speech: Charting a New Course of Era », 17 de diciembre de 2014. http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/cuba (site consulté le 17 décembre 2014)

[17] John Kerry, “Statement by Secretary Kerry: Announcement of Cuba Policy Changes”, U.S. Department of State, 17 de diciembre de 2014.http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2014/12/20141217312131.html#axzz3MC4Z8Upx (sitio consultado el 17 de diciembre de 2014)

[18] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «La derrota estratégica II», 22 de mayo de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/cuba-la-derrota-estrategica-ii/(sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[19] The United States Census Bureau, “2013 Highlights”, 2014. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[20] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, « Cuba y las democracias en América Latina”, Cubanet, 28 de abril de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/cuba-y-las-democracias-en-america-latina/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[21] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, « Desconcierto en las Américas ante Venezuela”, Cubanet, 5 de marzo de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/desconcierto-en-las-americas-ante-venezuela/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[22] Ibid.

El líder revolucionario ha realizado el sueño del Apóstol y Héroe Nacional José Martí de una Cuba independiente y ha devuelto su dignidad al pueblo de la Isla.
El triunfo de la Revolución en Cuba el 1 de enero de 1959 engendró la más importante transformación social de la historia de América Latina. Al derrocar el orden y las estructuras establecidas, Fidel Castro puso en tela de juicio el poder de la oligarquía batistiana y de los conglomerados de dinero y ubicó al ser humano en el centro del nuevo proyecto de sociedad dedicando los recursos nacionales al pueblo.La principal conquista de la Revolución cubana es la independencia y la soberanía tan anheladas por el pueblo cubano desde el siglo XIX y por las cuales José Martí sacrificó su vida en 1895. Al poner fin a más de 70 años de dominio de Estados Unidos sobre la Isla, Fidel Castro devolvió a los cubanos su dignidad perdida durante la intervención estadounidense en la guerra de independencia de Cuba en 1898 y la ocupación militar que había transformado a la Isla en simple protectorado. El presidente John F. Kennedy no se equivocó: “Fidel Castro forma parte del legado de Bolívar. Deberíamos haber dado al fogoso y joven rebelde una bienvenida más calurosa en su hora de triunfo”[1].

Para entender la importancia simbólica de Fidel Castro en la historia de Cuba resulta necesario remontarse a principios del siglo XIX, en el momento en que la isla empezó a suscitar las apetencias del “vecino pujante y ambicioso”.[2] En efecto, Cuba es una de las más antiguas inquietudes de la política exterior de Estados Unidos. En 1805 Thomas Jefferson evocó la importancia de la isla enfatizando que su “posesión [era] necesaria para asegurar la defensa de la Luisiana y de la Florida pues [era] la llave del Golfo de México. Para Estados Unidos, la conquista sería fácil”.[3] En 1823 John Quincy Adams, entonces secretario de Estado y futuro presidente de Estados Unidos, aludió al tema de la anexión de Cuba, elaborando la famosa teoría de la “fruta madura”: “Cuba, separada por la fuerza de su propia conexión desnaturalizada con España e incapaz de sostenerse por ella misma, tendrá necesariamente que gravitar en torno a la Unión Norteamericana y sólo a ella”. [4] Así, durante el siglo XIX, Estados Unidos intentó comprar Cuba a España al menos seis veces.

Durante la Primera Guerra de Independencia, de 1868 a 1878, los insurrectos cubanos, afligidos por profundas divisiones internas, fueron derrotados por el ejército español. Estados Unidos brindó su apoyo a España vendiéndole las armas más modernas y se opuso resueltamente a los independentistas, persiguiendo a los exilados cubanos que intentaban brindar su contribución a la lucha armada[5]. El 29 de octubre de 1872 el secretario de Estado Hamilton Fish hizo partícipe a Daniel Edgar Sickles, entonces embajador estadounidense en Madrid, de sus “augurios de éxito para España en la supresión de la revuelta”. Washington, opuesto a la independencia de Cuba, deseaba tomar posesión de la Isla.[6]

Durante la Segunda Guerra de Independencia entre 1895 y 1898, los revolucionarios cubanos, unidos en torno a su líder José Martí, tuvieron que enfrentar otra vez la hostilidad de Estados Unidos, que brindó su concurso a España vendiéndole armas y arrestando a los patriotas cubanos en su territorio que intentaban suministrar a los insurrectos.

En 1898, a pesar de su superioridad material, España estaba al borde del abismo, vencida en el campo de batalla por los independentistas cubanos. En una misiva el presidente estadounidense William McKinley, con fecha del 9 de marzo de 1898, a Stewart Woodford, embajador en Madrid, le señaló que “la derrota” de España era “segura”. “[Los españoles] saben que Cuba está perdida”. Según él, “Si Estados Unidos quiere Cuba, debe obtenerla por la conquista”. [7]

En abril de 1898, tras la misteriosa explosión del buque de guerra estadounidense The Maine en la bahía de La Habana, el Presidente McKinley solicitó el permiso del Congreso para intervenir militarmente en Cuba e impedir que la isla consiguiera su independencia. Varios parlamentarios estadounidenses denunciaron una guerra de conquista. John W. Daniel, senador demócrata de Virginia, acusó al Gobierno de querer intervenir para evitar una derrota de los españoles: “Cuando ha llegado la hora más favorable para una victoria revolucionaria y menos ventajosa para España, […] se asigna al Congreso a que entregue al presidente el ejército de Estados Unidos para ir a imponer por la fuerza un armisticio entre dos partes, cuando una de dos ya depuso las armas”.[8] Así, en tres meses, Estados Unidos tomó el control del país e impuso un Tratado de Paz a España, del cual los cubanos fueron excluidos, destrozando su anhelo de independencia.

De 1898 a 1902 Washington ocupó Cuba y obligó a la Asamblea Constituyente a que incluyera la enmienda Platt en la nueva Carta Magna, so pena de prorrogar indefinidamente la ocupación militar. El texto redactado por el senador Orville H. Platt prohibía a Cuba que firmara cualquier acuerdo con un tercer país o que contratara una deuda con otra nación. También daba a Estados Unidos el derecho a intervenir en todo momento en los asuntos internos de Cuba y compelía a la isla a que arrendase indefinidamente a Washington la base naval de Guantánamo [9]. En un correo de 1901, el general Leonard Wood, entonces gobernador militar de Cuba, felicitó al Presidente McKinley: “Desde luego, bajo la enmienda Platt, no hay independencia –o poca– para Cuba y la única cosa que resulta importante ahora es buscar la anexión”.[10]

De 1902 a 1958, Cuba tenía el estatus de República neocolonial, totalmente dependiente del poderoso vecino. Una librería estadounidense no se equivocó cuando difundió en 1902 un mapa de la isla bajo el título: “Nuestra nueva colonia: Cuba”.[11] El Tratado de Reciprocidad Comercial impuesto a Cuba en 1902 constituyó de facto una anexión económica.[12]

Estados Unidos intervino militarmente en Cuba en 1906 e instaló al gobernador Charles E. Mangoon hasta 1909, recordando a los cubanos quién era el verdadero dueño de la isla.[13] En 1912, Washington se inmiscuyó otra vez en los asuntos internos de Cuba y mandó a sus fuerzas armadas, tras la revuelta de los Veteranos de Color, independentistas apartados del poder. El encargado de negocios estadounidense Hugh S. Gibson explicó las razones de esa sublevación: “Los cubanos que tomaron las armas por la causa española […] ocupan ahora los cargos públicos”.[14] Estados Unidos había tomado en efecto la precaución –recordaba Gibson– de colocar en puestos claves a “quienes habían tomado las armas contra la causa de la independencia cubana”.[15]

La enmienda Platt, que legalizaba el intervencionismo estadounidense, ubicaba al gobierno cubano en una situación “de inferioridad humillante mediante un desprecio de sus derechos nacionales, causando su desprestigio en el interior y el exterior del país”.[16] Tales fueron las palabras del presidente cubano José Miguel Gómez. Este apéndice legislativo no dejaba de recordar al pueblo cubano que el destino de su patria se subordinaba a los intereses de la potencia neocolonial. Así, en 1917, el presidente Woodrow Wilson mandó varios buques de guerra a Santiago de Cuba y Camagüey cuando unos insurrectos tomaron las armas, bajo el liderazgo de José Miguel Gómez, contra el presidente Manuel García Menocal que deseaba mantenerse en el poder mediante un fraude masivo.[17]

Temiendo una reminiscencia de la revuelta de 1917 durante las elecciones presidenciales de 1920, Washington impuso al Presidente Menocal la presencia del general Enoch H. Crowder, el cual se encargó de elaborar las nuevas leyes electorales y organizar el escrutinio.[18] Menocal hizo partícipe de sus reservas al presidente estadounidense: una supervisión de las elecciones cubanas por parte de Washington “lastimaría el orgullo cubano [y sería] una humillación” para toda la nación. [19] Woodrow Wilson rechazó con desprecio la observación y nombró al Procónsul Crowder presidente del Comité Electoral.

Cuando en diciembre de 1920 el presidente Wilson envió a Crowder a Cuba para hacer frente a la grave crisis “política y financiera”, debida en parte al desmoronamiento de la cotización del azúcar, y salvar las inversiones estadounidenses de una quiebra de la economía cubana, ni siquiera se dignó a informar al presidente Menocal.[20] Ante las protestas de éste, la respuesta de Washington fue mordaz y recordó a La Habana, en términos bastante alejados de las costumbres de la diplomacia, quién era el verdadero dueño de la isla: “El presidente de Estados Unidos no considera necesario obtener la autorización previa del presidente de Cuba para enviar a un representante especial”.[21]

En 1933, cuando el movimiento insurreccional que lanzaron los estudiantes contra la dictadura militar de Gerardo Machado tomó un giro revolucionario bajo el impulso de Antonio Guiteras, Washington intervino otra vez para imponer a un sargento estenógrafo llamado Fulgencio Batista. El gobierno “pentárquico” que dirigió Ramón Grau San Martín, que emprendió considerables reformas sociales, no fue del agrado de Estados Unidos. En efecto, bajo la égida de Guiteras, ése creó tribunales para sancionar los crímenes que se cometieron bajo Machado, llamó a elecciones para el 22 de abril de 1934, convocó una Asamblea Constituyente para el 20 de mayo de 1934, otorgó la autonomía a las universidades, bajó el precio de los artículos de primera necesidad, dio el derecho de voto a las mujeres, limitó la jornada laboral a ocho horas, creó un ministerio del Trabajo, redujo las tarifas de gas y electricidad, puso término al monopolio de las empresas estadounidenses, impuso una moratoria temporal sobre la deuda y, sobre todo, nacionalizó la Compañía Cubana de Electricidad, filial de la American Bond and Foreign Power Company[22]El embajador Sumner Welles indicó la vía a seguir: “Ningún gobierno puede sobrevivir aquí por un periodo prolongado sin el reconocimiento de Estados Unidos y una falta de reconocimiento hundirá a Cuba en una situación aún más caótica y anárquica”.[23] Roosevelt no reconoció al nuevo poder y mandó varios buques de guerra a la isla. Las consecuencias fueron inmediatas: el Gobierno revolucionario fue derrocado por Batista -apenas había durado 127 días– el cual instaló en la presidencia al fantoche Carlos Mendieta, prefiriendo gobernar tras bambalinas.

Welles expresó su satisfacción. Su acción había sido fructífera y lo explicó en una misiva al Departamento de Estado: “Estoy convencido de que los cubanos nunca podrán autogobernarse hasta que estén forzados a realizar que deben asumir sus propias responsabilidades”. Evidentemente, Washington se encargaría de dicha tarea, imponiendo a su hombre fuerte.[24]

Batista, sumiso a Estados Unidos, tuvo el poder real de 1933 a 1959, excepto el periodo 1944-1952. Su golpe de Estado de marzo de 1952 contra el presidente Carlos Prío Socarrás fue acogido calurosamente en Washington: “Bastita es fundamentalmente amistoso con Estados Unidos y su Gobierno sin duda no será peor que el de Prío e incluso probablemente mejor”.[25] El sargento, convertido en general, se comprometió a proteger los intereses económicos de Estados Unidos en detrimento de los del pueblo cubano, de lo que se felicitó el embajador Beaulac: “Las declaraciones del general Batista relativas al capital privado fueron excelentes”.[26]

Fidel Castro, en nombre del pueblo cubano, se opuso inmediatamente a la dictadura militar y lanzó un movimiento insurreccional en las montañas de la Sierra Maestra. El líder del Movimiento 26 de Julio, retomando la antorcha de José Martí, se hizo muy popular entre la juventud cubana, que veía en él al redentor de una Cuba colonizada y humillada y el símbolo de la resistencia a la hegemonía estadounidense. Durante du discurso en Santiago de Cuba el 1 de enero de 1959, tras la huida de Batista, Fidel Castro advirtió a Washington de que en adelante Cuba sería libre y soberana: “Esta vez, por fortuna para Cuba, la Revolución llegará de verdad al poder. No será como en el 95, que vinieron los americanos y se hicieron dueños de esto […]. Ni ladrones, ni traidores, ni intervencionistas. Esta vez sí que es la Revolución”.[27]

John F. Kennedy fue uno de los pocos dirigentes de Estados Unidos que comprendió la importancia histórica de Fidel Castro. Lo explicó en un discurso de 1960 y reconoció el apoyo de Washington a Batista: “en vez de tender una mano amistosa al pueblo desesperado de Cuba, casi toda nuestra ayuda tomaba la forma de asistencia militar –asistencia que sencillamente reforzó la dictadura de Batista, una asistencia que fracasó completamente en mejorar el bienestar del pueblo cubano”.[28]

Agregó al respecto:

Usamos la influencia de nuestro gobierno para promover los intereses y aumentar los beneficios de las empresas americanas privadas, que dominaban la economía de la isla. Al inicio del año 1959, las empresas económicas poseían cerca del 40% de las tierras azucareras cubanas, acaso todos los ranchos de ganado, el 90% de las minas y concesiones mineras, el 80% de los transportes y caso toda la industria petrolera […]. Nuestra acción daba la impresión demasiadas veces que nuestro país estaba más interesado en sacar dinero del pueblo cubano que en ayudarlo a edificar una economía autónoma, fuerte y diversificada. Era imposible no suscitar la animosidad del pueblo cubano[29]
El advenimiento de una revolución radical en Cuba era inevitable pues Estados Unidos, por su estrategia de dominación, negó a los cubanos toda perspectiva de emancipación verdadera, de independencia política y de progreso económico y social. El embajador Philip Bonsal evocó esta realidad: “En la Cuba pre-Castro, la presencia americana aplastante en términos geopolíticos era un permanente recuerdo de la naturaleza imperfecta de la soberanía cubana […]. Suscitaba rechazo ya que se consideraba una transgresión intolerable de la independencia y la dignidad del pueblo cubano”.[30] La intromisión constante del Vecino del Norte en los asuntos internos de la isla había dañado profundamente el sentimiento de orgullo nacional de los cubanos. El último objetivo de la Revolución era recuperar la soberanía de la nación y poner fin a la dependencia de Estados Unidos. Tal fue la misión de Fidel Castro.

