TTIP is the latest bid to capture policymaking by the profit-making interests of the 1%, with dire implications for anyone who upholds a vision of a more equitable and sustainable economic order. But campaign groups and activists are working hard to expose this trade agreement for what it is, and to build an overarching global movement that can prevent this massive transfer of power to transnational corporations.

As the next round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) take place in Brussels this week, civil society groups are continuing to mobilise against this ongoing free trade agreement between the U.S. and EU that poses a threat to our public services, environment, food, privacy and democracy. On Saturday, around a thousand people occupied the square in front of the European Union’s base in London, UK, and demanded an end to the trade deal that is being described by the #noTTIP coalition of activists and organisations as an unprecedented corporate power-grab.

Hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions over the last few months that call on our political representatives to provide full transparency on the negotiations and oppose this new trade offensive, which is taking place largely in secret and without any input from civil society regardless of its potentially devastating consequences. The mainstream media may be highlighting the increased economic growth and jobs that will supposedly benefit EU and U.S. economies, but in reality it represents a corporate Trojan horse that could usher in a brave new world of almost total deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation.

As explained in The #noTTIP Times – a paper distributed at events held nationwide for the London day of action – the primary aim of TTIP is not to stimulate ‘free trade’ through the removal of tariffs between the two regions, as these are already at minimum levels. Rather, the real intention is to remove the regulatory barriers that restrict the profit-making potential of multinational corporations – despite the fact that these ‘barriers’ are in fact our most prized social standards and regulations, in everything from food standards and labour rights to environmental regulations.

The planned inclusion of an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, otherwise known as the secret corporate courts, has received the most intense criticism. By granting corporations the right to sue governments in international arbitration tribunals over public policy decisions that ‘unfairly’ affect their bottom line, they could be empowered to overturn democratically decided laws and regulations. Through this provision, their legal status is effectively made equivalent to that of the nation state itself – making states accountable to corporations, rather than vice versa.

The alarming truth

Campaign groups have worked hard to expose this trade agreement for what it is, and to reveal the many reasons why we should all be worried about TTIP. In particular, further liberalisation of the trade in services will make it harder for governments to regulate private companies providing public services, such as in healthcare and education. And the ISDS mechanism could effectively prevent any future government from bringing these services back into public control, due to the entrenched threat of litigation. In the UK, there are already fears that this could enable the locking-in of the creeping privatisation of our schools and national health service.

Furthermore, it will become far more difficult to achieve positive alternatives to corporate food systems, such as food sovereignty, due to the even greater power that will be bestowed upon major agribusiness giants. Other progressive measures in the financial sector, such as a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ on financial transactions or controls of capital flows, will also be virtually impossible to implement due to the powers that multinationals wield through the ISDS mechanism. The Jubilee Debt Campaign is even forewarning the likelihood of a new international financial crisis being created, if proposed rules for TTIP are agreed that would prevent either the EU or the U.S. from bringing in regulations on banks.

TTIP is just one of three major so-called plurilateral trade agreements that are currently being negotiated among a range of countries, alongside the Trans‑Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), all of which could amount to the greatest transfer of power to transnational capital that we have seen in a generation. But as the World Development Movement (WDM) and other campaigning groups make clear, TTIP is a prospective future deal between two economic superpowers that, together, will form the largest free trade zone in the world. This deal could then set a new gold standard for all future trade agreements, and if pushed through successfully it could be used to force deregulation and neoliberal economic policies on poorer countries.

The implications are dire for anyone who upholds a vision of a more equitable and sustainable economic order. Not only does this new wave of trade agreements open the door to an aggressive corporate take-over of our common resources and services, but it also threatens to dramatically extend the powers of transnational capital and further hardwire ‘free market’ principles into the global economy. In short, TTIP is the latest bid to capture policymaking by the profit-making interests of the 1%, and to undermine and dismantle the established systems of economic sharing that currently exist on local, national and global levels. It remains impossible to conceive of a new economic paradigm based on sharing rather than competing for the world’s resources, so long as Trojan treaties like TTIP and TPP are promoted by our elected leaders no matter what the cost in terms of poverty, inequality and environmental destruction.

An alternative vision

Across both sides of the Atlantic, campaigners are trying to build a large scale movement that calls for a complete halt to these negotiations and similar agreements. In the words of WDM’s Nick Dearden, only a movement of the breadth and diversity of the alter-globalisation movement can bring these dangerous plans to a standstill. And there remains much hope and evidence that a conclusion of TTIP deal is far from a foregone conclusion, not forgetting the success of activists in helping to kill the Multilateral Agreement in Investment (MAI) back in 1996, or the stalling of the EU’s harmful Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) due in large part to the work of trade justice campaigners. Already, President Obama has been refused special powers to negotiate TTIP through Congress, while the European Commission has been forced to hold a public consultation.

According to the #noTTIP coalition, there is everything to play for. We now need a global movement that is strong enough to stand up against corporate powers, and TTIP encompasses so many issues that activists are fighting for that it provides fertile common ground for an overarching progressive campaign. To succeed, however, the movement cannot be left to existing campaign groups and must include a broad swathe of engaged citizens who understand what is stake. Most importantly, many activists recognise that united efforts should not remain focused on a position of ‘anti’, but must also embrace alternatives that offer a new vision of a trade and investment policy that upholds the common good. The Alternative Trade Mandate has done valuable work in spelling out the principles that should underpin this vision, which sees trade as “an instrument for the equitable distribution of the world’s wealth by giving people access to resources, goods and services which are needed for the fulfilment of their needs”.

In this way, the growing call for a fairer sharing of the world’s wealth, power and resources is gradually becoming a potent force for change on the international stage. Alongside the many important debates and experimentations that are currently being developed in different countries, from the commons discourse to new collaborative and co-operative economic models, there is every reason to believe that ‘we the people’ can bring about progressive social change. To be sure, the need for concerted opposition against the neoliberal agenda has never been more urgent or daunting. But at the same time, it has never been clearer that the hope for a better world rests with the solidarity, creativity and mass popular engagement of the 99%.

Corporate biotechnology monopolies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, and others have met increasing resistance to their attempts to patent and control global agriculture. They have spent untold fortunes attempting to sway the public but to no avail. Local, organic agriculture is growing in popularity and proliferating across all social-strata. The introduction of technology to automate and augment organic farming is making it as competitive and accessible or more so than the capital-intensive models of monopoly employed by big-ag. 

In response, big-ag has attempted several distasteful public relation stunts, including “super bananas for Africa” and “Golden Rice” to allegedly feed Asia’s poor.

They claim these initiatives are purely altruistic. Business Insider in its article, “A Miracle Rice Could Save Millions Of Lives,” claims:

Golden Rice, once it is widely released, will be much more cost-effective, as agricultural economist Alexander Stein has shown. Despite common misconceptions, no one stands to get rich when poor farmers start growing Golden Rice. Instead, it will represent a fundamentally different approach, an embodiment of the old “teach a man to fish” adage.

Business Insider’s source? Big-ag giant Syngenta and the “Golden Rice Humanitarian Board.” The board, of course, is stacked with big-ag-funded “NGOs,” USAID representatives, and representatives of big-ag itself. The board represents the revolving door between corporate monopolies and big-government – and their combined efforts to use every means necessary to advance their collective self-interests.

Contrary to their claims of altruism, the initial profit of selling the rice to farmers will be immense. Posing as an act of charity will secure taxpayer subsidized funding from governments around the world to “feed the children.”

Once the genetically engineered rice is being grown, big-ag herbicide, pesticide, and chemical fertilizer regiments will reap billions more, all likely to be subsidized as well - diverting state resources away from traditional, localized, and more effective nutritional and agricultural development programs.

There is also another profit to be made, one not of money directly, but in terms of public perception. Using the Trojan Horse of  ”charity” to proliferate genetically modified crops that are otherwise wholly rejected around the world, will constitute big-ag’s “foot in the door” in gaining wider acceptance for their monopolizing and destructive business model.

The very name, “Golden Rice Humanitarian Board” reflects the frequent ploy of inserting “humanitarian” anywhere exploitation and human rights are being violated the most. The “humanitarian war” for instance, is a term used to sell unpopular extraterritorial military aggression. For big-ag, “humanitarian crops” are used to push unpopular and dangerous biotech products on the planet’s most vulnerable people.

Don’t You Want to Save the Children?

The paid-for narrative of big-ag’s lobbying efforts to push Golden Rice revolves around portraying anti-GMO activists opposing the scheme as wanting to “starve children.” The simplistic propaganda ploy is as dishonest as it is insulting. The very concept of relieving suffering throughout the developing world with a monoculture of genetically altered ”super gruel” at face value is both undignified and untenable.

In Thailand for instance, one of the world’s leading producers of rice, those who grow rice – and would potentially grow Golden Rice – do so for the sole purpose of selling it. They do indeed consume part of their annual harvest – but the species they grow are determined by market demand.  Not only is there no demand for genetically modified rice species, nor will there ever be, Golden Rice contaminating the thousands of varieties of native, organic rice species Asia’s rice farmers do depend on for their livelihood would be an immeasurable catastrophe.

Tainting native species, however, will be a boom for big-ag – opening a door that cannot be closed again and inviting the rest of its business model into markets it was previously restricted from. Consumers unable to avoid genetically modified rice would have no choice but to accept it, along with other genetically modified products. This is the truth behind the tangibly desperate drive to push Golden Rice through.

Additionally, encouraging people to sustain themselves on a single crop is irresponsibly dangerous – with the practice of monoculture farming already responsible for miring thousands in debt when their single crop fails or market fluctuations make their single crop unprofitable. For farmers already existing along the edge of poverty and debt, depending on a single crop multiplies, not hedges the potential for disaster.

At every juncture big-ag claims its products are for the benefit of the impoverished, starving, and those who till the land. But today, most farmers still scratch a living at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum – particularly those who regularly buy into big-ag’s various monopolies over seeds, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides.

How to Really Feed the Poor 

As Greenpeace and Grain.org have noted, the solution to malnutrition can be as simple as having farmers diversity their crops and for rural populations to grow their own personal or community gardens.Greenpeace stated in a statement on Golden Rice that:

…a range of projects, such as ecologically farmed home and community gardens, that increase access to healthy and varied diets can eradicate not only VAD, but simultaneously tackle other nutrient deficiencies. Ecological farming can in fact better contribute to healthy and diverse diets by empowering people to access and produce their own healthy and varied food, which is the real long-lasting solution populations affected by VAD need.

Grain.org reported in a paper titled, “Grains of delusion: Golden rice seen from the ground,” that:

IRRI says that the Green Revolution may have actually increased malnutrition among the poor. Consumption of vegetables in most Asian countries has remained stagnant since the Green Revolution and vegetable prices have increased in both real and relative terms. In India, annual rice and wheat production has more than tripled from pre-Green Revolution levels. On the other hand, household consumption of vegetables has dropped 12 percent over the last two decades. Pulse and legume consumption is down even more and is becoming more and more costly, and malnutrition remains high.

Monoculture farming for a globalized economy renders entire nations as producers for markets beyond their borders leaving less room and resources to cultivate what is needed for local populations. Net exporters are generally so because they work and sell for far less than nations that import goods.

Not only do community gardens and diversifying crops give farmers and the impoverished access to a more varied and dignified diet, it opens the door to polyculture – the growing of more than one crop for both personal consumption and for additional income. Organic polyculture is promoted in Thailand by the head of state as part of a national self-sufficiency program and those that practice both self-sufficiency and sustainable economic growth, avoid both the pitfalls of debt and the dangers of monoculture farming.

Education is also key. Raising awareness as to what causes malnutrition and how to prevent it will raise the demand for a variety of fruits and vegetables giving farmers added incentives to diversify their crops. It will also produce the political impetus to pursue other pragmatic solutions, such as community gardens and networks of local farmers’ markets.

Ultimately, if immense amounts of government funding must be spent to solve global malnutrition, why not spend it on initiatives that will give the poor access to the same variety and dignity in diet that the rest of the world enjoys? Why insist on an expensive, risky, and proven dangerous genetically modified monoculture model that will essentially feed the poor “GMO super gruel” instead? The benefits for big-ag and perpetuating their immense and unwarranted power over global agriculture is clear – so are the dangers and exploitation faced by the impoverished poor these monolithic corporations are pretending to help.

For years, homeowners have been battling Wall Street in an attempt to recover some portion of their massive losses from the housing Ponzi scheme. But progress has been slow, as they have been outgunned and out-spent by the banking titans.

In June, however, the banks may have met their match, as some equally powerful titans strode onto the stage.  Investors led by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, and PIMCO, the world’s largest bond-fund manager, have sued some of the world’s largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty as trustees of their investment funds. The investors are seeking damages for losses surpassing $250 billion. That is the equivalent of one million homeowners with $250,000 in damages suing at one time.

The defendants are the so-called trust banks that oversee payments and enforce terms on more than $2 trillion in residential mortgage securities. They include units of Deutsche Bank AG, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC Holdings PLC, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Six nearly identical complaints charge the trust banks with breach of their duty to force lenders and sponsors of the mortgage-backed securities to repurchase defective loans.

Why the investors are only now suing is complicated, but it involves a recent court decision on the statute of limitations. Why the trust banks failed to sue the lenders evidently involves the cozy relationship between lenders and trustees. The trustees also securitized loans in pools where they were not trustees. If they had started filing suit demanding repurchases, they might wind up suedon other deals in retaliation. Better to ignore the repurchase provisions of the pooling and servicing agreements and let the investors take the losses—better, at least, until they sued.

Beyond the legal issues are the implications for the solvency of the banking system itself. Can even the largest banks withstand a $250 billion iceberg? The sum is more than 40 times the $6 billion “London Whale” that shook JPMorganChase to its foundations.

Who Will Pay – the Banks or the Depositors?

The world’s largest banks are considered “too big to fail” for a reason. The fractional reserve banking scheme is a form of shell game, which depends on “liquidity” borrowed at very low interest from other banks or the money market. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, triggering a run on the money market, the whole interconnected shadow banking system nearly went down with it.

Congress then came to the rescue with a taxpayer bailout, and the Federal Reserve followed with its quantitative easing fire hose. But in 2010, the Dodd Frank Act said there would be no more government bailouts. Instead, the banks were to save themselves with “bail ins,” meaning they were to recapitalize themselves by confiscating a portion of the funds of their creditors – including not only their shareholders and bondholders but the largest class of creditor of any bank, their depositors.

Theoretically, deposits under $250,000 are protected by FDIC deposit insurance. But the FDIC fund contains only about $47 billion – a mere 20% of the Black Rock/PIMCO damage claims. Before 2010, the FDIC could borrow from the Treasury if it ran short of money. But since the Dodd Frank Act eliminates government bailouts, the availability of Treasury funds for that purpose is now in doubt.

When depositors open their online accounts and see that their balances have shrunk or disappeared, a run on the banks is likely. And since banks rely on each other for liquidity, the banking system as we know it could collapse. The result could be drastic deleveraging, erasing trillions of dollars in national wealth.

Phoenix Rising

Some pundits say the global economy would then come crashing down. But in a thought-provoking March 2014 article called “American Delusionalism, or Why History Matters,” John Michael Greer disagrees. He notes that historically, governments have responded by modifying their financial systems:

Massive credit collapses that erase very large sums of notional wealth and impact the global economy are hardly a new phenomenon . . . but one thing that has never happened as a result of any of them is the sort of self-feeding, irrevocable plunge into the abyss that current fast-crash theories require.

The reason for this is that credit is merely one way by which a society manages the distribution of goods and services. . . . A credit collapse . . . doesn’t make the energy, raw materials, and labor vanish into some fiscal equivalent of a black hole; they’re all still there, in whatever quantities they were before the credit collapse, and all that’s needed is some new way to allocate them to the production of goods and services.

This, in turn, governments promptly provide. In 1933, for example, faced with the most severe credit collapse in American history, Franklin Roosevelt temporarily nationalized the entire US banking system, seized nearly all the privately held gold in the country, unilaterally changed the national debt from “payable in gold” to “payable in Federal Reserve notes” (which amounted to a technical default), and launched a  series of other emergency measures.  The credit collapse came to a screeching halt, famously, in less than a hundred days. Other nations facing the same crisis took equally drastic measures, with similar results. . . .

Faced with a severe crisis, governments can slap on wage and price controls, freeze currency exchanges, impose rationing, raise trade barriers, default on their debts, nationalize whole industries, issue new currencies, allocate goods and services by fiat, and impose martial law to make sure the new economic rules are followed to the letter, if necessary, at gunpoint. Again, these aren’t theoretical possibilities; every one of them has actually been used by more than one government faced by a major economic crisis in the last century and a half.

That historical review is grounds for optimism, but confiscation of assets and enforcement at gunpoint are still not the most desirable outcomes. Better would be to have an alternative system in place and ready to implement before the boom drops.

The Better Mousetrap

North Dakota has established an effective alternative model that other states might do well to emulate. In 1919, the state legislature pulled its funds out of Wall Street banks and put them into the state’s own publicly-owned bank, establishing financial sovereignty for the state. The Bank of North Dakota has not only protected the state’s financial interests but has been a moneymaker for it ever since.

On a national level, when the Wall Street credit system fails, the government can turn to the innovative model devised by our colonial forebears and start issuing its own currency and credit—a power now usurped by private banks but written into the US Constitution as belonging to Congress.

The chief problem with the paper scrip of the colonial governments was the tendency to print and spend too much. The Pennsylvania colonists corrected that systemic flaw by establishing a publicly-owned bank, which lent money to farmers and tradespeople at interest. To get the funds into circulation to cover the interest, some extra scrip was printed and spent on government services. The money supply thus expanded and contracted naturally, not at the whim of government officials but in response to seasonal demands for credit. The interest returned to public coffers, to be spent on the common weal.

The result was a system of money and credit that was sustainable without taxes, price inflation or government debt – not to mention without credit default swaps, interest rate swaps, central bank manipulation, slicing and dicing of mortgages, rehypothecation in the repo market, and the assorted other fraudulent schemes underpinning our “systemically risky” banking system today.

Relief for Homeowners?

Will the BlackRock/PIMCO suit help homeowners?  Not directly.  But it will get some big guns on the scene, with the ability to do all sorts of discovery, and the staff to deal with the results.

Fraud is grounds for rescission, restitution and punitive damages.  The homeowners may not have been parties to the pooling and servicing agreements governing the investor trusts, but if the whole business model is proven to be fraudulent, they could still make a case for damages.

In the end, however, it may be the titans themselves who take each other down, clearing the way for a new phoenix to rise from the ashes.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her websites are http://EllenBrown.comhttp://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.

The Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements has again sounded the alarm bell on the dangers to the global financial system posed by the ultra-loose policies of the world’s major central banks, which have boosted stock exchanges and other markets.

In an interview by Britain’s Telegraph, published on July 13, BIS chief Jaime Caruana indicated that the financial system may be even more vulnerable to a crisis than it was in 2007, because debt in emerging markets has increased markedly since the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank in September 2008.

Caruana said investors seemed to be ignoring the risk of tightening monetary policies in their voracious search for yield. “Markets seem to be considering only a very narrow spectrum of potential outcomes,” he said. “They have become convinced that monetary conditions will remain easy for a very long time, and may be taking more assurance than central banks wish to give.”

In its annual report issued at the end of last month the BIS, a consortium of the world’s central banks, warned that the policies of “quantitative easing,” carried out in various forms by the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and to some extent by the European Central Bank (ECB), had led to “euphoric” conditions in equity markets.

Amid low growth rates in the advanced countries and outright recession in parts of Europe, the BIS pointed to a “puzzling disconnect” between “the markets’ buoyancy and underlying developments globally.”

This warning was rapidly dismissed by the central banks and a range of media pundits, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who claimed the BIS report lacked any method and was an “attitude, looking for justification.”

In response to the BIS report, US Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen made clear that the policy of ultra-easy money would continue, claiming that so-called macro-prudential regulation would deal with any risks in the system. Yellen insisted that a tightening of monetary policy would only create increased unemployment. When questioned, however, about how effective regulations were, given that financial markets have a record of getting around them, she replied that she did not have a “great answer” to that question.

Yellen’s stance was backed by representatives of the Bank of England and ECB chief Mario Draghi. While not specifically naming his critics, Caruana’s July 13 interview was a reply to the dismissal of the BIS warnings.

Caruana noted that the international financial system was in some ways more fragile than in pre-Lehman days because of the build-up of debt. Debt ratios in the advanced economies had risen by 20 percent to reach 275 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and 40 percent of syndicated loans were to sub-investment grade borrowers, a higher ratio than in 2007.

Caruana pointed out that rising economic powers in Asia were no longer in a position to provide a buffer as they had in 2008 because they may have become a source of risk themselves. The debt ratios of China, Brazil, Turkey and other “emerging” markets had risen by 20 percent and were now 175 percent of GDP. Emerging markets had increased their foreign currency debt by $2 trillion since 2008.

The BIS annual report pointed out that any crisis in emerging markets would have a much more serious impact than the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98 because these markets were much larger now and far more integrated into the global financial system. The ramifications would be particularly serious “if China, home to an outsize financial boom, were to falter.”

Caruana would not make a prediction as to when he thought the bubble might burst, but added: “As Keynes said, markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.”

It seems that the irrationality is going to continue. On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued its annual report on the Eurozone. It said that while the region was “recovering,” deep-seated problems remained. The recovery had turned out to be weaker than expected, output and investment were still well below pre-crisis levels and large debt burdens, higher real interest rates in stressed economies, as well as weak banks and contracting credit, posed obstacles to a resurgence of economic activity.

With inflation still well below the ECB’s target range of 2 percent, the IMF said the central bank “may need to expand its balance sheet substantially as other central banks have done, to provide a strong signal that it will use every available tool to fulfil its price stability mandate.”

Inflation in Europe had been too low for too long and a failure to meet the inflation target could undermine central bank credibility, the IMF report said. “A negative external should tip the economy into deflation.”

While warnings of the BIS have been largely dismissed—just as similar warnings were ignored in the lead-up to the Lehman collapse—they received confirmation last week when supposedly minor problems at Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo sent a tremor through European and global markets.

In his interview Caruana was dismissive of the claims by the Fed and other central bank officials that macro-prudential regulations should be the first line of defence against financial turbulence. “On their own there is little evidence that they can constrain financial imbalances,” he said.

A report that appeared in the Financial Times last month provides weight to this assessment. It said regulators around the world were “struggling to keep pace with the constantly evolving shadow banking sector” and while it was easy to sketch out the concept of shadow banking it was “proving far harder to write rules for the sector’s menageries of entities.”

The “shadow” banking system has evolved precisely in order to get around the regulations imposed by central banks and other financial authorities by means of “arbitrage”—taking advantage of very slight differences in two or more markets to gain a profit.

Former Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker told the Financial Times: “My issue is that it is not obvious that the current model of regulation we have around the world is equipped to keep up.”

Any misplaced conceptions that, based on the experiences of 2008, global regulators now have the financial system under control, were dispelled by David Wright, secretary-general of Iosco, an umbrella regulatory group.

“It is extraordinary that here we are, nearly seven years in [from the financial crisis] and we still have an inadequate understanding of some of the key aspects of financial markets,” he told the Financial Times. “How these markets interconnect with each other and the contagion channels is very difficult to calibrate.”

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. … It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. –Andrew Carnegie

Since this is a strategy conference of the peace and anti-war movement, and since it is being held against the background of the centenary of the First World War, I will confine my comments largely to issues the centenary should focus on and to the way in which the peace movement can contribute to the anniversary events which will be spreading out over the coming four years. The numerous commemorative events not only in Europe but around the world offer an opportunity to the anti-war and peace movement to publicise and advance its agenda.

It seems that so far this agenda is largely absent from the official commemorative programme, at least in Britain where the outlines of such a programme were first presented on 11th October 2012 by Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech at the Imperial War Museum in London[1]. He announced there the appointment of a special advisor, and advisory board, and also that the government was making available a special fund of £ 50 million. The overall purpose of the commemorations of the First World War were threefold, he said: ‘to honour those who served; to remember those who died; and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us for ever’. We (i.e., the peace movement) may agree that ‘honouring, remembering, and learning lessons’ are indeed appropriate, but may disagree about the precise nature and content of what is being proposed under these three headings.

Before addressing this issue, it may be useful to indicate briefly what is being done in Britain. Of the £ 50 million, £ 10 million has been allocated to the Imperial War Museum of which Cameron is a great admirer. More than £ 5 million has been allocated to schools, to enable visits of pupils and teachers to the battlefields in Belgium and France. Like the government, the BBC also has appointed a special controller for the First World War Centenary. Its programming for this, announced on 16th October 2013, is larger and more ambitious than any other project it has ever undertaken.[2] The national radio and television broadcaster has commissioned over 130 programmes, with around 2,500 hours of broadcasting on radio and TV. For instance, the BBC’s flagship radio station, BBC Radio 4, has commissioned one of the biggest drama series ever, spanning 600 episodes, and dealing with the home front. The BBC, together with the Imperial War Museum, is building a ‘digital cenotaph’ featuring an unprecedented amount of archive material. It is inviting users to upload letters, diaries, and photographs of the experiences of their relatives during the war. The same website will also provide access for the first time to more than 8 million military service records held by the Museum. In July 2014, the Museum will hold the largest retrospective of World War I art ever seen (entitled Truth & Memory: British Art of the First World War).[3] There will be similar exhibitions in the Tate Modern (London) and the Imperial War Museum North (Salford, Manchester).

From the beginning, there was controversy in Britain about the nature of the commemoration, in particular, whether this was also a celebration – celebration, that is, of British resolve and eventual victory, thereby safeguarding freedom and democracy, not only for the country but also for the allies (but not necessarily for the colonies!). Government ministers, leading historians, military figures and journalists joined the debate; inevitably also the German ambassador became involved. If, as the Prime Minister indicated in his speech, the commemoration should have a theme of reconciliation, then this would suggest the need for a sober (rather than victorious gung-ho) approach.

The public debate so far, in Great Britain at any rate, has been characterised by a rather narrow focus, and has been conducted in parameters too narrowly drawn. What is missing so far are the following aspects and they may well apply elsewhere too.

1. Plus ca change … ?

FIRSTLY, and not surprisingly perhaps, the debate has concentrated on the immediate causes of the war and the issue of war responsibility. This should not obscure the fact that the seeds of war were sown well before the killings in Sarajevo. A more appropriate and constructive, and less divisive, approach would need to concentrate not on individual countries but on the international system as a whole which resulted in war. This will draw attention to the forces of nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, militarism which together prepared the ground for the armed confrontation. War was widely regarded as inevitable, necessary, glorious and heroic.

We should ask to what extent these systemic causes of war – which resulted in the First World War – are still with us today. According to several analysts, the situation the world finds itself in today is not dissimilar to that of Europe on the eve of war in 1914. Recently, the tensions between Japan and China have led several commentators to observe that if there is a danger of major war today, it is likely to be between these countries – and that it will be difficult to keep it limited to them and the region. Analogies with the summer of 1914 in Europe have been made. Indeed, at the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos in January 2014, the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was given an attentive hearing when he compared current Sino-Japanese rivalry with the Anglo-German one at the beginning of the 20th century. [The parallel is that today China is an emergent, impatient state with a rising arms budget, like Germany was in 1914. The U.S., like Britain in 1914, is a hegemonic power in apparent decline. Japan, like France in 1914, is dependent for its security on that declining power.] Rival nationalisms, then as now, can spark war. According to Margaret Macmillan, a leading Oxford historian of the First World War, the Middle East today also bears a worrying resemblance to the Balkans in 1914.[4] The mere fact that leading politicians and historians can draw such analogies should be a cause for worry. Has the world learnt nothing from the catastrophe of 1914-1918? In one important respect this is undeniably the case: states continue to be armed, and to use force and the threat of force in their international relations.

Of course, there are now global institutions, first and foremost the United Nations, whose primary objective is to keep the world at peace. There is a much more developed body of international law and institutions to go with it. In Europe, the originator of two world wars, there is now a Union.

While this is progress, these institutions are weak and not without their critics. The peace movement can take some credit for these developments, and is committed to reform of the UN and to make key principles of international law both better known and better adhered to.

2. Remembering the peacemakers & honouring their legacy

SECONDLY, the debate so far has largely ignored the fact that an anti-war and peace movement existed before 1914 in many countries. That movement consisted of individuals, movements, organisations, and institutions which did not share the prevailing views regarding war and peace, and which strove to bring about a system in which war was no longer an acceptable means for countries to settle their disputes.

In fact, 2014 is not only the centenary of the start of the Great War, but also the bicentenary of the peace movement. In other words, a full one hundred years before the start of war in 1914, that movement had been campaigning and struggling to educate people about the dangers and evils of war, and the advantages and possibilities of peace. During that first century, from the end of the Napoleonic wars to the start of the First World War, the peace movement’s achievements were, contrary to widespread opinion, substantial. Obviously, the peace movement did not succeed in averting the catastrophe that was the Great War, but that in no way diminishes its significance and merits. Yet, this bicentenary is nowhere mentioned – as if that movement never existed, or does not deserve to be remembered.

The peace movement arose in the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, both in Britain and the USA. That movement, which gradually spread to the continent of Europe and elsewhere, laid the foundations for many of the institutions and innovations in international diplomacy which would come to fruition later in the century, and also after the Great War – such as the notion of arbitration as a more just and rational alternative to brute force. Other ideas promoted by the peace movement were disarmament, federal union, European union, international law, international organisation, decolonisation, women’s emancipation. Many of these ideas have come to the fore in the aftermath of the world wars of the 20th century, and some have been realised, or at least partly so.

The peace movement was especially productive in the two decades preceding World War I when its agenda reached the highest levels of government as manifested, for instance, in the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907. A direct result of these unprecedented conferences – which followed an appeal (1898) by Tsar Nicholas II to halt the arms race, and to substitute war by peaceful arbitration – was the construction of the Peace Palace which opened its doors in 1913, and which celebrated its centenary in August 2013. Since 1946, it is of course the seat of the International Court of Justice of the UN. The world owes the Peace Palace to the munificence of Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-American steel tycoon who became a pioneer of modern philanthropy and who was also an ardent opponent of war. Like no one else, he liberally endowed institutions devoted to the pursuit of world peace, most of which still exist today.

Whereas the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of Justice, guards its high mission to replace war by justice, Carnegie’s most generous legacy for peace, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), has explicitly turned away from its founder’s belief in the abolition of war, thereby depriving the peace movement of much-needed resources. This could partly explain why that movement has not grown into a mass movement which can exert effective pressure on governments. I believe it is important to reflect on this for a moment. In 1910 Carnegie, who was America’s most famous peace activist, and the world’s richest man, endowed his peace foundation with $ 10 million. In today’s money, this is the equivalent of $ 3,5 billion. Imagine what the peace movement – that is, the movement for the abolition of war – could do today if it had access to that kind of money, or even a fraction of it. Unfortunately, while Carnegie favoured advocacy and activism, the trustees of his Peace Endowment favoured research. As early as 1916, in the middle of the First World War, one of the trustees even suggested that the name of the institution should be changed to Carnegie Endowment for International Justice.

When the Endowment recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, its President (Jessica T. Mathews), called the organisation ‘the oldest international affairs think tank in the U.S.’[5] She says that its purpose was, in the words of the founder, to ‘hasten the abolition of war, the foulest blot upon our civilization’, but she adds, ‘that goal was always unattainable’. In fact, she was repeating what the president of the Endowment during the 1950s and 1960s had then already said. Joseph E. Johnson, a former U.S. State Department official, ‘moved the institution away from an unswerving support for the UN and other international bodies’ according to a recent history published by the Endowment itself. Also, ‘ … for the first time, a president of the Carnegie Endowment [described] Andrew Carnegie’s vision of peace as the artifact of an age gone by, rather than an inspiration for the present. Any hope of permanent peace was an illusion’.[6] The First World War forced Carnegie to reconsider his optimistic belief that war would ‘soon be discarded as disgraceful to civilized men’ but it is unlikely that he gave up his belief altogether. He enthusiastically supported Woodrow Wilson’s concept of an international organization and was delighted when the President accepted Carnegie’s suggested name for it, a ‘League of Nations’. Full of hope, he died in 1919. What would he say of those who have directed his great Endowment for Peace away from hope and from the conviction that war can and must be abolished? And thereby also have deprived the peace movement from vital resources necessary to pursue its great cause? Ban Ki-moon is so right when he says, and repeats saying, ‘The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded’. The ‘Global Day of Action on Military Spending’ (GDAMS), first proposed by the International Peace Bureau, is exactly addressing this issue (4th edition on 14th April 2014).[7]

Another legacy of the pre-World War I international peace movement is associated with the name of another successful businessman and peace philanthropist, who was also an outstanding scientist: the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. The Nobel Peace Prize, first awarded in 1901, is mainly the result of his close association with Bertha von Suttner, the Austrian baroness who at one time had been his secretary in Paris, albeit for one week only. She became the undisputed leader of the movement from the moment her bestselling novel, Lay Down Your Arms (Die Waffen nieder!) appeared in 1889, until her death, twenty-five years later, on 21st June 1914, one week before the shots in Sarajevo. On 21st June of this year (2014), we commemorate the centenary of her death. Let us not forget that this is also the 125th anniversary of the publication of her famous novel. I would like to quote what Leo Tolstoi, who knew a thing or two about war and peace, wrote to her in October 1891 after he had read her novel: ‘I greatly appreciate your work, and the idea comes to me that the publication of your novel is a happy augury. – The abolition of slavery was preceded by the famous book of a woman, Mrs. Beecher Stowe; God grant that the abolition of war may follow upon yours’.[8] Certainly, no woman did more to avert war than Bertha von Suttner.[9]

It can be argued that Lay Down Your Arms is the book behind the creation of the Nobel Peace Prize (of which the author became the first female recipient in 1905). That prize was, in essence, a prize for the peace movement as represented by Bertha von Suttner, and more specifically, for disarmament. That it should again become one has been forcefully argued in recent years by Norwegian lawyer and peace activist, Fredrik Heffermehl in his fascinating book, The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted.[10]

Some of the leading figures of the pre-1914 peace campaigns moved heaven and earth to persuade their fellow citizens of the dangers of a future great war and of the need to prevent it at all costs. In his bestseller, The Great Illusion: A Study of the Relation of Military Power in Nations to their Economic and Social Advantage, English journalist Norman Angell argued that the complex economic and financial interdependence of capitalist states had rendered war among them irrational and counter-productive, resulting in great economic and social dislocation.[11]

Both during and after the war, the sentiment most commonly associated with the war was ‘disillusionment’, abundantly vindicating Angell’s thesis. The nature of the war, as well as its consequences, were far removed from what had generally been expected. What had been expected, in short, was ‘war as usual’. This was reflected in the popular slogan, soon after the start of war, that ‘the boys would be out of the trenches and home by Christmas’. Meant was, of course, Christmas 1914. In the event, those who survived the mass slaughter only returned home four long years later.

One of the main reasons explaining the miscalculations and misconceptions regarding the war was the lack of imagination of those who were involved in its planning and execution.[12] They did not foresee how advances in weapons technology – notably, the increase in firepower through the machine gun – had made traditional battles among the infantry obsolete. Advances on the field of battle would henceforth hardly be possible, and troops would dig themselves in trenches, resulting in stalemate. The reality of war, of what it had become – viz. industrialised mass slaughter – would only be revealed whilst the war was unfolding (and even then commanders were slow to learn, as is well documented in the case of the British commander-in-chief, General Douglas Haig).

Yet, in 1898, a full fifteen years before the start of the war, the Polish-Russian entrepreneur and pioneer of modern peace research, Jan Bloch (1836-1902), had argued in a prophetic 6-volume study about the war of the future that this would be a war like no other. ‘Of the next great war one can speak of a Rendez-vous with death’ he wrote in the preface of the German edition of his great work.[13] He argued and demonstrated that such a war had become ‘impossible’ – impossible, that is, except at the price of suicide. This is exactly what the war, when it came, proved to be: the suicide of European civilisation, including the dissolution of the Austrian-Hungarian, Ottoman, Romanov and Wilhelmine empires. When it ended, the war had also ended the world as people had known it. This is well summed up in the title of the poignant memoirs of one who stood ‘above the battle’, the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig: The World of Yesterday.[14]

These pacifists (of whom Zweig was one, although he did not actively participate in the peace movement), who wanted to prevent their countries from becoming devastated in war, were true patriots, but often were treated with scorn and were dismissed as naive idealists, utopians, cowards and even traitors. But they were nothing of the kind. Sandi E. Cooper rightly entitled her study of the peace movement before the First World War: Patriotic Pacifism: Waging War on War in Europe, 1815-1914.[15] If the world had taken greater heed of their message, the catastrophe might well have been avoided. As Karl Holl, the doyen of German peace historians, has noted in his introduction to the splendid vade-mecum of the peace movement in German-speaking Europe:

‘much of the information about the historical peace movement will show sceptics how much suffering Europe would have been spared, had the warnings of pacifists not fallen on so many deaf ears, and had the practical initiatives and proposals of organised pacifism found an opening in official politics and diplomacy’.[16]

If, as Holl rightly suggests, an awareness of the existence and achievements of the organised peace movement before the First World War should inspire its critics to a measure of humility, it should at the same time also provide encouragement to the successors of that movement today. To quote Holl again:

‘The assurance to be standing on the shoulders of predecessors who, despite the hostility or apathy of their contemporaries, resolutely held firm to their pacifist convictions, will make the peace movement of today better able to withstand the many temptations to become dejected’.[17]

To add insult to injury, these ‘precursors of the future’ (in Romain Rolland’s felicitous phrase) have never been given their due. We do not remember them; they are not part of our history as taught in school textbooks; there are no statues for them and no streets are named after them. What a one-sided view of history we are conveying to future generations! It is largely thanks to the efforts of historians like Karl Holl and his colleagues who have come together in the Working Group Historical Peace Research (Arbeitskreis Historische Friedensforschung), that the existence of a very different Germany has been revealed in recent decades.[18] In this connection I would also like to pay tribute to the publishing house established in Bremen by peace historian Helmut Donat. Thanks to him, we do now have a growing library of biographies and other studies concerning the historical German peace movement of both the pre-1914 and interwar periods. The origins of his publishing house are interesting: Unable to find a publisher of his biography of Hans Paasche – a remarkable marine and colonial officer who became a critic of the German cult of violence and who was murdered by nationalist soldiers in 1920 – Donat published the book himself (1981), the first of many to appear in Donat Verlag.[19] Regrettably, since very little of this literature has been translated into English, it has not greatly affected the perception, widespread in Britain, of a country and a people steeped in Prussian militarism, and without a peace movement.

Also elsewhere, particularly in the USA, peace historians have come together in the last fifty years (stimulated by the Vietnam War) so that the history of the peace movement is increasingly well documented – providing not only a more accurate, balanced, and truthful account as regards the history of war and peace, but providing also an inspiration for peace and anti-war activists today. A milestone in this endeavour is the Biographical Dictionary of Modern Peace Leaders, and which can be seen as a companion volume to the Donat-Holl Lexikon, expanding its scope to the whole world.

I have so far argued that in the commemorations of the First World War we should pay attention, firstly, to the systemic factors which caused the war and, secondly, also should remember and honour those who, in the decades before 1914, made strenuous efforts to bring about a world from which the institution of war would be banished. A greater awareness and teaching of peace history is not only desirable, indeed vital, for students and young people, but extends to the society as a whole. Opportunities for conveying a more balanced view of history – and, in particular, for honouring opponents of war – should not be absent or ignored in the commemorations for the victims of war in the countless battlefield sites in Europe and throughout the world.

3. Heroes of non-killing

We come now to a THIRD consideration. As regards the First World War, we should ask how the neglect and ignorance (on the part of later generations) of those who warned against war, and did their utmost to prevent it, would be perceived by the millions of soldiers who lost their lives in that catastrophe. Would most of them not expect that society would honour above all the memory of those who wanted to prevent the mass slaughter? Is saving lives not more noble and heroic than taking lives? Let us not forget: soldiers, after all, are trained and equipped to kill, and when they fall victim to the opponent’s bullet, this is the inevitable consequence of the profession they have joined, or were forced to join. Here, we should mention again Andrew Carnegie, who detested the barbarity of war, and who conceived and instituted a ‘Hero Fund’ to honour the ‘heroes of civilization’ whom he contrasted with the ‘heroes of barbarism’. He recognised the problematic nature of the heroism associated with the spilling of blood in war, and wanted to draw attention to the existence of a purer kind of heroism. He wanted to honour civilian heroes who, sometimes at great risk to themselves, have rescued lives – not wilfully destroyed them. First established in his home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1904, in later years he established Hero Funds in ten European countries, most of which celebrated their centenary a few years ago[20]. In Germany, in recent years attempts have been made to revive the Carnegie Stiftung fuer Lebensretter.

In this connection it is relevant to mention the work of Glenn Paige and the Center for Global Nonkilling (CGNK) that he established at the University of Hawaii 25 years ago.[21] This veteran of the Korean War, and leading political scientist, has argued that hope and faith in humanity and human potential have the power to change society in major ways. Placing a person on the moon was long considered a hopeless dream but it quickly became a reality in our time when vision, willpower and human organisation combined to make it possible. Paige persuasively argues that a nonviolent global transformation can be achieved in the same way, if only we believe in it, and are determined to bring it about. Commemorating four years long the killings on an industrial scale, is insufficient and insincere if it excludes serious consideration of the question that CGNK poses, viz., ‘How far have we come in our humanity?’ While scientific and technological progress is stupendous, wars, murders and genocide continue unabated. The question of the need and possibility of a non-killing global society should receive the highest priority at this time.

4. Abolition of nuclear weapons

FOURTHLY, commemorations of the First World War which are limited to remembering and honouring those who died in it (when killing), should constitute only one, and perhaps not the most important, aspect of the remembrance. The death of millions, and the suffering of many more (including those maimed, whether physically or mentally, or both, including the countless widows and orphans), would have been slightly more acceptable if the war which caused this enormous loss and grief had indeed been the war to end all war. But that proved far from being the case.

What would the soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War say were they to return today, and when they would find that, instead of ending war, the war that started in 1914 spawned an even greater one, barely twenty years after the end of World War I? I am reminded of a powerful play by the American playwright, Irwin Shaw, called Bury the Dead. First performed in New York City in March 1936, in this short, one-act play, six dead US soldiers killed in the war refuse to be buried.[22] They bemoan what happened to them – their lives cut short, their wives widowed, their children orphaned. And all for what – for a few yards of mud, one bitterly complains. The corpses, standing up in the graves that have been dug for them, refuse to lie down and be interred – even when commanded to do so by generals, one of whom says in desperation, ‘They never said anything about this sort of thing at West Point.’ The War Department, informed of the bizarre situation, forbids the story from being publicised. Eventually, and as a last attempt, the dead soldiers’ wives, or girlfriend, or mother, or sister, are summoned to come to the graves to persuade their men to let themselves be buried. One retorts, ‘Maybe there’s too many of us under the ground now. Maybe the earth can’t stand it no more’. Even a priest who believes the men are possessed by the devil and who performs an exorcism is unable to make the soldiers lie down. At the end, the corpses walk off the stage to roam the world, living accusations against the stupidity of war. (The author, by the way, was later blacklisted during the McCarthy red scare and went to live in exile in Europe for 25 years).

I suppose it is fair to assume that these six soldiers would be even less prepared to stop raising their voices (and corpses) in protest against war if they would learn of the invention, use, and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Perhaps it is the hibakusha, the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, who today most resemble these soldiers. The hibakusha (whose numbers are rapidly dwindling owing to old age) narrowly escaped death in war. For many of them, the hell they have been in, and the great physical and mental suffering that has profoundly affected their lives, have only been bearable because of their deeply-rooted commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons, and of war. Only this has given meaning to their ruined lives. However, it must be a cause of great anger as well as anguish to them that, even seventy years later, the world largely continues to ignore their cry – ‘No more Hiroshima or Nagasaki, no more nuclear weapons, no more war!’ Moreover, is it not a scandal that in all this time the Norwegian Nobel Committee has not seen fit to award even one prize to the main association of hibakusha devoted to the abolition of nuclear weapons? Nobel of course knew all about explosives, and foresaw weapons of mass destruction and feared a return to barbarism if war was not abolished. The hibakusha are living testimony of that barbarism.

Since 1975 the Nobel committee in Oslo seems to have commenced a tradition awarding the prize for nuclear abolition every ten years following: in 1975 the prize went to Andrei Sakharov, in 1985 to IPPNW, in 1995 to Joseph Rotblat and Pugwash, in 2005 to Mohamed ElBaradei and the IAEA. Such a prize is due again next year (2015) and appears almost like token-ism. This is all the more regrettable, and unacceptable, if we agree with the view, mentioned earlier, that the prize was meant to be one for disarmament. If she were alive today, Bertha von Suttner might well have called her book, Lay Down Your Nuclear Arms. Indeed, one of her writings on war and peace has a very modern ring: In ‘The Barbarisation of the Sky’ she predicted that the horrors of war would also come down from the skies if the maddening arms race was not halted.[23] Today, the many innocent victims of drone warfare join those of Gernika, Coventry, Cologne, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and other places around the world which have experienced the horrors of modern warfare.

