The Trump Stock Market Bubble. “Make it Bigger”

January 7th, 2017 by Mike Whitney

Donald Trump has a plan for dealing with the stock market bubble. Make it bigger.

Before the election candidate Trump blasted Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen for keeping interest rates too low for too long to keep the economy humming along while Obama was still in office. The president elect accused Yellen of being politically motivated suggesting that the Fed’s policies had put the country at risk of another stock market Crash like 2008.

“If rates go up, you’re going to see something that’s not pretty,” Trump told Fox News in an interview in September. “It’s all a big bubble.”

Yellen of course denied Trump’s claims saying, “We do not discuss politics at our meetings, and we do not take politics into account in our decisions.”

As we shall see later in this article, Yellen was lying about the political role the Fed plays in setting policy, in fact, last week’s FOMC statement clearly establishes the Fed as basically a political institution that implements an agenda that serves a very small group of powerful constituents, the 1 percent. If serving the interests of one group over all of the others is not politics, than what is it?

The problem we have with Trump is not his critique of the market or the Fed. The problem is his remedy which can be sussed out by reviewing his economic plan. Trump wants to slash personal and corporate taxes in order to put more money into the economy to increase business investment, boost hiring, and rev up growth. Regrettably, his tax plan achieves none of these.

First of all, slashing taxes for the wealthy does not boost growth. We know that. It doesn’t work. Period. Check out this blurb from an article on CNBC:

A study from the Congressional Research Service — the non-partisan research office for Congress — shows that “there is little evidence over the past 65 years that tax cuts for the highest earners are associated with savings, investment or productivity growth.

In fact, the study found that higher tax rates for the wealthy are statistically associated with higher levels of growth…

The CRS study looked at tax rates and economic growth since 1945. The top tax rate in 1945 was above 90 percent, and fell to 70 percent in the 1960s and to a low of 28 percent in 1986.
The top current rate is 35 percent. The tax rate for capital gains was 25 percent in the 1940s and 1950s, then went up to 35 percent in the 1970s, before coming down to 15 percent today — the lowest rate in more than 65 years.

Lowering these rates for the wealthy, the study found, isn’t aligned with significant improvement in any of the areas it examined…

There is one part of the economy, however, that is changed by tax cuts for the rich: inequality….

The share of total income going to the top 0.1 percent hovered around 4 percent during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, then rose to 12 percent by the mid-2000s. During this period, the average tax rate paid by the 0.1 percent fell from more than 40 percent to below 25 percent. (Study: Tax Cuts for the Rich Don’t Spur Growth, CNBC)

Trump’s tax plan will increase inequality by making the rich richer. He wants to reduce the top tax rate from 39.6% to 33% which means that people “making $3.7 million or more in a year, would receive $1 million in annual tax savings.” (USA Today) The plan is bad for the economy, bad for the deficits and bad for working people who will see more aggressive attacks on Social Security to make up for the losses in revenue.

Second, the huge tax break Trump intends to award to the tax dodging corporations that stash their money overseas will not be used to fire up growth or invest in future business ventures, but to issue more dividends to shareholders or increase stock buybacks that pump up stock prices. There’s a great article at the Intercept website that sums it up perfectly. Here’s a short excerpt:

The official line from U.S.-based multinational corporations is that if they get a huge tax break, they’ll bring home the trillions of dollars in profits they’ve stashed overseas and use it to hire tons of Americans.

But now that Donald Trump’s election means it might really happen, corporate executives are telling Wall Street analysts what they’ll actually use that money for: enriching their shareholders and buying other companies.

The Intercept’s examination of dozens of earnings calls and investor conference talks since Trump won the presidential election finds that many executives are telling analysts at large banks that they are eager to take the money to increase dividends and stock buybacks as well as snap up competitors. They demonstrate considerably less if any enthusiasm for going on a domestic hiring spree…

The wealthy are going to create tremendous jobs. They’re going to expand their companies,” Trump asserted during the first presidential debate. “They’re going to bring $2.5 trillion back from overseas, … to be put to use on the inner cities and lots of other things, and it would be beautiful.” During the third debate he promised that “We’re going to start hiring people, we’re going to bring the $2.5 trillion that’s offshore back into the country. We are going to start the engine rolling again.
(Corporations Prepare to Gorge on Tax Cuts Trump Claims Will Create Jobs, Jon Schwartz, The Intercept)

Trump knows his so called “tax holiday” scam is a bunch of baloney. Why would companies expand their operations, hire more workers, and generate more product when consumer demand is still in the crapper seven years after the Great Recession?

They’re not going to do that. They’re going to do exactly what their shareholders expect them to do, pursue those areas of investment that promise the best possible return. In this case that means stock buybacks, the financial engineering swindle that’s going to add another $2 trillion to equities valuations and send Trump’s “bubble” to the moon.

The people who believe that Trump is going to defend the “little guy” against the special interests, corporate lobbyists and elitist oligarchy who run this country are going to be pretty disappointed. Behind his widely-ballyhooed public relations campaign aimed at convincing his backers that he’s determined to keep the jobs in the US, Trump is working all the levers to ensure the big money keeps flowing in the same direction it has been for the last 30 years. Upwards.

As for Yellen, last week’s FOMC statement made it crystal clear that if Trump makes any attempt to veer from the predatory, neoliberal course she’s charted, he will be quickly slapped down with higher interest rates. Check out her comments from the post-statement press conference:

We’re operating under a cloud of uncertainty at the moment … Some participants noted that if the labor market appeared to be tightening significantly more than expected, it might become necessary to adjust the Committee’s communications about the expected path of the federal funds rate, consistent with the possibility that a less gradual pace of increases would become appropriate.

In other words, if wages finally manage to break-free from their seven years of flatlining stagnation due to an unforeseen surge in growth, the Fed will immediately extinguish that improvement by raising rates and reducing the level of economic activity. Yellen’s statement simply confirms the Fed’s anti-worker bias.

Which is why we say the Fed is basically a political institution.

 

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

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Trump Stock Market Bubble. “Make it Bigger”

This article was first published by GR on December 16, 2016

A month has passed since Donald Trump was declared president-elect soon to be the 45th president of the United States.    Since his win, pundits, analysts, and experts continue to debate the victory – a surprise to most.   While the reason/s for this victory depend on one’s perspective, most agree on one thing: Trump is unpredictable.

But is he really?

There is clear indication that US foreign policy will not change course under a Trump administration – it will simply change tactic.   Those who continue to believe that the relations with Russia are headed for a reset are more optimistic than analytical.   US may deviate from the path previously trodden, but it is still headed for the same goal/s.

Trump resembles Loki – a colorful character in Norse mythology.   Similar to Loki, what is thought and said about Trump depends on the source.   And similar to Loki, Trump is a trickster, a shape shifter (policy shifter).  So to understand him better, we should concentrate on what we do know – his team.

Judging from his picks, Trump considers Islam as the number one enemy, followed by Iran, China, and Russia.  The ideology of those he has picked to serve in his administration are supporters of this continuity in US foreign policy, and, contradicts his campaign slogan of ‘non-interference’. Numerous articles analyzing Trump’s choices point to the mindset of his team (click on names to read relevant articles) including Mike Pence , General Flynn, James Mattis,  and John Bolton,  (see footnote for additional links)

Additionally, Israel’s domination of US policy has never been more apparent.  Decades earlier many considered other than occupied Palestine  “….the White House occupied territory”.  Donald Trump proved them right.  His son-in-law Jared Kushner will have an office in the West Wing of the White House.  Kushner has financed illegal, Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

The above stated information is the obvious – what meets the eye.  What is more crucial is obfuscated.  While Trump has made his position vis-à-vis China, Iran, and “radical Islam” abundantly clear, the media has led us on a different path where Russia is concerned.   As such, one could be forgiven for thinking that Trump will reset the button with Russia.  In fact, in the scheme of things, Trump is attempting to wean Russia away from China, Iran, and Syria  in order to continue and accomplish US goals:  Total domination, prevent Russia from re-emerging, contain China, contain Iran, Israel expansion.

It is important to Trump team to weaken both Russia and China by creating a divide between them –  favoring one over the other.  Trump defends Russia against allegations of hacking.  To the unsuspecting eye, he has appointed a seemingly “Russia friendly” Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (though undoubtedly the hawkish under-secretary of state John Bolton will be behind the wheel).   Though under close scrutiny, Tillerson as Secretary of State is certainly not an ‘offering’ to Putin, although but he may well be a Trojan Horse.

What we are told of him is the fact that he is the CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation.   That he knows Putin; and that he opposed sanctions against Russia.   What we are not told is that he is also a Trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) – a neoconservative think tank.  (Click HERE for full description of CSIS).   Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage, and Zbigniew Brzezinski are some of his trustee colleagues at CSIS.

Further, while Tillerson/Exxon has ties to Russia, it also has ties to Ukraine.   In 2010, CIA/State Department propaganda voice, Radio Free Europe, announced that

“Ukraine has been the target of democracy-promoting Western foundations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), for a quarter of a century”.

NED’s counterpart in England, the UK funded Westminster Foundation for Democracy was an active partner in the endeavor.  It was the Westminster Foundation that coopted the “Ukrainian Foundation for Democracy” – The People’s First Foundation that later same year would become a member of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC).

Senior advisors to the USUBC came from pro-Israel think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and Brookings, and Board of Directors executives selected from powerful players such as Raytheon and Boeing.  Exxon joined USUBC in 2010.

Why has the media left out this contentious fact?  And is this censorship directed at the West, or at Russia?

It is worthwhile mentioning that Exxon recently signed deals for oil exploration in Iraq and in defiance of the Iraqi government who asked President Obama to halt the exploration for fear that it would cause instability.   Of note, Turkey is a part of this deal!   Iraqi oil has been exported to Israel by the Kurds, and Israel considers oil from Iraq’s Erbil to be profitable for Israel.  Aware of the Israeli domination of Washington, the Iraqi Kurds are in league with Israel and have solicited their help in establishing independence.

As with every other administration before it, the Trump administration will serve Israel.  Serving Israel will come at the expense of the region, and Russia.  There has always been a conflict between Israel and Russian interests (see for example the Ukraine case HERE).  Netanyahu, exuberant with a Trump victory and Kushner in the White House, this week embarked on a visit to  two vitally imported states: Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

These two countries have been on Israel’s radar for well over a decade.  Since Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are not OPEC members, and both produce high volume of oil, control of these would erode OPEC’s power.   US administration promotion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline has been to bypass Iran and Russia.

Netanyahu aims to promote business with Kazakhstan – a founding member of Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO).  The import of SCO in countering American-led ambitions cannot be adequately emphasized.    No doubt it is this significance that has renewed Israel’s interest and taken Netanyahu there  – to divide, corrupt, and weaken.  A similar undertaking was taken with regards to BRICS.