Fidel Castro tomó el poder y puso fin a la tutela estadounidense que había aplastado al país durante más de sesenta años. La república neocolonial se desintegró con la huida de Batista. El triunfo de la Revolución Cubana en 1959 permitió al pueblo cubano realizar finalmente el sueño de una patria libre y soberana, haciendo de Fidel Castro el emblema de la dignidad nacional y continental que supo oponerse a los designios hegemónicos de Washington en América Latina. Se acabó entonces la era del complejo “plattista”, en virtud del cual había que buscar soluciones estadounidenses a los problemas cubanos, con la llegada de Fidel Castro al poder.

Salim Lamrani

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2014, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano. http://monthlyreview.org/books/pb4710/Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected] Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

 

 

[1] Luis Báez, “Absuelto por la Historia”, Granma, 11 de marzo de 2014. http://www.granma.cu/granmad/secciones/fidel/ (sitio consultado el 23 de febrero de 2015).[2] José Martí, «El Congreso de Washington», La Nación, 2 de noviembre de 1889.

[3] Antonio Beltrán Hernández, L’Empire de la liberté, París, Editions Syllepse, 2002, p. 78.

[4] Philip S. Foner, Historia de Cuba y sus relaciones con Estados Unidos, La Havane, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, tome I, 1973, p. 157.

[5] Philip S. Foner, La Guerra hispano/cubano/americana y el nacimiento del imperialismo norteamericanoop. cit., Volumen 1, p.16-17.

[6] Hamilton Fish, «Mr. Fish to Mr. Cushing», 6 de febrero de 1874, FRUS, 7 de diciembre de 1874, p. 859.

[7] Stewart L. Woodford, «Mr. Woodford to the President», 9 de marzo de 1898, FRUS, 6 de diciembre de 1898, p. 682-84.

 

[8] Philip S. Foner, La Guerra hispano/cubano/americana y el nacimiento del imperialismo norteamericanoop. cit., Volumen 1, p. 337.

[9] C. I. Bevans, Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949 (Washington D. C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1971), p. 1116-17.

[10] Fidel Castro Ruz, «El imperio y la isla independiente, primera parte», Cuba Debate, 14 de agosto de 2007. http://www.cubadebate.cu/reflexiones-fidel/2007/08/14/imperio-isla-independiente-primera-parte/ (sitio consultado el 15 de agosto de 2009).

[11] Robert Merle, Moncada : premier combat de Fidel Castro, Paris, Robert Laffon, 1965, p. 34.

[12] Tomas Estrada Palma,  « Message of Tomás Estrada Palma, President of the Republic of Cuba, to the Congress of Cuba», 6 de abril de 1903, FRUS, 7 de diciembre de 1903, p. 356-57.

[13] Edwin V. Morgan, «Minister Morgan to the Secretary of State», 13 de octubre de 1906, FRUS, 1909, p. 489.

[14] Hugh S. Gibson, «Veteranista Agitation – Attitude of the United States. The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State», 10 de noviembre de 1911, FRUS, (Washington Government Printing Office, 1919), p. 236-37.

 

[15] Hugh S. Gibson, «Veteranista Agitation – Attitude of the United States. The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State», 16 de noviembre de 1911, FRUS, 1919, p. 237.

[16] José Miguel Gómez, « he President of Cuba to the President», 26 de mayo de 1912, FRUS, 1919, p. 248.

[17] Robert Lansing, «The Secretary of State to Minister Gonzales», 13 de febrero de 1917, FRUS, 1926, p. 356 ; William E. Gonzales, «Minister Gonzales to the Secretary of State», 15 de febrero de 1917, FRUS, 1926, p. 359 ; William E. Gonzales, «Minister Gonzales to the Secretary of State», 27 de febrero de 1917, FRUS, 1926, p. 369.

[18] Robert Lansing, «The Secretary of State to Minister Gonzales», 10 de marzo de 1917, FRUS, 1926), p. 382 ; Frank Polk, «The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Cuba (Bingham)», 15 de enero de 1919, FRUS, Volume II (Washington Government Printing Office, 1934), p. 1-2.

[19] Rutherfurd Bingham, «The Chargé in Cuba (Bingham) to the Acting Secretary of State», 18 de enero de 1919, FRUS, 1934, p. 2. Véase el informe complete de Enoch H. Crowder sobre su estancia en Cuba: Enoch H. Crowder, «General Enoch H. Crowder to the Secretary of State», 30 de Agosto de 1919, FRUS, 1934, p. 29-77.

[20] Norman H. Davis, «The Acting Secretary of State to the Judge Advocate General, War Department (Crowder) », 31 de diciembre de 1920, FRUS, 1936, p. 41-43.

[21] Norman H. Davis, «The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Cuba (Long) », 4 de enero de 1921, FRUS, 1936, p. 671.

[22] Salim Lamrani, Cuba. Ce que les médias ne vous diront jamais, op. cit., p. 224.

[23] Sumner Welles, «The Ambassador in Cuba (Welles) to the Secretary of State», 10 de septiembre de 1933, FRUS, 1952, p. 417.

[24] Sumner Welles, «The Ambassador in Cuba (Welles) to the Secretary of State», 25 de septiembre de 1933, FRUS, 1952, p. 458.

[25] Edward G. Miller Jr., «Secretary Staff Meetings», 11 de marzo de 1952, lot 63 D 75, FRUS, 1983, p. 868.

[26] Willard L. Beaulac, «Memorandum of Conversation, by the ambassador in Cuba (Beaulac)», 22 de marzo de 1952, FRUS, 1983, p. 868.

[27] Fidel Castro Ruz, «Esta vez no se frustrará la Revolución», 1 de enero de 1959, Fondo Fidel Castro Ruz, n°, Archivo de la Oficina de Asuntos Históricos del Consejo de Estado (OAH-CE)

[28] John F. Kennedy, «Speech of Senator John F. Kennedy, Cincinnati, Ohio, Democratic Dinner», 6 de octubre de 1960.

[29] Id.

[30] Philip W. Bonsal, Cuba, Castro, and the United States, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1971, p. 9.

Grecia, il fattore N(ato)

April 8th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

Tsi­pras incon­tra Putin a Mosca domani, nel momento stesso in cui Ue, Bce e Fmi ten­gono un nuovo ver­tice sulla Gre­cia, che il giorno dopo deve rim­bor­sare una rata di 450 milioni di euro del pre­stito con­cesso dal Fondo mone­ta­rio inter­na­zio­nale. I temi uffi­ciali, nel col­lo­quio a Mosca, sono quelli del com­mer­cio e dell’energia, tra cui la pos­si­bi­lità che la Gre­cia diventi l’hub euro­peo del nuovo gasdotto, sosti­tu­tivo del South Stream bloc­cato dalla Bul­ga­ria sotto pres­sione Usa, che attra­verso la Tur­chia por­terà il gas russo alle soglie della Ue. Si par­lerà anche di un pos­si­bile allen­ta­mento delle con­tro­san­zioni russe, per­met­tendo l’import di pro­dotti agri­coli greci.

Secondo quanto ha dichia­rato alla Tass (31 marzo), il pre­mier Tsi­pras ha comu­ni­cato al pre­si­dente del Con­si­glio euro­peo, Donald Tusk, e alla rap­pre­sen­tante della poli­tica estera Ue, Fede­rica Moghe­rini, che «non siamo d’accordo con le san­zioni alla Rus­sia». E, al primo ver­tice Ue a cui ha par­te­ci­pato il 19–20 marzo, ha uffi­cial­mente soste­nuto che «la nuova archi­tet­tura della sicu­rezza euro­pea deve inclu­dere la Rus­sia». A con­ferma di tale posi­zione, Tsi­pras sarà di nuovo a Mosca il 9 mag­gio per il 70° anni­ver­sa­rio della vit­to­ria sulla Ger­ma­nia nazi­sta, cele­bra­zione boi­cot­tata dalla mag­gio­ranza dei lea­der occi­den­tali (a par­tire da Obama, Mer­kel e Cameron).

Ci sarà invece il pre­si­dente cinese Xi, con una rap­pre­sen­tanza delle forze armate cinesi, che sfi­lerà nella Piazza Rossa con quelle russe a sim­bo­leg­giare la sem­pre più stretta alleanza tra i due paesi. Il pre­si­dente Putin, a sua volta, sarà in set­tem­bre a Pechino per cele­brare il 70° della vit­to­ria sul Giap­pone militarista.

Avvi­ci­nan­dosi alla Rus­sia, la Gre­cia di Tsi­pras si avvi­cina quindi di fatto anche alla Cina e alla nuova area eco­no­mica euro-asiatica, che sta nascendo sulla base della Banca d’investimenti per le infra­strut­ture asia­ti­che creata da Pechino, cui ha ade­rito la Rus­sia insieme a circa altri 40 paesi. Dagli orga­ni­smi finan­ziari di quest’area e anche da quelli del Brics (Bra­sile, Rus­sia, India, Cina, Suda­frica) – che mirano a sop­pian­tare la Banca mon­diale e il Fmi domi­nati dagli Usa e dalle mag­giori potenze occi­den­tali – la Gre­cia potrebbe rice­vere i mezzi per sot­trarsi alla stretta sof­fo­cante di Ue, Bce e Fmi.

Anche per­ché la Cina vuole fare del Pireo un hub di pri­ma­ria impor­tanza della sua rete commerciale.

Secondo «The Inde­pen­dent» (3 aprile), «il governo greco è pronto a nazio­na­liz­zare le ban­che del paese e a creare una nuova moneta», ossia è pronto a uscire dall’euro e, se costretto, anche dalla Ue.

Entra però qui in gioco un altro fat­tore: l’appartenenza della Gre­cia non solo alla Ue ma alla Nato. «Una Gre­cia amica di Mosca potrebbe para­liz­zare la capa­cità della Nato di rea­gire all’aggressione russa», avverte Zbi­gniew Brze­zin­ski (Afp, 25 marzo). Parole minac­ciose da non sot­to­va­lu­tare, dato che Brze­zin­ski è stato a lungo con­si­gliere stra­te­gico della Casa Bianca, con cui è ancora in stretto contatto.

Anche se il mini­stro della difesa Kam­me­nos assi­cura che «il nuovo governo greco man­tiene i suoi impe­gni nella Nato nono­stante le sue rela­zioni poli­ti­che con la Rus­sia», a Washing­ton e Bru­xel­les stanno sicu­ra­mente pre­pa­rando un piano per impe­dire che la Gre­cia divenga un «anello debole» nel nuovo fron­teg­gia­mento con la Rus­sia e, di fatto, con la Cina.

Il golpe del 1967, che portò al potere in Gre­cia i colon­nelli, fu attuato in base al piano «Pro­me­teo» della Nato. I tempi sono cam­biati, ma non gli inte­ressi poli­tici e stra­te­gici su cui si fonda la Nato. Nel frat­tempo dive­nuta più esperta nei metodi di desta­bi­liz­za­zione interna.

Manlio Dinucci

El comienzo de un nuevo frente contra Irán

April 8th, 2015 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

EE.UU. y el Reino de Arabia Saudí se inquietaron considerablemente cuando el movimiento yemení o yemenita de los huties o Ánsar Allah (lo que quiere decir los partidarios de Dios en árabe) obtuvo el control de la capital de Yemen, Sanaa/Saná en septiembre de 2014. El presidente yemenita Abd-Rabbuh Man ṣ our Al-Hadi, apoyado por EE.UU., fue humillantemente obligado a compartir el poder con los huties y la coalición de tribus del norte de Yemen que les había ayudado a penetrar Saná. Al-Hadi declaró que habría negociaciones para un movimiento yemení de unidad nacional y sus aliados, EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí, trataron de usar un nuevo diálogo nacional y negociaciones mediadas para cooptar y pacificar a los huties.

La verdad sobre la guerra en Yemen ha sido puesta patas arriba. La guerra y el derrocamiento del presidente Abd-Rabbuh Man ṣ our Al-Hadi en Yemen no son resultado de un ‘golpe huti’ en Yemen. Es todo lo contrario, Al-Hadi fue derrocado porque, con apoyo saudí y estadounidense trató de dar marcha atrás en los acuerdos de para compartir el poder que había hecho y de devolver Yemen a un régimen autoritario. El derrocamiento del presidente Al-Hadi por los huties y sus aliados políticos fue una reacción inesperada ante apoderamiento del poder que Al-Hadi estaba planeando con Washington y la Casa de Saud.

Los huties y sus aliados representan un corte transversal diverso de la sociedad yemení y la mayoría de los yemenitas. La alianza interior del movimiento huti contra Al-Hadi incluye a musulmanes chiíes y suníes. EE.UU. y la Casa de Saud nunca pensaron que los huties se impondrían sacando a Al-Hadi del poder, pero esa reacción se desarrolló durante una década. Con la Casa de Saud, Al-Hadi había estado involucrado en la persecución de los huties y la manipulación de políticas tribales en Yemen incluso antes de ser presidente. Cuando llegó a ser presidente de Yemen dio largas al asunto y trabajó contra la implementación de los acuerdos a los que se había llegado mediante el consenso y las negociaciones en el Diálogo Nacional de Yemen, que fue convocado después que Ali Abdullah Saleh fue obligado a ceder el poder en 2011.