The world continues to live very dangerously. Climate change is presenting new and additional dangers. But even those who deny that it is man-made cannot deny that nuclear weapons are man-made, and that a nuclear holocaust would be wholly of man’s own doing. It can only be averted by a determined attempt to abolish nuclear weapons. This is not only what prudence and morality dictate, but also justice and international law. The duplicity and hypocrisy of the nuclear weapons powers, first and foremost the USA, UK, and France, are blatant and shameful. Signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (signed in 1968, coming into force in 1970), they continue to ignore their obligation to negotiate in good faith the disarmament of their nuclear arsenals. On the contrary, they are all involved in modernising them, wasting billions of scarce resources. This is in flagrant breach of their obligations which were confirmed in the 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice regarding the ‘Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons’.[24]

It can be argued that the apathy and ignorance of the population is to blame for this state of affairs. National and international campaigns and organisations for nuclear disarmament enjoy the active support of only a small part of the population. The award, on a regular basis, of the Nobel peace prize for nuclear disarmament, would have the effect of keeping the spotlight on this issue as well as providing encouragement and endorsement for the campaigners. It is this, more than the ‘honour’, which constitutes the real significance of the prize.

At the same time, the responsibility and culpability of governments and political and military elites is obvious. The five nuclear weapons states which are permanent members of the UN Security Council have even refused to participate in the conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons hosted in March 2013 by the Norwegian government and in February 2014 by the Mexican government. They apparently fear that these meetings would lead to demands for negotiations outlawing nuclear weapons. In announcing a follow-up conference in Vienna later in the same year, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz pointedly observed, ‘A concept that is based on the total destruction of the planet should have no place in the 21st century … This discourse is especially necessary in Europe, where cold war thinking is still prevalent in security doctrines’.[25] He also said: ‘we should use the commemoration [of World War I] to make every effort to move beyond nuclear weapons, the most dangerous legacy of the 20th century’. We should hear this also from the foreign ministers of the nuclear weapons states – not least Britain and France whose populations suffered so greatly in that war. The Nuclear Security Summits, the third one of which is being held in March 2014 in The Hague, are aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the world. The agenda is careful not to refer to the real existing threat represented by the nuclear weapons and materials of the nuclear weapons powers. This is ironic, given that this summit is being held in The Hague, a city that is explicitly committed to the global abolition of nuclear weapons (as mandated by the UN’s supreme court based in The Hague).

5. Nonviolence vs the Military-Industrial Complex

Let us come to a FIFTH consideration. We are looking at the 100-year period from 1914 to 2014. Let us pause for a moment and recall an episode which is right in the middle, viz. 1964, which is 50 years ago. In that year, Martin Luther King, Jr., received the Nobel Peace Prize. He saw it as a recognition of nonviolence as the ‘answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression’. He received the prize for his leadership of the nonviolent civil rights movement, starting with the Montgomery (Alabama ) bus boycott in December 1955. In his Nobel lecture (11th December 1964), King pointed out the predicament of modern man, viz. ‘the richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually’.[26] He went on to identify three major and connected problems which grew out of ‘man’s ethical infantilism’: racism, poverty, and war/militarism. In the few remaining years that were left to him before he would be struck down by an assassin’s bullet (1968), he increasingly spoke out against war and militarism, notably the war in Vietnam. Among my favourite quotations from this great prophet and activist, are ‘Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows’, and ‘We have guided missiles and misguided men’. King’s anti-war campaign culminated in his powerful speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam, delivered in the Riverside Church in New York City on 4th April 1967.

With the award of the Nobel prize, he said, ‘another burden of responsibility was placed upon me’: the prize ‘was also a commission … to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man’. Echoing what he had said in Oslo, he referred to ‘the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism’. Regarding this latter point, he said that he could no longer be silent and called his own government ‘the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today’.[27] He criticised ‘the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long’. His message was that ‘war is not the answer’, and ‘A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death’. He called for a ‘true revolution of values’ which required that ‘every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole’.[28]

There are those who say that it is no coincidence that it was exactly one year to the day later, that M.L. King was shot dead. With his anti-war speech in New York, and his condemnation of the American government as ‘the greatest purveyor of violence’ in the world, he had begun to extent his campaign of nonviolent protest beyond the civil rights agenda and thereby threatened powerful vested interests. The latter can best be summed up in the expression ‘the military-industrial complex’ [MIC], coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address in January 1961.[29] In this courageous and only too prophetic warning, Eisenhower stated that ‘an immense military establishment and a large arms industry’ had emerged as a new and hidden force in US politics. He said, ‘In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence … by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist’. The fact that the retiring President had a military background – he was a five-star general in the US army during the Second World War, and had served as the first Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe (NATO) – made his warnings all the more remarkable. Towards the end of his poignant address, Eisenhower admonished the American public that ‘disarmament … is a continuing imperative’.

That his warnings have not been heeded, and that the dangers to which he called attention have materialised, is only too obvious today. Many analysts of the MIC argue that the US does not so much have a MIC as that the whole country has become one.[30] The MIC now also incorporates Congress, Academia, the Media, and the Entertainment industry, and this widening of its powers and influence is a clear indication of the growing militarisation of American society. The empirical evidence for this is indicated by facts such as the following:

* the Pentagon is the world’s largest consumer of energy;

* the Pentagon is the country’s greatest landowner, referring to itself as ‘one of the world’s largest “landlords”’, with about 1,000 military bases and installations abroad in more than 150 countries;

* the Pentagon owns or leases 75% of all federal buildings in the US;

*the Pentagon is the 3rd largest federal funder of university research in the US (after health, and science).[31]

It is well-known that the US annual arms expenditures surpass those of the next ten or twelve countries combined. This is indeed, to quote Eisenhower, ‘disastrous’, and madness, and very dangerous madness at that. The imperative for disarmament that he stipulated has been turned into its opposite. This is all the more remarkable when one takes into account that he was speaking at the time of the Cold War, when communism was seen as a serious threat to the US and the rest of the free world. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its empire have not hampered the further expansion of the MIC, whose tentacles now encompass the whole world.

How this is perceived by the world is made clear in the results of the 2013 annual ‘End of Year’ survey by the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN) and Gallup International which involved 68,000 people in 65 countries.[32] In answer to the question, ‘Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?’, the US came first by a wide margin, receiving 24% of the votes cast. This is equal to the combined votes for the next four countries: Pakistan (8%), China (6%), Afghanistan (5%) and Iran (5%). It is clear that more than twelve years after the launch of the so-called ‘Global war on terror’, the US appears to be striking terror into the hearts of much of the rest of the world. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s courageous characterisation and condemnation of his own government as being ‘the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today’ (1967) is now, almost fifty years later, shared by many people around the world.

At the same time, there has been a massive increase in the proliferation of guns held by individual citizens in the US exercising their right (which is contested) to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. With 88 guns for every 100 people, the country has by far the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. The culture of violence seems to be deeply ingrained in American society today, and the events of 9/11 have only aggravated the problem. Martin Luther King, Jr., a student and follower of Mahatma Gandhi, exemplified the power of nonviolence in his successful leadership of the civil rights movement in the US. The US is as much in need of rediscovery his legacy as India is in need of rediscovering Gandhi’s. I am often reminded of the answer Gandhi gave to a journalist when, during a visit to England during the 1930s, he was asked what he thought about western civilisation. Gandhi’s reply has not lost any of its relevance, 80 years later, on the contrary. Gandhi answered, ‘I think it would be a good idea’. Even though the veracity of this story is disputed, it has a ring of truth – Se non e vero, e ben trovato.

The West, and the rest of the world, would indeed be a great deal more civilised if war – ‘the foulest blot upon our civilization’ in the words of Andrew Carnegie – was abolished. When he said so, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still Japanese cities like any other. Today, the whole world is threatened by the persistence of war and the new instruments of destruction that it has brought forth and continues to develop. The old and discredited Roman saying, si vis pacem, para bellum, must be replaced by a saying which has been attributed to both Gandhi and the Quakers: There is no way to peace, peace is the way. The world is praying for peace, but paying for war. If we want peace, we must invest in peace, and that means above all in peace education. It remains to be seen to what extent the large investments in war museums and exhibitions, and in untold programmes about the Great War (such as is happening now in Britain but also elsewhere), is education about and in favour of nonviolence, non-killing, abolition of nuclear weapons. Only such a perspective would justify the extensive (as well as expensive) commemorative programmes.

Commemorations of the centenary of the First World War during the next four years provide the peace movement with many opportunities to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence which, alone, will be able to bring about a world without war.

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. –Edmund Burke

 

Peter van den Dungen

Cooperation for Peace, 11th Annual Strategy Conference, 21-22 February 2014, Cologne-Riehl

Opening remarks

(revised, 10th March 2014)

 Notes

[1] The full text of the speech is at www.gov.uk/government/speeches/speech-at-imperial-war-museum-on-first-world-war-centenary-plans

[2] Full details at www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2013/world-war-one-centenary.html

[3] Full details at www.iwm.org.uk/centenary

[4] ‘Is it 1914 all over again?’, The Independent, 5th January 2014, p. 24.

[5] Cf. her foreword in David Adesnik, 100 Years of Impact – Essays on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Washington, D.C.: CEIP, 2011, p. 5.

[6] Ibid., p. 43.

[7] www.demilitarize.org

[8] Memoirs of Bertha von Suttner. Boston: Ginn, 1910, vol. 1, p. 343.

[9] Cf. Caroline E. Playne, Bertha von Suttner and the struggle to avert the World War. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1936,and especially the two volumes edited by Alfred H. Fried bringing together von Suttner’s regular political columns in Die Friedens-Warte (1892-1900, 1907-1914) : Der Kampf um die Vermeidung des Weltkriegs. Zurich: Orell Fuessli, 1917.

[10] Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger-ABC-CLIO, 2010. An expanded and updated edition is the Spanish translation: La voluntad de Alfred Nobel: Que pretendia realmente el Premio Nobel de la Paz? Barcelona: Icaria, 2013.

[11] London: William Heinemann, 1910. The book sold over a million copies, and was translated into 25 languages. German translations appeared under the titles Die grosse Taeuschung (Leipzig, 1911) and Die falsche Rechnung (Berlin, 1913).

[12] See, for instance, Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975, pp. 12-13.

[13] Johann von Bloch, Der Krieg. Uebersetzung des russischen Werkes des Autors: Der zukuenftige Krieg in seiner technischen, volkswirthschaftlichen und politischen Bedeutung. Berlin: Puttkammer & Muehlbrecht, 1899, vol. 1, p. XV. In English, only a one-volume summary edition appeared, variously entitled Is War Now Impossible? (1899), Modern Weapons and Modern War (1900), and The Future of War (US eds.).

[14] London: Cassell, 1943. The book was published in German in Stockholm in 1944 as Die Welt von Gestern: Erinnerungen eines Europaers.

[15] New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

[16] Helmut Donat & Karl Holl, eds., Die Friedensbewegung. Organisierter Pazifismus in Deutschland, Oesterreich und in der Schweiz. Duesseldorf: ECON Taschenbuchverlag, Hermes Handlexikon, 1983, p. 14.

[17] Ibid.

[18] www.akhf.de. The organisation was founded in 1984.

[19] For a concise biography of Paasche, see the entry by Helmut Donat in Harold Josephson, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Modern Peace Leaders. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985, pp. 721-722. See also his entry in Die Friedensbewegung, op. cit., pp. 297-298.

[20] www.carnegieherofunds.org

[21] www.nonkilling.org

[22] The text was first published in New Theatre (New York), vol. 3, no. 4, April 1936, pp. 15-30, with illustrations by George Grosz, Otto Dix, and other anti-war graphic artists.

[23] Die Barbarisierung der Luft. Berlin: Verlag der Friedens-Warte, 1912. The only translation is in Japanese, published recently on the occasion of the essay’s 100th anniversary: Osamu Itoigawa & Mitsuo Nakamura, ‘Bertha von Suttner: “Die Barbarisierung der Luft”’, pp. 93-113 in The Journal of Aichi Gakuin University – Humanities and Sciences (Nagoya), vol. 60, no. 3, 2013.

[24] For the full text see International Court of Justice, Yearbook 1995-1996. The Hague: ICJ, 1996, pp. 212-223, and Ved P. Nanda & David Krieger, Nuclear Weapons and the World Court. Ardsley, New York: Transnational Publishers, 1998, pp. 191-225.

[25] The full press statement, released by the Foreign Ministry in Vienna on 13th February 2014, can be found at www.abolition2000.org/?p=3188

[26] Martin Luther King, ‘The Quest for Peace and Justice’, pp. 246-259 in Les Prix Nobel en 1964. Stockholm: Impr. Royale P.A. Norstedt for the Nobel Foundation, 1965, at p. 247. Cf. also www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-lecture.html

[27] Clayborne Carson, ed., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. London: Abacus, 2000. See especially ch. 30, ‘Beyond Vietnam’, pp. 333-345, at p. 338. On the significance of this speech, see also Coretta Scott King, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1970, ch. 16, pp. 303-316.

[28] Autobiography, p. 341.

[29] www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/farewell_address/Reading_Copy.pdf

[30] See, for instance, Nick Turse, The Complex: How the Military Invades our Everyday Lives. London: Faber & Faber, 2009.

[31] Ibid., pp. 35-51.

[32] www.wingia.com/web/files/services/33/file/33.pdf?1394206482

President Putin’s visit to Latin America is of transcendental importance at a time when the BRICS bloc is becoming something far more than a mere trade agreement, and where Russia is playing a key global geopolitical role.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the midst of a truly historic tour of Latin America, visiting Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina, and then on to Brazil for the 6th BRICS Summit being held in the cities of Fortaleza and Brasilia (with a quick Sunday stopover in glorious Rio de Janeiro where he watched the final World-cup match pitting Argentina and Germany).

Stopping the Western juggernaut

Ever since the tragedy of 9/11, the US, UK and its NATO allies (plus Israel) have become a danger to the world. Over the past thirteen years we have seen the overrunning of Iraq over false American and British accusations that it was harboring weapons of mass destruction that were never found; the destruction of Libya in 2011; the wanton engineered chaos of the “Arab Spring” that set countries like Egypt back decades; the near destruction of Syria; and the decade-long threats of preventive war against Iran over its non-existent military nuclear program.

Estimates of Iraqi dead run into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and yet there hasn’t been one single apology from the US, UK or NATO. Today Iraq together with Libya is in the throes of civil war; Syria is slowly coming out of civil war and, most dangerously, Egypt is has fast withdrawn from its stabilizing role in the Middle East.

All thanks to Western meddling and “engineered social chaos”, which is the new form of war being waged by the US, UK, NATO (and Israel). Confronted with growing failure in the Middle East, of late they have moved on to other latitudes: Ukraine, for example.

While the Western powers had their way in Iraq and Libya, maybe in Egypt too, in Syria and Iran the US has been licking its wounds since Russia became the key counterweight against “Western Imperial Global War”. No wonder then that we are seeing them engineering social chaos in Ukraine, prompting Russia to reintegrate Crimea.

Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, we see the US, UK, NATO (and Israel) time and again wreaking havoc in the Middle East and Central Europe; not just military violence which is always very visible as we see today with Israel’s genocidal tactics in Occupied Palestine, but also on the more subtle economic and financial fronts, ever since the Wall Street collapse of September 2008 began its ripple effect throughout the global financial and economic system.

Sadly, after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, mankind has had to deal with other more complex “walls”. In the 90’s, for example, Israel began erecting its over 800 kilometer-long, 20 meter-high “Wall of Shame” around occupied Palestine, with its humiliating checkpoints, armed soldiers, tanks, and barbed wire fences, transforming Palestine into a veritable prison; notably in the Gaza Strip which has been made into the world’s largest open-air concentration camp: a veritable “Auschwitz” in the Middle East!

Historical walls

Throughout history, some walls have been offensive – the Berlin Wall erected by the former USSR in 1961 or Israel’s on-going Wall of Shame. Others, like Wall Street, have become a symbol of the global power elite’s protecting its immoral and criminal usurer mega-bankers against the working people.

Still other walls have been defensive: the Great China Wall that kept out Northern barbarians or, in Roman times Hadrian’s Wall erected to block the uncouth and uncivilized Picts of Caledonia from attacking Rome’s efforts to slowly civilize the hordes of Barbarians then running around half-naked in that part of the world…

Today, we see how over the past eight years, a new Wall is being silently erected and has become a symbol of hope for today’s distressed world. Although not physically a wall as such and not made of “stone or bricks”, the BRICS wall is definitely in place and here to stay.

The BRICS acronym was first coined by Goldman Sachs economist Terence “Jim” O’Neill back in 2001 to describe what they (and the Pentagon) identified as emerging markets that will become dominant by 2050. In economic terms for Goldman Sachs; in geopolitical and military terms for the Pentagon and their think-tanks worries. At the time, it encompassed four very important and diverse countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China; then in 2010, South Africa joined the group adding the “S” in BRICS and thus spanning four continents.

The idea caught on fast amongst the very countries concerned which are now coming increasingly together and most definitely not under the aegis of either Goldman Sachs or the Pentagon.

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner introduces her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (L) to Uruguay's President Jose Mujica (R) before a banquet hosted by the Argentine government in Putin's honour at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires July 12, 2014.(Reuters / Argentine Presidency)Image: Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner introduces her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (L) to Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica (R) before a banquet hosted by the Argentine government in Putin’s honour at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires July 12, 2014.(Reuters / Argentine Presidency)

You’ve come a long way baby

Since its first summit in Ekaterinburg, Russia in June 2009, BRICS has progressed a long way to becoming not just another trade-block bent on economic growth in US dollar terms and according to Western economic rules and philosophy.

Quite the contrary: after a further four summits held in Brazil (April 2010), China (April 2011), India (March 2012) and South Africa (March 2013); BRICS has grown into what it is today: an increasingly consolidated geopolitical alliance of powerful countries bent on neither allowing the Western powers to call the shots in today’s world, nor to threaten them. In fact, three of those countries suffered horrible Western aggression and colonialism over the past century: India, China and South Africa. BRICS will not continue to allow the West to impose its currencies, its debt-based economic philosophy, its moral “values” and its money-dependant “democracy” on everybody.

In its 6th summit in Brazil, BRICS will address many key issues that make the Western powers nervous and edgy. For example, they have agreed to kick-off a new financial architecture obeying a totally different set of imperatives: a Contingent Reserve Agreement (shutting the door to International Monetary Fund meddling) and a New Development Bank (closing the door on the World Bank)

The IMF and World Bank were for decades the West’s financial control kingpins working for the mega bankers and promoting Washington and London’s geopolitical agendas worldwide. In 2002, the IMF went as far as promoting the idea that countries like Argentina should be declared bankrupt and their “assets liquidated” when they go into debt default, citing US Chapter 11 bankruptcy legislation as the way to go against sovereign countries.

The IMF’s track-record bringing huge social hardship to countries like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Greece, Cyprus and even Russia is only too well known.

BRICS’s new financial institutions will be capitalized to the tune of around $200 billion equivalents (with China putting in the lion’s share of $41 billion; Russia, India and Brazil $18 billion each, and South Africa around $8 billion).

BRICS wall geopolitics

Back in 2001, Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neil never dreamed his idea would catch on in the uncanny manner that it has (uncanny for Goldman Sachs and the West, that it). After all, the people paying his salary then and now are bent on achieving exactly the opposite: making everybody bow to the IMF, the US Dollar, the FED and European Central Bank, the Euro and Goldman Sachs. As a member of Europe’s “Bruegel” think-tank led by none other than former European Central Bank chairman and Trilateral Commission/Bilderberg member Jean-Claude Trichet, they had – and have – other plans in mind.

Today, he must surely feel like Dr. Frankenstein, seeing his “monster” break loose from the chains Master Goldman Sachs backed by Big Brother Pentagon hoped to tie BRICS down with.

And a huge “monster” it is!! Today, the five BRICS countries account for 43% of the earth’s population, 23% of global GDP, 20% of global investment, and enjoy some of the highest economic growth levels in 2013 figures: China 8.2%, India 5.9%, Russia 3.7%, Brazil 3.5% and South Africa 2.8%.

Add to that the 38.5 million square kilometers of their national territories and there can be little doubt that, at this pace, 2050 will mark the Age of BRICS. By then it will no doubt have chosen another name; by then the Western powers will have to put away their haughty “carrot-and-stick” tactics, becoming more humble, more cooperative, more serene, and more human in their actions and attitudes.

BRICS today runs the risk of seeing an avalanche of membership request forms raining on its desk. Country after country is toying with the idea of joining BRICS.

(L-R) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin applaud at a family photo session during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, March 27, 2013.(Reuters / Rogan Ward)Image: (L-R) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin applaud at a family photo session during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, March 27, 2013.(Reuters / Rogan Ward)

Take Argentina, for example, where Mr. Putin just met with President Cristina Kirchner, signing a cooperation agreement for an Argentine nuclear power plant. Although, it’s still too early for Argentina to join BRICS, it certainly seems to be a front-runner as next member. And rightly so!

Many a South American country would do well to consider the BRICS option, especially after seeing the chaos wrought by Western “chaos engineering” in the Middle East, aka “Arab Spring”. That same chaos will eventually target South American countries not docile to US/UK interests.

Latin America’s Pacific coast countries are traditionally pro-US/UK: Chile, Colombia (whose president Juan Manuel Santos is an Americas Society Rockefeller think-tank member), Mexico, Peru which are turning into America’s beachhead against the BRICS Wall going up in South America.

Brazil: take note. Argentina: start defending yourselves! Don’t forget: since 1982 the UK and US have a nuclear base on the usurped Falkland Malvinas Islands, and since 2008 Baby Bush reactivated the 8th South Atlantic Fleet (that had lain dormant since 1953).

The grand chessboard pieces are starting to fall into place in surprising ways that even Trilateral Commission founder and ideologue (and arch anti-Russian and pro-US) geopolitical egghead Zbigniew Brzezinski, never imagined.

Maybe that’s the name of the game: starting to take the Western powers by surprise; doing things faster than they can intelligently react to; better than they can understand; subtler than they can even notice.

Argentine President Juan Domingo Peron – himself a brilliant military strategist – once remarked that the key to a good strategy rests on two S’s: Secrecy & Surprise.

BRICS’s notable on-going success seems to be doing things quite well in terms of geopolitical timing. For the Western powers, after their massive defeats in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Asia in general and, increasingly, throughout Latin America, it’s probably already too late for them to react.

They may very well have cornered themselves into a dead-end, with little or no way out… As Obama did over Syria last September.

Danger: when wild beasts are cornered they become exceptionally violent, aggressive and menacing. The West still has many wildcards: the banker over-world, embedded Pentagon extremists, controlled collapsing the US Dollar and the Euro, Israel…

Might they use any one or a combination of them to kick the grand chessboard?

Even a small “kick” can have devastating results: look at what happened exactly a century ago when the “shot heard around the world” was fired in Sarajevo.

Let’s hope the BRICS wall continues to quickly strengthen, consolidate, grow and become so formidable, that no one will dare to trespass on it.

Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina. www.asalbuchi.com.ar. He is also the Founder of the Second Republic Project – Proyecto Segunda República.

Newly-released documents from Edward Snowden show that the British spy agency GCHQ has developed numerous offensive digital tools.

But what exactly are they doing with these dirty tricks?

We think it’s important to think through the specific possibilities, in order to gain an understanding of how pernicious these manipulations can be.

We quote verbatim (in black) the names and descriptions of some of these tools – some of which Glenn Greenwald didn’t highlight in his report.  We then provide descriptions in blue of potential misuses of such tools.

Then we discuss how likely such misuses really are.

Tools and potential misuses

Here are the actual dirty tricks in the British spy agencies toolkit, with hypothetical examples of potential misuses …

CHANGELING: Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity. Fake an email from a privacy advocate to make it look like he’s proposing terrorism.

SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE: Perfect spoofing of emails from Blackberry targets. Fake an email from an opponent of bank bailouts to make it look like she’s proposing bombing a bank.

BURLESQUE: The capacity to send spoofed SMS messages. Fake a message from an an anti-war pacifist to make it look like he’s advocating sabotage of a military base.

IMPERIAL BARGE : For connecting two target phone together in a call. Fake a telephone connection to make it look like an opponent of genetically modified foods spoke with a leader of Al Qaeda.

BADGER : Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign. Send out a fake, mass email pretending to be from a whistleblower “admitting” that he’s mentally unstable, disgruntled, dishonest and vindictive.

WARPATH: Mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign. Send out a fake, mass message pretending to be from a whistleblower “admitting” he’s a Russian spy.

SPACE ROCKET: A programme covering insertion of media into target networks. Insert a fake video calling for jihad on a the website of a moderate American Muslim lawyer.

CLEAN SWEEP Masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries. Put up a bunch of fake wall posts praising the Islamic State on the Facebook page of a reporter giving first-hand reports of what’s really happening in a country that the U.S. has targeted for regime change.

HAVOK Real-time website cloning technique allowing on-the-fly alterations. Hack the website of a state politician critical of those who ignore the Constitution and post fake calls for terrorism against Washington, D.C.

SILVERLORD: Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal. Disrupt websites hosting videos espousing libertarian views.

SUNBLOCK: Ability to deny functionality to send/receive email or view material online. Block the emails and web functionality of a government insider who is about to go public on wrongdoing.

ANGRY PIRATE: A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer. Disable the accounts of an activist working for clean food and water.

PREDATORS FACE: Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers. Take down a website which is disclosing hard-hitting information on illegal government actions.

UNDERPASS: Change outcome of online polls. Change the results of an online poll from one showing that the American people overwhelmingly oppose a new war which is unnecessary for the defense of America’s national security to showing support for it.

GATEWAY: Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website. Make a website calling for more surveillance against the American people appear hugely popular.

BOMB BAY: The capacity to increase website hits, rankings. Make it look like a hate site is popular among a targeted local population which actually despises its views.

SLIPSTREAM: Ability to inflate page views on websites. Make it appear that an article saying that the Constitution is “outdated” and “unrealistic in the post-9/11 world” is widely popular.

GESTATOR: Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube). Make a propaganda video – saying that we should just relax and trust Big Brother – go viral.

What is the likelihood of misuse?

We don’t know which of the above hypothetically forms of misuse are actually occurring. However, as we wrote in February:

We’ve warned since 2009 (and see this) that the government could be launching cyber “false flag attacks” in order to justify a crackdown on the Internet and discredit web activists.

A new report from NBC News – based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden – appear to confirm our fears, documenting that Britain’s GCHQ spy agency has carried out cyber false flag attacks:

In another document taken from the NSA by Snowden and obtained by NBC News, a JTRIG official said the unit’s mission included computer network attacks, disruption, “Active Covert Internet Operations,” and “Covert Technical Operations.” Among the methods listed in the document were jamming phones, computers and email accounts and masquerading as an enemy in a “false flag” operation. The same document said GCHQ was increasing its emphasis on using cyber tools to attack adversaries.

Later that month, we noted:

A new report from NBC News shows that the British spy agency used “false flag attacks” and other dirty tricks:

British spies have developed “dirty tricks” for use against nations, hackers, terror groups, suspected criminals and arms dealers that include releasing computer viruses, spying on journalists and diplomats, jamming phones and computers, and using sex to lure targets into “honey traps.”

***

The agency’s goal was to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications.

Sound familiar? It should:

Between 1956 and 1971, the FBI operated a program known as COINTELPRO, for Counter Intelligence Program. Its purpose was to interfere with the activities of the organizations and individuals who were its targets or, in the words of long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize” them.

NBC continues:

[The agency] also uses “false flag” operations, in which British agents carry out online actions that are designed to look like they were performed by one of Britain’s adversaries.

***

JTRIG used negative information to attack private companies, sour business relationships and ruin deals.

***

Changing photos on social media sites and emailing and texting colleagues and neighbors unsavory information.

And reporter Glenn Greenwald noted that Snowden documents showed:

Western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction.

***

These agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse …. Among the core self-identified purposes … are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.

***

The discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes…. no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats.

***

Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell”, devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”….***

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack”, while dissecting how human beings can be manipulated using “leaders”, “trust, “obedience” and “compliance”:

The U.S. government is also spending millions to figure out how to manipulate social media to promote propaganda and stifle dissenting opinions.

And any criticism of government policies is now considered “extremist” and potential terrorism. The government also considers anyone who tries to protect himself from government oppression and to claim his Constitutional rights a “extremist”. This is not entirely new … the CIA director in 1972. Indeed – for 5,000 years straight – mass surveillance of one’s own people has always been used to crush dissent.

The NSA is now also collecting and retaining the most intimate personal details of Americans, including nude and suggestive pictures and medical and financial records … even though they admittedly have no conceivable security value.

You may think you have “nothing to hide”, but you’re breaking the law numerous times every day … without even knowing it (update).

Indeed, top NSA whistleblowers say that the NSA is blackmailing and harassing opponents with information that it has gathered – potentially even high-level politicians – just like FBI head J. Edgar Hoover blackmailed presidents and Congressmen.

Moreover, if the NSA takes a dislike to someone, it can frame them. This has been CONFIRMED by top NSA whistleblowers.

And the following facts make it likely that British and U.S. spy agencies are misusing their powers:

Postscript: We don’t know whether or not the spy agencies are misusing their bag of tricks in the specific ways discussed above (in blue).  The whole point is that they have been caught lying time and again about what they’re doing, they’re running amok with no oversight, and the fact that they could be targeting government critics shows how bad things have become.

The Israeli government has seized on Hamas’s failure to immediately observe a cease-fire about which it was never consulted as the pretext for escalating its one-sided war against the nearly two million Palestinians confined to the narrow and densely populated Gaza Strip.

Fresh Israeli air strikes Tuesday sent the Palestinian death toll in Gaza climbing to the 200 mark, with another 1,400 or more wounded. Meanwhile, the crude and mostly homemade rockets fired from Gaza in response claimed their first victim on Tuesday. A civilian was mortally wounded by shrapnel while bringing candy to Israeli troops massed at the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern end of the Gaza Strip in preparation for a possible ground invasion.

Tuesday’s deaths raised Palestinian casualties in the current Israeli onslaught higher than those recorded in the 2012 war against Gaza, which stopped short of a ground invasion. This makes it the bloodiest attack on the territory since the Zionist regime launched its Operation Cast Lead, which sent troops and tanks into the crowded territory, leaving nearly 1,500 Palestinians dead.

According to figures recorded by the United Nations, nearly 80 percent of those killed in the current operation have been civilians, including dozens of children.

The casualties Tuesday included an elderly Palestinian killed in an air strike on agricultural land in the southern area of Khan Younis and a 25-year-old who died in a drone strike in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of eastern Gaza City. In a separate air strike on the Jabaliya refugee camp, ten people, including three children and two women, were wounded.

Tuesday’s so-called cease-fire was unilaterally decreed by the US-backed Egyptian regime of military strongman Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi following talks with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There were no consultations whatsoever with Hamas, whose leaders said they first learned about it from media reports.

The “cease-fire” appears to have been deliberately designed to ensure Hamas’s rejection and provide Israel with a pretext for escalating its assault. General Sisi last year overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Mursi and organized the massacre of thousands of Brotherhood supporters. He also jailed Mursi, along with tens of thousands of others. His regime is now providing tactical support to Israel in the hopes that it will exterminate Hamas, an offshoot of the Brotherhood, and thousands of Palestinian civilians along with it.

The cease-fire proposal was striking in that it included no references whatsoever to the demands made by Hamas, which included the release of hundreds of Palestinians taken prisoner in last month’s Israeli crackdown on the West Bank, an end to the seven-year blockade of the territory and reopening of border crossings sealed by Israel and Egypt, and Israel’s respect for a cease-fire agreement brokered by the Mursi government after the Israeli war on Gaza in 2012.

In statements Tuesday, Netanyahu indicated that the Egyptian agreement would also include the “disarmament” of Gaza.

The Hamas leadership appeared divided on the issue Tuesday. Senior Hamas leader Mussa Abu Marzuk said the organization was “still in consultation” on the Egyptian cease-fire maneuver and had “yet to take an official position.” But the Hamas military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, dismissed the proposal as a “surrender” and said its “battle with the enemy continues and will increase in ferocity and intensity.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas played his usual role as a subordinate of Washington and Tel Aviv, calling for unconditional acceptance of the Egyptian proposal. He is to meet with Egyptian officials in Cairo Wednesday.

In a statement broadcast Tuesday night, Netanyahu made clear what the Egyptian proposal was intended for all along. “It would have been preferable to have solved this diplomatically, and this is what we tried to do when we accepted the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire, but Hamas leaves us no choice but to expand and intensify the campaign against it,” he said.

He insisted that Tel Aviv’s acceptance of the cease-fire and Hamas’s rejection would lend “international legitimacy” to an escalation of the Gaza bloodbath, and that he expected “full support from the responsible members of the international community.”

First and foremost of these “responsible” nations, of course, is the United States, with the Obama administration signaling the continuation of its unqualified support for Israel in a war in which Palestinian deaths outnumber Israeli by 200 to 1.

Washington responded as expected. Secretary of State John Kerry reserved his condemnation for Hamas, blaming it for continuing to fire rockets “at the time Israel and Egypt are working in good faith to get a cease-fire.” He predicted “an even greater escalation of violence,” insisting that “Israel has the right to defend itself.” A planned trip by Kerry to Cairo to promote the cease-fire was called off as the US cleared the decks for an Israeli escalation.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest also placed the full blame on Hamas for the continued bloodshed, delivering a blank check to Tel Aviv with the statement that Israel is “entitled to take the kinds of actions that are necessary to keep their citizens safe.”

The UN aid agency for Palestinians, UNRWRA, described the death and destruction wrought thus far by the Israeli blitz as “immense.” The destruction includes attacks on Gaza’s water and sewage systems, threatening the health of the entire population.

“The level of human losses and destruction is really immense,” said UNWRA spokesman Sami Mshasha. The agency said that over 560 houses had been totally demolished, with thousands of other buildings seriously damaged. These included 47 UNRWA facilities that are housing some 17,000 people who have been forced from their homes by Israeli attacks and threats.

This number is set to rise sharply as the Israeli military late Tuesday night issued warnings to some 100,000 people in two northern Gazan areas to leave their homes or face deadly attacks. The warnings are either a criminal form of psychological warfare or the preparations for a ground offensive.

Support for such an offensive was proclaimed in bellicose terms Tuesday by Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who called for the Israeli military to “go all the way” and “end this operation when the Israeli army is in control over the whole Gaza Strip.” In an attack on Netanyahu’s delay in ordering a ground offensive, he said, “All this hesitation works against us.”

The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar interviewed Yasser, a young man from the Khan Younis area in southern Gaza, whose entire family was massacred in an Israeli air strike. He was about to enter his home, the newspaper reported, “but the Israeli bombing got to his family before him, turning them into charred corpses and scattered carnage.”

The report continued:

“Yasser thought his eyes were deceiving him when he saw his mother Bassima (53 years old), with her legs cut off by the bombing. He was looking hysterically for the limbs and the heads of his younger siblings. In a voice full of pain and sorrow, he told Al-Akhbar:

‘Life has no meaning after this death. I don’t know how I will adapt to this harsh reality. Everyone I shared my life and my feelings with are gone and I am left alone here.’

“He wonders: ‘What objectives did the Israeli government accomplish? Killing unarmed civilians while they are sleeping is going to eradicate the seed of Resistance. On the contrary, the Resistance will grow stronger and we ask the Resistance forces to take revenge. My family’s blood is not cheap.’”

These war crimes have provoked revulsion in at least some sections of the Israeli population. Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy published a column describing Israel’s pilots as individuals who “have never seen an enemy plane coming toward them—the last aerial battle of the Israel Air Force took place before most of them were born.”

Levy continued:

“They never saw the whites of the eyes and the red blood of their victims from up close. They are heroes who are battling the weakest, most helpless people who have no air force and no aerial defense, barely even a kite… and they are now perpetrating the worst, the cruelest, the most despicable deeds.”

The column prompted threats and provoked denunciations of the columnist as a “traitor.”

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

France

Metz, France

San Francisco, USA

San Francisco, USA

Tunisia

Tunisia

Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

Chicago

Chicago,USA

Paris, France

Paris, France

Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow, Scotland

Lebanon

Lebanon (photo:AP)

Tokyo, ,Japan

Tokyo, ,Japan

London

London

Greece

Greece

Norway

Norway

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Amman, Jordan

Amman, Jordan

Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle

eattle

Seattle

BuenosAires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sydney

Sydney, Australia

Spain

Italy

San Francisco

San Francisco

Bogata, Columbia

Bogota, Colombia

Chicago

Chicago, USA

Germany

Germany

Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany

france

France

Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Montreal, Canada. Photo courtesy of Under the Olive Tree which airs on CKUT 90.3 FM every Thursday from 11am – 12 noon. Learn more at http://www.mixcloud.com/UnderTheOliveTree/.

Montreal, Canada. Photo courtesy of Under the Olive Tree which airs on CKUT 90.3 FM every Thursday from 11am – 12 noon. Learn more at http://www.mixcloud.com/UnderTheOliveTree/

New York

New York

Montreal, Canada. Photo courtesy of Under the Olive Tree which airs on CKUT 90.3 FM every Thursday from 11am – 12 noon. Learn more at http://www.mixcloud.com/UnderTheOliveTree/

Montreal, Canada. Photo courtesy of Under the Olive Tree which airs on CKUT 90.3 FM every Thursday from 11am – 12 noon. Learn more at http://www.mixcloud.com/UnderTheOliveTree/

As a matter of faith, some people believe that God can see and hear everything. But as a matter of fact, the U.S. government now has the kind of surveillance powers formerly attributed only to a supreme being.

Top “national security” officials in Washington now have the determination and tech prowess to keep tabs on billions of people. No one elected Uncle Sam to play God. But a dire shortage of democratic constraints has enabled the U.S. surveillance state to keep expanding with steely resolve.

By the time Edward Snowden used NSA documents to expose — beyond any doubt — a global surveillance dragnet, the situation had deteriorated so badly because the Bush and Obama administrations were able to dismiss earlier warnings to the public as little more than heresy.

Eight years ago, in the book “State of War,” New York Times reporter James Risen devoted a chapter to the huge expansion of surveillance. A secret decision by President Bush “has opened up America’s domestic telecommunications network to the NSA in unprecedented and deeply troubling new ways, and represents a radical shift in the accepted policies and practices of the modern U.S. intelligence community,” Risen wrote.

Risen added: “The NSA is now tapping into the heart of the nation’s telephone network through direct access to key telecommunications switches that carry many of America’s daily phone calls and e-mail messages.”

More details on the surveillance state came in 2008 with James Bamford’s book “The Shadow Factory,” which illuminated the National Security Agency’s program for “eavesdropping on America.” And in August of 2012 — nearly 10 months before Snowden’s revelations began — filmmaker Laura Poitras released a mini-documentary on the New York Times website about the NSA’s mass surveillance program.

All three journalists relied on whistleblowers who balked at the NSA’s virtual mission to see and hear everything. Both books (especially “State of War”) depended on information from unnamed sources. The short documentary focused on a public whistleblower — former NSA executive William Binney, who continues to speak out.

Testifying to a committee of the German parliament in Berlin two weeks ago, Binney — whose 30 years at the NSA included work as a high-level intelligence official – said that the NSA has a “totalitarian mentality.”

Days later, speaking at a conference in London, Binney explained: “At least 80 percent of fiber-optic cables globally go via the U.S. This is no accident and allows the U.S. to view all communication coming in. At least 80 percent of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the U.S. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

Since last summer, a backup source of strength for the voices of Binney, Thomas Drake, Kirk Wiebe and other NSA whistleblowers — the fact that Snowden has provided the public with NSA documents — is exactly what has enraged U.S. officials who want to maintain and escalate their surveillance power. Because of those unveiled documents, clarity about what the NSA is really doing has fueled opposition.

NSA surveillance proliferates in a context that goes well beyond spying. The same mentality that claims the right to cross all borders for surveillance — using the latest technologies to snoop on the most intimate communications and private actions of people across the globe — is also insisting on the prerogative to cross borders with the latest technologies to kill.

When a drone or cruise missile implements an assumed right to snuff out a life, without a semblance of due process, the presidential emulation of divine intervention is implicit.

But, in military terms, dominating the world is a prohibitively expensive goal. In the digital age, surveillance has emerged as a cost-effective way to extend the U.S. government’s global reach and put its intelligence capacities on steroids — while tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in annual revenues go to corporate contractors servicing the NSA, CIA and other agencies of the military-industrial-surveillance complex.

So the trend line continues to move in the wrong direction. Speaking last month at a news conference that launched ExposeFacts.org (part of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where I work), Binney said that in recent years the NSA’s surveillance activity has “only gotten worse.” He added: “I mean it’s almost in everything that you do. If you do anything electronically, they’re in it and they’re watching you.”

The information being collected is so vast that NSA operatives face a huge challenge of figuring out how to sift through it on such a large scale — “because they have to manually look at this data,” Binney said. “But the point is, they’re setting the stage for this to continue to the point where everybody could be monitored almost constantly throughout the day. That is an oppressive, suppressive state.”

Since last summer, revelations about NSA programs have been so profuse and complex that it’s difficult to gain an overview, to see the surveillance state’s toxic forest for the digital trees. But the macro picture has to do with a mind-blowing agenda for monitoring the people of the world.

“For me, the most significant revelation is the ambition of the United States government and its four English-speaking allies to literally eliminate privacy worldwide, which is not hyperbole,” journalist Glenn Greenwald said at a news conference three months ago. “The goal of the United States government is to collect and store every single form of electronic communication that human beings have with one another and give themselves the capacity to monitor and analyze those communications.”

Such a goal, formerly reserved for the more fundamentalist versions of God, is now firmly entrenched at the top of the U.S. government — and at the top of corporate America. As Greenwald pointed out, “There almost is no division between the private sector and the NSA, or the private sector and the Pentagon, when it comes to the American ‘national security’ state. They really are essentially one.”

Now that’s the kind of monotheism the world can do without.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, which recently launched ExposeFacts.org. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

Saturday, 12th July, a group called Jews Against Genocide (JAG) held a memorial service for Palestinian children killed by Israel in its current attack on Gaza. JAG set aflame to a pile of dolls covered in red paint at Yad Vashem, Israel’s holocaust memorial museum. Jews Against Genocide (JAG) is a movement of Jews from all over the world, including Israelis, who are protesting against Israel’s intent to commit genocide against the non-Jewish indigenous people of Palestine.

The Yad Vashem security guard attempted to disrupt the memorial, confiscated JAG’s fire extinguisher, and called the Israeli police to arrest the participants.

We, Jews Against Genocide, came to Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial of the genocide committed against Jews, to honor the Palestinian children who are dying in a genocide committed by Jews.

IMG_9937

We brought dolls to symbolise the children of Gaza, and tried to bring a glimpse of the horror that Gazan’s face, to Israel’s doorstep. We hope to show Israel, and the world, the absurd reality of using the memory of one genocide to justify another.

We invite compassionate people from across the globe to join the outcry by staging similar protests in front of Israeli embassies and consulates around the world on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th July, 2014.

Just as we honor the people who were murdered seven decades ago in Europe because they were Jews, we are here to honor the people who are being murdered at this very moment because they are the indigenous people of this land who are not Jews.

The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines Genocide as,

“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; [...]“

The children of Gaza, who are being systematically murdered as we write this article, constitute 52% percent of the population under siege in the strip. The vast majority of these children are descendants of refugees from historical Palestine.

In the current round of atrocities committed by the Israel occupation army, so far dozens of children have been murdered in their homes, with Israel’s war-making leadership vowing “much higher costs” on the Palestinian side as the bombing and shelling continues.

The war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Gaza today are the latest stage of an ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the indigenous people of this land.

The Jewish State was founded on the Zionist principle of “maximum Jews on maximum land, and minimum Arabs on minimum land”, which was made reality through sixty-six years of continued assault against Palestinians, denying them the right to live freely and peacefully in their historical homeland.

The Israeli regime has turned the beautiful Gaza strip into a densely populated ghetto, with unsafe water, untreated sewage, and insufficient resources and electricity. This ghetto has become a concentration camp, through repeated Israeli massacres in what the Goldstone Report described as an effort to, “humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish[ing] its local economic capacity.”

We express our support and solidarity for the Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it complies with the three basic demands of:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Jews Against Genocide (JAG)

Notes:

United Nations, preventing Genocide:http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/genocide_prevention.shtml

Palestinian civil society call for BDS: http://www.bdsmovement.net/call

United Nations, human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf

Sixth BRICS Summit: Fortaleza Declaration

July 16th, 2014 by Global Research News

Agreed Minutes of the BRICS Ministerial MeetingOn the occasion of the signature of the Agreement on the New Development Bank, Ministers from the BRICS countries met and decided the following in relation to the future functioning of the Bank:

a)      The order of rotation of Presidents of the Bank will be India/Brazil/Russia/South Africa/China.

b)     The establishment of the first regional office in Johannesburg will be launched concurrently with the headquarters.

c)      The subsequent regional offices will be established, as needed, in Brazil, Russia and India. The second regional office will be established in Brazil.

d)     A Special Fund will be created within the Bank at the earliest, with the participation of all founding members, for the purpose of helping project preparation and implementation. China will be the largest contributor.

e)      Appointments for the staff of the Bank will be made on the principle of merit according to requirements established by the Board of Directors.