Azerbaijan has particular value for Israel.   Israel views Azerbaijan as an ally against Iran and Russia. As reported by JTA in 2002: There were many similarities between Israel and Azerbaijan. “Fear of Iran and radical Islam; suspicion of Russia; friendship with Turkey, and a desire to be part of the West.”   It is also hoped that Azerbijan would fan flames of hostility and stir up discontent among the Azari population in Iran.

As the incoming Administration continues to take shape, and we are being distracted with “news”, battle lines are being drawn up.   Perhaps the most important thing to remember and believe about Trump is his fondness of ‘surprises’.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.  

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Making Sense of Donald Trump. Creating a Divide between Russia and China

This incisive article was first published on October 26, 2016, less than two weeks before the November 8 elections.

“Today the path to total dictatorship in the U.S. can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by Congress, the President, or the people. Outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system … a well-organized political-action group in this country, determined to destroy our Constitution and establish a one-party state….

The important point to remember about this group is not its ideology but its organization… It operates secretly, silently, continuously to transform our Government…. This group … is answerable neither to the President, the Congress, nor the courts. It is practically irremovable.”— Senator William Jenner, 1954 speech

Unaffected by elections. Unaltered by populist movements. Beyond the reach of the law.

Say hello to America’s shadow government.

A corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country, this shadow government represents the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of its citizenry.

No matter which candidate wins the presidential election, this shadow government is here to stay. Indeed, as recent documents by the FBI reveal, this shadow government—also referred to as “The 7th Floor Group”—may well have played a part in who will win the White House this year.

To be precise, however, the future president will actually inherit not one but two shadow governments.

The first shadow government, referred to as COG or Continuity of Government, is made up of unelected individuals who have been appointed to run the government in the event of a “catastrophe.” COG is a phantom menace waiting for the right circumstances—a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, an economic meltdown—to bring it out of the shadows, where it operates even now. When and if COG takes over, the police state will transition to martial law.

 

Yet it is the second shadow government—also referred to as the Deep State—that poses the greater threat to freedom right now. Comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes, this government within a government is the real reason “we the people” have no real control over our government.

The Deep State, which “operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power,” makes a mockery of elections and the entire concept of a representative government.

So who or what is the Deep State?

It’s the militarized police, which have joined forces with state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to establish themselves as a standing army. It’s the fusion centers and spy agencies that have created a surveillance state and turned all of us into suspects. It’s the courthouses and prisons that have allowed corporate profits to take precedence over due process and justice.

It’s the military empire with its private contractors and defense industry that is bankrupting the nation. It’s the private sector with its 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances, “a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.” It’s what former congressional staffer Mike Lofgren refers to as “a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies”: the Department of Defense, the State Department, Homeland Security, the CIA, the Justice Department, the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a handful of vital federal trial courts, and members of the defense and intelligence committees.

It’s every facet of a government that is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime to trample the Constitution underfoot and render the citizenry powerless in the face of the government’s power grabs, corruption and abusive tactics.

These are the key players that drive the shadow government.

This is the hidden face of the American police state that will continue long past Election Day.

Just consider some of the key programs and policies advanced by the shadow government that will continue no matter who occupies the Oval Office.

Domestic surveillance. No matter who wins the presidential popularity contest, the National Security Agency (NSA), with its $10.8 billion black ops annual budget, will continue to spy on every person in the United States who uses a computer or phone. Thus, on any given day, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior. Local police have been outfitted with a litany of surveillance gear, from license plate readers and cell phone tracking devices to biometric data recorders. Technology now makes it possible for the police to scan passersby in order to detect the contents of their pockets, purses, briefcases, etc. Full-body scanners, which perform virtual strip-searches of Americans traveling by plane, have gone mobile, with roving police vans that peer into vehicles and buildings alike—including homes. Coupled with the nation’s growing network of real-time surveillance cameras and facial recognition software, soon there really will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Global spying. The NSA’s massive surveillance network, what the Washington Post refers to as a $500 billion “espionage empire,” will continue to span the globe and target every single person on the planet who uses a phone or a computer. The NSA’s Echelon program intercepts and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax and email message sent anywhere in the world. In addition to carrying out domestic surveillance on peaceful political groups such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace and several religious groups, Echelon has also been a keystone in the government’s attempts at political and corporate espionage.

Roving TSA searches. The American taxpayer will continue to get ripped off by government agencies in the dubious name of national security. One of the greatest culprits when it comes to swindling taxpayers has been the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with its questionable deployment of and complete mismanagement of millions of dollars’ worth of airport full-body X-ray scanners, punitive patdowns by TSA agents and thefts of travelers’ valuables. Considered essential to national security, TSA programs will continue in airports and at transportation hubs around the country.

USA Patriot Act, NDAA. America’s so-called war on terror, which it has relentlessly pursued since 9/11, will continue to chip away at our freedoms, unravel our Constitution and transform our nation into a battlefield, thanks in large part to such subversive legislation as the USA Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act. These laws completely circumvent the rule of law and the rights of American citizens. In so doing, they re-orient our legal landscape in such a way as to ensure that martial law, rather than the U.S. Constitution, is the map by which we navigate life in the United States. These laws will continue to be enforced no matter who gets elected.

Militarized police state. Thanks to federal grant programs allowing the Pentagon to transfer surplus military supplies and weapons to local law enforcement agencies without charge, police forces will continue to be transformed from peace officers into heavily armed extensions of the military, complete with jackboots, helmets, shields, batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, assault rifles, body armor, miniature tanks and weaponized drones.

Having been given the green light to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts, America’s law enforcement officials, no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace, will continue to keep the masses corralled, controlled, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.

SWAT team raids. With more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by local police for relatively routine police matters and federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions, the incidence of botched raids and related casualties will continue to rise. Nationwide, SWAT teams will continue to be employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances including angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Domestic drones. The domestic use of drones will continue unabated. As mandated by Congress, there will be 30,000 drones crisscrossing the skies of America by 2020, all part of an industry that could be worth as much as $30 billion per year. These machines, which will be equipped with weapons, will be able to record all activities, using video feeds, heat sensors and radar. An Inspector General report revealed that the Dept. of Justice has already spent nearly $4 million on drones domestically, largely for use by the FBI, with grants for another $1.26 million so police departments and nonprofits can acquire their own drones.

School-to-prison pipeline. The paradigm of abject compliance to the state will continue to be taught by example in the schools, through school lockdowns where police and drug-sniffing dogs enter the classroom, and zero tolerance policies that punish all offenses equally and result in young people being expelled for childish behavior. School districts will continue to team up with law enforcement to create a “schoolhouse to jailhouse track” by imposing a “double dose” of punishment: suspension or expulsion from school, accompanied by an arrest by the police and a trip to juvenile court.

Overcriminalization. The government bureaucracy will continue to churn out laws, statutes, codes and regulations that reinforce its powers and value systems and those of the police state and its corporate allies, rendering the rest of us petty criminals. The average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day, thanks to this overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal. Consequently, small farmers who dare to make unpasteurized goat cheese and share it with members of their community will continue to have their farms raided.

Privatized Prisons. States will continue to outsource prisons to private corporations, resulting in a cash cow whereby mega-corporations imprison Americans in private prisons in order to make a profit. In exchange for corporations buying and managing public prisons across the country at a supposed savings to the states, the states have to agree to maintain a 90% occupancy rate in the privately run prisons for at least 20 years.

Endless wars. America’s expanding military empire will continue to bleed the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour). The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. Yet what most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.

Are you getting the message yet?

The next president, much like the current president and his predecessors, will be little more than a figurehead, a puppet to entertain and distract the populace from what’s really going on.

As Lofgren reveals, this state within a state, “concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue,” is a “hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.”

The Deep State not only holds the nation’s capital in thrall, but it also controls Wall Street (“which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater”) and Silicon Valley.

This is fascism in its most covert form, hiding behind public agencies and private companies to carry out its dirty deeds.

It is a marriage between government bureaucrats and corporate fat cats.

As Lofgren concludes:

[T]he Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change… If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past. It is even willing to tolerate a degree of gridlock: Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda.

In other words, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, as long as government officials—elected and unelected alike—are allowed to operate beyond the reach of the Constitution, the courts and the citizenry, the threat to our freedoms remains undiminished.

So the next time you find yourselves despondent over the 2016 presidential candidates, remember that it’s just a puppet show intended to distract you from the silent coup being carried out by America’s shadow government.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at [email protected]

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Path To Total Dictatorship: America’s “Shadow Government” And Its Silent Coup

Gun Idolatry in Current American Culture

January 7th, 2017 by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

This article by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay was first published by GR in January 2011

“We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities. As the Brady Campaign, we work to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations, and public policies through grassroots activism, electing public officials who support gun laws, and increasing public awareness of gun violence.” Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Mission statement 

Is the real American motto of the current American generation “In Guns We Trust”? This could surely be the impression one gets from the unfolding of recent events.

There exists currently in the United States an unhealthy obsession with guns, —a form of idolatry of the gun as a useful tool to settle differences between individuals. Increasingly, it seems, when someone feels slighted in any way, the reaction is often to rely on the gun to settle things. Instances of appalling gun-related incidents seem to multiply and to be occurring on a daily basis in the current American cultural climate.

A disgruntled employee is let go; the upset person goes home, takes a gun and comes back to the work site to set the score straight, killing many people in a shooting rampage. A deranged political extremist campaigns against a candidate who is nevertheless elected; the disappointed individual takes his easily available gun and shots at the politician and kills half a dozen other people. A devout religious fanatic feels that somehow his religion and its adepts are not well considered; he takes his gun and he assassinates at random everybody around. Frustrated students fail at school or are ostracized somewhat by classmates; they go home, take their parents’ gun and kill teachers and scores of fellow students.

Even some disturbed ten-year olds now resort to the gun and turn it against their mother or father when they have been scolded, the gun being conveniently stashed in their room. It’s a far cry from the commandment “Honor Thy Mother and Father”!

There would appear to be a firearms-related homocide crisis in the United States, but the idea that guns are required in the daily life of individuals is so well entrenched and propagated that a state of collective denial persists. Two hundred years ago, the vast majority of people lived on farms. Understandably, guns were then a necessity for hunting and for protection in a still wild and relatively lawless environment. Nowadays, the vast majority of people live in large urban areas where no hunting is allowed. What is then the need for large and small firearms, if not to shoot other people?

There is, of course, the persistent myth that Americans have the “right” to amass large quantity of firearms and to use them. Here again this seems to be a relic of bygone times when the young American republic was threatened by its former British masters and could lose its recently acquired independence through a British invasion. At that time, there was a perceived need to constitute rapidly a militia to defend the homeland, and armed farmers could provide such an instant army. That is the logical interpretation that can be given to the second amendment of the U.S Constitution of 1789 that says: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The most logical implication here is that some convenient precautions can be taken to defend the state with “well regulated” armed militias, at a time when the U.S. federal government was perceived to be weak and incapable of mounting a federal military response to an outside invasion or to a domestic armed uprising, and that it should not prevent the states from raising militias to maintain order. Such was the constitutional climate at the time. —This provision in the U.S. Constitution was hardly designed to be an open license for each and every individual to arm oneself, to use such arms at will, and to constitute a “non-regulated” one-man militia if he chooses to do so.