Golpe o contragolpe: ¿qué pasó en Yemen? 

En primer lugar, cuando se apoderaron de Saná a fines de 2014, los huties rechazaron las propuestas de Al-Hadi y sus nuevas ofertas para un acuerdo formal de compartimiento del poder, calificándolo de personaje moralmente corrupto que en realidad había renegado de sus promesas anteriores de compartir el poder político. En ese momento, los intentos del presidente Al-Hadi de complacer a Washington y a la Casa de Saud lo habían convertido en profundamente impopular en la mayoría de la población de Yemen. Dos meses después, el 8 de noviembre, el propio partido del presidente Al-Hadi, el Congreso General Popular Yemenita, también despojó a Al-Hadi de su dirigencia.

Los huties finalmente detuvieron el 20 de enero al presidente Al-Hadi y ocuparon el palacio presidencial y otros edificios del gobierno yemenita. Con apoyo popular, un poco más de dos semanas después, los huties formaron formalmente un gobierno transicional yemení el 6 de febrero. Al-Hadi fue obligado a renunciar. Los huties declararon el 26 de febrero que Al-Hadi, EE.UU., y Arabia Saudí estaban planificando la devastación de Yemen.

La renuncia de Al-Hadi fue un revés para la política exterior de EE.UU. Llevó a una retirada militar y operacional de la CIA y del Pentágono, que fueron obligados a retirar personal militar y agentes de inteligencia de Yemen. Los Angeles Times informó el 25 de marzo, citando a funcionarios estadounidenses, que los huties habían capturado numerosos documentos secretos cuando ocuparon el Buró de Seguridad Nacional yemení, que trabajaba en estrecha colaboración con la CIA, lo que afectó las operaciones de Washington en Yemen.

Al-Hadi huyó de la capital yemenita Saná a Adén el 21 de febrero y declaró el 7 de marzo que esa ciudad-puerto era la capital temporal de Yemen. EE.UU., Francia, Turquía, y sus aliados europeos occidentales cerraron sus embajadas. Poco después, en lo que fue probablemente una acción coordinada con EE.UU., Arabia Saudí, Kuwait, Bahréin, Qatar y los Emiratos Árabes Unidos transfirieron sus embajadas de Adén a Saná. Al-Hadi anuló su carta de renuncia como presidente y declaró que estaba formando un gobierno en el exilio.

Los huties y sus aliados políticos se negaron a aceptar las demandas de EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí, articuladas a través de Al-Hadi en Adén y por Riad, cada vez más histérica. Como resultado, el ministro de exteriores de Al-Hadi, Riyadh Yaseen, pidió el 23 de marzo que Arabia Saudí y los petro-emiratos árabes intervinieran con sus fuerzas armadas para impedir que los huties obtuvieran el control del espacio aéreo de Yemen. Yaseen dijo al portavoz saudí Al-Sharq Al-Awsa que se necesitaba una campaña de bombardeo y que había que imponer una zona de no vuelo sobre Yemen.

Los huties se dieron cuenta que iba a comenzar una lucha militar. Por eso los huties y sus aliados en las fuerzas armadas yemenitas se apresuraron a controlar lo más rápidamente posible la mayor parte de los aeropuertos y bases aéreas yemenitas, como ser Al-Anad. Se apresuraron a neutralizar Al-Hadi y penetraron en Adén el 25 de marzo.

Para cuando los huties y sus aliados entraron en Adén, Al-Hadi había huido de la ciudad-puerto yemenita. Al-Hadi reapareció en Arabia Saudí cuando la Casa de Saud comenzó a atacar Yemen el 26 de marzo. Desde Arabia Saudí, Abd-Rabbuh Man ṣ our Al-Hadi voló entonces a Egipto a una reunión de la Liga Árabe para legitimar la guerra contra Yemen.

Yemen y la cambiante ecuación estratégica en Medio Oriente 

La ocupación huti de Saná tuvo lugar en el mismo período como una serie de éxitos o victorias regionales para Irán, Hizbulá, Siria y el Bloque de la Resistencia que estos y otros protagonistas locales forman colectivamente. En Siria, el gobierno sirio logró reafirmar su posición mientras en Iraq el movimiento EI/ISIL/Daesh era obligado a retroceder por Iraq con la evidente ayuda de Irán y de milicias iraquíes aliadas con Teherán.

La ecuación estratégica en Medio Oriente comenzó a cambiar a medida que quedaba claro que Irán comenzaba a ocupar una posición central para la arquitectura y estabilidad de su seguridad. La Casa de Saud y el primer ministro israelí Benjamin Netanyahu comenzaron a gimotear y a quejarse de que Irán controlaba cuatro capitales regionales –Beirut, Damasco, Bagdad, y Saná– y que había que hacer algo para detener la expansión iraní. Como resultado de la nueva ecuación estratégica, los israelíes y la Casa de Saud se alinearon perfectamente con el objetivo estratégico de neutralizar Irán y sus aliados regionales. “Cuando israelíes y árabes se encuentran en la misma página, la gente debiera prestar atención”, dijo el 5 de marzo el embajador israelí Ron Dermer a Fox News sobre la alineación de Israel y Arabia Saudí.

La campaña de miedo israelí y saudí no ha resultado. Según un sondeo Gallup, solo un 9% de los ciudadanos de EE.UU. veían Irán como el mayor enemigo de EE.UU. cuando Netanyahu llegó a Washington para hablar contra un acuerdo entre EE.UU. e Irán.

Los objetivos geoestratégicos de EE.UU. y de los saudíes tras la guerra en Yemen 

Mientras la Casa de Saud ha considerado hace tiempo Yemen una especie de provincia subordinada y parte de la esfera de influencia de Riad, EE.UU. quiere asegurarse de poder controlar el Bab Al-Mandeb, el Golfo de Adén, y las islas Socotra. El Bab Al-Mandeb es un importante punto crítico para el comercio marítimo internacional y los embarques de energía que conecta el Golfo Pérsico a través del Océano Índico con el Mar Mediterráneo a través del Mar Rojo. Es tan importante como el Canal de Suez para las vías de transporte marítimo y el comercio entre África, Asia y Europa.

Israel también estaba preocupado, porque el control de Yemen podría cortar el acceso de Israel al Océano Índico a través del Mar Rojo e impedir que sus submarinos llegaran fácilmente al Golfo Pérsico para amenazar Irán. Por eso el control de Yemen fue en realidad uno de los temas de discusión de Netanyahu cuando habló ante el Congreso de EE.UU. el 3 de marzo en lo que precisamente el New York Times presentó el 4 de marzo como “el poco convincente discurso de Netanyahu ante el Congreso”.

Arabia Saudí temía visiblemente que Yemen podría llegar a alinearse formalmente con Irán y que los eventos podrían conducir a nuevas rebeliones contra la Casa de Saud en la Península Arábiga. EE.UU. también estaba preocupado, pero también pensaba en términos de rivalidades globales. Impedir que Irán, Rusia, o China tuvieran un punto de apoyo estratégico en Yemen, como medio de impedir que otras potencias controlaran el Golfo de Adén y se posicionaran en Bab Al-Mandeb, era una preocupación importante para EE.UU.

Se agrega a la importancia geopolítica de Yemen en la supervisión de corredores marítimos estratégicos su arsenal de misiles militares. Los misiles de Yemen podrían alcanzar a cualesquiera barcos en el Golfo de Adén o Bab Al-Mandeb. En este sentido, el ataque saudí contra los depósitos de misiles estratégicos de Yemen sirve tanto los intereses de EE.UU. como los de Israel. El objetivo no es solo impedir que sean utilizados para tomar represalias contra el uso de fuerza militar saudí, sino también impedir que estén a disposición de un gobierno yemenita alineado con Irán, Rusia o China.

En una posición pública que contradice totalmente la política siria de Riad, los saudíes amenazaron con emprender una acción militar si los huties y sus aliados políticos no negocian con Al-Hadi. Como resultado de las amenazas saudíes, protestas estallaron en todo Yemen el 25 de marzo contra la Casa de Saud. Por lo tanto, la situación se preparó para otra guerra en Medio Oriente cuando EE.UU., Arabia Saudí, Bahréin, los EAU, Qatar, y Kuwait comenzaron a prepararse para reinstalar a Al-Hadi.

La marcha saudí hacia la guerra en Yemen y un nuevo frente contra Irán 

A pesar de todo lo que se dice sobre Arabia Saudí como potencia regional, es demasiado débil para enfrentar sola a Irán. La estrategia de la Casa de Saud ha sido erigir o reforzar un sistema de alianza regional para un prolongado enfrentamiento con Irán y el Bloque de la Resistencia. Al respecto, Arabia Saudí necesita Egipto, Turquía, y Pakistán –una mal llamada alianza o eje “suní”– para que ayuden a enfrentar Irán y sus aliados regionales.

El príncipe heredero Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, el príncipe heredero del Emirato de Abu Dabi y vicecomandante supremo de las fuerzas armadas de los EAU, debía visitar Marruecos el 17 de marzo para hablar de una respuesta militar colectiva a Yemen por parte de los petro-emiratos árabes, Marruecos, Jordania, y Egipto. El 21 de marzo, Mohammed bin Zayed se reunió con el rey de Arabia Saudí Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud para discutir una respuesta militar a Yemen. Esto ocurrió mientras Al-Hadi llamaba a Arabia Saudí y al Consejo de Cooperación del Golfo (CCG) para que le ayudaran mediante una intervención militar en Yemen. Las reuniones fueron seguidas por negociaciones sobre un nuevo pacto regional de seguridad de los petro-emiratos árabes.

De los cinco miembros del CCG, solo el Sultanato de Omán se mantuvo alejado. Omán se negó a unirse a la guerra contra Yemen. Muscat tiene relaciones amistosas con Teherán. Además los omaníes están cansados del proyecto saudí y del CCG de utilizar el sectarismo para provocar un enfrentamiento con Irán y sus aliados. La mayoría de los omaníes no son ni musulmanes suníes ni musulmanes chiíes; son musulmanes ibadíes, y temen el avivamiento de la sedición sectaria por la Casa de Saud y los otros petro-emiratos árabes.

Los propagandistas saudíes se movilizaron afirmando falsamente que la guerra era una respuesta a la intrusión iraní en las fronteras de Arabia Saudí. Turquía también anunciaría su apoyo a la guerra en Yemen. El día en que se lanzó la guerra, Erdogan de Turquía afirmó que Irán estaba tratando de dominar la región y que Turquía, Arabia Saudí y el CCG se sentían molestos.

Durante estos eventos, Sisi, en Egipto, declaró que la seguridad de El Cairo y la seguridad de Arabia Saudí y de los petro-emiratos árabes eran idénticas. De hecho, Egipto dijo el 25 de marzo que no participaría en una guerra en Yemen, pero el día siguiente El Cairo se sumó a Arabia Saudí en el ataque de Riad contra Yemen al enviar sus jets y barcos a ese país.

De la misma manera, el primer ministro paquistaní Nawaz Sharif publicó el 26 de marzo una declaración diciendo que cualquier amenaza contra Arabia Saudí “provocará una fuerte reacción” de Pakistán. El mensaje se dirigía tácitamente hacia Irán.

El papel de EE.UU. e Israel en la guerra en Yemen 

El 27 de marzo, se anunció en Yemen que Israel estaba ayudando a Arabia Saudí en el ataque contra el país árabe. “Es la primera vez que los sionistas [israelíes] realizan una operación conjunta en colaboración con árabes”, escribió en Internet el jefe del Partido Al-Haq de Yemen, para destacar la convergencia de intereses entre Arabia Saudí e Israel. La alianza israelí-saudí respecto a Yemen, sin embargo, no es nueva. Los israelíes ayudaron a la Casa de Saud durante la Guerra Civil del Norte de Yemen que comenzó en 1962 suministrando armas a Arabia Saudí para ayudar a los realistas contra los republicanos en el Norte de Yemen.

EE.UU. también está involucrado y dirige desde lejos. Mientras trabaja para llegar a un acuerdo con Irán, también quiere mantener una alianza contra Teherán utilizando a los saudíes. El Pentágono suministra lo que llama “inteligencia y apoyo logístico” a la Casa de Saud.

No hay que equivocarse: la guerra contra Yemen es también la guerra de Washington. El CCG ha sido desencadenado contra Yemen por EE.UU.

Desde hace tiempo se habla de la formación de una fuerza militar pan-árabe, pero propuestas para su creación fueron renovadas el 9 de marzo por la dócil Liga Árabe. Las propuestas para fuerzas armadas árabes unidas sirven los intereses estadounidenses, israelíes y saudíes. Las propuestas a favor de fuerzas armadas panárabes han sido motivadas por sus preparativos para el retorno de Al-Hadi y para enfrentar regionalmente a Irán, Siria, Hizbulá, y el Bloque de Resistencia.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

 

Fuente: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-geopolitics-behind-the-war-in-yemen-the-start-of-a-new-front-against-iran/5439431 

Salman wa Hadi (MDN)

The Geopolitics Behind the War in Yemen: The Start of a New Front against Iran

Strategic Culture Foundation, 30 de Marso de 2015

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

Segunda parte en español:

King Salman

¿Quieren EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí dividir Yemen?

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya es sociólogo, analista geopolítico y un reconocido autor.

 

Is the BRICS a real threat to the U.S. dollar?

Why is media funded by the Russian government called “state-controlled” but American state-funded media labelled “independent”?

What is really going behind the very public disagreements between Washington and Tel Aviv?

Find out the answers to these questions in the articles below and more on important topics such as the silencing of activists in Canada and the violent side effects caused by the withdrawal from psychiatric drugs.

