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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Translated from the original Kreyòl by Kim Ives)

CIA Director: Iran Deal Good for America

April 9th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

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

CIA director John Brennan is a hawk …

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

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

This is not surprising, given:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TechCamp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technology and Communications In Color Revolutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook, Twitter, and Social Media in the Euromaidan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

Foundations, NGOs, and Color Revolutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The struggle against America’s Global War is ongoing.

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

Michel Chossudovsky, April 9, 2015

*     *     *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Targeting “Unembedded” Humanitarian Organizations

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

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

Saddam’s Statue: A Media Staged Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Spin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtually the entire news chain has become “embedded”.

The War is not over

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

But the war is not over.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Read: List of Foods we Could Lose Without the Bees

Straight from Monsanto’s Pages:

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

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

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

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

Misleading Studies

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

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

The study’s authors warn:

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

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

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

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

The abstract says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All rules favor Big Pharma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, for a natural treatment…

And we would add even more recommendations, such as:

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org

http://www.naturalnews.com

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

Tsarnaev faces either life in prison or the death penalty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Sunil Tripathi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still image from helicopter footage of Dzhokhar.

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

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

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

Israel Has Spied On American Citizens for Decades

April 9th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

One of Our Closest Allies Massively Spies On Us

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

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

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

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

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

This article is translated from Russian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source in Russian: PolitRussia.com

China: The Largest Cheap Labor Factory in the World

April 9th, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

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

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

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

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

Capitalist Restoration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michel Chossudovsky, February 15, 2015

 

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

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

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

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

Domestic Repression in the New Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rising Tide of Resistance

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

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

So too is this the case in what is undoubtedly the most vehemently anti-Russian country in Europe: Poland. While Warsaw continues to agitate for further belligerence toward Russia, thousands of Polish citizens are standing up to demand an end to the madness. A major demonstration against Poland’s participation in the training and arming of Ukrainian Nazi fighters is scheduled for April 10, with at least 5,000 demonstrators expected. As protest organizer Mlodzi Malopolscy Patrioci stated, “This protest wants to show our opinion about our relationship with Ukraine, real relationship, not the relationship like the Polish government is feeling…We still remember about the Volyn in 1943 and what Ukrainian ‘soldiers’ did to our people. We don’t want conflicts with Russia.”

At the national level, there is also a growing sentiment that the bellicose policies and rhetoric must stop. In Hungary, the right wing government of PM Viktor Orban has resisted pressure from European allies to cut ties with Moscow, and instead has chosen to further expand the mutually beneficial relations that his country enjoys with Russia, especially in the arena of energy imports. In Greece, the left wing SYRIZA government has taken a much more positive view of its relations with Russia than the European establishment would like, going so far as to reject the sanctions imposed by the West, though the tone of their statements indicated an attempt to soften the language of the rejection.

Taken in total, it is clear that Europe is far from unified over the anti-Russian policy pursued by the US-EU-NATO establishment. Moreover, thousands upon thousands of Europeans have begun to make their dissatisfaction known, clearly rejecting the drive to war being promoted from the halls of power in the West. They talk of regaining their sovereignty, standing up to the US-EU-NATO imperial system, and protecting the rights of marginalized Russian speakers. Whether in Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, or the Czech Republic, the sentiment is the same: We don’t want NATO’s war!

But those interested in peace must do more than reject war. We must demand an end to the repression of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Lithuania. We must unite and, if necessary, peacefully bring down those quisling governments marching their people to the brink of war. We must, like our grandparents before us, destroy the fascist menace, and all those who seek to use it for their own advantage.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

In November 2014,  Britain’s Counter-Terrorism Bill was introduced in the House of Commons.  

Prime Minister Cameron announced  impending “new powers” and “very radical reforms” in relation to the alleged “jihadist” threats, These would also include provisions to strip UK citizens of their passport as well “their right to leave and return to the UK“, which in essence strips them of their citizenship.

The  Counterterrorism bill, which derogates fundamental rights of UK citizens was “fast-tracked” through the British Parliamentary system. Less than two months later, on February. 12, 2015, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTSA) became law. Most Brits are totally unaware of the provisions contained in this “legislation”.

For the complete text of the CTSA click here.

 

CTSA 2015 and the Rights of Children 

What is distinct in this legislation is that it also applies to children and adolescents under 18 years of age.

British police are now arresting children under the anti-terrorist provisions of the Cameron government which essentially gives a green light to detain and imprison on a mere suspicion.

According to the Evening Standard report 

The 14-year-old boy was arrested in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Thursday, while the girl, 16, was arrested after police raided a house in Longsight, Manchester, on Friday.

They were both arrested as part of the same investigation on suspicion of terror-linked offences and have been bailed until May 28.

The investigation involves the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Lancashire Constabulary.

Police said on Thursday the examination of what they described as a “number of electronic devices” led them to execute the search warrant at the house in Blackburn.

The 14-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

The day after officers from GMP’s Tactical Aid Unit and North West Counter Terrorism Unit executed a warrant at a house in Longsight, south Manchester.

The 16-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

The arrests come as nine individuals from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, are being held in Turkey after allegedly trying to cross the border into war-torn Syria.

It is not believed the arrests in the UK are linked to events in Turkey. (Alexandra RuckiEvening Standard, April, 2015, emphasis added)

Needless to say, Western politicians in high office who provide support (including weapons) to the “Islamic State” brigades through their respective intelligence agencies (e.g.MI6), are exempt from prosecution under the Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015.

While the Cameron government channels covert support to ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria, a 14 year old boy and a 16 year old girl are “Arrested on Suspicion of Preparing Acts of  Terrorism”.

Double standards? Criminalization of Her Majesty’s government? Treason.

Part I

The previous part provided an overview of Laos’ most important regional relations and described the key infrastructural projects it’s partaking in to boost its pivot credentials. In this concluding article, China’s specific containment-breaking strategies as related to Laos are elaborated upon and contrasted with the US’ countermoves in blocking Beijing.

The Double Flip

The crux of China’s grand strategy is to use Laos and its infrastructural advantages to enact and solidify a geopolitical reorientation in both Thailand and Cambodia, the former from the US and the latter from Vietnam. The end objective foresees China using its geopivotal position in Laos to exert equal influence on Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in its struggle to wiggle out of the US’ tightening containment noose.

The New Myanmar:

Thailand’s ultimate geostrategic purpose in China’s eyes is to become the ‘New Myanmar’, in that it can be a transport, logistics, and infrastructure hub for Beijing’s regional vision and a critical outlet to the southern seas. Earlier it was mentioned that Myanmar had been moving closer to the West, and it needs to be underlined at this point that its reorientation was at the expense of strategic projects with China such as the Bay of Bengal railroad. Although an alternate project was later approved, this doesn’t change the fact that it, too, could one day be canceled or used as eventual blackmail against China in the same way that Ukraine’s infrastructure has lately been used against Russia. What China needs is a replacement ally that satisfies the former stability and political trust that Myanmar once enshrined, and the perfect opportunity has presented itself with Thailand.

Tony Cartalucci has masterfully written many analytical articles on Thailand and its geo-significance to regional and global affairs, and the reader is highly recommended to peruse his writings for in-depth background information on the topic, but in short, the military there recently removed a pro-Western proxy and has since then been cultivating closer relations with China. This development could potentially represent a shattering reversal of the US’ Pivot to Asia strategy, but it must be emphasized that the new government’s hold is not yet fully secure, and the ousted authorities and their supporters may resort to a terrorist struggle and continued destabilization in order to undermine events. This makes China’s ASEAN Silk Road all the more important for Thailand, since the economic benefit that it would sow along its path could do much to strengthen the populace’s support for the revolutionary government and diminish whatever remaining legitimate resistance there may be to its rule.

Ideally, China would like for a pragmatic and possibly allied government in Thailand to become the transport hub of Indochina, thereby giving Beijing associated reach throughout the region. The railroad plans are simply a means towards reaching these ends, and the larger idea is to deepen Chinese-Thai infrastructural and economic integration to the point where even a reversal of relations by an anti-Chinese government in Bangkok would not preclude cutting off these links. If the ASEAN Silk Roads, especially the main conduit through Laos, can become so important to Thailand’s economy that ties with China cannot be realistically endangered without catastrophic consequences, then Beijing would have achieved one of its most pressing geostrategic objectives, which is the creation of an anchor in ASEAN that abuts the dually strategic coasts of the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand (fringes of the larger Indian Ocean and South China Sea, respectively).

While it’s not foreseen that Thailand would ever host covert Chinese naval bases like it’s Myanmar is falsely accused of doing, the Southeast Asian state could still provide Beijing with a strategic naval foothold by helping it avoid the Malacca Strait chokehold through integrated port-rail infrastructure along the ASEAN Silk Road or even a Nicaraguan-styled canal across the Isthmus of Kra. If these plans come to fruition, then Thailand wouldn’t just become the ‘new Myanmar’, but it would actually acquire a positive significance for China far beyond what Myanmar ever could have given it.

Good Cop, Bad Cop In Cambodia:

The second state that China hopes to flip is Cambodia, and it plans to utilize a good cop/bad cop dynamic to help make it happen. China doesn’t necessarily have any issues with Cambodia nowadays (although the legacy of its support for the Khmer Rouge is obviously a sore sticking point), but the fact remains that Prime Minister Hun Sen still behaves like a Vietnamese client, most likely due to him owing his entire political career to his gigantic eastern neighbor. This relationship of client to caretaker still persists despite enormous amounts of Chinese aid, although it’s evident that China is now giving Vietnam a run for its money in possibly usurping this role. Should it be successful in doing so, not only would Beijing stand to gain yet another ASEAN ally to add to its growing list (which would make a total of three when one includes Laos and Thailand, and potentially four if Myanmar can be convinced to stay within its sway), but it would also allow it to pressure Vietnam even further, since Hanoi would have then lost its two former Indochinese satellites.

By this manner, the strategy of ‘stealing allies’ from Vietnam represents China’s asymmetrical counter to Hanoi’s boisterousness in the South China Sea, and it gives Hanoi a ‘taste of its own medicine’ by reversing the flow of pressure and putting it on the strategic defensive. China’s ‘good cop’ mechanisms are manifested through its aid flows and investment, while its ‘bad cop’ ploy can be carried out through proxy via Laos’ hydroelectric projects. If China can secure a commanding influence in Cambodia’s northern neighbor, then it can indirectly use the dam issue to its advantage in squeezing Cambodia towards accommodating whatever future interests it has in mind. Complementing this ‘bad cop’ approach is yet another ‘good cop’ front that can be played this time by Thailand, which would be coordinating its activities with China in the event of a full-fledged Sino-Thai Strategic Partnership, an earlier-mentioned goal of Beijing’s. This would see Thailand working to woo Cambodia (which was previously under its influence prior to becoming a French protectorate in 1863) through their deepening bilateral economic links via the eastern vector of China’s ASEAN Silk Road and the Southern Economic Corridor (which links Dawei in southeastern Myanmar to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam via Cambodia and Thailand).

Lao PDR, Nam Ngum 5 Hydropower Project.

Booby-Trapping Beijing

The current state of affairs in Southeast Asia is that China is using Laos as its ‘special weapon’ in proactively cutting through the US’ containment net, while Washington is invested in booby-trapping Beijing’s ‘advance’ to make sure that every step it takes is fraught with the risk of grand strategic collapse. Other than finding a way to delay, suspend, and/or cancel Laos’ hydroelectric projects, here are two of the most impactful plans that the US could set in motion to sabotage China’s containment-shattering ambitions:

Chaos Calls:

Using its tried and tested tactics, the US could inspire the external chaos in Myanmar to migrate over to Laos, which would in that case stop the central route of the ASEAN Silk Road dead in its tracks. Ethnic warfare has been occurring on and off for the past 60 years in Myanmar, and although 16 rebel groups are set to sign their first multilateral ceasefire with the government sometime soon, it’s not a guarantee that their problems will dissipate and stability will be restored in all corners of the country. One should keep in mind the seemingly spontaneous nature of the latest outbreak of violence in Kokang, as it shows that a serious crisis can materialize in Myanmar unexpectedly at any moment due to the fragile balance of power there between various groups and the military. In order for the violence to spill over into Laos, the Myanmar military would have to go on the advance deep into Shan State, which could in turn lead to the hodgepodge of rebel groups there retreating into Laos and using the country’s territory as a rear base for regaining their land on the other side of the Mekong. While this forecast doesn’t appear all too likely at the moment, it’s telling that Myanmar and Laos both pledged to step up their security cooperation last month, in what may be a sign that both countries understand their vulnerability to this dire scenario.

But chaos doesn’t only have external origins, as it can also take form within the target state as well. In this case, the US and its allies could foster a Color Revolution or related domestic destabilization in an attempt to overthrow the current government or initiate an unconventional war along the Myanmar model. After all, Laos may contain as many as 249 ethnic groups within its tiny borders, and ethnic Lao only comprise 55% of the population. In fact, the ethnic situation is so complicated inside Laos that the authorities have attempted to simplify them into a few geographic and linguistic groups in an effort to better manage them. The degree of ethnic cooperation or tension is unascertainable from afar seeing as how any news about Laos, let alone that which is verifiably accurate, is extraordinarily difficult to procure without being physically present in the country and its various provinces for an extended period of time. Thus, it’s challenging to gauge the viability of this scenario, but if the West’s destabilization template is any indication, then the presence of large amounts of (foreign) NGOs could possibly lay the long-term groundwork for provoking inter-communal, inter-ethnic, and anti-government discord, although Vientiane appears to have already anticipated this scenario and is preventively enacting strict controls on their activity.

Thai Trickery (Or Trickery In Thailand):

Thaksin Shinawatra deployed some 300 heavily armed terrorists in Bangkok in 2010 triggering bloodshed that would claim nearly 100 lives and leave the city in flames after a final day of serial arson was carried out by his political supporters.

The second booby-trap that the West plans to set for China would be to revert Thailand’s government to its previous pro-Western loyalties, either by means of a Color Revolution or some other underhanded measure, in order to take over China’s ‘transport hub’ and control the flow of products along its various ASEAN Silk Road lines. Additionally, an anti-Chinese Thai administration could then follow Western guidance and use its cultural and civilizational ties with Laos to influence Vientiane to pull away from China, possibly even applying its newfound economic links with its smaller neighbor as a form of asymmetrical blackmail. If Laos drops its high-speed rail project with China in the same fashion as Myanmar did, then it would represent a double-whammy for Beijing’s hopes of breaking through the US’ Asia Pivot containment. Under the scenario of a ‘Bangkok back step’ in relations to China, Laos could be tempted to pivot away from Beijing if Thailand and Japan (which just signed a strategic partnership with Laos last month) join forces to offer multilateral investment and infrastructural projects to replace the lost Chinese ones, with a prime example being a heightened emphasis on developing Laos’ position along a Myanmar-Vietnam counter-Silk Road.

Another possibility that could develop would be an intensification of the West’s regime change efforts against Thailand, with a specific aggravation of the situation in Thailand’s northeast region of Isaan. Abutting the Lao border and encompassing a sizeable chunk of the country, Isaan is pivotal to the country’s stability (or lack thereof), and it’s essential that any ruling government in Bangkok have the area under its control. ‘Activists’ in the region had previously organized against the country’s martial law before it was recently repealed and voiced their opposed to the authorities, signaling that the region could potentially be activated for further destabilization sometime in the future. Other than Isaan, there’s also the threat that the South Thailand conflict could be reignited with direct or implicit American support to both apply pressure against the government and prevent the ASEAN Silk Road from reaching Malaysia and Singapore. As a dual benefit, a renewed insurgency would also pose a risk to Malaysia’s stability as well, and an outbreak of violence in the Thai border region could complement the Color Revolution pressure on Kuala Lumpur to remain compliant to Washington’s regional agenda and walk back its increasing ties with China.

Concluding Thoughts

China’s overall goal is to flip Thailand and Cambodia over to its interests and away from their previous patrons, using its general influence in Laos via the two types of ongoing infrastructure projects there to exert continued influence upon Bangkok and Phnom Penh to keep them within its strategic sphere. The combined effect of simultaneously courting Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia is to asymmetrically weaken Vietnam’s position in continental ASEAN, since any Chinese gains in Laos and Cambodia would represent relative losses for Vietnam. Laos is the fulcrum in projecting Chinese influence throughout the region because it’s used both to push a positive and cooperative agenda with Thailand, while also presenting a potential asymmetrical risk to Cambodia’s socioeconomic security if it ever contravenes Beijing’s forecasted vision and turns its back to ‘Yuan diplomacy’.

The US will obviously be trying to stop China’s parallel grand strategies of an ASEAN Silk Road, a Sino-Thai Strategic Partnership, and Mekong hydroelectric regional leverage every step of the way, but Washington has met a formidable match in going up against a civilization that has over 5,000 years of diplomatic and strategic experience. Accordingly, in order for Beijing to succeed in its epic containment-shattering strategy, it must make securing and deepening its position in Laos its highest priority in continental ASEAN in order to turn the tiny pivot state into the geostrategic staging ground of multipolar power projection that it’s intended to be.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Image: A man searches for the names of victims written on a memorial plaque, on the eve of the 69th anniversary of the Distomo massacre committed by the Nazis during World War Two, at the village of Karakolithos near Distomo village, about 165 km (103 miles) northwest of Athens (Reuters/John Kolesidis)

Germany owes Greece no less than €278.7 billion in World War II reparations, Athens said, referring to the destruction wrought upon the nation during the Nazi occupation. The sum exceeds Greece’s total debt of €240 billion to the EU.

“According to our calculations, the debt linked to German reparations is €278.7 billion euros, including €10.3 billion for the so-called forced loan. All the other amounts are related to allowances for individuals or infrastructure,”

said the country’s deputy finance minister, Dimitris Mardas.

The figure was calculated by a parliamentary committee and the Greek supreme court. The numbers have previously varied between €269 billion and €332 billion.

Mardas added that at the 1946 Paris Conference the amount of reparations was set at $341.2 billion.

In response, Gabriel Sigmar, Germany’s economy minister and vice chancellor, described Greece’s demand as “stupid.” He said he suspected the demand was just the country’s attempt to squeeze some money from Eurozone countries to resolve its own debt crisis problems. “And this leeway has absolutely nothing to do with World War II or reparation payments,” he said.

Many Greeks blame Germany, as the country’s biggest creditor, for the tough austerity measures and record high unemployment it faced after getting two international bailouts total worth 240 billion euros.

The Greece’s statement comes ahead of left-wing Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’s visit to Moscow and meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. The newly elected PM is planning to boost cooperation and strengthen ties with Greece’s eastern neighbor.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed on Tuesday that finance and loans would be discussed at the Moscow talks.

Kommersant newspaper reported a source in Russian government as saying that the Greek PM is also seeking credit from Russia. Other media reports claim that Tsipras plans to negotiate a possible reduction in gas prices from Russia and the lifting of the embargo on certain types of Greek products

Greek lawmakers voted Tuesday to favour of establishing a special committee to examine the circumstances which led the country to enormous bailouts from troika of international creditors – the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC).

“After five years of parliamentary silence on the major issues that caused the bailout catastrophe, today we commence a procedure that will give answers to the questions concerning the Greek people,”

Tsipras said.

The issue of war reparations dating from the 1941-44 Nazi occupation of Greece is likely to increase already heightened tensions between Athens and Berlin. The two countries are already squabbling over Greek demands to renegotiate the terms of a €240 billion ($260 billion) Troika bailout.

The movement in Greece to get Berlin to pay up has become stronger over the last few years as Athens experiences financial hardships following austerity measures, which were a prerequisite of being given the bailout money, to stop the country from falling into financial ruin.

The left-wing Syriza government has decided to raise the issue of war reparations again with Berlin.

Germany has never properly paid reparations for the damage done to Greece by the Nazi occupation,” Prime Minister Tsipras, the leader of the anti-austerity Syriza party, said in March. “The crimes carried out by the Nazis are still vivid, and we have a moral obligation to remember what the forces did to the country.”

Berlin has flatly denied it owes Athens any more money, saying it already paid Greece war damages of $25 million in the 1950s, equivalent to $220 million today, and also paid out 115 million Deutschmarks (a sum worth around $230 million today), to victims of Nazi crimes in the early 1960s.

A 2012 report by the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, estimated the value of the loan at $8.25 billion (€7.57 billion). Greece, however, puts the value of the loan at €11 billion, the To Vima newspaper reported in January, citing confidential financial documents.

Greece says it always considered that money as only an initial payment and expected the rest of the money to be paid back following German reunification.

After Nazi forces took control of Greece in 1941, the stage was set for one of the bloodiest confrontations of World War II as Greek resistance fighters put up a fierce struggle to end the occupation.They were powerless, however, to prevent the Third Reich from extracting an interest-free 476 million Reichsmarks loan from the Greek central bank, which devastated the Greek economy.

The varied left histories dating back to the long 19th century gained momentum during the tumultuous first decades of the 20th century and for some time after. They came to an end, at one point or another, between the military coup in Chile (1973), the elections of Margaret Thatcher (1979) and Ronald Reagan (1981), the political u-turns by Francois Mitterrand (1986) and Deng Xiaoping and the collapse of Soviet communism(1991).

Since that time, communist parties in the West have shrunk to insignificance (with the partial exceptions of the French and Greek parties).

Social democratic parties surrendered the countervailing power they had acquired during the long post-war boom to the imperatives of international competitiveness. New parties of the left that originally positioned themselves somewhere between social democracy and communism lost their points of reference and have proven, thus far at least, unable to invent a socialism for a world after Soviet communism and social democratic welfare-states.

Social movements, often presenting themselves as more democratic and inclusive alternatives to party bureaucracies opportunistically chasing voters from all walks of life, in the case of social democracy, or, in the case of communists, claiming to be the vanguard of narrowly defined working classes, are in no better shape than the parties of the left. When they were new decades ago now, they could legitimately claim to voice the concerns of social strata – women, ethnic minorities, immigrants, and sexual minorities – excluded from the welfare-state bargain. It is also thanks to the new social movements that the ecological destruction that was one of the prices to be paid for prosperity and welfare-state expansion became an issue even staunch earth-haters can’t ignore. However, rather than forging one pluralistic and democratic movement, the new social movements quickly splintered into multitudes of single-issue campaigns. Ironically, in many cases, their professed anti-statism served as an entry ticket into an emerging NGO-world picking up the pieces from a welfare state already under siege from neoliberal anti-statism. At the same time, grassroots initiatives became more and more dependent on activists with a background in left party politics.

A List of Failures

More recent attempts to build a movement of movements, the approach suggested by the World Social Forum and its regional offspring, initially created much excitement. But they proved unable to sustain momentum. Massive mobilizations in the short-run, from the February 15, 2003 demonstrations against the war in Iraq to the Arab Spring and Occupy, shouldn’t conceal the fact that, at this historical juncture, social movements in themselves neither represent significant countervailing powers nor an alternative project to neoliberal capitalism.

Underlying the failures and defeats of left parties and movements from the late 1970s onwards was an unmaking of the working-class movement. This movement had developed collective agencies of change in industrial unionism and socialist parties over the 19th century, waving a variety of red and sometimes black flags. The movement moved into action during an ‘age of catastrophe’ from 1914 to 1945. The subsequent period of unprecedented economic prosperity saw the institutionalization of working-class movements and significant material gains for a majority of workers.

Whether this period of welfare state expansion really led to a profit-squeeze in the 1970s that undermined the boom, as some Marxists proclaim, or whether it was fuelled by flourishing consumer demand, as left Keynesians say, doesn’t matter much with regards to the fate of socialism. What matters is that ruling classes in the West saw the ‘new left’ and new social movements as forces that could potentially unlock the working-class majorities that had been successfully caged in the bureaucracies of welfare capitalism. Warding off this danger in the short run made it necessary to defeat or co-opt these movements before they built alliances with revitalized unions, left-wing social democrats or assorted neo-communist groupings. Inhibiting the return of future challenges from the left induced ruling classes to restructure production and distribution processes in such a way that the social fabric in workplaces and working-class communities was torn apart.

No matter how rigid the ‘life-worlds’ of workers and their organizations might have been, as long as they existed they allowed for the reproduction of the institutionalized power of the working classes. And they also served as a seedbed of their rebellious offspring. Destroying the social basis of left parties, unions, and social movements was the political intent of neoliberal politics as it emerged in the 1980s and, in the course of things, undermining the organizational base of socialists. The latter’s ability to organize and mobilize dwindled, their ideas no longer resonated with the very people they were meant to speak to.

The unmaking of the organizations of working classes through the 1980s ushered in a crisis of socialist ideas. Endless debates about strategies, tactics and goals in earlier times were exhausting, and at times inhibited real advancements, but they were the lifeblood of socialism. The more working classes were unmade by a combination of relocation, new technologies and new organizational forms of labour processes, the more socialist discussion became whistling in the dark. Against their best intentions, the insistence of socialist intellectuals on the continuing objective existence of working classes and their indispensable role in surplus value creation only underscored the weakness of socialism. It certainly didn’t do anything to mobilize anyone outside of the shrunken circles of socialist diehards.

Capitalism and its Discontents

While capitalists had every reason to celebrate their victory over socialism of any kind, they soon ran into troubles of their own making. The acceleration of profit expectations they had used as a lever to roll back wages, taxes, and social and environmental standards soon reached heights that could never be satisfied. Profit expectations were always ahead of the production of surplus value no matter how much restructuring spurred the latter. Moreover, realization of at least parts of the drastically increased surplus value required extending credit lines to income-stripped working-class households and fiscal authorities. Keeping the debt loads of workers at sustainable levels would have required raising wages and taxes, respectively. Yet, these were key factors used to push up the rate of surplus value. Consequently profit expectations, expressed through an ever-expanding baroque of financial products, and debt rose in tandem. This spurred accumulation up to a point, but accompanied by a continual cycle of financial and general economic crises – from the 1980s debt crises in the South and Eastern Europe, to the 1990s crises in Mexico, Asia and Russia, hitting Wall Street in 2001 and the entirety of American finance and the world market from 2008-10. Privatization of public assets, raids on social spending and new lines of credit for private households regularly ‘freed’ the collateral to kick-start another cycle of debt-speculation-driven accumulation over which course further layers of union-protected jobs would be downgraded to precariousness levels.

Not surprisingly, the downgrading of ever more layers of the working classes along with increasing downgrading fears among the salariat and petty bourgeoisie soon produced its discontent. The brighter Wall Street shone, the more people were standing in its shadows or at least fearing to become invisible in its shadows. Yet anyone who might have thought that discontent with capitalism, or with its neoliberal incarnation, would inexorably lead to a resurgence of socialist or other left movements was soon disappointed. Rather, such discontents found their expression in votes for social democratic parties in the 1990s, and even into the 2000s. However, the social democratic parties in power only produced more disappointment as their ‘third-way’ politics only meant some minor shifting neoliberal policies. Explosions of protests, like the anti-globalization movement and Occupy, have expressed the political frustration. But so, too, and more sinisterly, has the emergence of right-wing populism.

The New Right-Wing Populism

Right-wing populism thrives because it allows the articulation of discontent within the neoliberal narrative of austerity and free markets. Indeed, it doesn’t have to invent and popularize a counter-narrative but can build on the contradictions between the neoliberal narrative and actually existing neoliberalism. One contradiction is that austerity was never meant as austerity for all, it was always propagated as the necessary price to pay to eventually see wealth trickling down from the top.

The question, then, is whether and for how long one has to pay the belt-tightening price. Right-wing populists simply suggest that belts of some chosen groups could be relaxed if only the truly undeserving ones would be radically excluded from well-paying jobs or any form of government assistance. The distinction between deserving wealth creators and undeserving rent-seekers or free riders is at the core of neoliberalism. Right-wing populists extend this division to include ethnically, religiously, or sexually defined groups amongst the deserving; and then mobilize discontent with economic and social conditions against these allegedly undeserving groups.

The other main contradiction between neoliberal ideology and its practice is that between the ideology of free markets and the omnipresence of the state. Whenever the invisible hand of the markets and the private appropriation of profits that lingers behind it needs a helping hand, the state lends it. Since this is a very visible hand, discontent may have its roots in the conditions produced by capitalist markets and the state, but it is usually the state that takes most of the blame. The reason is simple. It is the state which declines applications for unemployment benefits and sends the police to foreclose homes. It is the state that cuts services and raises fees and taxes for those whose gross incomes are already under austerity pressure. This makes it easy for right-wing populists to present the state as the culprit of the conditions produced by the state-market linkages that are necessary for capitalism to function at all. The logical conclusion, then, is ‘more markets’.

Right-wing populism, in short, is radicalized ‘free marketeering’ integrating different varieties of nationalist, racist, and religious fundamentalists united in their hate of the postmodern left with its feminists, environmentalists, civil-rights-advocates and socialists. This right-wing trajectory is what produces the clash of cultures, or better the Muslim fundamentalisms which conservatives have seen as history’s defining feature after the defeat of left challengers.

Not everyone chooses fundamentalism to articulate his or her discontent. Many just try to defend their moral values, often derived from the same religions that fundamentalists misuse for their hate-preaching. There are also people who clearly see that the clash of fundamentalism makes a world that’s already bad under neoliberal capitalism even worse and thus seek alternatives to right-wing alternatives. The question, of course, is whether there are existing left-wing alternatives and, if not, what’s to be done to build them.

Union Organizing

Union organizing is an obvious starting point for the building of left alternatives. Unions were an indispensable part of past socialisms, without necessarily being socialist themselves, and they will be for future socialisms, too. Increasing numbers of today’s post-welfare state jobs resemble those of pre-welfare state days in terms of insecurity, employer’s control of workers, and sometimes even wage-levels. Yet, the craft and industrial unionisms of the past that were, more or less, suitable at different points of capitalist development clearly have limits in today’s world of international networks of production and distribution. The challenge is to invent effective forms of organization and representation along the supply-chains of production. As these chains typically cut across borders, future union organizing also needs to be international to be effective. The duality of international rhetoric and national organizing practice that was so characteristic of past workers’ movements can’t be resurrected at current levels of internationalization of production and distribution.

Things are very different, however, in the public sector. Paradoxically if one considers neoliberalism’s animosity toward unions and the public sector, unions took a series of beatings but still survived while their private sector counterparts were either broken or marginalized. Despite the massive shift of union presence from the private to the public sector, though, the way most people think, including unionists at all levels, is still very much shaped by the relations between capital and labour that gave rise to unionism in the first place. Such thinking, along with mobilization and bargaining efforts based thereupon, contributes to the weakness of public sector unions who are not bargaining over the distribution between wages and profits but a share of tax revenue.

As neoliberalism turned tax payments more and more into a working-class privilege, public sector bargaining turned more and more into a distributional struggle between different segments of the working-class. As long as public sector unions and their actual and potential allies don’t address this issue, neoliberals of more centrist or fundamentalist persuasions find it easy to mobilize hard working private sector workers, whose unions they helped to destroy in the past, against allegedly pampered public sector workers whose unions they seek to destroy in the future.

This distributional struggle between private and public sector workers cannot avoid addressing the question of whether public sector workers provide services to both public and private sector workers or that public sector production only serves the upper classes. This question, of course, also raises the issue of who is paying the tax bill. These issues cannot be resolved in collective bargaining; such fiscal policies raise the question of working-class representation in the political system.

Party-Building

The significance of government policies might be particularly obvious in the case of public sector workers and their unions but that doesn’t mean that these policies aren’t of the highest importance to all workers. The policies decide the availability, or lack thereof, of public services and infrastructures, and who is paying for them. They also decide under which conditions private employers can hire workers or, in the case of undocumented immigrant workers, where the threshold for employers undercutting legal standards lies. Through its schooling, certification and immigration systems, states contribute to the fragmentation of working classes. Through financial sector regulation and the underwriting of private finances, via the issuing of government bonds, they also prop up the profit-expectations-generator used to squeeze workers of all stripes at different times and to different degrees.

The state is, from all this, necessarily a key arena of class struggle. This was long noted in the early socialist movement by figures like Rudolph Hilferding and Otto Bauer during the infancy of welfare capitalism, and was reiterated by the new left in the 1970s when ruling classes were turning against further welfare state expansion. If three decades of neoliberal counter-reform has not diminished the share of public spending measured against GDP significantly, it has changed its character drastically. The institutions that were developed during a time of welfare state expansion were restructured in such a way that, rather than mitigating the inequalities between wages and profits, they started to amplify them.

Working-class representation within the state through a socialist party is, then, crucial to fight further austerity and to win social reforms. It is equally important to build working-class capacities outside the state. Without such capacities, that includes left media and discussion and activist groups, parties get absorbed by the state rather than engaging in class struggle inside of it.

Changing the balance of power within the capitalist state – and eventually moving beyond it – requires the building of working-class capacities outside the state. And it also depends upon international cooperation with left parties and other organizations in other countries. The room for shifting the balance of power within a country is not only dependent on the social forces inside of it but also on the respective forces in other countries and the capacity to cooperate across borders. It took neoliberalism, whose hegemony seems impenetrable today, almost two decades, from the military coup in Chile until the collapse of Soviet communism, until it had consolidated itself into an international ruling bloc. Undoing this bloc and replacing it with a progressive alternative, which may or may not be socialist, might take equally long.

Where to Begin?

The reinvention of socialist politics starts on a level playing field. Soviet communism and social democracy, the actually existing socialisms of the 20th century, are gone and there is no reason to wish them back. Soviet communists waded through years of terror before establishing a paternalistic regime that allowed workers social advancement but also alienated them to a degree that they, the workers, didn’t raise a hand when sections of the ruling bureaucracy decided it was time to reinvent themselves as ruling oligarchy in a neo-capitalist system. Social democrats shared the communists’ paternalism but avoided, for the most parts, domestic terror, which didn’t stop them from engaging in neo-colonial warfare in the South. Dissident communists and social democrats, along with various anarchist currents, can rightfully claim that they suggested alternatives to the failures of actually existing communism and social democracy, but have to ask themselves why they never had the power to realize their socialist alternatives.

Thus, nobody can say that his or her favourite variety of socialism is better than anybody else’s. One way or the other, all socialisms that were advanced in the 20th century failed either when they were in power or because they never got near it. What this history of failures and defeats leaves us, though, is an immense wealth of experiences. Socialists in the late 19th and early 20th century, who wanted to be so scientific, had to carry on a utopian element as they didn’t have the same real world experiences with socialism that we have today. In that sense, we can be much more scientific and should use the accumulated experiences of past socialisms to draw from them lessons for a new, and still unspecified, socialism. But we should also dare to dream. Without having an idea where we want to go, we sure won’t go anywhere. Such an idea can’t be but utopian, as it pertains to an unknown future. One of the lessons to draw from communist and social democratic experiences is that claims to know what the future will look like are delusional and harmful to socialist politics of whichever kind.

Ideas play a key role in reinventing socialism, indeed. This includes ideas about the future but also ideas about the understanding of the past and present, from which we can derive strategies to build a socialist future. The working classes of the past were made out of an amalgam of disparate struggles, and efforts to make sense of such practical efforts and failures in order to try something else the next time. The back and forth between practical efforts and theoretical reflection, were not confined to intellectual circles but also had a presence in the various counter-cultures of their respective times, forged collective identities and understandings that eventually constituted working classes as agents of change.

There is no reason to assume that the remaking of working classes will take a very different form from the original making of working classes in the long 19th century. We might actually already be part of this remaking. Protest waves around the World Social Forum, the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, and Occupy and the Arab Spring didn’t yield many tangible results. Yet, they have established contacts between discontented people seeking left alternatives, and allow collective reflection about future steps. The recently revived interest in political organizing is one of the outcomes of these reflections. It rests on the idea that the changing-the-world-without-taking-power philosophy underlying those movements was one of the reasons for their failure. Another outcome is the absence of institutions that could preserve collective memories when mobilizations on the streets are at a low.

What can be done in North America at this point is to organize reflection about past struggles and strategies of socialists for the future in a more systematic way. Discussion groups that discuss left history, theoretical works and current struggles with an eye to supporting today’s conflicts and remaking working classes. Left theory is as much in need of reinvention as left practice. These groups might maintain contact amongst each other through various left media outlets. Members of these groups should also engage in various struggles. The point would be to engage activists in various campaigns into discussions about socialist possibilities, drawing on the ideas and experiences obtained in such campaigns, within socialist discussion circles.