Such a wide and extravagant interpretation in a modern urban environment would seem to be a sure recipe for social and political anarchy. Moreover, nowadays, the U.S. federal government is in full control of a powerful U.S. military organization and has no need whatsoever of private militias to defend the territory. Also, today, the state national guards have de facto taken the place that quickly enrolled private militias could have occupied in the past. There is no need today for readily available private armed militias to defend the territory.

Nevertheless, some American judges have ruled, and some American politicians have agreed, that the centuries-old right to form “well regulated” militias and to carry arms to defend the homeland really means that anybody, in the current modern environment, has an absolute individual right to own dangerous firearms of the nature and quantity he chooses, including sophisticated assault weapons, and to use them, and that no elected government can interfere.

The most recent case on this issue has been the ruling on Parker v District of Columbia, in which the District of Columbia Circuit court of appeals ruled on March 9, 2007 that a D.C. ban on handgun ownership without a license violated individual rights under the U. S. Second Amendment. —And that’s where things stand today… and the killing continues.

How many tragedies will be needed before mentalities change?

Rodrigue Tremblay is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal and can be reached at [email protected]. He is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics” at: www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com/

The book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, prefaced by Dr. Paul Kurtz, has just been released by Prometheus Books.

Please visit the book site at:

www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com/

wikiLeaks-logo-01

“The Russian Hacking”: How the “Leaks” From Clinton and the DNC Happened

By Eric Zuesse, January 06 2017

Julian Assange, who received the computer-data from what U.S. President Barack Obama alleges was ‘Russian hackers’, had an opportunity, in his 3 January 2017 interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, to deny the allegation by Craig Murray (a former British Ambassador and longtime friend of Assange) that no Russian or any other hackers were involved passing that information to Wikileaks; and, in reply, Assange declined the invitation to deny it, and he said, in short: Obama and his Administration are flat-out lying about this matter.

hacker

New Twist on Fake News Russian Hacking Story

By Stephen Lendman, January 06 2017

America’s intelligence community can’t get its act straight. Switching allegations shows its operatives can’t agree on what fake news to go with. Earlier accusations changed, Reuters saying three unnamed US officials now claim “Russia provided hacked material from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks through a third party.” The earlier version accused Russia of directly interfering in America’s election process, hacking the DNC, helping Trump defeat Hillary. No evidence suggests Moscow interfered in the election process of any country, or rigged its own to assure Putin’s triumph.

h.-clinton

DNC Refused to Give FBI Access to Its Servers … Instead Gave Access to a DNC Consultant Tied to Organization Promoting Conflict with Russia

By Washington’s Blog, January 06 2017

As first reported by George Eliason, CrowdStrike’s Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder Dimitri Alperovitch – who wrote the CrowdStrike reports allegedly linking Russia to the Democratic party emails published by Wikileaks – is a fellow at the Atlantic Council … an organization associated with Ukraine, and whose main policy goal seems to stir up a confrontation with Russia.

psychometrics-anaylisis

“Mind Manipulations” to Influence Election Results

By Peter Koenig, January 06 2017

The truth behind Donald Trump’s ‘surprise’ election may lay somewhere else. It’s called Psychometrics, a method based on massive behavioral data collection of people to be targeted by propaganda, or more accurately expressed by mind manipulation. This PR technology has been marketed and applied by a small London-based data analysis firm, called ‘Cambridge Analytica’.

propaganda

The “Fake News” Saga: From Official Policy to Mainstream American Discourse, Propaganda in the Making

By Daniel Espinosa Winder, January 06 2017

The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act (CDPA), passed last December 8th by Barack Obama, was first presented to the US Congress on March 16th. This effort in information warfare was in the making long before the mainstream media campaign against ‘fake news’ -or serious allegations of Russian meddling in US elections- started. This is an analysis of how foreign and domestic policy becomes ‘popular demand’ through mainstream media.

syria russian

Syria: The Diplomatic Endgame

By Prof. Tim Anderson, January 06 2017

Wars are always concluded with political settlements. In the endgame over Syria, Russia has worked directly with Turkey, to agree on orderly evacuations of the NATO-backed terrorist groups from Aleppo and, with Iran, is now engaged in talks on a wider resolution to the failing war on Syria.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Selected Articles: Russian “Hacking” and Fake News Inconsistencies, Endgame of War on Syria

Instead of presenting evidence of Russian hacking, Western mainstream media outlets are continuing to peddle fiction, adding drama with every new story they publish.

CNN, which dubs itself as the “most trusted name in news,” has arguably topped the ranks of “fake news” outlets when it published yet another story on the subject of Russia hacking the US election. This time, alongside the baseless accusations, CNN decide to use an image from a popular video game Fallout 4 to help illustrate to its audience what Russian hacking actually looks like.

Shortly after the gaffe was caught by Reddit users, CNN changed the image to a stern looking Obama. This, however, did not prevent a screenshot of the previous image from going viral.

If before CNN was simply presenting fiction as fact, now it is also illustrating it using video game art. It’s difficult to imagine how a news story can get any more fake than this.

BRG reports:

In Fallout 4 — as well as Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas — the player can hack computers to gain information or unlock doors and safes. It’s performed like a word puzzle, where the player has to find a specific word in a huge mess of letters and random characters. It’s simple but fun, but it has absolutely nothing in common with actual hacking, which is what makes it perfect for mainstream news viewers.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Peddling Fiction: Image from Video Game to Depict Russian Hacking

Julian Assange, who received the computer-data from what U.S. President Barack Obama alleges was ‘Russian hackers’, had an opportunity, in his 3 January 2017 interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, to deny the allegation by Craig Murray (a former British Ambassador and longtime friend of Assange) that no Russian or any other hackers were involved passing that information to Wikileaks; and, in reply, Assange declined the invitation to deny it, and he said, in short: Obama and his Administration are flat-out lying about this matter.

Hannity then probed further, to find whom the source actually was:

(See 55:00- in this interview, especially at 56:50-)

Hannity: There was one report in the [UK newspaper] Daily Mail that suggested somebody that you are friendly with, actually was handed the documents at American University, in a wooded area, by a disgruntled Democrat, who felt betrayed because the revelations showed that Bernie Sanders had been betrayed and they didn’t like the corruption of the Clinton Foundation. Can you confirm or deny that?

ASSANGE: Well that statement came from Craig Murray, a friend of mine, but Wikileaks is a source-protection organization. We are famous for never having exposed one of our sources. That’s why sources trust us and they come to us. So, I can’t comment on other people’s statements about our sources, except what we have said, which is that our sources [in this] are not a state party [such as Russia or any other government].

No one — not even Obama — denies that the publisher of the information was Wikileaks. Furthermore, Assange said in this interview (56:50-), “There is one person in the world, and I think it’s actually only one, who knows exactly what is going on with our publications, and that’s me.”

He was saying there that (at least as regards the present matter) he — and perhaps only he in the entire Wikileaks organization — was the person who received and published this information from the individual who was supplying it. This doesn’t necessarily exclude Craig Murray from the possibility that he had passed it along to Wikileaks (i.e., to his friend Assange), but it says that only Assange knows whether or not Murray had supplied it to him. (And Assange refuses to answer that question.)

Craig Murray did, in fact speak at American University in Washington DC, at 10:15 AM on Saturday 24 September 2016, addressing a “World Without War” conference, in the Founders’ Room at the University’s School of International Studies. The video is here. Essential background on this heroic man, Murray, is here, explaining why the U.S. State Department under Obama had initially denied him entrance into the United States to speak at this event and to receive in Washington a whistleblower’s award.

Then on December 10th, buried in an article at Britain’s Guardian, was this blockbuster, which was mentioned there only in passing:

Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims “bullshit”, adding: “They are absolutely making it up.”

“I know who leaked them,” Murray said. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

(Notice that the U.S. propaganda-system insists upon calling it a ‘hack’, so they can allege that ‘the Russians did it’ and thereby increase the probability of war with Russia, which Barack Obama has been hankering for ever since — at least — when he perpetrated a 2014 coup in Russia’s neighboring country Ukraine so as to get Ukraine into NATO and U.S. missiles five minutes to Moscow.)

The next day (the 11th), Murray headlined at his blog-site “The CIA’s Absence of Conviction”, where he described the Guardian’s efforts to bury that news, and he went on to say that the Democratic Party’s and Obama Administration’s and U.S. ‘news’media’s totally nutty theory, that Putin is somehow now controlling the FBI, is meant to answer my obvious objection that, if the CIA know who it is, why haven’t they arrested somebody. That bit of course would be the job of the FBI, who those desperate to annul the election [of Trump] now wish us to believe are the KGB. [NOTE: The KGB, of course, ended when the Soviet Union did, in 1991.]

It is terrible that the prime conduit for this paranoid nonsense is a once great newspaper, the Washington Post, which far from investigating executive power, now is a sounding board for totally evidence-free anonymous source briefing of utter bullshit from the executive [i.e., from Obama].

Here, then, is the (opening of the) true story, published in Britain’s Daily Mail, on December 14th, of how this information from the computers of the Democratic National Committee and of Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chairman John Podesta managed to reach wikileaks and thereby the U.S. and global public.

Screen Shot, Daily Mail 

EXCLUSIVE: Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails — they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for ‘disgusted’ Democratic whistleblowers

• Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and associate of Julian Assange, told the Dailymail.com he flew to Washington, D.C. for emails

• He claims he had a clandestine hand-off in a wooded area near American University with one of the email sources

• The leakers’ motivation was ‘disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the  ’tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders’

• Murray says: ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks’

• ‘Regardless of whether the Russians hacked into the DNC, the documents Wikileaks published did not come from that,’ Murray insists

• Murray is a controversial figure who was relieved of his post as British ambassador amid allegations of misconduct but is close to Wikileaks

By Alana Goodman In Washington, Dc For Dailymail.com

PUBLISHED: 15:33 EST, 14 December 2016 | UPDATED: 18:01 EST, 14 December 2016

And here is the actual reason that the UK government fired him from UK’s diplomatic corps. But the reason was broader than that, as was also made clear by Murray, in another recent video of him. So: that’s why he’s a ‘controversial figure’, and it’s also why, after his assistance in getting this information out to the public in 2016, he’s even more of a ‘controversial figure’ (i.e, a dissident, a hero) than he had been before.

The Obama-Clinton operation cheated Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic nomination, and that’s why this information became leaked — not hacked — out of the Obama-Clinton-DNC conspiracy. Trump had nothing to do with it; Russia had nothing to do with it.

Here was the lawsuit against the Hillary campaign (and summarized here), that was filed by backers of Bernie, and blocked by the Democratic National Committee. The judge condemned the Hillary side’s ‘shenanigans’ delaying trial. Even after those ‘shenanigans’, the Democratic National Committee said on September 22nd that the case should be thrown out. Two days later, Craig Murray received the information which then became Wikileaked.