The financial media as well as segments of the alternative media are pointing to a possible weakening of the US dollar as a global trading currency resulting from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) initiative.  One of the…

propaganda lies

U.S. Propaganda 101: Illegally Invade Countries, Fund the Media, Call it “Independent”, Julie Lévesque, April 08, 2015

Foreign Policy Magazine recently had a column called Cranks, Trolls, and Useful Idiots, in which the author, Dalibor Rohac, hunts down “Russia’s information warriors” who, he claims, have infested the web with their lies and propaganda on websites potentially paid…

800px-Flag_of_Czechoslovakia_(bordered).svg

Czech and Slovak Reservists Memorandum against NATO. “We Reject Fighting in NATO Ranks against Russia”, Global Research News, April 08, 2015

Czechoslovak reserve forces against the war planned by NATO commanders On January 19th 2015 the facebook group, which combines all members of the CSLA, PS, VMV, SNB in reserve or decommissioned, issued an important memorandum, which has become even more…

Toronto symphony orchestra

Music and Politics: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Silences Ukrainian Musician Valentina Lisitsa, Olga Luzanova, April 08, 2015

It is no secret that nowadays many alternative media activists face appalling state-sponsored censorship in many nominally free and democratic Western countries. Now it seems that such censorship has penetrated much deeper than we have come to expect. Art itself,…

Obama-Netanyahu-20120302

For many months now, the western media has presented the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of a new and deepening rift. Israel is supposedly positioned on one side of the divide and the US and Europeans on the other, trying as…

pills

The Connections Between Psychotropic Drugs and Irrational Acts of Violence, Dr. Gary G. Kohls, April 08, 2015

“Even at normal doses, taking psychiatric drugs can produce suicidal thinking, violent behavior,  aggressiveness, extreme anger,  hostility, irritability, loss of ability to control impulses, rage reactions, hallucinations, mania, acute psychotic episodes, akathisia, and bizarre, grandiose, highly elaborated destructive plans, including…

Manipulation médiatique

Countering The Lies Of The Mainstream Media, Colin Todhunter, April 08, 2015

The site you are reading this article on is part of the ‘alternative’ or ‘independent’ media. Many of these sites do not take advertising and are run on the basis of donations from readers. Many of the authors whose articles…

iran-us-flag

The Iran Nuclear Energy Agreement: Force Again Prevails Over Law, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, April 08, 2015

The Israel Lobby and its associated neocon war criminals will block if they can the nuclear energy agreement, worked out by Putin, Iran, and Obama, which has the promise of bringing to an end the US orchestrated crisis over Iran’s…

Peasant seeds – the pillar of food production – are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly limit what farmers can do with their seeds. Seed saving, which has been the basis of farming for thousands of years, is quickly being criminalised.

What can we do? A new booklet and poster from La Via Campesina and GRAIN documents how big business and governments are moving to stop farmers from saving and exchanging their seeds, and shows how farmers are fighting back.

Control over seeds must remain in peasants’ hands. This is the principle, based in the production process, that guarantees the food sovereignty of rural communities and urban populations against multinationals and their enormous profits. Over centuries, peasant farmers have created the thousands of varieties of crops that are the basis of the world’s food supply and diversified diets, says La Via Campesina’s Guy Kastler.

But for corporations who want to impose laws that will give them complete control of land, farming, food and the profits that could be made from this sector, these time-tested practices around seeds are an obstacle. For La Via Campesina, the law should instead guarantee the rights of peasants to conserve, use, exchange, use and sell their seeds and protect them from biopiracy.

Big business is carrying out, with the support of governments, a global legal offensive to gain complete control over seeds. This includes not only privatising seeds through new laws, but giving themselves new rights to physically search farmers’ homes and destroy their seeds, says Camila Montecinos of GRAIN.

Seed laws are evolving and becoming more aggressive in response to new demands from the seed and biotechnology industry. So-called free trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties and regional integration initiatives are hardening ‘soft’ forms of ownership rights over seeds. And laws strengthening intellectual property rights over seeds are being reinforced by other regulations that are supposed to ensure seed quality, market transparency, prevention of counterfeits, and the like.

What is at stake is the very basis of peasant farmers’ existence. Social movements worldwide, especially peasant farmers organisations, have resisted and mobilised to prevent such laws being passed.

Corporations and governments rely on secrecy and lack of transparency because they know that an informed citizenry will reject the privatisation of seeds.

This booklet will strengthen the resistance by ensuring that as many people as possible – especially in the rural communities that are most affected – understand these industry-backed laws, their impacts and objectives, as well as the capacity of social movements to replace them with laws that protect peasants’ rights.

Contents

  1. How seed laws make farmers’ seeds illegal
  2. African seeds: A treasure under threat
  3. The Americas: Massive resistance against “Monsanto laws”
  4. Asia: The struggle against a new wave of industrial seeds
  5. Europe: Farmers strive to rescue agricultural diversity

Download the report here

For many months now, the western media has presented the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of a new and deepening rift. Israel is supposedly positioned on one side of the divide and the US and Europeans on the other, trying as best they can to defend Palestinian rights.

In the past few days alone, European diplomats have leaked a report harshly criticising Israeli policy in Jerusalem, while US officials have accused Israel of waging a black ops campaign to sabotage its nuclear talks with Iran.

Both the Europeans and US president Barack Obama are reported to be furious that Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, divulged during this month’s election campaign what everyone already knew: that he had no intention of allowing the Palestinians to establish a state.

In a now-typical report, Newsweek quoted a former US intelligence official last week describing the current mood in the White House: “I can assure you that behind closed doors the gloves are coming off. Bibi [Netanyahu] is in the administration’s crosshairs.”

But how plausible is this scenario?

Certainly, Netanyahu has found himself in a mounting conflict with the White House. No president likes to be ritually humiliated by the leader of a vassal state. Obama genuinely wanted to see the back of Netanyahu in the elections.

But the very public disagreements between the two are not, as is generally assumed, focused on outcomes: ending the occupation or offering a just solution to the Palestinians. Rather, the feud is itself part of a drama designed to divert our attention from the substantive issues.

The tensions are kind of a theatre of distraction, necessary for the US and Europe to maintain their image as actors desperately trying to corral Israel into doing the right thing by the Palestinians.

In fact, the dispute between Netanyahu and Obama is not really about the Palestinians at all; it is about Netanyahu’s failure to play his part in the sham peace process the US has presided over for the past two decades. But the deception runs deeper still.

Unsatisfactory Plan B

Denied, by virtue of Netanyahu’s intransigence, the endless negotiations that so successfully sustained the illusion of a temporary occupation, the White House has had to fall back on a very unsatisfactory Plan B. That involves the US and Europe acting the role of the aggrieved party, publicising at every turn their anger that Israel has refused to cooperate in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With the US denied futile peace talks to justify continuing inaction, it has had to exploit a drama of behind-the-scenes conflict to suggest it is doing everything diplomatically possible to make Israel see sense. In that way, Washington’s hands stay clean.

If that seems overly cynical, remember that, if the US really wanted to end the occupation, it could make it happen in short order. It could simply pull the plug on its financial, military and diplomatic support, stand back and watch Israel flounder.

Even were the US Congress initially to oppose the US president’s efforts to force Israel to be more cooperative, the White House could quickly reshape the domestic discourse about Israel and the occupation.

It would simply need to start talking, as it did very briefly when Obama entered office, about how Israel poses a threat to US interests in the Middle East, endangering Americans’ lives in the region and inflaming a global terrorism that will rebound on the US at home.

Sustained criticism of this nature – not only from Obama but from the Pentagon too – would quickly erode political support for Israel’s occupation, even in Congress.

Instead, all the parties – Washington, the EU, Israel, even the Palestinian Authority – have conspired, willingly or otherwise, in a dishonest performance.

Drama of conflict

The deceptions about the occupation are so multi-layered that it would be a mistake even to believe what Netanyahu himself claims. He too is engaged in creating a drama of conflict – more apparent than real – to divert his own public from a proper understanding of the collaborative relationship between Israel and the PA.

Last week, shortly after winning the election, Netanyahu reversed his policy of withholding tax revenues from the PA. He had stopped the transfers four months earlier to punish Mahmoud Abbas for joining the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the first step in prosecuting Israelis for war crimes.

At the time Netanyahu indicated that the PA would not receive the revenues, which Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf, so long as it continued with its application to the ICC.

Deprived of some $125 million a month, the PA’s eventual collapse was inevitable. That would have left Israel taking on the huge financial and military burden of directly controlling the urban areas of the West Bank.

The PA refused to back down over its ICC membership but Netanyahu nonetheless changed course last week, saying he was doing so for “humanitarian reasons” – to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.

But the reality is that he had no choice: his own generals have warned him many times of the terrible consequences for Israel of destroying the PA. Netanyahu was playing the tough guy for the sake of his voters, but knew from the outset that he would have to capitulate. A gullible Israeli public was being deceived all along.

Europe’s empty threats

But no less credulous are many in the west, including journalists and analysts.

Immediately after Netanyahu’s election victory, European diplomats leaked a supposedly “hard-hitting” confidential report to the Guardian newspaper. The document was highly critical of Israeli policy in Jerusalem, probably the most contentious of the issues that will one day have to be agreed with the Palestinians.

Israel was blamed for expanding settlements, abusing the rights of the Palestinian population there, and undermining a two-state solution, which will require Jerusalem’s division.

The diplomats also recommended that the EU punish Israel as a way to increase pressure on Netanyahu to accommodate Palestinian demands.

But the leaking of the report was just as much dissembling drama as Netanyahu’s show of intransigence on the PA’s tax revenues. It was intended both to demonstrate how angry the EU was with Israel and suggest that the Europeans were making Netanyahu pay a price.

But the make-believe nature of European “action” was apparent as soon as one looked behind the headlines. The threats against Israel were empty, both because they are unlikely to be carried out and because, even if they were, they would inflict almost no damage on Israel.

For example, the diplomats suggested that the EU should consider placing restrictions on the entry to Europe of known Jewish extremists, those behind violent attacks on mosques and Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

In practice, this would target a small group of ideological settlers, maybe numbering a few dozen, while ignoring the systematic violence against Palestinians inflicted by the Israeli army and the occupation’s bureaucrats. It would be like trying to make a beach resort safe for swimmers by catching a few crabs and leaving a great white shark to patrol the waters.

The report also argued for providing European shoppers with more information on products exported from the illegal West Bank settlements. Note that the diplomats were suggesting only improved labelling, not banning the products. In fact, a ban on goods made by Jewish settlers on land stolen from Palestinians should be entirely non-controversial, but it is not even on Europe’s agenda.

Further, the export of settler goods is a tiny fraction of Europe’s trade with Israel, which is governed by a special agreement that has made the EU Israel’s largest export market. Even were Europe to consider banning settler products, it would make no impact on the Israeli economy.

What would hurt Israel – and force it to rethink its policy towards the Palestinians – would be threatening to revise or tear up the trade agreement. That could decimate Israeli exports. But such a prospect is so far off, no Israeli politician seriously entertains the possibility.

Israel accused of spying

The US administration has been equally duplicitous in its dealings with Israel, as recent events have illustrated.

Last week, US officials anonymously told the Wall Street Journal that Israel had spied on negotiations with Iran. Not only that, but Israel had then briefed Obama’s opponents in Congress to try to sabotage the talks.

At the same time, the US president fired another shot across Netanyahu’s bows, saying there was a “real knotty policy difference” between the two on Palestinian statehood.

White House officials, meanwhile, suggested that Obama is now “reassessing” the US position at the UN, and might consider refusing to protect Israel with its veto from hostile resolutions, either denouncing the settlements or affirming Palestinian statehood.

Certainly, the White House has a pressing reason to exert pressure on Israel right now. The leaks by US and European officials are designed in part to influence Netanyahu as he considers whom to include in his new governing coalition. Fearing that the White House will face another exclusively right-wing Israeli government, Obama hopes to make it clear to Netanyahu that he is expected to extend his hand to Isaac Herzog, the centrist leader of the Zionist Union.

But Herzog is no more willing than Netanyahu to alienate his supporters by working seriously for a Palestinian state, which is why he barely mentioned the Palestinians during the election campaign. He knew that to do so would be electoral suicide.

Emperor exposed as naked

By exposing the White House’s policy in the Middle East as a sham, Netanyahu has pulled the rug from under the US and Europe. He has risked showing that the emperor is unclothed.

Without a cooperative Israeli partner, Obama has had to fall back on a personal feud as justification for the status quo. He will now spend months publicly berating and punishing Netanyahu while privately continuing massive aid handouts and signing exclusive arms deals with Israel.

Peter Beinart, an influential US commentator for Israel’s liberal Haaretz newspaper, described Israeli-US relations as “fundamentally changed” after the Israeli elections. But he went on to point out that the White House was carefully distinguishing between political support, which he thought likely to suffer, and military-security support, which was ringfenced. “Administration officials insist that they will never cut military aid, since that would harm Israeli security,” he said.

But this is the only significant leverage the White House has over Israel. If security ties are inviolable, then Obama’s threats are nothing more than posturing – posturing needed for his benefit more than Netanyahu’s.

Even while US officials indicate that they might not veto a UN resolution backing Palestinian statehood, they are already attaching conditions making it impossible in practice for the Palestinians to advance their cause, such as insisting that Abbas recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

Washington would prefer that these hollow threats force Netanyahu to resume his performance in the doomed peace process. But with no prospect of serious damage to Israeli interests, Netanyahu appears to be standing his ground.

If so, Obama will continue lashing out at the Israeli prime minister, buying time until a new more convincing script can be crafted – ideally with a successor to Netanyahu who proves more obliging.

(Photo: Sonya Baumstein)

Sonya Baumstein has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, kayaked from Seattle to Juneau, and paddled across the Bering Strait.

But now she is in final preparations to become, at 29 years old, the first woman to row across the Pacific Ocean. From Choshi, Japan, to San Francisco, her route will carry her over 5,700 nautical miles of what is arguably the most challenging open ocean crossing in the world, one that will include winds in excess of 50 knots, over 40-foot-high seas, and the threat of freighters and other large vessels.

To see more stories like this, visit “Planet or Profit?”

She will take on the 150-plus day voyage solo, in her 23-foot rowboat, supported only by a small land-based group of advisers via satellite phone.

Truthout caught up with Baumstein in Port Townsend, Washington, where she was finishing construction on her boat and making final arrangements. In April, she will fly to Japan to begin her trans-Pacific row.

“This is all aimed towards shining the light on climate change,” Baumstein said. “Humans are doing so much to exacerbate it, and we don’t even know all of the ramifications of our actions.”