The unmaking of the working-class and socialist movements means, in some senses, that we are starting over. In this setting, the Communist Manifesto might well be quoted to describe the immediate tasks ahead:

“In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.

“In all these movements, they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.

“Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.”

Needless to say, at this point, socialists and communists today support every reformist movement. Unlike Marx and Engels writing the Manifesto on the eve of the 1848 revolutions, we are in a state of defeat without revolution on the horizon. The property question might be extended to the question of democratic organization of workplaces and the coordination between them. We now know well that the transition from private to state property alone does not lead to workers’ power and self-government. Socialists have built different types of parties since the Manifesto was written. These are all part of the left history, of failures and defeats, of resistances and victories. If it is safe to say that it is time to build a party of a new type, it is not yet possible to provide a detailed sketch of what this type will look like.

Ingo Schmidt is a political economist teaching at Athabasca University in Alberta.

US-Sponsored Slow-Motion Genocide in Yemen

April 9th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Washington planned war on Yemen months ago – preemptive naked aggression by any standard with Saudi-led proxies doing Obama’s dirty work.

Plus direct US involvement. Reports indicate one or more American warships shelled Yemeni targets. Israeli warplanes are involved.

Millions of Yemenis are experiencing the horrors of Obama’s terror wars – including willfully targeting residential areas, hospitals, schools, power facilities, Yemen’s largest food storage center and largest dairy plant, and other nonmilitary sites.

Noncombatant men, women and children are being murdered and maimed in cold blood. Bodies are piling up in streets.

Yemeni terror bombing survivors report the ground shaking beneath their feet.

An Uzbek citizen Russia airlifted to safety said

“(w)e couldn’t sleep for the last eight days.”

“We are thankful to Russia and (President) Putin for organizing the evacuation.

Russia was the only country (offering help). No one else has done that.”

A French evacuee called nightly terror-bombing impossible to bear. A Russian citizen airlifted out feared her children would die.

“The whole city (Sanaa) shook from all sides. That is what made me leave,” she said.

On April 7, Pentagon-controlled Stars and Stripes said Washington “is expediting arms deliveries to the Saudi-led coalition that is battling Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, according to US officials.”

Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visiting Riyadh said “we have expedited weapons deliveries.”

“We have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation center.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said “the US military continues to support the efforts of Saudi Arabia and some of their partners in the region to try to address the security situation along their border that they’re justifiably concerned about.”

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said shipments include “a combination of pre-existing orders made by our partner nations and some new requirements as they expend munitions.”

He gave no details on what’s shipped. Saying only “we’re working very closely with our partners there to get them what they need.”

Washington provides intelligence, air-refueling, logistical help and terror-bombing targets to strike – including residential and other nonmilitary areas murdering civilians.

On Wednesday, at least six children died and others were injured when Saudi warplanes terror-bombed a school in central Yemen.

UNICEF’s Julien Harneis said children “are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted.”

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said many injured have no access to healthcare. The ICRC indicated it’s very hard delivering desperately needed medical supplies.

A spokesperson said if they don’t reach Yemen soon, many more people will die.

Over 100,000 Yemenis have been displaced. Others join them daily – fleeing for their lives, many with nowhere to go.

An ICRC spokesperson called conditions in Yemen’s southern port city Aden “catastrophic.”

It bears repeating. Obama’s war on Yemen is naked aggression by any standard.

International law expert Prof. Francis Boyle calls it a “case of raw, naked, brutal aggression.”

“It is about the United States, by means of its proxies and puppets Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), trying to reassert its control over Yemen because of its strategic location,” he explained.

“The only way there could be any type of lawful military intervention in Yemen is if it comes from the UN Security Council, and that so far hasn’t happened.”

UN Charter Article 2, paragraph 3 states:

“All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”

According to paragraph 4:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Paragraph 7 states:

“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter…”

Article 53 prohibits military force without Security Council authorization. None was forthcoming – nor will there be any. Russia and perhaps China won’t permit it.

Horrific ongoing crimes of war and against humanity are being committed. Catastrophic conditions worsen daily.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signaled possible greater US involvement saying Al Qaeda’s activities in Yemen are expanding.

It’s vying for greater power, he said. Al Qaeda is a US creation. It’s used as both ally and enemy in different conflict areas. Carter didn’t explain.

He ludicrously warned its “ambition (is) to strike Western targets and the United States.”

Will Washington get more directly involved in Yemen’s conflict it initiated? It remains to be seen.

One thing looks certain. Another US targeted country is being ravaged and destroyed.

Millions of lives are at risk. Many tens of thousands may die before fighting ends. It could continue for years.

A Final Comment

Russia urges resolving Yemen’s conflict diplomatically. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said waging it has no “international legal basis.”

“We were, of course…disappointed that the operation was launched without any consultations with the UN Security Council or any bilateral talks, and that our partners…post factum came to the Security Council and asked for the approval of their actions,”

he explained.

“We can’t do this, because it is a request to approve just one side of the conflict and to outlaw the other side.”

“Our position is different. Right now we are actively working with our Saudi and Egyptian colleagues, with other countries that are taking part in this operation, and are calling for a peaceful settlement.”

“To do this, both belligerents have to take certain steps: the Houthis should stop the combat operation in southern Yemen where there are attempts to capture new territories.”

“The ceasefire must be unconditional. The coalition must stop air strikes.”

“The forces, which confront the Houthis on the ground, also must join the ceasefire.”

“(A)ll parties must come to the negotiating table. This is not beyond our capabilities.”

“The capitals of the region’s countries, possible hosts for the talks, are currently being discussed.”

“They should be acceptable for all of Yemen’s parties and allow for the return to dialogue and peaceful initiatives.”

“The country is in need of national unity and new elections. We have seen all that in Ukraine.”

Obama didn’t wage proxy war on Yemen to quit – not until Washington regains control of its former client state.

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

“Australia is holding more than 30 people in indefinite detention for undisclosed reasons.  These people are recognised refugees who cannot return home due to the dangers they face there.” Remedy Australia, Petition

Daniel Flitton, senior correspondent for The Age, sees the lack of interest in Australia’s novel approach to indefinite detention for refugees as unfathomable.  Concerns about metadata retention, and the elasticity of surveillance powers, may have been registered on the Australian pulse, but “People don’t much care that in Australia a confidential judgment by ASIO has condemned more than 30 people to endless incarceration.”[1]

 Earlier this year, the same paper reported that, “without fanfare or public notice, 10 men slipped recently into the Australian community.  They are now tasting a freedom denied to some of them for up to five years” (The Age, Jan 10). According to sources, “ASIO had assessed the men, most of whom were Tamil, to be a threat to national security, but in the past few weeks this decision has been reversed.”  Such is the arbitrariness of bureaucratic judgment.

More importantly, this is Australia’s contribution to legal purgatory, its healthy bite size offer in the revisions of refugee rights.  It is a view that finds non-citizens as subjects of indefinite detention not by any genuine legal standard, but in accordance with the shoddy, often ill-informed speculations of the domestic intelligence service, ASIO.

ASIO, in other words, maintains a judicial foothold it should scant have.  International conventions do not factor in such assessments – the primacy of sovereignty, the hoarse, over-stated voice of national security, counts above all else.  By the same token, the agency does not have the powers of detention the Minister for Immigration has.

A security assessment, for its presence or lack of quality, is to be fed into what should amount to a range of factors.  Immigration ministers are, however, notoriously fickle on the subject, deferring to the espionage service as a reflex.  ASIO’s position is always that such individuals are assessed on “knowledge and information available at the time and in the context of the security environment.”

The result of such determinations is a twilight zone of control and monitoring.  As a refugee assessment to the Commonwealth Ombudsman went, the detainees in question with an adverse security assessment are being accommodated in a low security facility and are able to participate in excursions to the movies, the temple, the market and other public places; but are told that they cannot live in the community because they are a threat to Australia” (The Age, Mar 28).

Australia has, like its bosom ally of note, the United States, been attempting to come up with a range of legal exotica in this regard.  The rather crabbed view of the Abbott government to the institutional disease we call indefinite detention was to simply justify it on other grounds.  The UN Human Rights Committee in 2013 took the government to task in the indefinite detention cases of FKAG et al and MMM et al. The response from Canberra in both cases has been crass and predictable.

In FKAG et al v Australia (HRC, 2013), the Committee found violations in articles 7 (inhuman and degrading treatment, and 9(1) (arbitrary detention) and 9(4) (habeas corpus) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for the 37 authors of the complaint, 36 of whom were Sri Lankan Tamils including three children, and one a Burmese man of Rohingya ethnic minority.[2]  The Committee recommended that the applicants be released “under individually appropriate conditions” and provided full “rehabilitation and appropriate compensation.”  Finally, Australia was encouraged to comply with the prohibitions on inhuman and degrading treatment and arbitrary treatment outlined in the Covenant.

The response to the Committee recommendations was cool.  A mild admission that the Covenant had some relevance to Australia’s legal obligations was noted, along with the injunction against arbitration and indefinite detention.  But ASIO’s “assessment on whether it would be consistent with the requirements of security” to take certain “administrative action” was admitted as gospel.  “It is Australia’s policy that unlawful non-citizens who are the subject of adverse security assessments from ASIO will remain in held immigration detention, pending the resolution of their cases.”[3]

Then came the ticking off.  The Committee had not “given adequate weight to various processes and policy developments outlined in Australia’s submissions.”  The Australian government submission reads like an apologetic justification for abuse.  Besides, Australian officials were being generous.  There were regular reviews of an “independent” sort.  And it wasn’t all that bad.  “As at 27 November 2014, a total of 12 adult authors have been released from immigration detention following new security assessments by ASIO.”

The recent interest in this self-contrived legal vacuum was only sparked by such organizations as Remedy Australia, a body that has persistently argued that detention of such a nature is unwarranted and patently unjust.[4]  On top of that, they have argued that any such individuals should be compensated on release.  They have as their allies in such figures as Harvard law professor Gerald Neuman, who served on the HRC when it decided the relevant cases.  The jurist found the response from Canberra striking.  “You have to give people notice of the reasons why they are being held.”[5]

The point to be made is that the main parties, those clumsy political players who simply swap government positions like picnic chairs, agree with such extra-judicial treatment.  “Neither Labor or the Coalition,” explained The Age (Jan 10) editorial, “can take credit for anything but callous subservience to political expediency.”

The altar of national security requires its perverse sacrifices, none of which actually hold any content of truth or value.  The state is mere hologram and fiction, a nonsensical compact held together by assumption and fantasy about its security.  That such fantasy should wander into the world where desk bound agents, rather than the judges, don the wig of authority and the gown of wisdom, is something that Australia, and other countries, have become complicit in.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Notes

We have compiled a number of  official documents by the US military and its NATO allies as well as press reports which shed light on US-NATO War preparations directed against Russia.  

These reports are for informational purposes only. 

 

Operation Atlantic Resolve-South: Pentagon Prepares Romania For Conflict With Russia

U.S. Army Europe
April 5, 2015

BUCHAREST, Romania: Leadership assigned to 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment met with their military counterparts assigned to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC,) Romanian Land Forces (ROULF,) at the Land Forces Headquarters in Bucharest, Romania on Apr. 2, 2015.

Amongst the leaders representing 2nd Squadron “Cougar,” were Lt. Col. Theodore A. Johnson, 2nd squadron commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Peter D. Johnson, squadron command sergeant major; 1st Lt. Nathan P. Swire, a liaison officer and 2nd Lt. William Crawford, a public affairs liaison, both assigned to the squadron…

“The meeting reflected the strong relationship that is developing between our military organizations,” said Johnson. “We have established the course for our combined efforts to improve military’s capabilities to conduct operations with NATO Allies…”

Copyright US Army Europe, 2015

Commitment To NATO: U.S. Army Supports Latvian Special Forces Drill

U.S. Army Europe
April 7, 2015

U.S. Army Aviators support Latvian Spec. Ops. training
By Capt. Scott C. Hetzel

KATTERBACH, Germany: Aviators from the Bravo Company, 3-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, provide aviation support for helocast training April 2, 2015, with Soldiers from the Latvian Special Forces over the Daugava River in Latvia.

Helocasting is a technique used by small unit, special operations forces to conduct airborne insertion into an area of operations, usually over water.

The “Stormriders” from 3-158th are currently deployed to Latvia in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO…in the region, in light of Russia…

Army Europe is leading the Operation Atlantic Resolve enhanced land force multinational training and security cooperation activities taking place across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to ensure multinational interoperability, strengthen relationships among allied militaries, contribute to regional stability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to NATO.

Copyright US Army Europe, 2015

Ukraine To Sign Military, Technical Cooperation Agreement With NATO: Yatseniuk

Interfax-Ukraine
April 8, 2015

Ukraine to sign military and technical cooperation agreement with NATO – Yatseniuk

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has said that the Ukrainian government will sign an agreement on military and technical cooperation with NATO, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine will seek to meet NATO standards.

“The government is signing an agreement on cooperation in the field of support with NATO. It is an agreement on support between the Ukrainian Cabinet and NATO, which envisages the implementation of four trust projects with NATO, including military and technical cooperation, communications, new communications and information technologies,” Yatseniuk said at a government meeting on Wednesday.

He said that Ukraine needed to rebuild its armed forces using the example of the strongest armies and associations which are fighting for global peace, and which adhere to NATO standards.

“We are moving in this direction,” Yatseniuk added.

Copyright Interfax Ukraine, 2015

Pentagon, NATO Gear Up For 21st-Century War In Europe

U.S. Army Europe
April 5, 2015

17 Nations get lasered up for Saber Junction 15
By Sgt. Jacob A Sawyer (USAREUR)

HOHENFELS, Germany: More than 4,700 participants from 17 Allied and European partner nations have arrived here for exercise Saber Junction 15. But before most of them do anything, they’ve got to get their lasers.

At the beginning of every training rotation, all Soldiers, vehicles and weapons systems are required to receive a Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, or MILES, that allows the training engagements to occur and record the data for analysis and feedback during after-action reviews.

The MILES warehouse at Hohenfels is responsible for the installation of vehicle MILES components, personnel MILES, and the overall integration into the JMRC Hohenfels Training Area battlefield.During Saber Junction 15, the MILES warehouse will install battle tracking systems on over 1,000 vehicles and 3,100 personnel…

Copyright US Army Europe, 2015

Georgia, Romania: NATO Consolidates Control Of Black Sea

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 6, 2015

Meeting between Defence Ministries of Georgia and Romania

Within the official visit to Georgia, Defence Ministries of Georgia and Romania held meeting at the MoD today.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mindia Janelidze expressed gratitude for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspiration. The sides overviewed regional security issues.

Mindia Janelidze delivered information to his Romanian counterpart on the performed and scheduled reforms in the Georgian defence sphere. As Georgian Defence Minister outlined the top priority of 2015 is effective execution of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and thanked Romanian side for readiness to send a representative to NATO Core Team…

Very soon NATO Core Team will start active work for the implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package…

Copyright Ministry Defense Georgia, 2015

NATO Naval Group Drills With Moroccan Navy 

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

April 7, 2015

SNMG2 trains with Royal Moroccan Navy

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed passing exercises with the Royal Moroccan Navy (RMN) off the coast of Casablanca following the Group’s visit to the city.

Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the U.S. flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), Canadian ship HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), Italian ship ITS Aliseo (F 547), German oiler FGS Spessart (A 1442), Turkish ship TCG Goksu (F 497) and French oiler FS Marne (A 630).

RMN ships RMNS Allal ben Abdellah (F 615) and RMNS Hassan II (F 612) participated in the exercises at sea…

These exercises were incredibly valuable for NATO, and I am extremely honoured to have trained with our partners in the Royal Moroccan Navy,” said Williamson. “The professionalism and precision in which they operate their ships truly impressed me. NATO’s partner nations are critical to the security of the Mediterranean and we welcome their robust participation with NATO in the future…”

 Copyright NATO, 2015

Poland Erects Observation Towers On Russian Border

Polish Radio
April 6, 2015

Poland places observation towers by Russian border

Poland’s 200-kilometre land border with the Russian Kaliningrad exclave is to be bolstered with the construction of six observation towers.

The towers – which range in height between 35 and 50 metres – are to aid border guards in monitoring the border 24 hours a day, with images streamed to local border control posts.

“We are currently in the test phase of the technical installations on the towers,” Mirosława Aleksandrowicz from the Warmia-Masurian Border Guard told the PAP news agency, adding that “we plan to be fully operational by June this year”.

The total cost of the investment is over PLN 14 million, with 75 percent of the cash coming from the EU’s External Borders Fund.

Poland’s border with Russia is also the external border of the European Union, and has four road crossings into the Kaliningrad exclave, in Gronowo, Grzechotki, Bezledy and Gołdap.

Last year, 3.2 million Poles and 3.3 million Russians passed through the border crossings, up from 2.9 million Poles and 3.2 million Russians passing through in 2013, PAP reports.

Copyright Polish Radio, 2015

U.S. Launches Yet More War Games In Estonia

UNIAN
April 6, 2015

155mm FH70 howitzer

Estonia and US start joint military exercises

Estonian army units on Monday began military exercises with the U.S. Air Force, Baltic news portal Delfi.lt has reported.

“Within the framework of the exercises, the military will work out techniques of defensive battles and constraints,” the commander of the Estonian Artillery Battalion Kaarel Mäesalu said, according to Ukrainian newspaper Europeiska Pravda.

“In addition, soldiers will be able to practice giving military assistance to allied aircraft,” Mäesalu said.

The exercise will take place in two stages. The first stage will last until April 9 and will focus on tactical activities and exercises, including defense from air attacks.

The second stage of exercises will start from April 10 and will include shooting from 155mm FH70 howitzers, and exercises involving F-16 fighter aircraft.

Copyright UNIAN, 2015

U.S. May Arm Ukraine This Year: Bellicose Ex-Envoy

Ukrinform
April 6, 2015

United States may give weapon to Ukraine this year – former ambassador

KYIV: Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (2003-2006) John Herbst believes that Washington will decide on arms supply to Ukraine this year.

He said this in an interview to Inter Ukrainian TV channel.

“We must stop aggression of Putin here in Ukraine. I do not think that the U.S. president understands that. I think he is short-sighted and does not see the depth of problem and, therefore, has not yet decided on issue of arms supplies to Ukraine,” Herbst said.

At the same time, he added that American political circles understood that the issue concerned the vital interests of the United States.

“So I think that this year Washington will decide on the supply of arms of Ukraine, but the president has not approved that so far,” he said.

According to Herbst, arms supplies to Kyiv could reduce the likelihood of a new attack by Russia.

Copyright Ukraine Inform 2015

U.S. Shifts A-10s To Romania

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

April 2, 2015

A-10s deploy to Romania for Operation Atlantic Resolve
By Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

CAMPIA TURZII, Romania: Twelve U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs deployed as a 90-day theater security package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to Campia Turzii, Romania, March 30.

As part of the deployment, the U.S. and Romanian air forces will be flying together over the plateaus in the heart of Transylvania for Dacian Thunder 2015.

The U.S. Air Force’s 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and the Romanian air force’s 71st Air Base’s MiG-21 fighter aircraft will conduct the training to increase relations and interoperability while building upon both nations’ joint capabilities and ensuring a stronger partnership.

About 200 Airmen and support equipment from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, will participate as a combat capable force able to respond to a wide variety of operations.

The A-10 supports Air Force missions around the world as part of the U.S. Air Force’s current inventory of strike platforms, including F-15 and F-16s. As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the aircraft will later forward deploy to locations in to reassure Eastern European NATO countries…

Copyright US Air Force, 2015

“If NATO Goes To War”: U.S. Trains With Estonian Joint Terminal Attack Controllers

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

April 2, 2015

Pilots, ground forces exercise Forward Air Controller (Airborne) mission over Estonia
By 1st Lt Allie Delury
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. F-16s

Ämari Air Base, Estonia: At the invitation of the Estonian government, American pilots from the 510th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, have a unique opportunity to learn the value of the Forward Air Control (Airborne) mission with Estonians from Amari Air Base and U.S. instructor pilots from Luke Air Force Base.

FAC(A)s provide control of both airborne and ground forces in a close air support role and work closely with the ground commander to coordinate ground targets and de-conflict air assets. This flying training event ensures that pilots gain valuable experience with low-level flying and work with Estonian Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on the nearby Tapa Range…

“It’s important to work with all NATO allies because if we ever go to war, we have to understand each other and understand how different nations function,” said Piirisild. “The main mission is to enhance cooperation between the United States Air Force, NATO and Estonia…”

 Copyright US Air Force 2015

24-Hour War Production: Ukraine “Hits Unemployment” With Tanks, Armored Personnel Carriers – Poroshenko

Interfax-Ukraine
April 4, 2015

Poroshenko: we hit unemployment with tanks, APCs

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko again stressed that Ukrainian defense industry has picked up steam and new jobs have been created.

“Ukrainian defense industry that switches to three-shift operation is quickly boosting Ukraine’s military power,” the head of state said in the training center of the National Guard of Ukraine in Novi Petrivtsi (Kyiv region) on Saturday.

He said that “we hit unemployment with tanks and APCs.”

Poroshenko said that thousands of new jobs that have been created at defense enterprises is a contribution in restoration, including in Ukraine’s industrial potential.

An Interfax-Ukraine correspondent reported that on Saturday the presentation of weapon and military equipment samples was held in the training center of the National Guard of Ukraine in Novi Petrivtsi with the participation of the Ukrainian president.

Products of Ukroboronprom State Concern and some other Ukrainian enterprises were exhibited. Special exporters of Ukroboronprom also showed modern devices and equipment made by foreign companies..

Copyright Interfax, 2015

Black Sea: U.S. F-15s To Participate In War Games In Bulgaria

Sofia News Agency
March 31, 2015

USAF F-15s to Take Part in Military Drills in Bulgaria from April 10

US Air Force F-15 fighter jets will arrive in Bulgaria next month to join military exercises in the eastern European country, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Up to 12 F-15s will arrive after Apirl 10, the newswire quoted a Bulgarian defence ministry official as saying.

The deployment, part of the Pentagon’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, will take place from April 10 to June 30.

The operation aims to demonstrate the commitment of the US military to NATO allies in view of tension along the Alliance’s flank in eastern Europe prompted by Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

Moscow has denied Western accusations of providing support to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine.

Copyright Sofia New Agency 2015

U.S. Deploys F-15s For Impending Conflict In Europe

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

April 3, 2015

ANG general welcomes F-15 deployment to Europe
By Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

LEEUWARDEN AIR BASE, Netherlands: The second theater security package consisting of twelve F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft arrived at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, March 31 through April 1, marking the beginning of their six-month deployment to Europe.

The 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, Jacksonsville, Fla., leads this first ANG theater security package to deploy in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The aircraft and Airmen are based out of units in Florida, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and various bases throughout Europe. Regardless of their origin, together, they make up the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

Maj. Gen. Eric Vollmecke, ANG assistant to the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, welcomed the Airmen and stressed the importance of the TSP in Europe during a visit April 3.

“We are here to reinforce to our allies that the security of Europe is a priority for the U.S.,” Vollmecke explained to the 159th EFS.

The squadron will fly with NATO allies and support OAR [Operation Atlantic Resolve], a demonstration of U.S. European Command and United States Air Forces in Europe’s continued commitment to the collective security of NATO…in the region…

Copyright US Army Europe, 2015

Turkey: NATO Commander Speaks On Future Air and Space Power

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

April 3, 2015

SACT participates to the International Conference on Air and Space Power

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros participated to the International Conference on Air and Space Power (ICAP) at Turkish Air War College, April 2nd 2015.

The ICAP 2015, an International Conference organized in Turkey for the second time, was hosted by Air War College with Turkish Air Force’s contribution. The subjects discussed during ICAP will ensure that today’s and future changing principles of Air and Space Power are clearly understood with the contributions of speakers from partner and allied nations from all over the world..

Copyright NATO , 2015

Reposting on occasion of attack on Yemen: Open Letter on Saudi Arabia

Open Letter
Anthony B. Newkirk

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) ChairmanHouse Committee on Foreign Affairs Howard L. Berman (D-CA)Ranking MemberHouse Committee on Foreign Affairs

June 22, 2012

Honorable Members:

On October 20, 2010, the Obama administration announced approval of projected arms transfer agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totaling over $60 billion in value. On February 16, 2011, I wrote a letter to you requesting further information. As I have not yet received a response, I am resubmitting my questions in a more public forum.

It is not hard to fathom why the United States and Saudi Arabia have very close ties. The perception that our country is dependent on “Arab oil” is firmly implanted in popular opinion. But the topic of security assistance for Saudi Arabia is not, an example being the 2010 Saudi arms deal. Of course, this is hardly the only problem facing our nation in this time of assaults on job security, social services, and civil liberties. It is also far from being the only problem in the Middle East. However, the Saudi arms deal focuses attention on a range of issues related to America’s fiscal soundness, security, and defense of human rights…

U.S. Guided Missile Destroyer To Enter Black Sea

Sofia News Agency
April 2, 2015

US Navy Destroyer Jason Dunham to Enter Black Sea Friday

US Navy guided-missile destroyer Jason Dunham will enter the Black Sea on Friday in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the US 6th Fleet has announced.

“The ship’s presence in the Black Sea demonstrates the United States’ commitment to working closely with allies to enhance maritime security and stability, readiness, and naval capability,” the US 6th Fleet said in a statement

Some 750 US Army tanks and thousands of troops were deployed to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for Atlantic Resolve activities, in a move described as a means “to deter Russian aggression.”

US and NATO have said they are holding Atlantic Resolve drills to strengthen security in the alliance’s member states in light of the conflict in Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern over growing number of NATO military drills in eastern Europe.

The build-up of NATO forces in Eastern Europe “is an unprecedentedly dangerous step” that violates Russia’s agreements with the alliance, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

Copyright  Sofia New Agency 2015

This compilation was undertaken by Rick Rozoff, initially published on STOP NATO.   

The whole world knows of the horrors inflicted on Kenyan civilians by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab. But, the “corporate media tells Americans little if anything about Somalia’s road to ruin,” paved by the United States and its Ethiopian and Kenyan allies. “If there were true justice in this world the United States and its puppets would not only have to leave that country but make restitution as well.”

There is so much killing committed by so many nations, groups, and individuals that it is hard to know where to begin in condemning it all. Of course the biggest mass killers are and always have been governments. As time passes, states around the world have ever more horrifying capabilities of taking human life. In the process they create resentments, hatred, and ultimately the desire for revenge. The Somali group Al-Shabaab is an example of this predictable and horrifying phenomenon.

On April 2, 2015, Al-Shabaab fighters stormed a university located in Garissa, Kenya, and killed 147 people. Survivors report that Muslims were separated from non-Muslims, and non-Muslim students and staff were summarily executed. In 2013 Al-Shabaab attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi under the same circumstances and killed 67 people. In 2015 as in 2013, the group immediately claimed responsibility and made their rationale clear. In an online statement Al-Shabaab repeated that it seeks revenge for the destruction of Somalia by the United States and its allies.

“In Somalia, the Kenyan military has committed a countless number of atrocities against the Muslim population. With their government’s approval, the Kenyan military embarked on a series of mass killings, torture and systematic rape of the Muslim women in Somalia. Tens of thousands of Muslims were displaced from their homes, hundreds more were killed and thousands injured as a direct result of the Kenyan invasion. Kenyan jets shelled refugee camps and hospitals, killing dozens. They strafed entire villages from the air, killed livestock and bombarded Madrassas and educational institutions, crushing, with such malice, the dreams and hopes of an entire generation.”

Somalia is a nation long torn apart by civil war aided and abetted by neighboring states Ethiopia and Kenya who work in league with the United States. When Somalia began to emerge as a stable nation the United States and Ethiopia acted quickly to make sure that it remained weak and vulnerable. Ethiopia invaded Somalia at America’s urging and was later joined in the aggressions by Kenya and other African puppet governments who remain in that country.

No one wants to live in an occupied country with foreign armies, starvation, and death, and Somalis are no exception. The United States continues drone strikes which claim to kill a particular “Al-Shabaab leader” and in so doing keep Somalia in a state of failure. No stone is left unturned in the effort to keep Somalia from becoming a thriving nation with its sovereignty intact.

In February of this year the United States government ended the ability of any American bank to transfer funds to Somalia. Remittances from Somalis living abroad account for some 50% of that country’s gross national income and total over $1 billion. The rationale for this latest destruction was keeping funds out of the hands of Al-Shabaab. Of course ordinary citizens will suffer far more. In the past the United States even withheld food aid for the same stated reasons and suffering still falls largely on a vulnerable population.

Al-Shabaab fighters can’t reach the United States, but they can reach Kenya, with which it shares a border. Kenyans shopping in a mall or attending university run the risk of being victimized too. That is the point which Al-Shabaab makes implicitly and explicitly with each attack. If their people can be killed, then the citizens of an occupying nation can be killed too.

Once again we see painful and heart rending images of victims and grieving families. The corporate media tells Americans little if anything about Somalia’s road to ruin which the United States directed. They don’t reveal the American violence directed at Somalis or present images of starving people or bodies left by war and drone strikes.

In the American mind Al-Shabaab is just another group of crazed foreigners who have bizarre grievances. In fact their grievances are justly held and if there were true justice in this world the United States and its puppets would not only have to leave that country but make restitution as well.

When Barack Obama makes his official visit to Kenya later this year he will no doubt make mention of Garissa. He will say that Al-Shabaab is made up of evil cowards who have no regard for human life but he won’t mention how the United States helped to kill up to 1 million people in neighboring Somalia through war and starvation. Every president since George H.W. Bush has either sent United States troops to conduct “humanity missions” or killer drones to “fight terrorism.” Somalia suffers from an unfortunate geography. It is too close to the Persian Gulf and access to oil. It also suffers because America has reached the apex of imperialism and looks for new places to bring under its influence, even when that means a great loss of human life.

Al-Shabaab may well have the last word. In their statement they warned that Garissa would not be the end of their violence perpetrated against Kenyans. “For as long as your government persists in its path of oppression, implements repressive policies and continues with the systematic persecution against innocent Muslims, our attacks will also continue. No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities.”

Those words could have been written by the United States. In Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria there is no escape from American aggression either. Al-Shabaab has learned a lot about how to kill.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as athttp://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

Foto : Mercenarios en Panamá 
El opositor cubano participa en la Cumbre de las Américas los días 10 y 11 de abril de 2015 en Panamá y llevará la palabra de Washington, su principal patrocinador.
1.      Nacido en 1962, Manuel Cuesta Morúa es un opositor cubano, fundador, entre otros, del Partido Arco Progresista de Cuba. También es coordinador de la Plataforma “Nuevo País”, que agrupa a una parte de la disidencia.
2.      Favorable a un cambio de sistema en Cuba, Cuesta Morúa, quien no obstante militó en la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas (UJC), es un feroz detractor del Gobierno y publica regularmente acerbas crónicas en el sitio Cubanet, que recibe subvenciones de la Agencia Estadounidense Internacional para el Desarrollo (USAID), ella misma financiada directamente por el Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos.
3.      La Fundación Nacional para la Democracia (National Endowment for Democracy, NED) financia las actividades de oposición de Cuesta Morúa. La NED fue creada por el antiguo presidente estadounidense Ronald Reagan en 1983, en una época en que la violencia militar había tomado el paso sobre la diplomacia tradicional en los asuntos internacionales. Gracias a su poderosa capacidad de penetración financiera, la NED tiene como objetivo debilitar a los gobiernos que se opondrían a la política exterior de Washington.
4.     Según el New York Times [artículo de marzo de 1997], la NED “se creó hace 15 años para realizar públicamente lo que la Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ha hecho subrepticiamente durante décadas. Gasta 30 millones de dólares al año en apoyar a partidos políticos, sindicatos, movimientos disidentes y medios informativos en decenas de países”.
5.      En septiembre de 1991 Allen Weistein, padre de la legislación que dio nacimiento a la NED, expresó lo siguiente al Washington Post: “Mucho de lo que hacemos hoy lo hizo la CIA hace 25 años de modo clandestino”.
 
Liaena Hernández Martínez, miembro del Comité Nacional de la Federación de Mujeres Cubanas
Liaena Hernández Martínez, miembro del Comité Nacional de la Federación de Mujeres Cubanas
6.      Carl Gershman, primer presidente de la NED, explicó en junio de 1986 la razón de ser de la Fundación: “Sería terrible para los grupos democráticos del mundo entero aparecer como subvencionados por la CIA. Vimos eso en los años 60 y por eso acabamos con ello. Es porque no podíamos seguir haciéndolo por lo que se creó la Fundación”.
7.      Así, según el New York Times, Allen Weinstein y Carl Gershman, Manuel Cuesta Morúa está financiado por una oficina pantalla de la CIA.
8.      Manuel Cuesta Morúa condenó el ataque al cuartel Moncada del 26 de julio de 1953 que lanzó Fidel Castro contra la dictadura militar de Fulgencio Batista apoyada por Estados Unidos, acción que desató la Revolución Cubana. El disidente fustigó a todos los dirigentes latinoamericanos por viajar a Cuba con el fin de celebrar al 60 aniversario de la sublevación popular en 2013 y hacer, según él, “apología de la violencia”. Según él, “esta alabanza latinoamericana y caribeña es […] una falta de respeto hacia nuestra historia”.[1]
9.  Para Cuesta Morúa la Revolución Cubana, cuyas conquistas sociales son alabadas por las más prestigiosas instituciones internacionales –particularmente en el campo de la salud –, es un fracaso total. Según sus palabras, con el advenimiento del socialismo, Cuba se ha convertido en un “país sin baños públicos, con portales con tres décadas de suciedad, edificios a medio derrumbar, hospitales listos para transmitir infección”. [2]
10.  Según el opositor, el mercado del empleo en Cuba es sinónimo de “regreso de la esclavitud en el trabajo, ahora sin trata negrera”.[3] La Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) no comparte este punto de vista y al contrario califica el sistema cubano de seguridad social de “milagro” por la protección que brinda a los trabajadores y por la baja tasa de desempleo.[4]

11.  Nelson Mandela, héroe de la lucha contra el apartheid, símbolo del combate por la emancipación humana, rindió homenaje a la intervención cubana en África para ayudar a los movimientos de liberación nacional en Angola y Namibia, entre otros, y al Congreso Nacional Africano (ANC) en su lucha contra el régimen de Pretoria: “Desde sus días iníciales, la Revolución Cubana ha sido una fuente de inspiración para todos los pueblos amantes de la libertad. El pueblo cubano ocupa un lugar especial en el corazón de los pueblos de África. Los internacionalistas cubanos hicieron una contribución a la independencia, la libertad y la justicia en África que no tiene paralelo por los principios y el desinterés que la caracterizan”.[5] Thenjiwe Mtintso, embajadora de Sudáfrica en Cuba, recordó la verdad histórica a propósito del compromiso de Cuba en África: “Hoy Sudáfrica tiene muchos amigos nuevos. Ayer estos amigos se referían a nuestros líderes y a nuestros combatientes como terroristas y nos acosaban desde sus países a la vez que apoyaban a la Sudáfrica del apartheid. Esos mismos amigos hoy quieren que nosotros denunciemos y aislemos a Cuba. Nuestra respuesta es muy simple, es la sangre de los mártires cubanos y no de estos amigos la que corre profundamente por la tierra africana y nutre el árbol de la libertad en nuestra Patria”.[6] Pero Cuesta Morúa, por su parte, lejos de rendir tributo a la solidaridad internacionalista de su país, denuncia lo que llama “el imperialismo revolucionario hacia el Tercer Mundo”.[7]

12.  Del mismo modo, mientras el mundo entero celebra las misiones internacionalistas humanitarias cubanas por todo el planeta, con más de 50.000 médicos y otro personal sanitario que trabaja voluntariamente en más de 60 países del Tercer Mundo –el ejemplo más reciente la intervención cubana en el oeste de África para luchar contra la epidemia de ébola–, Manuel Cuesta Morúa estigmatiza, al contrario, “el imperialismo revolucionario hacia el Tercer Mundo: en forma de misiones militares o de misiones médicas y educativas”.[8]

 13.  Para el opositor “la Revolución Cubana ya no existe” pues “fue, por naturaleza, una revolución conservadora” sin “posibilidades de una  modernización social, política y cultural coherente, en consonancia con la dinámica mundial: el feminismo, los negros y el movimiento homosexual  y de lesbianas”.[9] Aquí también Cuesta Morúa contradice a las más eminentes instituciones internacionales que multiplican las alabanzas a Cuba  por su política de integración de las minorías. A guisa de ejemplo, hay unanimidad entre los estudiosos para reconocer que la Revolución Cubana ha  sido sinónimo de emancipación de la mujer. Con una esperanza de vida de 80 años, una tasa de mortalidad infantil de 4,6 por mil, una tasa de  mortalidad materna de un 0,02%, una tasa de fecundidad de 1,5 hijos, un salario estrictamente igual al del hombre por un empleo similar, un derecho  a una pensión plena después de 30 años de cotización, la mujer cubana goza de un estatus único entre los países en vía de desarrollo. También  representa el 60% de los estudiantes, el 44% de la población activa, el 66,4% de los técnicos y profesionales del país de nivel medo o superior  (profesores, médicos, ingenieros, investigadores, etc.), el 66% de los funcionarios civiles, el 46% de los cargos de dirección en el sector económico y  el 48,66% de los diputados del Parlamento nacional.