Fortaleza, 15th July, 2014

Sixth BRICS Summit – Fortaleza Declaration

1. We, the leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, met in Fortaleza, Brazil, on 15 July 2014 at the Sixth BRICS Summit. To inaugurate the second cycle of BRICS Summits, the theme chosen for our discussions was “Inclusive Growth: Sustainable Solutions”, in keeping with the inclusive macroeconomic and social policies carried out by our governments and the imperative to address challenges to humankind posed by the need to simultaneously achieve growth, inclusiveness, protection and preservation.

2. In the aftermath of the first cycle of five Summits, hosted by every BRICS member, our coordination is well established in various multilateral and plurilateral initiatives and intra-BRICS cooperation is expanding to encompass new areas. Our shared views and commitment to international law and to multilateralism, with the United Nations at its center and foundation, are widely recognized and constitute a major contribution to global peace, economic stability, social inclusion, equality, sustainable development and mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries.

3. We renew our openness to increasing engagement with  other countries, particularly developing countries and emerging market economies, as well as with international and regional organizations, with a view to fostering cooperation and solidarity in our relations with all nations and peoples. To that effect, we will hold a joint session with the leaders of the South American nations, under the theme of the Sixth BRICS Summit, with a view to furthering cooperation between BRICS and South America. We reaffirm our support for the South American integration processes, and recognize in particular the importance of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in promoting peace and democracy in the region, and in achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication. We believe that strengthened dialogue among BRICS and South American countries can play an active role in enhancing multilateralism and international cooperation, for the promotion of peace, security, economic and social progress and sustainable development in an interdependent and increasingly complex, globalizing world.

4. Since its inception the BRICS have been guided by the overarching objectives of peace, security, development and cooperation. In this new cycle, while remaining committed to those objectives, we pledge to deepen our partnership with a renewed vision, based on openness, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation. In this sense, we are ready to explore new areas towards a comprehensive cooperation and a closer economic partnership to facilitate market inter-linkages, financial integration, infrastructure connectivity as well as people-to-people contacts.

5. The Sixth Summit takes place at a crucial juncture, as the international community assesses how to address the challenges of strong economic recovery from the global financial crises, sustainable development, including climate change, while also formulating the post-2015 Development Agenda. At the same time, we are confronted with persistent political instability and conflict in various global hotspots and non-conventional emerging threats. On the other hand, international governance structures designed within a different power configuration show increasingly evident signs of losing legitimacy and effectiveness, as transitional and ad hoc arrangements become increasingly prevalent, often at the expense of multilateralism. We believe the BRICS are an important force for incremental change and reform of current institutions towards more representative and equitable governance, capable of generating more inclusive global growth and fostering a stable, peaceful and prosperous world.

6. During the first cycle of BRICS Summits, collectively our economies have consolidated their position as the main engines for sustaining the pace of the international economy as it recovers from the recent economic and financial global crisis. The BRICS continue to contribute significantly to global growth and to the reduction of poverty in our own and other countries. Our economic growth and social inclusion policies have helped to stabilize global economy, to foster the creation of jobs, to reduce poverty, and to combat inequality, thus contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In this new cycle, besides its contribution in fostering strong, sustainable and balanced growth, BRICS will continue to play a significant role in promoting social development and in contributing to define the international agenda in this area, building on its experience in addressing the challenges of poverty and inequality.

7. To better reflect the advancement of the social policies of the BRICS and the positive impacts of its economic growth, we instruct our National Institutes of Statistics and the Ministries of Health and Education to work on the development of joint methodologies for social indicators to be incorporated in the BRICS Joint Statistical Publication. We also encourage the BRICS Think Tanks Council to provide technical support in this task. We further request the BRICS National Institutes of Statistics to discuss the viability and feasibility of a platform for the development of such methodologies and to report thereon.

8. The world economy has strengthened, with signs of improvement in some advanced economies. Significant downside risks to this recovery remain, however. Unemployment and debt levels are worryingly high and growth remains weak in many advanced economies. Emerging market economies and developing countries (EMDCs) continue to contribute significantly to global growth and will do so in the years to come. Even as the global economy strengthens, monetary policy settings in some advanced economies may bring renewed stress and volatility to financial markets and changes in monetary stance need to be carefully calibrated and clearly communicated in order to minimize negative spillovers.

9. Strong macroeconomic frameworks, well regulated financial markets and robust levels of reserves have allowed EMDCs in general, and the BRICS in particular, to better deal with the risks and spillovers presented by the challenging economic conditions in the last few years. Nevertheless, further macroeconomic coordination amongst all major economies, in particular in the G20, remains a critical factor for strengthening the prospects for a vigorous and sustainable recovery worldwide. In this context, we reaffirm our strong commitment to continue working among ourselves and with the global community to foster financial stability, support sustainable, stronger and inclusive growth and promote quality jobs. The BRICS stand ready to contribute to the G20 goal of lifting our collective GDP by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming 5 years.

10. We commend Russia for the successful work during its presidency of the G20 in 2013. The institution of the BRICS Summits largely coincided with the beginning of the global crisis, the first G20 Summits and the consolidation of that Group as the premier forum for economic coordination among its members. As a new round of BRICS Summits begins, we remain committed to deliver constructive responses to global economic and financial challenges and to serve as a strong voice for the promotion of sustainable development, inclusive growth, financial stability and of more representative international economic governance. We will continue to pursue our fruitful coordination and to promote our development goals within the international economic system and financial architecture.

11. BRICS, as well as other EMDCs, continue to face significant financing constraints to address infrastructure gaps and sustainable development needs. With this in mind, we are pleased to announce the signing of the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB), with the purpose of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging and developing economies. We appreciate the work undertaken by our Finance Ministers. Based on sound banking principles, the NDB will strengthen the cooperation among our countries and will supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development, thus contributing to our collective commitments for achieving the goal of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.

12. The Bank shall have an initial authorized capital of US$ 100 billion. The initial subscribed capital shall be of US$ 50 billion, equally shared among founding members. The first chair of the Board of Governors shall be from Russia. The first chair of the Board of Directors shall be from Brazil. The first President of the Bank shall be from India. The headquarters of the Bank shall be located in Shanghai. The New Development Bank Africa Regional Center shall be established in South Africa concurrently with the headquarters. We direct our Finance Ministers to work out the modalities for its operationalization.

13. We are pleased to announce the signing of the Treaty for the establishment of the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) with an initial size of US$ 100 billion. This arrangement will have a positive precautionary effect, help countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures, promote further BRICS cooperation, strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements. We appreciate the work undertaken by our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. The Agreement is a framework for the provision of liquidity through currency swaps in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures.

14. We also welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation among BRICS Export Credit and Guarantees Agencies that will improve the support environment for increasing trade opportunities among our nations.

15. We appreciate the progress our Development Banks have made in enhancing and strengthening the financial ties among BRICS countries. Given the importance of adopting innovation initiatives, we welcome the conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement on Innovation within the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism.

16. We recognize that there is potential for BRICS insurance and reinsurance markets to pool capacities. We direct our relevant authorities to explore avenues of cooperation in this regard.

17. We believe that sustainable development and economic growth will be facilitated by taxation of revenue generated in jurisdictions where economic activity takes place. We express our concern over the harmful impact of tax evasion, transnational fraud and aggressive tax planning on the world economy. We are aware of the challenges brought by aggressive tax avoidance and non-compliance practices. We, therefore, affirm our commitment to continue a cooperative approach on issues related to tax administrations and to enhance cooperation in the international forums targeting tax base erosion and information exchange for tax purposes. We direct our relevant authorities to explore ways of enhancing cooperation in this area. We also direct our relevant authorities to strengthen cooperation in the field of customs.

18. We remain disappointed and seriously concerned with the current non-implementation of the 2010 International Monetary Fund (IMF) reforms, which negatively impacts on the IMF’s legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness. The IMF reform process is based on high-level commitments, which already strengthened the Fund’s resources and must also lead to the modernization of its governance structure so as to better reflect the increasing weight of EMDCs in the world economy. The Fund must remain a quota-based institution. We call on the membership of the IMF to find ways to implement the 14th General Review of Quotas without further delay. We reiterate our call on the IMF to develop options to move ahead with its reform process, with a view to ensuring increased voice and representation of EMDCs, in case the 2010 reforms are not entered into force by the end of the year. We also call on the membership of the IMF to reach a final agreement on a new quota formula together with the 15th General Review of Quotas so as not to further jeopardize the postponed deadline of January 2015.

19.       We welcome the goals set by the World Bank Group to help countries end extreme poverty and to promote shared prosperity. We recognize the potential of this new strategy in support of the fulfillment of these ambitious goals by the international community. This potential will only be realized, however, if the institution and its membership effectively move towards more democratic governance structures, strengthen the Bank’s financial capacity and explore innovative ways to enhance development financing and knowledge sharing while pursuing a strong client orientation that recognizes each country’s development needs. We look forward to initiating the work on the next shareholding review at the World Bank as soon as possible in order to meet the agreed deadline of October 2015. In this sense, we call for an international financial architecture that is more conducive to overcoming development challenges. We have been very active in improving the international financial architecture through our multilateral coordination and through our financial cooperation initiatives, which will, in a complementary manner, increase the diversity and availability of resources for promoting development and ensuring stability in the global economy.

20. We are committed to raise our economic cooperation to a qualitatively new level. To achieve this, we emphasize the importance of establishing a road map for intra-BRICS economic cooperation. In this regard, we welcome the proposals for a “BRICS Economic Cooperation Strategy” and a “Framework of BRICS Closer Economic Partnership”, which lay down steps to promote intra-BRICS economic, trade and investment cooperation. Based on the documents tabled and informed by the input of the BRICS Think Tanks Council (BTTC), we instruct our Sherpas to advance discussions with a view to submit their proposal for endorsement by the next BRICS Summit.

21. We believe all countries should enjoy due rights, equal opportunities and fair participation in global economic, financial and trade affairs, recognizing that countries have different capacities and are at different levels of development. We strive for an open world economy with efficient allocation of resources, free flow of goods, and fair and orderly competition to the benefit of all. In reaffirming our support for an open, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent and rule-based multilateral trading system, we will continue our efforts towards the successful conclusion of the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO), following the positive results of the Ninth Ministerial Conference (MC9), held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013. In this context, we reaffirm our commitment to establish by the end of this year a post-Bali work program for concluding the Doha Round, based on the progress already made and in keeping with the mandate established in the Doha Development Agenda. We affirm that this work program should prioritize the issues where legally binding outcomes could not be achieved at MC9, including Public Stock-Holding for Food Security Purposes. We look forward to the implementation of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation. We call upon international partners to provide support to the poorest, most vulnerable WTO members to enable them to implement this Agreement, which should support their development objectives. We strongly support the WTO dispute settlement system as a cornerstone of the security and predictability of the multilateral trading system and we will enhance our ongoing dialogue on substantive and practical matters relating to it, including in the ongoing negotiations on WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding reform. We recognize the importance of Regional Trade Agreements, which should complement the multilateral trading system, and of keeping them open, inclusive and transparent, as well as refraining from introducing exclusive and discriminatory clauses and standards.

22. We reaffirm the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) mandate as the focal point in the UN system dedicated to consider the interrelated issues of trade, investment, finance and technology from a development perspective. UNCTAD’s mandate and work are unique and necessary to deal with the challenges of development and growth in the increasingly interdependent global economy. In congratulating UNCTAD for the 50th anniversary of its foundation in 2014, which is also the anniversary of the establishment of the Group of 77, we further reaffirm the importance of strengthening UNCTAD’s capacity to deliver on its programs of consensus building, policy dialogue, research, technical cooperation and capacity building so that it is better equipped to deliver on its development mandate.

 

23. We acknowledge the important role that State Owned Companies (SOCs) play in the economy and encourage our SOCs to continue to explore ways of cooperation, exchange of information and best practices. We also recognize the fundamental role played by small and medium-sized enterprises in the economies of our countries as major creators of jobs and wealth. We will enhance cooperation and recognize the need for strengthening intra-BRICS dialogue with a view to promote international exchange and cooperation and to foster innovation, research and development.

24. We underline that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN) and the end of the Second World War. In this connection, we support the UN to initiate and organize commemorative events to mark and pay tribute to these two historical moments in human history, and reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding a just and fair international order based on the UN Charter, maintaining world peace and security, as well as promoting human progress and development.

25. We reiterate our strong commitment to the UN as the fundamental multilateral organization entrusted with helping the international community maintain international peace and security, protect and foster human rights and promote sustainable development. The UN enjoys universal membership and is at the very center of global governance and multilateralism. We recall the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. We reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to Brazil, India and South Africa’s status and role in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.

26. We recall that development and security are closely interlinked, mutually reinforcing and key to attaining sustainable peace. We reiterate our view that the establishment of sustainable peace requires a comprehensive, concerted and determined approach, based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equity and cooperation, that addresses the root causes of conflicts, including their political, economic and social dimensions. In this context, we also stress the close interrelation between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. We also highlight the importance of bringing gender perspectives to conflict prevention and resolution, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

27. We will continue our joint efforts in coordinating positions and acting on shared interests on global peace and security issues for the common well-being of humanity. We stress our commitment to the sustainable and peaceful settlement of disputes, according to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter. We condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law and universally recognized norms of international relations. Bearing this in mind, we emphasize the unique importance of the indivisible nature of security, and that no State should strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others.

28. We agree to continue to treat all human rights, including the right to development, in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis. We will foster dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect in the field of human rights, both within BRICS and in multilateral fora – including the United Nations Human Rights Council where all BRICS serve as members in 2014 – taking into account the necessity to promote, protect and fulfill human rights in a non-selective, non-politicized and constructive manner, and without double standards.

29. We commend the efforts made by the United Nations, the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), among others, in support for the realization of legislative and presidential elections in Guinea Bissau, paving the way for the return to constitutional democracy in the country. We recognize the importance of promoting long-term political stability in Guinea-Bissau, which necessarily encompasses measures to reduce food insecurity and to advance a comprehensive security sector reform, as proposed by the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission. Similarly, we also welcome the efforts of the UN, AU and Southern African Development Community (SADC) in support of legislative and presidential elections in Madagascar, assisting in the return of constitutional democracy in the country.

30. We commend the efforts of the international community in addressing instability in Africa through engagement with, and coordination by, the AU and its Peace and Security Council. We express our deep concern at the deterioration of the security and the humanitarian situation in West Africa. We call upon all parties in these conflicts to cease hostilities, exercise restraint and engage in dialogue to ensure return to peace and stability. However, we also note the progress that has been made in areas of the region in addressing political and security challenges.

31. We also express our concern with the plight of the abducted women and children of Chibok and call for an end to the continued terrorist acts perpetrated by Boko Haram.

32. We support the efforts of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in its task to help the Government of Mali fully stabilize the country, facilitate national political dialogue, protect civilians, monitor the human rights situation, create conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance and the return of displaced persons, and extend the State authority in the whole country. We emphasize the importance of an inclusive political process; the immediate implementation of a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process; and political, economic and social development in order for Mali to achieve sustainable peace and stability.

33. We express our concern about the ongoing political and humanitarian crises in South Sudan. We condemn the continuation of violence against civilians and call upon all parties to ensure a safe environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We also condemn the continuation of confrontations despite the successive commitments to the cessation of hostilities and express our belief that a sustainable solution to the crisis is only possible through an inclusive political dialogue aimed at national reconciliation. We support, in this regard, the regional efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, especially the mediation process led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). We welcome the “Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan”, signed on May 9, and expect the political leaders of South Sudan to remain committed to the negotiation process and to the completion of dialogue on the formation of a transitional government of national unity within 60 days, as announced by IGAD on June 10. We commend the efforts of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to fulfill its mandate and express our deep concern about the armed attacks that were led against UN bases in the country.

34. We reiterate our grave concern with the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). We strongly condemn the abuses and acts of violence against the civilian population, including sectarian violence, and urge all armed groups to cease hostilities immediately. We recognize the efforts of the Economic Community of Central African States and the AU to restore peace and stability in the country. We commend the establishment of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA). We express our support for a successful transition from the African-led International Support Mission to the CAR (MISCA) to MINUSCA by 15 September 2014. We urge the transitional authorities in the CAR to adhere strictly to the N’Djamena Roadmap. We call upon all parties to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need. We reaffirm our readiness to work with the international community to assist the CAR in accelerating the implementation of the political process of the country.

35. We support the efforts by the UN, in particular the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), deployed under UN Security Council resolution 2098, and the regional and sub-regional organizations to bring peace and stability to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and we call upon all involved to honor their obligations in order to achieve lasting peace and stability in the DRC.

36. We welcome the AU Malabo Summit decision to establish an interim African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) by October 2014 to respond quickly to crisis situations as they arise. We stress the importance of adequate support to ensure the timely operationalization of the ACIRC, pending the final establishment of the African Stand-by Force.

37. We express deep concern about the ongoing violence and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria and condemn the increasing violations of human rights by all parties. We reiterate our view that there is no military solution to the conflict, and highlight the need to avoid its further militarization. We call upon all parties to commit immediately to a complete cease-fire, to halt violence and to allow and facilitate immediate, safe, full and unimpeded access for humanitarian organizations and agencies, in compliance with the UN Security Council resolution 2139. We recognize practical steps undertaken by the Syrian parties in implementing its requirements, including the practice of local cease-fire agreements reached between the Syrian authorities and the opposition forces.

We reiterate our condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever it occurs. We are gravely concerned at the continued threat of terrorism and extremism in Syria. We call on all Syrian parties to commit to putting an end to terrorist acts perpetrated by Al-Qaeda, its affiliates and other terrorist organizations.

We strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons in any circumstances. We welcome the decision of the Syrian Arab Republic to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention. In accordance with related Organization for the Proscription of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council decisions and UN Security Council resolution 2118, we reiterate the importance of the complete removal and elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons. We commend the progress in that regard and welcome the announcement that the removal of declared chemicals from the Syrian Arab Republic was completed. We call on all Syrian parties and interested external actors with relevant capabilities to work closely together and with the OPCW and the UN to arrange for the security of the monitoring and destruction mission in its final stage.

We support the mediation role played by the UN. We appreciate the contribution made by former Joint UN – Arab League Special Representative for Syria, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, and welcome the appointment of Mr. Staffan De Mistura as UN Special Envoy to Syria, and express our hope for his active efforts to promote an early resumption of comprehensive negotiations.  We recall that national dialogue and reconciliation are key to the political solution for the Syrian crisis. We take note of the recent Syrian presidential elections. We stress that only an inclusive political process, led by the Syrians, as recommended in the Action Group on Syria Final Communiqué of 2012, will lead to peace, effective protection of civilians, the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian society for freedom and prosperity and respect for Syrian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. We emphasize that a national reconciliation process needs to be launched as early as possible, in the interest of the national unity of Syria. To that end, we urge all parties in Syria to demonstrate political will, enhance mutual understanding, exercise restraint and commit to seeking common ground in accommodating their differences.

38. We reaffirm our commitment to contribute to a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of the universally recognized international legal framework, including the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid Principles and the Arab Peace Initiative. We believe that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a fundamental component for building a sustainable peace in the Middle East. We call upon Israel and Palestine to resume negotiations leading to a two-State solution with a contiguous and economically viable Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with Israel, within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders based on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We oppose the continuous construction and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Government, which violates international law, gravely undermines peace efforts and threatens the viability of the two-State solution. We welcome recent efforts to achieve intra-Palestinian unity, including the formation of a national unity government and steps towards conducting general elections, which is key element to consolidate a democratic and sustainable Palestinian State, and call on the parties to fully commit to the obligations assumed by Palestine. We call on the UN Security Council to fully exercise its functions under the UN Charter with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We recall with satisfaction the decision of the UN General Assembly to proclaim 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, welcome the efforts of UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in providing assistance and protection for Palestine refugees and encourage the international community to continue to support the activities of the agency.

39. We express our support for the convening, at the earliest possible date, of the Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. We call upon all states of the region to attend the Conference and to engage constructively and in a pragmatic manner with a view to advancing that goal.

40. Noting the open-ended consultations on a draft International Code of Conduct on Outer Space Activities, and the active and constructive engagement of our countries in these consultations, we call for an inclusive and consensus-based multilateral negotiation to be conducted within the framework of the UN without specific deadlines in order to reach a balanced outcome that addresses the needs and reflects the concerns of all participants. Reaffirming our will that the exploration and use of outer space shall be for peaceful purposes, we stress that negotiations for the conclusion of an international agreement or agreements to prevent an arms race in outer space remain a priority task of the Conference on Disarmament, and welcome the introduction by China and Russia of the updated draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects.

41. While reiterating our view that there is no alternative to a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, we reaffirm our support to its resolution through political and diplomatic means and dialogue. In this context, we welcome the positive momentum generated by talks between Iran and the E3+3 and encourage the thorough implementation of the Geneva Joint Plan of Action of 24 November 2013, with a view to achieving a comprehensive and long-lasting solution to this issue. We also encourage Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to continue strengthening their cooperation and dialogue on the basis of the Joint Statement signed on 11 November 2013. We recognize Iran’s inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a manner consistent with its international obligations.

42. Recognizing that peace, security and development are closely interlinked, we reaffirm that Afghanistan needs time, development assistance and cooperation, preferential access to world markets and foreign investment to attain lasting peace and stability. We support the commitment of the international community to remain engaged in Afghanistan during the transformation decade (2015-2024), as enunciated at the Bonn International Conference in December 2011. We stress that the UN should play an increasingly important role in assisting Afghanistan’s national reconciliation, recovery and economic reconstruction. We also reaffirm our commitment to support Afghanistan’s emergence as a peaceful, stable and democratic state, free of terrorism and extremism, and underscore the need for more effective regional and international cooperation for the stabilization of Afghanistan, including by combating terrorism. We extend support to the efforts aimed at combating illicit traffic in opiates originating in Afghanistan within the framework of the Paris Pact. We expect a broad-based and inclusive peace process in Afghanistan which is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. We welcome the second round of the presidential elections in Afghanistan which contribute to the democratic transfer of power in this country. We welcome China’s offer to host the Fourth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in August 2014.

43. We are deeply concerned by the situation in Iraq. We strongly support the Iraqi government in its effort to overcome the crisis, uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are concerned about spillover effects of the instability in Iraq resulting from increased terrorist activities in the region, and urge all parties to address the terrorist threat in a consistent manner. We urge all regional and global players to refrain from interference that will further deepen the crisis and to support the Iraqi government and the people of Iraq in their efforts to overcome the crisis, and build a stable, inclusive and united Iraq. We emphasize the importance of national reconciliation and unity in Iraq, taking into consideration the wars and conflicts the Iraqi people have sufferedand in this context we commend the peaceful and orderly holding of the latest parliamentary elections.

44. We express our deep concern with the situation in Ukraine. We call for a comprehensive dialogue, the de-escalation of the conflict and restraint from all the actors involved, with a view to finding a peaceful political solution, in full compliance with the UN Charter and universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.

45. We reaffirm our commitment to continue to tackle transnational organized crime, with full respect for human rights, in order to reduce the negative impact it has on individuals and societies. We encourage joint efforts aimed at preventing and combating transnational criminal activities in accordance with national legislations and international legal instruments, especially the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. In this regard, we welcome BRICS cooperation in multilateral fora, highlighting our engagement in the ECOSOC Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

46. Piracy and armed robbery at sea are complex phenomena that must be fought effectively in a comprehensive and integrated manner. We welcome the efforts made by the international community to counter maritime piracy and call upon all stakeholders – civilian and military, public and private – to remain engaged in the fight against this phenomenon.  We also highlight the need for a transparent and objective review of the High Risk Areas, with a view to avoiding unnecessary negative effects on the economy and security of coastal states.  We commit to strengthen our cooperation on this serious issue.

47. We are deeply concerned by the world drug problem, which continues to threaten public health, safety and well-being and to undermine social, economic and political stability and sustainable development. We are committed to countering the world drug problem, which remains a common and shared responsibility, through an integrated, multidisciplinary, mutually reinforcing and balanced approach to supply and demand reduction strategies, in line with the three UN drug conventions and other relevant norms and principles of international law. We welcome the substantive work done by Russia in preparing and hosting the International Ministers Meeting on 15 May 2014 to discuss the world drug problem. We take note of the proposal for the creation of an Anti-Drug Working Group presented at the Second Meeting of BRICS Heads of Drug Control Agencies.

48. We reiterate our strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stress that there can be no justification, whatsoever, for any acts of terrorism, whether based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic, or any other justification. We call upon all entities to refrain from financing, encouraging, providing training for or otherwise supporting terrorist activities. We believe that the UN has a central role in coordinating international action against terrorism, which must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter, and with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this context, we reaffirm our commitment to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We express our concern at the increasing use, in a globalized society, by terrorists and their supporters, of information and communications technologies (ICTs), in particular the Internet and other media, and reiterate that such technologies can be powerful tools in countering the spread of terrorism, including by promoting tolerance and dialogue among peoples. We will continue to work together to conclude as soon as possible negotiations and to adopt in the UN General Assembly the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. We also stress the need to promote cooperation among our countries in preventing terrorism, especially in the context of major events.

49. We believe that ICTs should provide instruments to foster sustainable economic progress and social inclusion, working together with the ICT industry, civil society and academia in order to realize the ICT-related potential opportunities and benefits for all. We agree that particular attention should be given to young people and to small and medium-sized enterprises, with a view to promoting international exchange and cooperation, as well as to fostering innovation, ICT research and development. We agree that the use and development of ICTs through international cooperation and universally accepted norms and principles of international law is of paramount importance, in order to ensure a peaceful, secure and open digital and Internet space. We strongly condemn acts of mass electronic surveillance and data collection of individuals all over the world, as well as violation of the sovereignty of States and of human rights, in particular the right to privacy. We take note of the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet, held in São Paulo, on 23-24 April 2014. We thank Brazil for having organized it.

50. We will explore cooperation on combating cybercrimes and we also recommit to the negotiation of a universal legally binding instrument in that field. We consider that the UN has a central role in this matter. We agree it is necessary to preserve ICTs, particularly the Internet, as an instrument of peace and development and to prevent its use as a weapon. Moreover, we commit ourselves to working together in order to identify possibilities of developing joint activities to address common security concerns in the use of ICTs. We reiterate the common approach set forth in the eThekwini Declaration about the importance of security in the use of ICTs. We welcome the decision of the National Security Advisors to establish a group of experts of BRICS member States which will elaborate practical proposals concerning major fields of cooperation and coordinate our positions in international fora. Bearing in mind the significance of these issues, we take note of Russia’s proposal of a BRICS agreement on cooperation in this field to be jointly elaborated.

51. We reiterate our commitment to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols, with special attention to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Targets. We recognize the challenge posed by the agreed targets on conservation of biodiversity and reaffirm the need to implement the decisions on resource mobilization agreed to by all parties in Hyderabad in 2012, and set resource mobilization targets that are ambitious in order to allow for their fulfillment.

52. Acknowledging that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind, we call on all countries to build upon the decisions adopted in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with a view to reaching a successful conclusion by 2015, of negotiations on the development of a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties, in accordance with the principles and provisions of UNFCCC, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. In this regard, we reiterate our support to the Presidency of the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, to be held in Lima, Peru, in December 2014. We also note the convening of the UN Climate Summit 2014 to be held this September.

53. While bearing in mind that fossil fuel remains one of the major sources of energy, we reiterate our belief that renewable and clean energy, research and development of new technologies and energy efficiency, can constitute an important driver to promote sustainable development, create new economic growth, reduce energy costs and increase the efficiency in the use of natural resources. Considering the dynamic link between renewable and clean energy and sustainable development, we reaffirm the importance of continuing international efforts aimed at promoting the deployment of renewable and clean energy and energy efficiency technologies, taking into account national policies, priorities and resources. We stand for strengthening international cooperation to promote renewable and clean energy and to universalize energy access, which is of great importance to improving the standard of living of our peoples.

54. We are committed to working towards an inclusive, transparent and participative intergovernmental process for building a universal and integrated development agenda with poverty eradication as the central and overarching objective. The agenda should integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced and comprehensive manner with concise, implementable and measurable goals, taking into account differing national realities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. The Post-2015 Development Agenda must also be based on and fully respect all Rio principles on sustainable development, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. We welcome the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals, which decided to launch an intergovernmental process at the beginning of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly that will lead to the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

55. We reiterate our commitment to the UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to working together to achieve a consensual and ambitious proposal on SDGs. We emphasize the importance of the work by the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and highlight the need for an effective sustainable development financing strategy to facilitate the mobilization of resources in achieving sustainable development objectives and supporting developing countries in the implementation efforts, with ODA as a major source of financing. We support the creation of a facilitation mechanism for the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies and call for the establishment of a working group within the UN on this proposal, taking into account the Rio+20 outcome document and the Secretary General’s reports on the issue. In this regard, we reaffirm that the outcome of each of these processes can contribute to the formulation of Sustainable Development Goals.

56. We recognize the strategic importance of education for sustainable development and inclusive economic growth. We reaffirm our commitment to accelerating progress in attaining the Education for All goals and education-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and stress that the development agenda beyond 2015 should build on these goals to ensure equitable, inclusive and quality education and lifelong learning for all. We are willing to strengthen intra-BRICS cooperation in the area and welcome the meeting of Ministers of Education held in Paris, in November 2013. We intend to continue cooperation with relevant international organizations. We encourage the initiative to establish the BRICS Network University.

57. In March 2014 we agreed to collaborate through dialogue, cooperation, sharing of experiences and capacity building on population related matters of mutual concern to member states. We recognize the vital importance of the demographic dividend that many of us possess to advance our sustainable development as well as the need to integrate population factors into national development plans, and to promote a long-term balanced population and development. The demographic transition and post-transition challenges, including population ageing and mortality reduction are amongst the most important challenges facing the world today. We confirm our strong commitment to address social issues in general and in particular gender inequality, women’s rights and issues facing young people and we reaffirm our determination to ensure sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all.

58. We recognize that corruption negatively affects sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and financial stability. We are committed to combat domestic and foreign bribery, and strengthen international cooperation, including law enforcement cooperation, in accordance with multilaterally established principles and norms, especially the UN Convention Against Corruption.

59. Considering the link between culture and sustainable development, as well as the role of cultural diplomacy as a promoter of understanding between peoples, we will encourage cooperation between BRICS countries in the cultural sector, including on the multilateral basis. Recognizing the contribution and the benefits of cultural exchanges and cooperation in enhancing our mutual understanding and friendship, we will actively promote greater awareness, understanding and appreciation of each other’s arts and culture. In this regard, we ask our relevant authorities responsible for culture to explore areas of practical cooperation, including to expedite negotiations on the draft agreement on cultural cooperation.

60. We are pleased with progress in implementing the eThekwini Action Plan, which further enhanced our cooperation and unleashed greater potential for our development. In this regard, we commend South Africa for the full implementation of the eThekwini Action Plan.

61. We are committed to promoting agricultural cooperation and to exchange information regarding strategies for ensuring access to food for the most vulnerable population, reduction of negative impact of climate change on food security and adaptation of agriculture to climate change. We recall with satisfaction the decision of UN General Assembly to declare 2014 the International Year of Family Farming.

62. We take note of the following meetings which were held in preparation for this Summit:

- Third BRICS Think Tanks Council (BTTC);

- Third BRICS Business Council;

- Sixth Academic Forum;

- Fifth Business Forum;

- Fourth Financial Forum.

63. We welcome the outcomes of the meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and endorse the Joint Communiqué of the Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers held in preparation for the Summit.

64. The 5th edition of the BRICS Business Forum provided an opportunity for match-making and for in-depth discussion of highly relevant issues of the trade and investment agenda. We welcome the meeting of the BRICS Business Council and commend it for its Annual Report 2013/2014. We encourage the respective business communities to follow-up the initiatives proposed and to deepen dialogue and cooperation in the five areas dealt with by the Industry/Sector Working Groups with a view to intensifying trade and investment flows amongst BRICS countries as well as between BRICS and other partners around the world.

65. We reiterate our commitment made during the BRICS Leaders-Africa Retreat at the 5th BRICS Summit to foster and develop BRICS-Africa cooperation in support of the socioeconomic development of Africa, particularly with regard to infrastructure development and industrialization. We welcome the inclusion of these issues in discussions during the BRICS Business Council Meeting, held in Johannesburg in August 2013.

66. We welcome the BTTC Study “Towards a Long-Term Strategy for BRICS: Recommendations by the BTTC”. We acknowledge the decision taken by the BTTC, taken at its Rio de Janeiro meeting in March 2014 to focus its work on the five pillars upon which the BRICS long-term strategy for cooperation will rest. The BTTC is encouraged to develop strategic pathways and action plans that will lead to the realization of this long-term strategy.

67. We welcome the holding of the first Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Cape Town Declaration, which is aimed at: (i) strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation; (ii) addressing common global and regional socio-economic challenges utilizing shared experiences and complementarities; (iii) co-generating new knowledge and innovative products, services and processes utilizing appropriate funding and investment instruments; and (iv) promoting, where appropriate, joint BRICS partnerships with other strategic actors in the developing world. We instruct the BRICS Ministers of Science and Technology to sign at their next meeting the Memorandum of Understanding on Science, Technology and Innovation, which provides a strategic framework for cooperation in this field.

68. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Information Sharing and Exchange Platform, which seeks to facilitate trade and investment cooperation.

69. We will continue to improve competition policy and enforcement, undertake actions to address challenges that BRICS Competition Authorities face and further enable competitive environments in order to enhance contributions to economic growth in our economies. We note South Africa’s offer to host the 4th Meeting of BRICS Competition Authorities in 2015.

70. We reiterate our commitment to fostering our partnership for common development. To this end, we adopt the Fortaleza Action Plan.

71. Russia, India, China and South Africa extend their warm appreciation to the Government and people of Brazil for hosting the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza.

72. Brazil, India, China and South Africa convey their appreciation to Russia for its offer to host the Seventh BRICS Summit in 2015 in the city of Ufa and extend their full support to that end.

Fortaleza Action Plan

1. Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs / International Relations on the margins of UN General Assembly.

2. Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisors.

3. Mid-term meeting of BRICS Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas.

4. Meetings of BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on the margins of G20 meetings, WB/IMF meetings, as well as stand-alone meetings, as required.

5. Meetings of BRICS Trade Ministers on the margin of multilateral events, or stand-alone meetings, as required.

6. Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development, preceded by the Meeting of BRICS Agricultural Cooperation Working Group.

7. Meeting of BRICS Health Ministers.

8. Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Science, Technology and Innovation.

9. Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education.

10. Meeting of Ministers or Senior Officials responsible for social security, on the margins of a multilateral meeting.

11. BRICS Seminar of Officials and Experts on Population Matters.

12. Meeting of BRICS Cooperatives (held in Curitiba on 14-16 May 2014).

13. Meetings of financial and fiscal authorities on the margins of WB/IMF meetings as well as stand-alone meetings, as required.

14. Meetings of the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI).

15. Meeting of the BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum.

16. Meeting of the BRICS Urbanization Forum.

17. Meeting of BRICS Competition Authorities in 2015 in South Africa.

18. Meeting of BRICS Heads of National Statistical Institutions.

19. Meeting of Anti-Drug Experts.

20. Meeting of BRICS Experts on Anti-corruption cooperation, on the margins of a multilateral meeting

21. Consultations amongst BRICS Permanent Missions and/or Embassies, as appropriate, in New York, Vienna, Rome, Paris, Washington, Nairobi and Geneva, where appropriate.

22. Consultative meeting of BRICS Senior Officials on the margins of relevant sustainable development, environment and climate related international fora, where appropriate.

23. Sports and Mega Sporting Events.

New areas of cooperation to be explored

- Mutual recognition of Higher Education Degrees and Diplomas;

- Labor and Employment, Social Security, Social Inclusion Public Policies;

- Foreign Policy Planning Dialogue;

- Insurance and reinsurance;

- Seminar of Experts on E-commerce.

The 4th Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers – Joint Communiqué – Fortaleza, 14 July 2014

The Ministers responsible for trade of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met in Fortaleza, Brazil, on 14 July 2014, on the eve of the Sixth BRICS Summit.

Global economic developments and their impact on trade and investment

1. The BRICS Trade Ministers reviewed the global economic situation and expressed concern at the slow pace of recovery, which continues to hinder trade and investment flows. They noted that the uncertainty regarding economic growth and policy responses in developed countries could lead to increased volatility in financial markets and further affect the international economy. They emphasized that updating international governance structures remains a necessity for better policy coordination and for the promotion of global economic prosperity.

2. The Ministers expressed their confidence that, in spite of the challenging economic environment, the BRICS countries will continue to contribute to the global economic recovery. They welcomed the expansion of trade and investment among the BRICS countries and vowed to continue to work to further strengthen their economic relations. In this context, they reaffirmed their commitment to refrain from trade protectionist measures that are incompatible with WTO obligations, while respecting the special and differential treatment for developing countries.

Current state of play in the WTO and the way forward

3. The BRICS Trade Ministers noted the succesful outcome of the WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali in December 2013. They undertook to pursue vigourously the achievement of the objectives and timelines set out in the Bali Ministerial decisions. They reaffirmed the importance of an open and rules-based multilateral trading system and underlined the central role of the WTO in setting rules for global trade.

4. The Ministers emphasized that the conclusion of the Doha Round on the basis of its development mandate remains central to the objective of promoting the full integration of developing countries into the global trading system.

5. The Ministers affirmed their commitment to coordinate efforts with a view to ensuring that the efforts to establish a work programme in the WTO will lead to a balanced, transparent, inclusive and development-oriented outcome in all pillars. The Ministers also reaffirmed that the work programme should reflect the centrality of agriculture and of the development dimension and the commitment to prioritise the issues where legally-binding outcomes could not be achieved at the Bali Ministerial Conference. The Ministers also noted the importance of NAMA and services and the need to work on the existing Doha texts.

BRICS cooperation on trade and investment matters

6. The Ministers noted that trade and investment make a vital contribution to the creation of jobs and to the promotion of strong, sustainable and balanced growth and development.

7. The Ministers welcomed the Joint Trade Study prepared by the Contact Group for Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI). The Study makes important recommendations for promoting value-added exports among our countries and ensuring that intra-BRICS trade is more sustainable. They have noted the Report and instructed the CGETI to continue working on its recommendations.

8. The Ministers took note of the discussions in the CGETI on a range of actions to foster economic cooperation and to promote trade and investment between the BRICS.

9. The Ministers endorsed the BRICS Trade and Investment Facilitation Action Plan developed by the CGETI. They noted that it built upon the BRICS Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework and encouraged BRICS members to implement it on a voluntary basis.

10. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of a continued dialogue on international investment agreements. They noted the principles outlined in the document “A BRICS Perspective on International Investment Agreements” as a voluntary reference for countries to advance a more balanced approach to investment treaties.

11. The Ministers emphasized the importance of strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation in e-commerce, with a view to extending the opportunities for intra-BRICS trade and enhancing closer economic cooperation. They welcomed the proposal to establish a BRICS Expert Dialogue on Electronic Commerce. They instructed the CGETI to elaborate terms of reference for the Expert Dialogue.

12. The Ministers acknowledged the documents “BRICS Economic Cooperation Strategy” and “Framework of BRICS Closer Economic Partnership” and welcomed the efforts to establish guidelines for a coordinated approach to economic cooperation among the BRICS, especially on trade and investment.

13. The Ministers highlighted the potential for forging closer links between the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) of the BRICS. They instructed their officials to explore ways to promote cooperation in this field, such as sharing information on the MSME regulatory framework, promoting business to business contacts and identifying the appropriate institutional framework for MSME cooperation.

Gaza, il gas nel mirino

July 16th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Per capire qual è uno degli obiettivi dell’attacco israeliano a Gaza bisogna andare in profondità, esattamente a 600 metri sotto il livello del mare, 30 km al largo delle sue coste. Qui, nelle acque territoriali palestinesi, c’è un grosso giacimento di gas naturale, Gaza Marine, stimato in 30 miliardi di metri cubi del valore di miliardi di dollari. Altri giacimenti di gas e petrolio, secondo una carta redatta dalla U.S. Geological Survey (agenzia del governo degli Stati uniti), si trovano sulla terraferma a Gaza e in Cisgiordania. Nel 1999, con un accordo firmato da Yasser Arafat, l’Autorità palestinese affida lo sfruttamento di Gaza Marine a un consorzio formato da British Gas Group e Consolidated Contractors (compagnia privata palestinese), rispettivamente col 60% e il 30% delle quote, nel quale il Fondo d’investimento dell’Autorità ha una quota del 10%. Vengono perforatidue pozzi, Gaza Marine-1 e Gaza Marine-2. Essi però non entrano mai in funzione, poiché sono bloccati da Israele, che pretende di avere tutto il gas a prezzi stracciati. Tramite l’ex premier Tony Blair, inviato del  «Quartetto per il Medio Oriente», viene preparato un accordo con Israele che toglie ai palestinesi i tre quarti dei futuri introiti del gas, versando la parte loro spettante in un conto internazionale controllato da Washington e Londra. Ma, subito dopo aver vinto le elezioni nel 2006, Hamas rifiuta l’accordo, definendolo un furto, e chiede una sua rinegoziazione. Nel 2007, l’attuale ministro della difesa israeliano Moshe Ya’alon avverte che «il gas non può essere estratto senza una operazione militare che sradichi il controllo di Hamas a Gaza». Nel 2008, Israele lancia l’operazione «Piombo Fuso» contro Gaza. Nel settembre 2012 l’Autorità palestinese annuncia che, nonostante l’opposizione di Hamas, ha ripreso i negoziati sul gas con Israele. Due mesi dopo, l’ammissione della Palestina all’Onu quale «Stato osservatore non membro»  rafforza la posizione dell’Autorità palestinese nei negoziati. Gaza Marine resta però bloccato, impedendo ai palestinesi di sfruttare la ricchezza naturale di cui dispongono. A questo punto l’Autorità palestinese imbocca un’altra strada. Il 23 gennaio 2014, nell’incontro del presidente palestinese Abbas col presidente russo Putin, viene discussa la possibilità di affidare alla russa Gazprom lo sfruttamento del giacimento di gas nelle acque di Gaza. Lo annuncia l’agenzia Itar-Tass, sottolineando che Russia e Palestina intendono rafforzare la cooperazione nel settore energetico. In tale quadro, oltre allo sfruttamento del giacimento di Gaza, si prevede quello di un giacimento petrolifero nei pressi della città palestinese di Ramallah in Cisgiordania. Nella stessa zona, la società russa Technopromexport è pronta a partecipare alla costruzione di un impianto termoelettrico della potenza di 200 MW. La formazione del nuovo governo palestinese di unità nazionale, il 2 giugno 2014, rafforza la possibilità che l’accordo tra Palestina e Russia vada in porto. Dieci giorni dopo, il 12 giugno, avviene il rapimento dei tre giovani israeliani, che vengono trovati uccisi il 30 giugno: il puntuale casus belli che innesca l’operazione «Barriera protettiva» contro Gaza. Operazione che rientra nella strategia di Tel Aviv, mirante a impadronirsi anche delle riserve energetiche dell’intero Bacino di levante, comprese quelle palestinesi, libanesi e siriane, e in quella di Washington che, sostenendo Israele, mira al controllo dell’intero Medio Oriente, impedendo che la Russia riacquisti influenza nella regione. Una miscela esplosiva, le cui vittime sono ancora una volta i palestinesi.  

Manlio Dinucci

US-NATO Diplomats at United Nations Security Council Resort to Slander in Response to Shameful Fact

Backflash to 1971

Washington D.C. White House tape recordings, April 25, 1971:

President Nixon: “How many did we kill in Laos?”
National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger: “In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen thousand”

President Nixon: “See, the attack in the North Vietnam that we have in mind…power plants, whatever’s left, POL (Petroleum), the docks…and I think we ought to take the dikes out. Will that drown people?”
Kissinger: “About two hundred thousand people.”

Nixon: “I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that Henry?”

Kissinger: “That, I think, would just be too much.”

Nixon: “The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? I just want you to think big, for Christ sakes.”

May 2, 1972

Nixon: “America is not defeated. We must not lose in Vietnam…The surgical operation theory is all right, but I want that place bombed to SMITHEREENS. If we draw the sword, we’re going to bomb those bastards all over the place. Let it fly, let it fly.”

Future Fast Forward. Today, July 14, 2014

The United Nations Security Council adopted, by consensus, Resolution 2145 facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria. The resolution is not adopted under Chapter VII, and is technically, therefore, not authorization for any military action. Under “11.” The resolution “Affirms that it will take further measures in the event of non-compliance with this resolution or resolution 2139 (2014) by any Syrian party.” Any “further measures” will require another Security Council meeting, the outcome of which will depend on what “further measures” are proposed. The meeting did not involve any immediate or explicit threats of “regime change,” and did not involve any serious disagreement or debate, unlike the previous draft resolution, which was voted on May 22, 2014.

On May 22, 2014 the United Nations Security Council held its 7180 meeting on Syria, to vote on the French draft resolution S/2014/348 on ICC/Syria. The draft resolution invoked Chapter VII, which authorizes military action, and the draft resolution was vetoed by Russia and China.

Prior to this meeting, French Ambassador Araud held a press conference presenting the “Caesar” photographs, the authenticity of which was not independently confirmed. Ambassador Araud’s letter to the President of the Security Council stated: “These horrific photos suggest that some 11,000 Syrians have been tortured and executed in the regime’s prisons since the start of the conflict.”