The oceans cover 71 percent of the planet and contain 97 percent of all the water on earth. They are where the planet’s weather systems are formed, and they are absorbing astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide and human-generated plastic and garbage.

Baumstein hopes her journey will bring people’s attention to these crucial impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

“The oceans are full of data,” Baumstein said. “They have all this data that we could use to unlock some of the keys to climate change.”

And she’s willing to put her life on the line to do so.

Oceans of Pollution

While on her voyage rowing across the Atlantic with three colleagues, Baumstein was shocked by what she saw.

“When we hit the Sargasso Sea, inside of these massive seaweed floats, is trash,” she said. “We are 500 miles out from shore, and we are seeing miles of garbage, this biosphere full of rubber boots and toilet seats, and I thought there must be something I can do to tell people about this, to show them what the effect of this is on their daily lives.”

 

(Photo: Expedition Pacific)

The amount of plastic pollution in the oceans has risen alarmingly over the last 40 years, and continues to escalate.Baumstein paddled through these floating trash piles for two days, stunned by what she saw, which was unfortunately just the tip of an iceberg of which we haven’t yet found the end.

However, if what Baumstein saw in the Atlantic shook her, she must brace herself for what she’s going to see in the Pacific.

The amount of plastic floating in the Pacific Gyre – a massive swirling vortex of rubbish – has increased 100-fold in the past four decades.

One warning of humanity’s increasingly deleterious impact on the oceans came from prominent marine biologist Jeremy Jackson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In a 2008 article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jackson warned that, without profound and prompt changes in human behavior, we will cause a “mass extinction in the oceans with unknown ecological and evolutionary consequences.”

We are inextricably tied to the oceans in ways we often don’t consider. As science journalist Alanna Mitchell has written: “Every tear you cry … ends up back in the ocean system. Every third molecule of carbon dioxide you exhale is absorbed into the ocean. Every second breath you take comes from the oxygen produced by plankton.”

Recent years have found scientists investigating the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

“Probably every sea turtle on the planet interacts with plastic at some point in its life.”

The eastern section of the spiraling mass, between Hawaii and California, is estimated to be around twice the size of Texas (some estimates peg the entire mass at twice the size of the continental United States), and is having ecosystem-wide impacts, according to a recent studypublished in Biology Letters.

Miriam Goldstein, a graduate student researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and the lead author of the study, told Truthout that by adding this amount of plastic to the oceans, humans could be causing large-scale change to the ocean’s ecological system.

“We found eggs on the pieces of plastic, and these were sea skater [insect] eggs,” Goldstein said. “Sea skaters naturally occur in the gyre and are known to lay their eggs on floating objects. So we found that the amount of eggs being laid had increased with the amount of plastic.”

Goldstein says that, although the study’s findings clearly raise immediate concerns, the most serious consequences may be ones we can’t yet foresee. “Our work shows there could be potential effects to the ocean ecosystem that we can’t expect or predict,” she said. “There are five subtropical gyres, one in each ocean basin, and they are natural currents. They are vast areas of the oceans; together they comprise the majority of the area of the oceans. So altering them on a large scale could have unexpected results on all kinds of things.”

The study shows how an increase in pollution, in this case an immense amount of plastic, may have dire consequences for animals across the entire marine food web.

This Scripps study follows a report by colleagues at the institution that showed that 9 percent of the fish collected during the trip to study the gyre had plastic waste in their stomachs.

Published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, that study estimated that fish at intermediate ocean depths in the North Pacific Ocean could be ingesting plastic at the staggering rate of 12,000 to 24,000 tons per year.

“From a climate change/fisheries/pollution/habitat destruction point of view, our nightmare is here.”

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, told Truthout he finds plastic on every beach he visits across the globe, and added, “Probably every sea turtle on the planet interacts with plastic at some point in its life.”

Jo Royle, a UK-based trans-ocean skipper and ocean advocate, has seen the same.

“For 13 years I’ve been crossing oceans,” she told Truthout. “I’ve seen plastic on the coastline of Antarctica, and over the years we’ve noticed plastic becoming more of an issue on remote islands. Over the last seven years we’ve seen it increase dramatically. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been on a beach and not seen plastic.”

Biological oceanographer Dr. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez, with the National Oceanography Centre at Britain’s University of Southampton, is concerned that ocean pollution isn’t viewed as a pressing issue – despite the fact that it is accelerating.

“Marine pollution is a big issue,” she told Truthout. “There is this idea that oceans have unlimited inertia, but nanoparticles of plastic getting into marine animals and the food chain are affecting fish fertility rates, and this affects food security and coastal populations. Pollution is having a huge impact on the oceans, and is urgent and needs to be dealt with.”

Nichols concurs, adding that, when it comes to the oceans, we are now seeing the cautionary predictions of previous decades coming true.

“From a climate change/fisheries/pollution/habitat destruction point of view, our nightmare is here; it’s the world we live in,” Nichols said. “You see evidence of the impact of climate change on the oceans everywhere now. The collapsing fisheries, the changes in the Arctic and the hardship communities that live there are having to face, the frequency and intensity of storms – everything we imagined 30 to 40 years ago when the environmental movement was born, we’re dealing with those now…. The toxins in our bodies, food web, and in the marine mammals, it’s all there.”

How Many More Fish in the Sea?

Baumstein has also seen evidence of the dramatic decline in the world’s fisheries.

“Doing the Inside Passage I became much more aware of [the impacts of] climate change,” she explained. “The seiner fleet in Canada – for the salmon season, it’s gone from 350 boats down to 28. Without even bringing up climate change, it was the topic of conversation. They talked about how important sustainability is, and they get that this is not a resource that can be extended much further. They discussed how the fish are even changing in how they taste.”

Worldwide, 90 percent of large predatory fish stocks are now gone due to overfishing, not including the impacts of climate disruption. Given that seafood is the primary source of protein for more than 1 billion of the planet’s population, this is a worrisome statistic.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 85 percent of fish stocks are “overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion.”

Dr. Maria Salta, a biological oceanographer at the University of Southampton, gave Truthout a bleak prognosis for the oceans and the species that inhabit them. “It is clear that if we continue like this, in a few years time there is not going to be much left,” she said, referring to the rampant overfishing going on across the globe, along with the overall treatment of oceans at the hands of humans. “We are losing species every day without ever knowing about them. Sometimes humans can be like a plague to the environment.”

Salta’s statement might be shocking to some, but there is ample scientific evidence to back it. Overfishing is simply a matter of taking wildlife from the sea at rates that are too high for the fished species to replace themselves. Atlantic cod and herring, along with California’s sardines, were overfished to the brink of extinction by the 1950s, and by the late 20th century, instances of isolated depletions (depletions occurring in specific areas) had become both global and catastrophic.

“Thirty percent of marine catch is thrown overboard dead.”

Fisheries for the most sought-after species have since collapsed. Boris Worm and Ransom Myers, both scientists with Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, published a shocking paper in the journal Nature in 2003, explaining that the populations of all large predator fish in the oceans have declined by 90 percent in the 50 years since modern industrial fishing became widespread.

Three years later the same scientists, along with colleagues from across the world, published an even more startling paper that predicted a total collapse of all fish that are currently caught commercially by 2048.

Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia, along with others, has calculated that the world’s total fish catch peaked in the mid-1980s and has been in decline every since.

Dr. Simon Boxall, also with the University of Southampton, has been an oceanographer for more than 30 years. He sees the three largest threats to the oceans as climate change, plastic and overfishing.

“But the big problem is that we are overfishing,” Boxall told Truthout.

A key example of this rapid depletion: sharks. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed about a third of all open-ocean shark species as currently threatened with extinction because of overfishing.

“The oceanic white-tip shark populations declined by 99 percent from 1950 to 1999, making it now an endangered species,” Salta said. “Also, when sharks are removed from the environment you change the balance of the ecosystem and how it functions.”

An issue that works in tandem with overfishing is bycatch, which is sea life that is caught along with the fish being sought commercially. Salta thinks bycatch could be one of the most worrying problems facing the oceans, and goes as far as saying that bycatch is “a mode of mass marine extinction.”

“If organisms drop out of the food chain, the entire ecosystem is impacted.”

“From 1994 onwards, 27 million tons of bycatch are discarded every year,” she said. “Thirty percent of marine catch is thrown overboard dead. For shrimpers, 80 percent of everything caught is bycatch and thrown back for dead.”

According to the Pew Environmental report “Protecting Life in the Sea,” nearly one-third of the world supply of commercially caught fish has already collapsed.

Salta explained how many of the problems besetting the oceans converge to create a cascading, devastating effect on sea life.

“If organisms drop out of the food chain, the entire ecosystem is impacted,” she said. “And temperature affects biodiversity and fish stock. Changes in this variable can impact the entire ecosystem and impact fish stocks.”

She cites copepods (tiny crustaceans) in the North Sea as an example. “There was a specific species that hatched in the spring, that was for cod, but during the 1990s because of temperature change, these were replaced with a warmer weather copepod and these hatched too late,” she said. “So the cod have vanished there, coupled with exploitation by man.”

Salta said that 25 percent of the planet’s biodiversity is in danger of extinction within the next 30 years due to commercial fishing.

“When fish become overfished, the human response is to fish down the species to smaller species, so this shifts the target group down, and this affects biodiversity and the ocean ecology,” she explained.

Another aspect of overfishing is trawling – a fishing method that involves pulling fishing net through the water behind a boat. Bottom trawling, when the net literally drags across the seafloor, has severely destructive impacts.

“It’s the equivalent of forest clear-cutting, but in the ocean, because when they [fishermen] trawl the entire bottom, whatever is there is removed from the environment and changes the entire ecosystem,” Salta said. “Biomass of the deep sea is in sharp decline because of trawling.”

Bleak Scenario

Beyond marine life, the ocean’s critically important role in climate disruption cannot be overstated.

Scientists estimate there are approximately 3,000 gigatons (one gigaton is 1 billion tons) of carbon in the atmosphere. The oceans hold around 38,000 gigatons of carbon, which is 16 times as much carbon as the terrestrial biosphere (all plant and underlying soils on the planet), and 60 times as much as the pre-industrial atmosphere held.

Since the ocean is the greatest of all the carbon reservoirs, it fundamentally determines the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. Additional atmospheric carbon produced by the burning of fossil fuels gets absorbed by an already overburdened ocean.

The Zoological Society of London reported in July 2009 that “360 [carbon dioxide atmospheric parts per million] is now known to be the level at which coral reefs cease to be viable in the long run.”

In September 2009, Nature magazine stated that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels above 350 parts per million “threaten the ecological life-support systems” of the planet and “challenge the viability of contemporary human societies.”

We are now at 400 parts per million. Even by 2009, we were already well over 350 parts per million.

Carbon emissions have already risen “far above even the bleak scenarios.”

In its October 2009 issue, the journal Science offered new evidence of what the earth was like 20 million years ago, which was the last time we had carbon levels this high. At that time, sea levels rose over 30 meters and temperatures were as much as 18 degrees Celsius higher than they are today.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon emissions have already risen “far above even the bleak scenarios.”

Oceans absorb 26 percent (2.3 billion metric tons) of the carbon human activities release into the atmosphere annually, according to a 2010 study published by Nature Geoscience and The Global Carbon Project.

Unfortunately, global carbon emissions are continuing to increase. At a 2008 academic conference, Exeter University scientist Kevin Anderson showed slides and graphs “representing the fumes that belch from chimneys, exhausts and jet engines, that should have bent in a rapid curve towards the ground, were heading for the ceiling instead.” He references the famous “hockey stick graph,” that has become so well-known with climate disruption trends now, where charts abruptly tend nearly straight up, rather than showing more linear, gradual increases.

Anderson concluded it was “improbable” that we would be able to stop carbon dioxide emissions from rising to 650 parts per million, even if rich countries adopted “draconian emissions reductions within a decade.”

That number, should it come to pass, would mean that global average temperatures would increase five times as much as previous models predicted.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a study in 2009 showing that a new understanding of ocean physics proved that “changes in surface temperature, rainfall and sea level are largely irreversible for more than a thousand years after carbon dioxide emissions are completely stopped.”

Part of a Solution

Myriad other problems beset the oceans: increasing acidification, dead zones, fish migrating to different areas because of temperature changes, loss of phytoplankton and bleaching coral.

It seems overwhelming, yet the enormity of the problem is precisely what is driving Baumstein.

(Photo: Expedition Pacific)

“I’ve been preparing for an expedition like this for years now, and I have a great team supporting me,” she said. “And this journey gives me the ability to be an active citizen/scientist, a chance to connect the proverbial dots for people, via electronic resources, to show people we can all do this since this information is around us in our daily lives as well.”

Baumstein will be collecting data as she rows, as her carbon-fiber boat will be equipped with solar power, a satellite phone and numerous scientific data collection devices.

“I have the opportunity to provide scientists with something they’ve never had, from changing salinity, to changing water temperature, to a better understanding of El Niño and disappearing snow on land,” she said. “All these things are connected.”

Baumstein said her boat is “basically a human-powered wave glider” that will carry a device she called the CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth), which measures these metrics and sends the data via her boat’s GPS tower to a satellite.

“This will generate a data flow of the currents, wind, and how stirred up the water layers are,” she said. “The salinity is important because it drives current and temperature. And you have pools of freshwater they are trying to understand, and they’ve never been able to collect data in the first foot of water, consistently.”

The data Baumstein collects will be sent to the Seattle-based company Earth and Space Research, which is the principal scientific investigator for NASA’s Aquarius project, which is a space agency satellite that monitors the world’s oceans.

“So I’m providing the grounding data,” she said. “And all the NOAA data the public sees comes from the Aquarius satellite.”

All of the data is to be open source, so the public can view it online, as well as watch Baumstein’s progress across the Pacific.

She aims to shove off from Japan in May, and is bringing 150 days of primary food supplies and 30 days of “backup” rations.

Sonya Baumstein with her boat in Port Townsend, Washington. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

Baumstein understands she will not be doing a lot of sleeping along the way.