14.  Para Manuel Cuesta Morúa, la hostilidad de Estados Unidos hacia Cuba es una fabricación de las autoridades de La Habana: “El gobierno cubano construyó un enemigo formidable para enmascarar un régimen autoritario”.[10] Así, la invasión de Bahía de Cochinos de 1961, la amenaza de desintegración nuclear en 1962, el financiamiento del terrorismo contra Cuba (3.478 muertos y 2.099 discapacitados), las sanciones económicas, la agresión política, diplomática y mediática sólo son un “muro narrativo” inventado por “el régimen cubano”.
15.  Según él la política de Estados Unidos hacia La Habana desde 1959 “ayudó a poner de relieve el tema de los derechos humanos en Cuba”.[11]
16.  Manuel Cuesta Morúa está a favor de la Ley de Ajuste Cubano que adoptó el Congreso de Estados Unidos en 1966, destinada a fomentar la emigración ilegal y el robo de cerebros. Única en el mundo, estipula que todo cubano que entre legal o ilegalmente a Estados Unidos, pacífica o violentamente, después del 1 de enero de 1959, consigue automáticamente al cabo de un año y un día el estatus de residente permanente. Para el disidente, la eliminación de dicha legislación “sería contraproducente para el control legal del flujo migratorio”.[12]
17.  Manuel Cuesta Morúa minimiza el impacto de las sanciones económicas contra la población cubana. Según él se trata de un simple “embargo” y no de un “bloqueo” y omite señalar así el carácter extraterritorial, es decir contrario al derecho internacional, del estado de sitio impuesto a la isla desde 1960.[13]
18.  El disidente cubano está cercano a los círculos de poder estadounidenses. Intervino ante el Senado a invitación del senador Marco Rubio, acérrimo opositor a todo acercamiento a Cuba y exigió que se dejara de “culpar al vecino del norte por los problemas de la isla”. [14] Según él las sanciones económicas son una excusa del Gobierno cubano para justificar las dificultades que enfrenta el país, contradiciendo así a la comunidad internacional que condenó en 2014, con abrumadora mayoría de 188 votos contra 2 (EE.UU. e Israel), por vigesimotercer año consecutivo, el estado de sitio impuesto a los cubanos, que constituye el principal obstáculo al desarrollo de la isla.
19.  Según Cuesta Morúa el acercamiento entre Washington y La Habana constituye una “victoria estratégica de los Estados Unidos frente al Gobierno cubano”.[15] El presidente Obama, por su parte, no comparte este punto de vista y reconoce que la política de hostilidad hacia Cuba ha sido un fracaso total: “Vamos a poner fin a un enfoque obsoleto que ha fracasado durante décadas en promover nuestros intereses. […] Ninguna nación nos ha seguido en la imposición de esas sanciones. […] Después de todo, esos últimos cincuenta años han demostrado que el aislamiento  no ha funcionado. Es tiempo de adoptar un nuevo enfoque. […] La política estadounidense hacia Cuba ha aislado a Estados Unidos de sus socios regionales e internacionales, ha limitado [la] capacidad de influencia en el continente americano”.[16] John Kerry, secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, comparte el análisis: “No sólo esta política ha fracasado […] sino que también ha aislado a Estados Unidos en vez de aislar a Cuba”.[17]
20.  El disidente cubano es un gran admirador del modelo estadounidense. Según él “el modelo de éxito y bienestar, y no solo para la generación de nuestros hijos, radica en los Estados Unidos. Muchos de nuestros padres y abuelos viajan allí para insertarse en la generosa estructura de seguridad social que se ofrece en aquel país para los ancianos”.[18] Poco importa si todos los indicadores contradicen esta afirmación. A guisa de ejemplo, según las estadísticas oficiales, mientras Estados Unidos es el país más rico del mundo, al menos el 14,5% de la población vive por debajo del umbral de pobreza, o sea 45,3 millones de personas. Del mismo modo el 19,9% de los niños menores de 18 años sufren pobreza.[19]

Manuel Cuesta Morúa
Manuel Cuesta Morúa
21.  Manuel Cuesta Morúa denuncia a los países de la nueva América Latina, a saber, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Brasil y Argentina y fustiga “el antinorteamericanismo histórico de la región [que] […] pospone […] la defensa íntegra de los valores democráticos en el hemisferio”. [20] Según él ninguno de los presidentes que llegaron al poder mediante escrutinios reconocidos por su transparencia por las instituciones internacionales es legítimo: “¿Cree alguien de verdad que la Kirchner, o los Lula, Correa, Morales, Ortega y Maduro son demócratas?”
22.  En cambio el disidente cubano rinde homenaje a la Organización de Estados Americanos, “única organización […] que cuenta con mecanismos consolidados, con una referencia y una experiencia tradicional”.[21] No obstante esta entidad, tradicionalmente sumisa a Estados Unidos al punto de recibir el apodo de “Ministerio de las Colonias”, suscita un rechazo creciente en América Latina, en beneficio de nuevas estructuras de integración basadas en la igualdad soberana y la reciprocidad como la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC), fundada en 2011, que agrupa a los 33 países del continente americano –más allá de las diferencias políticas e ideológicas– con la excepción de Canadá y Estados Unidos.
23.  De hecho Manuel Cuesta Morúa expresa su oposición a los procesos de integración en América Latina si no se realizan bajo la tutela estadounidense. Para él la CELAC es un “fantasma político de reciente estreno”, “sin mecanismos, instituciones, [ni] representatividad política”, “de la que nadie en su sano juicio hablará en largo rato, si acaso lo hace en el futuro”.[22]
24.  Desde 1959 uno de los principales pilares de la política exterior de Estados Unidos hacia Cuba ha consistido en organizar, asesorar y financiar a una oposición interna con el fin de conseguir un “cambio de régimen”. Si esta política fue clandestina de 1959 a 1991, ahora es pública y está asumida por Washington. Así, la ley Torricelli de 1992, la ley Helms-Burton de 1996, la Comisión de Asistencia para una Cuba Libre en sus informes de 2004 y 2006, prevén un financiamiento de la oposición interna en Cuba que llega a 20 millones de dólares anuales.

25.  En una palabra Manuel Cuesta Morúa, que reside en Cuba y se beneficia de todas las ventajas del sistema de protección social del país, es un disidente vinculado al poder estadounidense mediante la NED, una oficina pantalla de la CIA que contribuye financieramente al desarrollo de sus actividades de oposición al Gobierno de La Habana.

 

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2015, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano. http://monthlyreview.org/books/pb4710/ Contacto: [email protected] ;[email protected] Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel 

[1] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, “Progresistas muy raros”, Cubanet, 2 de agosto de 2013. http://www.cubanet.org/articulos/progresistas-muy-raros/(sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[2] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «La revolución pudo haberse escapado por la alcantarilla», Cubanet, 12 de agosto de 2013.http://www.cubanet.org/otros/la-revolucion-pudo-haberse-escapado-por-la-alcantarilla/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[3] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «La piñata, la represión y el capitalismo en Cuba», Cubanet, 2 de mayo de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/63383/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[4] Granma, «Director regional de OIT califica de ‘casi un milagro’ sistema cubano de seguridad social», 30 de marzo de 2005.

[5] Salim Lamrani, Cuba. Ce que les médias ne vous diront jamais, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2009, prologue.

[6] Piero Gleijeses, «Cuito Cuanavale: batalla que terminó con el Apartheid», Cubadebate, 23 de marzo de 2013. 

[7] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «Los muertos no hablan de revolución», Cubanet, 22 de enero de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/destacados/los-muertos-no-hablan-de-revolucion/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[8] Ibid.

[9] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «Los muertos no hablan de revolución», Cubanet, 22 de enero de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/destacados/los-muertos-no-hablan-de-revolucion/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[10] Agustina Ordoqui, «‘La apertura de Cuba es el fin del modelo, pero no del gobierno’», Infobae, 15 de marzo de 2015.http://www.infobae.com/2015/03/15/1716051-la-apertura-cuba-es-el-fin-del-modelo-pero-no-del-gobierno (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[11] Ibid.

[12] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «La ley ‘asesina’ que permite comer a muchos cubanos», Cubanet, 28 de noviembre de 2013.http://www.cubanet.org/articulos/la-ley-asesina-que-permite-comer-a-muchos-cubanos/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[13] Ibid.

[14] 14ymedio, “Opositores cubanos hablaron en la audiencia del Senado de Estados Unidos”, 3 de febrero de 2015.http://www.14ymedio.com/internacional/Opositores-hablaron-audiencia-Senado-Unidos_0_1718828110.html (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[15] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «Cuba: la derrota estratégica I », Cubanet, 21 de mayo de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/cuba-la-derrota-estrategica/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[16] The White House, « Barack Obama’s Speech: Charting a New Course of Era », 17 de diciembre de 2014. http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/cuba (site consulté le 17 décembre 2014)

[17] John Kerry, “Statement by Secretary Kerry: Announcement of Cuba Policy Changes”, U.S. Department of State, 17 de diciembre de 2014.http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2014/12/20141217312131.html#axzz3MC4Z8Upx (sitio consultado el 17 de diciembre de 2014)

[18] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, «La derrota estratégica II», 22 de mayo de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/cuba-la-derrota-estrategica-ii/(sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[19] The United States Census Bureau, “2013 Highlights”, 2014. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[20] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, « Cuba y las democracias en América Latina”, Cubanet, 28 de abril de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/cuba-y-las-democracias-en-america-latina/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[21] Manuel Cuesta Morúa, « Desconcierto en las Américas ante Venezuela”, Cubanet, 5 de marzo de 2014. http://www.cubanet.org/opiniones/desconcierto-en-las-americas-ante-venezuela/ (sitio consultado el 7 de abril de 2015)

[22] Ibid.

El líder revolucionario ha realizado el sueño del Apóstol y Héroe Nacional José Martí de una Cuba independiente y ha devuelto su dignidad al pueblo de la Isla.
El triunfo de la Revolución en Cuba el 1 de enero de 1959 engendró la más importante transformación social de la historia de América Latina. Al derrocar el orden y las estructuras establecidas, Fidel Castro puso en tela de juicio el poder de la oligarquía batistiana y de los conglomerados de dinero y ubicó al ser humano en el centro del nuevo proyecto de sociedad dedicando los recursos nacionales al pueblo.La principal conquista de la Revolución cubana es la independencia y la soberanía tan anheladas por el pueblo cubano desde el siglo XIX y por las cuales José Martí sacrificó su vida en 1895. Al poner fin a más de 70 años de dominio de Estados Unidos sobre la Isla, Fidel Castro devolvió a los cubanos su dignidad perdida durante la intervención estadounidense en la guerra de independencia de Cuba en 1898 y la ocupación militar que había transformado a la Isla en simple protectorado. El presidente John F. Kennedy no se equivocó: “Fidel Castro forma parte del legado de Bolívar. Deberíamos haber dado al fogoso y joven rebelde una bienvenida más calurosa en su hora de triunfo”[1].

Para entender la importancia simbólica de Fidel Castro en la historia de Cuba resulta necesario remontarse a principios del siglo XIX, en el momento en que la isla empezó a suscitar las apetencias del “vecino pujante y ambicioso”.[2] En efecto, Cuba es una de las más antiguas inquietudes de la política exterior de Estados Unidos. En 1805 Thomas Jefferson evocó la importancia de la isla enfatizando que su “posesión [era] necesaria para asegurar la defensa de la Luisiana y de la Florida pues [era] la llave del Golfo de México. Para Estados Unidos, la conquista sería fácil”.[3] En 1823 John Quincy Adams, entonces secretario de Estado y futuro presidente de Estados Unidos, aludió al tema de la anexión de Cuba, elaborando la famosa teoría de la “fruta madura”: “Cuba, separada por la fuerza de su propia conexión desnaturalizada con España e incapaz de sostenerse por ella misma, tendrá necesariamente que gravitar en torno a la Unión Norteamericana y sólo a ella”. [4] Así, durante el siglo XIX, Estados Unidos intentó comprar Cuba a España al menos seis veces.

Durante la Primera Guerra de Independencia, de 1868 a 1878, los insurrectos cubanos, afligidos por profundas divisiones internas, fueron derrotados por el ejército español. Estados Unidos brindó su apoyo a España vendiéndole las armas más modernas y se opuso resueltamente a los independentistas, persiguiendo a los exilados cubanos que intentaban brindar su contribución a la lucha armada[5]. El 29 de octubre de 1872 el secretario de Estado Hamilton Fish hizo partícipe a Daniel Edgar Sickles, entonces embajador estadounidense en Madrid, de sus “augurios de éxito para España en la supresión de la revuelta”. Washington, opuesto a la independencia de Cuba, deseaba tomar posesión de la Isla.[6]

Durante la Segunda Guerra de Independencia entre 1895 y 1898, los revolucionarios cubanos, unidos en torno a su líder José Martí, tuvieron que enfrentar otra vez la hostilidad de Estados Unidos, que brindó su concurso a España vendiéndole armas y arrestando a los patriotas cubanos en su territorio que intentaban suministrar a los insurrectos.

En 1898, a pesar de su superioridad material, España estaba al borde del abismo, vencida en el campo de batalla por los independentistas cubanos. En una misiva el presidente estadounidense William McKinley, con fecha del 9 de marzo de 1898, a Stewart Woodford, embajador en Madrid, le señaló que “la derrota” de España era “segura”. “[Los españoles] saben que Cuba está perdida”. Según él, “Si Estados Unidos quiere Cuba, debe obtenerla por la conquista”. [7]

En abril de 1898, tras la misteriosa explosión del buque de guerra estadounidense The Maine en la bahía de La Habana, el Presidente McKinley solicitó el permiso del Congreso para intervenir militarmente en Cuba e impedir que la isla consiguiera su independencia. Varios parlamentarios estadounidenses denunciaron una guerra de conquista. John W. Daniel, senador demócrata de Virginia, acusó al Gobierno de querer intervenir para evitar una derrota de los españoles: “Cuando ha llegado la hora más favorable para una victoria revolucionaria y menos ventajosa para España, […] se asigna al Congreso a que entregue al presidente el ejército de Estados Unidos para ir a imponer por la fuerza un armisticio entre dos partes, cuando una de dos ya depuso las armas”.[8] Así, en tres meses, Estados Unidos tomó el control del país e impuso un Tratado de Paz a España, del cual los cubanos fueron excluidos, destrozando su anhelo de independencia.

De 1898 a 1902 Washington ocupó Cuba y obligó a la Asamblea Constituyente a que incluyera la enmienda Platt en la nueva Carta Magna, so pena de prorrogar indefinidamente la ocupación militar. El texto redactado por el senador Orville H. Platt prohibía a Cuba que firmara cualquier acuerdo con un tercer país o que contratara una deuda con otra nación. También daba a Estados Unidos el derecho a intervenir en todo momento en los asuntos internos de Cuba y compelía a la isla a que arrendase indefinidamente a Washington la base naval de Guantánamo [9]. En un correo de 1901, el general Leonard Wood, entonces gobernador militar de Cuba, felicitó al Presidente McKinley: “Desde luego, bajo la enmienda Platt, no hay independencia –o poca– para Cuba y la única cosa que resulta importante ahora es buscar la anexión”.[10]

De 1902 a 1958, Cuba tenía el estatus de República neocolonial, totalmente dependiente del poderoso vecino. Una librería estadounidense no se equivocó cuando difundió en 1902 un mapa de la isla bajo el título: “Nuestra nueva colonia: Cuba”.[11] El Tratado de Reciprocidad Comercial impuesto a Cuba en 1902 constituyó de facto una anexión económica.[12]

Estados Unidos intervino militarmente en Cuba en 1906 e instaló al gobernador Charles E. Mangoon hasta 1909, recordando a los cubanos quién era el verdadero dueño de la isla.[13] En 1912, Washington se inmiscuyó otra vez en los asuntos internos de Cuba y mandó a sus fuerzas armadas, tras la revuelta de los Veteranos de Color, independentistas apartados del poder. El encargado de negocios estadounidense Hugh S. Gibson explicó las razones de esa sublevación: “Los cubanos que tomaron las armas por la causa española […] ocupan ahora los cargos públicos”.[14] Estados Unidos había tomado en efecto la precaución –recordaba Gibson– de colocar en puestos claves a “quienes habían tomado las armas contra la causa de la independencia cubana”.[15]

La enmienda Platt, que legalizaba el intervencionismo estadounidense, ubicaba al gobierno cubano en una situación “de inferioridad humillante mediante un desprecio de sus derechos nacionales, causando su desprestigio en el interior y el exterior del país”.[16] Tales fueron las palabras del presidente cubano José Miguel Gómez. Este apéndice legislativo no dejaba de recordar al pueblo cubano que el destino de su patria se subordinaba a los intereses de la potencia neocolonial. Así, en 1917, el presidente Woodrow Wilson mandó varios buques de guerra a Santiago de Cuba y Camagüey cuando unos insurrectos tomaron las armas, bajo el liderazgo de José Miguel Gómez, contra el presidente Manuel García Menocal que deseaba mantenerse en el poder mediante un fraude masivo.[17]

Temiendo una reminiscencia de la revuelta de 1917 durante las elecciones presidenciales de 1920, Washington impuso al Presidente Menocal la presencia del general Enoch H. Crowder, el cual se encargó de elaborar las nuevas leyes electorales y organizar el escrutinio.[18] Menocal hizo partícipe de sus reservas al presidente estadounidense: una supervisión de las elecciones cubanas por parte de Washington “lastimaría el orgullo cubano [y sería] una humillación” para toda la nación. [19] Woodrow Wilson rechazó con desprecio la observación y nombró al Procónsul Crowder presidente del Comité Electoral.

Cuando en diciembre de 1920 el presidente Wilson envió a Crowder a Cuba para hacer frente a la grave crisis “política y financiera”, debida en parte al desmoronamiento de la cotización del azúcar, y salvar las inversiones estadounidenses de una quiebra de la economía cubana, ni siquiera se dignó a informar al presidente Menocal.[20] Ante las protestas de éste, la respuesta de Washington fue mordaz y recordó a La Habana, en términos bastante alejados de las costumbres de la diplomacia, quién era el verdadero dueño de la isla: “El presidente de Estados Unidos no considera necesario obtener la autorización previa del presidente de Cuba para enviar a un representante especial”.[21]

En 1933, cuando el movimiento insurreccional que lanzaron los estudiantes contra la dictadura militar de Gerardo Machado tomó un giro revolucionario bajo el impulso de Antonio Guiteras, Washington intervino otra vez para imponer a un sargento estenógrafo llamado Fulgencio Batista. El gobierno “pentárquico” que dirigió Ramón Grau San Martín, que emprendió considerables reformas sociales, no fue del agrado de Estados Unidos. En efecto, bajo la égida de Guiteras, ése creó tribunales para sancionar los crímenes que se cometieron bajo Machado, llamó a elecciones para el 22 de abril de 1934, convocó una Asamblea Constituyente para el 20 de mayo de 1934, otorgó la autonomía a las universidades, bajó el precio de los artículos de primera necesidad, dio el derecho de voto a las mujeres, limitó la jornada laboral a ocho horas, creó un ministerio del Trabajo, redujo las tarifas de gas y electricidad, puso término al monopolio de las empresas estadounidenses, impuso una moratoria temporal sobre la deuda y, sobre todo, nacionalizó la Compañía Cubana de Electricidad, filial de la American Bond and Foreign Power Company[22]El embajador Sumner Welles indicó la vía a seguir: “Ningún gobierno puede sobrevivir aquí por un periodo prolongado sin el reconocimiento de Estados Unidos y una falta de reconocimiento hundirá a Cuba en una situación aún más caótica y anárquica”.[23] Roosevelt no reconoció al nuevo poder y mandó varios buques de guerra a la isla. Las consecuencias fueron inmediatas: el Gobierno revolucionario fue derrocado por Batista -apenas había durado 127 días– el cual instaló en la presidencia al fantoche Carlos Mendieta, prefiriendo gobernar tras bambalinas.

Welles expresó su satisfacción. Su acción había sido fructífera y lo explicó en una misiva al Departamento de Estado: “Estoy convencido de que los cubanos nunca podrán autogobernarse hasta que estén forzados a realizar que deben asumir sus propias responsabilidades”. Evidentemente, Washington se encargaría de dicha tarea, imponiendo a su hombre fuerte.[24]

Batista, sumiso a Estados Unidos, tuvo el poder real de 1933 a 1959, excepto el periodo 1944-1952. Su golpe de Estado de marzo de 1952 contra el presidente Carlos Prío Socarrás fue acogido calurosamente en Washington: “Bastita es fundamentalmente amistoso con Estados Unidos y su Gobierno sin duda no será peor que el de Prío e incluso probablemente mejor”.[25] El sargento, convertido en general, se comprometió a proteger los intereses económicos de Estados Unidos en detrimento de los del pueblo cubano, de lo que se felicitó el embajador Beaulac: “Las declaraciones del general Batista relativas al capital privado fueron excelentes”.[26]

Fidel Castro, en nombre del pueblo cubano, se opuso inmediatamente a la dictadura militar y lanzó un movimiento insurreccional en las montañas de la Sierra Maestra. El líder del Movimiento 26 de Julio, retomando la antorcha de José Martí, se hizo muy popular entre la juventud cubana, que veía en él al redentor de una Cuba colonizada y humillada y el símbolo de la resistencia a la hegemonía estadounidense. Durante du discurso en Santiago de Cuba el 1 de enero de 1959, tras la huida de Batista, Fidel Castro advirtió a Washington de que en adelante Cuba sería libre y soberana: “Esta vez, por fortuna para Cuba, la Revolución llegará de verdad al poder. No será como en el 95, que vinieron los americanos y se hicieron dueños de esto […]. Ni ladrones, ni traidores, ni intervencionistas. Esta vez sí que es la Revolución”.[27]

John F. Kennedy fue uno de los pocos dirigentes de Estados Unidos que comprendió la importancia histórica de Fidel Castro. Lo explicó en un discurso de 1960 y reconoció el apoyo de Washington a Batista: “en vez de tender una mano amistosa al pueblo desesperado de Cuba, casi toda nuestra ayuda tomaba la forma de asistencia militar –asistencia que sencillamente reforzó la dictadura de Batista, una asistencia que fracasó completamente en mejorar el bienestar del pueblo cubano”.[28]

Agregó al respecto:

Usamos la influencia de nuestro gobierno para promover los intereses y aumentar los beneficios de las empresas americanas privadas, que dominaban la economía de la isla. Al inicio del año 1959, las empresas económicas poseían cerca del 40% de las tierras azucareras cubanas, acaso todos los ranchos de ganado, el 90% de las minas y concesiones mineras, el 80% de los transportes y caso toda la industria petrolera […]. Nuestra acción daba la impresión demasiadas veces que nuestro país estaba más interesado en sacar dinero del pueblo cubano que en ayudarlo a edificar una economía autónoma, fuerte y diversificada. Era imposible no suscitar la animosidad del pueblo cubano[29]
El advenimiento de una revolución radical en Cuba era inevitable pues Estados Unidos, por su estrategia de dominación, negó a los cubanos toda perspectiva de emancipación verdadera, de independencia política y de progreso económico y social. El embajador Philip Bonsal evocó esta realidad: “En la Cuba pre-Castro, la presencia americana aplastante en términos geopolíticos era un permanente recuerdo de la naturaleza imperfecta de la soberanía cubana […]. Suscitaba rechazo ya que se consideraba una transgresión intolerable de la independencia y la dignidad del pueblo cubano”.[30] La intromisión constante del Vecino del Norte en los asuntos internos de la isla había dañado profundamente el sentimiento de orgullo nacional de los cubanos. El último objetivo de la Revolución era recuperar la soberanía de la nación y poner fin a la dependencia de Estados Unidos. Tal fue la misión de Fidel Castro.

Fidel Castro tomó el poder y puso fin a la tutela estadounidense que había aplastado al país durante más de sesenta años. La república neocolonial se desintegró con la huida de Batista. El triunfo de la Revolución Cubana en 1959 permitió al pueblo cubano realizar finalmente el sueño de una patria libre y soberana, haciendo de Fidel Castro el emblema de la dignidad nacional y continental que supo oponerse a los designios hegemónicos de Washington en América Latina. Se acabó entonces la era del complejo “plattista”, en virtud del cual había que buscar soluciones estadounidenses a los problemas cubanos, con la llegada de Fidel Castro al poder.

Salim Lamrani

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2014, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano. http://monthlyreview.org/books/pb4710/Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected] Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

 

 

[1] Luis Báez, “Absuelto por la Historia”, Granma, 11 de marzo de 2014. http://www.granma.cu/granmad/secciones/fidel/ (sitio consultado el 23 de febrero de 2015).[2] José Martí, «El Congreso de Washington», La Nación, 2 de noviembre de 1889.

[3] Antonio Beltrán Hernández, L’Empire de la liberté, París, Editions Syllepse, 2002, p. 78.

[4] Philip S. Foner, Historia de Cuba y sus relaciones con Estados Unidos, La Havane, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, tome I, 1973, p. 157.

[5] Philip S. Foner, La Guerra hispano/cubano/americana y el nacimiento del imperialismo norteamericanoop. cit., Volumen 1, p.16-17.

[6] Hamilton Fish, «Mr. Fish to Mr. Cushing», 6 de febrero de 1874, FRUS, 7 de diciembre de 1874, p. 859.

[7] Stewart L. Woodford, «Mr. Woodford to the President», 9 de marzo de 1898, FRUS, 6 de diciembre de 1898, p. 682-84.

 

[8] Philip S. Foner, La Guerra hispano/cubano/americana y el nacimiento del imperialismo norteamericanoop. cit., Volumen 1, p. 337.

[9] C. I. Bevans, Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949 (Washington D. C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1971), p. 1116-17.

[10] Fidel Castro Ruz, «El imperio y la isla independiente, primera parte», Cuba Debate, 14 de agosto de 2007. http://www.cubadebate.cu/reflexiones-fidel/2007/08/14/imperio-isla-independiente-primera-parte/ (sitio consultado el 15 de agosto de 2009).

[11] Robert Merle, Moncada : premier combat de Fidel Castro, Paris, Robert Laffon, 1965, p. 34.

[12] Tomas Estrada Palma,  « Message of Tomás Estrada Palma, President of the Republic of Cuba, to the Congress of Cuba», 6 de abril de 1903, FRUS, 7 de diciembre de 1903, p. 356-57.

[13] Edwin V. Morgan, «Minister Morgan to the Secretary of State», 13 de octubre de 1906, FRUS, 1909, p. 489.

[14] Hugh S. Gibson, «Veteranista Agitation – Attitude of the United States. The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State», 10 de noviembre de 1911, FRUS, (Washington Government Printing Office, 1919), p. 236-37.

 

[15] Hugh S. Gibson, «Veteranista Agitation – Attitude of the United States. The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State», 16 de noviembre de 1911, FRUS, 1919, p. 237.

[16] José Miguel Gómez, « he President of Cuba to the President», 26 de mayo de 1912, FRUS, 1919, p. 248.

[17] Robert Lansing, «The Secretary of State to Minister Gonzales», 13 de febrero de 1917, FRUS, 1926, p. 356 ; William E. Gonzales, «Minister Gonzales to the Secretary of State», 15 de febrero de 1917, FRUS, 1926, p. 359 ; William E. Gonzales, «Minister Gonzales to the Secretary of State», 27 de febrero de 1917, FRUS, 1926, p. 369.

[18] Robert Lansing, «The Secretary of State to Minister Gonzales», 10 de marzo de 1917, FRUS, 1926), p. 382 ; Frank Polk, «The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Cuba (Bingham)», 15 de enero de 1919, FRUS, Volume II (Washington Government Printing Office, 1934), p. 1-2.

[19] Rutherfurd Bingham, «The Chargé in Cuba (Bingham) to the Acting Secretary of State», 18 de enero de 1919, FRUS, 1934, p. 2. Véase el informe complete de Enoch H. Crowder sobre su estancia en Cuba: Enoch H. Crowder, «General Enoch H. Crowder to the Secretary of State», 30 de Agosto de 1919, FRUS, 1934, p. 29-77.

[20] Norman H. Davis, «The Acting Secretary of State to the Judge Advocate General, War Department (Crowder) », 31 de diciembre de 1920, FRUS, 1936, p. 41-43.

[21] Norman H. Davis, «The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Cuba (Long) », 4 de enero de 1921, FRUS, 1936, p. 671.

[22] Salim Lamrani, Cuba. Ce que les médias ne vous diront jamais, op. cit., p. 224.

[23] Sumner Welles, «The Ambassador in Cuba (Welles) to the Secretary of State», 10 de septiembre de 1933, FRUS, 1952, p. 417.

[24] Sumner Welles, «The Ambassador in Cuba (Welles) to the Secretary of State», 25 de septiembre de 1933, FRUS, 1952, p. 458.

[25] Edward G. Miller Jr., «Secretary Staff Meetings», 11 de marzo de 1952, lot 63 D 75, FRUS, 1983, p. 868.

[26] Willard L. Beaulac, «Memorandum of Conversation, by the ambassador in Cuba (Beaulac)», 22 de marzo de 1952, FRUS, 1983, p. 868.

[27] Fidel Castro Ruz, «Esta vez no se frustrará la Revolución», 1 de enero de 1959, Fondo Fidel Castro Ruz, n°, Archivo de la Oficina de Asuntos Históricos del Consejo de Estado (OAH-CE)

[28] John F. Kennedy, «Speech of Senator John F. Kennedy, Cincinnati, Ohio, Democratic Dinner», 6 de octubre de 1960.

[29] Id.

[30] Philip W. Bonsal, Cuba, Castro, and the United States, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1971, p. 9.

Grecia, il fattore N(ato)

April 8th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

Tsi­pras incon­tra Putin a Mosca domani, nel momento stesso in cui Ue, Bce e Fmi ten­gono un nuovo ver­tice sulla Gre­cia, che il giorno dopo deve rim­bor­sare una rata di 450 milioni di euro del pre­stito con­cesso dal Fondo mone­ta­rio inter­na­zio­nale. I temi uffi­ciali, nel col­lo­quio a Mosca, sono quelli del com­mer­cio e dell’energia, tra cui la pos­si­bi­lità che la Gre­cia diventi l’hub euro­peo del nuovo gasdotto, sosti­tu­tivo del South Stream bloc­cato dalla Bul­ga­ria sotto pres­sione Usa, che attra­verso la Tur­chia por­terà il gas russo alle soglie della Ue. Si par­lerà anche di un pos­si­bile allen­ta­mento delle con­tro­san­zioni russe, per­met­tendo l’import di pro­dotti agri­coli greci.

Secondo quanto ha dichia­rato alla Tass (31 marzo), il pre­mier Tsi­pras ha comu­ni­cato al pre­si­dente del Con­si­glio euro­peo, Donald Tusk, e alla rap­pre­sen­tante della poli­tica estera Ue, Fede­rica Moghe­rini, che «non siamo d’accordo con le san­zioni alla Rus­sia». E, al primo ver­tice Ue a cui ha par­te­ci­pato il 19–20 marzo, ha uffi­cial­mente soste­nuto che «la nuova archi­tet­tura della sicu­rezza euro­pea deve inclu­dere la Rus­sia». A con­ferma di tale posi­zione, Tsi­pras sarà di nuovo a Mosca il 9 mag­gio per il 70° anni­ver­sa­rio della vit­to­ria sulla Ger­ma­nia nazi­sta, cele­bra­zione boi­cot­tata dalla mag­gio­ranza dei lea­der occi­den­tali (a par­tire da Obama, Mer­kel e Cameron).

Ci sarà invece il pre­si­dente cinese Xi, con una rap­pre­sen­tanza delle forze armate cinesi, che sfi­lerà nella Piazza Rossa con quelle russe a sim­bo­leg­giare la sem­pre più stretta alleanza tra i due paesi. Il pre­si­dente Putin, a sua volta, sarà in set­tem­bre a Pechino per cele­brare il 70° della vit­to­ria sul Giap­pone militarista.

Avvi­ci­nan­dosi alla Rus­sia, la Gre­cia di Tsi­pras si avvi­cina quindi di fatto anche alla Cina e alla nuova area eco­no­mica euro-asiatica, che sta nascendo sulla base della Banca d’investimenti per le infra­strut­ture asia­ti­che creata da Pechino, cui ha ade­rito la Rus­sia insieme a circa altri 40 paesi. Dagli orga­ni­smi finan­ziari di quest’area e anche da quelli del Brics (Bra­sile, Rus­sia, India, Cina, Suda­frica) – che mirano a sop­pian­tare la Banca mon­diale e il Fmi domi­nati dagli Usa e dalle mag­giori potenze occi­den­tali – la Gre­cia potrebbe rice­vere i mezzi per sot­trarsi alla stretta sof­fo­cante di Ue, Bce e Fmi.

Anche per­ché la Cina vuole fare del Pireo un hub di pri­ma­ria impor­tanza della sua rete commerciale.

Secondo «The Inde­pen­dent» (3 aprile), «il governo greco è pronto a nazio­na­liz­zare le ban­che del paese e a creare una nuova moneta», ossia è pronto a uscire dall’euro e, se costretto, anche dalla Ue.

Entra però qui in gioco un altro fat­tore: l’appartenenza della Gre­cia non solo alla Ue ma alla Nato. «Una Gre­cia amica di Mosca potrebbe para­liz­zare la capa­cità della Nato di rea­gire all’aggressione russa», avverte Zbi­gniew Brze­zin­ski (Afp, 25 marzo). Parole minac­ciose da non sot­to­va­lu­tare, dato che Brze­zin­ski è stato a lungo con­si­gliere stra­te­gico della Casa Bianca, con cui è ancora in stretto contatto.

Anche se il mini­stro della difesa Kam­me­nos assi­cura che «il nuovo governo greco man­tiene i suoi impe­gni nella Nato nono­stante le sue rela­zioni poli­ti­che con la Rus­sia», a Washing­ton e Bru­xel­les stanno sicu­ra­mente pre­pa­rando un piano per impe­dire che la Gre­cia divenga un «anello debole» nel nuovo fron­teg­gia­mento con la Rus­sia e, di fatto, con la Cina.

Il golpe del 1967, che portò al potere in Gre­cia i colon­nelli, fu attuato in base al piano «Pro­me­teo» della Nato. I tempi sono cam­biati, ma non gli inte­ressi poli­tici e stra­te­gici su cui si fonda la Nato. Nel frat­tempo dive­nuta più esperta nei metodi di desta­bi­liz­za­zione interna.

Manlio Dinucci

El comienzo de un nuevo frente contra Irán

April 8th, 2015 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

EE.UU. y el Reino de Arabia Saudí se inquietaron considerablemente cuando el movimiento yemení o yemenita de los huties o Ánsar Allah (lo que quiere decir los partidarios de Dios en árabe) obtuvo el control de la capital de Yemen, Sanaa/Saná en septiembre de 2014. El presidente yemenita Abd-Rabbuh Man ṣ our Al-Hadi, apoyado por EE.UU., fue humillantemente obligado a compartir el poder con los huties y la coalición de tribus del norte de Yemen que les había ayudado a penetrar Saná. Al-Hadi declaró que habría negociaciones para un movimiento yemení de unidad nacional y sus aliados, EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí, trataron de usar un nuevo diálogo nacional y negociaciones mediadas para cooptar y pacificar a los huties.