During the press conference, the French Ambassador stated, unequivocally that “these were the most terrible crimes in the history of humanity,” a statement grossly discrediting the Ambassador’s knowledge of modern – or ancient history – and ignoring the enormity of the atrocities perpetrated upon more than 40 million Europeans by the Nazis during World War II, as well as the millions of Chinese civilians tortured and murdered by Japan during that same war, and insulting the intelligence of many members of the press in his audience. The Ambassador ignored, of course, the atrocities committed by imperialist powers throughout the twentieth century, and, indeed well into the present century. But the irresponsibility of his remark was not unique.

When a journalist from Lebanon reminded the French Ambassador of the atrocities and murder of a huge number of Algerian citizens, perpetrated by the French during the second half of the twentieth century, the French Ambassador accused the Lebanese journalist of being an “agent.” Confronted with the shameful truths about his country’s history, the Ambassador’s response degenerated to smear tactics. This was slander that would be legally actionable, in normal circumstances, but the Ambassador holds immunity. (Indeed, one seldom hears so many demands for “accountability” as one hears spoken by these diplomats who can never be held accountable.)

The French Ambassador then stated that viewing these photographs was the most terrible experience of his entire life. My own thought in response to that comment was that Ambassador Araud must have led a very sheltered and privileged life, exposed to very little reality.

This farcical press conference was followed by the Security Council meeting 7180 in which the U.S. Ambassador’s deceitful remarks betrayed either gross ignorance or deliberate indifference to the crimes perpetrated by her own government, and she indulged in wanton defamation of two of her colleagues on the Security Council. She stated, melodramatically:

“Today is about accountability for crimes so extensive and so deadly that they have few equals in modern history.”

One would expect the U.S. Ambassador to have greater knowledge of very recent heinous crimes for which her own government must be held accountable.

In 2008 “The Dark Side,” written by Jane Mayor documents the fact that: “U.S. held prisoners, some of them completely innocent, were subjected to treatment more reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition than the Twenty-First Century. On July 11, 2008, The New York Times reported:

“Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush Administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001…the Red Cross document “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.”

On page 148 (The Dark Side):

“For the same reason that the White House could argue that Afghanistan was a ‘failed state,’ unbound by international law, it was also an ideal spot for secret CIA prisons. Several other allied countries, including a number of former soviet satellite states who were hoping to win U.S. favour for their ambitions to join NATO, also agreed to host ghost prisons. Although their leaders have denied it, multiple credible reports have identified Poland and Romania in particular as host countries, however. One year of the Afghan prison operation alone cost $100 million, which Congress hid in a classified annex of the first supplemental Afghan appropriations bill in 2002. Among the services that U.S. taxpayers unwittingly paid for were medieval-like dungeons, including a reviled former brick factory outside of Kabul, known as the ‘salt pit.’ In 2004, a still unidentified prisoner froze to death there after a young CIA supervisor ordered guards to strip him naked and chain him overnight to the concrete floor. The CIA has never accounted for the death, nor publicly reprimanded the supervisor. Instead, the agency reportedly promoted him.”

On page 153 “The Dark Side” recounts:

“John Yoo (a deputy chief in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel) stated: ‘Congress doesn’t have the power to tie the President’s hand in regard to torture as an interrogation technique.’ Yoo expanded on this theory when questioned about it by the director of Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights, law school professor Doug Cassel. ‘If the President’s right to torture is so absolute,’ Cassel asked, ‘could no law stop him from crushing the testicles of the person’s child?’ Yoo responded: ‘No treaty.’ Pressed on whether a law rather than a treaty could prohibit the president from doing so, Yoo wouldn’t rule out the possibility that no law could restrain the president from barbarism.”

Recent U.S. perpetrated atrocities in Afghanistan, alone, were horrific enough for the highest officials of the U.S. government to be prosecuted for war crimes. Photos of Iraqi prisoners being bestially tortured by U.S. soldiers who looked on, laughing, caused revulsion throughout the world.

Under the circumstances, simple discretion and basic decency would have dictated that the U.S. Ambassador mute and restrain her remarks. Instead, in flagrant disregard of the crimes for which history will hold her own government accountable, she indulged in defamatory personal attacks against the two ambassadors who opposed her:

“Our grandchildren will ask us years from now how we could have failed to bring justice to people living in hell on earth. The history books may well depict photographs taken by “Caesar” of emaciated acid-scarred corpses juxtaposed with a photo of the two members of the council that prevented justice for the victims, such as Qusar, who longed to see the end of such horrors.”

Her egregious remarks leave her “hoist on her own petard,” as history books will be far more likely to show photographs of agents of her own government crushing the testicles of a child as a method of torturing his parent, juxtaposed with a photograph of her own face.

Former President Jimmy Carter recently stated that “more than any nation in the world, the U.S. has been involved in armed conflict and has used war as a means of resolving disputes…I listed 10 or 15 wars and I could have listed 10 or 15 more…The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at America as the No. 1 warmonger. That we revert to armed conflict almost at the drop of a hat.”

In an interview with David Daley on April 10, 2014, Daley remarked to President Carter: “John Kerry goes on “Meet the Press” after the Russian actions in Crimea and says, with a straight face, that “it’s the 21 Century, you can’t just invade another country anymore.” And I think a lot of us said, “Well, wait a second. That sounds a lot like something we did in Iraq, you know, during the 21 Century.

President Carter replied: “Right. We did. We do it all the time. That’s Washington. Unfortunately. And we have for years.”

Following the remarks by the U.S./NATO ambassadors at the May 22 Security Council meeting, 7180, Chinese Ambassador Wang Min replied:

“What is most urgently needed now is to urge the Government of Syria and the opposition to immediately implement a ceasefire and put an end to the violence in order to start a third round of negotiations in Geneva so as to advance the political process and embark on a political transition. In the current circumstances, to forcibly refer the situation in Syria to the ICC is not conducive either to building trust among all parties in Syria or to an early resumption of the negotiations in Geneva. It will only jeopardize the efforts made by the international community to push for a political settlement.”

Ambassador Wang Min continued:

“For some time now, the Security Council has maintained unity and coordination on the question of Syria, thanks to efforts by Council members, including China, to accommodate the major concerns of all parties. At a time when seriously diverging views exist among the parties concerning the draft resolution, we believe that the Council should continue holding consultations, rather than forcing a vote on the draft resolution, in order to avoid undermining Council unity or obstructing coordination and cooperation on questions such as Syria and other major serious issues. Regrettably, China’s approach has not been taken on board; China therefore voted against the draft resolution. I have already clearly elaborated my country’s position and explicitly highlighted the facts and reasons. Just now, the United States, the United Kingdom and other Western countries have made totally unfounded accusations against China. That is irresponsible and hypocritical. China firmly rejects the slander expressed by those Western countries against China.”

He ended:

“China attaches great importance to the legitimate concerns of all sides and of the Arab countries on the question of Syria. We remain willing to maintain close contact with all parties and promote active efforts to seek a political solution to the question of Syria and to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East region.”

The Russian Ambassador stated:

“It is difficult to discern the motives that led France to initiate the draft and put it to a vote, fully aware in advance of the fate it would meet…Why deal such a blow to P5 unity at this stage? Is it just to try once again to create a pretext for armed intervention in the Syrian conflict?…What justice can one talk about when the overriding policy is aimed at escalating the conflict? The draft resolution rejected today reveals an attempt to use the ICC to further inflame political passions and lay the ultimate groundwork for eventual outside military intervention. It should be noted that the so-called Caesar report (S/2014/244, annex), which was used to build up tension in the run-up to the introduction to the draft resolution, was based on unconfirmed information obtained from unverifiable sources and therefore cannot serve as a platform for taking such a serious decision.”

There have been honourable voices of dissent within the United States government (frequently just prior to the dissenter’s “resignation” from government):

May 19, 1967, just prior to his resignation, United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara stated (The Pentagon Papers, page 577, Bantam Books):

“There may be a limit beyond which many Americans and much of the world will not permit the United States to go. The picture of the world’s greatest superpower killing or seriously injuring 1,000 non-combatants a week, while trying to pound a tiny backward nation into submission on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one. It could conceivably produce a costly distortion in the American national consciousness and in the world image of the United States – especially if the damage to North Vietnam is complete enough to be “successful.”

Secretary McNamara’s main and most trusted adviser was the brilliant Assistant Secretary of Defense John T. McNaughton, who, early in May, 1967 wrote to McNamara:

“A feeling is widely and strongly held that ‘the Establishment’ is out of its mind. The feeling is that we are trying to impose some U.S. image on distant peoples we cannot understand (any more than we can the younger generation here at home) and that we are carrying this thing to absurd lengths. Related to this feeling is the increased polarization that is taking place in the United States with seeds of the worst split in our people in more than a century.”

Two months following McNaughton’s recommendation (just quoted above) to the Secretary of Defense, and one week before he was to be sworn in as Secretary of the Navy, John T. McNaughton, his wife and younger son were killed in a plane collision near Asheville, North Carolina. There remain disturbing questions about the midair collision. Shortly after a normal takeoff of the Boeing 727 carrying McNaughton and his family, a small red Cessna 310 suddenly came “out of nowhere” and crashed into the plane carrying McNaughton, killing everyone aboard. Harold Roberts, chief of the FAA tower at Asheville Airport said the Cessna 310 “was about 12 miles south of where it should have been.” According to the NTSB report, the pilot of the Cessna 310 should have been able to see the Boeing 727 at least 35 seconds before the collision (NTSB report PB177339). This should have been plenty of time for him to maneuver to a position below the flight path of the Boeing 727. It seems the actual pilot of the Cessna 310 directed the Cessna 310 into the flight path of the Boeing 727 causing a midair collision.

It should be noted that it was John T. McNaughton who invited Daniel Ellsberg to join the US Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton.

Africa and Globalization

July 16th, 2014 by Prof. Martin Hart-Landsberg

Economists continue to celebrate the free movement of goods, services, and capital. However, faced with slowing economic conditions in core countries, it is now third world growth that is highlighted as proof of the gains from unregulated globalization. As the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development points out:

“The crisis and its fallout have accelerated the trend toward a greater role of developing countries in the world economy. Between 2006 and 2012, 74 per cent of world GDP growth was generated in developing countries and only 22 per cent in developed countries. This is in sharp contrast to their respective contributions to global growth in previous decades: developed countries accounted for 75 per cent of global growth in the 1980s and 1990s, but this fell to a little over 50 per cent between 2000 and 2006.”

Africa, in particular, has become the new toast of investors. A 2011 African Development Bankreport celebrating the rise of the African middle class offers the following reason:

“Strong economic growth in Africa over the past two decades has been accompanied by the emergence of a sizeable middle class and a significant reduction in poverty. Also rising strongly has been a robust growth in consumption expenditures as a result of this growing middle class.”

Estimating the Growth of the Middle Class

The report estimates that Africa’s middle class reached “nearly 350 million people” in 2010. And, as Jacques Enaudeau comments:

“Since then the estimated number of middle class Africans has been arbitrarily set at 350 million, sometimes delivered as the more dramatic sound bite ‘one in three Africans.’ The African Development Bank goes on to explain that, given their higher revenues from salaried jobs or small business ownership, and the ensuing economic security, ‘Africa’s emerging consumers are likely to assume the traditional role of the U.S. and European middle classes as global consumers’.”

Marketing is everything, well almost everything. There are two big problems with this growing celebration of African progress and the free trade process said to be responsible.

Defining the Middle Class

The first problem concerns the African Development Bank’s definition of middle class. The Bank defines the middle class as those with a daily consumption of between $2 and $20 in 2005 PPP (purchasing power parity) dollars. At the lower end we are talking about a U.S. life style based on a yearly expenditure of $730! It takes quite a stretch of imagination to see that as a middle class life style.

It turns out, according to Bank statistics, that 61 per cent of Africans still live below the $2 a day poverty line. Approximately 21 per cent more live just above that amount, between $2 and $4 a day. The Bank, while including them in the middle class, also calls them a “floating class.” If we are being honest we would have to acknowledge that after decades of growth, more than 80 per cent of Africa’s population still struggles with poverty.

Moreover, as Enaudeau also points out:

“Also sobering is the geographical dispersion of the African Development Bank’s middle class: most of the African upper middle class (spending $10-$20 per day) lives in North Africa, which does not bode well with all the talk of frontier markets stimulated by a new white collar generation south of the Sahara.”

The second problem concerns the forces driving Africa’s recent growth. Africa remains highly dependent on the export of primary commodities. China’s massive drive to export manufacturers has turned the country into a major consumer of primary commodities, pushing up their prices and serving as Africa’s main source of growth. As the Asian Development Bank explains:

“Developing Asia became a major commodity-consuming region during the last decade, turning the region into a net commodity importer. Its relative importance has increased even more since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis started, as the economies of the major industrial countries slowed significantly. . . .

“The PRC [People's Republic of China] is Asia’s largest commodity consumer by far. It even overtook the U.S. in the consumption of major metals and agricultural commodities in the late 2000s, making it the world’s largest consumer of many commodities. The PRC consumed in 2011 about 20 per cent of nonrenewable energy resources, 23 per cent of major agricultural crops, and 40 per cent of base metals.

“The PRC’s share of consumption of agricultural products, such as oilseed soybeans, doubled over the past decade, driven by a change in diet to foods richer in oil.”

Unfortunately, growth based on the export of primary commodities tends to create few jobs. Take Nigeria as an example. As Jumoke explains:

“While the last decade was marked by higher economic growth, the unemployment rate actually increased from 5.8 per cent in December 2006 to 23.9 per cent in January 2012. Note that this number measures the percentage of workers actively looking for work, and does not include the rate of the chronically unemployed who have stopped looking, and the underemployed working poor. Tellingly, the poverty rate actually doubled over the last five years and now affects 112 million Nigerians, meaning that 112 million Nigerians are consistently without food, clean water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education.”

Moreover, the steady decline in U.S. growth has meant a decline in Chinese exports to the United States and a fall in key commodity prices (see chart). Thus, Africa’s boom, such as it was, appears nearing the end.

Relying on market forces is not going to do it for Africa, or for that matter Latin America, whose growth was also fueled by primary commodity exports to Asia and is now declining, quickly undermining the economic gains of the past decade. As the Wall Street Journal reports:

“A decade long commodity boom in Latin America that lifted millions out of poverty is showing signs of fatigue, as fading demand in China hits consumers and corporate earnings from Bogotá to Brasilia.”

If economists are looking to the third world to lead the way growth-wise, we are all going to be disappointed.

Martin Hart-Landsberg is Professor of Economics and Director of the Political Economy Program at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon; and Adjunct Researcher at the Institute for Social Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, South Korea. He blogs at Reports from the Economic Front where this article first appeared.

How Many People have Died from Gaza Rockets into Israel?

July 16th, 2014 by Global Research News

Fatalities from rocket and mortar attacks in Israel from the Gaza Strip, 2001–present (up-to-date as of July 15, 2014)

This page provides a current listing of total fatalities resulting from Gaza rockets and mortar shells into Israel and will be updated when necessary.

Total Israel fatalities over a ten year period of 28 compared to more than 200 Palestinian deaths in the last 2-3 week. (M. Ch. GR Editor)

Refer to the bottom of the page for notes and sources.)

Throughout news coverage of Israeli strikes into Gaza and rocket into Israel, certain numbers and infographics are bandied about frequently:

However, there is little attempt to describe other equally relevant data:

  • amount of ordnance fired by Israel into Gaza
  • types of weapons utilized by Israel, along with their firepower and range
  • a display of the potential reach of Israeli armaments superimposed on a map of the Gaza Strip

And perhaps most surprisingly,

  • the total number of people of who have been killed by Gaza rockets and mortars into Israel

The last count is especially important because of the rhetoric that relies on the threat level from Gaza rockets and mortars.

Additionally, discussion of the efficacy of Iron Dome has been almost exclusively relegated to the number of projectiles intercepted but not to the number of lives saved, which is presumably the ultimate goal. When a correlation is made between Iron Dome’s efficacy and the number of lives saved, it is often expressed in vague or implausible terms, such as “countless lives saved”“hundreds of lives saved,” and even “thousands of lives saved.”  However, Iron Dome was rolled out in stages beginning March 27, 2011. In the ten years prior to Iron Dome, only 17 fatalities were incurred.

Outside of this site, there is no easily accessible listing of fatalities resulting from Gaza rockets and mortars into Israel. A previous listing prepared by me was written before the conclusion of Israel’s November 2012 offensive and is now out of date.

Therefore I strive to maintain an up-to-date listing on this page for the benefit of journalists and analysts.

Faulty numbers on the internet

As I noted in my previous rocket fatality count, numbers distributed by Israeli agencies are wildly inaccurate and often contradictory. This is propounded by sources such as Wikipedia, which at the time of this writing repeats the discredited and unaccounted numbers provided by Israeli agencies.

As I also reported, injuries resulting from rocket and mortar strikes are exaggerated. Israel’s casualty counts always incorporate numbers of people who have been treated for “shock and anxiety,” as well as “light injuries” resulting from the rush to safety, such as “falling down the stairs.”

This practice is not employed in Gaza, nor for any other conflict.

Journalists are urged to take these factors into account when reporting on numbers.

Changes from the previous table

In addition to adding the three fatalities that occurred after publication of my earlier listing, I have reformatted the table to indicate the number of fatalities resulting from each strike.

In order to prevent confusion, I have also separated the two fatalities that resulted from handling unexploded ordnance.

Notes

Sources include, but are not limited to, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Officethe Israel Project, the Jerusaelm PostB’Tselem, and numerous press articles. I made a point of referring to official Israeli and pro-Israeli sources (which were less likely to undercount), and then cross-checking them with one another. Some ages and spellings of names vary among reports. The dates refer to when the victim was struck, not necessarily when the victim succumbed to injuries.

* Six of the fatalities were non-Jewish: Salam Ziadin, Khalid Ziadin, Hani al Mahdi, and Eliyan Salem el Nabari were Bedouin; Lutfi Nasraladin was Druze; Manee Singueanphon was a Thai national.

† Three of the fatalities were military personnel, while a fourth was a civilian killed at a military installation. Sgt.-Major Lutfi Nasraladin was killed in a mortar attack on an IDF base near Nahal Oz. Cpl. Yosef Partok, Lt. Boris Yarmolnik, and Eliyan el-Nabari were each killed in separate incidents in military posts in the Eshkol Regional Council. El-Nabari had been contracted by the Israeli Defense Ministry to build tents for soldiers who were awaiting ground deployment.

‡ Salam and Khalid Ziadin were killed while handling an unexploded Qassam rocket for salvaging. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not include the Ziadins in its list of “Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism.”

This list does not include:

1. Palestinians killed by rocket or mortar misfire in the Gaza Strip.

2. People killed by Gaza rockets and mortars targeted inside the Gaza Strip. Prior to the Gaza “disengagement,” illegal Israeli settlements within the Gaza Strip were targeted by rockets and mortars. They were not aimed inside Israel. They also do not form part of the rhetoric that rockets and mortars from Gaza constitute an “existential threat” to Israel.

In Gaza settlements and the Erez Industrial Zone, rocket and mortar attacks inflicted eight civilian fatalities: three Israeli Jews, three foreign laborers from Thailand and China, and two Palestinian laborers from Khan Younis.

Additionally there were two IDF fatalities in Gaza settlements, including a soldier killed while on his way to guard duty in Kfar Darom and a soldier killed at an IDF outpost in the Morag settlement.

All other rocket and mortar fatalities within Gaza were directed against IDF soldiers engaged in military operations outside of settlements.

3. One fatality in Israel by anti-tank missile. The rockets-and-mortars rhetoric refers to high-trajectory ordnances deployed with the following qualities: indirect fire, which coupled with a high inaccuracy rate results in nondiscriminatory targeting; a wide range that encompasses significant portions of southern Israel; and a high deployment frequency.

Anti-tank missiles are direct-fire ordnances with a more limited range and have been used infrequently against civilian targets by Gazan armed groups. There has been one civilian fatality from an anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel (Daniel Viflic, age 16, killed on April 7, 2011, near Kibbutz Sa‘ad, by an anti-tank missile that struck the bus he was riding in). B’Tselem does not include this instance in its count of rocket and mortar fatalities.

BRICS Against Washington Consensus

July 16th, 2014 by Pepe Escobar

The headline news is that this Tuesday in Fortaleza, northeast Brazil, the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) fights the (Neoliberal) World (Dis)Order via a new development bank and a reserve fund set up to offset financial crises. 

The devil, of course, is in the details of how they’ll do it. 

It’s been a long and winding road since Yekaterinburg in 2009, at their first summit, up to the BRICS’s long-awaited counterpunch against the Bretton Woods consensus – the IMF and the World Bank – as well as the Japan-dominated (but largely responding to US priorities) Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The BRICS Development Bank – with an initial US$50 billion in capital – will be not only BRICS-oriented, but invest in infrastructure projects and sustainable development on a global scale. The model is the Brazilian BNDES, which supports Brazilian companies investing across Latin America. In a few years, it will reach a financing capacity of up to $350 billion. With extra funding especially from Beijing and Moscow, the new institution could leave the World Bank in the dust. Compare access to real capital savings to US government’s printed green paper with no collateral.

And then there’s the agreement establishing a $100 billion pool of reserve currencies – the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), described by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as “a kind of mini-IMF”. That’s a non-Washington consensus mechanism to counterpunch capital flight. For the pool, China will contribute with $41 billion, Brazil, India and Russia with $18 billion each, and South Africa with $5 billion.

The development bank should be headquartered in Shanghai – although Mumbai has forcefully tried to make its case (for an Indian take on the BRICS strategy, see here )

Way beyond economy and finance, this is essentially about geopolitics – as in emerging powers offering an alternative to the failed Washington consensus. Or, as consensus apologists say, the BRICS may be able to “alleviate challenges” they face from the “international financial system”. The strategy also happens to be one of the key nodes of the progressively solidified China-Russia alliance, recently featured via the gas “deal of the century” and at the St. Petersburg economic forum.

Let’s play geopolitical ball 

Just as Brazil managed, against plenty of odds, to stage an unforgettable World Cup – the melting of the national team notwithstanding – Vladimir Putin and Xi Xinping now come to the neighborhood to play top class geopolitical ball.

The Kremlin views the bilateral relation with Brasilia as highly strategic. Putin not only watched the World Cup final in Rio; apart from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, he also met German chancellor Angela Merkel (they discussed Ukraine in detail). Yet arguably the key member of Putin’s traveling party is Elvira Nabiulin, president of Russia’s Central Bank; she is pressing in South America the concept that all negotiations with the BRICS should bypass the US dollar.

Putin’s extremely powerful, symbolic meeting with Fidel Castro in Havana, as well as writing off $36 billion in Cuban debt could not have had a more meaningful impact all across Latin America. Compare it with the perennial embargo imposed by a vengeful Empire of Chaos.

In South America, Putin is meeting not only with Uruguay’s President Pepe Mujica – discussing, among other items, the construction of a deepwater port – but also with Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Bolivia’s Evo Morales.

Xi Jinping is also on tour, visiting, apart from Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela. What Beijing is saying (and doing) complements Moscow; Latin America is viewed as highly strategic. That should translate into more Chinese investment and increased South-South integration.

This Russia-China commercial/diplomatic offensive fits the concerted push towards a multipolar world – side by side with political/economic South American leaders. Argentina is a sterling example. While Buenos Aires, already mired in recession, fights American vulture funds – the epitome of financial speculation – in New York courthouses, Putin and Xi come offering investment in everything from railways to the energy industry.

Russia’s energy industry of course needs investment and technology from private Western multinationals, just as Made in China developed out of Western investment profiting from a cheap workforce. What the BRICS are trying to present to the Global South now is a choice; on one side, financial speculation, vulture funds and the hegemony of the Masters of the Universe; on the other side, productive capitalism – an alternative strategy of capitalist development compared to the Triad (US, EU, Japan).

Still, it will be a long way for the BRICS to project a productive model independent of the casino capitalism speculation “model”, by the way still recovering from the massive 2007/2008 crisis (the financial bubble has not burst for good.)

One might view the BRICS’s strategy as a sort of running, constructive critique of capitalism; how to purge the system from perennially financing the US fiscal deficit as well as a global militarization syndrome – related to the Orwellian/Panopticon complex – subordinated to Washington. As Argentine economist Julio Gambina put it, the key question is not being emergent, but independent.

In this piece, La Stampa’s Claudio Gallo introduces what could be the defining issue of the times: how neoliberalism – ruling directly or indirectly most of the world – is producing a disastrous anthropological mutation that is plunging us all into global totalitarianism (while everyone swears by their “freedoms”).

It’s always instructive to come back to Argentina. Argentina is imprisoned by a chronic foreign debt crisis essentially unleashed by the IMF over 40 years ago – and now perpetuated by vulture funds. The BRICS bank and the reserve pool as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank offer the possibility for dozens of other nations to escape the Argentine plight. Not to mention the possibility that other emerging nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran and Turkey may soon contribute to both institutions.

No wonder the hegemonic Masters of the Universe gang is uneasy in their leather chairs. This Financial Times piece neatly summarizes the view from the City of London – a notorious casino capitalism paradise.

These are heady days in South America in more ways than one. Atlanticist hegemony will remain part of the picture, of course, but it’s the BRICS’s strategy that is pointing the way further on down the road. And still the multipolar wheel keeps rolling along.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).  He may be reached at [email protected].

The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.

The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.

But as the U.K. Parliament today debates a fast-tracked bill to provide the government with greater surveillance powers, one which Prime Minister David Cameron has justified as an “emergency” to “help keep us safe,” a newly released top-secret GCHQ document called “JTRIG Tools and Techniques” provides a comprehensive, birds-eye view of just how underhanded and invasive this unit’s operations are. The document—available in full here—is designed to notify other GCHQ units of JTRIG’s “weaponised capability” when it comes to the dark internet arts, and serves as a sort of hacker’s buffet for wreaking online havoc.

jtrig grab

The “tools” have been assigned boastful code names. They include invasive methods for online surveillance, as well as some of the very techniques that the U.S. and U.K. have harshly prosecuted young online activists for employing, including “distributed denial of service” attacks and “call bombing.” But they also describe previously unknown tactics for manipulating and distorting online political discourse and disseminating state propaganda, as well as the apparent ability to actively monitor Skype users in real-time—raising further questions aboutthe extent of Microsoft’s cooperation with spy agencies or potential vulnerabilities in its Skype’s encryption. Here’s a list of how JTRIG describes its capabilities:

• “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)

• “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER) and “mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)

• “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal.” (SILVERLORD)

• “Active skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)

• “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)

• “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)

• “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY) and “ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)

• “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)

• “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE) and “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)

• “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)” (ELATE)

• “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)

• “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)

While some of the tactics are described as “in development,” JTRIG touts “most” of them as “fully operational, tested and reliable.” It adds: “We only advertise tools here that are either ready to fire or very close to being ready.”

And JTRIG urges its GCHQ colleagues to think big when it comes to internet deception: “Don’t treat this like a catalogue. If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean we can’t build it.”

The document appears in a massive Wikipedia-style archive used by GCHQ to internally discuss its surveillance and online deception activities. The page indicates that it was last modified in July 2012, and had been accessed almost 20,000 times.

GCHQ refused to provide any comment on the record beyond its standard boilerplate, in which it claims that it acts “in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework” and is subject to “rigorous oversight.” But both claims are questionable.

British watchdog Privacy International has filed pending legal action against GCHQ over the agency’s use of malware to spy on internet and mobile phone users. Several GCHQ memos published last fall by The Guardian revealed that the agency was eager to keep its activities secret not to protect national security, but because “our main concern is that references to agency practices (ie, the scale of interception and deletion) could lead to damaging public debate which might lead to legal challenges against the current regime.” And an EU parliamentary inquiry earlier this year concluded that GCHQ activities were likely illegal.

As for oversight, serious questions have been raised about whether top national security officials even know what GCHQ is doing. Chris Huhne, a former cabinet minister and member of the national security council until 2012, insisted that ministers were in “utter ignorance” about even the largest GCHQ spying program, known as Tempora—not to mention “their extraordinary capability to hoover up and store personal emails, voice contact, social networking activity and even internet searches.” In an October Guardian op-ed, Huhne wrote that “when it comes to the secret world of GCHQ and the [NSA], the depth of my ‘privileged information’ has been dwarfed by the information provided by Edward Snowden to The Guardian.”

Life in Gaza Explained

July 15th, 2014 by Global Research News

Gaza has been described as the world’s largest open air prison. Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip has had catastrophic results for average Palestinians living there. We look at the the unforgiving realities they face everyday.

Watch more on Israel and Palestine:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

Additional Resources:

1. AJE’s Gaza interactive: http://ajinteractive.businesscatalyst…

2. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Occupied Palestinian Territory (2013):http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha…

3. Institute for Middle East Understanding, “Israel’s Blockade of Gaza: Is it Legal?”: http://imeu.org/article/israels-block…

4. UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) Facts & Figures on Gaza Strip: http://www.unrwa.org/where-we-work/ga…

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Prize winning Israeli defense and aerospace engineering expert Dr. Moti Shefer stated, during a recent interview with Radio 103, that the infamous Israeli “Iron Dome” security system was one of the biggest bluffs that he’d ever seen.

Palestinian rockets are believed to be a desperate means used by the resistance movements in Gaza to respond to the Israeli aggression, according to a recent report by Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency.

So far, mainstream media has reported no fatalities caused by home-made rockets fired by Palestinian resistance. In addition, the harm inflicted by these rockets, upon Israel’s colonial settler community, amounts to only a dozen or so cases of mild injury and panic.

The rising death toll of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip runs parallel to reports of well over 200 civilian houses being bombed and completely or near-completely destroyed, as of the time of this report, with Al Ray’s latest reported incident occuring in the Al-Shate’ refugee camp, west of Gaza City.

Dr. Shefer was recently quoted by Israeli media as saying:

“There is no missile in the world today able to intercept missiles or rockets. Iron Dome is a sound and light show that is intercepting only Israeli public opinion, and itself, of course. Actually, all the explosions you see in the sky are self explosions. No Iron Dome missile has ever collided with a single rocket. Open spaces are a myth invented in order to up Iron Dome’s current interception percentages. The rockets announced as intercepted by Iron Dome either never reach the ground, or are virtual rockets invented and destroyed on the Iron Dome control computer. To this day, no one has ever seen an intercepted rocket fall to the ground.

“What lands here is what’s launched. The parts we see on the ground are from Iron Dome itself. We’re shooting at ourselves, mainly virtually. The virtual rocket was invented in order to increase the vagueness surrounding Iron Dome. Assume that a real rocket arrives. What does the command and control system do? It creates nine more virtual rockets, and transmits their paths on computer graphics to the rocket launcher operators. The launcher operators see 10 rockets and launch 10 Iron Dome interceptors. People hear 10 booms, one rocket enters, and you get a 90% success rate.”

According to Dr. Shefer, the “Iron Dome” system is but a component of a widespread conspiracy, in which two interested parties afraid of peace are participating: the defense industries and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Al Ray further reports.

Dr. Shefer’s ideas for developing interception systems were universally rejected before “Iron Dome” was developed.

Challenging Mass Media: It’s Time for the Truth

July 15th, 2014 by Global Research

“Global Research is the leading research source on the fundamental issues of war and peace, imperialism and resistance, on the financial crises and the alternatives… Prof Chossudovsky has provided a forum for cutting edge critical essays which challenge the principle pundits of the mass media.” JAMES PETRAS (click for full list of articles) Bartle Professor Emeritus, Binghamton Universiy (New York) Research Associate, IDS St. Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

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The World is at dangerous crossroads.  Breakdown of international diplomacy, evolving crisis in Ukraine and the Middle East:  “In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.” –Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Following the highly acclaimed 2012 release of the latest book by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War“, this title is now available for purchase through the Amazon Kindle program! Now you can take this bestselling title wherever you go and access it through your portable reader.

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Kindle listing of Amazon: “Towards a World War III Scenario

The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality. The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

Nuclear war has become a multibillion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled.

Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

Editorial Reviews

Professor Chossudovsky’s hard-hitting and compelling book explains why and how we must immediately undertake a concerted and committed campaign to head off this impending cataclysmic demise of the human race and planet Earth. This book is required reading for everyone in the peace movement around the world.
–Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law

This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of U.S. wars since 9-11 against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of “freedom and democracy”.
–John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

WWIII Scenario

About the Author

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. He is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website.

He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005).

He has taught as Visiting Professor at universities in Western Europe, South East Asia and Latin America, acted as an adviser to governments of developing countries and as a consultant for the several international organizations.

Prof. Chossudovsky is a signatory of the Kuala Lumpur declaration to criminalize war and recipient of the Human Rights Prize of the Society for the Protection of Civil Rights and Human Dignity (GBM), Berlin, Germany. He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit from the Republic of Serbia

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Anti-Dollar Alliance Prepares Launch of BRICS Bank

July 15th, 2014 by Tyler Durden

Three months ago we discussed in detail the growing anti-dollar hegemony alliances that were building across the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Their efforts at the time, to create a structure that would serve as an alternative to the IMF and the World Bank (which are dominated by the U.S. and the EU), appear to be nearing completion. As AP reports, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have discussed the creation of a development bank to promote growth across the BRICS and hope to produce an agreement on the proposed institution at this week’s BRICS Summit.

As AP reports,

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have discussed the creation of a development bank to promote growth in Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa. Rousseff received Putin in the presidential palace in Brasilia on Monday, a day before leaders of the five emerging BRICS nations meet in the northeastern city of Fortaleza. Rousseff told reporters the bank would top the summit’s agenda, adding she hoped the event would produce an agreement on the proposed institution. She said the five countries “are among the largest in the world and cannot content themselves in the middle of the 21st century with any kind of dependency.” Brazil and Russia also signed bilateral accords on air defense, gas and education

The leaders who will be present (not so many big fans of the US there)…

They seem serious:

  • *BRICS DEVELOPMENT BANK KEY TO FOSTER GROWTH IN GROUP: BORGES
  • *BRICS BANK AT 1ST TO FINANCE EXCLUSIVELY INFRASTRUCTURE:BORGES
  • *RUSSIA’S PUTIN SAYS COOPERATION WITH CHINA IS GROWING
  • *PUTIN SAYS RUSSIA TO PROMOTE CURRENCY SWAP WITH CHINA: XINHUA

As we concluded previouslyas RBTH reports, it seems the BRICS are not slowing down efforts to create their own IMF-alternative…

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have made significant progress in setting up structures that would serve as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are dominated by the U.S. and the EU. A currency reserve pool, as a replacement for the IMF, and a BRICS development bank, as a replacement for the World Bank, will begin operating as soon as in 2015, Russian Ambassador at Large Vadim Lukov has said. Brazil has already drafted a charter for the BRICS Development Bank, while Russia is drawing up intergovernmental agreements on setting the bank up, he added. In addition, the BRICS countries have already agreed on the amount of authorized capital for the new institutions: $100 billion each. “Talks are under way on the distribution of the initial capital of $50 billion between the partners and on the location for the headquarters of the bank. Each of the BRICS countries has expressed a considerable interest in having the headquarters on its territory,” Lukov said. It is expected that contributions to the currency reserve pool will be as follows: China, $41 billion; Brazil, India, and Russia, $18 billion each; and South Africa, $5 billion. The amount of the contributions reflects the size of the countries’ economies. … The creation of the BRICS Development Bank has a political significance too, since it allows its member states to promote their interests abroad. “It is a political move that can highlight the strengthening positions of countries whose opinion is frequently ignored by their developed American and European colleagues. The stronger this union and its positions on the world arena are, the easier it will be for its members to protect their own interests,” points out Natalya Samoilova, head of research at the investment company Golden Hills-Kapital AM.

Perhaps the following sums it all up perfectly…

Economists warn the IMF’s legitimacy is at stake, and they say U.S. standing abroad is being eroded.

“Eroded” indeed…

*  *  *

Read more here on the BRICS morphing into an anti-dollar alliance…

If the current trend continues, soon the dollar will be abandoned by most of the significant global economies and it will be kicked out of the global trade finance. Washington’s bullying will make even former American allies choose the anti-dollar alliance instead of the existing dollar-based monetary system. The point of no return for the dollar may be much closer than it is generally thought. In fact, the greenback may have already past its point of no return on its way to irrelevance.

Journalism of Horror and Helplessness

How many of us working, with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s support,[1] to seed confidence that Nuremberg Principles law will soon come down on citizens of US, of NATO nations and of allied nations, including the still contested state of Israel, which exists primarily on seized, stolen and ethnically cleansed land, are freaking sick of reading, even during ongoing genocide, excellently and professionally written, moralistic journalism of horror and helplessness.

It’s as if there were no laws against genocide. We constantly read reportings of genocidal inhumanity presented in outrage and frustration, high indignation, projected vicarious suffering, and expressed anger instead of calls to action and any demand for organizing action to stop the horror.

As far as anyone can know, over the seven decades of professed anti-war, anti-imperialism and progressive journalism since World War Two’s end, not a single life has been saved, or subsequent new slaughter prevented in the next small nation targeted by Wall Street investor speculative profit-line calculations. Your author can testify to people in bombed and invaded nations expecting nothing from anti-war intellectuals living in the nations that bombed and invaded them.

The best informed and intelligent professors of alternative media in the First World (read Plundering Neocolonial [white] World) have been detailing and ‘exposing’ commercial media lies and reporting the mass-murder of people in their own beloved countries, as often as not in the very homes, since the very unpopular ‘police action’ in Korea begun in 1950. However, most all of these highly politically educated writers almost never refer to any events during of the now millions-fold total slaughter as prosecutable crimes against humanity under universally recognized Nuremberg Principles laws.

How many special courts invoking “crimes against humanity” have already been created to try leaders of African nations for genocide, as their nation are targeted by US-NATO for a next round of plunder and exploitation. What will it take to see First World intellectuals calling for special courts to prosecute fellow First World citizens, with a resultant seizure of assets, overwhelming in amount, to compensate unlawful death in the millions, indemnification for injuries in the tens of millions and the reparations for mega destruction of property and natural resources that will end all future investment in invasions, bombings and covert atrocities for their unprofitability.

Question: If the best informed members of the world’s aggressing society are not the most responsible that US-NATO and allies genocide continues on, who then is?

Is it the insane, the mentally challenged, the ignorant, the sold-their-souls officials in government, in banking, in media, in organized religion, in military and CIA,  ordering or executing or supporting a continuous mass execution of their fellow man and fellow woman and their (our) children?

Is it practical to hold responsible the vast population inculcated into indifference?   Or is it we, the informed and knowledgeable journalists who shall go on merely reporting evil as if we who live within the aggressing egoistic society were innocent of complicity in what are really crimes against humanity? Are not most informed the most responsible that the genocide shall continue?  Who could possibly stop these crimes against humanity? Can Netanyahu, or Obama, or David Rockefeller [2] be expected to stop themselves.

Dear readers, let’s think about it.  If ‘the strong shall protect the weak,’ surely the informed must protect the misinformed, disinformed and uninformed. Laws exist. Justice exists in the hearts of all. What does all this informative talk mean as it be followed by the sight of bodies of our brothers and sisters and their children’s lifeless bodies on the evening news?

Martin Luther King not only held America and Americans responsible for the atrocities in one million (up to at that time) beautiful innocent Buddhists killed in Vietnam, but in anguish for his previous ‘betrayal of silence.’ held himself responsible as well. [3]

Preaching to the deluded or criminally insane in helplessness is NOT responding. It is avoiding response. Seriously devoted and talented writers have been lamenting our helplessness and avoiding any call for the law to come crashing down on the colonial crime against humanity that was the partition plan intended to set the torch for permanent war in what was at the time the British Mandate (read colony) of Palestine. [4]

The truth of the responsibility of the educated and informed will eventually out. The pen must not be weak in confronting the sword. This writer and peoples historian holds himself responsible for the continuing genocide as King did hold himself responsible. That’s why he would have stopped it. If all the writers of greater consequence and greater ability held themselves responsible, we would probably be off the hook pretty quickly, and more importantly, the genocide that has already been prosecuted in the hearts of tens of millions would see prosecution to a halt and to some costly measure of justice for genocide of the past. [5]

Below is a list of just three days worth of who we the informed and knowledgeable writers must respond to – to them, to their lives-ruined families and our own conscience.

[List of murdered is from 'We Stay Together, Or We Leave This World Together' By Samer Badawi, July 13, 2014 "Information Clearing House" - "+972" -

Tuesday, July 8:

1. Mohammed Sha’aban, 24, was killed in a bombing of his car in Gaza City.
2. Ahmad Sha’aban, 30, died in the same bombing.
3. Khadir al-Bashiliki, 45, died in the same bombing.
4. Rashad Yaseen, 27, was killed in a bombing of the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.
5. Riad Mohammed Kawareh, 50, was killed in a bombing of his family’s home in Khan Younis.
6. Seraj Ayad Abed al-A’al, 8, was wounded in the same bombing and succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday evening.
7. Mohammed Ayman Ashour, 15, died in the same bombing.
8. Bakr Mohammed Joudah, 22, died in the same bombing.
9. Ammar Mohammed Joudah, 26, died in the same bombing.
10. Hussein Yousef Kawareh, 13, died in the same bombing.
11. Mohammed Ibrahim Kawareh, 50, died in the same bombing.
12. Bassim Salim Kawareh, 10, died in the same bombing.
13. Mousa Habib, 16, from Gaza City’s al-Shujaiyah neighborhood, was killed along with his 22-year old cousin while the pair were riding a motorcycle.
14. Mohammed Habib, 22, was killed with Mousa Habib.
15. Sakr Aysh al-Ajouri, 22, was killed in an attack on Jabalia, in northern Gaza.
16. Ahmad Na’el Mehdi, 16, from Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, was killed in a bombing that wounded two of his friends.
17. Hafiz Mohammed Hamad, 30, an Islamic Jihad commander, was killed in the bombing of his home in Beit Hanoun, along with five of his family members.
18. Ibrahim Mohammed Hamad, 26, died in the same bombing.
19. Mehdi Mohammed Hamad, 46, died in the same bombing.
20. Fawzia Khalil Hamad, 62, died in the same bombing.
21. Dunia Mehdi Hamad, 16, died in the same bombing.
22. Suha Hamad, 25, died in the same bombing.
23. Suleiman Salman Abu Soaween, 22

Wednesday, July 9:

24. Abdelhadi Jamaat al-Sufi, 24, was killed in a bombing near the Rafah crossing.
25. Naifeh Farjallah, 80, was killed in an airstrike on the town of Moghraqa, southwest of Gaza City.
26. Abdelnasser Abu Kweek, 60, was killed in the bombing of Gaza’s central governorate along with his son.
27. Khaled Abu Kweek, 31, Abdelnasser Abu Kweek’s son, was killed in the same bombing.
28. Mohammed Areef, 13, died in a bombing in Sha’af.
28. Amir Areef, 10, died in the same bombing.
30. Mohammed Malakiyeh, 18 months old, died in a bombing along with his mother and a young man.
31. Hana Malakiyeh, 27, Mohammed Malakiyeh’s mother, died in the same bombing.
32. Hatem Abu Salem, 28, died in the same bombing.
33. Mohammed Khaled al-Nimri, 22
34. Sahar Hamdan, 40, died in the bombing of her home in Beit Hanoun.
35. Ibrahim Masri, 14, Sahar Hamdan’s son, was killed in the same bombing.
36. Mahmoud Nahid al-Nawasra was killed in a bombing in al-Meghazi.
37. Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra, 4, was killed in the same bombing and arrived at the hospital “in shreds.”
38. Nidal Khalaf al-Nawasra al-Meghazi, 5, was killed in the same bombing.
39. Salah Awwad al-Nawasra al-Meghazi, 6, was killed in the same bombing. His body was found under the rubble of the house.
40. Aisha Nijm al-Meghazi, 20, was killed in the same bombing.
41. Amal Youssef Abdel Ghafour, 27, was killed in a bombing in Khan Younis.
42. Ranim Jawde Abdel Ghafour, an 18-month-old girl, was killed in the same bombing.
43. Rashid al-Kafarneh, 30, was killed when the motorcycle he was riding was bombed.
44. Ibrahim Daoud al-Balawi, 24
45. Abdelrahman Jamal al-Zamli, 22
46. Ibrahim Ahmad Abideen, 42
47. Mustafa Abu Mar, 20
48. Khalid Abu Mar, 23
49. Mazen Farj al-Jarbah, 30, was killed in a bombing in Deir al-Balah.
50. Marwan Slim, 27, was killed in a bombing in Deir al-Balah.
51. Hani Saleh Hamad, 57, was killed in a bombing in Beit Hanoun along with his son Ibrahim.
52. Ibrahim Hamad, 20, was killed in the same bombing.
53. Salima Hassan Musallim al-Arja, 60, was killed in a bombing in Rafah that wounded five others.
54. Maryam Atieh Mohammed al-Arja, 11, was killed in the same bombing.
55. Hamad Shahab, 37
56. Ibrahim Khalil Qanun, 24, was killed in a bombing of Khan Younis.
57. Mohammed Khalil Qanun, 26, was killed in the same attack.
58. Hamdi Badieh Sawali, 33, was killed in the same attack.
59. Ahmad Sawali, 28, was killed in the same attack.
60. Suleiman Salim al-Astal, 55, was killed in a bombing of Khan Younis.
61. Mohammed al-Aqqad, 24
62. Ra’ed Shalat, 37, was killed in a bombing that wounded 6 others.