“Sleeping patterns are dependent on weather, so if I have good weather, I’m going to row more,” she explained. “I’ll wake up every hour when I sleep to look at water temperature, so I have to monitor the currents, which are changing constantly.”

She will begin in the Kuroshio current, which is one of the fastest and thinnest in the world, and shifts between 50 to 100 miles on any given day.

“I have to stay in that current because it’s the only way folks can get across the ocean,” she said. “So there’s a lot of seamanship that goes into this.”

Baumstein is banking on her knowledge, experience and drive to get her across the largest ocean on the planet. And with a little luck, her voyage will be successful, as will her endeavor to bring more public attention to the plight of the oceans she rows across.

“This is the only planet we have,” she said. “So why not learn more about it while trying to take care of it?”

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.

Those looking to cash in on the multi-billion-dollar vaccine racket can now do so with the help of a financial reporting company that keeps tabs on the present and expected future growth of the vaccine market for investment purposes. Kind of like playing the craps table in Vegas, gambling on the successes of the vaccine market (and ultimately on children’s lives) is the latest money-making scheme in the endless merry-go-round of corporate greed.

So while children are becoming permanently injured and dying due to flu shots and MMR vaccines, unscrupulous investors are busy hoping that you and your loved ones won’t make too much of a stink about it and cause vaccine industry stock prices to cut into their fiat windfalls. It’s just about money, money and more money for these people, as they shamelessly gamble on the collective health of the next generation for their next paycheck.

A press release recently issued by PR Newswire explains how the company, Visiongain, provides insights into the forecast sales of vaccines at the world, national, submarket and product levels. Investors can then use this data to play the vaccine market and rake in the big bucks, all on the backs of millions of vaccine-injured children who are being played by the establishment for massive profits.

“Vaccines sector still hold[s] great technological, medical and commercial potential,” announces the press release. “[U]se our predictions for vaccination to expand your business and help your influence… and stay ahead.”

Vaccines are just another gambling game at the casino, and your children are the betting chips

It’s quite sickening if you really think about it — playing the vaccine industry for cash in the same way you would a slot machine or roulette wheel at Caesar’s Palace. If you can accurately calculate the odds and make your bet, then voila, in comes the money. Except slot machines don’t cause autism, and the roulette wheel, at least as far as we know, isn’t responsible for causing permanent neurological damage.

These and other life-changing injuries do result from vaccines, though, which the report likens to “human medicine.” But who really cares — it’s all about the money, and there’s quite a lot of it to be made from vaccines, which are the only products on the market today that are completely shielded from liability and paid for mostly with taxpayer dollars.

They’re also slowly being forced on the populace without informed consent, which makes vaccines anything but “human medicine.” Vaccines can more accurately be categorized as weapons of mass destruction, a Trojan Horse protocol of “medicine” that forever alters the human immune system and leaves it powerless to fight disease naturally and normally.

Many of those injected with vaccines develop autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks itself, thinking it’s a foreign invader. This is what vaccines do — they override natural immunity and bombard the body with all sorts of confusing antibodies and chemicals that often cause permanent, lifelong damage.

Based on this model, speculators can also predict how many vaccinated children will require further medical care in the form of pharmaceutical drugs and surgery, another high-profit gambling game that’s making a lot of people very, very rich.

“Progress worldwide in vaccines and healthcare will expand vaccination,” adds the press release, illustrating the disgusting return-on-investment approach to pushing the vaccine agenda. “[Y]ou [can] assess developed and developing countries for revenues and potential sales growth.”

Sources:

http://www.marketwatch.com

http://www.cnbc.com

http://www.bostonglobe.com

http://fortune.com

According to a story appearing in USA Today, the current NSA surveillance of Americans is based on an earlier, pre-9/11 program used by the DEA.

For over two decades, the DEA and the Justice Department collected logs on every phone call from the United States to over a hundred foreign countries. Officials said the operation was related to drug trafficking.

The program, said to have been discontinued by the Justice Department, is described as the first known effort to collect data on the phone calls of Americans in bulk without regard to the Fourth Amendment.

The Justice Department described the DEA program as “one of the most important and effective Federal drug law enforcement initiatives” as it went about trying to convince telecoms to turn over phone call records. The rationale was contained in a previously undisclosed letter sent to Sprint in 1998 by Mary Lee Warren, the head of the department’s Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section.

Warren said the operation had “been approved at the highest levels of Federal law enforcement authority,” including then-Attorney General Janet Reno and her deputy, Eric Holder.

The revelation provides additional evidence that the government is wantonly violating the constitutional rights of American citizens. Massive intelligence gathering aimed at the American people began at the end of the Second World War with the establishment of the national security state. The National Security Act of 1947 established the Department of Defense, the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.

In addition to the U.S. Army working with the country’s three major telegraph companies, ITT World International, RCA Global, and Western Union to monitor all telegrams moving in and out of the United States, the FBI began a massive surveillance program targeting dissidents and activists considered a threat to the establishment. COINTELPRO also included efforts to destroy the reputations of targeted individuals and other dirty tricks, allegedly also including violence and assassination.

In a study of the NSA, historian Thomas Johnson noted that the agency engaged in widespread wiretapping and watch-list operations and that it “seemed to understand were disreputable if not outright illegal” and unconstitutional.

“Decades before 9/11, and the subsequent Bush order that directed the NSA to eavesdrop on every phone call, e-mail message, and who-knows-what-else going into or out of the United States, U.S. citizens included, they did the same thing with telegrams. It was called Project Shamrock, and anyone who thinks this is new legal and technological terrain should read up on that program,” writes security analyst Bruce Schneier.

Louis Tordella, the Deputy Director of the agency from the late 50s until 1974, told congressional investigator L. Britt Snider “whatever they did, they did out of patriotic reasons. They had presumed NSA wanted the tapes to look for foreign intelligence.”

The USA Today report and the corporate media in general have failed to note that massive government surveillance of the American people predates September 11, 2001 and has been a prominent feature of the national security state since its establishment by President Harry Truman in 1947.

International aid groups estimate that more than 75 Yemeni children have been killed since the start of Operation Decisive Storm on March 26. (Photo: UNICEF)

Amid warnings that the Saudi-led attack on Yemen is taking a devastating toll on civilians, including more than 75 children killed since fighting began, the United States announced on Tuesday that it will be expediting the shipment of more weapons to fuel the conflict.

Speaking to reporters in Riyadh after meeting with Gulf Arab allies and Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said the United States is increasing its support, through more arms and intelligence-sharing, of Operation Decisive Storm.

International aid groups warn that the operation, which is being led by the Saudi Arabia military with backing from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, as well as the U.S. Pentagon, has had a devastating impact on the nation’s infrastructure and civilian population.

In a statement on Monday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that at least 74 children have been killed and 44 maimed since fighting began on March 26, while countless others have been injured, displaced and put at risk from disease.

“Children are paying an intolerable price for this conflict,” said UNICEF Yemen Representative Julien Harneis speaking from the Jordanian capital Amman. “They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted. These children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict, in line with international humanitarian law.”

UNICEF added that the estimated number of child deaths is “conservative” and is likely higher due to the intensifying conflict.

On Tuesday, a Saudi-led airstrike targeting a Houthi-controlled military base in the central Yemen province of Ibb crippled a nearby school, killing a 10- and 12-year-old while injuring dozens of other students, local residents told Xinhua News.

Meanwhile, fierce fighting between the coalition and rebels has spilled into the streets of the Aden peninsula in the south, a situation the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) described as “catastrophic.”

Marie Claire Feghali, spokesperson for ICRC Yemen, said that the humanitarian situation in all of Yemen is “very difficult…(with) naval, air and ground routes cut off.” Feghali described the situation in Aden as “catastrophic to say the least.”

“The war in Aden is on every street, in every corner… Many are unable to escape,” she said.

And Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Yemen representative Marie-Elisabeth Ingres said that hospitals in Aden in recent days have received fewer casualties, “not because there are no wounded people, but due to the difficulties faced in trying to reach a hospital.”

Bipartisan congressional hardliners, Israel and its Lobby intend going all-out to undermine a final deal on Iran’s known peaceful nuclear program.

On April 6, AIPAC manufactured what it called “significant concerns” about framework terms agreed on.

It claimed “(t)he emerging deal could leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state and encourage a Mideast nuclear arms race.”

It calls the best deal none at all – or one depriving Iran of its legitimate right to develop and use nuclear power the same as dozens of other nations not criticized.

AIPAC claims “profound national security implications” are at stake. “Congress must have a role.”

“Iran’s leaders cannot be trusted. Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, which it continues to promote on a global basis.”

“It has lied and cheated under its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations for three decades…”

It’s “buil(t) a whole nuclear infrstructure clandestinely. (It’s) actively cheating.”

It “refuse(s) to answer the IAEA’s questions about its efforts to weaponize…”

It “refuse(s) access to IAEA inspectors…(It) continues its illicit activity of importing sensitive nuclear technology…Until Iran comes clean, (it) can’t be trusted.

Fact: AIPAC’s rant makes bad fiction look good.

Fact: It repeatedly and systematically lies about Iran’s legitimate nuclear program.

Fact: It’s totally silent about Israel’s illicit one – a nuclear outlaw state maintaining a formidable thermonuclear arsenal.

Fact: Iran’s legal nuclear program threatens no one.

Fact: Congress has no right to serve imperial Israeli interests at the expense of legitimate Iranian ones – or those of any other nation.

Fact: Nothing whatever suggests Iran can’t be trusted.

Fact: Claims about Iranian sponsored terror are Big Lies.

Fact: So are bogus accusations of violating NPT provisions.

Fact: No Iranian clandestine nuclear infrastructure exists.

Fact: Its facilities are the world’s most intensively monitored.

Fact: It fully cooperates with IAEA inspectors.

Fact: Israel refuses to come clean on its program. Inspections are strictly prohibited.

Fact: Iran absolutely can and should be trusted – not Israel or America, known nuclear outlaws threatening world peace.

Media reports indicate Israeli officials and many congressional members intend going all-out to undermine a final Iranian nuclear deal by June 30.

So-called concerns about Tehran’s pathway to a bomb hold no water whatever. Malicious propaganda manufactures Big Lies.

Netanyahu absurdly claims Lausanne terms “threaten the survival of Israel” – increasing the risk of a “horrific war.”

Only if Israel or America launches it. On Monday, Israeli strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz said the “military option” against Iran still exists.

“It was on the table. It’s still on the table. It’s going to remain on the stable,” he stressed.

Despite no Iranian threat whatever (now, earlier or ahead), Steinitz blustered:

“Israel should be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. And it’s our right and duty to decide how to defend ourselves, especially if our national security and even very existence is under threat.”

Any deal with Iran “has to be made on the assumption that (it) may violate it.”

Steinitz listed demands he and likeminded Israeli hardliners insist on, including:

  • ending Iran’s (nonexistent) nuclear weapons R&D activities;
  • greatly reducing numbers of centrifuges more than P5+1 countries and Iran agreed on;
  • closing Fordow – located underground within a mountain for protection against possible US or Israel attacks;
  • complete disclosure of Iran’s past nuclear work;
  • removing Iran’s entire enriched uranium stockpile from the country; and
  • letting IAEA inspectors monitor any Iranian nuclear or other facilities any time at their discretion.

Obliging Israel would require entirely reworking terms agreed on – something P5+1 countries and Iran reject.

Steinitz claims Israeli military and intelligence officials identified what he called 10 “unanswered questions.”

They include doubts about Iran observing what it agreed to, how quickly sanctions could be reinstated if backtracking occurs, and eventual more advanced centrifuges reducing breakout time to a bomb to three or four months.

“All of our experts are united in their opposition to this bad deal,” Steinitz blustered.

Former IAEA deputy director-general/Zionist hardliner Olli Heinonen lied claiming Lausanne terms let Iran remain “a threshold breakout nuclear state for the next 10 years.”

After that, things get worse, he added. The deal will encourage other regional countries to strengthen their own nuclear programs, he claimed.

Heinonen and likeminded Zionist zealots want Iran isolated, weakened and eliminated as an Israeli regional political rival.

They want its government toppled. They want Big Oil able to exploit Iranian resources freely.

Obama said military action remains an option he’ll consider if Iran backtracks on nuclear deal terms reached.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes indicated the same thing, saying:

“Certainly, if Iran violates the agreement, all options are on the table related to Iran, including military options.”

On Monday, senior Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer said he’ll back legislation giving Congress vetting power over any final nuclear deal reached – what Obama strongly opposes.

His support appears to give the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act (NWFI) a veto-proof Senate margin. House members overwhelmingly support it.

Enactment could be a deal-breaker. Congress won’t support what Israel and its Lobby reject.

Whether a Security Council resolution supported by P5+1 countries can overcome their damage remains to be seen.

Resolving things responsibly with Iran (short-term at least) hangs in the balance.

Longer-term is an entirely different story given deep-rooted US anti-Iranian sentiment and America’s notorious history of breaching virtually all treaties, conventions, deals and core international laws.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

On March 11, women who are planning to cross the DMZ separating the two Koreas held a press conference at the United Nations. They explained that 30 women from around the world would hold a walk for peace in Korea in May 2015.

The group hoped to meet with North Korean women in North Korea and then cross the DMZ into South Korea and meet with South Korean women. They proposed to hold peace symposiums with women in North and South Korea. They hoped to learn from women in both Koreas about their hopes and aspirations for peace and for unification.

This year, 2015, is the 70th anniversary of the division of Korea into two separate entities. Prior to the division of Korea, there was one Korea for over a thousand years. (1) The division of Korea set the stage for the Korean War in 1950-1953. While an armistice in 1953 ended the fighting, it did not end the war. The promised activities to resolve outstanding issues were to take place soon afterwards, but instead the discord has continued and in the absence of a peace treaty, there are continuing hostile encounters between the two Koreas.

In order to work toward unification, a peace framework is needed. Also a peace treaty ending the Korean War would help resolve outstanding problems so as to make peace on the Korean peninsula more of a possibility. The group of international women hope their trip will contribute toward such efforts.

In October 2000, the UN Security Council passed resolution, UNSCR 1325 which recognizes the contribution women can make toward creating peaceful resolutions of conflicts.(2) The significant aspect of this Security Council resolution is that it calls for an important role for women not only in preventing and resolving conflicts, but as part of the decision making processes.