Murray received the Hillary-campaign information on September 24th. Little over a week later, on October 7th, Wikileaks published documents from the computer of Hillary’s Campaign Chairman John Podesta, and politico announced it headlining “The most revealing Clinton campaign emails in WikiLeaks release”. That same day, Politico also bannered “Podesta: ‘I’m not happy about being hacked by the Russians’,” and the legend that ‘Russia hacked the Clinton campaign’ started immediately to compete in the day’s ‘news’ stories, and diminish focus on, the contents of that information which had been ‘hacked’.

However, the information from the DNC itself had been published much earlier, on July 22nd, and so this could not have come from the September 24th leak. Whether it came from the same person, or through the same courier (i.e., Murray), isn’t yet known. The Obama Administration has made no distinctions between those two data-dumps, but charges that all of the leaks from the Obama-Clinton-DNC conspiracy — both the anti-Sanders campaign during the primaries, and the anti-Trump campaign during the general-election contest — came from ‘Russian hacking’. The reason why the emphasis is upon the anti-Trump portion is that the conspirators now are trying to smear Trump, not Sanders, and so to make this a national issue, instead of only an internal Democratic-Party issue.

They are trying to de-legitimize Trump’s Presidency — and, at the same time, to advance Obama’s aim for the U.S. ultimately to conquer Russia. The mutual hostility between Obama and Trump is intense, but Obama’s hatred of Russia gives added impetus to his post-Presidential campaign here. This Nobel Peace Prize winner had Russia in his gunsights well before he, as a cunning politician, made political hay out of Mitt Romney’s statement that “Russia, this is, without question America’s number one geopolitical foe.”

Only a fool trusts the U.S. government (and the U.S. ‘news’media) after ‘Saddam’s WMD’ (which despite all the lies to the contrary, didn’t exist). Like Craig Murray said, “I used to be the head of the FCO unit that monitored Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and I know for certain, I can tell you, they knew there weren’t any.”

In a December 31st posting at his blog, Murray headlined, “Exit Obama in a Cloud of Disillusion, Delusion and Deceit”, and he opened:

“I had promised myself and my family that on this holiday I would do nothing but relax. However events have overtaken my good intentions. I find myself in the unusual position of having twice been in a position to know directly that governments were lying in globe-shaking events, firstly Iraqi WMD and now the ‘Russian hacks’.”

Being a whistleblower is dangerous, in a criminal regime. But some people have a conscience.

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.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on “The Russian Hacking”: How the “Leaks” From Clinton and the DNC Happened

The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act (CDPA), passed last December 8th by Barack Obama, was first presented to the US Congress on March 16th. This effort in information warfare was in the making long before the mainstream media campaign against ‘fake news’ -or serious allegations of Russian meddling in US elections- started. This is an analysis of how foreign and domestic policy becomes ‘popular demand’ through mainstream media. 

It was November 24th when Craig Timberg from the Washington Post ran a piece about the ‘findings’ of an anonymous media analyst called Propornot, blacklisting nearly 200 alternative news sites as peddlers of ‘Russian Propaganda’. After a strong negative reaction by many journalists, the Post issued a correction stating that the newspaper didn’t endorse the findings made by Propornot. A week later and despite corrections, Timberg followed up his piece on ‘Russian propaganda’ with Efforts to Combat Foreign Propaganda Advances in Congress”, where he states:

Congressional negotiators on Wednesday (November 30th) approved an initiative to track and combat foreign propaganda amid growing concerns that Russian efforts to spread ‘fake news’ and disinformation threaten U.S. national security”, and further into the article: “The initiative grows out of a bill authored in March by (Sen. Robert) Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called the ‘Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.’ It initially sprang from a desire to help independent journalists and nongovernmental organizations in European nations such as Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia, which face a heavy tide of Russian propaganda. (Emphasis is mine)

This information is misleading. In reality, the initiative didn’t ‘grow out’ of a bill authored in March, instead, the initiative and the bill are one and the same. It was lightly modified in July to eliminate a small paragraph on Ukraine, included in the first place mostly as an example of the kind of situation it would address. The article is also based on information judged as doubtful by its own editor, to say the least. After the July 2016 version of the bill, there were no further modifications.

But by July, both ‘fake news’ and ‘Russian propaganda’ were only beginning to surface in mainstream media as a trending topics (and national security concerns). We cannot imagine a positive or welcoming reaction to Obama´s ‘sanctions’ against Russia -or the need to regulate Facebook- if they would have been presented to public opinion by July or even September. But for Sen. Rob Portman, the urgency of the problem was clear enough when the Act was introduced for the first time in March, as he stated in an Atlantic Council speech:

Structural deficiencies are preventing us from effectively countering foreign disinformation and propaganda and will continue to hinder future administrations—both Republican and Democrat—unless they are addressed…

The most sophisticated media engagement strategies in the world will not work if the adversary jams communications towers, censors media outlets, or pursues a comprehensive strategy of grassroots manipulation designed to shape perceptions on the ground… (Emphasis is mine)

The ‘agenda setting’ media, with the Washington Post leading the effort this time, was only preparing itself to start the propaganda campaign that then gained momentum with the presidential election itself, and basically repeated Portman’s view of foreign propaganda adding the already mentioned examples of the threat –Russian sponsored ‘fake news’ and propaganda- supported by intelligence “consensus” and supine, dishonest analysis.

This is the usual methodology when incorporating regressive policies or engaging in military aggression, only subtly dressing them as national security measures: the political establishment decides the policy, if popular support will be needed or the issue at hand is controversial, a few months before presenting it publicly a propaganda campaign will convince the audiences of the urgency and legitimacy of the law, sanctions or military measures taken.

We saw this pattern repeating itself time after time in the last decade and a half with Iraq, Libya or Syria, but it might be as old as propaganda itself. ‘Regime change’ during the Cold War was said to respond to the Communist ‘threat’, and alternative discourses were many times labelled ‘anti-American’, a mere form of censorship. Now it’s ‘fake news’.

To be clear, the CDPA itself could have passed without much noise, as it was inserted in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, and passed quietly at night, during holidays. The propaganda campaign discussed in this article was aimed mainly at convincing the public about a dangerous enemy country meddling in US democracy by malicious, covert means, which also served to divert attention from the contents of Hillary Clinton’s campaign leaks, with its embarrassing revelations of the campaign’s ties with journalists.

Finally, it was vital in substantiating further measures taken by Obama, as the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. The outgoing administration is clearly stating that Russia, and particularly Putin, are enemies of the US and the President-elect should continue to consider them so, or be called a traitor ‘anti-American’.

“In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason… By undermining further investigation or sanctions against the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election, Trump as president would be giving aid and comfort to Russian interference with American Democracy”, said democrat Robert Kuttner. (Quoted here by David Swanson)

In other words, the propaganda campaign served both to pass the CDPA without opposition, establishing an information regulatory body aimed at the need to “shape perceptions on the ground”, as Portman pointed out to his elite colleagues in the Atlantic Council last March, and to legitimate Obama’s harsh ‘sanctions’ and vilification of the Russian government. The Propornot ‘fake news’ fiasco served to toss dozens of alternative media news outlets into the equation and create distrust for them and for social media’s recklessness when addressing the issue.

Is fundamental to note that any authoritative voices against the CDPA or the smearing of Putin were absent from mainstream media, which framed the supposed hacking, ‘fake news’ and Russian propaganda as a real, malicious and even blatant attempt by Russia to put a ‘stooge’ in the White House and manipulate the American democracy. Other voices and testimonies involved were not part of the ‘plurality’ of the world’s mainstream media, as Craig Murray, former UK ambassador, who declared that the supposed hacks were actually leaks given by a democrat insider after the Bernie Sanders boycott. As a member of WikiLeaks and directly involved in receiving the information, we would think he had something to say that would interest WP readers. Letting opposite voices have their say is elementary journalism.

We can now add a second ‘fake news’ fiasco by the Washington Post, alleging without proof that the Russians hacked and manipulated the US electric grid and then retracting a day later. Of course, the damage was already done and the ‘scoop’ went viral. In terms of propaganda that’s a mission accomplished. Again, there is nothing new to see here, if we remember the San Bernardino Shooting in December 2015, the New York Times declared ‘terrorist ties’ to the perpetrators without solid proof, to later acknowledge that a “Systemic Change is Needed After Faulty Times Article”. Again, the effect was already out there, going viral: the US was ‘under terrorist attack’, or ‘ISIS is not limited to the Middle East, it can kill you in any American neighborhood’.

Example: this is a tweet of the WaPo ‘fake news’ that was retweeted thousands of times, posted by New York Times editorial writer Brent Staples (quoted by Glenn Greenwald, link below).

Glenn Greenwald made an excellent point regarding the WP and fake news in a recent piece for The Intercept:

Whether the Post’s false stories here can be distinguished from what is commonly called ‘Fake News’ is, at this point, a semantic dispute, particularly since ‘Fake News’ has no cogent definition. Defenders of Fake News as a distinct category typically emphasize intent in order to differentiate it from bad journalism. That’s really just a way of defining Fake News so as to make it definitionally impossible for mainstream media outlets like the Post ever to be guilty of it (much the way terrorism is defined to ensure that the U.S. Government and its allies, by definition, ever commit it).

How Facebook Changed the Game for News Sources

Facebook, specifically, is another main concern in the ‘fake news’/ propaganda discourse, as it was becoming “…the most powerful force in the news industry”, according to Farhad Manjoo in a New York Times report, last June. Another, August 24th piece by the Times, Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine”, was probably one of the firsts to point out the supposed dangers of Facebook as a news outlet:

(Facebook’s) takeover of online media looks rather like a slow-motion coup. Before social media, web publishers could draw an audience one of two ways: through a dedicated readership visiting its home page or through search engines. By 2009, this had started to change. Facebook had more than 300 million users… By late 2012when Facebook passed a billion users, referrals from the social network were sending visitors to publishers’ websites at rates sometimes comparable to Google

In other words, audiences’ attention was shifting from mainstream media and traditional news sources to independent sites and blogs, which amounts to a ‘coup’, as Facebook popularity was being abused by bastard, non-corporate news outlets to gain instant massive audiences. This means an obvious loss in advertising revenue. It’s all about where the attention of the masses is, in terms of revenue, but it is also who they listen, in terms of propaganda.

Certain political discourses are traditionally disseminated by the mainstream media because of its corporate nature and shared interests, and Facebook was opening the door to non-corporate and independent/ alternative news sources presenting different narratives. This alternative media weren’t new, but Facebook made them more accessible to a population that has become increasingly incredulous of traditional media.