Thursday, July 10:

63. Asma Mahmoud al-Hajj, 22, was killed in a bombing in Khan Younis that killed eight members of the same family and wounded 16 other people.
64. Basmah Abdelfattah al-Hajj, 57, was wounded in the bombing and succumbed to her injuries shortly afterwards.
65. Mahmoud Lutfi al-Hajj, 58, died in the same bombing.
66. Tarek Mahmoud al-Hajj, 18, died in the same bombing.
67. Sa’ad Mahmoud al-Hajj, 17, died in the same bombing.
68. Najla Mahmoud al-Hajj, 29, died in the same bombing.
69. Fatima Mahmoud al-Hajj, 12, died in the same bombing.
70. Omar Mahmoud al-Hajj, 20, died in the same bombing.
71. Ahmad Salim al-Astal, 24, was killed in the bombing of a beach house in Khan Younis that critically wounded more than 15 people.
72. Mousa Mohammed al-Astal, 50, was killed in the same bombing. The two bodies were recovered four hours after the bombing.
73. Ra’ed al-Zawareh, 33, succumbed to his wounds and died. The location of his death was unreported.
74. Baha’ Abu al-Leil, 35, was killed in a bombing.
75. Salim Qandil, 27, was killed in the same bombing.
76. Omar al-Fyumi, 30, was killed in the same bombing.
77. Abdullah Ramadan Abu Ghazzal, 5, was killed in a bombing in Beit Lahiya.
78. Ismail Hassan Abu Jamah, 19, was killed in a bombing in Khan Younis that injured two children, one critically.
79. Hassan Awda Abu Jamah, 75, was killed in a bombing in Khan Younis.
80. Mohammed Ahsan Ferwanah, 27, was killed in a bombing in Khan Younis.
81. Yasmin Mohammed Mutawwaq, 4 was killed in a bombing in Beit Hanoun.
82. Mahmoud Wulud, 26, was killed in a bombing of a civilian vehicle in northern Gaza. His remains were taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabalia.
83. Hazem Balousha, 30, was killed in the same bombing. His remains are at Kamal Adwan Hospital.
84. Nour Rafik Adi al-Sultan, 27, was killed in the same bombing. His remains are at Kamal Adwan Hospital.
85. Ahmad Zaher Hamdan, 24, was killed in a bombing in Beit Hanoun.
86. Mohammed Kamal al-Kahlout, 25, was killed in a bombing in Jabalia.
87. Sami Adnan Shaldan, 25, was killed in a bombing in Gaza City.
88. Jamah Atieh Shalouf, 25, was killed in a bombing in Rafah.
89. Bassem Abdelrahman Khattab, 6, was killed in a bombing in Deir al-Balah.
90. Abdullah Mustafa Abu Mahrouk, 22, was killed in a bombing in Deir al-Balah.

Friday, July 11:

91. Anas Rizk Abu al-Kas, 33, was killed in a bombing in Gaza City.
92. Nour Marwan al-Najdi, 10, was killed in a bombing in Rafah.
93. Mohammed Mounir Ashour, 25, was killed in a bombing on the al-Ghanam family home in Rafah.
94. Ghalia Deeb Jabr al-Ghanam, 7, was killed in the same bombing.
95. Wasim Abd al-Rizk Hassan al-Ghanam, 23, was killed in the same bombing.
96. Mahmoud Abd al-Rizk Hassan al-Ghanam, 26, was killed in the same bombing.
97. Kifah Shahada Deeb al-Ghanam, 20, was killed in the same bombing.
98. Ra’ed Hani Abu Hani, 31, was killed in a bombing in Rafah.
99. Shahraman Ismail Abu al-Kas, 42, was killed in a bombing in a refugee camp in central Gaza.
100. Mazen Mustafa Aslan, 63, was killed in the same bombing.
101. Mohammed Rabih Abu Humeidan, 65, was killed in shelling that struck northern Gaza.
102. Abdel Halim Ashra, 54, was killed in an airstrike on Wednesday in the area of Birka Deir al-Balah, but his body wasn’t discovered till Friday.
103. Saher Abu Namous, 3, was killed in an airstrike on his home in northern Gaza.
104. Hussein al-Mamlouk, 47, was killed in an airstrike on Gaza City.
105. Saber Sukkar, 80, was killed in an airstrike on Gaza City.
106. Nasser Rabih Mohammed Samamah, 49, was killed in an airstrike on Gaza City.

Saturday, July 12:

107. Rami Abu Massaad, 23, was killed in a strike on Deir al-Balah.
108. Mohammed al-Samiri, 24, was killed in the same attack.
109. Houssam Deeb al-Razayneh, 39, was killed in an attack on Jabalia
110. Anas Youssef Kandil, 17, was killed in the same bombing.
111. Abdel Rahim Saleh al-Khatib, 38, was killed in the same bombing.
112. Youssef Mohammed Kandil, 33, was killed in the same bombing.
113. Mohammed Idriss Abu Saninah, 20, was killed in the same bombing.
114. Hala Wishahi, 31, was killed in an attack on the Mabarra association for the disabled in Jabalia.
115. Suha Abu Saade, 38, was killed in the same attack.
116. Ali Nabil Basal, 32, was killed in a strike on western Gaza city.
117. Mohammed Bassem al-Halabi, 28, was killed in the same strike.
118. Mohammed al-Sowayti (Abu Askar), 20, was killed in the same attack.
119. Ibrahim Nabil Humaide, 30, was killed in a bombing in the Tufah neighborhood in eastern Gaza City.
120. Hassan Ahmed Abu Ghoush, 24, was killed in the same attack.
121. Ahmed Mazen al-Ballaoui, 26, was killed in the same attack

Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer. He has lived and worked on all continents and his articles were published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US. He now resides in NYC.

Notes

1. See Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now, an educational and stimulus website featuring pertinent laws, exhortations and documented histories of US crimes in nineteen countries. http://prosecuteuscrimesagainsthumanitynow.blogspot.com/ 

2.Demonic David Rockefeller- Fiends Dulles, Kissinger, Brzezinski Investor Wars Korea thru Syria   http://www.opednews.com/articles/Demonic-David-Rockefeller-by-Jay-Janson-120816-942.html

3. see America Betrayed Rev. Dr. King Gagged His Condemning US Wars for Predatory Investments  http://www.opednews.com/articles/America-Betrayed-Rev-Dr--by-Jay-Janson-Beyond-Vietnam-Breaking-The-Silence_Genocide_Predatory-Capitalism_Wars-140115-371.html]  

4. see US Invested Heavily in Hitler Facilitating Holocaust Used Survivors to Destabilize Arabia, CounterCurrents, Kerala, Indian and Minority Perspective, UK http://www.minorityperspective.co.uk/2012/12/06/us-economic-facilitation-of-holocaust-and-middle-east-destabilizing-partition/

5. Memorialize US Military’s Worldwide Genocidal Crimes Against Humanity Awaiting Special Trial in … It’s now 2022. During the last eight years the economic, political, military balance of power has shifted. Emerging economies led by China, India, and Brazil have the greatest productivity and financial growth. With the dollar ceasing to be the world’s trading currency, the US lost ability to print new money to cover debts and threaten sanctions. A reconstituted UN has set up a special court to try US & NATO for genocide. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Memorialize-US-Military-s-by-Jay-Janson-Memorial-Day_Nuremberg-Principles-140526-607.html

Corporate Destruction. In A World Beyond Capitalism?

July 15th, 2014 by Prof. John McMurtry

Richard Swift in A World Beyond Capitalism? The Commons as a Fount of Hope (Global Rsearch, July 10, 2014) ironically argues for the same position as the private corporate right – no public funding of the commons. Like many others he ignores this implication of his rejecting the state and, therefore, the funding by taxpayers of non-profit social constructs which serve the public interest with provision of common life goods.

Thus the tired argument originating from the US and its congenital hatred of government misses the main substance of the civil commons in the modern age – publicly funded production and distribution of collective life goods from public water sources, sewers, healthcare, and higher education to enforced life-protective law, parks, sidewalks and bicycle paths and all the collective life goods of real civilization.

All the examples provided of ‘commons’ provided by Swift or the Elinor Ostrom paradigm he cites, in contrast, are private, parochial non-profit organizations typically dependent on public natural resources. These organisations should not be separated from and weakened by excluding them from public goods and public funding, but included as a distinct form of the civil commons whose common criterion is all social constructs which enable regulated public access to life goods. Without public law and funding behind them and public protection of the natural resources they depend upon, they will be the next target of transnational corporate money sequencing, and privately powerless to stop its self-multiplying spread through the world.

The bureaucratic corporate takeover of the public state is not reason to surrender it to corporate destruction, but to reclaim it and its public funding for the common life interest which includes every regulated commons there is – the reason why they are properly called “civil commons” to distinguish them from open commons like the air and oceans which are now plundered to death. For full and principled analysis of this matter, see “The Great Vehicle of the Civil Commons” in the concluding chapter of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism/ from Crisis to Cure (second edition, 2013).

A new poll from Pew shows that majorities in every country polled oppose drones … except for Israel, the U.S. and Kenya:

Widespread Opposition to DronesWhy Kenya?

Perhaps because drones have been successfully used to stop poaching of elephants and rhinos in their national parks:

Kenya is to deploy drones in all of its 52 national parks and reserves in a bid to monitor and stop the poaching of elephants and rhinos.

The move by the government follows a successful pilot project in major protected wildlife area, that saw drones reduce poaching by up to 96%.

Americans are woefully ignorant about this issue … They still don’t realize that drone bombings create more terrorists than they kill.

And as the Washington Post notes, Americans are stunningly apathetic:

We’re not kidding. Americans really, really don’t care about foreign policy right now — especially when they don’t have to worry about losing American lives abroad.

It is with sorrow and outrage that we announce that Gaza’s Ark was totally destroyed by a direct hit from the Israeli Occupation Forces at 2:00 AM local time on Friday, July 11th. It caught fire as result of the hit and was damaged beyond repair. In the context of all the death and destruction caused by Israel, the material damage to our project pales in significance.

However, it is now clear that Gaza’s Ark was deliberately targeted by Israel (for the second time). Israel is not worried about its security as it claims, what it is worried about and afraid of are peaceful projects like ours that expose its atrocities.

The good news is that no one was killed or injured in this attack as we had decided to pull the guard off the boat two days earlier, for his own safety.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed towards the $300,000 raised for Gaza’s Ark, and reassure you that, despite the loss of the boat, your money has not been wasted.

We have employed several Palestinians in the refurbishing of the boat over the last year and a half, providing some employment for boat builders, carpenters, plumbers and electricians. With unemployment at over 40% in Gaza, we were glad to offer some employment, if only to a few people. We have also contributed to the efforts of reviving boat building skills in Gaza and passing experience to new generations of craftsmen. Gaza’s Ark also inspired and empowered Palestinians in Gaza – those who worked on it, contributed to it in any way, or supported it. And most important it sent a clear message to Israel: The world is and will continue to stand with the people of Gaza.

So, Gaza’s Ark steering committee and the Freedom Flotilla Coalition are currently in intense discussion as to what we will do next. We have many ideas, but on one point we are unanimous: we will continue to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, one way or another. We found it particularly symbolic that, although the boat was badly destroyed, the name and the logo, survived intact.

The minimum we all should do now is make our voices heard. Call, or email, our governments, our members of parliament and also call the Israeli embassy or consulate and protest the attack on Gaza, the killings and the destruction, and the targeting of the peaceful Gaza’s Ark, that belongs to all of us.

Our motto is “Building Hope” and we will not give up until Gaza is free, and Palestinian rights are fully restored.

In continued solidarity
Gaza’s Ark Steering Committee

Rex 84: FEMA’s Blueprint for Martial Law in America

July 15th, 2014 by Allen L Roland

This incisive article on the repeal of civil liberties first published by GR in August 2006, brings to forefront of debate the ongoing road map towards a Police State in America. (M.Ch, GR Editor)

We are dangerously close to a situation where ~ if the American people took to the streets in righteous indignation or if there were another 9/11 ~ a mechanism for martial law could be quickly implemented and carried out under REX 84.  

The Cheney/Bush administration has a plan which would accommodate the detention of large numbers of American citizens during times of emergency.

The plan is called REX 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984. Through Rex-84 an undisclosed number of concentration camps were set in operation throughout the United States, for internment of dissidents and others potentially harmful to the state.

The Rex 84 Program was originally established on the reasoning that if a “mass exodus” of illegal aliens crossed the Mexican/US border, they would be quickly rounded up and detained in detention centers by FEMA.

Existence of the Rex 84 plan was first revealed during the Iran-Contra Hearings in 1987, and subsequently  reported by the Miami Herald on July 5, 1987

” These camps are to be operated by FEMA should martial law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general’s signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached.”

And there you have it ~ the real purpose of FEMA is to not only protect the government but to be its principal vehicle for martial law.

This is why FEMA could not respond immediately to the Hurricane Katrina disaster ~ humanitarian efforts were no longer part of its job description under the Department of Homeland Security.

It appears Hurricane Katrina also provided FEMA with an excuse to “dry run” its unconstitutional powers in New Orleans, rounding up “refugees” (now called “evacuees”) and “relocating” them in various camps. “Some evacuees are being treated as ‘internees’ by FEMA,” writes former NSA employee Wayne Madsen.

Reports continue to come into WMR that evacuees from New Orleans and Acadiana [the traditional twenty-two parish Cajun homeland] who have been scattered across the United States are being treated as ‘internees’ and not dislocated American citizens from a catastrophe

We are dangerously close to a situation where ~ if the American people took to the streets in righteous indignation or if there were another 9/11 ~ a mechanism for martial law could be quickly implemented and carried out under REX 84.

Be forewarned ~ the Cheney/Bush administration will stop at nothing to preserve their power and their ongoing neocon mis-adventure and they have currently proposed having executive control over all the states National Guard troops  in a national emergency.

Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, called the proposal “ one step away from a complete takeover of the National Guard, the end of the Guard as a dual-function force that can respond to both state and national needs.”

The provision was tucked into the House version of the defense bill without notice to the states, something Vilsack said he resented as much as the proposal itself.

Under the provision, the president would have authority to take control of the Guard in case of  ” a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident or catastrophe” in the United States.

Do remember, to the Cheney/Bush administration ~ the Mob at the Gates that they truly fear is not terrorists but, instead, the people demanding the truth.

REX 84 AND FEMA

http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2004/FEMA-Concentration-Camps3sep04.htm

MINDFULLY, 2004 – There over 800 prison camps in the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners. They are all staffed and even surrounded by full-time guards, but they are all empty. These camps are to be operated by FEMA should martial law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general’s signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached. . . The Rex 84 Program was established on the reasoning that if a “mass exodus” of illegal aliens crossed the Mexican/US border, they would be quickly rounded up and detained in detention centers by FEMA.

Rex 84 allowed many military bases to be closed down and to be turned into prisons.

Operation Cable Splicer and Garden Plot are the two sub programs which will be implemented once the Rex 84 program is initiated for its proper purpose. Garden Plot is the program to control the population. Cable Splicer is the program for an orderly takeover of the state and local governments by the federal government.

FEMA is the executive arm of the coming police state and thus will head up all operations. The Presidential Executive Orders already listed on the Federal Register also are part of the legal framework for this operation.

The camps all have railroad facilities as well as roads leading to and from the detention facilities. Many also have an airport nearby. The majority of the camps can house a population of 20,000 prisoners.

Currently, the largest of these facilities is just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaskan facility is a massive mental health facility and can hold thousands of  people.

Up to 20 US Spies Inside German Government

July 15th, 2014 by Joseph Fitsanakis

German counterintelligence has intensified its surveillance of “certain employees of the United States embassy” in Berlin, after internal reports suggested that “up to 20” agents of the American government are operating inside the German federal bureaucracy.

Citing information “from American security circles”, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag said on Sunday that the agents are German citizens who are secretly employed by a variety of American civilian and military intelligence agencies in return for money. The Berlin-based tabloid noted that at least a dozen such agents have infiltrated four departments of the German federal government, namely the Ministries of Defense, Finance, Interior, as well as the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The paper said that the latter has been targeted by the US Central Intelligence Agency because it is routinely employed by the BND, Germany’s main external intelligence organization, as a cover for clandestine activities.

Last week, Germany ordered the immediate removal from the country of the CIA station chief, after it caught two German citizens, one working for the BND, and one for the country’s Ministry of Defense, secretly spying for Washington. It also instructed its intelligence agencies to limit their cooperation with their American counterparts “to the bare essentials” until further notice.

According to Bild am Sonntag, the “growing pressure” against American intelligence operations inside Germany has prompted American spy agencies to transfer their recruitment activities of German citizens to nearby European capitals, such as Prague of Warsaw. Meanwhile, in an interview aired Sunday on Germany’s public-service television broadcaster, ZDF, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared pessimistic about the possibility that American intelligence agencies will stop recruiting German citizens. She said that Washington and Berlin had “fundamentally different views” on the nature and operational character of intelligence, and that it would be difficult to bridge the gap of perception between the two countries. The German leader added, however, that she favored continued cooperation between German and American intelligence agencies, as both countries “profit from the cooperation concerning counterterrorism and other things”.

Germany’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is scheduled to meet Monday in Vienna with US Secretary of State John Kerry. The meeting agenda is devoted to the ongoing international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, but Steinmeier told German media over the weekend that he planned to raise Germany’s concerns about American espionage with his American counterpart. Washington has refused to comment publicly on the issue, saying that it should be addressed though discrete diplomatic channels, not publicly through the media.

Counting the Presidents’ Bodies

July 15th, 2014 by David Swanson

“If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged,” said Noam Chomsky prior to the last few presidencies, none of which is likely to have changed his analysis.

But what if you applied such principles retroactively back to George Washington and every U.S. president since?  What if you graded presidents, not on personality or style or popularity, but on how many deaths they caused or prevented?

Al Carroll’s new book is called Presidents’ Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents: Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions.

I think this is a model for how history ought to be examined, despite serious flaws. Carroll’s project may ultimately be impossible. How do you score presidents on the areas of criminal enterprise they opened up for their successors? Could you have really had a Nixon without a Truman?  Carroll is aware of these difficulties, and also of the overarching lesson that giving single individuals such royal powers as presidents have been given inevitably leads to disaster. But I think he still falls short.

Carroll attempts to step outside his own biases and look at the facts. But how does one include sins of omission? How does one score numbers of deaths across centuries, given dramatic growth in populations? And what about the deaths that Carroll happens to approve of? He gives Lincoln and FDR credit for the Civil War and World War II while marking all other presidents down for their wars (although marking FDR down for certain atrocities during his war); he has swallowed the humanitarian war advocates’ mythology about Bosnia; and he omits dozens of smaller military operations from any mention at all. And Carroll’s current day partisanship seems to be showing as he credits Obama with ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that the war in Afghanistan has not been ended and the war in Iraq, which Obama was forced to end, he has now found a way of restarting.

I said this book was a model, not the ultimate achievement of the genre. Carroll is of course right to denounce historians who examine “leadership” and “presidential caliber” as little better than celebrity tabloid writers. And his book, whether one agrees with his selections and rankings, makes illuminating reading that would benefit any classroom. Simplistic, it is not. Much of each section is devoted to who else gets the blame for particular horrors. To pretend that in blaming a president for something Carroll has asserted that nobody else is to blame for it would require cutting out a large percentage of the book. Carroll also devotes space to what plausibly could have been done by each president rather than what that president did.

Our airports, cities, and states are named for butchers, Carroll writes, and correcting that does not require that we get the butchers into the perfect ranking. Yet, for what it’s worth, here is Carroll’s ranking of the worst of the worst, beginning with the very worst of them all: Nixon, Reagan, Jackson, Buchanan, Polk, Filmore, Clinton, Ford, Truman, McKinley, Bush II, Andrew Johnson. And here’s his ranking of the best, beginning with number 1: Lincoln, Van Buren, Carter, Grant. Carroll includes positive deeds by Nixon, and negative deeds by Carter, etc.  But this is where he comes out..

In fact, Carroll includes enough information on these and other presidents, that he may end up reinforcing your disagreement with him on the rankings. I’ve always considered Truman the worst of the worst, and when Carroll lays the Cold War — and all the actual wars it included — at Truman’s feet, he seems to make the case (although U.S. policy did not exactly transform when the Cold War ended).

The book, I think, works best if read straight through and then re-arranged or collated in your head. Carroll treats presidential horrors in terms of categories that don’t make the most sense. First come genocides, then the allowance of or provocation of genocides, then slavery as a subcategory of genocide, then atrocities during wars, then something called “mass death by incompetence or ideological blindness” (which ends up including, in order from greatest to fewest deaths: “deregulation,” the Cold War, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, the U.S. Civil War [blaming Buchanan for it, while giving Lincoln credit for it], the “war” on drugs, the War of 1812, the Panama Canal, Hurricane Katrina, and the Branch Davidians), then “Other American Wars of Aggression,” etc.  Wars of nonaggression (or something?) never make the lists. I’d have preferred one list that combined all the sections and included all the wars, as well as all other acts of commission and omission causing or alleviating mass suffering.

Carroll also includes good deeds by presidents, including instances of war avoidance, and including disarmament successes. I think this section could be significantly expanded and truly is a model for the sort of history books we need. And we need them with something else in precisely this section: heroism.  Gore Vidal recounted JFK saying “What would Lincoln have been without a war? Just a railroad lawyer.” Indeed, without his “good war,” Lincoln might have been as thoroughly ignored as Coolidge by Carroll, despite the creation by the latter’s administration of a treaty banning war, and the avoidance by his administration of any major war making. But what if future Kennedys saw the later JFK who turned against wars, and paid a price for it, as a model of greatness, as well as viewing the rogues gallery of past butchers as just what they were?

Urgent Call from Gaza Civil Society: Act Now!

July 15th, 2014 by Socialist Project

We, Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip, call on conscientious people all over the world, to act, protest, and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we have in Gaza been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever – more than two thirds of the injured are women and children. We know for a fact that many more will not make it through the next day. Which of us will be next, as we lie awake from the sound of the carnage in our beds tonight? Will we be the next photo left in an unrecognizable state from Israel’s state of the art flesh tearing, limb stripping machinery of destruction?

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

  • Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;
  • Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement;
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Civil Society in 2005

Without pressure and isolation, the Israeli regime has proven time and time again that it will continue such massacres as we see around us now, and continue the decades of systematic ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid policies.

We are writing this on Saturday night (July 12), again paralyzed in our homes as the bombs fall on us in Gaza. Who knows when the current attacks will end? For anyone over seven years old, permanently etched on our minds are the rivers of blood that ran through the Gaza streets when for over 3 weeks in 2009 over 1400 Palestinians were killed including over 330 children. White phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used in civilian areas and contaminating our land with a rise in cancers as a result. More recently 180 more were killed in the week-long attacks in late November 2012.

This time what? 200, 500, 5000? We ask: how many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient? Before the Israeli bombings, a member of the Israeli Knesset Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party called for genocide of the Palestinian people. “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes,” she said. “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” Right now nothing is beyond the murderous nature of the Israeli State, for we, a population that is mostly children, are all mere snakes to them.

As Omar Ghraib said in Gaza,

It was heart shattering to see the pictures of little boys and girls viciously killed. Also how an elderly woman was killed while she was having her iftar at Maghreb prayer by bombing her house. She died holding the spoon in her hand, an image that will need a lot of time to leave my head.”

Entire houses are being targeted and entire families are being murdered. Early Thursday morning the entire Al-Hajj family was wiped out – the father Mahmoud, mother Bassema and five children. No warning, a family targeted and removed from life. Thursday night, the same again, no warning, 5 more dead including four from the Ghannam family, a woman and a seven year old child amongst them.

On Tuesday morning the Kaware family did get a phone call telling them their three-storey house would be bombed. The family began to leave when a water tank was struck, but then returned with members of the community, who all came to the house to stand with them, people from all over the neighbourhood. The Israeli jets bombed the building with a roof full of people, knowing full well it was full of civilians. 7 people died immediately including 5 children under 13 years old. 25 more were injured, and 8 year old Seraj Abed al-Aal, succumbed to his injuries later that evening. Perhaps the family was trying to appeal to the Israeli regime’s humanity, surely they wouldn’t bomb the roof full of people. But as we watch families being torn apart around us, it’s clear that Israel’s actions have nothing to do with humanity.

Other places hit include a clearly marked media vehicle killing the independent journalist Hamed Shehab, injuring 8 others, a hit on a Red Crescent rescue vehicle and attacks on hospitals which caused evacuations and more injuries.

This latest session of Israeli barbarity is placed firmly in the context of Israel’s inhuman seven-year blockade that has cut off the main life-line of goods and people coming in and out of Gaza, resulting in the severe medical and food shortages being reported by all our hospitals and clinics right now. Cement to rebuild the thousands of homes destroyed by Israeli attacks had been banned and many injured and ill people are still not being allowed to travel abroad to receive urgent medical treatment which has caused the deaths of over 600 sick patients.

As more news comes in, as Israeli leaders give promises of moving onto a next stage in brutality, we know there are more horrors yet to come. For this we call on you to not turn your backs on us. We call on you to stand up for justice and humanity and demonstrate and support the courageous men, women and children rooted in the Gaza Strip facing the darkest of times ahead. We insist on international action:

  • Severance of diplomatic ties with Israel
  • Trials for war crimes
  • Immediate international protection of the civilians of Gaza

We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign to hold this rogue state to account that is proving once again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged. Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians do not have to grow up amidst this relentless murder and destruction by the Israeli regime. When we can move freely, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the world’s Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.

ACT NOW, before it is too late!

Signed by:

  • Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
  • University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
  • Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 organizations)
  • General Union of Palestinian Women
  • Medical Democratic Assembly
  • General Union of Palestine Workers
  • General Union for Health Services Workers
  • General Union for Public Services Workers
  • General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
  • General Union for Agricultural Workers
  • Union of Women’s Work Committees
  • Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
  • Youth Herak Movement
  • Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
  • Union of Synergies – Women Unit
  • Union of Palestinian Women Committees
  • Women’s Studies Society
  • Working Woman’s Society
  • Press House
  • Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
  • Gaza BDS Working Group
  • One Democratic State Group

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) is a coalition of about 200 civil society groups, trade unions, academics and public affairs firms. It campaigns against the increasing and massive influence exerted by corporate lobbyists on the political agenda in Europe. As Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) prepare to quiz the president-elect of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday 15 July, the coalition is calling on them to ensure that improvements in the areas of ethics, conflicts of interest and lobby transparency are placed high on the agenda of the new Commission.

During the recent EU elections, 177 now-elected MEPs signed ALTER-EU’s Politics for People pledge in which they committed to “stand-up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business” upon entering office [1]. This pledge should not be taken lightly, not least because the financial industry commands tremendous lobbying resources and enjoys privileged access to decision makers [2].

The financial sector lobbies EU decision-makers by means of over 700 organisations, including companies’ public relations offices, business associations and consultancies. This figure outnumbers civil-society organisations and trade unions working on financial issues by a factor of more than five. And the imbalance is even greater when numbers of staff and lobbying expenses are compared. The financial lobby massively outspends other actors by a factor of more than 30 and is also massively over-represented in the EU’s official advisory groups that play a key role in helping to shape policy: 15 of 17 expert groups were found to be heavily dominated by the financial industry.

Erik Wesselius of Corporate Europe Observatory and a member of the ALTER-EU steering committee says:

“People across Europe are increasingly concerned about how decisions affecting their daily lives are made by a European Commission that is too close to big business and corporate lobbyists… MEPs can prove their commitment to stand-up for citizens and democracy by asking Mr Juncker probing questions about ethics and transparency and by seeking a real commitment from him to rein in excessive corporate lobbying influence.”

The parliamentary hearing of the president-elect presents an opportunity to secure firm commitments from the president of the Commission. Just before the European elections, ALTER-EU published an assessment of the outgoing Barroso II Commission’s commitment to transparency and ethics issues entitled [3]. It concluded that the 2009-14 Commission lacked the political will to significantly improve the lobbying transparency and ethics policy and practice during its time in office.

Corporate Europe Observatory reached a more damning conclusion in its report on the more general record of the European Commission over the same period [4]. It concluded that the Commission had pursued a corporate agenda, with little regard for other interests in society. Moreover, the Commission has fought tooth and nail to avoid effective regulation of lobbyists, including by opposing a mandatory register and avoiding serious reform of its advisory structure, with its so-called expert groups dominated by big business representatives in many areas. The report’s ultimate conclusion is that the Commission is a disgrace to democratic traditions in Europe. It is effectively a captive but willing servant of a corporate agenda and moreover is riddled with conflicts of interests, secrecy and non-transparent practices (eg, 5,6,7]

However, ALTER-EU says it has been encouraged by recent statements by president-elect Juncker to the Green/ EFA political group regarding a mandatory lobby register and legislative footprint and believes that the new Commission must embrace an ambitious and pro-active approach, needed to increase public trust [8].

Max Bank of LobbyControl, who is also a member of ALTER-EU’s steering committee, says:

“ALTER-EU priority areas for Commission action include: blocking the revolving door for commissioners and Commission staff; taking action to clean up expert groups; and making a genuine commitment to ensuring the work of the Commission, including its contacts with lobby groups, are made fully transparent. We hope that MEPs will take action to firmly place these issues on the agenda of the president-elect of the Commission in order that improvements are made in practice during the next term.”

The rising tide of discontent

Public trust appears to be at rock bottom and the Commission must take note.

“Citizens have had enough of a Europe made for high profits and social misery… democracy is not for sale at any price. We demand a Europe  from below.” Rudy Janssens from Belgian public services trade union CGSP.

“… solidarity beyond borders is necessary and possible… (we need to build) a trans-European movement to fight back against the neo-liberal crisis policies coming out of  Brussels. Up until the elections we will be in the streets, demanding the Europe  that we really want.” Noemi Costa from the Coalizione Centri Sociale and the Blockupy International Coordinating Committee.

“Why are we still letting those who caused the crisis decide how we respond to it? Banks and big business, rather than taking responsibility for wrecking the economy, have passed the cost on to ordinary citizens who have watched as compliant governments demolish public services and people’s ability to earn a living. We don’t owe so why should we pay? We need an alternative to austerity.” Felipé Van Keirsbilck from Belgian trade union CNE

“Rather than looking for solutions to the crisis in the interest of citizens, our so-called political leaders like EU trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht are trying to make big business even richer through secretly negotiated transatlantic trade deals. And again its citizens and producers who will suffer, with deregulation seeing public services sold off while dangerous foods make their way to a plate near you. Who wants to eat hormone-filled beef or chlorine-washed chicken?” Luc Hollands from Belgian milk producers cooperative MIG

Notes

[1] More information about ALTER-EU’s Politics for People campaign can be found here: http://www.alter-eu.org/politics-for-people-2014-eu-election-campaign

[2]  http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/attachments/financial_lobby_report.pdf

[3] “Talking the talk, but not walking the walk” can be found at: http://www.alter-eu.org/documents/2014/04

[4] http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/record_captive_commission.pdf

[5] http://corporateeurope.org/revolvingdoorwatch

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

[7] http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-eu-transatlantic-free-trade-agreement-more-secrecy-and-more-duplicity-revealed/5369272

[8] See Green /EFA hearing with Jean-Claude Juncker on 09/07/2014:http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20140709-0900-SPECIAL

UNITE: Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

July 15th, 2014 by Socialist Project

Unite, the biggest union in the UK and Ireland, has issued the following statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people, today (Friday 11 July).

Unite unreservedly condemns the continuing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and calls for the military strikes and the military build up to be halted immediately.

Unite further calls on the UK government to demand the Israeli government halt its military action and to make it clear that should it fail to do so then a move for international sanctions will be launched within the United Nations Security Council and the European Union.

The killing of the three Israeli youths was tragic and deplorable, but the retaliation from Israeli settlers and the Israeli authorities is utterly disproportionate and unjustified. In just three days, 81 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes. By mid-day on Wednesday 9 July 2014, the Israeli air force announced that they had dropped 400 tonnes of explosives on one of the most densely populated areas in the world, an area the size of the Isle of Wight. Horrifying death and destruction is raining down on the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza who, trapped in a brutal siege, cannot escape this bombing.

There will be no peace and no justice unless the root causes of the conflict are addressed. The roots of the conflict lie in Israel’s decades-long illegal occupation of the West Bank, the building of illegal settlements in the occupied territories, the forced take-over of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, and the effective establishment of an apartheid system that systematically removes the most basic human rights of Palestinians.

Responsibility for the collapse of the recent ‘peace talks’ lies firmly with Israel and its unwillingness to find a settlement based on the recognition of the rights of the Palestinians and a respect for international law. Israel’s continued construction of more illegal West Bank settlements during the whole process was nothing short of a provocation and a declaration of intent.

Unite notes that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry referred to the possibility of Israel becoming an apartheid state when the peace talks collapsed. In Unite’s view, Israel is already an apartheid state.

Unite believes Israel’s attack on the Palestinian people is nothing more than a cover up for their intransigence during the peace talks and a signal of their future intent. Israel is clearly concerned that the Palestinian people are finding a new unity and that the justness of their cause is gaining increasing international recognition and support.

At its recent Policy Conference (30 June – 4 July 2014) Unite re-asserted its solidarity with the Palestinian people and its determination to do all it can to support their struggle for peace, justice and equality.

Unite is clear about its understanding of the current situation. This isn’t about rockets from Gaza. It’s about Israel fighting to maintain its control over Palestinian lives, and Palestinian land.

It’s about Israel feeling able to commit war crimes with complete impunity. It’s about the world media indicating that Palestinian lives are worth less than Israeli lives. It’s about the fact that Palestinian children are being killed at the rate of one every three days. It’s about millions of Palestinians living under illegal occupation.

It’s about the brutal siege on Gaza, and the third military assault on a trapped population in less than 6 years. It’s about more than sixty laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

It’s about Israeli-state racism and apartheid. It’s about ethnic cleansing. It’s about colonization, and over 500,000 settlers. It’s about Israel’s systematic violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

Unite now urges all like-minded people to join the fight for Palestinian justice by demanding an end to the military aggression and supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, specifically support:

  • the boycott of any goods produced from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank;
  • divestment from financial holdings in any companies, funds or organizations complicit in the ongoing illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people;
  • sanctions against Israel for its continued illegal occupation, flouting of international law, and construction of an apartheid regime.

On June 30th the African Union summit meeting at Equatorial Guinea voted the “Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.” It maintains that while in power, African leaders and “senior officials” are not subject to prosecution for genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity. In principle the Protocol mirrors the judicial realities of Canada and the U.S. which assure our heads of state immunity, but less overtly.

Africans are creating an African Court as an alternative to NATO’s International Criminal Court which has chosen African leaders to call to account. So to grant their heads of state immunity to charges of genocide is a defensive measure objecting to a post-colonial assertion of European and American controls. This Protocol is protested by International NGO’s, and strongly by Amnesty International which has since its inception in 1961 applied our moral precepts to countries which have rejected the empire’s direct colonial rule.

In Canada and the U.S. the leaders make themselves invulnerable to charges of genocide, through manipulation of the legal system and perception management of the public. U.S. Reservations at ratifying the Convention on Genocide suggest the U.S. will decide whether charges of genocide can be applied to the U.S.. Under Canadian law the Minister of Justice’s approval is required before the head of state (who appoints the Minister of Justice) can be charged. In both countries, the political and judicial institutions necessary to pursue charges of genocide against top officials are so deeply part of a genocidal matrix no charges have successfully been laid through the wars and destruction of the Republic of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, – violating the Convention’s prohibition against destruction of a national group. In Canada policies furthering the destruction of aboriginal peoples seem unstoppable by legal means. U.S. policies supporting the massacres of indigenous people in Guatemala among other Central and South American countries, and the support for Israel of both countries shows at least a complicity in genocide.

Is it that African leaders are more honest than the political leaders of Euro-American countries ? While not challenging the U.N. “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” African countries are attempting to protect the continuity of their own governance through a time when powerful NATO countries have politicized the use of the Genocide Convention beyond a primary concern for justice. Prosecutions by the International Criminal Court too often assert punishment of African leaders opposing Euro-American policies. Former Cote d’Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo was indicted while his replacement with IMF and Euro-American backing harvested the results of all the crimes against humanity traced to both sides of a conflict (instigated by the aggressor – the new president). The ICC still has Bashir of Sudan under indictment, while the tragedies of Sudan’s population losses serve Western policies of resource accumulation. Baldly, the founding of South Sudan created an African country with a European name, and no need for autonomy other than its service to international interests. In Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Central African Republic, issues of genocide rise directly from destabilization by foreign interests seeking resources. These are not African genocides, but Western genocides in blackface.

The legacy of European colonialism is the manipulation of African population groups in countries formed not by native tribes, but a colonial division of the spoils.

African leaders recognize the service to corporate Western interests of what is currently NATO’s International Criminal Court. Western NGO’s and news medias subscribe to a first world development program perfectly willing to use genocide tactically, and as a propaganda tool for waging war.

The difficulty is also that the decision of the African leaders betrays the Convention itself with a violation of its text and meaning. Article IV states “Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.” While the UN Convention might apply only to African countries participating in the Convention, the Convention was intended to apply to leaders and government officials. While African countries can make law it may not be adhered to by courts outside Africa, which in a sense imprisons African leaders within the continent.

The well-respected Gerald Caplan’s “Africa’s Big Men betray it still,” in The Globe and Mail summarizes for Canadians colonialism’s historical arrogance toward all things African which are simply not European. This maintains a notion that African leaders are somehow the intellectual property of Westerners, good or bad through their service to Western values and economic interests. After the African Independences, Caplan finds African leaders betraying their people by brutalizing them. Hello ? At least they were not “brutalized” as slaves. He traces all the catastrophe’s and wars of modern Africa to its leadership as well as the leaders’ mismanagement of buyouts by Western governments, corporate and military interests.

To offer another perspective: the leaders of African independences were brave, clever, and betrayed by their interface with world markets and resource demands firmly in the pockets of Europe and the West. That their countries now receive any portion at all of their resource revenue is a tribute to each. In ‘countries’ where the European-made boundaries contradict the reality of tribal areas, indigenous rule for thousands of years was based on village and tribe, on families. African leaders differ from deracinated rulers in North America for example, whose loyalties are economically and politically based. When an African leader fails his entire tribal and allied group become at risk. Where the political matrix is tribal, political contention becomes tribal in a manner Westerners understand as genocide.

Yet genocide is a European concept. Without Europe’s example, both under the Nazi’s and in its dehumanization and massacres of colonized populations, African bloodshed could be understood as tribal wars. Currently genocide becomes a relevant issue in Africa as a result of Euro-American actions. These consistently seek resource extraction, access, and control, through destabilization. I would argue there are no instances of an African tribal group acting purely in its own interests, attacking another African tribal group. Even the Rwandan genocide(s) reflected massacres of groups which historically intermarried and adapted to each other on African soil.

So it’s for Africa to find its own way to interpret and judge our Euro-American nightmare of “genocide.”

It is almost impossible for a “white” Western press to put aside a sense of racial and intellectual superiority to fault African leaders for the simplest mechanisms of self defense against a misapplication of the Genocide Convention to tribal politics. Again and again (Sudan, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic) former colonial and corporate interests manipulate African politics into destabilization intended to result in tribal killings that Europeans and Americans understand as genocide. Genocide has become a military tactic with a goal of conquest. These conquests aren’t of one African country by another, but of the African countries by foreign interests. So to apply charges of genocide to ruling Africans is a political mechanism, often the result of an intentional program instigated by foreign interests and destabilization. An African court would protect those in power and possibly entire populations currently subjected to the military tactics of foreign aggressors.

This doesn’t mean that some African leaders aren’t criminal, or that their European and U.S. educations haven’t empowered them to commit singularly Western crimes. Their crimes pale when compared to those of the Western leaders who initiated the destruction of the Democratic Republic of Yugoslavia, the bombings and invasions of Iraq, Israel’s manner of subjugating the Palestinians, Canada’s knowing destruction of its aboriginal world. Each Western leader would be charged with genocide if our laws allowed it and if the ICC were functioning as an organ of justice rather than control. Because NATO country leaders are not charged, the rule of law serves the guilty and the entire fabric of just societies is undermined.

As evident in the trials of Rwandans charged with genocide everyone is responsible for his/her actions under the Convention on Genocide. The people are held accountable for participation in programs of the powerful. The lesson of this for North Americans should be that in both the U.S. and Canada, application of the Convention on Genocide to our leaders and government officials should not be decided by the government but by plebiscite of the citizenry.

Notes

“Leaders at African summit vote to have immunity from war crimes and genocide prosecution,” Heather Saul, July 2, 2014, The Independent;

“Africa’s Big Men betray it still,” Gerald Caplan, July 11, 2014, The Globe and Mail;

“Immunity for African Leaders?”John Campbell, July 9, 2014, Council on Foreign Relations; “Immunity from Prosecution for Genocide,”

Bruce Clark, July 7, 2014, Dissident Voice; “North American game plans and the Convention on Genocide,” J.B. Gerald, May 23, 2013, nightslantern.ca.

NATO Hopes for A “Russian Invasion” of Ukraine

July 15th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

In the minds of many following along with the Western narrative regarding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Russians have already “invaded.” Despite paradoxical claims of nuclear-armed Russia “invading” eastern Ukraine but with Kiev’s battered, disorganized troops in mismatching uniforms and without daily rations overwhelming these forces, many have chosen to believe that indeed Kiev’s inability to assert control in Ukraine’s easternmost provinces is solely because of Russian “intervention.”

The “Re-Invasion” of Ukraine? 

Even with the West claiming Russia has already “invaded” Ukraine, at each juncture of the ongoing conflict, an “impending Russian invasion of Ukraine” is held up to once again terrify and incense Western audiences – as if “another invasion” is about to take place – a “re-invasion” perhaps.The Business Insider in a July 6, 2014 article titled, “Russia Has Effectively Invaded Eastern Ukraine — The Question Is How The West Will Respond,” claimed (emphasis added):

For his part, Mr Putin appears, at least for now, to have ruled out a full-frontal invasion. On June 24th he theatrically instructed the ever-loyal upper house of parliament to cancel the authorisation for military force in Ukraine that he had ordered up in early March. The move was largely an empty fob to Mr Poroshenko and another way to ward off more Western sanctions. Yet even if a tanks-and-soldiers invasion seems unlikely, a Russian invasion of another sort began long ago: one that resembles the slippery, post-modern war …

With Kiev’s military campaign against fellow Ukrainians to the east faring poorly, an actual Russian invasion of Ukraine would only benefit them and their backers in both the European Union and collaborating states within NATO. Despite attempts to portray local defense fighters withdrawing from the Donetsk city of Slavyansk as a “retreat” and a “turning point” in the conflict in favor of Kiev, Kiev’s forces have continued to suffer heavy losses, most recently in Lugansk where apparently an entire tank column of between 40-70 vehicles was destroyed.

The BBC reported in its article, “Ukraine conflict: Fighting flares near city of Luhansk,” that:

Fighting has flared outside the rebel-held east Ukrainian city of Luhansk, with rebels saying government forces tried to storm the city with tanks. 

Rebel military leader Igor Strelkov was quoted as saying his forces had beaten off columns of government armour attacking from the south and west.

The same article would also report:

A Ukrainian presidential source told Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper that an armoured unit was trying to relieve troops who had been blockaded for weeks at Luhansk airport.

Strelkov (the nom-de-guerre of Igor Girkin) said the rebels had beaten off two government armoured columns numbering between 40 and 70 tanks.

With Kiev forces encircled in Lugansk and the forces sent to relieve them apparently destroyed – a miniature Stalingrad – it would seem like Russia has little reason to “invade” Ukraine. Still the West is intent on salvaging what appears to be an increasingly ineffective Ukrainian army racking up as many civilian casualties as it is defeats on the field of battle.

The Washington Post, in the wake of Kiev’s most recent setback in Lugansk, would declare in its article, “Russia warns Ukraine of ‘irreversible consequences’ after cross-border shelling,” that:

Russia on Sunday accused Ukraine of lobbing a shell over the border and killing a Russian civilian and warned of “irreversible consequences,” in a sharp escalation of rhetoric that raised fears of a Russian invasion in Ukraine’s east.

The accusation, which Ukrainian officials denied, set off furious denunciations in Russia, with one senior legislator calling for pinpoint airstrikes on Ukrainian soil of the sort he said Israel was making in the Gaza Strip.

The use of hyperbole allegedly spoken by a single Russian legislator to stoke fears of an impending Russian invasion has been a frequently used ploy by the Western media to manipulate public perception. Quoting obscure former “officials” in Iran has been used to disingenuously portray the whole of Iranian foreign policy in a particularly unflattering light more than once. The Washington Post would also claim of the Ukrainian conflict:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that his nation was prepared to take all necessary steps to defend its territory — a declaration that appeared to keep open the option of outright intervention in Ukraine. 

The desire by the West to portray Russia as “invading Ukraine” is rooted in the belief that it will undermine Russia’s political leverage and open the doors to more aggressive NATO support for the faltering regime in Kiev. Perceived Russian aggression might make it easier to convince NATO and EU members who have not followed suit in exacting sanctions and condemnation against Russia to begin taking a more anti-Russian stance.