La verdad sobre la guerra en Yemen ha sido puesta patas arriba. La guerra y el derrocamiento del presidente Abd-Rabbuh Man ṣ our Al-Hadi en Yemen no son resultado de un ‘golpe huti’ en Yemen. Es todo lo contrario, Al-Hadi fue derrocado porque, con apoyo saudí y estadounidense trató de dar marcha atrás en los acuerdos de para compartir el poder que había hecho y de devolver Yemen a un régimen autoritario. El derrocamiento del presidente Al-Hadi por los huties y sus aliados políticos fue una reacción inesperada ante apoderamiento del poder que Al-Hadi estaba planeando con Washington y la Casa de Saud.

Los huties y sus aliados representan un corte transversal diverso de la sociedad yemení y la mayoría de los yemenitas. La alianza interior del movimiento huti contra Al-Hadi incluye a musulmanes chiíes y suníes. EE.UU. y la Casa de Saud nunca pensaron que los huties se impondrían sacando a Al-Hadi del poder, pero esa reacción se desarrolló durante una década. Con la Casa de Saud, Al-Hadi había estado involucrado en la persecución de los huties y la manipulación de políticas tribales en Yemen incluso antes de ser presidente. Cuando llegó a ser presidente de Yemen dio largas al asunto y trabajó contra la implementación de los acuerdos a los que se había llegado mediante el consenso y las negociaciones en el Diálogo Nacional de Yemen, que fue convocado después que Ali Abdullah Saleh fue obligado a ceder el poder en 2011.

Golpe o contragolpe: ¿qué pasó en Yemen? 

En primer lugar, cuando se apoderaron de Saná a fines de 2014, los huties rechazaron las propuestas de Al-Hadi y sus nuevas ofertas para un acuerdo formal de compartimiento del poder, calificándolo de personaje moralmente corrupto que en realidad había renegado de sus promesas anteriores de compartir el poder político. En ese momento, los intentos del presidente Al-Hadi de complacer a Washington y a la Casa de Saud lo habían convertido en profundamente impopular en la mayoría de la población de Yemen. Dos meses después, el 8 de noviembre, el propio partido del presidente Al-Hadi, el Congreso General Popular Yemenita, también despojó a Al-Hadi de su dirigencia.

Los huties finalmente detuvieron el 20 de enero al presidente Al-Hadi y ocuparon el palacio presidencial y otros edificios del gobierno yemenita. Con apoyo popular, un poco más de dos semanas después, los huties formaron formalmente un gobierno transicional yemení el 6 de febrero. Al-Hadi fue obligado a renunciar. Los huties declararon el 26 de febrero que Al-Hadi, EE.UU., y Arabia Saudí estaban planificando la devastación de Yemen.

La renuncia de Al-Hadi fue un revés para la política exterior de EE.UU. Llevó a una retirada militar y operacional de la CIA y del Pentágono, que fueron obligados a retirar personal militar y agentes de inteligencia de Yemen. Los Angeles Times informó el 25 de marzo, citando a funcionarios estadounidenses, que los huties habían capturado numerosos documentos secretos cuando ocuparon el Buró de Seguridad Nacional yemení, que trabajaba en estrecha colaboración con la CIA, lo que afectó las operaciones de Washington en Yemen.

Al-Hadi huyó de la capital yemenita Saná a Adén el 21 de febrero y declaró el 7 de marzo que esa ciudad-puerto era la capital temporal de Yemen. EE.UU., Francia, Turquía, y sus aliados europeos occidentales cerraron sus embajadas. Poco después, en lo que fue probablemente una acción coordinada con EE.UU., Arabia Saudí, Kuwait, Bahréin, Qatar y los Emiratos Árabes Unidos transfirieron sus embajadas de Adén a Saná. Al-Hadi anuló su carta de renuncia como presidente y declaró que estaba formando un gobierno en el exilio.

Los huties y sus aliados políticos se negaron a aceptar las demandas de EE.UU. y Arabia Saudí, articuladas a través de Al-Hadi en Adén y por Riad, cada vez más histérica. Como resultado, el ministro de exteriores de Al-Hadi, Riyadh Yaseen, pidió el 23 de marzo que Arabia Saudí y los petro-emiratos árabes intervinieran con sus fuerzas armadas para impedir que los huties obtuvieran el control del espacio aéreo de Yemen. Yaseen dijo al portavoz saudí Al-Sharq Al-Awsa que se necesitaba una campaña de bombardeo y que había que imponer una zona de no vuelo sobre Yemen.

Los huties se dieron cuenta que iba a comenzar una lucha militar. Por eso los huties y sus aliados en las fuerzas armadas yemenitas se apresuraron a controlar lo más rápidamente posible la mayor parte de los aeropuertos y bases aéreas yemenitas, como ser Al-Anad. Se apresuraron a neutralizar Al-Hadi y penetraron en Adén el 25 de marzo.

Para cuando los huties y sus aliados entraron en Adén, Al-Hadi había huido de la ciudad-puerto yemenita. Al-Hadi reapareció en Arabia Saudí cuando la Casa de Saud comenzó a atacar Yemen el 26 de marzo. Desde Arabia Saudí, Abd-Rabbuh Man ṣ our Al-Hadi voló entonces a Egipto a una reunión de la Liga Árabe para legitimar la guerra contra Yemen.

Yemen y la cambiante ecuación estratégica en Medio Oriente 

La ocupación huti de Saná tuvo lugar en el mismo período como una serie de éxitos o victorias regionales para Irán, Hizbulá, Siria y el Bloque de la Resistencia que estos y otros protagonistas locales forman colectivamente. En Siria, el gobierno sirio logró reafirmar su posición mientras en Iraq el movimiento EI/ISIL/Daesh era obligado a retroceder por Iraq con la evidente ayuda de Irán y de milicias iraquíes aliadas con Teherán.

La ecuación estratégica en Medio Oriente comenzó a cambiar a medida que quedaba claro que Irán comenzaba a ocupar una posición central para la arquitectura y estabilidad de su seguridad. La Casa de Saud y el primer ministro israelí Benjamin Netanyahu comenzaron a gimotear y a quejarse de que Irán controlaba cuatro capitales regionales –Beirut, Damasco, Bagdad, y Saná– y que había que hacer algo para detener la expansión iraní. Como resultado de la nueva ecuación estratégica, los israelíes y la Casa de Saud se alinearon perfectamente con el objetivo estratégico de neutralizar Irán y sus aliados regionales. “Cuando israelíes y árabes se encuentran en la misma página, la gente debiera prestar atención”, dijo el 5 de marzo el embajador israelí Ron Dermer a Fox News sobre la alineación de Israel y Arabia Saudí.

La campaña de miedo israelí y saudí no ha resultado. Según un sondeo Gallup, solo un 9% de los ciudadanos de EE.UU. veían Irán como el mayor enemigo de EE.UU. cuando Netanyahu llegó a Washington para hablar contra un acuerdo entre EE.UU. e Irán.

Los objetivos geoestratégicos de EE.UU. y de los saudíes tras la guerra en Yemen 

Mientras la Casa de Saud ha considerado hace tiempo Yemen una especie de provincia subordinada y parte de la esfera de influencia de Riad, EE.UU. quiere asegurarse de poder controlar el Bab Al-Mandeb, el Golfo de Adén, y las islas Socotra. El Bab Al-Mandeb es un importante punto crítico para el comercio marítimo internacional y los embarques de energía que conecta el Golfo Pérsico a través del Océano Índico con el Mar Mediterráneo a través del Mar Rojo. Es tan importante como el Canal de Suez para las vías de transporte marítimo y el comercio entre África, Asia y Europa.

Israel también estaba preocupado, porque el control de Yemen podría cortar el acceso de Israel al Océano Índico a través del Mar Rojo e impedir que sus submarinos llegaran fácilmente al Golfo Pérsico para amenazar Irán. Por eso el control de Yemen fue en realidad uno de los temas de discusión de Netanyahu cuando habló ante el Congreso de EE.UU. el 3 de marzo en lo que precisamente el New York Times presentó el 4 de marzo como “el poco convincente discurso de Netanyahu ante el Congreso”.

Arabia Saudí temía visiblemente que Yemen podría llegar a alinearse formalmente con Irán y que los eventos podrían conducir a nuevas rebeliones contra la Casa de Saud en la Península Arábiga. EE.UU. también estaba preocupado, pero también pensaba en términos de rivalidades globales. Impedir que Irán, Rusia, o China tuvieran un punto de apoyo estratégico en Yemen, como medio de impedir que otras potencias controlaran el Golfo de Adén y se posicionaran en Bab Al-Mandeb, era una preocupación importante para EE.UU.

Se agrega a la importancia geopolítica de Yemen en la supervisión de corredores marítimos estratégicos su arsenal de misiles militares. Los misiles de Yemen podrían alcanzar a cualesquiera barcos en el Golfo de Adén o Bab Al-Mandeb. En este sentido, el ataque saudí contra los depósitos de misiles estratégicos de Yemen sirve tanto los intereses de EE.UU. como los de Israel. El objetivo no es solo impedir que sean utilizados para tomar represalias contra el uso de fuerza militar saudí, sino también impedir que estén a disposición de un gobierno yemenita alineado con Irán, Rusia o China.

En una posición pública que contradice totalmente la política siria de Riad, los saudíes amenazaron con emprender una acción militar si los huties y sus aliados políticos no negocian con Al-Hadi. Como resultado de las amenazas saudíes, protestas estallaron en todo Yemen el 25 de marzo contra la Casa de Saud. Por lo tanto, la situación se preparó para otra guerra en Medio Oriente cuando EE.UU., Arabia Saudí, Bahréin, los EAU, Qatar, y Kuwait comenzaron a prepararse para reinstalar a Al-Hadi.

La marcha saudí hacia la guerra en Yemen y un nuevo frente contra Irán 

A pesar de todo lo que se dice sobre Arabia Saudí como potencia regional, es demasiado débil para enfrentar sola a Irán. La estrategia de la Casa de Saud ha sido erigir o reforzar un sistema de alianza regional para un prolongado enfrentamiento con Irán y el Bloque de la Resistencia. Al respecto, Arabia Saudí necesita Egipto, Turquía, y Pakistán –una mal llamada alianza o eje “suní”– para que ayuden a enfrentar Irán y sus aliados regionales.

El príncipe heredero Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, el príncipe heredero del Emirato de Abu Dabi y vicecomandante supremo de las fuerzas armadas de los EAU, debía visitar Marruecos el 17 de marzo para hablar de una respuesta militar colectiva a Yemen por parte de los petro-emiratos árabes, Marruecos, Jordania, y Egipto. El 21 de marzo, Mohammed bin Zayed se reunió con el rey de Arabia Saudí Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud para discutir una respuesta militar a Yemen. Esto ocurrió mientras Al-Hadi llamaba a Arabia Saudí y al Consejo de Cooperación del Golfo (CCG) para que le ayudaran mediante una intervención militar en Yemen. Las reuniones fueron seguidas por negociaciones sobre un nuevo pacto regional de seguridad de los petro-emiratos árabes.

De los cinco miembros del CCG, solo el Sultanato de Omán se mantuvo alejado. Omán se negó a unirse a la guerra contra Yemen. Muscat tiene relaciones amistosas con Teherán. Además los omaníes están cansados del proyecto saudí y del CCG de utilizar el sectarismo para provocar un enfrentamiento con Irán y sus aliados. La mayoría de los omaníes no son ni musulmanes suníes ni musulmanes chiíes; son musulmanes ibadíes, y temen el avivamiento de la sedición sectaria por la Casa de Saud y los otros petro-emiratos árabes.

Los propagandistas saudíes se movilizaron afirmando falsamente que la guerra era una respuesta a la intrusión iraní en las fronteras de Arabia Saudí. Turquía también anunciaría su apoyo a la guerra en Yemen. El día en que se lanzó la guerra, Erdogan de Turquía afirmó que Irán estaba tratando de dominar la región y que Turquía, Arabia Saudí y el CCG se sentían molestos.

Durante estos eventos, Sisi, en Egipto, declaró que la seguridad de El Cairo y la seguridad de Arabia Saudí y de los petro-emiratos árabes eran idénticas. De hecho, Egipto dijo el 25 de marzo que no participaría en una guerra en Yemen, pero el día siguiente El Cairo se sumó a Arabia Saudí en el ataque de Riad contra Yemen al enviar sus jets y barcos a ese país.

De la misma manera, el primer ministro paquistaní Nawaz Sharif publicó el 26 de marzo una declaración diciendo que cualquier amenaza contra Arabia Saudí “provocará una fuerte reacción” de Pakistán. El mensaje se dirigía tácitamente hacia Irán.

El papel de EE.UU. e Israel en la guerra en Yemen 

El 27 de marzo, se anunció en Yemen que Israel estaba ayudando a Arabia Saudí en el ataque contra el país árabe. “Es la primera vez que los sionistas [israelíes] realizan una operación conjunta en colaboración con árabes”, escribió en Internet el jefe del Partido Al-Haq de Yemen, para destacar la convergencia de intereses entre Arabia Saudí e Israel. La alianza israelí-saudí respecto a Yemen, sin embargo, no es nueva. Los israelíes ayudaron a la Casa de Saud durante la Guerra Civil del Norte de Yemen que comenzó en 1962 suministrando armas a Arabia Saudí para ayudar a los realistas contra los republicanos en el Norte de Yemen.

EE.UU. también está involucrado y dirige desde lejos. Mientras trabaja para llegar a un acuerdo con Irán, también quiere mantener una alianza contra Teherán utilizando a los saudíes. El Pentágono suministra lo que llama “inteligencia y apoyo logístico” a la Casa de Saud.

No hay que equivocarse: la guerra contra Yemen es también la guerra de Washington. El CCG ha sido desencadenado contra Yemen por EE.UU.

Desde hace tiempo se habla de la formación de una fuerza militar pan-árabe, pero propuestas para su creación fueron renovadas el 9 de marzo por la dócil Liga Árabe. Las propuestas para fuerzas armadas árabes unidas sirven los intereses estadounidenses, israelíes y saudíes. Las propuestas a favor de fuerzas armadas panárabes han sido motivadas por sus preparativos para el retorno de Al-Hadi y para enfrentar regionalmente a Irán, Siria, Hizbulá, y el Bloque de Resistencia.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

 

Fuente: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-geopolitics-behind-the-war-in-yemen-the-start-of-a-new-front-against-iran/5439431 

Salman wa Hadi (MDN)

The Geopolitics Behind the War in Yemen: The Start of a New Front against Iran

Strategic Culture Foundation, 30 de Marso de 2015

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

Segunda parte en español:

King Salman

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

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

 

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Peasant seeds – the pillar of food production – are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly limit what farmers can do with their seeds. Seed saving, which has been the basis of farming for thousands of years, is quickly being criminalised.

What can we do? A new booklet and poster from La Via Campesina and GRAIN documents how big business and governments are moving to stop farmers from saving and exchanging their seeds, and shows how farmers are fighting back.

Control over seeds must remain in peasants’ hands. This is the principle, based in the production process, that guarantees the food sovereignty of rural communities and urban populations against multinationals and their enormous profits. Over centuries, peasant farmers have created the thousands of varieties of crops that are the basis of the world’s food supply and diversified diets, says La Via Campesina’s Guy Kastler.

But for corporations who want to impose laws that will give them complete control of land, farming, food and the profits that could be made from this sector, these time-tested practices around seeds are an obstacle. For La Via Campesina, the law should instead guarantee the rights of peasants to conserve, use, exchange, use and sell their seeds and protect them from biopiracy.

Big business is carrying out, with the support of governments, a global legal offensive to gain complete control over seeds. This includes not only privatising seeds through new laws, but giving themselves new rights to physically search farmers’ homes and destroy their seeds, says Camila Montecinos of GRAIN.

Seed laws are evolving and becoming more aggressive in response to new demands from the seed and biotechnology industry. So-called free trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties and regional integration initiatives are hardening ‘soft’ forms of ownership rights over seeds. And laws strengthening intellectual property rights over seeds are being reinforced by other regulations that are supposed to ensure seed quality, market transparency, prevention of counterfeits, and the like.

What is at stake is the very basis of peasant farmers’ existence. Social movements worldwide, especially peasant farmers organisations, have resisted and mobilised to prevent such laws being passed.

Corporations and governments rely on secrecy and lack of transparency because they know that an informed citizenry will reject the privatisation of seeds.

This booklet will strengthen the resistance by ensuring that as many people as possible – especially in the rural communities that are most affected – understand these industry-backed laws, their impacts and objectives, as well as the capacity of social movements to replace them with laws that protect peasants’ rights.

Contents

  1. How seed laws make farmers’ seeds illegal
  2. African seeds: A treasure under threat
  3. The Americas: Massive resistance against “Monsanto laws”
  4. Asia: The struggle against a new wave of industrial seeds
  5. Europe: Farmers strive to rescue agricultural diversity

Download the report here

For many months now, the western media has presented the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of a new and deepening rift. Israel is supposedly positioned on one side of the divide and the US and Europeans on the other, trying as best they can to defend Palestinian rights.

In the past few days alone, European diplomats have leaked a report harshly criticising Israeli policy in Jerusalem, while US officials have accused Israel of waging a black ops campaign to sabotage its nuclear talks with Iran.

Both the Europeans and US president Barack Obama are reported to be furious that Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, divulged during this month’s election campaign what everyone already knew: that he had no intention of allowing the Palestinians to establish a state.

In a now-typical report, Newsweek quoted a former US intelligence official last week describing the current mood in the White House: “I can assure you that behind closed doors the gloves are coming off. Bibi [Netanyahu] is in the administration’s crosshairs.”

But how plausible is this scenario?

Certainly, Netanyahu has found himself in a mounting conflict with the White House. No president likes to be ritually humiliated by the leader of a vassal state. Obama genuinely wanted to see the back of Netanyahu in the elections.

But the very public disagreements between the two are not, as is generally assumed, focused on outcomes: ending the occupation or offering a just solution to the Palestinians. Rather, the feud is itself part of a drama designed to divert our attention from the substantive issues.

The tensions are kind of a theatre of distraction, necessary for the US and Europe to maintain their image as actors desperately trying to corral Israel into doing the right thing by the Palestinians.

In fact, the dispute between Netanyahu and Obama is not really about the Palestinians at all; it is about Netanyahu’s failure to play his part in the sham peace process the US has presided over for the past two decades. But the deception runs deeper still.

Unsatisfactory Plan B

Denied, by virtue of Netanyahu’s intransigence, the endless negotiations that so successfully sustained the illusion of a temporary occupation, the White House has had to fall back on a very unsatisfactory Plan B. That involves the US and Europe acting the role of the aggrieved party, publicising at every turn their anger that Israel has refused to cooperate in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With the US denied futile peace talks to justify continuing inaction, it has had to exploit a drama of behind-the-scenes conflict to suggest it is doing everything diplomatically possible to make Israel see sense. In that way, Washington’s hands stay clean.

If that seems overly cynical, remember that, if the US really wanted to end the occupation, it could make it happen in short order. It could simply pull the plug on its financial, military and diplomatic support, stand back and watch Israel flounder.

Even were the US Congress initially to oppose the US president’s efforts to force Israel to be more cooperative, the White House could quickly reshape the domestic discourse about Israel and the occupation.

It would simply need to start talking, as it did very briefly when Obama entered office, about how Israel poses a threat to US interests in the Middle East, endangering Americans’ lives in the region and inflaming a global terrorism that will rebound on the US at home.

Sustained criticism of this nature – not only from Obama but from the Pentagon too – would quickly erode political support for Israel’s occupation, even in Congress.

Instead, all the parties – Washington, the EU, Israel, even the Palestinian Authority – have conspired, willingly or otherwise, in a dishonest performance.

Drama of conflict

The deceptions about the occupation are so multi-layered that it would be a mistake even to believe what Netanyahu himself claims. He too is engaged in creating a drama of conflict – more apparent than real – to divert his own public from a proper understanding of the collaborative relationship between Israel and the PA.

Last week, shortly after winning the election, Netanyahu reversed his policy of withholding tax revenues from the PA. He had stopped the transfers four months earlier to punish Mahmoud Abbas for joining the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the first step in prosecuting Israelis for war crimes.

At the time Netanyahu indicated that the PA would not receive the revenues, which Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf, so long as it continued with its application to the ICC.

Deprived of some $125 million a month, the PA’s eventual collapse was inevitable. That would have left Israel taking on the huge financial and military burden of directly controlling the urban areas of the West Bank.

The PA refused to back down over its ICC membership but Netanyahu nonetheless changed course last week, saying he was doing so for “humanitarian reasons” – to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.

But the reality is that he had no choice: his own generals have warned him many times of the terrible consequences for Israel of destroying the PA. Netanyahu was playing the tough guy for the sake of his voters, but knew from the outset that he would have to capitulate. A gullible Israeli public was being deceived all along.

Europe’s empty threats

But no less credulous are many in the west, including journalists and analysts.

Immediately after Netanyahu’s election victory, European diplomats leaked a supposedly “hard-hitting” confidential report to the Guardian newspaper. The document was highly critical of Israeli policy in Jerusalem, probably the most contentious of the issues that will one day have to be agreed with the Palestinians.

Israel was blamed for expanding settlements, abusing the rights of the Palestinian population there, and undermining a two-state solution, which will require Jerusalem’s division.

The diplomats also recommended that the EU punish Israel as a way to increase pressure on Netanyahu to accommodate Palestinian demands.

But the leaking of the report was just as much dissembling drama as Netanyahu’s show of intransigence on the PA’s tax revenues. It was intended both to demonstrate how angry the EU was with Israel and suggest that the Europeans were making Netanyahu pay a price.

But the make-believe nature of European “action” was apparent as soon as one looked behind the headlines. The threats against Israel were empty, both because they are unlikely to be carried out and because, even if they were, they would inflict almost no damage on Israel.

For example, the diplomats suggested that the EU should consider placing restrictions on the entry to Europe of known Jewish extremists, those behind violent attacks on mosques and Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

In practice, this would target a small group of ideological settlers, maybe numbering a few dozen, while ignoring the systematic violence against Palestinians inflicted by the Israeli army and the occupation’s bureaucrats. It would be like trying to make a beach resort safe for swimmers by catching a few crabs and leaving a great white shark to patrol the waters.

The report also argued for providing European shoppers with more information on products exported from the illegal West Bank settlements. Note that the diplomats were suggesting only improved labelling, not banning the products. In fact, a ban on goods made by Jewish settlers on land stolen from Palestinians should be entirely non-controversial, but it is not even on Europe’s agenda.

Further, the export of settler goods is a tiny fraction of Europe’s trade with Israel, which is governed by a special agreement that has made the EU Israel’s largest export market. Even were Europe to consider banning settler products, it would make no impact on the Israeli economy.

What would hurt Israel – and force it to rethink its policy towards the Palestinians – would be threatening to revise or tear up the trade agreement. That could decimate Israeli exports. But such a prospect is so far off, no Israeli politician seriously entertains the possibility.

Israel accused of spying

The US administration has been equally duplicitous in its dealings with Israel, as recent events have illustrated.

Last week, US officials anonymously told the Wall Street Journal that Israel had spied on negotiations with Iran. Not only that, but Israel had then briefed Obama’s opponents in Congress to try to sabotage the talks.

At the same time, the US president fired another shot across Netanyahu’s bows, saying there was a “real knotty policy difference” between the two on Palestinian statehood.

White House officials, meanwhile, suggested that Obama is now “reassessing” the US position at the UN, and might consider refusing to protect Israel with its veto from hostile resolutions, either denouncing the settlements or affirming Palestinian statehood.

Certainly, the White House has a pressing reason to exert pressure on Israel right now. The leaks by US and European officials are designed in part to influence Netanyahu as he considers whom to include in his new governing coalition. Fearing that the White House will face another exclusively right-wing Israeli government, Obama hopes to make it clear to Netanyahu that he is expected to extend his hand to Isaac Herzog, the centrist leader of the Zionist Union.

But Herzog is no more willing than Netanyahu to alienate his supporters by working seriously for a Palestinian state, which is why he barely mentioned the Palestinians during the election campaign. He knew that to do so would be electoral suicide.

Emperor exposed as naked

By exposing the White House’s policy in the Middle East as a sham, Netanyahu has pulled the rug from under the US and Europe. He has risked showing that the emperor is unclothed.

Without a cooperative Israeli partner, Obama has had to fall back on a personal feud as justification for the status quo. He will now spend months publicly berating and punishing Netanyahu while privately continuing massive aid handouts and signing exclusive arms deals with Israel.

Peter Beinart, an influential US commentator for Israel’s liberal Haaretz newspaper, described Israeli-US relations as “fundamentally changed” after the Israeli elections. But he went on to point out that the White House was carefully distinguishing between political support, which he thought likely to suffer, and military-security support, which was ringfenced. “Administration officials insist that they will never cut military aid, since that would harm Israeli security,” he said.

But this is the only significant leverage the White House has over Israel. If security ties are inviolable, then Obama’s threats are nothing more than posturing – posturing needed for his benefit more than Netanyahu’s.

Even while US officials indicate that they might not veto a UN resolution backing Palestinian statehood, they are already attaching conditions making it impossible in practice for the Palestinians to advance their cause, such as insisting that Abbas recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

Washington would prefer that these hollow threats force Netanyahu to resume his performance in the doomed peace process. But with no prospect of serious damage to Israeli interests, Netanyahu appears to be standing his ground.

If so, Obama will continue lashing out at the Israeli prime minister, buying time until a new more convincing script can be crafted – ideally with a successor to Netanyahu who proves more obliging.

(Photo: Sonya Baumstein)

Sonya Baumstein has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, kayaked from Seattle to Juneau, and paddled across the Bering Strait.

But now she is in final preparations to become, at 29 years old, the first woman to row across the Pacific Ocean. From Choshi, Japan, to San Francisco, her route will carry her over 5,700 nautical miles of what is arguably the most challenging open ocean crossing in the world, one that will include winds in excess of 50 knots, over 40-foot-high seas, and the threat of freighters and other large vessels.

To see more stories like this, visit “Planet or Profit?”

She will take on the 150-plus day voyage solo, in her 23-foot rowboat, supported only by a small land-based group of advisers via satellite phone.

Truthout caught up with Baumstein in Port Townsend, Washington, where she was finishing construction on her boat and making final arrangements. In April, she will fly to Japan to begin her trans-Pacific row.

“This is all aimed towards shining the light on climate change,” Baumstein said. “Humans are doing so much to exacerbate it, and we don’t even know all of the ramifications of our actions.”

The oceans cover 71 percent of the planet and contain 97 percent of all the water on earth. They are where the planet’s weather systems are formed, and they are absorbing astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide and human-generated plastic and garbage.

Baumstein hopes her journey will bring people’s attention to these crucial impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

“The oceans are full of data,” Baumstein said. “They have all this data that we could use to unlock some of the keys to climate change.”

And she’s willing to put her life on the line to do so.

Oceans of Pollution

While on her voyage rowing across the Atlantic with three colleagues, Baumstein was shocked by what she saw.

“When we hit the Sargasso Sea, inside of these massive seaweed floats, is trash,” she said. “We are 500 miles out from shore, and we are seeing miles of garbage, this biosphere full of rubber boots and toilet seats, and I thought there must be something I can do to tell people about this, to show them what the effect of this is on their daily lives.”

 

(Photo: Expedition Pacific)

The amount of plastic pollution in the oceans has risen alarmingly over the last 40 years, and continues to escalate.Baumstein paddled through these floating trash piles for two days, stunned by what she saw, which was unfortunately just the tip of an iceberg of which we haven’t yet found the end.

However, if what Baumstein saw in the Atlantic shook her, she must brace herself for what she’s going to see in the Pacific.

The amount of plastic floating in the Pacific Gyre – a massive swirling vortex of rubbish – has increased 100-fold in the past four decades.

One warning of humanity’s increasingly deleterious impact on the oceans came from prominent marine biologist Jeremy Jackson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In a 2008 article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jackson warned that, without profound and prompt changes in human behavior, we will cause a “mass extinction in the oceans with unknown ecological and evolutionary consequences.”

We are inextricably tied to the oceans in ways we often don’t consider. As science journalist Alanna Mitchell has written: “Every tear you cry … ends up back in the ocean system. Every third molecule of carbon dioxide you exhale is absorbed into the ocean. Every second breath you take comes from the oxygen produced by plankton.”

Recent years have found scientists investigating the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

“Probably every sea turtle on the planet interacts with plastic at some point in its life.”

The eastern section of the spiraling mass, between Hawaii and California, is estimated to be around twice the size of Texas (some estimates peg the entire mass at twice the size of the continental United States), and is having ecosystem-wide impacts, according to a recent studypublished in Biology Letters.

Miriam Goldstein, a graduate student researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and the lead author of the study, told Truthout that by adding this amount of plastic to the oceans, humans could be causing large-scale change to the ocean’s ecological system.

“We found eggs on the pieces of plastic, and these were sea skater [insect] eggs,” Goldstein said. “Sea skaters naturally occur in the gyre and are known to lay their eggs on floating objects. So we found that the amount of eggs being laid had increased with the amount of plastic.”

Goldstein says that, although the study’s findings clearly raise immediate concerns, the most serious consequences may be ones we can’t yet foresee. “Our work shows there could be potential effects to the ocean ecosystem that we can’t expect or predict,” she said. “There are five subtropical gyres, one in each ocean basin, and they are natural currents. They are vast areas of the oceans; together they comprise the majority of the area of the oceans. So altering them on a large scale could have unexpected results on all kinds of things.”

The study shows how an increase in pollution, in this case an immense amount of plastic, may have dire consequences for animals across the entire marine food web.

This Scripps study follows a report by colleagues at the institution that showed that 9 percent of the fish collected during the trip to study the gyre had plastic waste in their stomachs.

Published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, that study estimated that fish at intermediate ocean depths in the North Pacific Ocean could be ingesting plastic at the staggering rate of 12,000 to 24,000 tons per year.

“From a climate change/fisheries/pollution/habitat destruction point of view, our nightmare is here.”

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, told Truthout he finds plastic on every beach he visits across the globe, and added, “Probably every sea turtle on the planet interacts with plastic at some point in its life.”

Jo Royle, a UK-based trans-ocean skipper and ocean advocate, has seen the same.

“For 13 years I’ve been crossing oceans,” she told Truthout. “I’ve seen plastic on the coastline of Antarctica, and over the years we’ve noticed plastic becoming more of an issue on remote islands. Over the last seven years we’ve seen it increase dramatically. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been on a beach and not seen plastic.”

Biological oceanographer Dr. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez, with the National Oceanography Centre at Britain’s University of Southampton, is concerned that ocean pollution isn’t viewed as a pressing issue – despite the fact that it is accelerating.

“Marine pollution is a big issue,” she told Truthout. “There is this idea that oceans have unlimited inertia, but nanoparticles of plastic getting into marine animals and the food chain are affecting fish fertility rates, and this affects food security and coastal populations. Pollution is having a huge impact on the oceans, and is urgent and needs to be dealt with.”

Nichols concurs, adding that, when it comes to the oceans, we are now seeing the cautionary predictions of previous decades coming true.

“From a climate change/fisheries/pollution/habitat destruction point of view, our nightmare is here; it’s the world we live in,” Nichols said. “You see evidence of the impact of climate change on the oceans everywhere now. The collapsing fisheries, the changes in the Arctic and the hardship communities that live there are having to face, the frequency and intensity of storms – everything we imagined 30 to 40 years ago when the environmental movement was born, we’re dealing with those now…. The toxins in our bodies, food web, and in the marine mammals, it’s all there.”

How Many More Fish in the Sea?

Baumstein has also seen evidence of the dramatic decline in the world’s fisheries.

“Doing the Inside Passage I became much more aware of [the impacts of] climate change,” she explained. “The seiner fleet in Canada – for the salmon season, it’s gone from 350 boats down to 28. Without even bringing up climate change, it was the topic of conversation. They talked about how important sustainability is, and they get that this is not a resource that can be extended much further. They discussed how the fish are even changing in how they taste.”

Worldwide, 90 percent of large predatory fish stocks are now gone due to overfishing, not including the impacts of climate disruption. Given that seafood is the primary source of protein for more than 1 billion of the planet’s population, this is a worrisome statistic.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 85 percent of fish stocks are “overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion.”

Dr. Maria Salta, a biological oceanographer at the University of Southampton, gave Truthout a bleak prognosis for the oceans and the species that inhabit them. “It is clear that if we continue like this, in a few years time there is not going to be much left,” she said, referring to the rampant overfishing going on across the globe, along with the overall treatment of oceans at the hands of humans. “We are losing species every day without ever knowing about them. Sometimes humans can be like a plague to the environment.”

Salta’s statement might be shocking to some, but there is ample scientific evidence to back it. Overfishing is simply a matter of taking wildlife from the sea at rates that are too high for the fished species to replace themselves. Atlantic cod and herring, along with California’s sardines, were overfished to the brink of extinction by the 1950s, and by the late 20th century, instances of isolated depletions (depletions occurring in specific areas) had become both global and catastrophic.

“Thirty percent of marine catch is thrown overboard dead.”

Fisheries for the most sought-after species have since collapsed. Boris Worm and Ransom Myers, both scientists with Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, published a shocking paper in the journal Nature in 2003, explaining that the populations of all large predator fish in the oceans have declined by 90 percent in the 50 years since modern industrial fishing became widespread.

Three years later the same scientists, along with colleagues from across the world, published an even more startling paper that predicted a total collapse of all fish that are currently caught commercially by 2048.

Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia, along with others, has calculated that the world’s total fish catch peaked in the mid-1980s and has been in decline every since.

Dr. Simon Boxall, also with the University of Southampton, has been an oceanographer for more than 30 years. He sees the three largest threats to the oceans as climate change, plastic and overfishing.

“But the big problem is that we are overfishing,” Boxall told Truthout.

A key example of this rapid depletion: sharks. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed about a third of all open-ocean shark species as currently threatened with extinction because of overfishing.

“The oceanic white-tip shark populations declined by 99 percent from 1950 to 1999, making it now an endangered species,” Salta said. “Also, when sharks are removed from the environment you change the balance of the ecosystem and how it functions.”

An issue that works in tandem with overfishing is bycatch, which is sea life that is caught along with the fish being sought commercially. Salta thinks bycatch could be one of the most worrying problems facing the oceans, and goes as far as saying that bycatch is “a mode of mass marine extinction.”

“If organisms drop out of the food chain, the entire ecosystem is impacted.”

“From 1994 onwards, 27 million tons of bycatch are discarded every year,” she said. “Thirty percent of marine catch is thrown overboard dead. For shrimpers, 80 percent of everything caught is bycatch and thrown back for dead.”

According to the Pew Environmental report “Protecting Life in the Sea,” nearly one-third of the world supply of commercially caught fish has already collapsed.

Salta explained how many of the problems besetting the oceans converge to create a cascading, devastating effect on sea life.

“If organisms drop out of the food chain, the entire ecosystem is impacted,” she said. “And temperature affects biodiversity and fish stock. Changes in this variable can impact the entire ecosystem and impact fish stocks.”

She cites copepods (tiny crustaceans) in the North Sea as an example. “There was a specific species that hatched in the spring, that was for cod, but during the 1990s because of temperature change, these were replaced with a warmer weather copepod and these hatched too late,” she said. “So the cod have vanished there, coupled with exploitation by man.”

Salta said that 25 percent of the planet’s biodiversity is in danger of extinction within the next 30 years due to commercial fishing.

“When fish become overfished, the human response is to fish down the species to smaller species, so this shifts the target group down, and this affects biodiversity and the ocean ecology,” she explained.

Another aspect of overfishing is trawling – a fishing method that involves pulling fishing net through the water behind a boat. Bottom trawling, when the net literally drags across the seafloor, has severely destructive impacts.

“It’s the equivalent of forest clear-cutting, but in the ocean, because when they [fishermen] trawl the entire bottom, whatever is there is removed from the environment and changes the entire ecosystem,” Salta said. “Biomass of the deep sea is in sharp decline because of trawling.”

Bleak Scenario

Beyond marine life, the ocean’s critically important role in climate disruption cannot be overstated.