Of course, this isn’t the perspective of liberal media like the Guardian, where Olivia Solon reveals one of the possible solutions in an article on November 10th, adequately called: “Facebook failure: did ‘fake news’ and polarized politics get Trump elected?”:

“…Facebook could introduce a mechanism to allow fact checking organisations to report false stories to Facebook so they don’t continually circulate. ‘Of course, people will shout censorship, so maybe Facebook could choose to change the way it display certain stories instead,’ she (Claire Wardle,  research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism) said.

Understanding the Syrian conflict via Social Media

The Syrian conflict pictures this ‘coup’ rather clearly: mainstream media’s narrative had to compete with a very different perspective brought online by independent researchers and disseminated via social media to reach millions, who then started making questions, and demanding the same quality of coverage from mainstream sources that were basically repeating what the USAID-funded White Helmets (a ‘civil defense’ group working only in ‘rebel’-held zones) had to say, without journalists on the ground.

Let’s review some Facebook comments regarding Syria in mainstream media fan pages:

 

Russian ‘trolls’ seem to be getting a lot of ‘likes’ this days. The commenters appear to be somehow ‘polarized’, no doubt, but we are talking about a humanitarian disaster killing hundreds of thousands.

Before Internet, and before Facebook, access to the other versions of events, and history itself, were reserved to researchers with the resources and time to investigate and then publish essays, articles or books on any given subject, or to independent researchers willing to spend hours or days looking for alternative sources of information available on the web but, traditionally, mostly invisible.

Robert Portman’s partner presenting the CDPA at the Atlantic Council last March, Sen. Chris Murphy, said that the idea behind the bill was to not to propagandize (that would be wrong…) but only to offer people the ‘other side’, make information available so they can ‘decide for themselves’. A clear reversal of reality where the other is always the bad guy and we are only responding and ‘defending’ ourselves.

As Rick Sterling noted in Consortium News on January the 1st: “Whether or not you wish to accept these (alternative media’s) depictions of the reality in Aleppo, at a minimum, they reflect another side of the story that you have been denied… The goal of the Global Engagement Center to counter ‘foreign propaganda’ is to ensure that you never get to hear this alternative narrative…”

The solution, as prophesized by Claire Wardle, would be ‘regulation’ (censorship?) of Facebook, which is taking place as SnopesPolitifact and Factcheck are teaming up to tackle whatever they consider ‘fake news’, after pressure from politicians and journalists directed at Mark Zuckerberg to take action on the issue. Although, more obscure means of censoring are starting to surface, as ‘ghost-banning’, where social media users share information that mysteriously fails to reach their followers, as Craig Murray noticed after posting sharing an article refuting that the source of the Democratic National Committee mails was Russia.

That’s what is planned regarding the biggest social media online, but the CPDA goes way further. Among its many functions, it will coordinate information sharing, planning and developing among government agencies to expose foreign propaganda, analyze relevant information, and disseminate thematic narratives to counter propaganda, coordinate with allied countries, and give support to third parties and privates as think tanks, NGOs and journalists.

In short, an Orwellian Ministry of Truth, or perhaps a legalization of the infamous CIA’s Operation Mockingbird, depending on how exactly this policies are implemented in the public and private spheres. After all, the idea of Op. Mockingbird was to push certain messages and discourse covertly through incorporating journalists and editors in the CIA’s payroll (and sometimes even creating its own media).

This would amount to a fully overt Mockingbird, claiming the right to use (and counter) propaganda extensively, on the grounds that the ‘enemy’ is doing the same already, in this case Russia openly funds RT and Sputnik news, but -allegedly- it also funds hundreds of alternative media promoting ‘fake news’ and uses any kind of covert means, as hacking, to manipulate information.

A Few Conclusions About a Deeply Corrupted Profession

If something is completely beyond the mainstream media’s framing of this subject is the fact that the US establishment owns the biggest and most sophisticated propaganda apparatus in the world and probably in history. A handful of mega-corporations own most of what Americans watch or read every day and its ties to official, State discourse and corporate interests are undeniable and widely studied (Link to Edward Herman’s The Propaganda Model Revisited). The fact that this criticism has been strictly kept out of the mainstream media is significant.

The rationale behind ‘fake news’ implicates that lies in traditional, mainstream media, are purely accidental and isolated events. In fact, mainstream media participates actively in selling corporate points of view about basically everything regarding human life, as well as pushing for wars by repeating, many times without questioning, State narrative, directly from government sources or even unidentified officials. When this narratives are debunked or challenged they fall back with an editor’s note, but the propagandistic effect remains.

The many wars destroying the Middle East in the last decades have substantial similarities and patterns that corporate journalism seems incapable of grasping, like ‘regime change’ being sold under the ‘humanitarian intervention’ scheme. The UK House of Commons report on Libya 2011 uses exactly those words.

The result of this ongoing propaganda campaign is the widely believed theory that the US is under cyber-attack by Russia and must retaliate. Putin is clever and resourceful enough to put a stooge in the Oval Office, destroying Hillary Clinton’s political carrier and the US democracy in the process, leaving none or little trace. Around the world, mainstream media aren´t necessarily reminding its public that the Russian hacking story is based on allegations, and its now being treated as received knowledge, they aren’t reminding its readers and viewers about the many inaccuracies and retractions issued by the ‘agenda setting’ media either. Those are treated as mere details around a central and strong idea that remains out of discussion: the Russians are coming (again).

The other idea being pushed into the collective mind is that alternative news sources are not trustworthy, you never know what’s true and what’s a lie, unless authoritative media says it.

Finally, the Washington Post was used to deliver an inherently defamatory and blatantly false accusation on a number of independent news outlets by the anonymous Propornot, some of those independent media were fairly reputed. The Post was also used as a prominent mouthpiece for intelligence sources without questioning or skepticism, establishing what hundreds of other sources would later repeat as news, quite diligently.

Daniel Espinosa Winder (35) lives in Lima, Peru. He graduated in Communication Sciences and started researching mainstream media and more specifically, propaganda. His writings are a critique of the role of mass media in our societies. He is currently editing the Spanish section of The Greanville Post.

 

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The “Fake News” Saga: From Official Policy to Mainstream American Discourse, Propaganda in the Making

What is ‘Financial Imperialism’?

How is it Functioning in Greece Today,

Is it a growing characteristic of 21st Century Global Capitalism. 

This text is based on selections from the Jack Rasmus’ recently published book entitled “Looting Greece. A New Financial Imperialism Emerges”. (click link to order directly from Clarity Press)

The recurring Greek debt crises represent a new emerging form of Financial Imperialism. What, then, is imperialism, and especially what, when described is financial imperialism?

How does what has been emerging in Greece under the Eurozone constitute a new form of Imperialism? How is the new Financial Imperialism emerging in Greece both similar and different from other forms of Imperialism?

And how does this represent a broader development, beyond Greece, of a new 21st century form of Imperialism in development?

The Many Meanings of Imperialism

Imperialism is a term that carries both political-military as well as economic meaning. It generally refers to one State, or pre-State set of political institutions and society, conquering and subjugating another. The conquest/subjugation may occur for largely geopolitical reasons—to obtain territories that are strategically located and/or to deny one’s competitors from acquiring the same. It may result as the consequence of the nationalist fervor or domestic instability in one State then being diverted by its elites who are under domestic threat, toward the conquest of an external State as a means to avoid challenges to their rule at home. Conquest and acquisition may be undertaken as well as a means to enable population overflow, from the old to the new territory. These political reasons for Imperialism have been driving it from time immemorial. Rome attacked Carthage in the third century BCE in part to drive it from its threatening strategic positions in Sicily and Sardinia, and also to prevent it from expanding northward in the Iberian Peninsula. Domestic nationalist fervor explains much of why in post-1789 revolutionary France the French bourgeois elites turned to Napoleon who then diverted domestic discontent and redirected it toward military conquest. Imperialism as an outlet for German eastward population settlement has been argued as the rationale behind Hitler’s ‘Lebensraum’ doctrine. And US ‘Manifest Destiny’ doctrine, to populate the western continent of North America, was used in the 19th century as a justification, in part, for US imperialist wars with Mexico and native American populations at the time.

But what may appear as purely political or social motives behind Imperialist expansion—even in pre-Capitalist or early Capitalist periods—has almost always had a more fundamental economic origin. It could be argued, for example, that Rome provoked and attacked Carthage to drive it from its colonies on the western coast of Sicily and thus deny it access to grain production there; to deny it strategic ports on the eastern Iberian coast from which to trade; and eventually to acquire the lucrative silver mines in the southernmost region of the peninsula at the time. Nazi Germany’s Lebensraum doctrine, it may be argued, was but a cover for acquiring agricultural lands of southern Russia and Ukraine and as a stepping stone to the oil fields of Azerbaijan, Persia and Iraq. And US western expansion was less to achieve a population outlet than to remove foreign (Mexico, Britain) and native American impediments to securing natural resources exclusively for US use. US acquisitions still further ‘west’—i.e. of Hawaii, the Philippines and other pacific islands were even less about population overflow and more about ensuring access to western pacific trade and markets in the face of European imperialists scrambling to wrap up the remaining Asian markets and resources.

Imperialism is often associated with military action, as one State subdues and then rules the other and its peoples. But imperialist expansion is not always associated with military conquest. The dominating State may so threaten a competitor state with war or de facto acquisition that the latter simply cedes control by treaty over the new territory it itself had conquered by force—as did Spain in the case of Florida or Britain with the US Pacific Northwest territories. Or the new territory may be inherited from the rulers of that territory. Historically, much of the Roman Empire’s territory in the eastern Mediterranean was acquired this way. Or the new territory may be purchased, one state from the other—as with France and the Louisiana Purchase, Spanish Florida accession, and Russia’s sale of Alaska to the US.

In other words, imperialism does not always require open warfare as the means to acquisition but it is virtually always associated with economic objectives, even when it appears to be geo-political maneuvering or due to social (i.e. nationalist ideology, domestic crises, population diversion, etc.) causes.

Wealth Extraction as Basic Imperialist Objective

Whether via a bona-fide colony, near-colony, economic protectorate, or dependency the basic economic purpose of imperialism is to extract wealth from the dominated state and society, to enrich the Imperialist state and its economic elites. But some forms of Imperialism and colonial arrangements are more ‘profitable’ than others. Imperialism extracts wealth via many forms—natural resources ‘harvesting’ and relocation back to the Imperial economy, favorable and exploitive terms of trade for exports/imports to and from the dominated state, low cost-low wage production of commodities and semi-finished goods, exclusive control of markets in the dominion country, and other ways of obtaining goods at lower than market price for resale at a higher market price.

Wealth extraction by such measures is exploitive—meaning the Imperial economy removes a greater share of the value of the wealth than it allows the dominated state and economy to retain. There are least five historical ways that classic forms of imperialism thus extract wealth. They include:

Natural Resource Exploitation

This is where the imperial economy simply takes the natural resources from the land and sends them back to its economy. The resource can be minerals, precious metals, scarce or highly demanded agricultural products, or even human beings—such as occurred with the slave trade.