Why Russia Doesn’t Need to Invade Ukraine 

Whether or not Russia is already covertly supporting fighters inside of Ukraine has little impact on its unnecessary need to directly invade Ukrainian territory. If Russia is not supporting fighters inside of Ukraine, it appears then that these fighters are more than capable of miring Kiev’s forces and picking them apart through classical guerrilla warfare on their own. If Russia is already covertly supporting fighters inside of Ukraine, all it needs to do is send more covert aid. The West is already accusing Russia of allowing armored vehicles to move over Russia’s border with Ukraine – what else could Russia do then that would constitute an outright “invasion?”

At any point of the conflict, if Ukraine’s provocations are not obvious enough, Russia will not benefit from crossing the border into Ukraine. Russia’s restraint thus far has exposed the West’s “responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine as dressed-up imperialism. Surely if ever a conflict warranted “humanitarian intervention,” it would be Kiev’s assault on eastern Ukrainians with warplanes, tanks, and artillery – indiscriminately shelling populated centers to compensate for the lack of capable grounds troops necessary to more precisely and safely engage with anti-Kiev fighters. That the West is not only failing to condemn this, but encouraging it, lays R2P to rest as cover for unilateral, global military aggression.

For Russia to likewise cite R2P would be to legitimize this otherwise dubious policy, and even normalize its use elsewhere around the world.

For many reasons Russia will not benefit from invading Ukraine, and for many more reason, NATO and the EU would benefit from it – at least rhetorically. The Russians are therefore likely to resist provocations by Ukraine to cross the border and give NATO further excuses to meddle in Eastern Europe. Instead, Russia will allow Kiev to continue displaying its brutality and incompetence on the battlefield while eastern Ukrainians continue picking apart their forces. Meanwhile, economic pressure will continue undermining the regime in Kiev even amongst its supporters in western Ukraine.

The clock is ticking and an outright military victory over Kiev’s forces is not necessary for eastern Ukrainians to achieve their goals. Conducting a confounding guerrilla campaign against Kiev will time out the clock until either mutiny or economic pressure gets the better of the regime and attempts to push eastward to consolidate its power will become an impossibility.

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

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage producer, has been ordered to shut down its bottling plant in Varanasi, India following local complaints that the company was drawing excessive amounts of groundwater. After an investigation, government authorities ruled that the company had violated its operating license. 

Activists hailed the victory. “We knew it was a matter of time before the government acknowledged the demands of the community. This is a great victory and a welcome confirmation that local communities can successfully take on big, powerful businesses,” Nandlal Master, an activist from Lok Samiti, told the India Resource Center, an activist group.* “We are looking forward to reclaiming the community-owned land that belongs rightfully to the people.We will not rest until Coca-Cola is evicted.

This is not the first time that the company has been in trouble in India for unsustainable water extraction practices. In 2004 a bottling plant in Plachimada, Kerala, was closed for excessive water consumption. Later Kerala passed legislation that allows Coca-Cola to be sued for as much as $47 million in damages as result of the operations. And last year, community organizers in Charba, Uttarakhand, defeated Coca-Cola’s plans to build a new factory as soon as the proposal went public.

Indian activists have long complained that Coca-Cola’s water extraction policies – the company uses three liters of water to make one liter of Coke – are burdening an already water-scarce country. Such excessive water extraction directly threatens farmers – 70 percent of India’s population – who rely on water as a key component for their agricultural output.

The Mehdiganj plant, located in the northeast state of Uttar Pradesh, has been one such source of anger for the community near Varanasi ever since Coca-Cola began operations in 1999. Numerous protests and letter writing campaigns petitioned the state government to reject Coca-Cola’s application to expand water extraction on grounds that current operations have already adversely impacted farmers. Local villagers also claimed that the Mehdiganj plant was built illegally on village council land.

Eleven years before Coca-Cola began operations, groundwater levels had risen 7.95 meters in Varanasi. After the plant opened, the letters state, groundwater resources have dropped a dramatic 7.9 meters (26 feet).

Letters sent by 15 village council heads to the local government in 2010, for example, blamed Coca-Cola for exacerbating an already precarious drought-stricken area to limited drinking water and farming.

There is a grave injustice taking place here as villages and farmers are left without water while Coca-Cola continues to mine groundwater, and that too for profit,” Mukesh Sharma, a village head from Nagepur Panchayat, told India Resource Center.

This led to a 2013 report released by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) which stated that Coca-Cola’s bottling plant had worsened local water quality from“safe” to “critical” in the intervening 13 years.

In 2003 and then again in 2012 the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) began an investigation into Coca-Cola’s practices.

The UPPCB found that Coca-Cola had not obtained the proper clearance to extract groundwater from the CGWA, noting that the company had almost doubled production capacity from 20,000 cases per day to 36,000 without the Board’s permission and misled authorities about waste discharge quantities.

Coca-Cola rejected the decision and announced that it would appeal the case to National Green Tribunal – India’s highest environmental court. “We use water very responsibly and judiciously,” the company said in an official statement. “We recognize that water is critical to our business as integral to community needs and therefore we have a shared interest in the sustainability of water resources.”

But Coca-Cola is facing a major public relations backlash – the dearth of water for farmers has struck a chord in India where millions have been forced to migrate to cities when their crops fail year after year. “The problem is that so many people are dependent on groundwater for farming. It is critical to their day-to-day life. People get very emotional about it,” David Molden, campaigner at International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka told the Ecologist magazine.

Of course, Coca-Cola is by no means the only cause of water depletion in rural areas. A lack of strict water regulation in India, for example, does not favor the farmers. Vested interests are able to take advantage and build pipelines and pumps across villages to extract more and more power with no limits.

“There’s no regulatory structure of political will to enforce regulation. Water is poorly managed all over the world but especially in India,” Patrick McCully, campaigner at International Rivers told the Ecologist.

In addition to groundwater depletion, soft drink manufacturers in India have also been accused of using contaminated water for their products. A 2003 report, conducted by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), found that Coca-Cola was one of a dozen beverages that contained over 30 times the level of pesticides considered safe under European Union standards. The CSE report found pesticides like chlorpyrifos DDT, lindane, malathion in Coke drinks. A Parliamentary Joint Committee confirmed the findings in 2004.

“CSE found high levels of toxic pesticides and insecticides, high enough to cause cancer, damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, birth defects and severe disruption of the immune system,” read a press release by CSE. “Market leaders Coca-Cola and Pepsi had almost similar concentrations of pesticide residues.”

* India Resource Center was previously part of CorpWatch.

Today a shameful culture of sexual violence permeates across thousands of America’s college campuses. This dark cloud hanging over campuses has never adequately been dealt with by US institutions of higher education and, because of that fact, American women attending college in 2014 must live in growing daily fear of being sexually violated by their fellow male students at a never before seen rate.

One in five women report being a victim of sexual assault while studying at America’s colleges and universities today. Another study determined that one in four college women have survived rape or attempted rape since age 14. A current trend estimates that one in three women will be sexually assaulted during her life. Take into account that the vast majority of victims choose not to report sex crimes to the authorities at all, a range anywhere from 60% up to 97% of sexually assaulted women will forego the stress of reporting sex crimes. When those kind of numbers are added to the overall equation, perhaps upwards of nearly half of all females attending college in America today are astoundingly being sexually violated, harassed and/or stalked on a regular basis. Though there are some who challenge these alarming numbers, keeping young women in pursuit of higher education in America safe from predatory male counterparts has never been a high priority until reaching its present crisis stage.

What is even more repugnant and telling is the men committing rape continue getting away with it with odds overwhelmingly on their side, giving them an emboldened advantage and sense of impunity that only motivates and reinforces them to brazenly rape again and again. Statistics show that sexual perpetrators will not stop at committing rape just once. Even if they get caught and receive treatment, recidivism rates for rapists are extremely high. They are far more apt to be serial rapists raping different women on average of six times before they are ultimately exposed and apprehended. Yet for many decades US colleges and universities have been quietly sweeping this mounting epidemic under the rug, concealing the truth from both the public and female students alike because the school’s reputation and image are far more important than the safety and well being of their college coeds. Campus sexual assault is yet another sad and tragic crisis currently exploding amongst America’s “best and brightest” enrolled at the nation’s best ivory tower institutions today. Sexual assault becomes the latest US scandal brewing alongside the over trillion dollars in loan debt accumulating to pay for the ever-mounting costs of a college education.

One blatant example of corruption where sexual assault has been criminally mishandled is the University of Montana at Missoula. Both the university and city in 2012 were accused of a mass cover-up of at least 80 sex crimes occurring on campus over the previous three years. The football coach and athletic director were terminated while a senior administration official attempted to silence victims, altered or refused to process reports. Last February the Department of Justice concluded the Missoula County District Attorney’s office discriminates against the university sexual assault victims.

As a consequence of deregulation, college administrations as well as the NCAA are increasingly coming under the umbrella of corporations and corporate sponsors for revenue. To court parents and prospective students, underreporting of rape has been a growing phenomenon. Squelching the truth about campus rape is committed for the sake of big money and big corporations that benefit acquisition of endowments, grants and financial support from alumni. If an institution develops a reputation for not providing a safe learning environment for its students, the school risks substantial loss of revenue. Like all powerful institutions in America, corruption, greed and public image rule, and ensuring the safety of its students has not been a priority.

A new analysis of college sexual assault reports amongst 1570 colleges with student enrollments over 1000 students compiled by The Washington Post reveals that the rate of increasing sex crimes reported to be committed on college campuses from 2010 to 2012 shows a sharp increase of 50% in just three years. Many analysts and college spokespersons invoke the greater number of victims reporting offenses as the primary cause of the jump in numbers, quick to further add that schools’ increased focus introducing more education and training programs on campus as well as more robust supportive interventions as the most plausible explanation. Of course they prefer to attribute this recent surge in reporting to the “glass half full” interpretation rather than the half empty view that would conclude that campus rape is only going up in recent years. But again these statistics include only known reported cases, not the enormously higher number of sexual crimes silently committed that remain unreported under the radar.

Of the list of 1570 schools, Penn State University totaled the highest number of sexual assault cases at 56 in 2012, up from just 4 in 2010. The extremely high media exposure covering the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke at Penn State in 2011 when the assistant football coach was eventually tried and convicted of abusing numerous young boys on campus. This heightened sensitivity at the school is attributed to the increased 2012 rate of 14 times the 2010 number.

But high profile sex scandals fail to explain Harvard University on record with just one less reported assault over the three year period behind Penn State at 83. Other colleges with the highest reported cases in the country include University of Michigan at 64, with more than twice the number in 2012 than either of the two preceding years, Ohio State with 61, University of California at Davis with 60, Stanford University with 59, Indiana University with 54, University of North Carolina at 52, Emory University in Atlanta also tied at 52, University of New Hampshire at 50. Other schools with a number of cases in the forties over the three year period in descending order include Michigan State University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Wisconsin, Princeton University, Amherst College, Yale University and UCLA.

Though a preponderance of large Midwestern public universities rank near the top, America’s most prestigious Ivy League schools also are heavily represented, along with three highly rated California public universities along with a most prestigious private school Stanford representing the Far West. Only two schools from the South are included. The geographical distribution covers most of the nation though the Midwest holds the edge. Another overall observation is that virtually all these schools where the most sexual assaults have been reported in recent years also rank as the very top academic, most renowned institutions in the country. It is far more likely that the best schools in the nation are ahead of the curve in encouraging victims to come forth than more rapists are attending America’s best schools. Yet high intelligence and rape linked together supplies food for thought.

Though the three major service academies were not included in this Washington Post report, rates of reported sexual assaults at those prestigious military institutions are just as high or highest in all the nation. The Air Force Academy during the 2012-13 fiscal year had 45 assault cases reported, and that was down from 52 the year before, by far exceeding even Penn State from 2010-2012. Moreover, each of the service academies have little more than 4000 students compared to Penn State’s nearly 47,000. The ratio of assaults per 1000 academy students is off the chart. Air Force Academy’s worse year during 2011-12 was 11.82. The highest assault ratio per 1000 students amongst the entire 1570 civilian colleges was Gallaudet University in Washington DC at 11.39. Thus the men at the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and West Point, the so called cream of the crop representing the finest young men and future leaders of America, appear to be raping more women than any other schools in the country based on available reported information.

That said, the procedures of collecting and reporting data on sexual assaults vary from school to school. Therefore, those differential irregularities blur the capacity to discern any conclusive findings from this report. Moreover, 45% of the 1570 colleges maintained that zero cases of assault occurred on their campuses. Due to the tendency of so many institutions to historically underreport, undoubtedly sexual assaults are far more frequent than the numbers making this list of colleges indicate. Schools specifying minimal or zero assaults may well be guilty of inaccurate reporting while those high on the list may actually be the result of robust efforts to reach and support victims to come forth, not necessarily that more assaults are taking place at those institutions.

2007 study found that only 2% of sexually assaulted victims who were drunk and/or on drugs at the time of the incident dared to report the crime to the police and only 13% who were “physically forced” into victimization contacted local law enforcement. Typical reasons that cause rape victims from reporting is they do not want anyone else to know. Many are so scarred and ashamed they choose to suffer in silence alone. From this 2007 study near half of those physically coerced cited as their primary reason for not going to the police is they “did not want anyone to know,” the exact same result found a decade earlier. This finding indicates that as victims the pervasive fear of being publicly exposed to others’ scrutiny and judgment has not changed in recent years, which of course has only contributed to the general culture leading to sexual violence that is gripping college campuses today. It also reflects a continuing prevailing attitude that reporting sexual crimes is neither worth the hassle nor the humiliation. Moreover, victims’ persistent and unchanging perception over time also indicates little to no progress being made to assist victims in feeling any safer or more supported in their choice to report. Otherwise, more assault victims would be disclosing more rape incidents to law enforcement.

Another factor compounding the problem of rape victims failing to report the crime to the police is the result of lack of education and understanding on what constitutes criminal sexual assault. From that same 2007 study 35% of the respondents stated that were unclear if a crime was committed or harm was intended. Numerous myths abound that rape must always involve a stranger or overt acts of violence cause many victims to not recognize they were sexually assaulted.

Still another reason rape largely goes unreported is that victims commonly perceive the police will not believe them, take them seriously and not pursue investigating the case. They are partially correct in that only 18% of reported cases result in convictions. When unreported rapes are taken into account, only approximately 3% of rapists will ever serve any time in prison. Through the media as well as hearing of others’ experiences with rape, victims are somewhat aware of how a public rape trial too often places the victim’s character on trial instead of the accused. The stress caused by the legal ordeal can be traumatic and simply not deemed worth the cost, particularly since so few defendants are convicted and serve any prison time for rape. Fear of retribution from the perpetrator also influences victims from reporting the crime.

In situations of date rape where victims know the perpetrator, reporting the crime often carries a negative backlash toward the victim, particularly amongst students’ circle of friends and social network, and of course magnified even more on smaller campuses and towns. After suffering the trauma of rape, reporting the crime risks the all too common scenario whereby the victim is then only re-victimized by being ostracized as a social pariah. This double victimization that brands, blames and stigmatizes rape victims may lead to loss of friends, the victim dropping out of school, three times more likely to suffer from major depression, six times more likely to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and four times more likely to contemplate suicide. A rape victim is 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol as an unhealthy, self-medicating coping mechanism while 26 times more likely to abuse drugs. Considering the dangerous risks that reporting may bring in the form of unbearable pain, anguish and disastrous consequences when victims are brave enough to seek justice through the legal system, it is no wonder that so few rape victims even go to the police. With so much stacked against the female victim, the male rapist wins and remains unimpeded to rape again and again, protected by a toxic climate of both social and legal impunity.

Another critical factor that permits predators to continue victimizing women is the fact that when the vast majority fail to report, no evidence collected from hospital rape kits used to track down and convict the perpetrator exists. Additionally prevention of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are assured by prompt medical intervention. Unless the victim chooses to go immediately to the hospital or medical clinic after the incident, not enough conclusive evidence can be brought to trial to convict the guilty. Thus, law enforcement and medical records are both required to remove the rapists from raping again and placing them behind bars where they belong.

There are certain fraternities on campuses across America that have notorious reputations for excusing drunken aggressive party behavior that frequently results in gang rape. Most of the money from fraternities is allocated to pay insurance that covers settlements in their high incidence of sexual assault cases. The old rationalized “boys will be boys” sense of entitlement is still all too common, and particularly if the perpetrators happen to be high profile collegiate athletes. Where big money, big sports and big college programs are involved, violent perpetrators traditionally rewarded and glorified for displaying violence on the playing field are given a free pass when it comes to their violence toward women on campus. Again, the deeply embedded American culture of violence blurs right into an extended culture of violence toward women.

Last week Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) showed her frustration based on her finding from a national survey that one in five college athletic departments at universities are given oversight regarding sexual assault cases involving their team athletes and staff. Obviously major fallout from the 2011 Penn State University case of Coach Sandusky’s serial molestations covertly withheld by famed football coach Joe Paterno and his athletic department has the senator shuttering at the thought that so many school athletic departments are still in positions overseeing potential misconduct that too often protect the guilty at the expense of the victim.

Senator McCaskill also was dismayed to learn from the same survey a whopping 40% of 236 college presidents at private nonprofit, public and for-profit schools across the country claimed that their institutions have not conducted even one investigation of a sexual assault case in the last five years. She suspects that most of those schools are “either in denial or incompetent,” not buying that no assaults were ever committed. At this country’s 50 largest public universities and 40 largest private, nonprofit colleges a separate survey results shows that 11% of the schools did not employ a Title IX coordinator. Federal regulations require hiring a coordinator. In summary, her findings demonstrated how poorly equipped colleges are at properly handling sexual misconduct cases dictated by Title IX regulations.

Also alarming is the fact that the survey shows that one in three schools do not offer sexual assault training for their students and one in five fail to provide training for their staff. The Missouri senator along with New York’s Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are leading a Congressional committee tasked with creating legislation to decrease sexual assault on college campuses by improving how cases are handled by universities in conjunction with law enforcement. Though McCaskill hopes to pass legislation by the end of this year, it is more likely to be delayed until sometime next year.

Though priority is urgently weighed toward protecting women as potential rape victims, coordinating a standard national policy that would apply to both local law enforcement agencies working closely in unison with all American colleges and universities is not an easy endeavor. Last January the Obama administration has called for a task force of college administrators, student victims, sex abuse advocacy groups and legal representatives to come together under the auspices of the Department of Education’s White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to formulate specific uniform guidelines and policies that will carry strictly enforced adherence by all colleges in efforts to stem the epidemic tide. Currently 60 US colleges are under investigation for alleged violations of Title IX laws that currently govern how colleges are supposed to respond to incidents involving sexual misconduct. Currently under the Clery Act colleges and universities are required to report all sexual assault cases to the Department of Justice. The mandated guidelines that will soon be going into effect will rescind the Clare Act and mandate that all institutions additionally track and report accounts of sexual harassment and stalking as well.

The US Department of Education that has recently begun releasing its preliminary guidelines toward establishing an explicit national protocol scheduled to be published in November places college administrations into an emerging mandated formal judicial role of adjudicating all sexual assault and misconduct cases involving their students. This is separate and in addition to already established law enforcement and criminal court system that historically investigate and prosecute criminal sexual assault cases. Another mandated option for both the accused and the victim at the college administrative hearing will be the accompanied presence of legal counsel if so desired. The school will control how much input and participation that person in the advisor role will have. A huge distinction between a criminal court trial of a sexual assault case and the proposed university hearing to adjudicate sexual assault cases is that in criminal court a jury’s guilty verdict must be based on clear and convincing evidence whereas in the school hearing a lesser level of proof is sufficient to declare the guilt of the accused party. This difference obviously works against the accused.

A growing number of college administrators reacting to these newly imposed guidelines fear they will open a Pandora’s box to litigation against the universities. Several cases have already been successfully brought against colleges by male students found guilty of sexual misconduct. Critics claim that too big a federal government overstepping its boundaries and authority will only result in more costly regulation and control creating only more problems. Taking on the additional role and burden that some see as duplicating what the judicial system already is supposed to do will be counterproductive and more problematic. Some say the additional costs of implementing and operating these formalized guidelines will be passed onto the students that are already overburdened with enormous education costs. Others cite the coercive tactics the federal government is bringing to bear on universities under the threat of cutting off their education subsidies from Washington that universities depend on to stay in business.

All these concerns notwithstanding, the overwhelming consensus amongst students and victim advocacy groups believe that universities brought this current crisis situation on themselves by their own past neglect and lack of responsiveness and support toward sexual assault victims. Because higher education institutions have been historically so remiss in allowing assaults to increase with minimal consequences for male offenders, often customarily dismissing cases outright, the systemic mishandling of sexual misconduct at US colleges over many decades has only fostered and perpetuated this present culture of violence toward women.

Still others have expressed concerns that the rights of the defendant may be violated in these university adjudicated proceedings. In the rush for judgment in pursuit of justice, young male students feel they may be railroaded by false or grossly exaggerated claims in a cultural hysteria created by this unprecedented focus sweeping the nation. Similar to how daycare facility workers in the 1980’s were falsely accused of engaging in acts of sexual abuse toward children, and a toxic climate quickly grew out of interviewing and leading children and adults alike to reclaim false memories in witch hunts to identify and demonize the accused, fear that similar injustices will befall innocent victims as targets of a get-the-rapist crusade. Especially where alcohol and drugs are involved, consensual versus non-consensual sex is so often blurred and has a potential for zealous anti-rape crusaders to cross ethical lines. Lawyers are even telling male students to videotape their sexual encounters as potential evidence that the sex was consensual, and even in states where non-consensual videotaping may be illegal, the cost of violating may be worth the risk since rape is a criminal felony. Men (and some women) today often will cite the extreme reactionary consequence when an innocent compliment might be misconstrued in work or educational settings by a female peer as sexual harassment in what men view as theemerging culture of female victimization and paranoia. As an early example of this misplaced justice, the unfair trial of the three accused Duke lacrosse players a few years ago illustrates radical feminist rush to judgment and politically correct hype gone wrong. Finally, in the mandated college hearings a lesser burden of proof based on mere preponderance of evidence poses a distinct disadvantage for the accused.

Turning to the more common extreme after a miscarriage of justice befalls a legitimate victim of sexual assault, as a last resort many victims have recently gone public via media airwaves impassionedly illuminating their extreme cases of gross injustice. A number of female victims have historically been instructed by college administrators and even counseling staff to not report incidents, and/or were even blamed for causing the assault. Seeing these woman telling their heartbreaking stories delivers a visceral response of outrage at various school officials’ insensitivity, ignorance and hurtful callousness. No young woman should have to endure such horror that permanently mars her educational experience and potentially her entire life. Many have to live daily with their rapists who too often continue attending classes and eating in the same dining halls with their victims because schools have not done their jobs. With so many high profile cases increasingly covered by the media, colleges and universities are now being forced to take a more proactive and robust stand to provide a safer, stronger support mechanism for victims while meting out more fair and appropriate punishment for the perpetrators.

Though this presentation of campus sexual assault has focused on female victims and male perpetrators, it bears mention that young men attending college are also victims of sexual assault. Male victims are especially prone to not report abuse. So little records are kept on male victims, the numbers are difficult to assess. The FBI Uniform Crime Report fails to even provide data on male rape victims. In most male rape victim cases the perpetrator is another male. Survey data suggest that acquaintance rape incidence on campuses may involve up to 10% male victims. The increasing supportive services and improved handling of their cases need to engage in further outreach to connect and protect them too. No human should suffer from such a heinous crime as sexual assault.

A few months ago I wrote an article exposing a similarly pathetic reality within the military of the alarming rates of sexual assault rising in both all the service academies as well as throughout all the US armed forces. As a West Point graduate and former Army officer, I observed firsthand the culture of disrespect toward women within the ranks of the good ol’ boys club that has given rise to the current implosion of misconduct within all the military services. In 2011 alone there were 26,000 reported cases of sexual assault in the US military.

In response to a full year of disturbing rape headlines up and down the armed forces, the Pentagon plunged headfirst into damage control overdrive, replete with repeated claims that its extensive self-policing efforts were already paying off. This PR blitz to protect its good ol’ boy club impunity was accompanied by vociferous lobbying of Congress in order to retain jurisdictional control over all its sexual assault cases within the military hierarchy, thus maintaining status quo of commanding officers (nearly always male) presiding over cases. In March this year the Senate collapsed under Pentagon blitzkrieg pressure and voted to not allow civil courts to take over this out of control epidemic. Thus, after a year of uncomfortable heat, having dodged a bullet, top brass breathed a sigh of relief and life in the military quickly went back to business as usual. And female soldiers will never get a fair shake as long as the good ol’ boys remain criminally in charge.

At the same time that Congress dropped the ball, women in the military were struck with another low blow when verdicts in two extremely high profile cases went against the female accusers. A Naval Academy football player was acquitted the same day that Army General Sinclair received a slap on the hand with only a small fine. These back-to-back setbacks for women in uniform courageous enough to seek justice only carry the sobering consequence of fewer victims in the future even bothering to step forward to report rape.

Completely related as a parallel process and microcosm within the macrocosm, women are being sexually assaulted both in and out of the military as well as both in America and around the world also at disturbing rates. These shocking trends reverberating globally suggest that men in the twenty-first century have made little to no progress in their relations with women, giving rise to the inevitable question as to whether the human species is even evolving at all. Such high profile cases of women being wantonly gang raped and murdered on a bus in India or a rape victim being stoned to death in Saudi Arabia, worldwide violence against women is on the rise and never been more visibly in our face. Former US President and Annapolis graduate himself Jimmy Carterrecently went on record declaring that violence against women is the “worst and most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on Earth.”

With the prospect of World War III looming on the approaching horizon, with multiple regional conflicts already violently erupting and escalating at the same time as the spiked surge of women’s mistreatment skyrocketing out of control on a global scale, drawing the dismal conclusion that humans may in fact only be regressing becomes difficult to repudiate. An extremely high correlation has always existed between cultures prone to war violence also being most prone to violence against women. And as a result, the state of the modern world hanging precariously imbalanced has never looked more bleak.

Despite the ominous signs of increasing global violence, all the increasing attention and focus on campus violence toward women is waking America up to its epidemic crisis. Positive signs are the coordinated efforts coming from both the Obama administration’s task force and Senator McCaskill’s committee along with the growing grassroots community movement amongst many young women and some supportive men on campuses across the nation to take empowered action. Various Title IX groups have emerged on campuses as self-help groups to know and learn their civil rights. Mass demonstrations have been taking place around the country in unified solidarity toward embracing the rights of women and all human rights. Like never before programs are being implemented on numerous campuses to train and educate students to increase awareness and support in taking empowered preventive action against assault that include bystanders. More effective communication and coordination between college administrations and local law enforcement is also in process. With unprecedented resolve, numerous advocacy groups and school programs are now underway to curb the violence. Efforts appear to be bearing fruit in that more victims are reporting sexual assault than ever before. The long neglected system at colleges and universities designed to protect and support women is slowly improving while more robust mechanisms are being enacted to hold the perpetrators more accountable.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He has worked extensively with sex abuse victims. He now concentrates on his writing.

Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup has been linked to a mysterious fatal kidney disease epidemic that has appeared in Central America, Sri Lanka and India.

For years, scientists have been trying to unravel the mystery of a chronic kidney disease epidemic that has hit Central America, India and Sri Lanka. The disease occurs in poor peasant farmers who do hard physical work in hot climes. In each instance, the farmers have been exposed to herbicides and to heavy metals. The disease is known as CKDu, for Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology. The “u” differentiates this illness from other chronic kidney diseases where the cause is known. Very few Western medical practitioners are even aware of CKDu, despite the terrible toll it has taken on poor farmers from El Salvador to South Asia.

Dr. Catharina Wesseling, the regional director for the Program on Work and Health (SALTRA) in Central America, which pioneered the initial studies of the region’s unsolved outbreak, put it this way, “Nephrologists and public health professionals from wealthy countries are mostly either unfamiliar with the problem or skeptical whether it even exists.”

Dr. Wesseling was being diplomatic. At a 2011 health summit in Mexico City, the United States beat back a proposal by Central American nations that would have listed CKDu as a top priority for the Americas.

Read entire article here

Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission

Brics to Open Alternatives to World Bank, IMF

July 15th, 2014 by Valentina Pop

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (the so-called Brics) are to establish alternatives to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which they find too biased towards Europe and the US.

The “New Development Bank” to rival the World Bank will be launched at a Brics summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza next week, with all agreed except where to put the main headquarters, Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov said Wednesday (9 July).

The two options currently being considered are Shanghai or New Delhi, Siluanov said. Russia didn’t push to get the bank in Moscow, but will seek management posts instead, he said.

The project will see each of the Brics contribute €1.4 billion to the bank’s funds over the next seven years, with the bank’s maximum capital set at €73 billion. The bank will fund mainly infrastructure projects.

Other countries that want to join will be able to do so once the new bank opens for lending, in 2016, the minister added.

It will be a small rival to the €163 billion-strong World Bank, but it marks the departure of a US and Europe-dominated international financial system.

Siluanov also confirmed plans for a separate Brics project: an alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

This would be set up as a joint contingency pool between the five Brics countries to the tune of €73 billion.

“We have reached an agreement that, in the current conditions of capital volatility, it is important for our countries to have this buffer a so-called “mini-IMF” – a financial organisation which could quickly react to capital outflow, providing liquidity in hard currency, in particular in US dollars,”

Siluanov said.

The pool will become available in 2015 and will see each of the Brics countries putting in as much of a proportion of the total capital as it would be allowed to withdraw, except for China (the largest donor) and South Africa (the smallest), which will be allowed to withdraw half and double their contributions, respectively.

Brics nations have grown increasingly frustrated at the priorities of the IMF, particularly during the euro-crisis, where a disproportionate amount of the fund’s money went to bailouts in southern Europe.

When: Monday, July 21, 2014

Media lies are responsible for wars, mass killings, and genocide.

They frame issues (propaganda) and justify killings.

We can STOP this dangerous assault on the truth and save humanity.   We must act quickly.

Media’s power comes from its reach – from ratings, which translates into money.    We, as individuals and collectively, feed this cycle.

Reduce the reach, lower the ratings, deprive it income.  Boycott.

 It is DOABLE.   We can start with the most egregious (may vary from country to country), boycotting 3 outlets for 3 days until behavioral change is noted (rely on other media outlets to see if change has been instituted.  Do NOT watch, listen, or read online the following:

CNN:  Parent Company, Time Warner.

Note host Wolf Blitzer, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Oren as Middle East analyst, Newt Gingrich, Christine Amanpour.

 CBS:   Owner, Sumner Redstone

FOX: Parent Company NewsCorp

For this to be effective, we must have numbers.  This is what must be done:

 Enlist at least 5 people (ideally with one of them having a different ideological view from yours – its doable) to commit to the boycott, the stations, and the days – July 21, 22, & 23.   

 Ask them to enlists 5 people, get commitment and inform you of the accomplishment.

Repeat the pattern.

Keep track of the numbers.

It is no longer sufficient for us to simply blow off steam on FB and other social media.  We must act.  We must bring the cycle of killing and lies to an end.   We must unite and put in the effort.  Let us save humanity.

We will plan our next phase in two weeks and after the initial response.

America and Britain destroyed Iraq for them, lynched the country’s President for them, created five million orphans, five million displaced, over a million widows and now upper figures of over one and a half million dead for them. They created mass graves on an industrial scale for them, with people’s beloveds buried in car parks, gardens, patios and football pitches – but now they are in the hands of ISIS (the self proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) they pose barely a “minimal risk” say US government spokespeople. We are talking of course, chemical weapons.

The currently sanguine view of the US government is in stark contrast to that of the New York based Soufan Group, a security and political risk consultancy with worldwide offices and operations, stretching from London, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Singapore. For them: “ISIS has become indisputably the most effective and ruthless terrorist organization in the world.” (1)

On 11th and 12th June, ISIS gained control of the Al Muthanna former chemical weapons complex where, in the 1980s Iraq developed weapons believed to be on par with, then, the US and the former Soviet Union. Iraqi scientists reportedly travelled to the US and UK in order to gain the relevant expertise in chemical munitions (2.)

The vast Al Muthanna compound, covering many acres, was bombed and much destroyed by the “coalition” in the 1991 Gulf War, hardly the most intelligent target to hit, releasing untold life-threatening chemicals on the population, fauna, flora. But of course, then as now, as General Taguba was informed during his investigation in to the terrorist activities towards prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison by US personnel: “They were only Iraqis.”

However, according to a CIA Report last updated in 2007 (3) there seems every reason to be exceedingly alarmed about the capture of Al Muthanna. Of the facilities which survived the attack were a number of bunkers for storage of the most dangerous materials. In 1994 in was found that: “Two sealed cruciform bunkers containing the largest declared stockpile of chemical munitions, old bulk chemical agent, and hazardous material associated with the CW program remained. The surrounding area at the facility became a refuse area or junkyard for relics of Iraq’s past CW weapons program.”

Moreover: “Two damaged cruciform bunkers were used to seal damaged chemical munitions, residual chemical agents, and hazardous material.

“The contents of the bunkers were declared to the UN but never fully. The munitions inside the bunkers were damaged from bombings; fires, leaking munitions and physical damage to munitions made the environment inside the bunker extremely dangerous.”

The weapons inspectors’: “exploitations indicate that the storage area still remains a threat despite testing. Chemical storage containers filled with unknown hazardous chemicals are showing signs of rusting-through and leaking.

“Key bunkers and facilities are currently scheduled to be sealed or resealed.

“Stockpiles of chemical munitions are still stored there. The most dangerous ones have been declared to the UN and are sealed in bunkers. Although declared, the bunkers contents have yet to be confirmed. These areas of the compound pose a hazard to civilians and potential black-marketers.”

Further:

“The contents of two of the cruciform bunkers bombed during Desert Storm showed severe damage. Due to the hazards associated with this location, the UN decided to seal the bunkers.

“UNSCOM (the weapons inspectors) viewed the contents of the two bunkers; however an accurate inventory was not possible due to the hazards associated with that environment.” Thus, there is neither a full inventory of the potentially most lethal of materials and they were simply sealed in and left.

The final paragraph concludes that Al Muthanna, was the bastion of Iraq’s 1980s chemical weapons facilities, however: “Two wars, sanctions and UNSCOM oversight reduced Iraqi’s premier production facility to a stockpile of old damaged and contaminated chemical munitions (sealed in bunkers) …”

Bunkers, of course, can be unsealed.

The Guardian (4) records that:

“The last major Report by UN inspectors on the status of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programme was released about a year after the experts left in March 2003. It states that bunker 13 contained 2,500 sarin-filled 122mm chemical rockets produced and filled before 1991, and about 180 tonnes of sodium cyanide, a very toxic chemical and a precursor for the warfare agent tabun.”

Whilst the tabun-filled containers were all treated with decontamination solution and “unlikely” to contain any agent (no certainties) “the residue of this decontamination would contain cyanides, which would still be a hazard”. Understatement or what?

Bunker 41: “ contained 2,000 empty 155mm artillery shells contaminated with the chemical warfare agent mustard, 605 one-tonne mustard containers with residues, and heavily contaminated construction material … the shells could contain mustard residues that cannot be used for chemical warfare but remain highly toxic.”

US State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, whilst concerned about seizure of the complex, sunnily dismissed what to most would be a pretty alarming inventory as “degraded chemical remnants … (which) “don’t include intact chemical weapons and would be difficult, if not impossible to safely use … or … move.” The US Defence Department sang from exactly the same hymn sheet.

So lethal chemicals are used “safely” and “difficulty” (not inability) with moving are air brushed.  They could surely be incorporated in to crude chemical devices. Ms Psaki’s blithe assessment is more than strange, especially given that insurgents in Syria have near certainly used, with devastating effect, home made chemical weapons.

The “no immediate danger” message seems obliquely contradicted by Iraq’s Ambassador to the UN Mohammed Ali Al Hakim who, in a letter to the UN said Iraq was unable to fulfill its obligations to destroy the weapons in the light of the takeover of Al Muthanna, but would resume its obligations when the facility was retaken and security restored.

Question one: If they are so “degraded” why the need to destroy them?

Question two: Why is Iraq being treated differently from Syria, which was forced to remove chemical weapons in highly dangerous circumstances, yet the UN (and that devious “international community”) allows Iraq off the hook?

Should all that be a bit confusing, try this. On 8th July Ambassador Al Hakim informed the UN Atomic Energy Agency (UNAEA) that “terrorist groups” had seized nearly forty kilos (eighty eight pounds) of uranium from a laboratory at Mosul University (5.)

The Ambassador appealed for help: “to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad” stating that the material: “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.” This as government spokesperson in the US and UK issue siren warnings of knowledge of those plotting dire attacks on both countries.

Geniality rules. No problem says the UNAEA: “ … we believe the material involved is low grade and would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk.” Uranium is radioactive and uranium 233 through to 238 (there are six known isotopes) have a half-life ranging between sixty nine and 4.5 Billion years.

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry, given the horrors rained on Iraq, at the now relaxed attitude to allegedly having potentially lethal chemicals and chemically toxic and radioactive materials in the hands of those who have committed unspeakable crimes and declared a fundamentalist “Caliphate” between Iraq and Syria.

Remember just one of the litany of lies to justify the Iraq invasion, the October 2002 ninety page National Intelligence Estimate document produced by Washington which stated that Iraq had begun “vigorously trying to procure” uranium from Niger and two other African countries?

In January 2003, then President George W. Bush even stated in his State of the Union speech: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” More baseless rubbish from now “Peace Envoy” Tony Blair and his cabal. But now, apparently, uranium in the hands of unknown terrorists is of no consequence.

At the same time, then US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was bitterly condemning Saddam Hussein as a “brutal and ruthless monster … citing the use of the very weapons he (Rumsfeld) helped to supply.”

“As an envoy from President Reagan (in 1983) he had a secret meeting with” Saddam Hussein “and arranged enormous military assistance for his war with Iran.”

“Mr Rumsfeld, at the time a successful executive in the pharmaceutical industry, still made it possible for Saddam to buy supplies from American firms.” (6)

Given the litany of lies attached to the tragedy of Iraq, can we believe the apparently tranquil view being taken of these latest developments? Or will it suddenly become an excuse to reinvade to rescue US puppet “Prime Minister” Nouri Al Maliki, or even an pretext for his to use even more heinous weapons on those who oppose him than he has already and blame the complex coalition – temporary “marriage of convenience” – of resistance and insurgents. There are many unanswered questions in this alarming saga.

Notes

1. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/12/world/meast/who-is-the-isis/

2. https://medium.com/war-is-boring/no-iraqi-terrorists-arent-about-to-gas-us-cc816f861d4b

3. https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd_2004/chap5_annxB.html

4. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/09/isis-seizes-chemical-weapons-plant-muthanna-iraq

5. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-insurgents-seize-nuclear-materials-from-mosul-university-9596676.html

6. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-153210/Rumsfeld-helped-Iraq-chemical-weapons.html

Translation and introduction by John Junkerman

This interview with a former top official of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was conducted immediately after the July 1, 2014 adoption of a Cabinet resolution that changed the government’s long-standing position that Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution prohibited the country from engaging in collective self-defense (military action in support of an ally that has come under enemy attack). The decision came just six weeks after a carefully selected advisory panel delivered a report on May 15 with a preordained conclusion—that the grounds long used to justify Japan’s individual self-defense under the Constitution also apply, within limits, to the exercise of collective self-defense.

The report presented various scenarios that were intended to demonstrate the validity of the new interpretation, and during the whirlwind of spin and political positioning in the weeks that followed, the government refined those scenarios and articulated new limitations. It was clear that these theatrics were intended to downplay the historic shift that was taking place, but the performance continued, despite pushback from the media and the Japanese public.

The debate over collective self-defense has continued for decades in Japan, but this suddenly accelerated push to change the policy in the face of broad public opposition has left many wondering why this is happening now and what the implications are. Magosaki Ukeru’s response is that this development stems from the ever-deepening strategic alliance between Japan and the US, and that, if not constrained, it will lead to Japan’s involvement in the wars of choice that the US continues to fight in the name of collective self-defense. JJ

I watched Prime Minister Abe’s press conference after the Cabinet decision to allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, and it was a travesty. The prime minister is lying. He talked about “doing everything to ensure the safety of the Japanese people,” but the reality is the opposite.

For example, in March 2004, with Spain having sent troops to Iraq as part of the “coalition of the willing” in support of the US and Britain, 191 people were killed in terrorist attacks on commuter trains in Madrid. If the Self-Defense Forces [SDF] get involved in the exercise of military force overseas, the actions of the “enemy” will put “the safety of the Japanese people” at risk. The 1.25 million Japanese who live overseas and the 20 million who travel overseas could become targets of attack.

Once again at this press conference, the prime minister displayed a graphic panel that depicts a mother holding a young child, just as he had on May 15 [when he announced the report of his advisory panel recommending approval of collective self-defense]. This is an illustration for one of the scenarios that have been offered as justification for recognizing the exercise of collective self-defense: “If an American ship is attacked while it is attempting to rescue and transport home Japanese citizens who flee a military conflict overseas, the SDF cannot [under the standing interpretation of the constitution] defend that ship.” But this scenario is an outright lie.

Take a look at the US Department of State’s website. In a Q & A format with the title “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis,” it is clearly stated that “our priority is assisting US citizens. You should not expect to bring friends or relatives who are not US citizens…” The prime minister is using an inconceivable scenario of “Japanese citizens being protected and transported home by an American ship” as a rationale for his policy change.

It has been reported that the developments leading up to the press conference were guided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MFA], but as a former official there, I think that overrates the ministry (laughs). Rather than having any direction of their own, the ministry staff are merely picking up on the intentions of the US and faithfully executing what they are told to do. In other words, the exercise of the right to collective self-defense is based on the intent of the US, and the MFA is no more than a messenger. So what are the aims of the US? The problems can be traced to the time immediately after the end of the Cold War.

At the time, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US ostensibly had an opportunity to greatly shrink its huge military. But the US chose instead to maintain its military power in order to secure its status as the world’s sole superpower. The existence of an “enemy” was indispensible to maintaining this military force, so it became established practice to always have an enemy in place, as we saw with the labeling of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the “Axis of Evil.” But for these three countries—as well as every other country in the world— challenging the US in war is an unthinkable act of self-destruction, so the US has taken to starting the wars. The policy of “preemptive strikes” declared in the Bush Doctrine in 2002 is nothing less than a manifestation of this.

The US-Japan Alliance Reaches a Turning Point

In short, the US has been lighting fires around the world, applying military force against countries and forces that stand in the way of its unipolar control. This has been the overall thrust of post-Cold War America. This led in turn to the emergence of two major problems. The first was that maintaining these war policies produced an enormous fiscal burden, so it became necessary to shift some of the load to other countries. Second, if the US acted alone in pursuing war, it would become the target of the concentrated hatred and resistance from around the world, so this exposure too had to be shared with other countries. At the top of the list of these “other countries” were Japan and Germany.

This strategy, which has remained completely unchanged to the present, was consolidated in the October 2005 statement by the Security Consultative Committee [the so-called “2+2 Committee,” comprised of the American secretaries of state and defense and the Japanese minister of foreign affairs and minister of state for defense]. It was entitled “US-Japan Alliance: Transformation and Realignment for the Future.”

The statement declares, “Bilateral cooperation in improving the international security environment to achieve regional and global common strategic objectives has become an important element of the alliance.” In other words, the US and Japan will work together in the future to improve “the international security environment.” The recent moves around collective self-defense can be seen as the Abe administration’s overhaul of the political and legal framework in order to proceed with implementing the “Transformation and Realignment” plan. In concrete terms, this means that the SDF will be committed in the disputes and wars that the US military starts in various parts of the world.

Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo, who succeeded Abe after his first stint as prime minister ended in 2007, is known for having refused an American request to commit SDF transport units to the war in Afghanistan. However, it’s hard to imagine Prime Minister Abe rejecting such a request.

Beware American War Policies

Of deeper concern is what might develop if a hawkish successor, such as former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, takes over as president when Obama’s term ends in two and a half years. I have been struck by how the recent developments in Ukraine have once again exposed the nature of the US military-industrial complex. Neo-Nazis formed the core of the force that violently drove the democratically elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, from office; Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland provided full support to these neo-Nazis and continues to be in charge of US policy on Ukraine.

Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan, the theoretician of the ultra-right neoconservative movement in the US, and is herself a neocon. She previously served as spokesperson for the State Department, so it should be surprising to find a person like this at the core of American foreign policy. Moreover, these neocons and the military-industrial complex that backs them aim first of all for regional destabilization, as exemplified by Ukraine. This is because a region that is stable and at peace leaves little room for American political or military intervention.

Of course, a framework has been constructed whereby the US avoids armed clashes with major countries like Russia and China that have nuclear weapons and can threaten the US. But when other countries fail to fall in line or otherwise displease the US, they are put down by military force or destabilized from within. It remains unclear under what circumstances the SDF will be dispatched abroad; but as long as the US maintains these war policies that sow tension throughout the world, the SDF that has until now never killed nor lost a single person in combat will someday, inevitably, face the moment when it will cross that line. At that time, what will the Japanese people do?

In this fashion, the exercise of collective self-defense only means that the SDF will become mercenaries in the service of the US military, harming Japan more than it helps the country. Top officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to say nothing of Japan’s politicians, are probably fully aware of this. But following the US is a means of self-protection, and so they lie and fail to call out lies for what they are. This posture is reminiscent of Japan during the time leading up to the beginning of the Pacific War. At that time, there wasn’t a single person in the military or the government who believed Japan could fight the US and win. Nonetheless, in the interest of self-preservation, they didn’t express their opinions. They chose to give themselves over to the current of the times, and brought on catastrophe. We must not allow this mistake to be repeated. And the nation’s people must not allow themselves to be deceived once again.