Scientists estimate there are approximately 3,000 gigatons (one gigaton is 1 billion tons) of carbon in the atmosphere. The oceans hold around 38,000 gigatons of carbon, which is 16 times as much carbon as the terrestrial biosphere (all plant and underlying soils on the planet), and 60 times as much as the pre-industrial atmosphere held.

Since the ocean is the greatest of all the carbon reservoirs, it fundamentally determines the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. Additional atmospheric carbon produced by the burning of fossil fuels gets absorbed by an already overburdened ocean.

The Zoological Society of London reported in July 2009 that “360 [carbon dioxide atmospheric parts per million] is now known to be the level at which coral reefs cease to be viable in the long run.”

In September 2009, Nature magazine stated that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels above 350 parts per million “threaten the ecological life-support systems” of the planet and “challenge the viability of contemporary human societies.”

We are now at 400 parts per million. Even by 2009, we were already well over 350 parts per million.

Carbon emissions have already risen “far above even the bleak scenarios.”

In its October 2009 issue, the journal Science offered new evidence of what the earth was like 20 million years ago, which was the last time we had carbon levels this high. At that time, sea levels rose over 30 meters and temperatures were as much as 18 degrees Celsius higher than they are today.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon emissions have already risen “far above even the bleak scenarios.”

Oceans absorb 26 percent (2.3 billion metric tons) of the carbon human activities release into the atmosphere annually, according to a 2010 study published by Nature Geoscience and The Global Carbon Project.

Unfortunately, global carbon emissions are continuing to increase. At a 2008 academic conference, Exeter University scientist Kevin Anderson showed slides and graphs “representing the fumes that belch from chimneys, exhausts and jet engines, that should have bent in a rapid curve towards the ground, were heading for the ceiling instead.” He references the famous “hockey stick graph,” that has become so well-known with climate disruption trends now, where charts abruptly tend nearly straight up, rather than showing more linear, gradual increases.

Anderson concluded it was “improbable” that we would be able to stop carbon dioxide emissions from rising to 650 parts per million, even if rich countries adopted “draconian emissions reductions within a decade.”

That number, should it come to pass, would mean that global average temperatures would increase five times as much as previous models predicted.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a study in 2009 showing that a new understanding of ocean physics proved that “changes in surface temperature, rainfall and sea level are largely irreversible for more than a thousand years after carbon dioxide emissions are completely stopped.”

Part of a Solution

Myriad other problems beset the oceans: increasing acidification, dead zones, fish migrating to different areas because of temperature changes, loss of phytoplankton and bleaching coral.

It seems overwhelming, yet the enormity of the problem is precisely what is driving Baumstein.

(Photo: Expedition Pacific)

“I’ve been preparing for an expedition like this for years now, and I have a great team supporting me,” she said. “And this journey gives me the ability to be an active citizen/scientist, a chance to connect the proverbial dots for people, via electronic resources, to show people we can all do this since this information is around us in our daily lives as well.”

Baumstein will be collecting data as she rows, as her carbon-fiber boat will be equipped with solar power, a satellite phone and numerous scientific data collection devices.

“I have the opportunity to provide scientists with something they’ve never had, from changing salinity, to changing water temperature, to a better understanding of El Niño and disappearing snow on land,” she said. “All these things are connected.”

Baumstein said her boat is “basically a human-powered wave glider” that will carry a device she called the CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth), which measures these metrics and sends the data via her boat’s GPS tower to a satellite.

“This will generate a data flow of the currents, wind, and how stirred up the water layers are,” she said. “The salinity is important because it drives current and temperature. And you have pools of freshwater they are trying to understand, and they’ve never been able to collect data in the first foot of water, consistently.”

The data Baumstein collects will be sent to the Seattle-based company Earth and Space Research, which is the principal scientific investigator for NASA’s Aquarius project, which is a space agency satellite that monitors the world’s oceans.

“So I’m providing the grounding data,” she said. “And all the NOAA data the public sees comes from the Aquarius satellite.”

All of the data is to be open source, so the public can view it online, as well as watch Baumstein’s progress across the Pacific.

She aims to shove off from Japan in May, and is bringing 150 days of primary food supplies and 30 days of “backup” rations.

Sonya Baumstein with her boat in Port Townsend, Washington. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

Baumstein understands she will not be doing a lot of sleeping along the way.

“Sleeping patterns are dependent on weather, so if I have good weather, I’m going to row more,” she explained. “I’ll wake up every hour when I sleep to look at water temperature, so I have to monitor the currents, which are changing constantly.”

She will begin in the Kuroshio current, which is one of the fastest and thinnest in the world, and shifts between 50 to 100 miles on any given day.

“I have to stay in that current because it’s the only way folks can get across the ocean,” she said. “So there’s a lot of seamanship that goes into this.”

Baumstein is banking on her knowledge, experience and drive to get her across the largest ocean on the planet. And with a little luck, her voyage will be successful, as will her endeavor to bring more public attention to the plight of the oceans she rows across.

“This is the only planet we have,” she said. “So why not learn more about it while trying to take care of it?”

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.

Those looking to cash in on the multi-billion-dollar vaccine racket can now do so with the help of a financial reporting company that keeps tabs on the present and expected future growth of the vaccine market for investment purposes. Kind of like playing the craps table in Vegas, gambling on the successes of the vaccine market (and ultimately on children’s lives) is the latest money-making scheme in the endless merry-go-round of corporate greed.

So while children are becoming permanently injured and dying due to flu shots and MMR vaccines, unscrupulous investors are busy hoping that you and your loved ones won’t make too much of a stink about it and cause vaccine industry stock prices to cut into their fiat windfalls. It’s just about money, money and more money for these people, as they shamelessly gamble on the collective health of the next generation for their next paycheck.

A press release recently issued by PR Newswire explains how the company, Visiongain, provides insights into the forecast sales of vaccines at the world, national, submarket and product levels. Investors can then use this data to play the vaccine market and rake in the big bucks, all on the backs of millions of vaccine-injured children who are being played by the establishment for massive profits.

“Vaccines sector still hold[s] great technological, medical and commercial potential,” announces the press release. “[U]se our predictions for vaccination to expand your business and help your influence… and stay ahead.”

Vaccines are just another gambling game at the casino, and your children are the betting chips

It’s quite sickening if you really think about it — playing the vaccine industry for cash in the same way you would a slot machine or roulette wheel at Caesar’s Palace. If you can accurately calculate the odds and make your bet, then voila, in comes the money. Except slot machines don’t cause autism, and the roulette wheel, at least as far as we know, isn’t responsible for causing permanent neurological damage.

These and other life-changing injuries do result from vaccines, though, which the report likens to “human medicine.” But who really cares — it’s all about the money, and there’s quite a lot of it to be made from vaccines, which are the only products on the market today that are completely shielded from liability and paid for mostly with taxpayer dollars.

They’re also slowly being forced on the populace without informed consent, which makes vaccines anything but “human medicine.” Vaccines can more accurately be categorized as weapons of mass destruction, a Trojan Horse protocol of “medicine” that forever alters the human immune system and leaves it powerless to fight disease naturally and normally.

Many of those injected with vaccines develop autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks itself, thinking it’s a foreign invader. This is what vaccines do — they override natural immunity and bombard the body with all sorts of confusing antibodies and chemicals that often cause permanent, lifelong damage.

Based on this model, speculators can also predict how many vaccinated children will require further medical care in the form of pharmaceutical drugs and surgery, another high-profit gambling game that’s making a lot of people very, very rich.

“Progress worldwide in vaccines and healthcare will expand vaccination,” adds the press release, illustrating the disgusting return-on-investment approach to pushing the vaccine agenda. “[Y]ou [can] assess developed and developing countries for revenues and potential sales growth.”

Sources:

http://www.marketwatch.com

http://www.cnbc.com

http://www.bostonglobe.com

http://fortune.com

According to a story appearing in USA Today, the current NSA surveillance of Americans is based on an earlier, pre-9/11 program used by the DEA.

For over two decades, the DEA and the Justice Department collected logs on every phone call from the United States to over a hundred foreign countries. Officials said the operation was related to drug trafficking.

The program, said to have been discontinued by the Justice Department, is described as the first known effort to collect data on the phone calls of Americans in bulk without regard to the Fourth Amendment.

The Justice Department described the DEA program as “one of the most important and effective Federal drug law enforcement initiatives” as it went about trying to convince telecoms to turn over phone call records. The rationale was contained in a previously undisclosed letter sent to Sprint in 1998 by Mary Lee Warren, the head of the department’s Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section.

Warren said the operation had “been approved at the highest levels of Federal law enforcement authority,” including then-Attorney General Janet Reno and her deputy, Eric Holder.

The revelation provides additional evidence that the government is wantonly violating the constitutional rights of American citizens. Massive intelligence gathering aimed at the American people began at the end of the Second World War with the establishment of the national security state. The National Security Act of 1947 established the Department of Defense, the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.

In addition to the U.S. Army working with the country’s three major telegraph companies, ITT World International, RCA Global, and Western Union to monitor all telegrams moving in and out of the United States, the FBI began a massive surveillance program targeting dissidents and activists considered a threat to the establishment. COINTELPRO also included efforts to destroy the reputations of targeted individuals and other dirty tricks, allegedly also including violence and assassination.

In a study of the NSA, historian Thomas Johnson noted that the agency engaged in widespread wiretapping and watch-list operations and that it “seemed to understand were disreputable if not outright illegal” and unconstitutional.

“Decades before 9/11, and the subsequent Bush order that directed the NSA to eavesdrop on every phone call, e-mail message, and who-knows-what-else going into or out of the United States, U.S. citizens included, they did the same thing with telegrams. It was called Project Shamrock, and anyone who thinks this is new legal and technological terrain should read up on that program,” writes security analyst Bruce Schneier.

Louis Tordella, the Deputy Director of the agency from the late 50s until 1974, told congressional investigator L. Britt Snider “whatever they did, they did out of patriotic reasons. They had presumed NSA wanted the tapes to look for foreign intelligence.”

The USA Today report and the corporate media in general have failed to note that massive government surveillance of the American people predates September 11, 2001 and has been a prominent feature of the national security state since its establishment by President Harry Truman in 1947.

International aid groups estimate that more than 75 Yemeni children have been killed since the start of Operation Decisive Storm on March 26. (Photo: UNICEF)

Amid warnings that the Saudi-led attack on Yemen is taking a devastating toll on civilians, including more than 75 children killed since fighting began, the United States announced on Tuesday that it will be expediting the shipment of more weapons to fuel the conflict.

Speaking to reporters in Riyadh after meeting with Gulf Arab allies and Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said the United States is increasing its support, through more arms and intelligence-sharing, of Operation Decisive Storm.

International aid groups warn that the operation, which is being led by the Saudi Arabia military with backing from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, as well as the U.S. Pentagon, has had a devastating impact on the nation’s infrastructure and civilian population.

In a statement on Monday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that at least 74 children have been killed and 44 maimed since fighting began on March 26, while countless others have been injured, displaced and put at risk from disease.

“Children are paying an intolerable price for this conflict,” said UNICEF Yemen Representative Julien Harneis speaking from the Jordanian capital Amman. “They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted. These children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict, in line with international humanitarian law.”

UNICEF added that the estimated number of child deaths is “conservative” and is likely higher due to the intensifying conflict.

On Tuesday, a Saudi-led airstrike targeting a Houthi-controlled military base in the central Yemen province of Ibb crippled a nearby school, killing a 10- and 12-year-old while injuring dozens of other students, local residents told Xinhua News.

Meanwhile, fierce fighting between the coalition and rebels has spilled into the streets of the Aden peninsula in the south, a situation the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) described as “catastrophic.”

Marie Claire Feghali, spokesperson for ICRC Yemen, said that the humanitarian situation in all of Yemen is “very difficult…(with) naval, air and ground routes cut off.” Feghali described the situation in Aden as “catastrophic to say the least.”

“The war in Aden is on every street, in every corner… Many are unable to escape,” she said.

And Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Yemen representative Marie-Elisabeth Ingres said that hospitals in Aden in recent days have received fewer casualties, “not because there are no wounded people, but due to the difficulties faced in trying to reach a hospital.”

Bipartisan congressional hardliners, Israel and its Lobby intend going all-out to undermine a final deal on Iran’s known peaceful nuclear program.

On April 6, AIPAC manufactured what it called “significant concerns” about framework terms agreed on.

It claimed “(t)he emerging deal could leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state and encourage a Mideast nuclear arms race.”

It calls the best deal none at all – or one depriving Iran of its legitimate right to develop and use nuclear power the same as dozens of other nations not criticized.

AIPAC claims “profound national security implications” are at stake. “Congress must have a role.”

“Iran’s leaders cannot be trusted. Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, which it continues to promote on a global basis.”

“It has lied and cheated under its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations for three decades…”

It’s “buil(t) a whole nuclear infrstructure clandestinely. (It’s) actively cheating.”

It “refuse(s) to answer the IAEA’s questions about its efforts to weaponize…”

It “refuse(s) access to IAEA inspectors…(It) continues its illicit activity of importing sensitive nuclear technology…Until Iran comes clean, (it) can’t be trusted.

Fact: AIPAC’s rant makes bad fiction look good.

Fact: It repeatedly and systematically lies about Iran’s legitimate nuclear program.

Fact: It’s totally silent about Israel’s illicit one – a nuclear outlaw state maintaining a formidable thermonuclear arsenal.

Fact: Iran’s legal nuclear program threatens no one.

Fact: Congress has no right to serve imperial Israeli interests at the expense of legitimate Iranian ones – or those of any other nation.

Fact: Nothing whatever suggests Iran can’t be trusted.

Fact: Claims about Iranian sponsored terror are Big Lies.

Fact: So are bogus accusations of violating NPT provisions.

Fact: No Iranian clandestine nuclear infrastructure exists.

Fact: Its facilities are the world’s most intensively monitored.

Fact: It fully cooperates with IAEA inspectors.

Fact: Israel refuses to come clean on its program. Inspections are strictly prohibited.

Fact: Iran absolutely can and should be trusted – not Israel or America, known nuclear outlaws threatening world peace.

Media reports indicate Israeli officials and many congressional members intend going all-out to undermine a final Iranian nuclear deal by June 30.

So-called concerns about Tehran’s pathway to a bomb hold no water whatever. Malicious propaganda manufactures Big Lies.

Netanyahu absurdly claims Lausanne terms “threaten the survival of Israel” – increasing the risk of a “horrific war.”

Only if Israel or America launches it. On Monday, Israeli strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz said the “military option” against Iran still exists.

“It was on the table. It’s still on the table. It’s going to remain on the stable,” he stressed.

Despite no Iranian threat whatever (now, earlier or ahead), Steinitz blustered:

“Israel should be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. And it’s our right and duty to decide how to defend ourselves, especially if our national security and even very existence is under threat.”

Any deal with Iran “has to be made on the assumption that (it) may violate it.”

Steinitz listed demands he and likeminded Israeli hardliners insist on, including:

  • ending Iran’s (nonexistent) nuclear weapons R&D activities;
  • greatly reducing numbers of centrifuges more than P5+1 countries and Iran agreed on;
  • closing Fordow – located underground within a mountain for protection against possible US or Israel attacks;
  • complete disclosure of Iran’s past nuclear work;
  • removing Iran’s entire enriched uranium stockpile from the country; and
  • letting IAEA inspectors monitor any Iranian nuclear or other facilities any time at their discretion.

Obliging Israel would require entirely reworking terms agreed on – something P5+1 countries and Iran reject.

Steinitz claims Israeli military and intelligence officials identified what he called 10 “unanswered questions.”

They include doubts about Iran observing what it agreed to, how quickly sanctions could be reinstated if backtracking occurs, and eventual more advanced centrifuges reducing breakout time to a bomb to three or four months.

“All of our experts are united in their opposition to this bad deal,” Steinitz blustered.

Former IAEA deputy director-general/Zionist hardliner Olli Heinonen lied claiming Lausanne terms let Iran remain “a threshold breakout nuclear state for the next 10 years.”

After that, things get worse, he added. The deal will encourage other regional countries to strengthen their own nuclear programs, he claimed.

Heinonen and likeminded Zionist zealots want Iran isolated, weakened and eliminated as an Israeli regional political rival.

They want its government toppled. They want Big Oil able to exploit Iranian resources freely.

Obama said military action remains an option he’ll consider if Iran backtracks on nuclear deal terms reached.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes indicated the same thing, saying:

“Certainly, if Iran violates the agreement, all options are on the table related to Iran, including military options.”

On Monday, senior Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer said he’ll back legislation giving Congress vetting power over any final nuclear deal reached – what Obama strongly opposes.

His support appears to give the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act (NWFI) a veto-proof Senate margin. House members overwhelmingly support it.

Enactment could be a deal-breaker. Congress won’t support what Israel and its Lobby reject.

Whether a Security Council resolution supported by P5+1 countries can overcome their damage remains to be seen.

Resolving things responsibly with Iran (short-term at least) hangs in the balance.

Longer-term is an entirely different story given deep-rooted US anti-Iranian sentiment and America’s notorious history of breaching virtually all treaties, conventions, deals and core international laws.

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

On March 11, women who are planning to cross the DMZ separating the two Koreas held a press conference at the United Nations. They explained that 30 women from around the world would hold a walk for peace in Korea in May 2015.

The group hoped to meet with North Korean women in North Korea and then cross the DMZ into South Korea and meet with South Korean women. They proposed to hold peace symposiums with women in North and South Korea. They hoped to learn from women in both Koreas about their hopes and aspirations for peace and for unification.

This year, 2015, is the 70th anniversary of the division of Korea into two separate entities. Prior to the division of Korea, there was one Korea for over a thousand years. (1) The division of Korea set the stage for the Korean War in 1950-1953. While an armistice in 1953 ended the fighting, it did not end the war. The promised activities to resolve outstanding issues were to take place soon afterwards, but instead the discord has continued and in the absence of a peace treaty, there are continuing hostile encounters between the two Koreas.

In order to work toward unification, a peace framework is needed. Also a peace treaty ending the Korean War would help resolve outstanding problems so as to make peace on the Korean peninsula more of a possibility. The group of international women hope their trip will contribute toward such efforts.

In October 2000, the UN Security Council passed resolution, UNSCR 1325 which recognizes the contribution women can make toward creating peaceful resolutions of conflicts.(2) The significant aspect of this Security Council resolution is that it calls for an important role for women not only in preventing and resolving conflicts, but as part of the decision making processes.

The preamble to the resolution states: “Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.”

This language is reinforced in the text of the resolution, which urges in Paragraph 1 that member states increase the role of women in all decision making levels of conflict resolution and peace processes. The Resolution:

“1.Urges Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict;”

To support this effort by member states, the UN is urged to act in a complementary way. The Resolution:

“2. Encourages the Secretary-General to implement his strategic plan of action (A/49/587) calling for an increase in the participation of women at decision-making levels in conflict resolution and peace processes;”

Hence the activity of women is not narrowed down only to acting on issues related to the impact of conflict and war on women, but the role envisioned for women is one of active and empowered participants in all levels of the peace making and conflict resolution processes.

In a recent article Ann Wright, one of the women who will be part of the group of 30 women walking for peace in Korea, wrote that the group had received tentative support for their trip from North Korea and a response from the United Nations Command (UN Command) at the DMZ that if South Korea is agreeable with the proposal, the UN Command will approve it.

While the UN has continually supported UN Resolution 1325 through follow up resolutions or presidential statements from the UN Security Council each year since the passage of UNSCR 1325, there has not been any indication from the UN Secretary General yet of support for the trip.

A question was raised to his spokesperson on March 11 as to whether the announced “plans for a peace march through the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea is something that the Secretary General would support.” The Secretary General’s Spokesperson responded: “Let me take a look at what was announced, and I will get back to you a bit later.” But no response has yet been provided.

Similarly, the day after the group’s press conference at the UN announcing its plans, the question of whether or not South Korea would support the trip was raised to the South Korean Minister of Gender Equality and Family who was visiting the UN at the time. She promised to get back to the journalist raising the question by email, but there has not yet been any response from her.

Though the group had not yet gotten official approval from South Korea, according to Ann Wright, there are some signs that it will get a positive response.

In her article, Ann Wright writes(3):

“You might wonder, what will this peace walk do? For one, it has already conveyed several important messages: 1. The Korean War must end with a peace treaty; 2. Women can and must be involved at all levels of peacemaking; and 3. We must act now to reunite millions of families tragically divided by a man-made division. If the barbed wire fences lining the DMZ were erected by men over 60 years ago, men and women have the power to bring them down.”

Ms. Ronda Hauben is one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media. 

http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2015/03/31/women-plan-walk-across-the-dmz-to-support-peace-and-korean-unification/

Notes

(1)United Nations Command As Camouflage: On the Role of the UN in the Unending Korean War

http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2013/08/31/united-nations-command-as-camouflage

2)http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1325%20%282000%29

3) Ann Wright, Women Walk for Peace in Korea, March 28, 2015, at PopularResistance.org

https://www.popularresistance.org/women-walk-for-peace-in-korea

Foreign Policy Magazine recently had a column called Cranks, Trolls, and Useful Idiots, in which the author, Dalibor Rohac, hunts down “Russia’s information warriors” who, he claims, have infested the web with their lies and propaganda on websites potentially paid for by the Russian government.

Rohac writes:

“Throughout the conflict in eastern Ukraine, these sites have systematically regurgitated Russian propaganda, spreading lies, half-truths, and conspiracy theories, often directly translated from Russian sources…

The Czech weekly Respekt published a feature article about the mysterious “news” site Aeronet (also known as AENews). Started in 2001 by aviation fans, the domain has changed ownership several times.  Since the summer of 2014 it has regularly published articles accusing the new Ukrainian government of fascism and claiming that American and British mercenaries were fighting in eastern Ukraine.  (Dalibor Rohac, Cranks, Trolls, and Useful Idiots, Foreign Policy, March 12, 2015)

First let’s look at the weakness of the claims in the article.

The author accuses news outlets of doing exactly what he himself and the U.S. mainstream media in general does when reporting about foreign policy issues such as Ukraine: they “systematically [regurgitate U.S. propaganda, spread] lies, half-truths, and conspiracy theories.” The advantage they have is that they don’t need to translate anything. Apparently for Rohac an article written in Russian has to be Russian propaganda. It’s that simple: Russians are just not producing any honest journalistic content. This argument about texts being “directly translated from Russian sources” is not only weak, it is xenophobic.

In addition the author’s examples to prove his points are unsound. Aeronet is not the only website to have not only accused but also proven the fascistic nature of the Ukrainian government. Numerous independent media outlets have published countless articles to that effect, demonstrating that several key figures within the unelected government were neo-Nazis and that the Azov Battalion was filled with members linked to neo-Nazi groups:

The Cabinet is not only integrated by the Svoboda and Right Sector (not to mention former members of defunct fascist UNA-UNSO), the two main Neo-Nazi entities have been entrusted with key positions which grant them de facto control over the Armed Forces, Police, Justice and National Security.

While Yatsenuyk’s Fatherland Party controls the majority of portfolios and Svoboda Neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok was not granted a major cabinet post (apparently at the request of assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland), members of Svoboda and the Right Sector occupy key positions in the areas of Defense, Law Enforcement, Education and Economic Affairs. (Michel Chossudovsky, The U.S. has Installed a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine, Global Resarch, March 2014)

Even mainstream media like The Guardian and the BBC admitted that “many members [of the Azov Battalion] have links with neo-Nazi groups”, although they downplay their own claims saying that it’s “overblown”:

“I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia,” said Dmitry, [a member of the Azov battalion,]… “But Putin’s not even a Russian. Putin’s a Jew.”

The battalion’s symbol is reminiscent of the Nazi Wolfsangel, though the battalion claims it is in fact meant to be the letters N and I crossed over each other, standing for “national idea”. Many of its members have links with neo-Nazi groups, and even those who laughed off the idea that they are neo-Nazis did not give the most convincing denials. (Shaun Walker, Azov fighters are Ukraine’s greatest weapon and may be its greatest threat, The Guardian, September 10, 2014)

Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years’ experience in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is currently fighting with the Azov Battalion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer armed group in eastern Ukraine…. As to his political views, Mr Skillt prefers to call himself a nationalist, but in fact his views are typical of a neo-Nazi

Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white people. His next project is to go fight for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is standing up to “international Zionism”. (Dina Newman , Ukraine conflict: ‘White power’ warrior from Sweden, BBC News, July 16 2014)

As for Rohac’s second argument regarding Western mercenaries fighting in Urkaine, in May last year several media reported that mercenaries from the private military company Blackwater, now called Academi, were operating in Ukraine. The information came not from the Kremlin but rather from a German news source and was published by the German mainstream newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

About 400 elite mercenaries from the notorious US private security firm Academi (formerly Blackwater) are taking part in the Ukrainian military operation against anti-government protesters in southeastern regions of the country, German media reports.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper, citing a source in intelligence circles, wrote Sunday that Academi employees are involved in the Kiev military crackdown on pro-autonomy activists in near the town of Slavyansk, in the Donetsk region. (400 US mercenaries ‘deployed on ground’ in Ukraine military op, RT.com, May 11, 2014)

A few days after the German revelations, the mainstream French Magazine Paris Match published an article including witnesses saying they saw foreign mercenaries on the ground in Ukraine:

Christopher Garrett aka Leon Swampy

Several witness (sic) also said they heard some of the gunmen speaking with strong western Ukraine accents. They also noticed that some of the gunmen appeared to come from the Caucasus area, possibly mercenaries from Chechnya. Other gunmen never spoke a word and seemed foreign to the region. French war photographer Jerome Sessini spent about an hour face to face with the gunmen before they opened fire. “ I found that their general attitude and their very precise techniques gave off the impression that they were American mercenaries, or people trained by American mercenaries ” said Sessini.

“I can’t guarantee this for sure, but I’d give it a 95 per cent, ” added the photographer, who frequently interacted with various U.S. security contractors during his years covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Krasnoarmeysk, several of the gunmen were masked or wearing keffieh-style cloaks, which made it difficult to pinpoint whom among them had fired the lethal shots. Alfred De Montesquiou, Revelations on the Krasnoarmeysk Killing, Paris Match, May 15 2014)

In late January this year, an armed man in uniform clearly speaking with an English accent has also been caught on camera by a Ukrainian local news channel. He was later identified as Christopher Garrett aka Leon Swampy.  According to RT, he was not the only one:

Armed people in uniform speaking fluent English with no accent have been spotted in Mariupol in the aftermath of the rocket hit, fuelling allegations that foreign private military contractors are serving among Ukrainian troops. (RT, Ukraine: Military-Clad English-speakers Caught on Camera in Mariupol Shelling Aftermath. Who Are They?, January 26, 2015)

It is also well-documented that  the French have been recruiting fighters for Ukraine. Former member of the French Foreign Legion Gaston Besson was a recruiter for the Azov Battalion. More on NATO legions here.

So, as we can see, what the Foreign Policy writer calls “accusations” and “claims” are actually verified and easily verifiable facts for anyone who knows how to use a computer.

He admits “there is no direct evidence linking the Aeronet site to Russia”, while suggesting that “it is run by an individual or organization whose motives are closely aligned with those of the Kremlin”.

The reasons he invokes to justify the possible link are flimsy at best: “the politics of the site’s content, the secrecy surrounding it, and its relatively professional appearance”. In addition, Rohac stresses, the Aeronet editor says “he sometimes travels to Moscow for business, adding that he has ‘friends in Russia.’” That does not prove anything and would not hold in front of a judge.

The Areonet website is clearly critical of the U.S. and of the anti-Russian propaganda, but that doesn’t systematically imply Russian funding. There are numerous Western independent news outlets, including this one, which express a similar view and have no links to the Russian government.

This Foreign Policy piece is typical of the post-9/11 Western mainstream media witch hunt. In today’s world, if you publish articles that criticize Western policies and contradict the one-sided Western media narrative, you are either a “conspiracy website” or a shadow propaganda outlet of the Kremlin or whoever is the enemy du jour. What has become obvious to many Western citizens, is that those who are making accusations are committing the misdemeanor. The Western mainstream media has been engaged in war propaganda for Washington for a very long time and has spread numerous conspiracy theories (Iraq’s WMDs, the Syrian government using chemical weapons on civilians, Gaddafi forces raping Libyan women on Viagra, among many others).

U.S.-funded “independent” media abroad

While accusations against Russia’s “shadow funding” of state-controlled news outlets abound in the Western mainstream media, we hardly, if ever, hear about the U.S. funding of foreign media.

The U.S. government funds media abroad and, most of the time, covers its tracks by giving money to so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which in turn give grants to foreign news outlets aligned with the Western mainstream media narrative.

When Russia does it, the media on the receiving end is described as a state-controlled media. When the U.S. engages in this kind of endeavour, however, it is presented in its very own Orwellian way as an effort to “develop an independent media sector abroad”. State-funded “independent media?” That sure sounds like an oxymoron.

Since 2007, the US government has directly given at least $25.5 million dollars in grants to various US non-profit organizations for media projects in Ukraine only. On 18 grants, 14 went to Internews Network. A quick look at its website shows it is aligned with the Western mainstream media narrative, thus, with the White House’s foreign policy agenda. Among Internews Network’s donors are numerous Western governmental agencies and well-known “democracy makers”, namely organizations committed to furthering US interests abroad under the guise of defending democracy and human rights. Here are some of them:

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Rockefeller Family & Associates

Rockefeller Foundation John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

John S. and James L Knight Foundation

Google

Open Society Foundations

Omidyar Network

European Commission

Various Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International development Agencies (Netherlands,  Norway,  Sweden, UK, U.S.)

World Bank Group

Freedom House

National Democratic Institute (NDI) (Demorats’ non-profit organization)

National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy have proven to be CIA partners in the past. As Robert Parry explained, “Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy stress their commitment to freedom of thought and democracy, but both cooperated with a CIA-organized propaganda operation in the 1980s, according to documents released by Ronald Reagan’s presidential library.”

NED has been connected countless times to “activists” in foreign countries who are opposing governments which do not submit to Washington. In a way, NED has replaced the CIA. On its about page it states that after WWII, “U.S. policy makers resorted to covert means, secretly sending advisers, equipment, and funds to support newspapers and parties under siege in Europe. When it was revealed in the late 1960′s that some American PVO’s were receiving covert funding from the CIA to wage the battle of ideas at international forums, the Johnson Administration concluded that such funding should cease, recommending establishment of ‘a public-private mechanism’ to fund overseas activities openly.”

And NED was born. It describes itself as non-governmental even though it is “funded largely by the U.S. Congress… distributing funds to private organizations for the purpose of promoting democracy abroad.” Since it is well known and documented that the U.S. has a long history of overthrowing democratically elected left-wing governments and supporting dictatorships around the world, such as Saudi Arabia, NED’s “purpose of promoting democracy abroad” is preposterous.

As we can see in these articles from the 70′s and 80′s, Johnson’s establishment of “’a public-private mechanism’ to fund overseas activities openly” did not stop CIA media propaganda.

Rare moment of truth in The New York Times in 1977 “investigating the CIA’s role in global propaganda efforts, including Radio Free Asia.” Click on the image for the source.

Article in the September 22, 1981 Santa Cruz Sentinel about a CIA disinformation campaign. Click on the image for the source.

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), a project of the National Endowment for Democracy, published several yearly reports on media development around the world.

The first report was called U.S. Public and Private Funding of Independent Media Development Abroad.

The report’s stated goal is to “learn who are the major donors, on what part of the sector they focus (direct assistance to media outlets, journalism training, public information campaigns, improving the legal environment for media, and media management) and what opportunities exist to educate potential donors about the importance of developing independent media as an essential component of democratic societies.”

Some of the key findings of the 2007 report were:

- U.S. funding for international media development in 2006—public and private—exceeded $142 million;

- U.S. government funding totaled nearly $69 million;

- Funding from government-supported nonprofit organizations—the National Endowment for Democracy and U.S. Institute of Peace—totaled $13 million

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State/Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor were the most important governmental donors, respectively giving $ 49,684,000 and $ 11,800,000 in 2006 alone. The number one private donor that same year was the Open Society Institute with $40 million, followed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with $7 million.

Particularly of interest is the government’s strategy for 2007-2012 outlaid in the report. According to the State Department-U.S. Agency for International Development’s Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2007-2012, the government will “advance media freedom by helping to create and develop independent media outlets…”

USAID plays a key role in funding “independent” media overseas, especially in the former Soviet Union:

“As a result of efforts in post-Soviet states to transform state-controlled media into independent media, Europe and Eurasia is the only one of USAID’s four geographic bureaus with a designated media development expert.” (Ibid.)

The rhetoric used in this report is pure propaganda and does not even bother being logical. It clearly says that the U.S. state is investing money and resources “to transform state-controlled media into independent media”. If it is funded by the U.S. state, how can it be labeled independent? What we are led to believe is that Russian-funded media is state-controlled whereas U.S.-funded media is “independent”.

For some reason, maybe reason itself, in the 2010 report called U.S. Government Funding for Media Development, the word “independent” has been removed. It states that U.S. funding for foreign media rose “dramatically” between 2005-2010:

“Over the past five years, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have spent more than a half billion dollars to support international media development… The State Department and USAID budgets for fiscal year 2010 totaled more than $47.9 billion. Of this sum, less than .3 percent—or $140.7 million—was spent on media development efforts. Still, this represents a 36 percent—or $37.3 million—increase from media development spending in the previous fiscal year and an even more dramatic rise when compared with the $68.9 million spent five years earlier.”

Source: CIMA 2010 report

The US government even directly funds Russian media. For example, in 2011-2012 USAID gave $2 540 000 in grants for a program called “Independent print media in Russia”. The top recipients are Russian organizations FNE and Foundation Finformpolicy Dvl.

It sounds very little but, as we saw earlier, most of the state funding for “media development”, in other words for propaganda and political subversion, is channeled through government-funded “non-governmental” organizations such as NED and Freedom House to obscure the origins of the funding. These organizations will surely not give grants to news outlets which oppose the Western mainstream media narrative.

NED’s 2012 annual report, for example, shows over $4,6 million in funding for various “freedom of information” programs in Russia alone, including but not limited to: $74,730 “To continue developing an environmental investigative journalism network in Russia” and $80,000 to an organization which “will monitor the use of torture by law enforcement officials through reports in the regional press and consultations offered at its local headquarters. The organization will publicize the results of its monitoring on its website, through partner NGOs, and in local and national media outlets.”

If the amount spent by the U.S. government on “independent” media has decreased in recent years, CIMA explains in its 2013 report U.S. Government Funding for Media: Trends and Strategies that it is due to “the cutbacks in media development funding associated with the U.S. drawdowns in Iraq and especially Afghanistan, a drop of $28 million from 2010 to 2012 in South and Central Asia and $17.7 million in the Near East.”

Two spikes in U.S. government funding occurred since CIMA started reporting: “The data showed a spike in funding in 2008 as part a major investment in democracy and governance– including media–in Iraq and another in 2010 due to a similar investment in Afghanistan.”

This is very telling and completely destroys the “independent media” idea being promoted by the U.S. government and NED. It clearly shows that in the last decade the US government has substantially increased its funding of “independent media” in countries it has illegally invaded and militarily occupied.

How can the U.S. claim to be funding media development to “advance freedom” as claimed in the 2007 report, when the money comes after it has waged illegal wars against countries, killed millions of their citizens, destroyed their infrastructures and militarily occupied them?

If that’s not the essence of propaganda and state-controlled media, what is?

Lithuanian prosecutors have reportedly reopened a criminal investigation into claims that state security officials helped the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to operate a ‘black site’ in the Baltic country.

Senior prosecutor Irmantas Mikelionis has decided to restart the investigation into the “possible abuse” of power by state employees, the spokeswoman for the prosecutor-general’s office told Reuters in an email on Thursday.

The investigation into Lithuania’s criminal complicity in the CIA program was terminated in January 2011 due to lack of evidence. However, prosecutors decided to reopen it after the US Senate report issued last year said that Washington paid Vilnius $1 million in appreciation for establishing the detention center.

The first report about Lithuania’s cooperation with the CIA, published by ABC news in 2009, said that eight terror suspects were held at a secret CIA rendering prison in the Baltic country from 2004 to 2005. The same year the Lithuanian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defense (CNSD) launched a parliamentary inquiry into the establishment of such a detention center. Following the investigation, CNSD recommended launching a criminal inquiry, which was opened in 2010. The inquiry focused of the abuse of power by State Security Department (SSD) employees, but was closed the next year.