The preamble to the resolution states: “Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.”

This language is reinforced in the text of the resolution, which urges in Paragraph 1 that member states increase the role of women in all decision making levels of conflict resolution and peace processes. The Resolution:

“1.Urges Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict;”

To support this effort by member states, the UN is urged to act in a complementary way. The Resolution:

“2. Encourages the Secretary-General to implement his strategic plan of action (A/49/587) calling for an increase in the participation of women at decision-making levels in conflict resolution and peace processes;”

Hence the activity of women is not narrowed down only to acting on issues related to the impact of conflict and war on women, but the role envisioned for women is one of active and empowered participants in all levels of the peace making and conflict resolution processes.

In a recent article Ann Wright, one of the women who will be part of the group of 30 women walking for peace in Korea, wrote that the group had received tentative support for their trip from North Korea and a response from the United Nations Command (UN Command) at the DMZ that if South Korea is agreeable with the proposal, the UN Command will approve it.

While the UN has continually supported UN Resolution 1325 through follow up resolutions or presidential statements from the UN Security Council each year since the passage of UNSCR 1325, there has not been any indication from the UN Secretary General yet of support for the trip.

A question was raised to his spokesperson on March 11 as to whether the announced “plans for a peace march through the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea is something that the Secretary General would support.” The Secretary General’s Spokesperson responded: “Let me take a look at what was announced, and I will get back to you a bit later.” But no response has yet been provided.

Similarly, the day after the group’s press conference at the UN announcing its plans, the question of whether or not South Korea would support the trip was raised to the South Korean Minister of Gender Equality and Family who was visiting the UN at the time. She promised to get back to the journalist raising the question by email, but there has not yet been any response from her.

Though the group had not yet gotten official approval from South Korea, according to Ann Wright, there are some signs that it will get a positive response.

In her article, Ann Wright writes(3):

“You might wonder, what will this peace walk do? For one, it has already conveyed several important messages: 1. The Korean War must end with a peace treaty; 2. Women can and must be involved at all levels of peacemaking; and 3. We must act now to reunite millions of families tragically divided by a man-made division. If the barbed wire fences lining the DMZ were erected by men over 60 years ago, men and women have the power to bring them down.”

Ms. Ronda Hauben is one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media. 

http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2015/03/31/women-plan-walk-across-the-dmz-to-support-peace-and-korean-unification/

Notes

(1)United Nations Command As Camouflage: On the Role of the UN in the Unending Korean War

http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2013/08/31/united-nations-command-as-camouflage

2)http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1325%20%282000%29

3) Ann Wright, Women Walk for Peace in Korea, March 28, 2015, at PopularResistance.org

https://www.popularresistance.org/women-walk-for-peace-in-korea

Foreign Policy Magazine recently had a column called Cranks, Trolls, and Useful Idiots, in which the author, Dalibor Rohac, hunts down “Russia’s information warriors” who, he claims, have infested the web with their lies and propaganda on websites potentially paid for by the Russian government.

Rohac writes:

“Throughout the conflict in eastern Ukraine, these sites have systematically regurgitated Russian propaganda, spreading lies, half-truths, and conspiracy theories, often directly translated from Russian sources…

The Czech weekly Respekt published a feature article about the mysterious “news” site Aeronet (also known as AENews). Started in 2001 by aviation fans, the domain has changed ownership several times.  Since the summer of 2014 it has regularly published articles accusing the new Ukrainian government of fascism and claiming that American and British mercenaries were fighting in eastern Ukraine.  (Dalibor Rohac, Cranks, Trolls, and Useful Idiots, Foreign Policy, March 12, 2015)

First let’s look at the weakness of the claims in the article.

The author accuses news outlets of doing exactly what he himself and the U.S. mainstream media in general does when reporting about foreign policy issues such as Ukraine: they “systematically [regurgitate U.S. propaganda, spread] lies, half-truths, and conspiracy theories.” The advantage they have is that they don’t need to translate anything. Apparently for Rohac an article written in Russian has to be Russian propaganda. It’s that simple: Russians are just not producing any honest journalistic content. This argument about texts being “directly translated from Russian sources” is not only weak, it is xenophobic.

In addition the author’s examples to prove his points are unsound. Aeronet is not the only website to have not only accused but also proven the fascistic nature of the Ukrainian government. Numerous independent media outlets have published countless articles to that effect, demonstrating that several key figures within the unelected government were neo-Nazis and that the Azov Battalion was filled with members linked to neo-Nazi groups:

The Cabinet is not only integrated by the Svoboda and Right Sector (not to mention former members of defunct fascist UNA-UNSO), the two main Neo-Nazi entities have been entrusted with key positions which grant them de facto control over the Armed Forces, Police, Justice and National Security.

While Yatsenuyk’s Fatherland Party controls the majority of portfolios and Svoboda Neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok was not granted a major cabinet post (apparently at the request of assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland), members of Svoboda and the Right Sector occupy key positions in the areas of Defense, Law Enforcement, Education and Economic Affairs. (Michel Chossudovsky, The U.S. has Installed a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine, Global Resarch, March 2014)

Even mainstream media like The Guardian and the BBC admitted that “many members [of the Azov Battalion] have links with neo-Nazi groups”, although they downplay their own claims saying that it’s “overblown”:

“I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia,” said Dmitry, [a member of the Azov battalion,]… “But Putin’s not even a Russian. Putin’s a Jew.”

The battalion’s symbol is reminiscent of the Nazi Wolfsangel, though the battalion claims it is in fact meant to be the letters N and I crossed over each other, standing for “national idea”. Many of its members have links with neo-Nazi groups, and even those who laughed off the idea that they are neo-Nazis did not give the most convincing denials. (Shaun Walker, Azov fighters are Ukraine’s greatest weapon and may be its greatest threat, The Guardian, September 10, 2014)

Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years’ experience in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is currently fighting with the Azov Battalion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer armed group in eastern Ukraine…. As to his political views, Mr Skillt prefers to call himself a nationalist, but in fact his views are typical of a neo-Nazi

Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white people. His next project is to go fight for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is standing up to “international Zionism”. (Dina Newman , Ukraine conflict: ‘White power’ warrior from Sweden, BBC News, July 16 2014)

As for Rohac’s second argument regarding Western mercenaries fighting in Urkaine, in May last year several media reported that mercenaries from the private military company Blackwater, now called Academi, were operating in Ukraine. The information came not from the Kremlin but rather from a German news source and was published by the German mainstream newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

About 400 elite mercenaries from the notorious US private security firm Academi (formerly Blackwater) are taking part in the Ukrainian military operation against anti-government protesters in southeastern regions of the country, German media reports.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper, citing a source in intelligence circles, wrote Sunday that Academi employees are involved in the Kiev military crackdown on pro-autonomy activists in near the town of Slavyansk, in the Donetsk region. (400 US mercenaries ‘deployed on ground’ in Ukraine military op, RT.com, May 11, 2014)

A few days after the German revelations, the mainstream French Magazine Paris Match published an article including witnesses saying they saw foreign mercenaries on the ground in Ukraine:

Christopher Garrett aka Leon Swampy

Several witness (sic) also said they heard some of the gunmen speaking with strong western Ukraine accents. They also noticed that some of the gunmen appeared to come from the Caucasus area, possibly mercenaries from Chechnya. Other gunmen never spoke a word and seemed foreign to the region. French war photographer Jerome Sessini spent about an hour face to face with the gunmen before they opened fire. “ I found that their general attitude and their very precise techniques gave off the impression that they were American mercenaries, or people trained by American mercenaries ” said Sessini.

“I can’t guarantee this for sure, but I’d give it a 95 per cent, ” added the photographer, who frequently interacted with various U.S. security contractors during his years covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Krasnoarmeysk, several of the gunmen were masked or wearing keffieh-style cloaks, which made it difficult to pinpoint whom among them had fired the lethal shots. Alfred De Montesquiou, Revelations on the Krasnoarmeysk Killing, Paris Match, May 15 2014)

In late January this year, an armed man in uniform clearly speaking with an English accent has also been caught on camera by a Ukrainian local news channel. He was later identified as Christopher Garrett aka Leon Swampy.  According to RT, he was not the only one:

Armed people in uniform speaking fluent English with no accent have been spotted in Mariupol in the aftermath of the rocket hit, fuelling allegations that foreign private military contractors are serving among Ukrainian troops. (RT, Ukraine: Military-Clad English-speakers Caught on Camera in Mariupol Shelling Aftermath. Who Are They?, January 26, 2015)

It is also well-documented that  the French have been recruiting fighters for Ukraine. Former member of the French Foreign Legion Gaston Besson was a recruiter for the Azov Battalion. More on NATO legions here.

So, as we can see, what the Foreign Policy writer calls “accusations” and “claims” are actually verified and easily verifiable facts for anyone who knows how to use a computer.

He admits “there is no direct evidence linking the Aeronet site to Russia”, while suggesting that “it is run by an individual or organization whose motives are closely aligned with those of the Kremlin”.

The reasons he invokes to justify the possible link are flimsy at best: “the politics of the site’s content, the secrecy surrounding it, and its relatively professional appearance”. In addition, Rohac stresses, the Aeronet editor says “he sometimes travels to Moscow for business, adding that he has ‘friends in Russia.’” That does not prove anything and would not hold in front of a judge.

The Areonet website is clearly critical of the U.S. and of the anti-Russian propaganda, but that doesn’t systematically imply Russian funding. There are numerous Western independent news outlets, including this one, which express a similar view and have no links to the Russian government.

This Foreign Policy piece is typical of the post-9/11 Western mainstream media witch hunt. In today’s world, if you publish articles that criticize Western policies and contradict the one-sided Western media narrative, you are either a “conspiracy website” or a shadow propaganda outlet of the Kremlin or whoever is the enemy du jour. What has become obvious to many Western citizens, is that those who are making accusations are committing the misdemeanor. The Western mainstream media has been engaged in war propaganda for Washington for a very long time and has spread numerous conspiracy theories (Iraq’s WMDs, the Syrian government using chemical weapons on civilians, Gaddafi forces raping Libyan women on Viagra, among many others).

U.S.-funded “independent” media abroad

While accusations against Russia’s “shadow funding” of state-controlled news outlets abound in the Western mainstream media, we hardly, if ever, hear about the U.S. funding of foreign media.

The U.S. government funds media abroad and, most of the time, covers its tracks by giving money to so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which in turn give grants to foreign news outlets aligned with the Western mainstream media narrative.

When Russia does it, the media on the receiving end is described as a state-controlled media. When the U.S. engages in this kind of endeavour, however, it is presented in its very own Orwellian way as an effort to “develop an independent media sector abroad”. State-funded “independent media?” That sure sounds like an oxymoron.

Since 2007, the US government has directly given at least $25.5 million dollars in grants to various US non-profit organizations for media projects in Ukraine only. On 18 grants, 14 went to Internews Network. A quick look at its website shows it is aligned with the Western mainstream media narrative, thus, with the White House’s foreign policy agenda. Among Internews Network’s donors are numerous Western governmental agencies and well-known “democracy makers”, namely organizations committed to furthering US interests abroad under the guise of defending democracy and human rights. Here are some of them:

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Rockefeller Family & Associates

Rockefeller Foundation John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

John S. and James L Knight Foundation

Google

Open Society Foundations

Omidyar Network

European Commission

Various Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International development Agencies (Netherlands,  Norway,  Sweden, UK, U.S.)

World Bank Group

Freedom House

National Democratic Institute (NDI) (Demorats’ non-profit organization)

National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy have proven to be CIA partners in the past. As Robert Parry explained, “Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy stress their commitment to freedom of thought and democracy, but both cooperated with a CIA-organized propaganda operation in the 1980s, according to documents released by Ronald Reagan’s presidential library.”

NED has been connected countless times to “activists” in foreign countries who are opposing governments which do not submit to Washington. In a way, NED has replaced the CIA. On its about page it states that after WWII, “U.S. policy makers resorted to covert means, secretly sending advisers, equipment, and funds to support newspapers and parties under siege in Europe. When it was revealed in the late 1960′s that some American PVO’s were receiving covert funding from the CIA to wage the battle of ideas at international forums, the Johnson Administration concluded that such funding should cease, recommending establishment of ‘a public-private mechanism’ to fund overseas activities openly.”

And NED was born. It describes itself as non-governmental even though it is “funded largely by the U.S. Congress… distributing funds to private organizations for the purpose of promoting democracy abroad.” Since it is well known and documented that the U.S. has a long history of overthrowing democratically elected left-wing governments and supporting dictatorships around the world, such as Saudi Arabia, NED’s “purpose of promoting democracy abroad” is preposterous.

As we can see in these articles from the 70′s and 80′s, Johnson’s establishment of “’a public-private mechanism’ to fund overseas activities openly” did not stop CIA media propaganda.

Rare moment of truth in The New York Times in 1977 “investigating the CIA’s role in global propaganda efforts, including Radio Free Asia.” Click on the image for the source.

Article in the September 22, 1981 Santa Cruz Sentinel about a CIA disinformation campaign. Click on the image for the source.

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), a project of the National Endowment for Democracy, published several yearly reports on media development around the world.

The first report was called U.S. Public and Private Funding of Independent Media Development Abroad.

The report’s stated goal is to “learn who are the major donors, on what part of the sector they focus (direct assistance to media outlets, journalism training, public information campaigns, improving the legal environment for media, and media management) and what opportunities exist to educate potential donors about the importance of developing independent media as an essential component of democratic societies.”

Some of the key findings of the 2007 report were:

- U.S. funding for international media development in 2006—public and private—exceeded $142 million;

- U.S. government funding totaled nearly $69 million;

- Funding from government-supported nonprofit organizations—the National Endowment for Democracy and U.S. Institute of Peace—totaled $13 million

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State/Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor were the most important governmental donors, respectively giving $ 49,684,000 and $ 11,800,000 in 2006 alone. The number one private donor that same year was the Open Society Institute with $40 million, followed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with $7 million.