Production Exploitation

Instead of relocating the resources and production in the home market at a higher cost, the production of the goods is arranged in the colony, and then shipped back to the host imperial country for resale domestically or abroad. The semi-finished or finished goods are more profitable due to the lower cost of production throughout the supply chain.

Landed Property Exploitation

The imperialist elites claim ownership of the land, then rent it out to the local population that once owned it to produce on it. In exchange, the imperialist elites extract a ‘rent’ for the use of the land.

Commercial Exploitation

Here the imperialist elites of the home country, in the form of merchants, ship owners, and bankers, arrange to trade and transport goods both to and from the dominated economy on terms favorable to their costs. By controlling the source of money, either as currency, credit, or precious metals, they are able to dictate the arrangements and terms of trade finance.

Direct Taxation Exploitation

More typical in former times, this is simple theft of a share of production and trade by the administration of the imperialist elite. The classic case, once again, was Imperial Rome and its economic relations with its provinces. It left the production and initial extraction of wealth up to the local population, while its imperial bureaucracy, imposed locally, was simply concerned with ensuring it received a majority percentage of goods produced or traded—either in money form or ‘in kind’ that it then shipped back to its home economy Italy for resale. A vestige of this in modern colonial times was the imposition of taxation on the local populace, to pay for the costs of the Imperial bureaucracy and especially the cost of the imperial military apparatus stationed in the dominated state to protect the bureaucracy and the wealth extraction.

The preceding five basic forms of exploitation and wealth extraction have been the subject of critical analyses of imperialism and colonialism for more than a century. What all the above share is a focus on the production and trade of real goods and on land as the source of the wealth transfer. However, the five classical types of exploitation and extraction disregard independent financial forms of wealth extraction. Both capitalist critics and anti-capitalist critics of imperialism, including Marxists, have based their analysis of imperialism on the production of real goods. This theoretical bias has resulted in a disregard of the forms of financial exploitation and imperialism, which have been growing as finance capital itself has been assuming a growing role relative to 21st century global capitalism.

British Imperialism 

Classical 19th century British Imperialism extracted wealth by means of production exploitation, commercial-trade, and all the five basic means noted above. It imposed political structures to ensure the continuation of the wealth extraction, including crown colonies, lesser colonies, protectorates, other dependency relationships, and even annexation in the case of Ireland and before that Scotland. The British organized low wage cost production of goods exported back to Britain and resold at higher prices there or re-exported. It manipulated its currency and terms of trade to ensure profit from goods imported to the colony as well. Its banks and currency became the institutions of the colony. Access to other currencies and banks was not allowed. Monopoly of credit sources allowed British banks to extract rentier profits from in-country investment lending and trade credits. They obtained direct ownership of the prime agricultural and mining lands of the colony. They preferred and promoted highly intensive and low cost labor production. Production and trade was structured to allow only those goods that allowed Britain investors the greatest profits, and prohibited production and trade that might compete with Britain’s home production. But the colonial system was inefficient, in the sense that was costly to administer. The cost of administration was imposed on the local country in part, but also on the British taxpayer.

Twentieth century US Imperialism proved a more efficient system. It avoided direct, and even indirect, political control. State legislatures, governments, and bureaucracies were locally elected or selected by local elites. There were few direct costs of administration. The local elites were given a bigger share of the exploitation pie, as joint production and investment partnerships in production and trade were established with local capitalists as ‘passive’ minority partners who enjoyed the economic returns without the management role. Only when their populace rebelled did the US provide military assistance, covertly or overtly, either from afar or from within as the US set up hundreds of military bases globally throughout its sphere of economic interests. The US and local militaries were tightly integrated, as the US trained local officer ranks, and even local police. Security intelligence was provided by the US at no cost. The offspring of the local elites were allowed to enter private US higher education establishments and thereby favorably socialized toward US interests and cooperation. Foreign aid from the US ended up in the hands of local elites as a form of windfall payment for cooperation. US sales and provision of military hardware to the local elites provided built-in ‘kickback’ payment schemes to the leading politicians and senior military ranks of the local elites. Local military forces became mere appendages of the US military, willing to engage in coups d’etat when necessary to tame local elites that might stray from the economic arrangements favoring more local economic independence beyond that permitted by US interests.

US multinational corporations were the primary institution of economic dominance. They provided critical tax revenues to the local government, employment to a share of the local workforce, and financial credits from US globally banking interests. The US also controlled the dominated states’ economies through a series of new international institutions established in the post-1945 period. These included the International Monetary Fund, established to address local management of currency and export-import flows when they became unbalanced; the World Bank, which provided funding for infrastructure project development; and the World Trade Organization and free trade agreements—bilateral or regional—which enabled selective access to US markets in exchange for unrestricted US corporate foreign direct investment into dominated state economies, financed by US financial interests. These investment and trade arrangements were tied together by the primacy of the US currency, the dollar, as the only acceptable trade currency in financial and goods exchanges between the US and the local economy.

This new ‘form’ of economic imperialism—a system of political dominance sometimes referred to as ‘neo-colonialism—was a far more efficient and profitable (for US capitalists and local capitalist elites as well) system of exploitation and wealth extraction than the 19th century British system of more direct imperial and colonial rule. And within it were the seeds of yet a new form of imperialism based on financial exploitation. As the US economy evolved toward a more financialized system after 1980, the system of imperial dominance associated with it began to evolve as well. Imperialism began to rely increasingly on forms of financial exploitation, while not completely abandoning the more traditional production and commerce forms of wealth extraction.

The question is: What are the new forms of imperialist financial exploitation developed in recent decades? Are new ways of extracting wealth on a national scale emerging in the 21st century? Are the new forms sufficiently widespread, and have they become sufficiently dominant as the primary method of exploitation and wealth extraction, to enable the argument that a new form of financial imperialism has been emerging? If so, what are the methods of finance-based wealth extraction, and the associated political structures enabling it? If what is occurring is not colonialization in the sense of a ‘crown colony’ or even dependent ‘neo-colony’, and if not a political protectorate or outright annexation, what is it, then?

These queries raise the point directly relevant to our current analysis: to what extent does Greece and its continuing debt crises represent a case example of a new financial imperialism emerging?

Greece as a Case Example of Financial Imperialism

There are five basic ways financial imperialism exploits an economy—i.e. functions to extract wealth from the exploited economy—in this case Greece.

• Private sector interest charges for financing private production or commerce
• State to State debt aggregation and ‘interest on interest’ wealth extraction
• Privatization and sale of public assets at fire sale prices plus subsequent income stream diversion from the private acquisition of the public assets
• Foreign investor speculative manipulation of government bonds
• Foreign investor speculation on stock, derivatives, and other financial securities’ as a result of price volatility precipitated by the debt crisis

The first example represents financial exploitation related to financing of private production and trade. It is associated with traditional enterprise-to-enterprise, private sector economic relations where interest is charged on credit extended for production or trade. This occurs under general economic conditions, however, unrelated to debt crises. The remaining four ways represent financial exploitation enable by State to State economic relations and unrelated to financing private production or trading of goods.

One such form of financial exploitation involves state-to-state institutions, public sector economic relations where interest is charged on government (sovereign) debt and compounded as additional debt is added to make payments on initial debt.

Another involves financial exploitation via the privatization and sale of public assets—i.e. ports, utilities, public transport systems, etc.—of the dominated State, often at firesale’ or below market prices. Privatization is mandated as part of austerity measures dictated by the imperialist state.as a precondition for refinancing government debt. This too involves State to State economic relations.

Yet a third example of financial exploitation also involving States occurs with private sector investor speculation on sovereign (Greek government) bonds that experience price volatility during debt crises. State involvement involvement occurs in the form of government bonds as the vehicle of financial speculation.

Even more indirect case, but nonetheless still involving State-State relations indirectly, is private investor speculation in private financial asset markets like stocks, futures and options on commodities, derivatives based on sovereign bonds, and so on, associated with the dominated State. This still involves State to State relations, in that the investor speculation is a consequence of the economic instability caused by the State-State debt negotiations.

Finance capitalists ‘capitalize’ on the debt crises that create price volatility of financial securities, making speculative bets on the financial securities’ volatility (and in the process contributing to that volatility) in order to reap a financial gain from changes in financial asset prices. And they do this not just with sovereign bonds, but with stocks, futures options, commodities, and other financial securities.

All the examples—i.e. interest on government debt, returns from firesale prices of public assets, investor speculative gains on sovereign bonds, as well as from financial securities’ price volatility caused by the crisis—represent pure financial wealth extraction. That is, financial exploitation separate from wealth extraction from financing private production. All represents ‘money made from money’, in contrast to money made from financing the production or trading of real assets.

The Pre-Boom Cycle years

During the pre-2008 boom cycle years, credit flowed to Greece and the periphery to enable the purchase of core exports of goods. When the core stopped the flow of credit after 2008, what was left was debt. But interest on debt was as lucrative to the core banker interests as was purchase of export goods. Repayment of loans and other credit extended by the Troika to Greece’s government and central bank were recycled back to Eurozone core private interests—95% of same, to be exact. Without true economic recovery after 2009 for the periphery, each time more debt had to be extended in order to repay old debt, and interest payments were added to interest payments and compounded. Financial imperialism increasingly assumed the form of state-to-state debt and interest flows, accruing eventually in the northern core banks and financial institutions. New means for financial exploitation were spun off and added in the process—financial gains from privatization and financial gains from government bonds and financial securities speculation. Greece was sucked into the debt machine where the fix itself became the cause of ongoing and ever worsening entanglement, with no release in sight.

For Eurozone bankers, it was just too good a ‘deal’ to terminate: perpetual debt interest money flows back to them, guaranteed by credit extended by the Troika institutions. Overlay on top of that, cycles of opportunity for financial speculation on bonds, stocks, derivatives, and other financial securities. It was even better than Greeks buying German and northern core exports of real goods to Greece. Exports might decline with economic conditions and competition. But debt repayments were guaranteed to continue—for as long as Greece remained in the Euro system at least. Financial imperialism may just prove more profitable than older forms of imperialism based on production and commerce of goods.

This shift to financial exploitation and therefore financial imperialism is a harbinger of things to come for smaller economies and states that allow themselves to be integrated into 21st century capitalism’s drive to concentrate and integrate economies into broader customs (goods trade) unions, currency unions, and banking unions in which the larger, more economically powerful states and economies will naturally dominate and exploit financially their weaker members. A new form of integrated financial imperialism is thus in the making. Greece is likely to be but the forerunner.


  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on What is ‘Financial Imperialism’? Greece and the Eurozone Periphery as Harbinger of Things to Come

Iraqi forces, supported by US-led coalition warplanes, artillery units and military advisers, have made significant gains against the ISIS terrorist group in the eastern part of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

According to Iraqi Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati, Iraqi security forces (ISF), led by the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), have taken control of about 70 percent of eastern Mosul from the terrorist group.

Iraqi forces are still need to secure the recently liberated areas in eastern Mosul.