In 2010, the United Nations released a study conducted by independent investigators, which said that aircraft related to the CIA program secretly landed in Lithuania. Human rights groups Amnesty international and REPRIEVE supported the claim in 2011, releasing information on possible routes of CIA rendition flights. However, prosecutors said this information was not significant enough to reopen the investigation.

On Thursday, the Lithuanian prosecution spokeswoman said the re-started investigation had been merged with a separate but related probe into allegations that a US detainee had been illegally moved across Lithuania’s borders.

Lithuania has never acknowledged its participation in the CIA program, launched after the 11 September 2001 attacks when the US declared war on terror. Amnesty international has urged Lithuania and other European governments to come clean over their alleged cooperation in terror operations with the CIA following the Senate report that a staggering 54 countries co-operated with the agency.

Czechoslovak reserve forces against the war planned by NATO commanders

On January 19th 2015 the facebook group, which combines all members of the CSLA, PS, VMV, SNB in reserve or decommissioned, issued an important memorandum, which has become even more urgent in light of the situation today. A defensive back up location in the event that the group gets „disappeared“ from Facebook, the group of the same name exists on VK.com. as well.

For the first time since the end of the 2nd World War we see a genuine threat of war yet again. Consequently, we consider it necessary to issue the following statement.

We, the Czechoslovak soldiers in reserve, unanimously reject any participation in battles that are geopolitical acts of aggression of the global elite by way of NATO and the support of our governments.

We swore to defend our homeland the Czech and Slovak Republics. We swore to protect the freedom and independence of our proud and sovereign nations, for which our ancestors laid down their lives in the world wars. We are guided by this oath in a civilian initiative to deal with a crisis situation. Freedom and independence is being jeopardized long time by a system of representative pseudo-democracy, where an elected representative does not have the obligation to advance the interests of voters and in practice, laws represent but the personal interests of the legislators, the interests of political parties and economic interest groups. Our homeland is under the pressure of global elites and economic interest groups, who are doing away with the power of citizens through a system of representative democracy.

Our deliberately flawed constitution and charter of rights and freedoms is being perverted and constitutional laws are violated by legislators themselves. Legislative power is being privatized, executive power is being politicized and judicial power corrupted by lobbying laws and pressure from our governments. The results are an unplayable public deficit, deindustrialization, the privatization of the republic’s property and defrauded budgets, food and energy dependence, the privatization of natural resources, pensions and the health of citizens. Our country has been unlawfully divided, looted, indebted, people enslaved and their families liquidated by repossession genocide, national infrastructure transferred into the hands of western corporations. Destructive chaos and despair dominates in the community.

For this reason, we the Czechoslovak soldiers in reserve recognize our military oath and together we come with a vision for the defense of our nations. We unequivocally reject fighting in the ranks of NATO against the Russian federation or other Slavic nations and we likewise intend to stand up firmly through organized civilian pressure against the further liquidation of our democracy, freedom and independence. We are uniting in a crisis situation and by utilizing our civilian and military skills and expertise we intend to create sufficiently strong, organized civil pressure for the period of time necessary to assert our patriotic goals.

We swore allegiance to our homeland, the Czech and Slovak Republics.

We, the Czechoslovak reserve soldiers,

will fulfill this oath!

Understanding the U.S.-Iran Agreement

April 8th, 2015 by Mazda Majidi

Image: Iranians celebrate the nuclear agreement.

On April 2, the United States, Iran and other parties to the months-long negotiations announced an agreement on principles on Iran’s nuclear program. As planned, diplomats and technocrats from all sides are expected to work out the details by the end of June.

With the negotiations having been conducted behind closed doors, there were few confirmed details prior to the announcement of the agreement. And no solid and undisputed specifics have emerged since. The sides consented to having each side publish their own version of a five-page document on the “parameters” of the agreement. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has characterized that document as “spin,” saying that it had been drawn up under Israeli and congressional pressure.

At the broadest level, the give and take of the negotiations had to do with the level to which Iran’s nuclear program would be limited and the speed with which the sanctions against Iran would be lifted.

Should a final agreement be reached and implemented, Iran will have to significantly reduce or eliminate the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity and minimize the amount of stored 20 percent enriched uranium, which it uses in its medical isotopes. Iran will also have to accept limitations on the amount of uranium it enriches to any level and allow intrusive and frequent inspections of its nuclear facilities. In exchange, sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations will be removed or suspended, likely in phases.

Why Washington engaged in serious negotiations

Negotiations with Iran go back over a decade. But it has only been during President Obama’ second term that Washington has shown a real interest in reaching an agreement. Prior to that, what passed as negotiating was the U.S. issuing ultimatums, complemented with threats of military action. But the Obama administration and its wing of the U.S. ruling class have reached the conclusion that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a regional power, cannot be eliminated.

The Obama administration is domestically selling the agreement as a means of keeping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon capability and bringing it under some level of control. While Obama will, no doubt, jump at any chance to overthrow the Iranian state should the opportunity arise, his administration is accepting that regime change is not in the cards today.

Congressional opposition to the agreement is strong, not just among the Republicans, who are now the majority in both houses of Congress, but also among some Democrats. Historically, imperialist powers rarely accept anything less than a complete capitulation from oppressed countries, which they consider to be their subjects. So it is understandable why a significant part of the ruling class is repulsed by the idea of the U.S. reaching any agreement with Iran, irrespective of the specifics.

But the fact remains that the more hawkish wing of the U.S. foreign policy establishment does not really have an alternative. The U.S. lacks the resources to launch a full-scale invasion of Iran. And aerial bombings, no matter how intense, will not bring about regime change. War hawks like John Bolton and John McCain have called for Israel to bomb Iran. But if Israel were to bomb Iran, its main significance would be if it were to serve as a prelude to a U.S. bombing campaign. Israel has a formidable air force, thanks to U.S. patronage. However, even if Israel managed a wildly successful air campaign, making it to Iran through two other countries’ airspace, avoiding Iran’s air defenses and doing significant damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities, such an attack would only persuade Iran to move nuclear work to its facilities at Fordow, deep in a mountain, and possibly other underground facilities.

What the Western powers and Israel really need is the overthrow of the state in Tehran. And, under the current circumstances, no scenario will yield that result. The Obama administration’s pursuit of imposing severe restrictions on Iran while putting regime change efforts on hold for now is a recognition of this fact.

Why Tehran agrees to restrictions

The announcement of the agreement was met with people celebrating in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere. However, significant parts of the people and the political establishment strongly resent the agreement. They view any restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program as inherently unfair, and justifiably so. After years of sanctions and threats, and the assassination of several nuclear scientists, they view reaching an agreement with the U.S. as a betrayal of Iran’s independence.

How can Iran be subjected to limitations on its nuclear program on the pretext that it might one day want to develop nuclear weapons when the imposers of the restrictions are nuclear-armed states themselves? If threats made by various officials against the state of Israel are the basis for Iran posing a grave danger, why is it okay that Israel and the U.S. have for years been making threats against Iran, including the threat of nuclear attacks? Or is making threats of bombing and annihilation the sole prerogative of the U.S. and Israel? Why can “all options” be on the table for the U.S. and Israel, which do actually have nuclear warheads, when Iran is not allowed to state that it will retaliate if attacked?

The economic sanctions against Iran were the determining factor in forcing it to make significant concessions. The sanctions did not completely paralyze Iran’s economy, as the U.S. and its imperialist junior partners had hoped. But they did result in a significant economic slowdown, the effects of which are most painfully felt by the working class. According to a report Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen presented to the U.S. Senate following the comprehensive U.S. and E.U. sanctions imposed in 2010, Iran’s economy is 15 to 20 percent smaller than it would have been without sanctions. Whether or not this figure is exaggerated, the fact remains that the extreme hardship imposed on Iran in conducting international commerce, including the sales of its oil and gas, has had a devastating effect on its economy.

Despite being forced to make significant concessions, this is far from a capitulation. For years, various U.S. officials had stated emphatically that Iran needed to halt its nuclear work altogether. The only way for Iran to be welcomed by the “international community,” meaning the imperialist club, would be for it to shut down its nuclear program—no nuclear work would be tolerated. Whatever the details of the current agreement turn out to be, it is clear that Washington has had to significantly backtrack from that demand. Iran will maintain a nuclear program, including its nuclear power plant in Bushehr and its uranium enriching centrifuges, while having mastered nuclear technology in several fields.

Imperialists do not typically back down from demands they place on oppressed countries. The case of the former Yugoslavia is a case in point. Before the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, in what were called negotiations, U.S. representatives presented the Rambouillet Accord on a “take it or leave it” basis to the president of Yugoslavia, Slovodan Milosevic. Rambouillet would require Yugoslavia to sign away its sovereignty and accept a NATO occupation of its soil. When Yugoslavia’s government understandably refused, the Clinton administration claimed that it had no choice but to bomb Yugoslavia.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is no Rambouillet. President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif could rightly point to the fact that Iran has forced the United States to accept its right to nuclear technology, however much the U.S. political establishment may resent this. Assuming that the agreement is finalized, it will be far from Washington’s maximum demand, a complete halt to Iran’s nuclear program. For an oppressed country, once under the complete dominance of the U.S.-installed Shah, this is a significant accomplishment. It is another nail in the coffin of the myth of imperialist invincibility.

The threat to world peace is not the Iranian government. The U.S. government continues to be the most militaristic state in the world, whether under the softer leadership of Obama or the harder leadership of the neocons or the foreign policy hawks, which include many Democrats. Maintaining military bases around the world to uphold the capability to launch wars against any country requires an astronomical military budget. The U.S. working class, not the corporations, bear the brunt of this bloated military budget. But U.S. militarism, the requirement of imperialist dominance, serves the interests of the corporations, which maximize their profits by exploiting the working class here at home and getting their government to oppress other countries abroad. Fighting the imperialist establishment serves the interests of the U.S. working class.

The New York Times depicts the crowd in front of Yankee Stadium–but doesn’t investigate whether the security measures that caused the crowd make anyone more secure. (NYT photo: Ruth Fremson)

The opening of the baseball season this week brought with it an unpleasant surprise for fans: Starting this year, Major League Baseball is requiring walkthrough metal detectors at all entrances, leading to long lines as opening day crowds queued up to be scanned. The New York Times (4/7/15) and Associated Press (4/6/15) both surveyed fans at multiple stadiums, mostly finding some exasperation (“It’s a hassle, but not that bad,” one 19-year-old Philadelphia Phillies fan told the Times) but overall acceptance of what the Times called a “robust new security policy borrowed from the counterterrorism arena.”

The reaction from fans — and readers — might have been different if any of the reporters had asked actual security experts about the efficacy of metal detectors at preventing terrorism. Because as I found in researching the topic for Vice Sports  (9/23/14) last fall, there’s no evidence that walkthrough metal detectors at airports or ballgames make anybody safer — and reason to believe they may even make us less safe. As I reported, Alabama economist Walter Enders, who has co-authored several metal detector studies,

says that the main effect of tighter security at stadium entrances will likely be to drive any hypothetical attackers—and let’s remember that no actual terrorists have actually attacked sports venues in America outside of that time Bruce Dern tried it—to set off bombs outside stadiums instead, which would not be a happy outcome: “You’re trying to get in the door, there’s 20,000 people standing around outside. I could do a lot of damage there, just as easily as I could if I brought the thing inside. Maybe even more.” (His students, Enders notes, are constantly wondering aloud why no one ever simply flies an airplane over a stadium and drops an explosive device out the window.)

Besides, if we really cared about safety, Enders says, we’d do things like ensure that bag checks actually check bags, beyond a quick look to ensure that no one is smuggling in unauthorized foodstuffs. “I just went to see Alabama/West Virginia in Atlanta,” he notes. “My wife and I wanted to bring something in to drink. I said, ‘Put it in the bottom of the purse, and we’ll put the binoculars and the program on top, and that’s the end of that.’”

Harvard’s Bruce Schneier, meanwhile, who coined the term “security theater” for measures that look tough but accomplish little, said ballpark metal detectors were a perfect example of this phenomenon, noting that driving to the game is far more dangerous than anything you’ll face once you take your seats: “The police are eight or nine times more likely to kill you than a terrorist. This kind of crap is what the terrorists winning looks like.”

Neither Schneier, Enders nor other independent experts were consulted in any of the opening day news coverage; the Times cited only John D. Cohen, who as the Department of Homeland Security’s counterterrorism chief until last summer helped put in place the policies that MLB drew on to develop its new program. In articles previewing the new detectors, the Arizona Republic (4/3/15) merely cited the Arizona Diamondbacks’ website claim that the new policy was meant to “make this ballpark and others around the country safe by utilizing enhanced security procedures,” while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (4/2/15) consulted no one at all beyond noting that fans “accepted the enhanced security as a sensible, if depressing, development.” Asking questions about why the detectors are needed was left to a few bloggers;NBCSports.com‘s Craig Calcaterra (4/7/15) wrote that

I am aware of no security dangers inside ballparks — no widespread or systemic incidents of violence, terror or anything else — which made this new rule reasonable and necessary in the first place.

Some fans exhibited the skepticism that’s supposed to be the hallmark of journalism. “It’s a solution in search of a problem,” Phillies fan Jeff Young told the Associated Press. “If somebody wants to do something, they’ll figure out a way to do it. It just inconveniences roughly 2 million people a year for the sake of what? To me, it seems like a show.” It’s a reasonable question. Unfortunately, most daily news reporters haven’t bothered to try to answer it.

On the morning of April 1st, the White House issued a new executive order (EO) that asserts that malicious “cyber-enabled activities” are a national threat, declares a national emergency, and establishes sanctions and other consequences for individuals and entities. While computer and information security is certainly very important, this EO could dangerously backfire, and chill the very security research that is necessary to protect people from malicious attacks.

We wish we could say it was a very well-orchestrated April Fool’s joke, it appears the White House was serious. The order is yet another example of bad responses to very real security concerns. It comes at the same time as Congress is considering the White House’s proposal for fundamentally flawed cybersecurity legislation.

That perhaps shouldn’t be surprising, since so far, D.C.’s approach to cybersecurity hasn’t encouraged better security through a better understanding of the threats we face (something security experts internationally have pointed out is necessary). Instead of encouraging critical security research into vulnerabilities, or creating a better way to disclose vulnerabilities, this order could actually discourage that research.

The most pernicious provision, Section 1(ii)(B), allows the Secretary of the Treasury, “in consultation with” the Attorney General and Secretary of State, to make a determination that an person or entity has “materially … provided … technological support for, or goods or services in support of any” of these malicious attacks.

While that may sound good on its face, the fact is that the order is dangerously overbroad. That’s because tools that can be used for malicious attacks are also vital for defense. For example, penetration testing is the process of attempting to gain access to computer systems, without credentials like a username. It’s a vital step in finding system vulnerabilities and fixing them before malicious attackers do. Security researchers often publish tools, and provide support for them, to help with this testing. Could the eo be used to issue sanctions against security researchers who make and distribute these tools? On its face, the answer is…maybe.

To be sure, President Obama has said that “this executive order [does not] target the legitimate cybersecurity research community or professionals who help companies improve their cybersecurity.” But assurances like this are not enough. Essentially, with these words, Obama asks us to trust the Executive, without substantial oversight, to be able to make decisions about the property and rights of people who may not have much recourse once that decision has been made, and who may well not get prior notice before the hammer comes down. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice has used anti-hacking laws far too aggressively to gain that trust.

As several security researchers who spoke up against similarly problematic terms in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act recently pointed out in an amicus brief:

There are relatively few sources of pressure to fix design defects, whether they be in wiring, websites, or cars. The government is not set up to test every possible product or website for defects before its release, nor should it be; in addition, those defects in electronic systems that might be uncovered by the government (for instance, during an unrelated investigation) are often not released, due to internal policies. Findings by industry groups are often kept quiet, under the assumption that such defects will never come to light—just as in Grimshaw (the Ford Pinto case). The part of society that consistently serves the public interest by finding and publicizing defects that will harm consumers is the external consumer safety research community, whether those defects be in consumer products or consumer websites.

It’s clear that security researchers play an essential function. It was researchers (not the government) who discovered and conscientiously spread the news about Heartbleed, Shellshock, and POODLE, three major vulnerabilities discovered in 2014. Those researchers should not have to question whether or not they will be subject to sanctions.

To make matters worse, while most of the provisions specify that they apply to activity taking place outside of or mostly outside of the US, Section 1(ii)(B) has no such limitation. We have concerns about how the order applies to everyone. But this section also brings up constitutional due process concerns. That is, if it were to apply to people protected by the U.S. Constitution, it could violate the Fifth Amendment right to due process.

As we’ve had to point out repeatedly in the discussions about reforming the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, unclear laws, prosecutorial (or in this case, Executive Branch) discretion, coupled with draconian penalties are not the answer to computer crime.

UNASUR Secretary-General, and former Colombian president Ernesto Samper recently suggested that Latin American countries should begin to renegotiate the terms of their relationship with the United States government, and request that they close their military bases within these countries.

His sentiments are shared by many residents of South and Central America, as well as many of the governments. Samper suggested that this week’s “Summit of the Americas” would be a good place for Latin American politicians to start this conversation.

“A good point on the new agenda of relations [in Latin America] would be the elimination of US military bases,” Samper said. Samper also suggested that these military bases that the US government has scattered throughout the world are remnants of the cold war.

“In a globalized world like the present one, you can’t ask for global rules for the economy and maintain unilateral rules for politics. No country has the right to judge the conduct of another and even less to impose sanctions and penalties on their own,” he added.

It is unknown exactly how many military bases that the United States government has scattered throughout the world because so many of them are secret and off the record. Some reports suggest that the number is as low as 500, with other suggesting that it is around 1000 or even higher. The US has 227 military bases in Germany alone.

John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.

In the 1960s, Vietnam war protesters chanted “Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?”

Obama way exceeds his ruthlessness – murdering and maiming noncombatants in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Donbass, Palestinians complicit with Israel and now Yemen.

Who’s next? Everywhere he shows up, mass slaughter and destruction follow. So does horrific human suffering words can’t explain.

Make no mistake. Yemen is Obama’s war. Months of preparation preceded hostilities. Detailed planning chose targets now terror-bombed.

Saudi-led forces are US proxies, serving American regional interests over the corpses of likely many thousands before conflict ends.

Neocon lunatics in Washington consider it a small price to pay. International law calls it the highest of high crimes.

Conditions in Yemen for many were desperate before fighting began. Now they’re catastrophic for many millions.

In more normal times, Oxfam estimates around 16 million Yemenis dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

About 10 million haven’t enough food. Around 13 million have no access to clean drinking water.

Nine million lack basic medical care – greatly exacerbated now because most international aid workers left to avoid danger.

In the last 24 hours alone, reports estimate around 140 killed, many more seriously injured.

After nearly two weeks of terror-bombing, hundreds have been murdered in cold blood, thousands injured. The specter of starvation haunts many as food is increasingly in short supply.

Casualties mount daily. Noncombatant civilians suffer most. On April 6, a UN News Center report said:

“The violence in Yemen continues to wreak havoc upon the country’s civilian population and restricts humanitarian access to those most in need amid a spate of aerial attacks and ground incursions.”

Residential neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, public areas and vital infrastructure are being deliberately terror-bombed.

The UN reported residential buildings and bridges destroyed in Aden and Ma’ala. Conditions are “rapidly deteriorating” throughout much of the country, it said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the deaths of healhcare workers. It said hospitals were damaged or destroyed. It voiced concern about “the serious implications of these attacks.”

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported increasing numbers child deaths and injuries.

It estimates scores killed so far, many others maimed for life. It calls its estimates “conservative.”

UNICEF Yemen representative Julien Harneis said:

“Children are paying an intolerable price for this conflict. They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted.”

“These children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict, in line with international humanitarian law.”

“The conflict is exacerbating the already precarious situation for children in one of the region’s poorest countries.”

Under more normal conditions, many Yemenis face food insecurity. Severe acute malnutrition is widespread among young children.

Growing numbers of Yemenis are being displaced. UN sources estimate at least 100,000 so far. A major refugee crisis looms.

A humanitarian one already exists. All essentials to life are in short supply or unavailable – including food, clean water, medical supplies, healthcare and electricity.

Terror-bombing disrupted, damaged or destroyed southern area drinking water and sanitation facilities.

Raw sewage flows in streets. The risk of widespread illness and disease is huge.

Aden residents reported one or more foreign warships (maybe US ones) shelling coastlines.

Explosions rocked suburban areas. Houthi fighters continue making gains despite intense terror-bombing and ground fighting.

Reuters reported heavy shelling and street fighting in and around Aden for days.

It indicated mounting food, water, medical supplies and electricity shortages throughout much of the country.

Sanaa, the capital, Aden, and surrounding areas are especially hard hit.

Reuters quoted a woman named Fatima walking through near-barren streets with her young children pleading: “How are we supposed to live without water and electricity?”

Desperately needed ICRC aid hasn’t arrived. A spokesperson said:

“We are still working on getting the plane to Sanaa. It’s a bit difficult with the logistics because there are not that many companies or cargo planes willing to fly into a conflict zone.”

The ICRC is trying to get medical supplies in by sea from neighboring Djibouti. Fighting makes it extremely hazardous doing so.

Food is in short supply. Bottled water is no longer available. Water fit to drink is hard to find.

A mother of three said “(f)ood is in short supply, and thousands of children sleep hungry.”

“Where are the international aid organizations? There is no support coming to Yemen. Innocent civilians and children are dying in Aden while the world is watching.”

Yemen under normal conditions imports about 90% of its food. Saudi-blocked sea and air routes prevents supplies from arriving.

ICRC spokeswoman Maria Claire Feghali said “(t)he most critical part, the biggest challenge is the medical one. The hospitals are exhausted.”

Last week, fighting killed three Red Cross workers. Fars News reports Saudi Arabia enlisting Al Qaeda terrorists to battle Houthis on the ground.

Yemeni General Khalid al-Barayem said Houthi fighters intercepted trucks with (likely Saudi-supplied) chemical weapons heading for areas controlled by elements loyal to ousted US-installed illegitimate president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Substances seized can produce deadly sarin gas, he said. Turkish aircraft are delivering weapons to Hadi loyalists under the cover of humanitarian aid, he added.

As of April 7, Fars News estimates at least 887 Yemenis killed – “including hundreds of women and children.”

Saudi-led terror-bombing is deliberately targeting civilian areas and infrastructure, it added.

“There is no question that the US-supported and Saudi-led attack on Yemen is a blatant act of illegal aggression,” it stressed.

Civilian victims are dying. Others are maimed for life. Hundreds of thousands are suffering horrendously from humanitarian crisis conditions.

Where is the international community when most needed? Why haven’t responsible world leaders acted to stop US-planned/Saudi-led mass slaughter and destruction?

Hey! Hey! Barack! How many Yemeni kids did you kill today?

And Afghans. And Iraqis. And Syrians among many other victims of US direct and proxy aggression!

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

The Future of Israeli Politics

April 8th, 2015 by Haneul Na avi

By Arthur Goodman and Haneul Na’avi

We analyze the future of Israeli politics with Arthur Goodman, the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Europe’s largest Jewish voice against Zionism. We cover his history with the organization, explicate the process of the recent Knesset elections, and express our knowledge and understanding of the situation happening in Palestine, as well as the international community’s shift in support from Benjamin Netanyahu as he engages in further dangerous hardline rhetoric and crimes against humanity.

HANEUL: Can you tell us a little information about yourself?

ARTHUR: I’ve been handling lobbying for JFJFP ever since it was formed; about 13 years ago. I grew up in a middle-class Jewish family and used to be 100% supportive of Israel. I had always assumed that everything Israel was right and Arabs wrong, without much thought behind it, until my mid-50s. One day, towards the end of the first Intifada, I looked at a newspaper with a picture of Palestinian teenagers throwing stones at Israeli soldiers across barren wasteland. I thought, “It takes guts to throw stones at armed soldiers”. That never occurred any time before, but it shows how your psychological preconceptions can color how you look at things.

I thought afterwards that people must have a good reason, and that wasn’t a comfortable thought. Eventually, I started reading the New (Israeli) Historians, which was a painful eye-opener; that it wasn’t the Arabs fault, but Israel’s, and the determination of most Zionists was to have as much control over Palestine as possible, even though Palestinians were the majority when Israelis arrived. It went on from there through the expulsions of the Nakbah and 3/67, with lots of violence.  Here I am today, lobbying for JFJFP for 13 years now and we are the biggest Jewish peace group with over 2,000 members.

HANEUL: On your website, there’s an article where you respond to the [Financial] Times on the plummet of international support for Israel after [Operation Protective Edge], which killed more Palestinians in 2014 (2200+ dead) than all the death tolls since 1967 combined. What do you think of this?

ARTHUR: It’s probably true, and not surprising. I think most people can understand what they see, even through propaganda. Every time an Israeli PM says, “We have no partner”, and the next day there are more settlement expansions, people say, “What’s going here”? On top of that, there were four attacks on Gaza and the two Lebanon wars, where it’s obvious that most casualties were civilians, and Israel provoked them.

HANEUL: During recent elections, we had two parties—the Likud and Zionist Union—fighting for dominion in the Knesset. Netanyahu won and Israel’s PM for a 4th term. How has the international Jewish community reacted to this?

ARTHUR: There’s no single reaction, because opinions in the Jewish community are not monolithic. Some people on the right will be pleased, some on the left are not pleased at all, and the biggest group in the middle will not know what to think. The Jewish community has become more polarized. Those on the left are for a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, which is legally legitimate. Israel is legitimate only within them, and Palestine has a right to a state within all of Mandate Palestine, which is a 78/22 split of the land.

HANEUL: There have been calls to return to the 1967 borders by the international community…

ARTHUR: …and by many centrist Zionist Israelis, who would like to expand beyond them, but it’s not worth it from their own point of view because it would make it difficult for Israel to remain a democratic country and maintain international support. They realize that those two things are important, but the right-wing doesn’t, and wants to continue expansion into the occupied territories.

HANEUL: For you, how much of the right-winged Israeli population helped win the election? How does the Israeli electoral system work?

ARTHUR: It’s a proportional system with a threshold. As long as a party gets over 3.25% of the vote, it can have some MKs. The votes of those that pass that threshold are calculated and the proportion of seats is allotted to them. This is why Israel has always had coalition governments, because no party could get more than 50% of the votes, which would in turn give them 50% of the seats. You can’t say that most of Israel is right-wing; it’s split equally between the right wing, center, and center-left. The remaining far-left and Palestinian parties are much smaller.

What happened is that a large majority of right-wing votes went to Likud due to Netanyahu’s cynical ploy in the last days of the election, and became the party with the largest vote with 25 seats; Zionist Union received 22 or so seats. Ironically, if all of the Israeli-Palestinians that voted for the [United] Arab List had voted for the Zionist Union, ZU would have formed that government, but it didn’t happen that way. I don’t blame them for wanting their own party, but it goes both ways. The Arab Union has got 15 seats, but one of the unspoken rules in Jewish-Israeli politics is that no government will form a coalition with Palestinian parties. This is why Israel is not fully democratic.

HANEUL: What exactly was the platform of the Zionist Union?

ARTHUR: It was for a greater redistribution of income from the well-off to the less well-off and middle class. Income distribution in Israel is the most unequal of all OECD countries, which has happened over the last 10 years as a result of Likud policies, especially Netanyahu’s. How would that have gone for the Arabs in Israel? I’m not sure, because one fact of Israeli life is that Israeli towns get more resources from the state than Arab ones. There was another part about negotiating with Palestinians, but not precise. Their leader, [Yitzhak] Herzog even stated that he wanted to keep hold of the Jordan Valley. If he was serious about negotiations, he wouldn’t have meant that, but overall, there certainly is a difference in policies on negotiations between Likud and ZU.

Another aspect of discrimination is between the Ashkenazi (European) and Mizrahi (North African/ Spain) Jews.  They have always been less well-off than the Ashkenazi. I had even read that the Mizrahi earn less in the same professions.

HANEUL: This income disparity is a big problem. I remember that Netanyahu wanted all Jews to return to Israel after the Charlie Hebdo massacres occurred, that he wanted all Jews in France and Denmark to “come home”…

ARTHUR: That’s what he said. He says a lot of things, but you can’t believe many of them. Very few people actually know what’s going on in his mind. The one thing that is certain is that he wants to take over as much of the West Bank as possible without taking too many Palestinians with it. That’s the one constant in his career.

HANEUL: Right, and the international community is changing its perspectives on Israel—Sweden recognizes Palestine as a state, Spain no longer sells weapons to Israel, and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats said that he would recognize Palestine because Netanyahu’s callous remarks.

ARTHUR: Part of the lobbying I do is to write to his office in order to make that party policy. I also plan to write to [Labour MP Edward] Miliband… and probably to the Tories. There was a debate in Parliament last November, where the FM [Philip Hammond] intervened while his Middle East minister was talking—waffling around. He stood up and said, “What my colleague means is that the settlements are an impediment to peace and they are intended to be so”. That was extraordinary to hear.

HANEUL: [US President] Barack Obama has changed his point of view on Palestine. If he lifts the diplomatic shield [from Israel], what will result from [future] meetings in the UNGA?

ARTHUR: It will be a very big and important change. I think that Netanyahu’s ultra-cynicism by frightening members of the right-wing has given politicians the cover to say what they’ve wanted to say for years—they want to stop giving Netanyahu protection in the UN Security Council and start talking seriously about [sanctions] due to the occupation. Few people really believed that Netanyahu was willing to negotiate.

HANEUL: There’s a massive worldwide movement through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign, mainly through the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, JFJFP, and many others. How will this impact Israel’s economy and policy-making in the future?

ARTHUR: It won’t affect it very much, and it’s just begun. It’s at the pinprick stage. Regarding pension schemes, there are only 3-4 of the, but there must be thousands in the Western world. You have even fewer officials ban G4S and Veolia for contracts, whom still work in the Occupied Territories. However, even if that movement becomes big, it won’t impact Israel directly. All it will mean is that an Israeli entrepreneur or company will have to step in for Veolia or G4S, and that will be difficult. It would be another warning shot, but a better method that would hurt Israel directly is if people stopped buying Israeli goods, which we support and campaign against organizations that support Palestine’s occupation directly.

The real thing that would hurt Israel economically is if the EU and US suspended tariff concessions that Israel receives in trade. That is huge money, and one-third goes to the EU and another to the US. If those tariffs were suspended, that would bring a heavy cost, and even Netanyahu couldn’t deny that. However, we lobby for things that are more feasible—accurate labeling of goods from settlements to help consumers determine if they want to buy them. We also support the banning of Israeli goods into the EU on the basis that, because the settlements are illegal, the EU shouldn’t help them prosper.

HANEUL: How do you feel about this, coming from a Jewish perspective?

ARTHUR: I would like, just as everyone else in JFJFP, Palestinians, and many, many other Jewish people, for Israel to become a more normal country. We would like an Israeli government that accepts that they cannot expand beyond the 1967 borders and accepts a Palestinian state. Conceding all but 22% of their land was a huge compromise for Palestinians, but they made it. They made it in 1988 and Israel never reciprocated, but I do believe that it will take pressure from the outside to achieve this.

Mr Netanyahu, for all his political machinations and duplicitous manoeuvrings, has no long-term plan for Israel’s survival from the existential threat of five million indigenous Arabs of former Palestine where every single family has lost at least one member to an Israeli bullet, tank shell, F16 missile, drone, chemical weapon or cluster bomb over the long years of Israeli occupation.

The extremist right-wing Likud Party of Netanyahu, Sharon, Shamir, Begin and Jabotinsky – the majority of whom advocated violence to achieve their political aims – has long nurtured a vision of being formally declared the 51st state of the Union by the American Zionist Committee that controls the Republican Congress.

That dream has now been effectively demolished by an American electorate that has finally realised that it has been duped, deceived, double-crossed and defrauded over decades by a gaggle of East European refugees with a personal political agenda that colludes with a powerful, moneyed lobby that has turned a great American democracy into an Israeli poodle.

This paradigm shift has been long in coming but on university campuses throughout both the United States and Europe, students are increasingly vocal in their condemnation of this unacceptable hijacking of the executive and legislature of the great American democracy by a small ethnic minority whose interests lie not in the United States of America, but elsewhere.

It is no secret that nowadays many alternative media activists face appalling state-sponsored censorship in many nominally free and democratic Western countries. Now it seems that such censorship has penetrated much deeper than we have come to expect. Art itself, the truest form of free expression, is being silenced.

Valentina Lisitsa is a brilliant musician, a famous virtuoso pianist, also known for publicly expressing her opinion on the Ukrainian conflict through her Twitter account. She is a good friend of the Slavyangrad Team and has kindly translated a number of articles for our publication. Her views are always insightful and she has never made them a secret. We are lucky to have Valentina’s first-hand account about dealings with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (“TSO”), which has decided to cancel her concert because of her political opinions. The TSO’s decision to silence Valentina’s music because she has exercised her inviolable right to express her beliefs is a message to all artists that the next time it could be them.

Valentina is Ukrainian. She was born on March 25, 1970, in Kiev. Her family comes from Odessa—her mother is a Russian citizen, and her father was Ukrainian. Valentina graduated from the Lysenko music school and the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (the Kiev Conservatory). She married Alexey Kuznetsov from Taganrog. In 1991, they represented Ukraine in the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in Miami, Florida, and won the first prize.  In 1992 they moved to the USA to study and subsequently decided to remain there. In 2001 they became American citizens. Since last year, Valentina has been living in Paris.

Valentina is one of the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube, with over 177,000 subscribers, and she performs all over the world. Now Valentina’s concert in Toronto, which was scheduled for April 8 and 9 at the Roy Thomson Hall, has been cancelled for an outrageous reason—her political views. In an email sent to Valentina’s agent, the TSO stated: “the Toronto Symphony Orchestra received some messages from ticket buyers and others expressing concern over pianist Valentina Lisitsa’s public political statements.”

In its correspondence, the TSO also accused Valentina of nothing less than public incitement of hatred contrary to section 319(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada and went as far as to insinuate that Valentina, a citizen of the United States, could be barred from entering Canada by the immigration authorities. The TSO attempted to base its charges on Lisitsa’s public social media posts, attaching a copy of some of her tweets, along with a brief and exceedingly shallow legal opinion by the TSO’s counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Despite being provided with a substantive legal response on the merits of these allegations, the TSO has since mustered neither a single sentence in support of its accusations, nor a single word of apology. It was only after the legal opinion supplied by Valentina underscored that the TSO could not unilaterally dissolve the contract that the TSO’s counsel clarified that all her fees would be paid. To all appearances, the TSO seemed to believe that it could not only silence Valentina’s music, but also renege on its contractual obligations and thus walk away from their commitments.

With the TSO finally making a decision to cancel Valentina’s concert at the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Valentina has appealed to her fans and friends on her public Facebook page, today, on April 6. With full support for Valentina’s courage and strength, we have excerpted the full text of her appeal below. Valentina Lisitsa has never been one to hide her political views. It is time for the TSO to acknowledge that they can no longer hide their own biases and to stop kowtowing to ferociously reactionary political lobbies.

– by Olga Luzanova & Gleb Bazov

ValDear fans, DEAR FRIENDS!

I have a confession to make and a huge favor to ask all of you. I really REALLY need your help now.

But first, my confession.

Over the last year I have been leading a double life. There was me—a “celebrity” pianist hopping from concert to concert, all over the world; learning new pieces, meeting fans, recording, chirping about my happiness in upbeat interviews.

But there was another me: not a musician but a regular human being—a daughter, a mother, a wife. And this human being was watching helplessly how the country of my birth, of my childhood, of my first falling in love—this country was sliding ever faster into the abyss. Children die under bombs, old ladies die of starvation, people burned alive…

The worst thing that can happen to any country is fratricidal war, people seeing each other, their neighbours as enemies to be eliminated. This is what has befallen my beautiful Ukraine. My heart was bleeding. You all saw on TV screens all over the world a magnificent revolution, the people of Ukraine raising in fury against their corrupt rulers, for a better life. I was so proud of my people! But the ruling class doesn’t let go easily. They managed to cunningly channel away the anger, to direct it to other, often imaginary, enemies—and worse, to turn people upon themselves. A year later, we have the same rich people remaining in power, misery and poverty everywhere, dozens of thousands killed, over a million of refugees.