Particularly of interest is the government’s strategy for 2007-2012 outlaid in the report. According to the State Department-U.S. Agency for International Development’s Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2007-2012, the government will “advance media freedom by helping to create and develop independent media outlets…”

USAID plays a key role in funding “independent” media overseas, especially in the former Soviet Union:

“As a result of efforts in post-Soviet states to transform state-controlled media into independent media, Europe and Eurasia is the only one of USAID’s four geographic bureaus with a designated media development expert.” (Ibid.)

The rhetoric used in this report is pure propaganda and does not even bother being logical. It clearly says that the U.S. state is investing money and resources “to transform state-controlled media into independent media”. If it is funded by the U.S. state, how can it be labeled independent? What we are led to believe is that Russian-funded media is state-controlled whereas U.S.-funded media is “independent”.

For some reason, maybe reason itself, in the 2010 report called U.S. Government Funding for Media Development, the word “independent” has been removed. It states that U.S. funding for foreign media rose “dramatically” between 2005-2010:

“Over the past five years, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have spent more than a half billion dollars to support international media development… The State Department and USAID budgets for fiscal year 2010 totaled more than $47.9 billion. Of this sum, less than .3 percent—or $140.7 million—was spent on media development efforts. Still, this represents a 36 percent—or $37.3 million—increase from media development spending in the previous fiscal year and an even more dramatic rise when compared with the $68.9 million spent five years earlier.”

Source: CIMA 2010 report

The US government even directly funds Russian media. For example, in 2011-2012 USAID gave $2 540 000 in grants for a program called “Independent print media in Russia”. The top recipients are Russian organizations FNE and Foundation Finformpolicy Dvl.

It sounds very little but, as we saw earlier, most of the state funding for “media development”, in other words for propaganda and political subversion, is channeled through government-funded “non-governmental” organizations such as NED and Freedom House to obscure the origins of the funding. These organizations will surely not give grants to news outlets which oppose the Western mainstream media narrative.

NED’s 2012 annual report, for example, shows over $4,6 million in funding for various “freedom of information” programs in Russia alone, including but not limited to: $74,730 “To continue developing an environmental investigative journalism network in Russia” and $80,000 to an organization which “will monitor the use of torture by law enforcement officials through reports in the regional press and consultations offered at its local headquarters. The organization will publicize the results of its monitoring on its website, through partner NGOs, and in local and national media outlets.”

If the amount spent by the U.S. government on “independent” media has decreased in recent years, CIMA explains in its 2013 report U.S. Government Funding for Media: Trends and Strategies that it is due to “the cutbacks in media development funding associated with the U.S. drawdowns in Iraq and especially Afghanistan, a drop of $28 million from 2010 to 2012 in South and Central Asia and $17.7 million in the Near East.”

Two spikes in U.S. government funding occurred since CIMA started reporting: “The data showed a spike in funding in 2008 as part a major investment in democracy and governance– including media–in Iraq and another in 2010 due to a similar investment in Afghanistan.”

This is very telling and completely destroys the “independent media” idea being promoted by the U.S. government and NED. It clearly shows that in the last decade the US government has substantially increased its funding of “independent media” in countries it has illegally invaded and militarily occupied.

How can the U.S. claim to be funding media development to “advance freedom” as claimed in the 2007 report, when the money comes after it has waged illegal wars against countries, killed millions of their citizens, destroyed their infrastructures and militarily occupied them?

If that’s not the essence of propaganda and state-controlled media, what is?

Lithuanian prosecutors have reportedly reopened a criminal investigation into claims that state security officials helped the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to operate a ‘black site’ in the Baltic country.

Senior prosecutor Irmantas Mikelionis has decided to restart the investigation into the “possible abuse” of power by state employees, the spokeswoman for the prosecutor-general’s office told Reuters in an email on Thursday.

The investigation into Lithuania’s criminal complicity in the CIA program was terminated in January 2011 due to lack of evidence. However, prosecutors decided to reopen it after the US Senate report issued last year said that Washington paid Vilnius $1 million in appreciation for establishing the detention center.

The first report about Lithuania’s cooperation with the CIA, published by ABC news in 2009, said that eight terror suspects were held at a secret CIA rendering prison in the Baltic country from 2004 to 2005. The same year the Lithuanian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defense (CNSD) launched a parliamentary inquiry into the establishment of such a detention center. Following the investigation, CNSD recommended launching a criminal inquiry, which was opened in 2010. The inquiry focused of the abuse of power by State Security Department (SSD) employees, but was closed the next year.

In 2010, the United Nations released a study conducted by independent investigators, which said that aircraft related to the CIA program secretly landed in Lithuania. Human rights groups Amnesty international and REPRIEVE supported the claim in 2011, releasing information on possible routes of CIA rendition flights. However, prosecutors said this information was not significant enough to reopen the investigation.

On Thursday, the Lithuanian prosecution spokeswoman said the re-started investigation had been merged with a separate but related probe into allegations that a US detainee had been illegally moved across Lithuania’s borders.

Lithuania has never acknowledged its participation in the CIA program, launched after the 11 September 2001 attacks when the US declared war on terror. Amnesty international has urged Lithuania and other European governments to come clean over their alleged cooperation in terror operations with the CIA following the Senate report that a staggering 54 countries co-operated with the agency.

Czechoslovak reserve forces against the war planned by NATO commanders

On January 19th 2015 the facebook group, which combines all members of the CSLA, PS, VMV, SNB in reserve or decommissioned, issued an important memorandum, which has become even more urgent in light of the situation today. A defensive back up location in the event that the group gets „disappeared“ from Facebook, the group of the same name exists on VK.com. as well.

For the first time since the end of the 2nd World War we see a genuine threat of war yet again. Consequently, we consider it necessary to issue the following statement.

We, the Czechoslovak soldiers in reserve, unanimously reject any participation in battles that are geopolitical acts of aggression of the global elite by way of NATO and the support of our governments.

We swore to defend our homeland the Czech and Slovak Republics. We swore to protect the freedom and independence of our proud and sovereign nations, for which our ancestors laid down their lives in the world wars. We are guided by this oath in a civilian initiative to deal with a crisis situation. Freedom and independence is being jeopardized long time by a system of representative pseudo-democracy, where an elected representative does not have the obligation to advance the interests of voters and in practice, laws represent but the personal interests of the legislators, the interests of political parties and economic interest groups. Our homeland is under the pressure of global elites and economic interest groups, who are doing away with the power of citizens through a system of representative democracy.

Our deliberately flawed constitution and charter of rights and freedoms is being perverted and constitutional laws are violated by legislators themselves. Legislative power is being privatized, executive power is being politicized and judicial power corrupted by lobbying laws and pressure from our governments. The results are an unplayable public deficit, deindustrialization, the privatization of the republic’s property and defrauded budgets, food and energy dependence, the privatization of natural resources, pensions and the health of citizens. Our country has been unlawfully divided, looted, indebted, people enslaved and their families liquidated by repossession genocide, national infrastructure transferred into the hands of western corporations. Destructive chaos and despair dominates in the community.

For this reason, we the Czechoslovak soldiers in reserve recognize our military oath and together we come with a vision for the defense of our nations. We unequivocally reject fighting in the ranks of NATO against the Russian federation or other Slavic nations and we likewise intend to stand up firmly through organized civilian pressure against the further liquidation of our democracy, freedom and independence. We are uniting in a crisis situation and by utilizing our civilian and military skills and expertise we intend to create sufficiently strong, organized civil pressure for the period of time necessary to assert our patriotic goals.

We swore allegiance to our homeland, the Czech and Slovak Republics.

We, the Czechoslovak reserve soldiers,

will fulfill this oath!

Understanding the U.S.-Iran Agreement

April 8th, 2015 by Mazda Majidi

Image: Iranians celebrate the nuclear agreement.

On April 2, the United States, Iran and other parties to the months-long negotiations announced an agreement on principles on Iran’s nuclear program. As planned, diplomats and technocrats from all sides are expected to work out the details by the end of June.

With the negotiations having been conducted behind closed doors, there were few confirmed details prior to the announcement of the agreement. And no solid and undisputed specifics have emerged since. The sides consented to having each side publish their own version of a five-page document on the “parameters” of the agreement. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has characterized that document as “spin,” saying that it had been drawn up under Israeli and congressional pressure.

At the broadest level, the give and take of the negotiations had to do with the level to which Iran’s nuclear program would be limited and the speed with which the sanctions against Iran would be lifted.

Should a final agreement be reached and implemented, Iran will have to significantly reduce or eliminate the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity and minimize the amount of stored 20 percent enriched uranium, which it uses in its medical isotopes. Iran will also have to accept limitations on the amount of uranium it enriches to any level and allow intrusive and frequent inspections of its nuclear facilities. In exchange, sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations will be removed or suspended, likely in phases.

Why Washington engaged in serious negotiations

Negotiations with Iran go back over a decade. But it has only been during President Obama’ second term that Washington has shown a real interest in reaching an agreement. Prior to that, what passed as negotiating was the U.S. issuing ultimatums, complemented with threats of military action. But the Obama administration and its wing of the U.S. ruling class have reached the conclusion that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a regional power, cannot be eliminated.

The Obama administration is domestically selling the agreement as a means of keeping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon capability and bringing it under some level of control. While Obama will, no doubt, jump at any chance to overthrow the Iranian state should the opportunity arise, his administration is accepting that regime change is not in the cards today.

Congressional opposition to the agreement is strong, not just among the Republicans, who are now the majority in both houses of Congress, but also among some Democrats. Historically, imperialist powers rarely accept anything less than a complete capitulation from oppressed countries, which they consider to be their subjects. So it is understandable why a significant part of the ruling class is repulsed by the idea of the U.S. reaching any agreement with Iran, irrespective of the specifics.

But the fact remains that the more hawkish wing of the U.S. foreign policy establishment does not really have an alternative. The U.S. lacks the resources to launch a full-scale invasion of Iran. And aerial bombings, no matter how intense, will not bring about regime change. War hawks like John Bolton and John McCain have called for Israel to bomb Iran. But if Israel were to bomb Iran, its main significance would be if it were to serve as a prelude to a U.S. bombing campaign. Israel has a formidable air force, thanks to U.S. patronage. However, even if Israel managed a wildly successful air campaign, making it to Iran through two other countries’ airspace, avoiding Iran’s air defenses and doing significant damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities, such an attack would only persuade Iran to move nuclear work to its facilities at Fordow, deep in a mountain, and possibly other underground facilities.

What the Western powers and Israel really need is the overthrow of the state in Tehran. And, under the current circumstances, no scenario will yield that result. The Obama administration’s pursuit of imposing severe restrictions on Iran while putting regime change efforts on hold for now is a recognition of this fact.

Why Tehran agrees to restrictions

The announcement of the agreement was met with people celebrating in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere. However, significant parts of the people and the political establishment strongly resent the agreement. They view any restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program as inherently unfair, and justifiably so. After years of sanctions and threats, and the assassination of several nuclear scientists, they view reaching an agreement with the U.S. as a betrayal of Iran’s independence.

How can Iran be subjected to limitations on its nuclear program on the pretext that it might one day want to develop nuclear weapons when the imposers of the restrictions are nuclear-armed states themselves? If threats made by various officials against the state of Israel are the basis for Iran posing a grave danger, why is it okay that Israel and the U.S. have for years been making threats against Iran, including the threat of nuclear attacks? Or is making threats of bombing and annihilation the sole prerogative of the U.S. and Israel? Why can “all options” be on the table for the U.S. and Israel, which do actually have nuclear warheads, when Iran is not allowed to state that it will retaliate if attacked?

The economic sanctions against Iran were the determining factor in forcing it to make significant concessions. The sanctions did not completely paralyze Iran’s economy, as the U.S. and its imperialist junior partners had hoped. But they did result in a significant economic slowdown, the effects of which are most painfully felt by the working class. According to a report Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen presented to the U.S. Senate following the comprehensive U.S. and E.U. sanctions imposed in 2010, Iran’s economy is 15 to 20 percent smaller than it would have been without sanctions. Whether or not this figure is exaggerated, the fact remains that the extreme hardship imposed on Iran in conducting international commerce, including the sales of its oil and gas, has had a devastating effect on its economy.

Despite being forced to make significant concessions, this is far from a capitulation. For years, various U.S. officials had stated emphatically that Iran needed to halt its nuclear work altogether. The only way for Iran to be welcomed by the “international community,” meaning the imperialist club, would be for it to shut down its nuclear program—no nuclear work would be tolerated. Whatever the details of the current agreement turn out to be, it is clear that Washington has had to significantly backtrack from that demand. Iran will maintain a nuclear program, including its nuclear power plant in Bushehr and its uranium enriching centrifuges, while having mastered nuclear technology in several fields.

Imperialists do not typically back down from demands they place on oppressed countries. The case of the former Yugoslavia is a case in point. Before the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, in what were called negotiations, U.S. representatives presented the Rambouillet Accord on a “take it or leave it” basis to the president of Yugoslavia, Slovodan Milosevic. Rambouillet would require Yugoslavia to sign away its sovereignty and accept a NATO occupation of its soil. When Yugoslavia’s government understandably refused, the Clinton administration claimed that it had no choice but to bomb Yugoslavia.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is no Rambouillet. President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif could rightly point to the fact that Iran has forced the United States to accept its right to nuclear technology, however much the U.S. political establishment may resent this. Assuming that the agreement is finalized, it will be far from Washington’s maximum demand, a complete halt to Iran’s nuclear program. For an oppressed country, once under the complete dominance of the U.S.-installed Shah, this is a significant accomplishment. It is another nail in the coffin of the myth of imperialist invincibility.

The threat to world peace is not the Iranian government. The U.S. government continues to be the most militaristic state in the world, whether under the softer leadership of Obama or the harder leadership of the neocons or the foreign policy hawks, which include many Democrats. Maintaining military bases around the world to uphold the capability to launch wars against any country requires an astronomical military budget. The U.S. working class, not the corporations, bear the brunt of this bloated military budget. But U.S. militarism, the requirement of imperialist dominance, serves the interests of the corporations, which maximize their profits by exploiting the working class here at home and getting their government to oppress other countries abroad. Fighting the imperialist establishment serves the interests of the U.S. working class.