This is a slightly abbreviated version of an article based on an interview by Narusawa Muneo, editor of the weekly Kin’yobi, which appeared in the July 11, 2014 of the magazine.

 

Magosaki Ukeru is the former director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Information Bureau and former professor at the National Defense Academy. His books include Nihon no Kokkyo Mondai (Japan’s Border Problems).

John Junkerman is an American documentary filmmaker and Asia-Pacific Journal contributing editor living in Tokyo. His film, “Japan’s Peace Constitution” (2005), won the Kinema Jumpo and Japan PEN Club best documentary awards. It is available in North America from Icarus Films.

 

Since December of last year, JPMorgan Chase has been experiencing tragic, sudden deaths of workers on a scale which sets it alarmingly apart from other Wall Street mega banks. Adding to the concern generated by the deaths is the recent revelation that JPMorgan has an estimated $180 billion of life insurance in force on its current and former workers.

Making worldwide news last week was the violent deaths of JPMorgan technology executive Julian Knott and his wife, Alita, ages 45 and 47, respectively, in Jefferson Township, New Jersey. However, two other recent, sudden deaths of technology workers at JPMorgan have gone unreported by the media.

The bodies of the Knott couple, who have a teenage daughter and two teenage sons, were discovered by police on July 6, 2014 at approximately 1:12 a.m. According to a press release issued by the Morris County Prosecutor’s office, Jefferson Township Police Officers Tim Hecht and Dave Wroblewski responded to the Knott home located in the Lake Hopatcong section following a “report of two unconscious adults.”

Who made the call to police and whether the children were home at the time has not been announced by the police or the prosecutor’s office. After a preliminary investigation, the police announced on July 8 that they believe Julian Knott shot his wife repeatedly and then took his own life with the same gun.

Friends and colleagues say Julian Knott was a kind and thoughtful individual. The idea that he would orphan his three teenage children, leaving them with the memory of the brutal murder of their mother at the hands of a father they loved and trusted, is causing shock and disbelief among relatives and friends in the U.K.

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Endings at the World Cup: What a German Victory means

July 14th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

It resonates with the predictability that all stereotypes have. Like clichés, they are gifts from some opportunistic, and handy deity, though stereotypes have that terrible drawback of being misinformed.  Their very use, and enduring existence, is based on that very fact. 

The German efforts in winning the World Cup final in extra time by a beautiful, solitary goal by the God-fearing Mario Goetze were praised in an assortment of circles.  The clichés did make their terrible appearance, and the youthful German player had become a ‘Super Mario’. 

A column in The Guardian even went so far as to throw in German re-unification and a few yard posts of school history for the reader.  Learn from Germany – in their achievement lie many lessons, and there is no shame for a Briton in learning from them.

It seemed somewhat odd – the players on the pitch were hardly interested in discussing matters connected with either World War II or German re-unification, but the British, foremost among Europeans, maintain a mania for it. 

To this day, history syllabi remain strewn with memories of aerial dog fights, Hitler’s clinging shadow and all that Jerry did that was so naughty.  There was glory then in defeating Nazism, but now, there is only lingering melancholia.  When enemies win the peace, self-esteem plummets.

Football has that remarkable tendency to draw out the militarists, and perhaps more rarely, the humorists.  Better that than loading actual guns, though the behavior of some of the spectators – and the press corps – might suggest something else.

Matches between Germany and England -and also between Germany and The Netherlands, are always bountiful with historical motifs.  Victor and victimhood do the ugliest of dances, shadow boxing between passes and echoing in the stands. 

English supporters simulate bombers laying waste to their enemy’s territory. The Dutch supporters sometimes go further than their English cousins, demanding rather loudly that their bicycles be returned, given the German confiscation order inflicted on the country during the Second World War.

While Germans court a chronic guilt that is drummed into them from zygote to grave, England maintains the belligerence that won them El Alamein.  Remember how well we did in the war, making sure to relegate the US to the role to that of valiant supplier and economic underwriter. 

Recalling the World Cup semi-final in 1990, one that West Germany eventually won, also against Argentina, British papers, notably those in the Murdoch pack, went bad with feral enthusiasm.  War can be such a terrific thing for some faux combatants – to this day, the almost frothing Stuart Pearce became the attack dog of England and the press, the darling of the anti-German establishment.  He ended up missing a penalty at Turin, and West Germany ended up holding the trophy.

What, then, of the German supporter?  As W.G. Sebald would suggest in his The Natural History of Destruction, German writers should have paid more attention to the ruthless destruction of Germany as topic and harrowing subject.  German football supporters, in the main, kept mum, careful than any retaliation would be swooped upon with political eagerness by critics on all sides of the fence.  Best not be seen as a vile revanchist, whatever the historical cost.

 It was refreshing that the language from the Argentinian press, while suggesting moments of suspicion that a penalty should have been grated in the ninetieth minute, conceded that the team did them proud.  No bomb throwing in that department, though the revisionists may be waiting. 

The Berliner Morgenpost came up with a rather cheeky image: Argentina was represented pictorially a raw bit of steak, the sort which is done with such delectable perfection by the Pampas gauchos; Germany was represented as the disposers, the utilitarian fork and knife. 

Even German commentary had to concede that something miraculous had happened, a transmutation of certain basic metals from 2004 onwards into precious gold.  It began as a rickety project, one that did stumble when mental stamina and the unpredictability of football intervened.  According to Der Spiegel, ‘Now Germany is world champion, and German football is barely recognisable. It’s the perfect mix of virtue and magic, of hurrah and heave ho.’

The Taz newspaper embraced a structuralist concept, adding some fuel to the presumptive fire that German success lies in the smooth humming of a machine, the genius of a system planned in the board room and executed on pitch and in mud.  ‘Many will write that [German coach] Jogi and his boys wrote history last night. But history isn’t written by great men, but by processes and structures.’ 

 So much for the hero vision of history, one where great people write it by their actions. In that, Taz are on to something. None of that would have mattered, however, had a deft Lionel Messi finish careered into the net.  It might well have done.  Theories, are, after all, useless till the pudding is made.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

Many people throughout the world have demonstrated in opposition to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) attacks against the Palestinians in Gaza and the other regions of the occupied state.

An aerial and ground incursion labeled “Operation Protective Edge” has resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians and the injuring of many hundreds more. The Deputy Health Minister in Gaza, Dr. Yousef Abu Reesh, reported during a press conference at Shifa Hospital that “The very high rate of casualties, either killed or wounded due to the Israeli assaults, was a result of missiles fired from war planes, artillery bombs fired from tanks and bombs fired from the sea.” (Xinhua, July 14)

In South Africa where the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its allies have expressed outrage over the renewed aerial bombardments and July 13 ground incursion in Gaza, some groups are calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from the country. Deputy Secretary General of the ANC Jesse Duarte re-emphasized their position in an article published in the party’s weekly online newsletter.

Duarte wrote an article entitled “The Calamity of Gaza and the West Bank” where she articulates the ANC position condemning the police state tactics used by the Israeli police and military. This article was one among thousands published around the world in solidarity with the plight of the Palestinians.

The ANC deputy secretary general asserts that the recent unity agreement between the Palestinian Authority dominated by Al-Fatah and Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip, is the motivating factor behind the current onslaught. Of course the kidnapping and deaths of three Israeli youth and the revenge attacks leading to the lynching of a Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khdeir and the subsequent beating of his cousin, Tariq Abu Khdeir, who was visiting the West Bank from the United States, fueled tensions.

According to Duarte, “While Israel says it fights Hamas because it is a terror organization that does not recognize its existence as a Jewish state, it unleashes the same violence on virtually any Palestinian. It practices ruthless collective punishment. It opposes unity among Palestinians ostensibly because this includes Hamas, but it acts just as harshly against other political movements in the Palestinian territory. The latest escalation of violence against Palestinians comes just over a month since they established a unity government, which was then recognized by many world governments to the chagrin of the state of Israel. Hamas has become a convenient explanation for indiscriminate violence visited on Palestinians before unity efforts.” (ANC Today, July 11-17 issue)

South Africa’s ruling party felt strongly that it must take a stand on the escalating repression against the Palestinians in Gaza and other areas of the occupied state. The western imperialist nations are strong supporters and allies of the state of Israel.

The regime in Tel Aviv serves as an outpost to imperialist domination of the Middle East and therefore has not suffered any sanctions or diplomatic reprisals from the governments in Europe and North America. Inside the U.S., corporate media reporting serves as a rationale for the continuing White House and Congressional funding of the occupation of Palestine and the forced removal and persecution of its people.

In this same above-mentioned article Duarte asks “Why has the international community remained mute? As the situation worsened, the UN Secretary General issued soft statements calling for restraint from both sides, even though evidence clearly shows Israel`s disproportionate use of crude force. Palestine has no serious army, no air force, and no serious weapons of war. Rockets that land on the Israeli territory cannot be compared to heavy war technology that Israel deploys with impunity on residential areas that have become legitimate military targets in the eyes of the Israeli military authorities.”

Calls for Expulsion of Diplomatic Personnel

On July 11, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) issued a statement as well supporting the diplomatic and economic isolation of the Israeli regime. This call is in line with an international movement which seeks to impose sanctions on the state of Israel for its refusal to recognize the right of the Palestine people to an independent and sovereign nation of their own.

In the statement signed by ANCYL spokesperson Dr. Bandile Masuku, it emphasizes that “we must do more than lament and carry banners. We support the call made by our Western Cape Province comrades and call on the Department of International Relations to immediately expel the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, and to recall Comrade Sisa Ngombane from Tel Aviv. We further believe that SA must deny the State of Israel any formal recognition. The Department of Trade and Industry must not allow Israeli goods from an apartheid state in this country. We support a complete Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions program against the Zionist State with immediate effect.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the largest labor federation in the country, reprinted an appeal from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in South Africa saying “Gaza has become a field laboratory for the Israeli and U.S. military industrial complex. The latest and most vile weapons and high tech equipment is field tested on the bodies of Palestinian men, women and children before being sold to other countries.” (July 11)

This same statement goes on to stress that “Israel will continue with its barbarism. The world needs to stand up to apartheid Israel as it stood up against apartheid South Africa. The time for easy rhetoric and mere condemnation alone is over. Genuine global solidarity is required – a basic lesson of our own struggle against apartheid.”

COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was quoted in various press reports reiterating that he was in total support of the diplomatic and economic isolation of the state of Israel.

In a press release issued by COSATU spokesperson Patrick Craven on July 10 it says “Israel is only able to commit all these ruthless atrocities because of the license from the U.S., European Union (EU) and allies. The UN must be ashamed of itself for failing humanity and the people of Palestine, always pleading for restraint from the victim, equally. We cannot equate an aggressor to a victim or colonizer to a colonized. Nelson Mandela was also called a terrorist for fighting for freedom, hence the natural task of oppressed people to wage a liberation struggle and our natural responsibility is to support them.”

International Solidarity for Palestine Continues

The ANC and its allies have maintained a decades-long alliance with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in support of the total liberation of the occupied state from Zionist Israel. When the late Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, he met with his counterpart at the time, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, who died under unnatural circumstances in 2004.

Mandela defended the ANC alliance with the Palestinians as well as Cuba, Libya and other revolutionary and progressive forces throughout the world. A broad Palestine Solidarity Campaign has also continued to push for the isolation of the Israeli regime.

In the aftermath of the 1967, 1973 and 1982 wars between the state of Israel and various regional governments and people’s organizations including Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, many African countries broke diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European socialist governments and the signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993, Israel has re-established relations with a host of African Union (AU) member-states.

When a delegation of U.S.-based pro-Israeli groups attended the recently-held AU 23rd Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, there were protests from representatives of several continental states. After the gathering a number of articles were published internationally reporting on the negative statements made by these pro-Israeli organizations about their treatment in Malabo.

In order to maintain its position against racism and national oppression, the AU must take a stand firmly in support of Palestinian statehood and sovereignty. The South African ruling party and other progressive forces should set the standard for the continent’s foreign policy towards the Israeli-Palestine war.

On the sixth day of its asymmetrical war against Gaza, Israel destroyed a home for the handicapped in Beit Lahiya, killing two handicapped residents, and wounding three others, including the caretaker.

The destruction of the home came on an early Saturday morning while only five of the 19 severely handicapped residents were in the building.

Jamila Elaiwa, who founded the center 20 years ago, told the New York Times the remaining 14 residents of the Mabaret Palestine Society home were visiting their families.

Ms. Elaiwa spoke to the Times at Gaza’s Shifa’s hospital’s burn unit. She was there visiting the wounded survivors of the building’s destruction, two of whom were Mai Hamada, 30, and Salwa Abu al-Qomssan, 53, the caretaker, both of them with severe burns.

Image: The destruction left after Israel bombed Gaza’s Mabaret Palestine Society home (New York Times/Wissam Nassar) 

Jamila Elaiwa, the founder of the Mabaret Palestine Society, suggested the attack must have been pre-planned, and was not one of Israel’s unfortunate “accidents”, as Israel claimed was the case with the bomb that killed nine Palestinians sitting on the beach watching a TV presentation of a World Cup football match.

She recalled a small explosion on the building roof a few minutes before the bomb hit that destroyed the home for the handicapped.

That smaller explosion would have been an Israeli “roof knocking” message, which Israel claims is meant to warn occupants to leave the building. These were occupants, however, who were not physically capable of making a fast exit.

Two other wounded survivors of the blast are in intensive care. Killed in the bombing attack were Ula Wisha, 31, and Suha Abusada, 39, whose family reports “had been born severely handicapped and unable to speak.”

In its story reporting the bombing of the home, the Times reports that Israel bombed a mosque which Israel claimed “aerial photos indicated was harboring a weapons cache”.

The mosque was destroyed. No casualties were reported.  What the Times did not report was that the “weapons cache” claim is a frequent Israeli excuse for bombing sacred buildings.

This is clearly an asymmetrical (as in excessively one-sided) war.  It is also an ongoing war that is renewed almost every two years or so.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is not interested in a cease fire.  Of course he is not.

Mideast Israel Palestinians  AP

Image: The destroyed Mabaret home, with men in the basement where the bomb exploded (AP/Khalil Hamra)

He will stop this recurring devastation when he feels he has weakened Hamas for this round.  The bell will ring when he gives the signal for it to ring.

That is his pattern. After Hamas’ 2006 victory over Israel’s preferred US military-trained  Fatah army, Israel has found some convenient pretext to repeatedly launch vicious and highly destructive air, and sometimes ground, assaults against Hamas.

The assaults are like clockwork, starting in 2007. That assault was followed by the 2008-09 assault, then, after pausing during Obama’s first year in office, it was back to the attack in 2012. Now, right on schedule, in 2014,  we are in the midst of “Operation Protective Edge”.

Israel gives its Gaza recurring attacks, nice media-friendly, noble-sounding names.  In 2012, the attack bore the memorable monikers, “Pillar of Defense” or literally: “Pillar of Cloud”. In 2008-09, the name was “Operation Cast Lead”.

Like the Bob Gibson folk song, “The Thinking Man”, Israel is reported to have a department with the sole responsibility of “thinking up names” for its lethal incursions into Gaza and Lebanon.

Each round of violence on Palestinians is marketed with the same non accountable predictability, an Israeli-designed narrative that American mainstream media and American politicians, accept and then sell to the American public, performing their duties as Israel’s peddlers.

During the 2012 attack, in a Wall Writings posting, I described Israel’s handling of Gaza to be “the managing of a crisis”. The management involved the rationing of foodstuffs, medicine, and other vital human needs.  Israel has maintained its detailed management of “the crisis” since that 2012 war.

There are occasional signs that Netanyahu may be losing control of some in the main stream media.  Brian Williams, of NBC news, did a piece this week on his nightly report which he headed, “Gaza trapped in lop sided conflict”.

One major U.S. media star, ABC news anchor Dianne Sawyer, was doing her best “two sides” are suffering story in this asymmetrical conflict, when she put up two pictures of destruction which she said were from Israel.

Sawyer later apologized, but apologies for obvious errors never quite catch up to the first impression of “destruction on both sides” that ABC gave its viewers.

An alert journalist should have been aware that the two pictures ABC’s Sawyer displayed were not taken in Israel, but in Gaza

Some staffer in the production chain should have raised a red flag, shouting error, error.

Did these people not watch Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant cable television series Network? That fictional crew made its mistakes, but they would know which side has the more destructive arms.

Outside the U.S., crucial international support for Israel’s blank check to attack at will, may also be lessening. The United Nations Security Council, and just about every other international organization witnessing this one-way carnage, has called for a cease fire, an indication that Israel may have to end this round sooner than Netanyahu had planned.

Away from the main stream media, the alternative media is hitting hard at Netanyahu. The message there is seen by opinion makers, but they are slow to present it to the public.

A Real News Network interview of Jewish American journalist Max Blumenthal and Palestinian American journalist Ali Abunimah refutes Israel’s narrative with a discussion of “Israeli Propaganda and the Politics of Revenge against Gaza”.

Netanyahu knows that as long as he wants to drag out this 2014 assault, the U.S. Congress has his back.

The most recent example: Two U.S. Senate leaders, Republican Lindsay Graham, of South Carolina, and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, the bipartisan pro-Israel twins of the upper chamber, demonstrated their undying loyalty to a sovereign foreign nation.

Together with fellow bipartisan pro-Israel senators Robert Menendez, Democrat, New Jersey, and Kelly Ayotte, Republican, New Hampshire, they introduced a “resolution expressing support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization”.

The resolution endorses Israel’s current assault, calls for Fatah to withdraw from its unity talks with Hamas, and most importantly insists “Israel has the right to  defend itself”.

For future reference, take note:

Each succeeding Israeli government prepares for its recurring Gaza attack by following the same script that always ends with the victim-oriented mantra that “Israel has the right to defend itself”.

During its two-year long pause between attacks, Israel plays the “peace process” game. However, after the dismal failure of this year’s proceedings, Israel and the U.S. will have to come up with a new reason to hit the pause button between Israel’s wars.

After the pause, Israel always begins its recurring (2007, 2009, 2012, and 2014) Gaza attacks by building up Israel’s ever-present “existential anxiety”— fear and anger–that seethes within its easily manipulated population.

Next, Israel grabs whatever provocative event that emerges. The event is then manufactured to serve Israel’s plan to play the victim card. In their need to defend the homeland, Israel starts another war.

For the 2014 attack on Gaza, an especially lurid provocation arrived with the deaths of three Israeli teen agers in IDF controlled territory in Hebron.  Israel knew from the outset that from the recording of gunshots behind a desperate cell phone call for help, the search for the three Israelis would be a search for three dead Israelis.

Nevertheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exploited the story of the missing teenagers to charge up the emotions of his population. He even sent the mother of one of the teen agers to Geneva to appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council for help.

When the three bodies were finally found, buried by the side of the road under a few rocks, Netanyahu repeated his initial accusation that Hamas was behind the disappearance of the Israelis.

He also had the names of two Hamas operatives who lived in the area. They were deemed, by fiat, as guilty of kidnapping the teen agers. Netanyahu ordered the homes of both men destroyed. No evidence or charges have surfaced.

It was time to start the 2014 War on Hamas.

Cue the massing of troops on the border, artillery at the ready, and send the bombers aloft. Operation Knife’s Edge was ready to roll.

If this were a work of fiction, about this time in the story the reader would be demanding to know where the two so-called Hamas “killers” are hiding in an area swarming with Israeli police and soldiers.

The reader just may think, maybe, just maybe, Israel has found the two Hamas agents. If so, still with no evidence against them, they may be now be dead, their bodies hidden until a more propitious time when they will appear in the Israeli narrative, more likely dead than alive.

Who can say, but in the narrative according to Netanyahu, the two “missing” Hamas men have served their purpose. They were only the latest pair of provocateurs utilized by Israel to kick off its next act of war.

A number of Israeli journalists, many from Ha’aretz, know that Netayahu’s narrative is damaging Israel to within an inch of its future as a nation.

Unfortunately for the citizens of Gaza, this current round of the recurring War Against Gaza means many Gazans, as of this weekend more than 160, will die.

Richard Silverstein is reporting that “an invasion is imminent”, which means that an invasion could come at some time Sunday morning, Gaza time. The invasion threat is day to day, guaranteeing more Gaza deaths.

Hamas militants insist on firing rockets at Israel. It is a self-defeating action, one that hands Netanyahu his rational for going to war.  The rockets are largely ineffective. Yet the US mainstream media including the more “progressive” NPR and MSNBC, repeatedly report the rocket attacks as equally frightening as Israeli bombs and artillery shelling.

Pay close attention, you can usually hear at the end of a “progressive” broadcast report, come the good news, “some rockets got through the protective dome, but there were no injuries”.

The ineffective rockets from Hamas serve no one but Israel. Not a single Israeli death had been reported by this Saturday night.

What matters for Israel is that the rockets fired by militants in Gaza keep reaching targets deeper and deeper in Israel, sending Israelis fleeing for bomb shelters.  What better way to keep the Israeli public in perpetual fear and hatred.

CNN, which is trying to outdo Fox News in selling the Israeli narrative, has sent its ace journalist, former AIPAC staffer Wolf Blitzer, into Israel to report on those rocket attacks.

The problem for the stronger side in an asymmetrical war is that a case must be made that the stronger side is always in great danger.

Max Blumberg, an America Jewish journalist, has reported on Twitter that CNN’s favorite and oft-repeated visual from Israel’s home front is a scene of Blitzer in Israel when an Hamas rocket is reported to be on its way.

Blitzer races to the nearest bomb shelter, a CNN cameraman close behind showing the “danger” Israeli citizens face. No CNN visuals yet of the bombs falling in Gaza. Meanwhile, the asymmetrical bombing of Gaza, with the ultimate destruction of Hamas, and Israel’s complete control of all Palestinian land, as its goal, is about to enter its second week.

What about President Barack Obama in all this?

Obama has talked with Netanyahu. What does our President say after those “chats”. He says what  all American politicians say, “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

That is the height of absurdity.  In response to ineffective rockets, bombing a home for the handicapped, destroying mosques, eliminating an already battered Gaza water works, highways, cities, killing more than 160 Palestinians, a large number of whom are women and children, while keeping 1.7 million Palestinians locked up in a Gaza prison, is most certainly not “Israel defending itself”.

It is, rather, Israel destroying itself, and like Samson of old, Israel is pulling down the temple on the entire region, starting with Palestine.

To pretend as though the events of recent days are extraordinary is to ignore the context that led to this ‘flare-up’ and is disrespectful to the millions of Palestinians who wrestle with the occupation every day, in both the West Bank and in Gaza.

It’s Wednesday. The death toll in Gaza is in the dozens and rising as Layla*, a Christian Palestinian, gets into my car. We live in Bethelehem. She needs a ride to pick up her tasrich (permit) from the Civil Administration’s office in Gush Etzion, where Israel and the Western media claim that the current “flare-up” began.

Layla laughs at our clothes as she opens the passenger door. With her sleeveless top and above-the-knee skirt, she says, she looks like a settler. I’m in long sleeves and jeans, which Layla calls “Abu Dis style,” referring to the conservative Muslim village where I teach. Although we joke about our clothes, I wonder if they reflect the increased tension of recent days; I wonder if they reflect the anxieties neither of us want to admit to.

We leave Bethlehem and merge onto a road that’s shared by army jeeps, Palestinians, and Jewish Israeli civilians and settlers. Layla sighs, “I don’t know who to be afraid of anymore, Mya,” she says. We reason that being together keeps us safe from everyone. No matter who might stop us, we’ll be able to reason with them in their own language. Both our clothes and words will be familiar.

But, as we drive deeper into Gush Etzion, we quickly notice how “normal” things are in the West Bank. “Look at all the settlers,” Layla exclaims, tapping on the window as we pass them. Even though it’s midday, even though it’s blisteringly hot, even though three Israeli boys were murdered not far from here, even though Mohammed Abu Khdeir was brutally murdered by Jews, even though settlements are illegal, even though Israel is pummeling Gaza, there they are. Settlers. Waiting for buses. Hitchhiking.

A lone soldier crosses the road in front of us. “Oh, isn’t he afraid?” Layla asks, sarcastically.

“Look,” Layla says again, pointing at an Israeli woman standing by the side of the road in a skirt, her head wrapped in a scarf. “They’re everywhere.” Layla’s voice is indignant, conflicted. Indignant that the media has made it seem as though Jews aren’t safe; conflicted that they are.

“It seems they are having a very normal life in the street. And then they say that they are afraid and they drive us [Palestinians] crazy with their ‘security’ issues.”

Aadi,” normal, I say in Arabic.

Image: Palestinians from the West Bank with permits to enter Israel wait at the Israeli military checkpoint in the separation wall controlling movement between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, June 12, 2014. (Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

That’s what this so-called “flare-up” is. More of the same. Yes, there is obviously a surge in the pace of violence and death and destruction and arrests since Israeli officials decided to shamelessly lie to the public and exploit the tragic death of three Jewish boys so they could embark on a campaign against Hamas. Yes, events are happening closer together than they usually do; yes, the timeline is sped up. But violence and death and destruction and arrests are the norm under Israeli occupation. And to pretend as though the events that have occurred in recent days are extraordinary is to ignore the context that led to this “flare-up” and is disrespectful to the millions of Palestinians who wrestle with the occupation every day.

Yes, recent weeks have seen mass arrests in the West Bank, but ask my students—many of whom have family members in Israeli jails—if arbitrary imprisonment is normal or not. Ask my quiet, pious, straight-A student whose beloved brother was taken from her for over a year on trumped up charges of stone throwing.

Or young West Bankers might talk to you about Samer Issawi, who was held in administrative detention without charge for 17 months. Or ask the more than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners who are currently being held in Israeli jails, many on administrative detention. Or ask the estimated 700,000 who have been imprisoned since the occupation began in 1967.

Ask young West Bankers when this “flare-up” began and they likely won’t date it to the murders of the three Israeli boys. No, maybe they would point to May, when 17-year-old Nadeem Nowarah and another protester, 16-year-old Mohammad Odeh, were shot to death by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration.

Or pick any other number of Palestinian children who have been killed by the Israeli army recently as your starting point. Like 14-year-old Yusef a-Shawamreh. Or we could date the beginning of this “flare-up” back to December 2013, when 15-year-old Wajih al-Ramahi was shot in the back by Israeli forces.

Or, rather than starting with the kidnapping of the three Jewish boys, why not begin the timeline with the kidnappings of Palestinian children from their beds by Israeli soldiers?

Citing a report by the non-governmental organization Defence for Children International, Al Jazeera states: “In the past 11 years, DCI estimates that around 7,500 children, some as young as 12, have been detained, interrogated and imprisoned” in Israeli military detention. “This is about 500-700 children per year, or nearly two children every day.

Israeli Border Police officer detains a Palestinian child at a protest in Kufr Qaddum, January 25, 2013. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Image: Israeli Border Police officer detains a Palestinian child at a protest in Kufr Qaddum, January 25, 2013. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

As for Israel’s unrelenting bombings of Gaza, as for the loss of civilian life there, we should also remember that this, too, is normal—Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip die on a regular basis. What we see in recent days is an acceleration in the deaths that are part of life in Gaza. And just as innocent civilians have been killed during this “flare-up,” so have they been killed in times when the international media has been paying less attention.

Earlier this year, the Israeli non-governmental agency B’TSelem noted a spike in the number of Palestinian civilians who were killed by Israeli forces near Gaza’s perimeter fence. In March, after 57-year-old Amneh Qdeih was shot dead along the fence, B’Tselem noted that it was “the fifth incident in the last three months in which Gaza residents who were not taking part in hostilities were killed by Israeli security forces near the perimeter fence.”

Palestinian children take pictures of each other in the No-go zone near Erez crossing, during the weekly demonstration against the occupation in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Every Tuesday Palestinians and supporters march from Beit Hanoun into the "buffer zone" or the No-go zone , where the fertile land has been made inaccessible to Palestinians due to the imminent danger of shooting by the Israeli army. (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Image: Palestinian children take pictures of each other in the No-go zone near Erez crossing, during the weekly demonstration against the occupation in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Every Tuesday Palestinians and supporters march from Beit Hanoun into the “buffer zone” or the No-go zone , where the fertile land has been made inaccessible to Palestinians due to the imminent danger of shooting by the Israeli army. (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Even when there is not an “operation” per se taking place, Gaza is subject to bombings by the Israeli air force. This year nine Palestinians in Gaza, including one child, were killed by Israeli strikes before the current “flare-up.”

There’s also the Israeli blockade, which visits violence upon the people of Gaza by crushing their economy, devastating healthcare, and curtailing educational opportunities. To name a few. The blockade is also a psychological and social battering of Gaza. Its disastrous effects cannot be overstated.

That it’s not just about this “flare-up” was the sentiment some Palestinians expressed to The Washington Post’s William Booth:

One afternoon, we were talking to a gathering of middle-aged men… I asked them if they thought the war, or whatever one calls this, would go on long.

“Who cares?” answered Abu Ahmed, 46, an out-of-work construction worker. I asked what he meant. “We lived in hell before, we will live in hell again,” he said.

***

In the West Bank there are insidious forms of everyday violence. Things that, on the surface, might not look like violence. Like getting a permit.

Layla and I arrive at the Civil Administration’s Bethlehem area office. She enters her identity number into a machine, which spits out a slip of paper. She approaches an entryway that is blocked—floor to ceiling—by a barred turnstile. On the other side, a soldier sits in a booth behind a thick, glass window. The message of the architecture is: the soldier’s life is valuable and he must be protected from the dangerous savages. The architecture itself is accusatory, condemning, and violent.

“Excuse me, I’m here to get a permit,” Layla says politely, in English, through the bars.

Ma?” What? The soldier shouts, in Hebrew, through the intercom. Layla doesn’t speak Hebrew.

Tasrich?” Layla tries again.

He unlocks the turnstile and Layla enters and passes through a metal detector. She disappears into the building.

There are about half a dozen men in the waiting room, including three who are there to be interrogated by the mukhabarat, intelligence, the Shin Bet. The soldier tells one of the men, “Come, come.”

He heads to the turnstile and waits to be let through.

“No, no, sit,” the soldier barks in Arabic.

The man returns to his seat. Only to be told to come again. Only to be sent back to his chair.

It seems like the soldier is playing with the man.

Once she’s inside, Layla discovers that the computer “isn’t working” on Wednesday. She won’t be able to get her permit. We leave, making the 20 minute drive back to Bethlehem, only to turn around on Thursday afternoon—when the death count in Gaza is even higher—to make the drive back to Gush Etzion again.

This time, Layla has brought lollipops to lighten the mood. She offers me a cherry Chupa Chup and unwraps the strawberry one for herself.

There are more people in the waiting room then the previous day. Today, it’s mostly women, including a young mother with a tiny newborn, a baby girl. The young mother and the women are waiting to be interrogated by the mukhabarat. They’ve been waiting for a while when we arrive and they’ll still be there when Layla and I leave an hour and 40 minutes later with the permit she shouldn’t need—part of her family was from Jaffa. They were on the land before the state was. Now, they’re refugees. And when Layla and I went back to Jaffa a few months ago to look for the house, she couldn’t even find it.

The women sit and wait as the soldier on the other side of the bars calls out random names—names of people who aren’t there. It seems like he’s calling out every name but theirs. It’s Ramadan and it’s hot and the women are fasting. Their faces are tired. They move and sit by the open door, the one source of fresh air in the room. There is a sign on the wall opposite the women that reads “Drinking Water” in Arabic. But the water fountain is unplugged and dusty.

And they sit and they wait as the soldier shouts, “Amal? Amal?” through the intercom.

I wonder if the soldier knows that this name means hope.

Layla and I leave. On the way to the car, she tells me she met Palestinians inside who were also there on Wednesday for hours waiting to get permits for medical reasons. They were told to return Thursday and waited for hours again.

“This is called structural violence, Mya,” she says. “It’s dehumanizing. And it’s humiliating to wait for an 18-year-old to give you a piece of paper that allows you to get into Jerusalem or any part of ‘48 [Israel] except for Eilat. I don’t know what their problem is with Eilat. What’s there in Eilat?”

She shrugs and laughs, “They’re so silly, I swear.”

As we drive away, I wonder how long the women waiting will be there. I remember what countless Palestinians have told me. That one of the things, perhaps the most valuable thing the occupation steals from them is their time. “Land can be taken back,” they say. “Time cannot.”

A Palestinian worker wait outside the Ni'lin checkpoint. In the background the settlement of Hashmonaim, West Bank, October 21, 2013. (Photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Image: A Palestinian worker wait outside the Ni’lin checkpoint. In the background the settlement of Hashmonaim, West Bank, October 21, 2013. (Photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

The time that people spend waiting: for permits, at checkpoints, driving circuitous routes to reach places that before the occupation and before the separation barrier took them half the time. I can’t count the times that Bethlehemites have told me that they miss going to Ramallah to meet friends for coffee. How it used to be a short trip, how it used to be possible. “Now,” they say. “It takes an hour and a half just to get there.” How these relationships have been lost or weakened as a result.

This is the normal, everyday violence of the occupation. This is what the Israelis don’t want you to think about when they start their timeline of this “flare-up” with the kidnapping and murder of the three boys.

*Not her real name. “Layla” wishes to remain anonymous for, as she put it, “security reasons.”

 

Mya Guarnieri is a Jerusalem-based journalist and writer whose work has appeared in dozens of publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Slate, Counter Punch, The Boston Review, and Caravan. She was a stringer for The National and Al Jazeera English and has been invited to serve as a commentator on Israel/Palestine on the BBC and Al Jazeera, among others. 

In a September 2006 article for The Electronic Intifada, I defined the Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip as an incremental genocide.

Israel’s present assault on Gaza alas indicates that this policy continues unabated. The term is important since it appropriately locates Israel’s barbaric action — then and now — within a wider historical context.

This context should be insisted upon, since the Israeli propaganda machine attempts again and again to narrate its policies as out of context and turns the pretext it found for every new wave of destruction into the main justification for another spree of indiscriminate slaughter in the killing fields of Palestine.

The context

The Zionist strategy of branding its brutal policies as an ad hoc response to this or that Palestinian action is as old as the Zionist presence in Palestine itself. It was used repeatedly as a justification for implementing the Zionist vision of a future Palestine that has in it very few, if any, native Palestinians.

The means for achieving this goal changed with the years, but the formula has remained the same: whatever the Zionist vision of a Jewish State might be, it can only materialize without any significant number of Palestinians in it. And nowadays the vision is of an Israel stretching over almost the whole of historic Palestine where millions of Palestinians still live.

The present genocidal wave has, like all the previous ones, also a more immediate background. It has been born out of an attempt to foil the Palestinian decision to form a unity government that even the United States could not object to.

The collapse of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s desperate “peace” initiative legitimized the Palestinian appeal to international organizations to stop the occupation. At the same time, Palestinians gained wide international blessing for the cautious attempt represented by the unity government to strategize once again a coordinated policy among the various Palestinian groups and agendas.

Ever since June 1967, Israel searched for a way to keep the territories it occupied that year without incorporating their indigenous Palestinian population into its rights-bearing citizenry. All the while it participated in a “peace process” charade to cover up or buy time for its unilateral colonization policies on the ground.

With the decades, Israel differentiated between areas it wished to control directly and those it would manage indirectly, with the aim in the long run of downsizing the Palestinian population to a minimum with, among other means, ethnic cleansing and economic and geographic strangulation.

The geopolitical location of the West Bank creates the impression in Israel, at least, that it is possible to achieve this without anticipating a third uprising or too much international condemnation.

The Gaza Strip, due to its unique geopolitical location, did not lend itself that easily to such a strategy. Ever since 1994, and even more so when Ariel Sharon came to power as prime minister in the early 2000s, the strategy there was to ghettoize Gaza and somehow hope that the people there — 1.8 million as of today — would be dropped into eternal oblivion.

But the Ghetto proved to be rebellious and unwilling to live under conditions of strangulation, isolation, starvation and economic collapse. So resending it to oblivion necessitates the continuation of genocidal policies.

The pretext

On 15 May, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian youths in the West Bank town of Beitunia, their cold-blooded slayings by a sniper’s bullet captured on video. Their names — Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir — were added to a long list of such killings in recent months and years.

The killing of three Israeli teenagers, two of them minors, abducted in the occupied West Bank in June, was perhaps in reprisal for killings of Palestinian children. But for all the depredations of the oppressive occupation, it provided the pretext first and foremost for destroying the delicate unity in the West Bank but also for the implementation of the old dream of wiping out Hamas from Gaza so that the Ghetto could be quiet again.

Since 1994, even before the rise of Hamas to power in the Gaza Strip, the very particular geopolitical location of the Strip made it clear that any collective punitive action, such as the one inflicted now, could only be an operation of massive killings and destruction. In other words, of a continued genocide.

This recognition never inhibited the generals who give the orders to bomb the people from the air, the sea and the ground. Downsizing the number of Palestinians all over historic Palestine is still the Zionist vision. In Gaza, its implementation takes its most inhuman form.

The particular timing of this wave is determined, as in the past, by additional considerations. The domestic social unrest of 2011 is still simmering and for a while there was a public demand to cut military expenditures and move money from the inflated “defense” budget to social services. The army branded this possibility as suicidal.

There is nothing like a military operation to stifle any voices calling on the government to cut its military expenses.

Typical hallmarks of the previous stages in this incremental genocide reappear in this wave as well. One can witness again consensual Israeli Jewish support for the massacre of civilians in the Gaza Strip, without one significant voice of dissent. In Tel Aviv, the few who dared to demonstrate against it were beaten by Jewish hooligans, while the police stood by and watched.

Academia, as always, becomes part of the machinery. The prestigious private university, the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya has established “a civilian headquarters” where students volunteer to serve as mouthpieces in the propaganda campaign abroad.

The media is loyally recruited, showing no pictures of the human catastrophe Israel has wreaked and informing its public that this time, “the world understands us and is behind us.”

That statement is valid to a point as the political elites in the West continue to provide the old immunity to the “Jewish state.” However, the media have not provided Israel with quite the level of legitimacy it was seeking for its criminal policies.

Obvious exceptions included French media, especially France 24 and the BBC, that continue to shamefully parrot Israeli propaganda.

This is not surprising, since pro-Israel lobby groups continue to work tirelessly to press Israel’s case in France and the rest of Europe as they do in the United States.

The way forward

Whether it is burning alive a Palestinian youth from Jerusalem, or the fatal shooting of two others, just for the fun of it in Beitunia, or slaying whole families in Gaza, these are all acts that can only be perpetrated if the victim is dehumanized.

I will concede that all over the Middle East there are now horrific cases where dehumanization has reaped unimaginable horrors as it does in Gaza today. But there is one crucial difference between these cases and the Israeli brutality: the former are condemned as barbarous and inhuman worldwide, while those committed by Israel are still publicly licensed and approved by the president of the United States, the leaders of the EU and Israel’s other friends in the world.

The only chance for a successful struggle against Zionism in Palestine is the one based on a human and civil rights agenda that does not differentiate between one violation and the other and yet identifies clearly the victim and the victimizers.

Those who commit atrocities in the Arab world against oppressed minorities and helpless communities, as well as the Israelis who commit these crimes against the Palestinian people, should all be judged by the same moral and ethical standards. They are all war criminals, though in the case of Palestine they have been at work longer than anyone else.

It does not really matter what the religious identity is of the people who commit the atrocities or in the name of which religion they purport to speak. Whether they call themselves jihadists, Judaists or Zionists, they should be treated in the same way.

A world that would stop employing double standards in its dealings with Israel is a world that could be far more effective in its response to war crimes elsewhere in the world.

Cessation of the incremental genocide in Gaza and the restitution of the basic human and civil rights of Palestinians wherever they are, including the right of return, is the only way to open a new vista for a productive international intervention in the Middle East as a whole.

 

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is professor of history and director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

Many claim that no one lived in Palestine prior to the formation of the state of Israel. Indeed, Israel was sited in Palestine under the slogan:

“A land without a people for a people without a land” ….

But the history of Palestine is much more complicated:

The claim that no one lived in Palestine is undercut by this video footage shot in 1896:

And any implication that there was no place called Palestine is undercut by this travel advertisement from the 1940s:

http://file.vintageadbrowser.com/7p8vnpq3p4zwxc.jpg

There has been so much progress with the High-Rise Safety Initiative this past month, I hardly know where to start!
 
After two months of pounding the pavement and talking to NYC voters, they submitted over 67,000 signatures to the City on July 3rd, more than double the 30,000 required to include the proposal for a new WTC 7 investigation on the ballot this November – ensuring that at least 30,000 are valid.

And, in recent weeks, they began to garner significant media coverage. It started with astory from Crain’s New York Business on June 25 that eventually led to full-blown media exposure over the last few days, highlighted by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s anticipated vitriolic denouncement of the campaign as “ridiculous”, “insensitive” and “inappropriate”. On Friday evening, the campaign moved from print to TV as NY1, New York’s leading cable news channel, did a relatively balanced and informative report on the campaign, which included snippets from an interview with the campaign’s director, Ted Walter.

After gaining the attention of New York’s media and political establishment, and their remarkable achievement of submitting 67,000 petition signatures, I can say without reservation that this is one of the best opportunities the 9/11 Truth Movement has ever had to communicate our message to the public on a massive scale and, quite possibly, bring about a new investigation into the events of 9/11.

The Next Step: 
Submit 33,000 more signatures to ensure placement on the ballot

Now, the campaign must gather and submit another 33,000 signatures by September 4th. This will ensure that if the City Council fails to take action on the petition, or votes it down – which the Mayor and City Council Speaker are pushing for – the proposal will be placed on the ballot, regardless of what the Mayor or City Council say.

Already they’ve gathered 8,000 of the 33,000 signatures, but they cannot go any further until they reach the ultimate fundraising goal of $250,000. Fortunately, they are just $47,500 away from that goal – and we can raise that right now, today, if each and every one of us who wants to see a new WTC 7 investigation does our part.

Please give as generously as your heart and personal finances allow. This is a rare and unprecedented opportunity – and we must ensure that it has every chance of success.

Visit HighRiseSafetyNYC.org/donate to contribute today.

Thank you so much for your continued generosity and commitment to this cause. We, and our friends at the High-Rise Safety Initiative, are eternally grateful for your support and dedication.

Tensions flared over the weekend as Russian officials vowed to respond to the Ukrainian shelling of a Russian border town, amid the offensive by troops of the Western-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev against pro-Russian militias defending the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

On Sunday, shells hit the Russian town of Donetsk, which has the same name as the nearby Ukrainian city of Donetsk that is a center of opposition to the Kiev regime. The shells killed a 46-year-old father of four and wounded four, including two elderly women.

The shelling came after repeated attacks across the Russian border by Kiev regime forces. On Saturday, Ukrainian forces fired several shells at Russia’s neighboring Kuibyshev district and started a gunfight with Russian border guards there. On Sunday, Ukrainian warplanes violated Russian air space and overflew Donetsk, Russia shortly after the shelling had taken place, before launching missiles at targets inside Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Ukrainian chargé d’affaires in Moscow to formally protest what it considered to be an act of aggression against sovereign Russian territory. Its statement warned Kiev of possible Russian retaliation: “This incident is evidence of the very dangerous escalation of tension in the Russian-Ukraine border area, and could have irreversible consequences, the responsibility for which lies with the Ukrainian side.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said there would be a “rigorous and concrete answer” to the Ukrainian shelling: “Naturally, this action will not be left without a corresponding reaction. The talk with the Ukrainian side on this issue is going to be serious and tough.”

The Kiev regime’s security officials denied responsibility for the shelling, blaming it on pro-Russian opposition militias. “Ukrainian troops are definitely not shelling the territory of the Russian Federation. We did not shoot,” said National Security Council of Ukraine (NSCU) spokesman Andrey Lysenko.

Officials of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) blamed the shelling on Kiev regime forces, however. “We are accustomed to being blamed for all Ukrainian shellings,” DPR Vice-Prime Minister Andrey Purgin told Russia’s Moscow Speaks radio station.

In recent weeks, Kiev regime forces have repeatedly attacked Russian positions, including three key border posts through which Ukrainian refugees fleeing the fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk are trying to cross into Russia. In addition to this weekend’s shelling of Donetsk, Russia, mortar fire hit the Novoshakhtinsk checkpoint on June 20 and the Gukovo checkpoint on June 28. The Novoshakhtinsk checkpoint was again shelled on July 3 and July 5. Until this weekend, however, there had been no fatalities from Ukrainian fire in Russia.

After the latest shelling, Russian officials announced they would move camps built to house the influx of Ukrainians refugees further into Russia, away from the Ukrainian border. At least 22,000 Ukrainian refugees are currently living in temporary shelters in Russia, and DPR officials warned last week that “hundreds of thousands” of east Ukrainians could ultimately flee the battle zone.

Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil expose the utterly reckless character of the far-right regime that emerged from the Western-backed, fascist-led putsch this February in Kiev, and the lies promoted by Western governments and media that Russia is the aggressor in the conflict. Ukrainian forces, working closely with Washington and European Union officials to crush opposition in east Ukraine, are threatening to provoke a war with Russia.

As they mobilize tanks, fighter jets, and attack helicopters to assault east Ukrainian cities and bomb Russia, Kiev regime officials are threatening a bloodbath. Last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vowed disproportionate retaliation for his forces’ losses: “For every soldier’s life, the militants will pay with dozens and hundreds of their own.”