So, I took to Twitter (how many of you know I have a Twitter account?) under a name “NedoUkraïnka”—a word roughly meaning “Sub-Ukrainian”, a stab at Ukrainian Prime Minister who called Russian-speaking southern and eastern Ukrainians “SUBHUMANS”! Yes, I kid you not. In an official written document. I am a subhuman, my husband, my mum…. I mastered Ukrainian language perfectly, far better than a so-called “president” of Ukraine. But I don’t speak it to my family, I didn’t sing lullabies to my son in Ukrainian, when I sleep I never see the dreams in Ukrainian, when I will be dying my last words will NOT be in Ukrainian…

Sorry, I got carried away telling you those things… To get back to my story—I took to Twitter in order to get the other side of the story heard, the one you never see in the mainstream media—the plight of my people, the good and bad things that were happening in Ukraine. I translated news stories from Ukrainian language websites, I translated eyewitness accounts of atrocities…. I became really good in unmasking fakes published by Western media in order to make one side of the civil war look whiter and softer than the Easter bunny, and the other—like sub-humans, not worthy of mercy, the “collateral damage”.

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

I was very proud! But with time my activities attracted a lot of vicious haters. I was a particularly important “target” because of being Ukrainian, thus—a traitor. I thought I knew hate—my playing on YouTube certainly “attracted” a fair share of hate mail. But I was mistaken. Death threats, wishes for my family to die, calling me “paid Kremlin wh*re”… the list goes on and on.

My haters didn’t stop there. Trying, in their own words, to teach me a lesson, they have now attempted to silence me as a musician.
I am scheduled to play Rachmaninoff Concerto #2 with Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week. Back in December someone in the orchestra top management, likely after pressure from a small but aggressive lobby claiming to represent the Ukrainian community, has made a decision that I should not be allowed to play. I don’t even know who my accusers are, I am kept in the dark about it. I was accused of “inciting hatred” on Twitter. As the “proof”, ironically enough, they presented to the orchestra my tweets containing, of all things, Charlie Hebdo caricatures depicting lying media!!! We all know what those who can’t tolerate free speech did to Charlie Hebdo journalists.

Now, the orchestra based in one of the freest democratic countries is bending over to the same kind of people, helping them to assassinate me—not as a living person yet , but as a MUSICIAN for sure.

Yes, Toronto Symphony is going TO PAY ME NOT TO PLAY because I exercised the right to free speech. Yes, they will pay my fee but they are going to announce that I will be unable to play and they already found a substitute. And they even threatened me against saying anything about the cause of the cancellation. Seriously. And I thought things like this only happen in Turkey to Fazil Say?

Now, the plea.

Before you decide to help me—If you wish, please take time and read my tweets. You might find some of them offensive—perhaps. Satire and hyperbole are the best literature tools to combat lies. Bear that in mind when reading.

Here is what I ask you to do for me and in defense of freedom, even if you disagree with me on politics.

I ask you to raise your voice and tell Toronto Symphony that music can’t be silenced. Ask them to let me play. If you want to write something—great! Or just share a photo I made ( sorry, I made it on my phone, nothing fancy). Ask your friends to join in.

If they do it once, they will do it again and again, until the musicians, artists are intimidated into voluntary censorship. Our future will be bleak if we allow this to happen.

Please stand with me.

Here are the links :

https://www.facebook.com/torontosymphonyorchestra  Twitter @TorontoSymphony” 

© Valentina Lisitsa.

The Ukrainian Government said on April 7th that any country sending representatives to Russia’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of their victory against Adolf Hitler, will be blacklisted by Ukraine. That celebration will take place on May 9th.

According to the Russian news report,

“Over the weekend, Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov noted that the leaders of at least 25 states from across the world will attend Moscow’s celebrations. … The leaders of China, Vietnam, the Czech Republic, Cuba and North Korea have confirmed their attendance. Meanwhile, the leaders of Germany, Britain, Poland, the Baltic States and the United States have confirmed that they won’t be attending.”

The United States and Ukraine were two of only three countries that voted at the United Nations against a recent resolution condemning the resurgence of fascism or racist fascism (nazism), or of Holocaust-denial. The resolution didn’t name or identify any particular country or countries. The U.S. representative to the UN said that she voted against it because Ukraine’s UN representative voted against it. The third nation that voted against it was Canada, which voted against it because the U.S. voted against it. Germany, Britain, Poland, and the Baltic States, abstained from voting on it.

Ukraine’s statement opposing any nation that sends a representative to Russia’s May 9th celebration of the victory against Hitler asserts that Russia is itself a fascist country.

Ukraine will hold its own celebration on May 9th, of victory against Hitler, even though Ukraine had no victory against Hitler and was instead conquered by Hitler’s forces; and, in northwestern Ukraine, welcomed them. After the Nazis moved in, the first leader of Ukraine was Yaroslav Stetsko. He was the second-in-command of Stepan Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. As Wikipedia puts it:

“In 1940, the OUN split into two parts. The older, more moderate members, supported Andriy Melnyk (OUN-M) while the younger and more radical members supported Stepan Bandera (OUN-B). The OUN-B declared an independent Ukrainian state in June 1941, while the region was under the control of Nazi Germany.[3] In response, the OUN leadership was suppressed by Nazi authorities. In October 1942 OUN-B established the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). In 1943 UPA military units carried out large-scale ethnic cleansing against Polish and Jewish populations.[3]”

UPA was not anti-Nazi, but it was instead anti-Semitic, and anti-Russian.

Bandera is considered a hero to the current Ukrainian government, and he lived the rest of his life in Germany. He hated Russians and wanted to have nothing to do with a Ukraine that was ruled by them. Stetsko, who said that the Nazi extermination program against Jews was good, and who oversaw that extermination in Ukraine during the brief period when he ruled Ukraine for the Nazis, organized after the war the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), because he hated Russians. Stetsko’s book became the foundationstone for today’s Ukrainian party “Svoboda,” whose original name was the “Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine,” and which was patterned on Hitler’s National Socialist Party of Germany.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s statement on April 7th said: “Under conditions of Russian aggression against Ukraine, there can be no participation of Ukrainian representatives in events in Moscow.”

The current government of Ukraine was installed in February 2014, and Ukraine’s Prime Minister was selected by Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department on 4 February 2014, in what the head of Stratfor, the “private CIA” firm, calls “the most blatant coup in history.” From that time on, Ukraine’s government has been as anti-Russian as its World War II heroes were.

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

BRICS and the Fiction of “De-Dollarization”

April 8th, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The financial media as well as segments of the alternative media are pointing to a possible weakening of the US dollar as a global trading currency resulting from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) initiative. 

One of the central arguments in this debate on competing World currencies hinges on the BRICS initiative to create a development bank which, according to analysts, challenges the hegemony of Wall Street and the Washington based Bretton Woods institutions.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) was set up to challenge two major Western-led giants – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. NDB’s key role will be to serve as a pool of currency for infrastructure projects within a group of five countries with major emerging national economies – Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa. (RT, October 9, 2015, emphasis added)

More recently, emphasis has been placed on the role of China’s new Asia Infrastructure Investment  Bank (AIIB), which, according to media reports, threatens to “transfer global financial control from Wall Street and City of London to the new development banks and funds of Beijing and Shanghai”.

Russia to invest $18 billion for currency stabilization of BRICS

 The decision to create general reserves was made in July 2014 at the Sixth Summit of BRICS at Fortaleeza in Brazil. Source: AP

There has been a lot of media hype regarding BRICS.

While the creation of BRICS has significant geopolitical implications, both the AIIB as well as the proposed BRICS Development Bank (NDB) and its Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) are dollar denominated entities. Unless they are coupled with a multi-currency system of trade and credit, they do not threaten dollar hegemony. Quite the opposite, they tend to sustain and extend dollar denominated lending. Moreover, they replicate several features the Bretton Woods framework.

Towards a Multi-Currency Arrangement? 

What is significant, however, from a geopolitical standpoint is  that China and Russia are developing a ruble-yuan swap, negotiated between the Russian Central Bank, and the People’s Bank of China,

The situation of the other three BRICS member states (Brazil, India, South Africa) with regard to the implementation of (real, rand rupiah) currency swaps is markedly different. These three highly indebted countries are in the straightjacket of IMF-World Bank conditionalities. They do not decide on fundamental issues of monetary policy and macro-economic reform without the green light from the Washington based international financial institutions.

Currency swaps between the BRICS central banks was put forth by Russia to:

“facilitate trade financing while completely bypassing the dollar. “At the same time, the new system will also act as a de facto replacement of the IMF, because it will allow the members of the alliance to direct resources to finance the weaker countries.” (Voice of Russia)

While Russia has formally raised the issue of a multi-currency arrangement, the Development Bank’s structure does not currently “officially” acknowledge such a framework:

We are discussing with China and our BRICS parters the establishment of a system of multilateral swaps that will allow to transfer resources to one or another country, if needed. A part of the currency reserves can be directed to [the new system]” (Governor of the Russian Central Bank, June 2014, Prime news agency)

India, South Africa and Brazil have decided not to go along with a multiple currency arrangement, which would have allowed for the development of bilateral trade and investment activities between BRICs countries, operating outside the realm of dollar denominated credit. In fact they did not have the choice of making this decision in view of the strict loan conditionalities imposed by the IMF.

Heavily indebted under the brunt of their external creditors,  all three countries are faithful pupils of the IMF-World Bank. The central bank of these countries is controlled by Wall Street and the IMF. For them to enter into a “non-dollar” or an “anti-dollar” development banking arrangement with multiple currencies, would have required prior approval of the IMF.

The Contingency Reserve Arrangement

The CRA is defined as a “framework for provision of support through liquidity and precautionary instruments in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures.” (Russia India Report April 7, 2015). In this context, the CRA fund does not constitute a “safety net” for BRICS countries, it accepts the hegemony of the US dollar which is sustained by large scale speculative operations in the currency and commodity markets.

In essence the CRA operates in a similar fashion to an IMF precautionary loan arrangement (e.g. Brazil November 1998) with a view to enabling highly indebted countries to maintain the parity of their exchange rate to the US dollar, by replenishing central bank reserves through borrowed money.

The CRA excludes the policy option of foreign exchange controls by BRICS member states. In the case of India, Brazil and South Africa, this option is largely foreclosed as a result of their agreements with the IMF.

The dollar denominated $100 billion CRA fund is a “silver platter” for Western “institutional speculators” including JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Goldman Sachs et al, which are involved in short selling operations on the Forex market. Ultimately the CRA fund will finance the speculative onslaught in the currency market.

Neoliberalism firmly entrenched

An arrangement using national currencies instead of the US dollar requires sovereignty in central bank monetary policy. In many regards, India, Brazil and South Africa are (from the monetary standpoint) US proxy states, firmly aligned with IMF-World Bank-WTO economic diktats.

It is worth recalling that since 1991, India’s macroeconomic policy was under under the control of the Bretton Woods institutions, with a former World Bank official, Dr. Manmohan Singh, serving first as Finance Minister and subsequently as Prime Minister.

Moreover, while India is an ally of China and Russia under BRICS, it has entered into a  new defense cooperation deal with the Pentagon which is (unofficially) directed against Russia and China. It is also cooperating with the US in aerospace technology. India constitutes the largest market (after Saudi Arabia) for the sale of US weapons systems. And all these transactions are in US dollars.

Similarly, Brazil signed a far-reaching Defense agreement with the US in 2010 under the government of Luis Ignacio da Silva, who in the words of the IMF’s former managing director Heinrich Koeller, “Is  Our Best President”, “… I am enthusiastic [with Lula's administration]; but it is better to say I am deeply impressed by President Lula, indeed, and in particular because I do think he has the credibility”  (IMF Managing Director Heinrich Koeller, Press conference, 10 April 2003 ).

In Brazil, the Bretton Woods institutions and Wall Street have dominated macro-economic reform since the outset of the government of Luis Ignacio da Silva in 2003. Under Lula, a Wall Street executive was appointed to head the Central Bank, the Banco do Brazil was in the hands of a former CitiGroup executive. While there are divisions within the ruling PT party, neoliberalism prevails. Economic and social in Brazil is in large part dictated by the country’s external creditors including JPMorgan Chase, Bank America and Citigroup.

Central Bank Reserves and The External Debt

India and Brazil (together with Mexico) are among the World’s most indebted developing countries. The foreign exchange reserves are fragile. India’s external debt in 2013 was of the order of more than $427 Billion, that of Brazil was a staggering $482 billion, South Africa’s external debt was of the order of $140 Billion. (World Bank, External Debt Stock, 2013).

External Debt Stock (2013)

Brazil  $482 billion

India   $427 billion

South Africa  $140 billion

All three countries have central banks reserves (including gold and forex holdings) which are lower than their external debt (see table below).

Central Bank Reserves (2013)

Brazil  $359 billion

India:  $298 billion

South Africa $50 billion

The situation of South Africa is particularly precarious with an external debt which is almost three times its central bank reserves.

What this means is that these three BRICS member states are under the brunt of their Western creditors. Their central bank reserves are sustained by borrowed money. Their central bank operations (e.g. with a view to supporting domestic investments and development programs) will require borrowing in US dollars. Their central banks are essentially “currency board” arrangements, their national currencies are dollarized.

The BRICs Development Bank (NDB)

On 15 July 2014, the group of five countries signed an agreement to create the US$100 billion BRICS Development Bank together with a US dollar denominated  ” reserve currency pool” of US$100 billion. These commitments were subsequently revised.

Each of the five-member countries  ”is expected to allocate an equal share of the $50 billion startup capital that will be expanded to $100 billion. Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion from the federal budget for the bank over the next seven years.” (RT, March 9, 2015).

In turn, the commitments to the Contingency Reserve Arrangement are as follows;

Brazil, $18 billion

Russia $18 billion

India  $18 billion

China $41 billion

South Africa $5 billion

Total $100 billion

As mentioned earlier, India, Brazil and South Africa, are heavily indebted countries with central bank reserves substantially below the level of their external debt.  Their contribution to the two BRICs financial entities can only be financed:

  • by running down their dollar denominated central bank reserves and/or
  • by financing their contributions to the Development Bank and CRA, by borrowing the money, namely by “running up” their dollar denominated external debt.

In both cases, dollar hegemony prevails. In other words, the Western creditors of these three countries will be required to “contribute” directly or indirectly to  the financing of the dollar denominated contributions of Brazil, India and South Africa to the BRICS development bank (NDB) and the CRA.

In the case of South Africa with Central Bank reserves of the order of 50 billion dollars, the contribution  to the BRICS NDB will inevitably be financed by an increase in the country’s (US dollar denominated) external debt.

Moreover, with regard to India, Brazil and South Africa, their membership in the BRICS Development Bank was no doubt the object of behind closed doors negotiations with the IMF as well as guarantees that they would not depart from the “Washington Consensus” on macro-economic reform.

Under a scheme whereby these countries were to be in be in full control of their Central Bank monetary policy, the contributions to the Development Bank (NDB) would be allocated in national currency rather than US dollars under a multi-currency arrangement. Needless to say under a multi-currency system the contingency CRA fund would not be required.

The geopolitics behind the BRICS initiative are crucial. While the BRICS initiative from the very outset has accepted the dollar system, this does not exclude the introduction, at a later stage of a multiple currency arrangement, which challenges dollar hegemony.

It was 1999, shortly after the NATO war. I was with a delegation that came to Yugoslavia to document NATO war crimes, and we found no shortage of them. In all of the towns and cities we visited, not one had been spared destruction.

One of our stops was at Aleksinac, a small mining town that NATO had targeted with a special ferocity. The town was led by a strong socialist local government, which may not have been entirely unrelated to NATO’s attentions. Local officials provided us with statistics that were startling for such a small town: 767 houses and 908 apartment flats were destroyed or damaged, as were 302 public buildings. Dragoljub Todorovich, a 74-year-old retired teacher, was at the opening meeting. Metal braces encased his left leg, and he walked with crutches. A missile levelled his home in one of the attacks. “I had been told for forty to fifty years that Americans were our friends,” he reflected. “Americans, with Russians, destroyed fascism together. I survived the Second World War. I was a partisan during the war.” Now war had once again visited Todorovich, but this time he nearly hadn’t survived.

Damaged home adjacent to destroyed neighborhood on Vuk Karadzhich Street. Yugoslavia Photo: Gregory Elich

Following our meeting, we visited the site of Todorovich’s home. Nothing remained but blasted concrete and bricks strewn about the area. As we stepped through the rubble, the clinking of bricks underfoot wove a counterpoint to his words. “When I regained consciousness, I saw that only a small part of skin connected my leg with my body,” he recalled. Although surgery saved Todorovich’s leg, he would remain crippled for the remainder of his life. During his fourteen-week recovery in the hospital, he was in constant pain and suffered a heart attack. One thought persisted in his bedridden state: “The worst way possible – that was the way America chose.”

Damaged home adjacent to destroyed neighborhood on Vuk Karadzhich Street.  Photo: Gregory Elich

We strolled down Dushan Trivunac Street, where on April 5 of that year, NATO warplanes wiped out nearly an entire city block. On the night of the attack, Vukoman Djokich heard NATO planes swoop overhead. Djokich knew what the sound meant, and warned his wife, “It’s Aleksinac’s turn now. They are surely going to bomb us.” The sound of planes faded, but two minutes later the noise returned. An instant later an explosion thundered, and Djokich saw a “blazing light.” A second explosion followed in quick succession, filling the house with light and knocking Djokich off his chair. The door to his home blew down, and the roof collapsed. Djokich and his wife managed to pull themselves together and escape through the doorway, where they were confronted by the sight of “huge fire, smoke and a cloud of dust. People were screaming and crying for help.”

Despite the destruction this site had suffered, all of the rubble had been cleared by the time of our visit and it was now a construction site. Neatly stacked bricks and building materials bordered the area, and a dump truck and towering crane stood ready as workers were just departing for lunch. The only sign of the tragedy that had taken place was a neighboring apartment building, still pockmarked by shrapnel from the blasts. Further down the street, at the site of another explosion, the foundation of a new building was already being laid.

Caption: Damaged home near bombed neighborhood of Nishka and Uzhichka Streets. Photo: Gregory Elich

Damaged home near bombed neighborhood of Nishka and Uzhichka Streets. Photo: Gregory Elich

 Turning down Vuk Karadzhich Street, we entered an appealing neighborhood of two-story homes with red tile roofs and balconies lined with flowers. At the end of the street, we came to a residential area had been bombed on April 5. In a deposition taken two weeks after the attack, Srboljub Stojanovich described the attack. “There was a terrific explosion. The windowpanes burst, the ceiling fell down on us, and the walls collapsed and practically buried us. After that, I could only hear the screams and cries of my family members. My whole body was injured.” He and his family managed to dig their way out from under the rubble, but a ghastly sight awaited them. “There were heaps of various construction material, glass, destroyed vehicles, and people coming out and trying to help those who were buried. I could hear cries for help, crying, screams, calls, and all this was horrific.”

Thirteen-year-old Dushan Miletich was at home with his brother and parents when NATO planes began to bomb the town.

“I remember a terrible explosion, the electricity went off, and then the ceiling, pieces of glass and wood came down on us,” he told investigators. “I was injured by this; especially my head, and I could feel the blood trickling down. My parents somehow managed to pull us out through the house window.” The force of the blast threw his father, Slavimir, against the wall. “Immediately after that,” Slavimir reported, “I felt I was hit on the head by an object, which made me fall to the ground. I felt blood gushing down my face. I stood up and went to the room where my wife was with my two sons, and from where I could hear crying and screams.” After their escape through the window, “We ran through smoke and dust, jumping over beams, glass, smashed tiles and bricks. I heard weeping, sobbing and cries for help. There was a family with a baby in the street, seeking shelter.” Slavmir’s wife, Verica, recalled, “The streets were jammed with people who cried.”

As soon as Vukica Miladinovich heard NATO warplanes “flying at an extremely low level making a great noise,” she and her family raced to the basement and closed the door. “Immediately after that, two detonations were heard. I had the impression that my body would burst at that moment. At such moments, people lose their minds. The room was shaking like in the worst and strongest earthquake. I stood next to my bed. Air pressure threw me away, but when falling down I still managed to cover my children with my right hand and press them to the bed. The room was in darkness, covered with smoke and dust. The door which was flung out of its frame hit my father-in-law.” Vukica’s eyeglasses shattered in the blast, damaging her eye. “I wiped the blood pouring from my eye. I became afraid that I had lost my sight, but soon after, although it was dark, I started recognizing shadows. I thought that fire would break out. The basement was stuffy, and there was little air. We were suffocating.”

She called out to her children and managed to locate them in the darkness. “A bed bar was stuck in my son Marko’s leg, but he managed to take it out by himself. I knew that my father-in-law and sister-in-law were dead, and my mother-in-law was hurt. I could not afford to lose any more time.” Vukica began frantically digging with her bare hands and legs, trying to open a passageway through all the piled rubble. Then the house began to collapse around her, with debris falling everywhere, but she managed to clear the way and rescue her children and mother-in-law.

Her husband, Bratislav, was away from home when the missiles struck. Arriving on the scene, he was informed of what had happened to his family. His mother was to die in the hospital two days later. The loss of his parents and sister was so devastating to Bratislav that he considered committing suicide.

Danijela Dimitrijevich, president of the Socialist Youth in Aleksinac, acted as our translator and guide. She told us that she had frequent nightmares of hearing an air raid siren, which caused her to awake, thinking the town was going to be bombed. Dimitrijevich described the reaction when she arrived in town for work the morning after the attack. “Everyone was in a big shock. It was unbelievable to us. I didn’t expect to see this. I cried. It was the only possible feeling for me at that moment. Not just me. The whole town cried. The whole town.”

Everyone in Zago Militich’s family was wounded in the attack. She wept as she told us, “We have been friends [with Americans] until now. This is something none of us expected. We always thought they were our friends. I am 65-years-old, and now I must think about finding a new home.”

Photographs of the neighborhood from the day after the bombing showed a staggering level of destruction. Like other sites in Aleksinac, this neighborhood had been largely cleared of rubble by the time of our visit. A power shovel had scooped out most of the debris, and the ground was freshly dug. Adjoining the area, there was a house that had lost most of its roof. Shrapnel had sprayed two apartment buildings near the area, leaving dozens of gaping holes and twisted windows. No sign remained of the destroyed houses except a lone wall with a stairway leading nowhere.

Dragoslav Milenkovich’s home was in one of the damaged apartment buildings. “Everything was shaking, breaking apart. No one knew where it would fall,” he told us. “Large shrapnel smashed through the wall, and everything was on fire.” Milenkovich lost everything he owned. With nowhere else to go, he was staying as a guest in a neighbor’s home.

Angrokolonijal, a food processing plant, was also targeted by NATO on the night of April 5, killing a night watchman. We found the main storage building locked and no one present. Peering through a hole, we saw a devastated interior. The registration office near the gate was a ruin. Across the street, most of the roof was torn away from the Commercial Department auxiliary building. A fence, twisted and bent from the heat of the blast, prevented us from going inside. Based on what we were able to view from one end of the building, we assumed that the interior damage was extensive. By the time of our visit, construction inspectors had already determined that all of these buildings would have to be torn down.

In the next lot was Empa, a worker cooperative that manufactured streetlights and lights for factories and homes. On the periphery of the blast radius at Angrokolonijal on April 5, it would later become a direct target, sustaining more than $300,000 in damage. The plant’s director, Slobodan Todorovich, told us that the attack killed one worker and wounded another. During the war, air raid sirens in the town sounded almost daily, he said, and workers stayed at their posts during the bombardment as a show of resistance to NATO. Empa was hit in the last of NATO’s three assaults on Aleksinac. That attack took place in the early morning of May 28, when NATO warplanes fired 21 missiles into the town.

The neighborhood of Nishka and Uzhichka Streets was one of the targets in that last attack. The walls of many brick homes stood eerily erect, but the roofs were gone and the interiors empty. One house appeared to have taken a direct hit. Only a portion of a few walls were still standing, surrounded by piles of rubble. Someone had placed a memorial to one of the victims on a wall. We saw these remembrances everywhere we went in Yugoslavia, posted at the sites where victims had been killed. Single sheets of paper or cloth, posted on walls, trees or telephone poles, displaying a photograph and name of the person killed along with comments. The victims were not forgotten. In a communal society, every person killed was seen as a loss for the whole community.

One woman approached us and spoke of those who died. “When we saw that everything was destroyed, we were crying. We saw that our neighbors were dead and we were shocked.” One of those who NATO killed was Dushanka Savich, a technical manager in the local confectionary factory that had sustained severe damage in one of the bombing raids. “She was a very good neighbor,” the woman told us. “She regretted that she never had children.” I could not help dwelling upon this woman with her failed dream of parenthood. What other dreams did she harbor that now would never be realized? How could she have known that all of her dreams would vanish in an instant, along with her life and all of its joys and struggles and everyday pleasures? Our witness had a message for U.S. President Bill Clinton: “I am not guilty, and my children are not guilty.”

Another woman spoke of a man named Predrag Nedeljkovovich, killed when an explosion caused a wall to fall on him. He built his home in Aleksinac only the year before. “No mother will ever again give birth to such a man,” she said. “He worked very hard in the hospital to help people. He was a man of very good disposition, and he was not ashamed to do anything. He did everything, from cleaning to managing the hospital. He always had time to talk with people, also with sick people. He was not arrogant.” He was a man of kind and gentle disposition, and now he was gone. This woman felt nothing but bitterness towards Western leaders. “We came out of hell but they will not.” There was a pause, and then the emotions welled up within her. “Predrag is here in my heart,” she whispered as she lightly touched the center of her chest. A painful silence fell, and then she burst into tears.

Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute. He is a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language.

The BBC, the Weapons Industry and War Propaganda

April 8th, 2015 by Global Research

Last week the Chairman of Europe’s largest arms firm BAE Systems, Roger Carr, was appointed Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust. Will Carr’s close ties to the arms industry “get the best out of the BBC for licence fee payers” as its mission statement promises?

On the trust’s web site we can read the following:

The BBC exists to serve the public, and its mission is to inform, educate and entertain. The BBC Trust is the governing body of the BBC, and we make sure the BBC delivers that mission.”

For many years, however, the BBC has been caught delivering weapons of mass deception, lying, censoring important stories and engaging in war propaganda on more than one occasion. Here are just a few articles we published about BBC lies and propaganda:

The BBC’s Big White (Phosphorus) Lie and BBC and Fallujah: War Crimes and Media Lies, about the BBC’s biased coverage of the U.S. army’s use of white phosphorus bombs against civilians in Iraq.

The Media War on Libya: Justifying War through Lies and Fabrications, about “all sorts of inaccurate reports […] fabricated by the BBC […] and other major networks.”

Her Majesty’s BBC’s Syria Coverage: “Sorry for the Lies”…, about several BBC lies in the coverage of the events in Syria. Among others a “picture of victims of a ‘massacre in Syria’, shown by the BBC as proof that the government was responsible, turned out to be ”photographic evidence” (taken from the BBC’s photo archives) of a 2003 massacre in Iraq.”

Israeli lies unchecked, Palestinian perspectives censored on BBC, about the BBC’s “habit of inviting Israeli politicians or the Israeli government spokesperson […] to speak without challenge. Meanwhile, Palestinians and those who would convey a Palestinian perspective are not given the same opportunity.”

MH17 Witnesses Tell BBC They Saw Ukrainian Jet. BBC Deletes Video, about a BBC Russian correspondent who “interviewed numerous eyewitnesses who described seeing a second aircraft in the sky moments before MH17′s fatal crash. The BBC pulled the report. Why?”

But the mother of all BBC lies is without a doubt its 9/11 coverage of the WTC7 collapse before it happened. In a historic court judgement, Tony Rooke, a British citizen, won his law suit against the public broadcaster claiming: “The fact that the BBC reported the collapse of WTC 7 twenty-three minutes before it actually fell indicates that the UK was aware of the attacks on 9/11 before they actually happened. The direct implication is that they were working with the ‘terrorists’, all arguments as to who the terrorists actually were aside.”

We must remember that 9/11 is the mother of all lies which holds the “War on Terrorism” narrative together. Can people expect anything else but more of the same BBC war propaganda with the arrival of the most important Chairman of the European arms industry as number two of the BBC’s governing body?

In this context, supporting independent media is more important than ever. Here at Global Research, we work for you every day and no one here sits on the boards of big corporations with conflicting goals, especially not weapons firms. Our objective is to truly inform people about what is really going on in the world and shed light on media manipulations and the “fabrication of consent” for more wars.

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A  noção de que a maioria dos ataques terroristas são cometidos por árabes ou muçulmanos não apenas não tem qualquer fundamento histórico, como, além disso, é argumento sem qualquer comprovação empírica, associado ao moderno orientalismo,que aí está vivo e forte. 

Imagética e Império

O orientalismo, por sua vez é pesadamente associado a ideias norte-americanas sobre a própria ‘excepcionalidade’. É uma área de pensamento na qual ideias excepcionalistas e racistas coincidem profundamente. Na verdade, há uma linha quase invisível, mas que liga excepcionalismo, racismo e orientalismo.

Numa modalidade de pensamento ultrapassada, linear e geoetnocêntrica, todas as sociedades que vivam a leste e ao sul dos EUA, Canadá e Europa Ocidental – particularmente da França, Grã-Bretanha e dos países falantes de alemão – são vistas como deficientes e inferiores. Na Europa, significa que todos a leste da Alemanha são tacitamente ou escancaradamente pintados como culturalmente atrasados. São os países dos Bálcãs, os povos eslavos, albaneses, gregos, turcos, romenos, cristãos ortodoxos e as repúblicas ex-soviéticas.

Pelas leis do pensamento orientalista nos EUA, povos não europeus aparecem localizados ainda mais abaixo desse mesmo totem. São os povos da África, América Latina e Caribe.

Como nas atitudes excepcionalistas, as ideias orientalistas são importantes para garantir apoio à política exterior e às guerras de Washington, apresentadas como se se tratasse de empreitadas muito nobres. As atitudes orientalistas dos EUA veem o resto do mundo, do México ao Iraque e Rússia, como carentes da tutela e das atenções dos EUA. É como uma reconstrução do que se chamou “o fardo do homem branco”, conceito usado para justificar a colonização de todos que fossem definidos como não brancos.

O relacionamento entre terrorismo e árabes e muçulmanos

Árabes e muçulmanos são alvos preferenciais do orientalismo norte-americano. Seja tácito ou extensivo, ambos, árabes e muçulmanos são pintados como seres localizados abaixo do limiar da civilização, não civilizados nesse sentido. O terrorismo está profundamente associado a imagens de árabes e muçulmanos na mente de muitos norte-americanos; isso, porque os norte-americanos foram adestrados a pensar que a maioria dos terroristas são árabes ou muçulmanos.

Em diferentes graus, sempre que muçulmanos ou árabes étnicos cometem crimes na chamadas sociedades ocidentais, como o Canadá ou os EUA, a avaliação tácita ou ostensiva ‘declara’ que o crime foi cometido por todos os muçulmanos e todos os árabes coletivamente. Os traços ou os contextos de vida árabes e muçulmanos daqueles criminosos são usados para explicar os crimes que tenham cometido. Crimes cometidos por indivíduos árabes ou muçulmanos não são apresentados como crimes de indivíduos criminosos, mas como crimes de uma coletividade apresentada como coletivamente criminosa. Essas noções ignoram os fatos de que os muçulmanos são as maiores vítimas do terrorismo.

Sete dos dez países mais violentamente agredidos por ataques terroristas são predominantemente muçulmanos, segundo o Índice de Terrorismo Global definido peloInstitute for Economics and Peace, com sede na Austrália, para 2014, que tem base no banco de dados de terrorismo global da Universidade de Maryland. Trabalhando com dez como valor máximo e zero como valor mínimo, toda a comunidade internacional é sistematicamente distribuída num ranking. Embora a definição de incidentes terroristas no banco de dados de terrorismo global da Universidade de Maryland seja muitíssimo discutível, ainda assim é possível fazer algumas inferências importantes a partir desse conjunto de dados e do índice de Terrorismo Global do Institute for Economics and Peace.

Vários traços são bem visíveis, se os leitores analisam a natureza e as identidade dos perpetradores do que se classifica como atos de terrorismo nos 30 principais países dos que compõem o Índice de Terrorismo Global para 2014. O primeiro desses traços é que a violência gerada por aqueles grupos terroristas cai no contexto de insurreições e guerras civis que são tratadas em geral, como atos de terrorismo. Por exemplo, é o caso de países como Somália, Filipinas, Tailândia, Colômbia, Turquia, Mali, República Democrática do Congo e Nepal, que ocupam respectivamente os lugares 7º, 9º, 10º, 16º, 17º, 22º e 24º. Examinados de perto, várias dessas insurgências podem ser associadas a rivalidades internacionais e jogos de poder jogados por EUA e aliados. Quanto mais se examina, mais essa ideia se confirma.

O segundo traço é que a maioria desses casos de terrorismo nos países que aparecem no Índice, especialmente os que ocupam os lugares superiores do ranking, é que todos estão conectados direta ou indiretamente à interferência de Washington. Por exemplo, é o caso do Iraque, do Afeganistão ocupado pela OTAN, do Paquistão, da Síria, da Somália, do Iêmen, da Rússia, do Líbano, da Líbia, da República Democrática do Congo, do Sudão, do Sudão Sul, China e Irã, que aparecem, respectivamente, nos seguintes lugares do ranking: 1º, 2º, 3º, 5º, 7º, 8º, 11º, 14º, 15º, 18º, 19º, 20º, 25º e 28º.

As guerras dos EUA, as intervenções pelo Pentágono, os golpes engendrados e apoiados pelos EUA ou o apoio do governo dos EUA aos chamados grupos “de oposição” ou regimes fantoches, têm sido, todos esses fatores, uma base a partir da qual o terrorismo passa a atingir como praga aqueles mesmos países.

Além dos países listados acima, segundo o Global Terrorism Index, 82% das mortes globais são atribuídas a atos de terrorismo acontecidos no Afeganistão ocupado pela OTAN, Iraque, Paquistão, Síria e Nigéria. Os laços com a política externa dos EUA são muito evidentes.

Nem todos os árabes/muçulmanos são terroristas, mas a maioria dos terroristas são árabes/muçulmanos?

É voz corrente que, ainda que nem todos os terroristas sejam árabes ou muçulmanos, a maioria dos terroristas seriam árabes ou muçulmanos.  Verdade, ou apenas mais um mito? Exame dos dados empíricos reunidos nos EUA e na Europa ajudarão a responder essa pergunta.

Nos EUA, que aparece em 30º lugar no Índice de Terrorismo Global de 2014, a maioria dos terroristas são não muçulmanos, segundo dados do FBI. Dentro dos EUA, apenas 6% dos casos de terrorismo, de 1980 a 2005, foram cometidos por terroristas muçulmanos.[2] Os demais 94% dos casos de terrorismo e atos terroristas – quer dizer: a ampla maioria – não têm qualquer relação com árabes, muçulmanos ou com o Islã.[3]

Por mais que seja questionável a metodologia do FBI para determinar o que seja um ataque terrorista, temos de aceitá-la aqui, para poder argumentar. Segundo o mesmo relatório do FBI, houve mais ataques terroristas lançados por judeus do que por muçulmanos, entre 1980 e 2005, em solo dos EUA.

Os mesmos dados do FBI foram compilados pelo website loonwatch.com, linkado pela Universidade Princeton, num quadro que analisa como segue os casos de ataques terroristas em solo dos EUA entre 1980 e 2005: 42% terrorismo hispânico; 24% terrorismo de extrema esquerda; 16% de outros tipos de terroristas que não se enquadram nas demais principais categorias; 7% terroristas judeus; 6% terroristas muçulmanos; e 5% terroristas comunistas.[4]

Se terroristas muçulmanos são responsáveis por 6% dos ataques em solo norte-americano de 1980 a 2005, terroristas  judeus e hispânicos foram responsáveis, respectivamente, por 7% e 42% dos ataques terroristas em solo norte-americano no mesmo período. Não há qualquer pânico generalizado contra judeus nem contra hispânicos. Os olhos das mídia-empresas e dos governos não se focam nesses grupos, como se focam nos árabes étnicos e nos muçulmanos.