Iraqi forces were able to develop the momentum due to better coordination of the operation. A high number of US military advisers on the ground contributed to this.

However, western Mosul and a large part of eastern Mosul remain under the control of ISIS.

If you’re able, and if you like our content and approach, please support the project. Our work wouldn’t be possible without your help: PayPal: [email protected] or via: http://southfront.org/donate/ or via: https://www.patreon.com/southfront

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Iraqi Forces Make Significant Gains against ISIS-Daesh Terrorists in Mosul

New Twist on Fake News Russian Hacking Story

January 6th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

All the huffing and puffing and slandering and fear-mongering and lying for months about Russian hacking failed to make the case. 

Not a shred of evidence was presented supporting accusations made. A previous article cited polling data, showing most Americans disbelieve it.

In US trial proceedings, guilt depends on proof beyond a reasonable doubt, even if not absolutely certain – a high standard to meet, defendants presumed innocent otherwise.

America’s intelligence community can’t get its act straight. Switching allegations shows its operatives can’t agree on what fake news to go with.

Earlier accusations changed, Reuters saying three unnamed US officials now claim “Russia provided hacked material from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks through a third party.”

The earlier version accused Russia of directly interfering in America’s election process, hacking the DNC, helping Trump defeat Hillary.

No evidence suggests Moscow interfered in the election process of any country, or rigged its own to assure Putin’s triumph.

His overwhelming popularity speaks for itself. Russians want no one else leading them. If he runs again in 2018, he’ll be reelected easily, as things now stand.

According to Reuters, unnamed US officials “declined to describe the intelligence obtained about the involvement of a third-party in passing on leaked material to WikiLeaks, saying they did not want to reveal how the US government had obtained the information” – code language for nothing credible to release.

It’s fake news like virtually everything else denigrating Russia, ludicrously calling it “an existential threat,” hyping nonexistent “Russian aggression,” – disgraceful fear-mongering to justify bloated military sending at a time America’s only enemies are ones it invents.

Claiming Russian US election hacking is all about delegitimizing Trump’s triumph, making it hard, maybe impossible, for him to normalize bilateral ties.

If he tries, attempted congressional rebuff is certain, perhaps passing veto-proof legislation, criminalizing efforts to do it.

If he proceeds, he could be impeached and removed from office for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors as the Constitution permits (Article II, Section 4).

Short of removal from office, any portion of his agenda conflicting with longstanding consensus could be undermined.

If all else fails, he could be eliminated the old-fashioned way – assassinated, ending his tenure and life in one fell swoop.

Four US presidents were assassinated in office: Lincoln, James Garfield, William Mckinley and Jack Kennedy. The deaths of Zachary Taylor and Warren Harding were rumored to be assassinations.

Numerous attempts on the lives of sitting presidents failed, notably against Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, his cousin Franklin, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

The displeasure of pro-Hillary power brokers over Trump’s triumph leaves him vulnerable. His super-wealth and privilege can’t protect him.

He’s used to being chairman and president of a global conglomerate bearing his name. If he defiantly goes his own way, a bad ending may await him in one form or other.

Dark forces running America tolerate no one challenging longstanding policy. Attempts to diverge significantly don’t end well.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the 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.

 

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on New Twist on Fake News Russian Hacking Story

Obama, Kissinger and Nuland: Coup d’état in Cyprus 1974 – Cyprus 2017

January 6th, 2017 by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

In July 1974 the US-controlled Athens military junta organized a coup d’état in Cyprus and an assassination attempt against the President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios. Everything was executed in exactly the same way as it had been a year before in Santiago Chile. (Cyprus is an island of great strategic importance, now a member of EU and Eurozone. 82% of his population are Greek by nationality and 18% Turkish Cypriots. The country obtained its independence from Britain in 1960, after one of the most successful national-liberation struggles after the 2nd World War)

Unlike Salvador Allende, Makarios escaped death and with him his state survived also, albeit mutilated by the Turkish invasion that followed suit. Kissinger had to admit that Cyprus had been the greatest failure of his career.

Why did he do all this? Because Kissinger was the early neocon prototype, albeit much more capable than what his epigones proved to be. In spite of using his intellectual skills to build his image, he could never be something like Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher king, nor even like the shrewd Rabin, who knew when the time had come to transform into a permanent peace, from a hegemonic position, what he had won in the war.

Kissinger wants to play God (even though he should know that sometimes hubris is followed by nemesis. But this is not the kind of argument to stop such a man).

He has enormous capacities, great charisma and a global strategic vision, even if not everybody would agree with it. He was by far the most astute of the great cold (and also hot) warriors. By achieving an otherwise impossible alliance with the leader of the Chinese Communist Revolution, by what he did in Europe, the Middle East, Japan and even Latin America, he was able to encircle Russia and lay the strategic foundations for the demise of the USSR. His influence upon US foreign policy and strategy has lasted much longer than the time of his service as Secretary of State and National Security advisor.

The Master of Deception

His unparalleled achievements were due to the combination of two weapons he knows how to use very well.

One, he never hesitates. Every time he thinks it necessary to use every possible method, he has no moral, or any other, scruples. The end justifies the means, as the Jesuits used to say (or probably their opponents claimed they said).

The second and even more fearful weapon is his capacity to understand, better than they themselves do, what all the various players in a given game are thinking: their mentality, their needs. He is thus able to send all of them, including his rivals, the signals that are right for his purposes, signals formulated in the language the most likely to persuade them and make them move in the direction he wants them to go. Even if they continue to harbour some doubts, he is the master of the game because he knows what he wants and he does not hesitate for a moment. That was the secret of his triumphs.

I think even now Kissinger is one of the very few people who can maintain very good relations with both camps in what seems very much like a civil war at the very top of the Empire, probably between globalizers and practitioners of chaos, something like the war between the emperors Antonius and Octavius in ancient Rome.

Cyprus: a masterpiece of deceptive diplomacy

In 1974 Kissinger was able to prepare his Cyprus coup first by deceiving everybody about his real intentions, including the Greek dictator Ioannides, Archbishop Makarios and Soviet FM Gromyko (when he met both of them in Nicosia weeks before the coup), the British government and even his own President Richard Nixon, probably exploiting his serious troubles with Watergate.

It was a masterpiece of deceptive diplomacy, even if this is something he cannot openly claim.

In March 1974 Major-General Ioannides the Greek dictator invited to his office the ship owner Aristotelis Onassis. He told him, according to one of the very close associates of Onassis, “Aristotelis, everything is fine with foreign policy. The Americans told me to get rid of the priest (Archbishop Makarios, President of Cyprus) and they will give us the island” (Cyprus to be united with Greece). Ioannides was a little bit mad and the only thing Onassis could think of saying to him was “And why they don’t do it themselves?”. Such a question was not enough to make Ioannides think, let alone deter him from what he was already planning.

When Ioannides realized after the coup that he had been deceived and that it was Turkey not Greece that was to be “united” with Cyprus, he ordered the Greek Armed Forces to defend the island by all means and attack Turkey on all fronts. Nobody did anything. The USA were controlling all the Greek military hierarchy. The Turkish troops invaded the island essentially without resistance, proceeding to ethnic cleansing of the Greek population from the zone they controlled. Cyprus lost 3% of its population during this operation, which is more than the Iraqi losses during the invasion of 2003.

Ioannides, a veteran of anticommunist struggles in Greece, died in prison, always refusing to explain what had happened. He said only “I don’t speak because if I speak all Greeks will become Communists”. Some time after the events the Greek Parliament itself adopted a special provision to stop any investigations about Cyprus, invoking the need not to disturb the foreign relations of Greece.

Kissinger meeting Makarios and Gromyko

Just before the coup Kissinger himself visited Cyprus and there met with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Archbishop Makarios. We don’t know much about what was said during their conversations except that Kissinger told the Archbishop as he was leaving the island: “Monseigneur, you are too great a leader for such a tiny place.” It was a flattering remark for this son of peasants to hear such words from one of the most powerful men on Earth.

If we don’t know what was said in those talks we do know what happened afterwards. Makarios began to act with increasing assertiveness in his relations with the junta, ignoring desperate messages from some people in Athens, that they were planning to kill him. He even wrote the junta a letter asking them to recall their officers from Cyprus. This served as the final pretext for the coup against him.

As for the USSR, it reacted only a posteriori to the chain of events and only by the usual diplomatic means. It was the opposite attitude to the one Nikita Khrushchev had adopted in 1964. Then, warned by Makarios’s envoy Vassos Lyssarides, the Cypriot socialist leader, who had met him personally at his southern resort, he had send a strong message to US President Lyndon Johnson explaining that a Turkish plan to invade the island would be unacceptable for the Soviet Union. Johnson sent a letter (published since) to the Turkish leader Inonu, telling him to cancel the invasion plans.

But all plans may have some problematic points. Not only did Makarios survive but the Socialists and other democrats resisted the coup on the ground. Kissinger’s chosen man in Cyprus, Clerides, who had in the meantime become the acting President, and Kissinger’s friends in Athens, could not do much finally but accept the return of the Archbishop to his island after some months abroad. He had saved his state, but nearly half of the island was already occupied and hundreds of thousands of refugees were living in tents. His heart broken, he died three years later.

Turkey enters the game

The Turkish forces invaded the island in July 1974 to “protect the Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriots”. The constitutional order of the Republic had been restored on the island, nobody there was in any real danger, the Athens junta had collapsed. But one month later, while negotiations were being held in Geneva, the Turkish Army began its second phase of the invasion, occupying nearly half of the island, where it still stands. According to relevant UN documents the Northern occupied zone of Cyprus remains the most militarized region on Earth. The day before the second military operation Kissinger and the Turkish PM Ecevit had had 14 telephone conversations.

In November 1974 Kissinger met Denktash and explained to him what kind of solution he should demand for Cyprus. Later, US undersecretary of State Clifford explained to Makarios what kind of solution was fit for the island.

On the basis of a solution of this type, decades later, the “Annan Plan for the solution of the Cyprus conflict” was developed and presented to the Cypriot people in a 2004 referendum. Cypriots rejected the proposal.

From Kissinger to Nuland – from modernity to postmodernism (with Turkey invited to join EU)

Now Mrs Nuland wants exactly the same solution before she leaves the State Department. She wants to impose it on Cyprus through a new coup d’état, of a very different, less dramatic and more dangerous type. The coup d’état is to take place in Geneva, on 12th January.

She knows that she cannot win a referendum under the given circumstances. She will therefore try to take everything she can from the powers of the existing Cypriot state, on a legal and political level and at the level of international law, before holding probably two and not one referenda, which is logical as there will be not one but two states in Cyprus after January 12. She will hold the promised referendum she cannot win under the circumstances only when she has changed those circumstances. And she will hold two, not one.