As part of its efforts to maintain good relations with the Western imperialist powers, Russia has repeatedly indicated that its current policy is not to intervene militarily to attack the Ukrainian army and crush its offensive in eastern Ukraine. However, an anonymous source close to the Kremlin told the Guardian that a Russian military intervention to defend ethnic Russians in east Ukraine is still possible. “I think all it would take would be one day where, say, 300 people are killed in the east and Putin will be simply obliged to act. I don’t think you can rule it out yet, not at all,” the source said.

Such an intervention would threaten to unleash an all-out war between Russia and Ukraine, in which NATO could intervene to prevent an overwhelming Ukrainian defeat—directly posing the risk of war between nuclear-armed powers.

The bloodbath threatened by the Kiev regime is an indictment of the far-right forces and affluent middle class pseudo-left groups that Washington, Berlin, and their allies mobilized in the pro-European Union (EU) protests on Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan), leading to the February putsch that toppled pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

While Ukrainian army units initially refused to attack the east Ukraine opposition forces, the imperialist powers have worked closely with the Kiev regime to reshape the Ukrainian army into a force capable of waging war against its own people. Over past months, fascist militias like Right Sector that led the Maidan protests and private armies funded by Ukrainian billionaire oligarchs have been merged with the Kiev regime’s National Guard.

“They have overcome that psychological barrier in which the military were afraid to shoot living people…not simply to shoot living people, but their own people. After the forces were restructured a bit, and it became clear who were our people, who were foes, the operations became more effective,”

Mykola Sungurovskyi of Kiev’s Razumkov Center think tank told the New York Timeslast week.

The Times also spoke with Kiev regime security official Andriy Parubiy, a founding member of the fascist Social-National Party of Ukraine, who made clear that Kiev sees this offensive as a model for other former republics of the Soviet Union.

“There are many other countries which are not ready—properly speaking, their armed forces are not ready, are unprepared, for this type of war. We, of course, studied the experience of both Croatia and Israel, but here a lot of new features are added. And, if Russia sees this experience is successful, this experience can very easily be used in any Baltic countries, and even in Belarus and Kazakhstan,”

Parubiy told the Times .

The Kiev regime is working closely with US and EU officials as they seek to undermine Russian influence in Ukraine and throughout the region. Last month, US State Department official Gregory Kausner traveled to Ukraine to discuss financial and operational assistance to the National Guard, according to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s web site.

German officials have also given their support to the actions, while issuing a few cynical statements in an attempt to distance themselves from the worst of the bloodshed. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert reported that in a phone call last Thursday with Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel “urged President Poroshenko to maintain a sense of proportion in his legitimate actions against the separatists and to protect the civilian population.”

The result of this reactionary offensive, which has no support in the working class in either the Western imperialist powers or the former Soviet republics, is a disaster for the Ukrainian people. Train and bus tickets out of Donetsk and Luhansk are all booked, as hundreds of thousands of residents take public transport or their own vehicles to flee the cities, fearing a long-term siege by Kiev regime forces.

DPR officials began an official evacuation of residents of the industrial Donetsk suburb of Maryinka on Saturday, as Ukrainian forces’ shelling of the suburb killed thirty people.

They also reported that they were recruiting large numbers of volunteers to fight the Kiev regime’s forces. “We are not holding a forced mobilization. We are counting on volunteers,” DPR mobilization department chief Pavel Gubarev told Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency. “Over the past week, over a thousand volunteers have enlisted in our army.”

Last Thursday, the US Department of Justice quietly announced that it would not launch a criminal investigation following the revelation in March that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had spied on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee. News of this decision—which concerns one of the most significant constitutional breaches in modern American history—was barely reported in the establishment media and prompted no significant response from any section of the political establishment.

The Obama administration’s decision and the acquiescence of the rest of Washington underscore the reality, behind the trappings of democracy, of de facto rule by an unelected and authoritarian military-intelligence apparatus. The military and intelligence agencies that preside over a vast global enterprise of violence and deceit operate in secret without any accountability or restraint, no matter which party controls Congress and the White House.

Obama himself—whose first job after graduating from college was as an analyst at Business International Corporation, an institution with well-documented CIA connections—functions in practice as a front man for the military and intelligence bureaucracy. Just last week he responded to the crisis in US-German relations triggered by the revelation that the CIA had recruited operatives to spy on the German Secret Service by declaring he had no knowledge of the CIA operation, raising the question of who runs the country. (See: Obama and the CIA—who runs Washington? )

Obama elevated John Brennan, who presided over the illegal spying on Congress, to head the CIA. As a high-level CIA official in the Bush administration, Brennan had defended the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (i.e., torture) against people accused of being terrorists.

Obama himself, from the moment he took office, worked to shield Bush-era criminals from investigation or prosecution.

The CIA’s spying on Congress is a flagrant violation of the US Constitution’s bedrock principle of separation of powers. As American high school students were once taught in civics classes, the basic theory of American constitutional government is that tyranny can be prevented only by dividing state power among three independent branches—the legislature, executive, and judiciary—each with its own limited powers regulated by a system of checks and balances.

The CIA spying scandal is particularly striking because the CIA’s target is not just any congressional committee—but the very Senate committee charged with oversight of the CIA.

The scandal has its origins in a congressional investigation into a CIA torture program that existed from 2002 to 2009, as well as efforts by the Bush administration to cover up the CIA’s criminal practices. As part of the program, the CIA abducted individuals and “rendered” them to overseas CIA “black sites,” where they were subjected to torture. One of the issues in the Senate Intelligence Committee probe is the CIA’s destruction of video tapes of water-boarding and other forms of torture.

The Senate committee has prepared a 6,300-page draft report regarding the program, but the CIA, backed by the Obama White House, has thus far blocked its release on the grounds of “national security.”

In the course of the Senate investigation—despite the CIA’s insistence that documents could be made available to the committee only at a specially constructed facility at its headquarters in Langley, Virginia—Intelligence Committee staffers came into possession of documents prepared for former CIA Director Leon Panetta. The documents show that CIA officials systematically lied to Congress in the course of its investigation.

The CIA’s response was to hack into the staffers’ computers, ostensibly to determine how the documents had come into their possession, and to attempt to delete the files.

Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learned of the breach in January of this year, but she attempted to settle the matter without informing the public. CIA Director Brennan took the position that the CIA was only responding to unauthorized access of its classified records. According to Brennan, the CIA has the right to conceal documents from the congressional committee tasked with overseeing it. Brennan’s position raises the obvious question: if the Senate Intelligence Committee is not entitled to know what the CIA is up to, then who is?

It was only when Brennan signaled that he would ask the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of the staffers who had obtained the documents that Feinstein took to the Senate floor in protest in March. Feinstein directly accused the CIA of violating the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, as well as “the Fourth Amendment [which prohibits warrantless searches and seizures], the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.” At the time of the speech, Feinstein recommended that the Justice Department launch a criminal investigation against the CIA.

While Feinstein’s speech outlined grave violations of law—warranting, at the very least, impeachment proceedings—no serious measures were ever subsequently proposed or considered. The Obama administration responded to the conflicting requests for criminal prosecution by promising it would look into both. Then the issue was completely dropped—by Feinstein and the Senate, the media and the politicians of both parties.

Now, four months later, the administration announces that there will be no investigation. The response of Feinstein, a slavish defender of the intelligence agencies, including the NSA and its mass spying programs, was to praise the Justice Department’s decision not to pursue the matter.

The episode underscores the prostration of Congress, the presidency, the courts, and the entire federal bureaucracy before the military-intelligence apparatus, which has mushroomed far beyond anything President Eisenhower could have imagined when he issued his famous warning against the “military industrial complex” in 1961.

In 1929, Leon Trotsky explained that the rise of dictatorial tendencies in Europe reflected the breakdown of democratic forms of rule under conditions of heightened class tensions as well as sharpening conflicts among the imperialist powers. “By analogy with electrical engineering,” he wrote,

“democracy might be defined as a system of safety switches and circuit breakers for protection against currents overloaded by the national or social struggle. No period of human history has been—even remotely—so overcharged with antagonisms such as ours … Under the impact of class and international contradictions that are too highly charged, the safety switches of democracy either burn out or explode. That is what the short circuit of dictatorship represents.”

The CIA scandal represents the burnout of just such a democratic circuit breaker, under conditions of a toxic combination of militarism abroad, growing social inequality at home, and the rise of a criminal and unaccountable financial aristocracy.

Nearly 15 years have passed since the stolen election of 2000. That irrevocable break with constitutional procedures was followed by 9/11 and the declaration of the “war on terror”—a political fraud used to justify endless wars overseas and the destruction of democratic rights within the US.

The intervening years have seen the growth of unbridled state spying on the personal, political and social activities of the American people; the assassination of US citizens and thousands of “targeted killings;” rendition, torture and indefinite detention. Now the entire political establishment acquiesces in the trampling of the Constitution by the government’s military-intelligence apparatus.

The disintegration of American democracy is a product of the intractable crisis of American and world capitalism. The ruling class can no longer accept the restraints imposed by its own laws. It lives in mortal fear of the social implications of its own reactionary and rapacious policies.  Americans must halt the drive to dictatorship and defend their democratic and social rights by mobilizing itself as an independent political force in the struggle for socialism.

“It will be worthy of a free, enlightened . . . great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.”  —George Washington

Washington devoted his Farewell Address to advising those who would follow him into governing the United States of America. He tried to get them to travel the high road of virtue, honesty, and fairness and eschew the low road of viciousness, duplicity, and favoritism.

“. . . virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. . . . Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony. . . . Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? . . . nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated.”

Almost immediately, Washington’s successors began to repudiate his advice, and his New World nation began its descent into an Old World one in which people are pawns who are used as mere means to the ends of unscrupulous power brokers. John Kennedy expressed this status quo sentiment when he uttered the famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” Yet people do not come to this or any other country to serve as means to the country’s goals. They come to serve their own modest ends and are happy when their own ends are congruent with the nation’s.

America’s power brokers seem to believe that governments determine the goals of their peoples. Only such a belief can explain this nation’s maniacal attempts at regime change. Somehow or other the belief exists that changing a nation’s government will change the desires and attitudes of its people. History fails to support this belief. Careful thinking requires that the people who populate a country be distinguished from the people who rule it.

In March. 2003 the United States invaded Iraq in an attempt to depose Saddam Hussein’s autocratic government. Members of the invading army had been told they would be welcomed as liberators. Instead an insurgency emerged which opposed the invading forces. The United States, after deposing Hussein and having installed an American “friendly” government, withdrew its military forces in December, 2011. The war for regime change had succeeded. But the attitudes of the people who inhabit Iraq did not. The killing continued, the region’s political forces were destabilized, and now a full-phased civil war has emerged. American troops are again being sent to Iraq. The country may end up being dismembered. Regime change, although successful, instead of stabilizing the region, destabilized it and denied America the achievement of all of its goals. Governments do not comprise countries, people do.

Syria became independent in 1946, but in March, 1949, army Chief of Staff Husni al-Za’im staged a coup d’état with American help which ended civilian rule. Za’im met at least six times with CIA operatives in the months prior to the coup to discuss his plan to seize power. Once in power, he took several steps that benefited the United States. He also improved relations with Israel and Turkey. However, Za’im’s regime was short-lived. He was overthrown just four and a half months after seizing power. Again, America’s attempt at regime change had succeeded but it was soon undone by the actions of the Syrian people. Today America is again supporting regime change in Syria. Failure is no deterrent to an American government!

In fact, America’s attempts at regime change have failed or been only temporarily successful more often than not. And the countries whose regimes it has tried to change are by no means advanced and developed. America picks on what it believes are the primitive and weak. And even then, regime change has not proven to be an effective policy. Of the more than two dozen countries in which regime change has been tried, only one is now a strong American ally. Trying to change the governments of nations is not a way to make friends.

Two groups of countries comprise most of America’s attempts at regime change—Latin American and Muslim.

American politicians have always sought to keep Latin Americans under the thumb of Uncle Sam. Early in the Nineteenth Century, America’s fifth president, James Monroe, who is famous for having promulgated his Doctrine, proclaimed that the Americas should be free from future European colonization and from European interference. Although Monroe claimed that the nations of Latin America would be kept independent, American governments continually interfered in their affairs which formed the subject of General Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket” which exposed the interference. Since then America has attempted to change the governments of Argentina (1976), Brazil (1964), Chile (1970–73), Cuba (1959), Dominican Republic (1961), Guatemala (1954), Haiti (2004), Nicaragua (1981–90), and Venezuela (2002). A guarantee of independence indeed!

America’s interference in the affairs of Muslim nations in similar. Since 1949, the United States of America has attempted to bring about regime change in Afghanistan (1979–89 & 2001), the Gaza Strip (2006–present), Iran (1953 & 2005–present), Iraq (1960–63 & 1992–96 & 2002–03), Libya (2011), Somalia (2006–07), Syria (1949 & 2012–present), and Turkey (1980). Of these, only Turkey today is an American ally. The United States of America has become the rhinoceros in the coffee shop. I suspect it has generated more hatred than any other nation in history.

How has America become this nation belligerent to all? How has this nation that its founding father advised to always be guided by an exalted justice and benevolence become one guided by shameful injustice and malevolence? It adopted the philosophy of realpolitik!

Realpolitik was formulated by a German, Ludwig von Rochau, in 1853. To Rochau, the law of power governs international relationships just as the law of gravity governs the physical world. Otto von Bismarck is the most famous advocate of realpolitik. As Chancellor of Prussia, Bismarck sought to bring about Prussian dominance in Europe. He manipulated political issues to antagonize other countries and started wars to attain his goals. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

E. H. Carr, a British historian and international relations theorist, argued for realpolitik by promoting the belief that there is no God, that there is no moral dimension, and that what is successful is right. But as Friedrich Nietzsche writes,

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent?”

Yes, God is dead and we have killed him, so everything is permissible—kidnapping, torture, assassination, collateral killing, war, terrorism, unlimited incarceration without charges, lying, promises meant not to be kept.

What implications for other countries follow from this American adoption of realpolitik? Well, it follows that American government is utterly unreliable. The American government can be expected to abrogate any agreement or treaty whenever abiding by it is no longer in America’s national interest. To fulfill such agreements and treaties would be an act of principle, but realpolitik is completely unprincipled.

Some foreign diplomats are beginning to understand this. Poland’s Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, recently said that the Polish-American alliance is worthless, even harmful, as it gives Poland a false sense of security.

Realpolitik consists of policies based primarily on power rather than ideology or morals. Henry Kissinger, a modern day Machiavelli, is a prominent exponent of realpolitik. He formally introduced realpolitik to American diplomats during the administration of Richard Nixon. But Machiavellians have always existed among human beings, even before Il Principe was written.

The trouble is realpolitik has never worked for more than a short time. It enabled Bismarck to unify Germany under a Prussian hegemony, but it utterly destroyed Europe twice in thirty years in the Twentieth Century and is responsible for the slaughter of millions of people by the commission of atrocities hitherto never heard of. It is not working today.

The United States Department of Homeland Security was formed in 2003 after the September 11 attacks. A ten year war on terrorism, if successful, would have lessened the need for such a department; yet the need is ever and ever greater. The Lernaean “terrorist” Hydra not only has many heads it seems to grow two more when one is severed. Homeland Security can never get powerful enough to subdue it. America will fight its war to exhaustion. What Americans have not learned is that the low road goes to no benign destinations.

Washington suspected that his advice would be rejected:

“In offering to you . . . these counsels . . . I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations.”

I suspect that Washington knew that the leaders of nations are not selected for their wisdom or character. Once they leave office, these leaders are quickly forgotten. America has made it into a Constitutional principle—no president can serve more than two terms. When an American president completes the second term, s/he is pensioned and told to find a rock to crawl under never to be heard from again on any policy issue. Neither character, wisdom, or experience is of any value.

So, America will never be that great nation that will give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. In reality, America is a militarily powerful but otherwise ordinary nation ruled by small minded greedy, unjust, and inhumane people.

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies exploit social media to keep the endless war on terror alive.

Earlier this month we learned DARPA, the Pentagon’s research lab, has funded an array of social media studies, including analyses on various social and political memes, celebrities and disinformation.

“The project list includes a study of how activists with the Occupy movement used Twitter as well as a range of research on tracking internet memes and some about understanding how influence behavior (liking, following, retweeting) happens on a range of popular social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Kickstarter, Digg and Reddit,” RT reported.

The Pentagon studies paralleled an experiment by Facebook controlling emotions by manipulating news feeds. Facebook has connections to the CIA and the Pentagon.

“Shortly before the Facebook controversy erupted, Darpa published a lengthy list of the projects funded under its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, including links to actual papers and abstracts,”write Ben Quinn and James Ball for The Guardian.

ISIS Exploits Social Media

IS, the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, has used social media as an effective propaganda tool.

“The extremist group battling the Iraqi government, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, may practice a seventh-century version of fundamentalist Islam, but it has demonstrated modern sophistication when it comes to using social media, particularly Twitter and other sites like WordPress and Tumblr,” The New York Times reported in June.

The United States is not trying to diminish the social media reach of IS despite the fact this would logically be near the top of its to-do list in combating the rapidly expanding terrorist caliphate.

“U.S. intelligence prefers for these accounts to stay up, rather than come down,” an anonymous employee at a major social media company told Mashable.

“American intelligence officials are monitoring the ISIL accounts, trying to glean information about the deadly group and its strengths, tactics and networks.”

“Social media ‘is one of the many sources’ American analysts monitor when ‘assessing the fluid ISIL situation,’ a U.S. intelligence official told Mashable on condition of anonymity.”

ISIS Brutality: Propaganda Set Piece in Forever War on Terror

However, instead of gleaning questionable intelligence the Pentagon and the CIA are interested in controlling emotions and drumming up consensus for the coming war against the Islamic State.

As the Nick Berg beheading video and other brutal al-Qaeda propaganda videos demonstrated in the past, the value of terrorist social media is in its ability to produce irrational emotions that can then be exploited by the state as it carries out its permanent war agenda. The Islamic State – funded by the Wahhabist Gulf emirates, supported by the CIA, and trained by the U.S. military – specializes in this sort of gruesome material.

“Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism – the applied creation and distribution of such forms of persuasion,” explains Richard Alan Nelson.

The war on terror, designed to last indefinitely, requires “purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions.” IS takes the brutal al-Qaeda meme to the next level and pumps up the volume.

When the special interests who created and direct the agenda of the European Union disagree with member states, the true nature of this supranational enterprise becomes painfully apparent – one of dictatorial special interests pursing regional policy that benefits none of its individual member states. No example of this can be clearer than the dispute that has emerged over the construction of Russia’s South Stream natural gas pipeline set to run through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Italy.

The pipeline produces a large number of benefits for each of the nations it passes through, as well as for energy markets on either end of the pipeline. For the people and governments of these nations set to benefit most from the pipeline, the deal is an attractive, long-term investment. For the special interests that have created and currently direct the EU – on the other hand – it poses as a direct threat to their designs of continued expansion and corporate-financier hegemony beyond the collective borders of today’s EU.

For the hegemon, coexistence and collaboration are not options – thus the benefits of the South Stream pipeline escape them. Instead, these hegemonic special interests seek to control their own pipeline and energy markets on either side of it, and this can be seen developing along several fronts including the Southern Corridor Project, beginning in Azerbaijan along the Caspian Sea.

Energy and foreign policy expert Sinan Ulgen of the US government and corporate-financier funded Carnegie Europe think-tank complained about the disparity between the EU Commission’s stance, and that of individual EU member states in an Anadolu Agency (AA) article titled, “Russian South Stream gas pipeline divides EU,” stating:

“…the EU’s main concern about South Stream is that the project would increase its dependence on Russian gas. Last year a third of its consumed gas was supplied by Russia.

Additionally the AA article would state:

While the European Commission opposes Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project, certain EU countries like Austria and Italy continue to openly support the world’s most expensive pipeline project, which aims to transport Russian gas by bypassing Ukraine.

For the last two years, Russia has signed bilateral agreements with Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Austria and Croatia for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which is estimated to cost nearly US$40 billion according to the Moscow Times. Gazprom recently announced however that it was abandoning construction of the Italian portion of the pipeline.

These agreements were deemed a breach of EU anti-trust law by the European Commission in December. And, in April, following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia, the European Parliament voted for the South Stream project to be stopped.

AA would also cite another corporate-financier funded think tank, Chatham House – also complaining about EU members pursuing their own interests in contradiction to the EU Commission’s dictates. The unelected EU Commission appears to be pursing its own extraterritorial geopolitical pursuits ahead of those of the individual member states and their respective populations. That corporate-financier funded “think tanks” are focused on this “divide” and championing the EU Commission’s agenda over that of the individual EU members it allegedly represents fully exposes the EU for what it truly is, a dysfunctional supranational dictatorship.

And what is done in the name of the EU by its institutions like the EU Commission, which admittedly does not represent the best interests or desires of those it claims to represent, unfortunately and perhaps unfairly reflects on the EU as a whole. For example, and as part of the energy debate, the current EU support of the regime occupying Kiev, Ukraine, taints all of Europe, even as many EU member states attempt to move cautiously or even in opposition to the greater agenda the EU Commission and others are pursuing.

While the EU promotes itself as a bastion of freedom, stability, and prosperity, it appears increasingly more like a hegemonic bloc, dictating to, rather than acting as a representative of, the European people. The slogan “Toward a Europe Whole and Free” rings hollow when the EU Commission begins dictating policy to individual states, and curtailing progress that benefits both individual nations and their people.

The EU, in this light, appears more of an autocratic oligarchical consolidation of regional power and resources, not a democratic collaboration between nations. A slogan like “Toward a Europe Whole and Free” appears then to represent Europe, but only from the perspective of special interests seeking to loot the region collectively, rather than nation-by-nation. The dysfunction and dictatorial nature of the EU Commission and other apparatuses within the supranational bloc serve as a cautionary example for other nations seeking to construct their own alliances – from Asia’s ASEAN-AEC (Asian Economic Community), to regional alliances between Russia, China and with nations along their peripheries.

Alliances that include obligations that usurp national sovereignty are not alliances at all, they are hegemonic infiltration by special interests who would rather see a village place their valuables in a single safe for them to crack and loot, rather than take the time and trouble to rob each individual home. Europe must decide whether it will continue along a path of internal conflict with its alleged EU representatives tainting their collective populations, cultures, and histories, or reform the EU into an institution that allows collaboration and national sovereignty to exist in tandem.

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

Seeing “free” Western media with headlines like “Rockets raining over Israel”, or describing the success of Israel’s Iron Dome defence system in intercepting missiles from Gaza, you would assume there was a war between equals – or even that “poor Israel” was under attack.

Many Western readers won’t know that all of the 100-plus killed since Tuesday – and practically all of the 700 injured – are Palestinians, many of them children.

Responding to a correspondent who questioned the disproportionate number of civilians killed, including 22 children, CNN anchor Brianna Keilar explained: “Yes, Gaza is just so heavily populated. That’s certainly always a side effect and we’re seeing that there.”

Officially, White House spokesman Josh Earnest offered unqualified US support for “Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks”.

Yet when that White House statement was issued on Tuesday, not one single Israeli had been hurt. Meanwhile, more than 30 Palestinians, including a whole family, were already dead – killed by an Israeli army equipped with America’s best technology.

Harmless and aimless rockets fired from Gaza are the Palestinians’ only way to fight back. In addition to Israel’s recent aggression, Gaza has been under a military blockade for more than seven years, which alone is an act of war.

Enjoying freedom of movement and peace are basic rights of all people, but if Palestinians can’t enjoy that right then neither should the Israelis.

After the disappearance of three illegal Israeli settlers in an area under complete Israeli military occupation in Hebron, Israel blamed Hamas for their deaths without providing any evidence.

On June 30, following a government emergency security meeting, Israel’s deputy defence minister Danny Danon spelt out a plan to “eradicate Hamas”.

“We will not stop until Hamas is completely destroyed,” he said.

Immediately following that meeting, Israel positioned additional troops at the Gaza border and started its assault, purportedly to avenge the three illegal settlers.

On Thursday, after more than 400 raids throughout Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Knesset: “While the campaign has gone as planned, further stages yet await us.”

At an earlier meeting, he assured members of the Knesset foreign affairs and defence committee that “ceasefire right now… is not even on the agenda”.

But blaming Hamas for the disappearance of the illegal settlers is simply a red herring.

Israel appears to have “planned” a war to divert international attention from the fact that it was to blame for a failure of futile peace talks and to undermine the newly formed Palestinian unity government.

As Israel continues killing with impunity, Arab governments pay lip service and offer worthless condemnations.

Egypt continues to close its border with Gaza, making Hosni Mubarak blush in his hospital bed.

The Palestinian Authority makes hollow efforts at the UN when it should be joining “real” UN organisations to hold Israel accountable for current war crimes.

Meanwhile, Palestinian children in Gaza are murdered as the Western world indulges in sincere ignorance and Arab people wallow in conscious apathy.

Jamal Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

The document below was published by LifeNews as a true copy of a letter prepared by the acting Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Colonel General Mikhail Koval, who addressed it to the President of Ukraine, Pyotr Poroshenko. Unless I receive a specific request—and due to lack of time and volume of work—I am not going to apply my legal experience dealing with refugees (in Egypt and in Canada) to expound on the enormous and obvious legal failings of this proposed policy.

Suffice to say, this newest pearl of the Ukrainian national-fascist, Nazi government flies directly in the face of the very foundations of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as applicable customary international law. If there is sufficient interest, I may ask Barbara Harrell-Bond, a recipient of the Order of the British Empire and a world-renowned expert in the field (and my kind and dear mentor) to provide a short commentary on the subject, if she is so inclined. In the meantime, a few brief points would be useful here:

1. The most basic rule of refugee law is the prohibition on the expulsion of refugees from safety into harm’s way. Once a refugee has crossed the boundary into a safe haven (wherever that may be), he or she may not be compelled to return to danger (this prohibition applies also to those accused of international crimes, such as war crimes or crimes against humanity. Although the latter accusations have not here been made, it should be noted that even persons in this category must be brought to trial, rather than re-exposed to the very threat they fled from).

2. The second basic rule of refugee law is the principle of preservation of families: family units ought not to be split, regardless of the circumstances and irrespective of what any of the family members have done or are alleged to have done. Families (by which I mean husbands, wives, children, relatives, the elderly, etc.) must be permitted to remain together, just as they otherwise would have had the opportunity to do so.

3. The third basic rule of refugee law is that refugees are persons in need of protection, and not a convenient workforce to be exploited as forced labour, or as soldiers; nor are they to be forcibly interned and segregated into various groups and dispersed into various institutions or establishments (however suitable such institutions may appear to an ignorant, untrained eye). By law, refugees possess and must be furnished with unrestricted freedom of travel and mobility within their country of refuge and may not be corralled or segregated from the rest of the population. This is a fortiori the case when refugees are found in a country in which they already benefit from a full panoply of personal, political and social rights, as is the case with Ukrainian refugees in Ukraine.

A more in-depth discussion would, as indicated, raise further issues. For now, though, I leave you to consider the following shining example of the rise of totalitarianism in Ukraine.

KOVAL1KOVAL2

Translated from Russian Equivalent (provided by LifeNews) by Gleb Bazov / edited by Ghayur Bangash (@Gbabeuf)
(with minute formatting and stylistic changes to fit North American standards)

To the President of Ukraine, P.A. Poroshenko

Dear Pyotr Alekseevich!

Pursuant to your order, I am hereby submitting proposals with respect to organizing our dealings with the refugees from the area where the Anti-Terrorist Operation [“ATO”] is being conducted. Accordingly, in order to meet the challenges put before the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence of mobilizing and rotating servicemen in the area of the ATO, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of filtration measures, I consider it necessary to introduce the following refugee categories:

Category “A”—women and children: to be assigned into the care of educational and training establishments (incl. boarding schools/orphanages)

Category “B”—invalids and pensioners: to be assigned into the care of medical and social institutions (incl. group homes for the relevant categories)

Category “C”—men aged between 18 (military recruitment age) and 65 (retirement age): this stream should further be split into two categories:

Group “C1”—aged between 18 (earliest military recruitment age) and 50 (end of military recruitment age); and,

Group “C2”—aged between 50 (end of military recruitment age) and 65 (those who have achieved retirement age).

Those in Group “C1” should be made subject to MANDATORY and full mobilization into the Ukrainian Armed Forces (or into other relevant units) for participation in the ATO, with a term of, for example, two months. If men who fall into the specified age category have health-related issues, but do not fall into the invalid category, they should be transferred into Group “C2”.

Those in Group “C2” should be made subject to MANDATORY mobilization into reserve units (or, for example, into units tasked with maintaining control over the territories already cleared of terrorists in the court of the ATO) for a period of, for example, one month.

Those in Groups “C1” and “C2” ought to be granted refugee status and the appropriate social guarantees only after demobilization from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. With respect to persons avoiding mobilization, the Ukrainian Security Service (“SBU”) should exercise thorough filtering measures. In cases of reasonable grounds, measures within the existing criminal legislation [should be] applied.

I believe that this type of approach would:

a) meet the challenge of [personnel] rotation in the units involved in the ATO;

b) reduce the wave of refugees, which otherwise would have to be provided with means of livelihood;

c) minimize the threat of internal conflict, in which the residents of the Central-Western, Northern and Southern regions would demand an answer to the fair question: “Why is it that men from their regions have to go defend the East of Ukraine, risking their health and their lives, while healthy men from the East run into the ranks of refugees?”;

d) minimize the possible abuse of refugee status among certain categories of the population;

e) allow us to understand the proportion of pro-Ukrainian population in the East without resorting to sociological studies and surveys.

The position of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence in this regard has been coordinated with the staff of the Prime Minister of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Security Service.

With respect,

Colonel General M.V. Koval
The Acting Minister of Defence of Ukraine

We noted Friday that Israel is bombing Gaza back to the stone age to get Hamas … But ISIS – NOT HAMAS – claims credit for attacks against Israel.

In response, several commenters accused us of exaggerating the brutality of Israel’s bombing campaign.

But as we noted in 2012, during the last major attack by Israel on Gaza:

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said:

We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads & water.

Or as Haaretz puts it:

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages ….”

Destroying civilian infrastructure is – of course – a war crime under the Geneva Convention.

The following are also war crimes under the Geneva Convention:

  • The indiscriminate or disproportionate use of force
  • Collective punishment for the acts of a few
  • Targeting civilians

***

Indeed, the UN has repeatedly found Israeli’s actions in Gaza to be a war crime.  See this, this and this.

The same year, Gilad Sharon – the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon – wrote an Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post  saying:

We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

“There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”

This time around, the New York Times reports that Israel has bombed a mosque in Gaza, a policeman’s house, and a clinic for the disabled … killing 2 residents and a caretaker.  There are numerous reports of women and children killed in bombed out apartment buildings and homes.  But Hamas rockets have not killed a single Israeli.

And a Norwegian doctor working in Gaza (Dr. Eric Fosse) says that everyone he’s treated at the hospital has been a civilian – with many children – that it appears that civilians are being intentionally targeted, and that DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosives) are being used by Israel:

As Wikipedia notes, DIME is carcinogenic:

The carcinogenic effects of heavy metal tungsten alloys (HMTA) have been studied by the U.S. Armed Forces since at least the year 2000 (along with depleted uranium (DU)). These alloys were found to cause neoplastic transformations of human osteoblast cells.

A more recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study in 2005 found that HMTA shrapnel rapidly induces rhabdomyosarcoma in rats.

The tungsten alloy carcinogenicity may be most closely related to the nickel content of the alloys used in weapons to date. However, pure tungsten and tungsten trioxide are also suspected of causing cancer and other toxic properties, and have been shown to have such effects in animal studies.

In 2009, a group of Italian scientists affiliated with the watchdog group New Weapons Research Committee (NWRC) pronounced DIME wounds “untreatable” because the powdered tungsten cannot be removed surgically.

And as the Jewish Daily Forward reports:

The United Nations human rights chief on Friday voiced serious doubts that Israeli’s military operation against Gaza complied with international law banning the targeting of civilians ….

International law requires Israel to take all measures to ensure that its attacks are proportional, distinguish between military and civilian objects, and avoid civilian casualties, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.

“We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes. Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” Pillay said in a statement.

Proof that NSA is Still Lying About Spying on Americans

July 14th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

The NSA has been caught in lie after lie about its surveillance on Americans. This is nothing new. An NSA whistleblower told Washington’s Blog:

They were asked 40 years ago whether NSA had bugged Congress. And, of course, they lied. They lied through their teeth.”

Two of NSA’s current lies are:

(1)  NSA only accidentally and incidentally collects information about Americans, and it is really only focused on foreigners;

and

(2) NSA only spies on Americans’ metadata … not content

But high-level NSA whistleblowers Bill Binney, Thomas Drake and Russell Tice have all told Washington’s Blog that the NSA is spying on the content of Americans’ phone calls and emails.

And it is clear that the NSA – and other government agencies – have been spying – and keepinginformation - on all Americans.

The Guardian reports:

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

***

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said ….

Washington’s Blog asked William Binney about NSA’s claims that it doesn’t spy on Americans.

BILL BINNEY:  Fairview is the program they use that produces most of the content and metadata on US citizens. Note the distribution of tape points in the lower 48 states.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG:  The US 990-Fairview slide certainly shows NSA sucking up alot of data from within America.

But the press characterizes Fairview as gathering info solely on foreigners. Sounds like this is false?

In other words, Fairview sucks up information – content and metadata – on Americans and foreigners, and then NSA simply retains and stores the info?

BILL BINNEY:  If NSA was after only foreigners, then they would have collection points on the east and west coasts at points where the transoceanic cables surface. Anythingother than that is collecting domestic communications – the PSTN phone network and the world wide web.

Washington’s Blog made very crude mock-up of what the Fairview map might look like if it was only focused on gathering foreign communications … with collection points solely on the east and west coasts at points where the transoceanic cables surface:

Compare that to the actual map, above.

Back to our conversation with Binney …

BILL BINNEY:

You could argue that Stormbrew [another "upstream" collection program ... see below] is targeted at foreign by the distribution. But, some of that is also questionable. This does not count input from cooperative countries (second and third parties) on domestic activity collected by them as well. To the point, they have done nothing but lie to us.

In other words, the Stormbrew map is a pretty good proxy for what foreign surveillance locations shouldlook like. But the Fairview map shows many more collection points all over the country … proving that the NSA is specifically collecting information on Americans living on U.S. soil.

(Fairview and Stormbrew are both “upstream” collection programs, meaning that data is pulled directly from fiber-optic cables and top-level communications infrastructure … which sucks in a lot more information than is available through individual websites or computers. The NSA slides on Fairview and Stormbrew were leaked by Edward Snowden.  But Binney is one of the people with the most expertise necessary to interpret the slides.  After all, Binney was the technical director for the NSA, the chief of its global digital data gathering program, and a 37-year agency veteran.)

For background on what Binney means by “input from cooperative countries (second and third parties) on domestic activity”, see thisthis and this:

Senior NSA executive Thomas Drake confirms the importance of Fairview:

According to Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency senior executive who blew the whistle on the agency’s reckless spending and spying in 2006, a previously unknown NSA surveillance program known as FAIRVIEW aims to “own the Internet.”

***

Drake pointed out that FAIRVIEW is also the method through which the NSA receives the information it has collected, essentially co-opting the fiber optic cables to transmit the data back to the agency to be analyzed by data mining programs.

So what’s the big picture?

Binney and Drake have both told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has become a police state. They both say that the U.S. government has become like the Stasis or Soviets.  And Binney says that the NSA has become like “J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids.”

If there is still any question about what the NSA is doing, history provides context.  For example:

  • The NSA director admitted that the mass surveillance is a power grab
  • Indeed – for 5,000 years straight – mass surveillance of one’s own people has always been used by tyrants to crush dissent

Estados Unidos acaba de colocar otra vez a Cuba en la lista de los países implicados en el tráfico de seres humanos. No obstante, las instituciones internacionales contradicen el punto de vista de Washington.

En su informe 2014 sobre el tráfico de seres humanos en el mundo, el Departamento de Estado incluyó de nuevo a Cuba  en su lista, ubicándola en la peor categoría (3). Según Washington, “adultos y niños son víctimas de tráfico sexual y de trabajos forzados” en la isla. “La prostitución infantil y el turismo sexual son una realidad en Cuba y hubo alegaciones de trabajos forzados durante misiones en el exterior que realizó el gobierno cubano”.[1]

No obstante, Washington reconoce la falta de fiabilidad de sus informaciones:

“Algunos cubanos que participan en esas misiones de trabajo declararon que su presencia era voluntaria y que el puesto estaba bien remunerado en comparación con los empleos en Cuba. Otros afirman que las autoridades cubanas les obligaron a participar en las misiones, quitándoles sus pasaportes y limitando sus movimientos. Algunos profesionales de la salud que participaban en esas misiones pudieron beneficiarse de visas estadounidenses y de algunas facilidades migratorias para viajar a Estados Unidos con sus pasaportes, lo que indica que al menos algunos profesionales de la salud conservan sus pasaportes. Los informes sobre la coacción impuesta por las autoridades cubanos no parecen reflejar una política gubernamental uniforme. Conviene apuntar que carecemos de información al respecto”.[2]

El informe se refiere, entre otros, al Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program (CMPP). En efecto, desde 2006 Washington elaboró una política destinada a despojar a la isla de su capital humano facilitando la emigración de su personal médico hacia Estados Unidos. Este programa prioriza particularmente a los 30.000 médicos cubanos y otro personal de salud que trabajan en cerca de 60 países del Tercer Mundo, en el marco de una vasta campaña humanitaria destinada a curar a los desheredados del planeta.[3]

Así, a pesar de la falta de información fiable, el informe 2014 concluye que “el Gobierno de Cuba no cumple los estándares mínimos para eliminar el tráfico de seres humanos y no realiza los esfuerzos necesarios para ello”.[4]

El punto de vista de la UNICEF

La acusación más grave concierne a la prostitución infantil. Ahora bien, la UNICEF – Fondo de Naciones Unidas para la Infancia – no comparte este punto de vista y saluda, al contrario, los avances de Cuba en la protección de la niñez. Según el organismo de la ONU, “Cuba es un ejemplo en la protección de la niñez”.[5] Según Juan José Ortiz, representante de la UNICEF en La Habana, “la desnutrición severa no existe en Cuba [pues] hay una voluntad política” de eliminarla. “Aquí, no hay ningún niño en las calles. En Cuba los niños son todavía una prioridad y por eso no sufren las carencias de millones de niños de América Latina, trabajando, explotados o en redes de prostitución”.[6]

Ortiz comparte su experiencia al respecto:

Hay millones de niños son explotados diariamente, que no irán nunca a la escuela; millones de chicos y chicas que ni siquiera tienen identidad, que no existen pues no han sido registrados.[7]

Cuba, desde hace más de 50 años, ha sido un modelo de la defensa y la promoción de los derechos de la infancia. Las políticas públicas a favor de la infancia han sido una prioridad desde hace muchos años. Por tanto, se ha conseguido algo verdaderamente inaudito en el mundo en desarrollo.

Entre los cientos de millones de niños y niñas que sufren gravísimas vulneraciones de sus derechos, que llegan incluso a morir diariamente por causas absolutamente evitables, ninguno de esos niños es cubano. Es la demostración clara que sí es posible si los Estados priorizan la atención y el desarrollo de la infancia.

[…] Cuba demuestra que a pesar de las crisis internacionales, a pesar de la gravedad del impacto del bloqueo [sanciones económicas] sobre el desarrollo de la infancia, a pesar de ese agravante pues es el único país que lo tiene, sí se puede garantizar plenamente los derechos de la infancia y conseguir niveles de desarrollo humano cada vez mayores. Cuba es un ejemplo para el mundo de cómo se puede trabajar para garantizar los derechos para la infancia y su desarrollo pleno. El pueblo cubano disfruta de un tesoro que tiene y a veces no se da cuenta. Los niños, las niñas y adolescentes son unos privilegiados en comparación con el mundo.[8]

20.000 niños van a morir en el mundo [hoy] y la inmensa mayoría de esas muertes podrían evitarse. Es criminal dejar que mueran niños cuando tenemos los recursos para salvarlos. Si la cuestión de la infancia fuese una prioridad a nivel mundial, los problemas de los cuales son víctimas los niños estarían resueltos desde hace mucho tiempo, como es el caso en Cuba.

Cuba siempre ha sido un ejemplo en el sector del desarrollo social, con nivel de igualdad similar al de los países más desarrollados. […]

El trabajo realizado en cuba con los menores delincuentes (otro gran tema y desafío para América Latina y el Caribe) es ejemplar. Aquí, no hay rejas para los niños. El sistema preconiza la rehabilitación de los jóvenes extraviados […]. De mismo modo, todos los niños discapacitados son atendidos, y ello en la misma casa si el niño no puede moverse. Es aquí un avance excepcional […]. Es el único país que conozco donde podemos celebrar el Día Internacional de la Infancia bailando […].[9]

El representante de la UNICEF subraya también lo siguiente: “A causa de mi trabajo, he dedicado mi tiempo a sepultar a niños en todos los países. No obstante, en Cuba, dedico mi tiempo a jugar con ellos. No vacila en calificar a la isla de “paraíso de la infancia en América Latina”.[10] La UNICEF recuerda que Cuba es el único país de América Latina y del Tercer Mundo que ha erradicado la desnutrición infantil.[11]

Respuesta de La Habana

Por parte de La Habana, las autoridades condenaron la nueva inclusión de Cuba, presente en la lista negra desde 2003, en el grupo de países implicados en el tráfico de seres humanos y calificaron el informe de “manipulador y unilateral[12]”:

“El Departamento de Estado decidió, una vez más, incluir a Cuba en la peor de las categorías de su informe anual sobre los países que “no cumplen completamente los estándares mínimos para la eliminación de la trata de personas y no hacen esfuerzos significativos con ese fin”, haciendo caso omiso del reconocimiento y prestigio alcanzados por nuestro país por su desempeño destacado en la protección a la niñez, la juventud y la mujer.

Cuba no ha solicitado la evaluación de Estados Unidos ni necesita las recomendaciones del gobierno de uno de los países con mayores problemas de trata de niños, niñas y mujeres en el mundo. Estados Unidos no tiene moral para calificar a Cuba, ni para sugerirnos “planes” de ninguna índole, cuando se estima que el número de ciudadanos norteamericanos con los que se trafica dentro de ese país es cercano a los 200.000, donde la explotación laboral es la forma de trata de personas más extendida, en el cual el 85% de los procesos legales que se entablan en este tema corresponden a casos de explotación sexual, y donde más de 300.000 niños, del millón que abandonan sus hogares, están sujetos a alguna forma de explotación. […]

La inclusión en esta lista, por motivaciones totalmente políticas, como lo es también la designación de Cuba como Estado patrocinador del terrorismo internacional, está dirigida a justificar la política de bloqueo […], [que provoca] afectaciones severas a nuestra niñez, juventud, mujeres y a todo nuestro pueblo”.[13]

Washington reconoce el carácter frágil de su informe y la UNICEF desmiente las acusaciones contra Cuba. Además, la implicación de Estados Unidos en el tráfico de seres humanos y en la explotación legal de niños a partir de los 12 años perjudica su autoridad moral y asesta un severo golpe a su credibilidad.

Salim Lamrani

 

Sigue: « Cuba, Estados Unidos y el tráfico de seres humanos 2/2 »

 

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. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

http://www.amazon.fr/Cuba-m%C3%A9dias-face-d%C3%A9fi-limpartialit%C3%A9/dp/2953128433/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376731937&sr=1-1

Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected]

Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel



[1] State Department, « Trafficking in Persons Report 2014 », junio 2014. http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/index.htm (sitio consultado el 27 de junio de 2014), p. 148.

[2] Ibid., p. 148-149.

[3] United States Department of State, “Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program”, 26 de junio de 2009. http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rls/fs/2009/115414.htm (sitio consultado el 2 de julio de 2014).

[4] State Department, « Trafficking in Persons Report 2014 », junio de 2014, op. cit., p. 149.

[5] José A. De la Osa, « Cuba es ejemplo en la protección a la infancia », Granma, 12 de abril de 2008.

[6] Fernando Ravsberg, « UNICEF: Cuba sin desnutrición infantil », BBC, 26 de enero de 2010.

[7] Radio Havane Cuba, « L’UNICEF signale que Cuba est un exemple en matière des droits de l’homme », 1de junio de 2012.

[8] Cubainformación, « Entrevista a representante de UNICEF en Cuba », 4 de junio de 2012. http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43657&Itemid=86 (sitio consultado el 2 de enero de 2013.

[9] Lisandra Fariña Acosta, « Ce pays est un laboratoire de développement social », Granma, 7 de junio de 2012. http://www.granma.cu/frances/cuba-f/7jun-Ce%20pays.html (sitio consultado el 2 de enero de 2013).

[10] Marcos Alfonso, « Cuba: ejemplo de la protección de la infancia, reconoce UNICEF », AIN, 18 de julio de 2010.

[11] UNICEF, Progreso para la infancia. Un balance sobre la nutrición, 2011.

[12] Agence France Presse, « Cuba califica de ‘manipulador y unilateral’ informe de EEUU », 21 de junio de 2014.

[13] Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, « Declaración de la Directora General de Estados Unidos del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba », República de Cuba, 21 de junio de 2014.