E o mesmo padrão repete-se na União Europeia. A página loonwatch.com também compila dados sobre terrorismo na União Europeia, a partir dos relatos do Gabinete de Polícia da União Europeia [orig. European Union's European Police Office (Europol)] de 2007, 2008 e 2009, no seu Relatório Anual da Situação e Tendências do Terrorismo na União Europeia [orig. EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Reports].[5]

Os dados, nesse caso, põem os muçulmanos a distância ainda maior dos atos terroristas. 99,6% dos atos terroristas na União Europeia foram cometidos por não muçulmanos.[6] O número de ataques falhados, abortados ou bem-sucedidos realizados por muçulmanos na União Europeia, de 2007 a 2009 é de apenas cinco ataques; e houve 1.352 ataques terroristas por grupos europeus separatistas – aproximadamente 85% de todos os incidentes de terrorismo na União Europeia.6

Segundo a Europol, houve 104 ataques falhados, abortados ou bem-sucedidos realizados por grupos chamados “de esquerda”, e houve outros 52 ataques classificados como não específicos.7  No mesmo período, houve dois ataques que a Europol classificou como terrorismo de direita.8

Há enorme disparidade entre quem está causando e cometendo atos terroristas, e os que morrem e são acusados dos crimes. Apesar de os fatos sinalizarem eloquentemente outra direção, quando árabes ou muçulmanos cometem crimes, os criminosos são identificados por etnia e por religião. Mas não é o que acontece quando os criminosos são não árabes ou não muçulmanos.

Por mais que o orientalismo já reconheça que os muçulmanos são as principais vítimas do terrorismo, o mesmo orientalismo ainda manobra para fazer cair alguma culpa sobre as próprias vítimas, ao apresentá-las tacitamente como membros de sociedades selvagens, ou de sociedades já próximas de conhecerem destino violento, como animais na selva.

Imagética e Império

Em todo o mundo, as ilusões estão em plena operação. A verdade foi posta de cabeça para baixo. Vítimas são denunciadas como criminosos.

Apareça declarada ingenuamente, implícita ou subentendida, a noção de árabes e muçulmanos como selvagens e terrorista tem papel significativo na imagística do chamado ‘mundo ocidental’, a mesma na qual o dito ‘ocidente’ significa(ria) igualdade, liberdade, direito de escolha, civilização, tolerância, progresso e modernidade, ao mesmo tempo em que o chamado ‘mundo árabe muçulmano’ é como um submundo, onde reinam a desigualdade, as proibições, a tirania, nenhum direito de escolha, selvageria, intolerância, atraso e primitivismo.

Essa imagética serve, de fato, para despolitizar a natureza política das tensões. Como que ‘desinfeta’ as ações do império, a diplomacia por coerção contra o Irã; o apoio à mudança de regime na Síria; as invasões contra Afeganistão e Iraque; a intervenção militar dos EUA na Somália, Iêmen e Líbia. Como já mencionado, essa imagética, em diferentes graus, estende-se a outros espaços, que são vistos pelos orientalistas norte-americanos como espaços ou entidades não ocidentais - como está acontecendo hoje com Rússia e China.

Nas raízes, essa imagética é realmente parte de um discurso que sustenta um sistema de poder que ‘autoriza’ o império a exercer seu poder sobre os ‘de fora’ e também contra os próprios cidadãos nos EUA. É por causa da política externa e de interesses dos EUA que árabes e muçulmanos, contra todas as pesquisas, investigações e provas, são apresentados como terroristas. E apagam-se do mundo todos os dados e fatos comprovados, que mostram que o grande fator que produz terrorismo e terroristas é sempre, em todos os lugares, a intervenção norte-americana.

Por isso é que se mantém uma fixação obcecada no ataque ao Parlamento no Canadá, na crise dos reféns de Martin Place em Sidney, no ataque à redação de Charlie Hebdo em Paris. E absolutamente nenhum analista, nenhum colunista, nenhum jornalista,  nenhum ‘especialista’ fala do apoio que os governos dos EUA, do Canadá, da Austrália e da França continuam a dar aos terroristas e ao terrorismo, e que está custando dezenas de milhares de vidas na Síria.

 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

 

US soldiers in Iraq Imagery and Empire: Understanding the Western Fear of Arab and Muslim Terrorists, 6 de Abril de 2015

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/04/06/imagery-empire-understanding-western-fear-arab-and-muslim-terrorists.html

Traducido por Pravda

All Terrorists are Muslims, Except for 94% to 99.6% of them

April 8th, 2015 by Global Research News

US, Saudis Target Internet Access in Yemen

April 8th, 2015 by 21st Century Wire

21st Century Wire says…

When any illegal war of aggression is taking place, it is essential to cut-off all communication routes to the rest of the world. 

In past wars of aggression, the US has first targeted TV stations and radio communications bases, but in the 21st century, targeting internet access is essential in order to keep real information from circulating between the target nation and the outside world, but also between citizens attempting to coordinate inside the target nation.

Aden is the access point for one of only two submarine fiber optic cables which connect Yemen to the rest of the world. That cable connects Yemen to the US AFRICOM-controlled client state of Djibouti across the Gulf of Aden in east Africa, home of one of the Pentagon’s largest off-shore military bases. It has gone dark for the last three days and counting. This would indicate direct interference or sabotage.

More details on this from The Switch

Network stability in Yemen over the past week (Dyn)

Yemen is in turmoil: The Arab state is now at the heart of a regional conflict pitting a long-standing rebellion against an enfeebled Saudi-backed government.

The factions are now battling over the southern coastal city of Aden, which the country’s president was forced to abandon last week. And the country’s Internet connectivity is one of the victims of the fighting. Aden is the access point for one of only two submarine cables that connects Yemen to the global Internet — and researchers noted two major disruptions where that cable, which connects Yemen to Djibouti, appears to have gone dark in the last two days.

But Yemen isn’t alone. When conflict strikes, Internet access is often an early casualty — cutting off communications for civilians when they need it the most.

“When there’s some sort of conflict, communications ends up being damaged or in some cases intentionally disconnected,” said Doug Madory, who watches global online routing data from his perch in New Hampshire as the director of Internet analysis for  Dyn. The effects can be particularly harmful in the developing world, where infrastructure is less robust than in other nations.

Such is the case with Yemen, whose Internet infrastructure is controlled by one state-run provider and relies on a handful of access points to just two submarine fiber cables. Internet stability in Yemen started to get rocky on Monday, Madory said. But the apparent outages of the Djibouti cable, starting Wednesday as fighting intensified in Aden, caused more significant disruptions. “It’s safe to say that national Internet connectivity during that time was degraded,” he said.

The cause of the outages remain unclear, although their limited time frame — the first one lasted roughly an hour and half — suggests they were likely related to power blackouts or fixable equipment failures rather than an attack aimed at cutting off Internet access, Madory said.

But in other recent conflicts, Internet infrastructure seems to have been purposely targeted. The Egyptian government reportedly shut down Internet access in the midst of the Arab Spring, drawing outcry from the U.S. government and others. And the entire country of Sudan suffered an extended outage during rioting in the capital city of Khartoum in 2013.

Syria, which has been embroiled in a years-long civil war, has also suffered nation-wide and localized Internet outages — although the sources of those outages have been the subject of debate.

It’s often difficult to determine the culprit when communications infrastructure is attacked. And in some cases, anti-government groups have also forced outages. In one 2013 incident, the BBCreported that demonstrators in Libya stormed a state-owned Internet provider and forced it to switch off service. In Yemen, local reports suggested Internet cables were targeted by tribal groups during disputes with the government in years past.

The Internet has become a powerful tool for journalists documenting conflicts and civilians eager to get information about the facts on the ground. But when it goes dark, either due to deliberate attacks or the failure of insufficient infrastructure, those who depend on it are often left without recourse — sometimes for hours, sometimes for days.

“All the facts in the world available in real time won’t make a whit of difference if people don’t have access,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted during remarks to an online freedom conference last year. “And for millions of people today, that is the reality of the challenge that they face.”

We reported in 2012 that top nuclear experts say that the technology doesn’t yet even exist to clean up Fukushima.

Now, the head of the Fukushima nuclear plant and the head of decommissioning at Fukushima both say that the technology doesn’t exist to clean up Fukushima, and it may not exist for hundreds of years … if ever.

The Times of London reported last month:

The chief of the Fukushima nuclear power station has admitted that the technology needed to decommission three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he has no idea how it will be developed.

In a stark reminder of the challenge facing the Japanese authorities, Akira Ono conceded that the stated goal of decommissioning the plant by 2051 may be impossible without a giant technological leap. “There are so many uncertainties involved. We need to develop many, many technologies,” Mr. Ono said.

EneNews notes:

NHK ‘Nuclear Watch’ transcript, Mar 31, 2015 (emphasis added):

  • NHK: The people trying to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been hit by setback after setback… and faced accusations of misconduct. It’s lost them a lot of public trust… [Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco’s decommissioning company] revealed he’s not sure if he can comply with the government set plan [for] removing the fuel
  • Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Company: We have no idea about the debris. We don’t know its shape or strength. We have to remove it remotely from 30 meters above, but we don’t have that kind of technologyit simply doesn’t exist… We still don’t know whether it’s possible to fill the reactor containers with water.We’ve found some cracks and holesin the three damaged container vessels, but we don’t know if we found them all. If it turns out there are other holes, we might have to look for some other way to remove the debris.
  • NHK: Asked [about the gov’t target to begin by 2020], his answer was surprisingly candid.
  • Masuda: It’s a very big challenge. Honestly speaking, I cannot say it’s possible.

Dale Klein, Tepco Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee chair, Mar 31, 2015 (at 24:00 in):

  • Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times: I was at the plant last week on the tour and we talked Mr. Ono, the boss. He made no bones about the fact that the technology… to remove the molten or semi-molten fuel doesn’t exist yet… I asked him how can you be sure that it will be, and he said, “Well, 200 years ago people would never have dreamed of bullet trains or mobile phones, but they exist.” That seems to be the scale of the leap… that’s going to be required. So there must be immense uncertainties around that… There must surely be a chance that it won’t work out, and that the eventual solution will be something like the Chernobyl solution… a sarcophagus of some kind sealing in the 3 plants
  • Klein: This is something that has never been done… Units 1, 2, and 3… molten fuel penetrated the bottom of the vessel… We don’t know… how much and where it moved. ***

Akira Ono, chief of Fukushima Daiichi, Mar 28, 2015: “There are so many uncertainties… For removal of the debris, we don’t have accurate information… or any viable methodology… I believe human beings have the capability to develop technologies… It may take 200 years.”

Watch: NHK ‘Nuclear Watch’ | Klein Press Conference

In related news, Fukushima radiation just arrived on the West Coast of North America.

We explained in 2012:

[Airborne] radiation from Japan’s nuclear accident has turned up in seaweed on the coasts of CaliforniaWashington and other parts of the West Coast of North America.

***

A 1955 U.S. government report concluded that the ocean may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents.

MIT says that seawater which is itself radioactive may begin hitting the West Coast within 5 years.

This text was written by Albert Einstein in 1946

I am writing as one who has lived among you in America only a little more than ten years. And I am writing seriously and warningly. Many readers may ask: 

“What right has he to speak about things which concern us alone, and which no newcomer should touch?”

I do not think such a standpoint is justified. One who has grown up in an environment takes much for granted. On the other hand, one who has come to this country as a mature person may have a keen eye for everything peculiar and characteristic. I believe he should speak out freely on what he sees and feels, for by so doing he may perhaps prove himself useful.

What soon makes the new arrival devoted to this country is the democratic trait among the people. I am not thinking here so much of the democratic political constitution of this country, however highly it must be praised. I am thinking of the relationship between individual people and of the attitude they maintain toward one another.

In the United States everyone feels assured of his worth as an individual. No one humbles himself before another person or class. Even the great difference in wealth, the superior power of a few, cannot undermine this healthy self-confidence and natural respect for the dignity of one’s fellow-man.

There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.

Many a sincere person will answer: “Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.”

I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.

The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself.

A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.

It would be foolish to despise tradition. But with our growing self-consciousness and increasing intelligence we must begin to control tradition and assume a critical attitude toward it, if human relations are ever to change for the better. We must try to recognize what in our accepted tradition is damaging to our fate and dignity—and shape our lives accordingly.

I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.

What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.

I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed.
But until this goal is reached there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.

The White House has published a handful of comments from “environmental groups” implying widespread support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other corporate trade agreements. Yet these cherry-picked comments from some of the most conservative, corporate-funded environmental groups actually reveal the administration’s desperation to find any support for such deals.

Indeed, the reality is that scores of major environmental organizations including Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife, Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, 350.org, and many others oppose fast-track for the TPP. Many recognize the TPP is a backward step for environmental protection that will help push the world over the tipping point for climate change.

The White House’s false image of environmental support for the TPP

The White House is having a hard time generating any momentum for fast-track trade authority for the TPP and other agreements. The Obama administration pushed to stop the Seattle City Council from opposing fast-track legislation and the TPP, but instead got a unanimous vote against them from a major port city that trades with Asia.

One of the key issues that has fostered opposition to the TPP is the impact of the agreement on the environment. In order to counter the reality of broad environmental opposition, the White House published an article seeking to spin reality. The White House carefully selected environmental groups that are heavily corporate-funded and then cherry-picked quotes inaccurately portraying their position. In fact, all the groups quoted by the White House have said they have not endorsed the TPP and are waiting to see what the agreement says.

In response to the White House effort Karthik Ganapathy, a spokesman for 350.org said:  “So many groups and organizations who care about climate change have repeatedly bashed this corporate giveaway — and suggesting otherwise is nothing short of misleading cynicism.” And, Jake Schmidt, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s international program said: “The White House took some of their statements and spun them out. There are a large number of environmental groups that came out pretty clearly and said … ‘What we’ve seen on TPP doesn’t look good.’”

One of the key issues fostering opposition to the TPP is the impact of the agreement on the environment. In order to counter the reality of broad environmental opposition, the White House Blog published an article on March 31 seeking to spin reality. The White House carefully selected quotes from environmental groups that are heavily corporate-funded, then it cherry-picked quotes inaccurately portraying the positions of these groups.

The first quote comes from Carter Roberts, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund. WWF, which is viewed as one of the most conservative environmental groups, receives more than $50 million in grants from the government, making up 19 percent of its funding. Corporate Watch accuses WWF of being too close to businesses to campaign objectively. WWF was one of seven environmental groups that provided cover for President Clinton to fast track NAFTA. In 2010 WWF received $80 million from corporations, including many heavy-polluting industrial or energy companies. Some donors are actively involved in deforestation and other environmental abuses, and WWF has hired executives from those companies.

Jeffrey St. Clair wrote for Counterpunch in 2002 that WWF “functions more like a corporate enterprise than a public interest group.” He continued, reporting that it “rakes in millions from corporations, including Alcoa, Citigroup, the Bank of America, Kodak, J.P. Morgan, the Bank of Tokyo, Philip Morris, Waste Management and DuPont. They even offer an annual conservation award funded by and named after the late oil baron J. Paul Getty. It hawks its own credit card and showcases its own online boutique. As a result, WWF’s budget has swelled to over $100 million a year and it’s not looking back.”

From this corporate/government enterprise the White House picks a quote that claims the TPP is “one of those potentially game-changing solutions . . . to help protect our planet.” This quote was lifted from a blog post that WWF CEO Roberts penned for the Huffington Post in January 2014, right after the leak of the environmental chapter which showed no environmental enforcement in the TPP.

Yet Roberts also notes in his post that the TPP could protect the environment if it “includes strong environmental obligations [that] could provide critical new protections for some of our planet’s important natural resources.” And he asks: “Do they keep their promise to create an ambitious 21st century trade deal with a fully enforceable environment chapter or do they abandon real environmental protections for weak, voluntary promises?”

Despite the promises of U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, it seems the TPP wouldn’t even pass WWF’s test because it lacks an environmental enforcement mechanism.

The next quote, which continues to use phrasing like “if the administration can deliver,” comes from a March 16 letter to President Obama from several organizations including the Nature Conservancy, the largest and most corporate environmental group in the Americas with assets of $6.14 billion in 2014 and $1.1 billion in revenue. President and CEO Mark Tercek is a former managing director of Goldman Sachs. The Nature Conservancy has ties to roughly 1,900 corporate sponsors. Its funders include notorious polluters such as Arco, Archer-Daniels-Midland, BP, DuPont and Shell. Its governing board consists of numerous executives and directors of oil companies, chemical producers, auto manufacturers, mining concerns, logging operations, and electric utilities.

Indeed, the Nature Conservancy has a reputation for remaining silent on key environmental issues that involve business practices in general. But it has been known to sometimes work with corporations to weaken environmental laws, as with the rewrite of the Endangered Species Act. The Nature Conservancy’s stated mission is to preserve land, yet it permits oil drilling, timbering, mining, and natural gas drilling on land donated to the organization and has been involved with controversial land deals.

The excerpt from that letter is followed by a snippet from a March 20 statement from the Humane Society, which boasts $229 million in assets and $125 million in annual income. While there is a constant presence of dogs and cats in its fundraising, the Humane Society is not affiliated with local animal shelters. It gives less than 1 percent of its funding to animal shelters, spending more on its pension plan and lobbying. Positive comments from the Humane Society are especially strange, since one of the goals of the agreement, according to Friends of the Earth, is “to undercut consumers’ right to know what is in their food and whether the food is produced in a humane manner protective of animal welfare.”

Other statements pointed to in the White House Blog come from Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Center for American Progress, a virtual White House think tank, whose former director, John Podesta, served as chief of staff to President Clinton and as counselor to President Obama.

The reality: Broad opposition in the environmental and climate justice communities

The White House is well-aware of the vast environmental and climate justice opposition to the TPP and fast-track trade authority, so it is intentionally trying to deceive the public. Forty-four environmental groups expressed their opposition to TPP and other deals like it in a Jan. 21 letter to Congress. The letter begins:

“As leading U.S. environmental and science organizations, we write to express our strong opposition to ‘fast track’ trade promotion authority and to urge you to oppose any legislation that would limit the ability of Congress to ensure that trade pacts deliver benefits for communities, workers, public health, and the environment.”

The letter goes on to specifically describe how the deals being negotiated would undermine the environment rather than protect it, and they urge a totally new approach to trade that creates a race to the top for environmental, health, jobs and other areas, rather than a race to the bottom. This new approach needs to be transparent and participatory, not secret, rushed and without broad participation, they assert.

When the letter was released, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said, “Trade should be done right — not just fast — to protect our families and neighbors from pollution and climate disruption. Fast tracking flawed trade pacts is a deal-breaker. With fast track, we would be trading away clean air, clean water, and safe communities.”

Likewise, Peter Lehner, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s executive director, said, “Congress shouldn’t give a fast lane to trade pacts that don’t protect our public health and climate. These trade bills would give foreign corporations and governments the right to challenge our bedrock protections for clean air, safe drinking water, healthy food and proper chemical safeguards.”

In a recent report, Teamster Mike Dolan writes that NRDC was one of seven environmental groups that provided cover to President Clinton when he fast-tracked NAFTA through Congress.

The environmental chapter of the TPP was published by WikiLeaks in January 2014. It was a major setback for the TPP and fast-track because it solidified opposition to the trade agreements among environmental and climate justice advocates. Indeed, the leak showed that the TPP represents a step backward from the Bush-era deals because it provides no environmental enforcement mechanism. A joint analysis of the leaked environment chapter by Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, and NRDC notes, “[T]he leaked text takes a significant step back from the May 2007 agreement.”

“Environmental protections are only as effective as their enforcement provisions, and a trade agreement with weak enforcement language will do little or nothing to protect our communities and wildlife,” Lehner said, further noting, “Considering the dire state of many fisheries and forests in the Asia-Pacific region and the myriad threats to endangered wildlife, we need a modern trade agreement with real teeth, not just empty rhetoric.”

As a result of the environmental community’s strong reaction to the leak, a month later more than 120 members of Congress sent a clear message to U.S. Trade Representative Froman: They could not support the TPP trade pact unless it had a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter addressing the core conservation challenges of the region.

To make matters worse, another leak revealed that the U.S. Trade Representative is actually trying to weaken language in the pact that deals with climate disruption and biodiversity. The U.S. negotiating position seeks to eliminate even a reference to climate change and the international forum designed to address the climate crisis — the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

 Desperate moment for the White House on trade

Why would the White House put out such a weak statement falsely implying environmental support? The administration knows that the environmental and labor impacts of the TPP and other deals are the two biggest areas of concern surrounding the deal. If there is opposition from the environmental and labor movements, it becomes very difficult to pass fast-track legislation. Yet the White House could not put out a stronger statement because there is no real support in the environmental and climate justice movements for fast track or TPP-type deals. Indeed, this misleading statement from corporate-environmentalists was the best they could do.

This is not the first time the White House has been caught attempting to mislead on an important fast-track or TPP issue. Indeed, dishonesty seems to have become a tactic:

  • The U.S. Trade Representative has been making false claims that the TPP will create 650,000 jobs. For this claim, the Washington Post, which generally supports trade agreements, gave the Obama administration four Pinocchio noses, the highest dishonesty score possible.

  • And recently, when U.S. Trade Representative Froman met with Democrats in Congress to try to fudge the international trade deficit, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) described the dishonesty as attempts at “baffling” Democrats “with bullshit.”

Froman, appointed by President Obama, is negotiating three massive trade agreements in secret under the current administration. Now the president is pushing to rush thousands of pages of legalese through Congress without any congressional hearings and no real opportunity for citizen input — only brief arguments on the floor of Congress and then an up or down vote without amendments.

It is bad enough to secretly negotiate rigged corporate trade deals for six years, classify it as a secret so it can’t be discussed and attempt to fast track it through Congress without any real debate, now to justify secret agreements with misleading statements shows it is time for President Obama to give up on passing fast track for corporate rigged agreements. The response is clear – the American people are not buying it. We need a completely new approach to trade, one that is transparent and participatory and that puts people and planet before profits.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers co-direct Popular Resistance.

“Even at normal doses, taking psychiatric drugs can produce suicidal thinking, violent behavior,  aggressiveness, extreme anger,  hostility, irritability, loss of ability to control impulses, rage reactions, hallucinations, mania, acute psychotic episodes, akathisia, and bizarre, grandiose, highly elaborated destructive plans, including mass murder.

“Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs can cause agitation, severe depression, hallucinations, aggressiveness, hypomania, akathisia, fear, terror, panic, fear of insanity, failing self-confidence, restlessness, irritability, aggression, an urge to destroy and, in the worst cases, an urge to kill.” -  From “Drug Studies Connecting Psychotropic Drugs with Acts of Violence” – unpublished.

My previous article on Global Research discussed the frustration of large numbers of aware observers around the world that were certain that Andreas Lubitz, the suicidal mass murderer of 149 passengers and crewmembers of the of the Lufthansa airliner crash, was under the intoxicating influence of brain-disabling, brain-altering, psychotropic medicines that had been prescribed for him by his German psychiatrists and/or neurologists who were known to have been prescribing for him.

These inquiring folks wanted and needed to know precisely what drugs he had been taking or withdrawing from so that the event could become a teachable moment that would help explain what had really happened and then possibly prevent other “irrational” acts from happening in the future. For the first week after the crash, the “authorities” were closed mouthed about the specifics, but most folks were willing to wait a bit to find out the truth.

However, another week has gone by, and there has still been no revelations from the “authorities” as to the exact medications, exact doses, exact combinations of drugs, who were the prescribing clinics and physicians and what was the rationale for the drugs having been  prescribed. Inquiring minds want to know and they deserve to be informed.

There are probably plenty of reasons why the information is not being revealed. There are big toes that could be stepped on, especially the giant pharmaceutical industries. There are medico-legal implications for the physicians and clinics that did the prescribing and there are serious implications for the airline corporations because their industry is at high risk of losing consumer confidence in their products if the truth isn’t adequately covered up. And the loss of consumer confidence is a great concern for both the pharmaceutical industry and its indoctrinated medical providers.

It looks like heavily drugged German society is dealing with the situation the same way the heavily drugged United States has dealt with psychiatric drug-induced suicidality and drug-induced mass murders (such as have been known to be in a cause and effect relationship in the American epidemic of school shootings – see www.ssristories.net).

The Traffickers of Illicit Drugs That Cause Dangerous and Irrational Behaviors Such as Murders and Suicides are Punished. Why not Legal Drug Traffickers as Well?

But there is a myth out there that illegal brain-altering drugs are dangerous but prescribed brain-altering drugs are safe. But anyone who knows the molecular structure and understands the molecular biology of these drugs and has seen the horrific adverse effects of usage or withdrawal of legal psychotropic drugs knows that the myth is false, and that there is a double standard being applied, thanks to the cunning advertising campaigns from Big Pharma.

But there is an epidemic of legal drug-related deaths in America, so I submit a few questions that people – as well as journalists and lawyers who are representing drug-injured plaintiffs – need to have answered, if only for educational and preventive practice purposes:

1) What cocktail of 9 different VA-prescribed psych drugs was “American Sniper” Chris Kyle’s Marine Corps killer taking after he was discharged from his psychiatric hospital the week before the infamous murder?

2) What were the psych drugs that Robin Williams got from Hazelden just before he hung himself?

3) What were the myriad of psych drugs, tranquilizers, opioids, etc that caused the overdose deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, etc, etc, etc (not to mention Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe) – and who were the “pushers” of those drugs?

4) What was the cocktail of psychiatric and neurologic brain-altering drugs that Andreas Lubitz was taking before he intentionally crashed the passenger jet in the French Alps – and who were the prescribers?

5) What are the correctly prescribed drugs that annually kill over 100,000 hospitalized Americans per year and are estimated to kill twice that number of out-patients?

(See http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/05/07/death-by-prescription-drugs-is-a-growing-problem/)

Because the giant pharmaceutical companies want these serious matters hushed up until the news cycle blows over (so that they can get on with business as usual), and because many prescribing physicians seem to be innocently unaware that any combination of two or more brain-altering psychiatric drugs have never been tested for safety (either short or long-term), even in the rat labs, future celebrities and millions of other patient-victims will continue dying – or just be sickened from a deadly but highly preventable reality.

But what about “patient confidentiality”, a common excuse for withholding specific information about patients (even if crimes such as mass murder are involved)? It turns out that what is actually being protected by that assertion are the drug providers and manufacturers. Common sense demands that such information should not be withheld in a criminal situation.

America’s corporate controlled media makes a lot of money from its relationships with its wealthy and influential corporate sponsors, contributors, advertisers, political action committees and politicians, but, tragically, the media has been clearly abandoning its historically-important investigative journalistic responsibilities (that are guaranteed and protected by the Constitution). It is obvious that the media has allied itself with the corporate “authorities” that withhold, any way they can, the important information that forensic psychiatrists (and everybody else) needs to know.

We should be calling out and condemning the authorities that are withholding the information about the reported “plethora of drugs” that is known to have been prescribed for Lubitz by his treating “neurologists and psychiatrists”, drugs that were found in his apartment on the day of the crash and identified by those same authorities who have not revealed the information to the people who need to know. Two weeks into the story and there still has been no further information given, or as far as I can ascertain, or asked for by journalists.

So, since the facts are being withheld by the authorities, I submit some useful lists of common adverse effects of commonly prescribed crazy-making psych drugs that Lubitz may have been taking. Also included are a number of withdrawal symptoms that are routinely  and conveniently mis-diagnosed as symptoms of a mental illness of unknown cause.

And at the end of the column are some excerpts from the FAA on psych drug use for American pilots. I do not know how different are the rules in Germany, but certainly both nations have to rely on voluntary information from the pilots.

1) Common Adverse Symptoms of Antidepressant Drug Use

Agitation, akathisia (severe restlessness, often resulting in suicidality), anxiety, bizarre dreams, confusion, delusions, emotional numbing, hallucinations, headache, heart attacks  hostility, hypomania (abnormal excitement), impotence, indifference (an “I don’t give a damn attitude”), insomnia, loss of appetite, mania, memory lapses, nausea, panic attacks, paranoia, psychotic episodes, restlessness, seizures, sexual dysfunction, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, violent behavior, weight loss, withdrawal symptoms (including deeper depression)

2) Common Adverse Psychological Symptoms of Antidepressant Drug Withdrawal

Depressed mood, low energy, crying uncontrollably, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, agitation, impulsivity, hallucinations or suicidal and violent urges. The physical symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal include disabling dizziness, imbalance, nausea, vomiting, flu-like aches and pains, sweating, headaches, tremors, burning sensations or electric shock-like zaps in the brain

3) Common Symptoms of Minor Tranquilizer Drug Withdrawal

Abdominal pains and cramps, agoraphobia , anxiety, blurred vision, changes in perception (faces distorting and inanimate objects moving), depression, dizziness, extreme lethargy, fears, feelings of unreality, heavy limbs, heart palpitations, hypersensitivity to light, insomnia, irritability, lack of concentration, lack of co-ordination, loss of balance, loss of memory, nightmares, panic attacks, rapid mood changes, restlessness, severe headaches, shaking, sweating, tightness in the chest, tight-headedness

4) Common (Usually Late Onset) Adverse Psychological Symptoms From Anti-Psychotic Drug Use

Blurred vision, breast enlargement/breast milk flow,  constipation, decreased sweating, dizziness, low blood pressure, imbalance and falls, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, hyperprolactinemia (pituitary gland dysfunction), increased skin-sensitivity to sunlight, lightheadedness, menstrual irregularity (or absence of menstruation), sexual difficulty, (decline in libido, anorgasmia, genital pain).

The lethal adverse effects of antipsychotic drugs include Catatonic decline, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS, a condition marked by muscle stiffness or rigidity, dark urine, fast heartbeat or irregular pulse, increased sweating, high fever, and high or low blood pressure); Torsades de Pointes (a condition that affects the heart rhythm and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest”; Sudden death

5) Late and Persistent Adverse Effects of Antipsychotic Drug Use  (Some of these symptoms may even start when tapering down or discontinuing the drug!)

Aggression, akathisia (inner restlessness, often intolerable and leading to suicidality), brain atrophy (shrinkage), caffeine or other psychostimulant addiction, cataracts, creativity decline, depression, diabetes, difficulty urinating, difficulty talking, difficulty swallowing, fatigue and tiredness, hypercholesterolemia, hypothyroidism, intellectual decline (loss of IQ points), obesity, pituitary tumors, premature death, smoking – often heavy – (nicotine addiction), tardive dyskinesia (involuntary, disfiguring movement disorder), tongue edge “snaking” (early sign of movement disorder), jerky movements of head, face, mouth or neck, muscle spasms of face, neck or back, twisting the neck muscles, restlessness – physical and mental (resulting in sleep difficulty), restless legs syndrome, drooling, seizure threshold lowered, skin rashes (itching, discoloration), sore throat, staring, stiffness of arms or legs, swelling of feet, trembling of hands, uncontrollable chewing movements, uncontrollable lip movements, puckering of the mouth, uncontrollable movements of arms and legs, unusual twisting movements of body, weight gain, liver toxicity

6) Common Symptoms of Antipsychotic Drug Withdrawal

Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, rhinorrhea (runny nose), heavy sweating, muscle pains, odd sensations such as burning, tingling, numbness,  anxiety, hypersexuality, agitation, mania, insomnia, tremor, voice-hearing

FAA Medical Certification Requirements for Psychotropic Medications

https://www.leftseat.com/psychotropic.htm


Pilots can only take one of four antidepressant drugs – Celexa (Citalopram), Lexapro (Escitalopram), Prozac (Fluoxetine) and Zoloft (Sertraline).
Most psychiatric drugs are not approved under any circumstances.
These include but are not limited to:
  • Abilify (Aripiprazole)
  • Effexor (Venlafaxine)
  • Elavil (Amitriptyline)
  • Luvox (Fluvoxamine Maleate)
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Paxil (Paroxetine)
  • Remeron (Mirtazapine)
  • Serzone (Nefazodone)
  • Sinequan (Doxepin)
  • Tofranil (Imipramine)
  • Trazodone
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
To assure favorable FAA consideration, the treating physician should establish that you do not need psychotropic medication. The medication should be discontinued and the condition and circumstances should be evaluated after you have been off medication for at least 60 and in most cases 90 days.
Should your physician believe you are an ideal candidate, you may be considered by the FAA on a case by case basis only. Applicants may be considered after extensive testing and evidence of successful use for one year without adverse effects. Medications used for psychiatric conditions are rarely approved by the FAA. The FAA has approved less than fifty (50) airmen under the FAA’s SSRI protocol.
After discontinuing the medication, a detailed psychiatric evaluation should be obtained. Resolved issues and stability off the medication are usually the primary factors for approval.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his family practice career. He writes a weekly column on various topics for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of Dr Kohls’ weekly columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.

Mass Surveillance Started Before 9/11

USA Today reports:

The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed.

For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said.

***

The similarities between the NSA program and the DEA operation established a decade earlier are striking – too much so to have been a coincidence, people familiar with the programs said. Former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker said, “It’s very hard to see (the DEA operation) as anything other than the precursor” to the NSA’s terrorist surveillance.

Both operations relied on an expansive interpretation of the word “relevant,” for example — one that allowed the government to collect vast amounts of information on the premise that some tiny fraction of it would be useful to investigators. Both used similar internal safeguards, requiring analysts to certify that they had “reasonable articulable suspicion” – a comparatively low legal threshold – that a phone number was linked to a drug or intelligence case before they could query the records.

“The foundation of the NSA program was a mirror image of what we were doing,” said a former Justice Department official who helped oversee the surveillance. That official said he and others briefed NSA lawyers several times on the particulars of their surveillance program. Two former DEA officials also said the NSA had been briefed on the operation. The NSA declined to comment.

This is not the only time that the Drug Enforcement Administration has been at the center of U.S. spying. Edward Snowden revealed that the DEA “laundered” information gained through mass surveillance by the NSA … and then forwarded it to other government agencies to use to prosecute Americans … while lying about the source of the information.

In fact, widespread spying on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed herehereherehere and here).

And the government tapped the 9/11 hijackers’ phones, and heard the 9/11 hijackers’ plans from their own mouths.

Indeed, the entire “war on terror” started prior to 9/11.

by South Front 

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Transcript

Self-styled Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has proposed Vladimir Putin to ”include Donbass” in the territory of the Russian Federation, Forbes reported on 6 April. The offer was made during the Normandy Four talks in Minsk on 11 and 12 February. Poroshenko: ”Take Donbass”. Putin: ”Have you gone mad? I don’t need Donbass. If you don’t need it, announce its independence”.

This is the behavior of an invader. All year we heard about Russian aggression, Russian tanks, Russian troops, Russian invasion. And what now? This fear-mongering by Obama’s administration and his little friend Poroshenko was simply the stuff of their paranoid nightmares.

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As the world prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany, Ukraine’s lawmakers have vowed to pass a “decommunization” law banning Soviet Union “symbols and propaganda”, equating the beliefs of the victors with Nazi ideology. Kiev Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko believes the present parliament has sufficient political will and votes to effectively ban communist ideology in Ukraine. The government of the country which communists have created is planning to ban communism. This isn’t a circus act, it’s real Kiev policy.

Hungary began lowering reverse supplies of natural gas to Ukraine on 1 April, Hungary’s gas transmission operator said on Monday. According to the operator’s data, reverse supplies were lowered to 990,000 cubic meters a day on 1 April and to 690,000 cubic meters a day on 3 April as compared to 5 million cubic meters exported daily last month. Deliveries have thus declined sevenfold. Now we’re waiting for Kiev’s statement about Russo-Hungarian gas aggression against Ukrainian democracy. But in fact nobody wants to supply the thievish Kiev government for free.
Title: Hungary Slashes Reverse Gas to Ukraine Sevenfold

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra cancelled two performances by Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa, citing concerns over her “deeply offensive” and “provocative” online remarks about the conflict in Ukraine. She explained the cancellation was likely the result of “pressure from a small but aggressive lobby claiming to represent the Ukrainian community”. Lisitsa uses her Twitter account to frequently express her strong support for those fighting against Kiev forces in Ukraine. In more than 13,000 tweets aimed at more than 9,000 followers, she’s posted sharp denunciations of the Western media and Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” mixed with graphic battlefront videos and images.

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