All of this is illegal, but if Anastasiades and Tsipras or Kotzias sign the agreements under pressure from her, there will be not be many people around even to protest, as they did during the Iraq war. They will not survive such an act, politically, but I am not sure how they interpret the situation. The more so as most of the international players in fact prefer such a “solution”, and many of them, unbelievable as it may seem, just do not know the real details and provisions of the Annan plan. They know only that they have to support it! If all this planning does not falter somewhere in the next few days, it will soon be announced on the screens of CNN and world TV: Breaking News: Peace in Cyprus. The two sides announce the creation of a new partnership. Historic foes Greece and Turkey sign a Pact of Alliance.

At some point in the future Cyprus will be transformed into a Bosnia. But who will then remember what was on the CNN screen that day? Do you hear anything now about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? They will just say: “Oh, those Greeks and Turks, they are at it again. They never know how to behave. They are genetically or culturally disposed to violence.

The Cyprus settlement risks becoming, simultaneously, the last victory of the old “globalization” and a prelude to the new Order of Chaos!

One small detail: the Annan-Anastasiades-Nuland plan also provides for Turkey to become something like a full member of the EU, a decades-old project of US policy, which now seems all but unachievable through normal means.

One more reason for Mr. Obama and Mr. Erdogan to eye the cheese and ignore the trap. The only thing I don’t know is what Netanyahu thinks of all this.

Kissinger: The reasons I did it

Speaking to a closed seminar under Chatham House rules, Mr. Kissinger justified his policy by saying that whoever rules Cyprus, Crete and Malta “rules the world”. Given that he had already lost Malta, he could not afford also to lose Cyprus, ruled by this “red priest”, the “Mediterranean Castro”.

This is misrepresentation. Makarios was a very anticommunist, pro-American, conservative, right-wing politician. The only reason that he was flirting with the Soviet Union and that he became a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, was the threat of extinction of his state, which was always London’s and Washington’s policy aim for Cyprus. .

As the Colonial Secretary of the United Kingdom said of the Commonwealth Harry Hopkins said, answering a question about Cyprus from Labour’s ex-colonial secretary Griffiths in the House of Commons, “It has always been understood and agreed that there are certain territories in the Commonwealth which, owing to the particular circumstances, can never expect to be fully independent”. (28.7.1954)

Cyprus is an island like Britain and (strategically speaking) the USA. From there you can attack anybody in the Eastern Mediterranean, but nobody can easily attack you. When the British PM Disraeli acquired the island from the Ottoman Empire he said “we have got the link we were missing”. Imperial planners not only always thought it would be too risky to let the inhabitants of the island rule themselves (this used to be, and still is, the “Cyprus problem”). They often used the most destabilizing methods to attain their goal of taking the island from them.

Kissinger can say whatever he wants. He all but destroyed the South East wing of NATO. Monteagle Sterns, US Ambassador to Athens, said the only reason the Soviet Union was not able to make huge strategic gains out of the mess produced by Kissinger was its own unwillingness or incompetence.

From Kiev to Nicosia

The same is true of Mrs. Nuland. She could claim, for instance, that what she did in Kiev was necessary to stop Putin from recreating the Soviet Union. But it is not true. The West, if it wanted, could incorporate not only Ukraine, but also Russia into the Western system. They did it with Germany after the War. All that would be required would be to send money there, not IMF economists, and to avoid having NATO troops penetrate deep inside the ex-USSR. Now they don’t understand how it is possible that Putin should be ruling the Kremlin. They believe it is just a misunderstanding of history and they look for ways to remove him from his position. This attitude is not serious.

On the subject of Kiev, I really don’t know how to evaluate it. What happened in Kiev was the strongest possible motivation for Putin to decide to send his army to Syria. The West is already facing the consequences of the biggest strategic defeat it has suffered since the Vietnam War. Can you really call such an outcome a triumph?

Obama, Cyprus and two schools of imperial thinking

Some friends of mine will be shocked to discover that I greatly esteem the President of the United States, Barack Obama, for one thing he did , and I really do. He stopped the crazy neocon plan for a new Syria invasion (as in Iraq) and the even crazier idea of bombing Iran, probably with tactical nukes, as Seymour Hearsh was already warning us a decade ago. I consider the very existence of such plans as the most serious indication of a deep decline of our civilization

Of course Obama should be criticized for many other things. But one should not judge the presidents of the United States only by the policy of their country. Those seemingly all-powerful people are much more hostages of the mad machine they are running than we are! And for any judgment to be correct one should take into account the real situation in which one person acts.

Obama said something very serious, answering the critiques he had received of the “failures of his Middle Eastern policy”. He criticized the previous administrations for the legacy they had left him and for the method of “first shooting and then looking”.

But he also made the same mistake and he admitted it in the case of Libya, when he heard Sarkozy. He is a clever man and he probably understood finally that something had gone wrong with Kiev, but he will not admit it. He is familiar with Third World problems but not with Russia. He represents a generation that lacks the terrible education and experience that was the Cold War. About Russia, but not about Cyprus, he could gain a lot from talking with Kissinger and even more from reading Kennan or Cohen. As for Brzezinski, passions are usually misleading. His anti-Russian mania undermined the other aims of his interventions.

Of course nobody there in the White House has taken the time to read the Annan Plan (and the same is true for European bureaucracies and governments). They would easily understand, if they read it, that it creates a Bosnia in the Mediterranean. But this is how the world is run. By small minority groups inside the system which write the laws and push the decision makers to act accordingly, thinking they are deciding.

Dimitris Konstantakopoulos is a journalist and writer. He worked as an advisor on East-West Relations and Arms Control in the office of Greek PM Andreas Papapndreou (1985-88) and he was the chief correspondent of the Greek news agency ANA in Moscow (1989-99). He collaborated with Michel Pablo in launching the international review for self-management Utopie Critique. He has been a member of the Central Committee and the Secretariat and of the Committee on Foreign Policy of SYRIZA. He stopped having any relations with SYRIZA in July 2015.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Obama, Kissinger and Nuland: Coup d’état in Cyprus 1974 – Cyprus 2017

In the past 24 hours, a string of new developments are potentially reshaping the Reina Nightclub Shooting incident on New Year’s Eve in Istanbul. Perhaps most shockingly, according to US intelligence reports, Reina nightclub’s security had been taken over ten days prior to the apparent terror tragedy. If that’s not enough – there’s also been a peculiar case of mistaken identity.

Let’s review some of the latest details in the Turkish nightclub shooting…

According to reports, a strange ‘selfie’ image and video allegedly featuring a ‘prime suspect’ was released. However, the apparent shooter is still at-large following an apparent case of “mistaken identity.” The UK’s Mirror reported the strange developments, as the person in the selfie shots did not match a person arrested by authorities at Istanbul’s airport over the past day:

“Twenty-eight year-old Iakhe Mashrapov, from Kyrgyzstan, said Turkish police arrested him but that he was released following a case of mistaken identity.

He made the claim during an interview with Kyrgyz TV after TRT, Turkey’s state broadcaster, named him as the chief suspect.

Mr Mashrapov claims he was taken into custody by the Turks when boarding a flight in Istanbul after mistaking him for the main suspect due to his apparent likeness.”

In addition, over a dozen individuals have been detained and questioned following the attack.

Here’s an image released by authorities and media that allegedly depicts  28 year-old Iakhe Mashrapov, from Kyrgyzstan, who was initially thought to be the selfie/nightclub attacker. Make note that Mashrapov appears to be much older in the picture presented by media below…

Political Shifts?

In 2016, after a wave of German terror-related incidents were blended with a seemingly engineered migrant crisis – a large amount of national political pressure was placed on CDP leader Angela Merkel following the highly suspicious Berlin Christmas market attack. This has set the tone for a major political upheaval prior to the upcoming electoral cycles in Germany. Similarly, Turkey has been embroiled in political controversy as its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s pro-Islamist perspective has come under fire along with Turkey’s increased role in Syria. Here’s apassage from a report by 21WIRE contributor Vanessa Beeley in 2016, that accurately describes the scenario that has unfolded in Turkey:

“The regime has come under international scrutiny for permitting the free flow of jihadis and weapons to rebel groups fighting the government in Syria (the ‘jihad highway’), which resulted in the rise of the brutal insurgent group, Islamic State, which is fast spreading its tentacles worldwide. The anti-Shia strategy of promoting regime change in Syria and cornering its Iranian ally through (Sunni) Islamic terror backfired when America forced Turkey to take an active role in the US-led coalition against the ISIS. A series of deadly bombings followed on Turkish soil, all attributed to ISIS.”

How these alleged ‘terror’ events push major political shifts must be seriously considered when dissecting a possible modus operandi of this and other similar high-profile media ‘national security’ events.

THE REAL TURKISH SHOOTER? – A selfie image seen alongside apparent CCTV camera footage allegedly outside Reina nightclub featuring the attacker. (Image Source: cbc)

Turkey’s nightclub shooter remains at large even though authorities have reportedly visually identified their suspect, in addition to already obtaining fingerprints from the crime scene.

QUESTION: Was the mistaken identity story a ‘red herring’ given that authorities have already ID’d their man – most likely a known wolf operator?

If that isn’t enough to consider, Turkey’s Hurriyet news disclosed that “Reina’s owner, Mehmet Kocarslan, as saying security measures had been taken over the past 10 days after U.S. intelligence reports suggested a possible attack.”

You have to wonder why this aspect of the story has barely been mentioned and why US intelligence has seemingly clung tightly to this key information, especially considering it appears to show evidence of a heavily coordinated attack.

Additionally, who exactly was heading security at the club in the days prior to the Istanbul attack?

Here at 21WIRE  we’ve already outlined the seemingly ready-made terror story that has been totally accepted wholesale by Western media outlets, including the possible mistaken identity red herring:

According to authorities, 39 people have been killed, with at least 69 wounded during the Reina nightclub.

The Telegraph reports the following:

“Armed with a long-barrelled weapon, the attacker shot a police officer before storming the elite Reina club in the Ortakoy area of the city at about 1.45am.

Describing the carnage as a “terror attack”, Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said 35 people had died and 40 people were wounded.”

“Unfortunately [the shooter] rained bullets in a very cruel and merciless way on innocent people who were there to celebrate New Year’s and have fun,” Mr Sahin said.

There were believed to be more than 500 people in the club at the time. Many party-goers threw themselves into the Bosphorus in panic after the attack and efforts were underway to rescue them from the waters, NTV television said.”

ISIS ‘Takes Credit’

In the age of digital media and informational illusion, the potential for GLADIO-style manipulation through events like this has never been greater.

As is usually the routine, ‘ISIS’ eventually claimed “credit” for this unconventional attack, calling the still-at-large shooter  a ‘hero of the caliphate.’ This was reported with blind faith by the paper of record the New York Times:

“The Islamic State issued a rare claim of responsibility on Monday for the New Year’s Day attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed at least 39 people, describing the gunman who carried out the assault — and who has not been identified or captured — as “a hero soldier of the caliphate.”

The attack was clearly designed to incite religious warfare, as the ‘ISIS’ statement (which could have been written by anyone) continues:

“A hero soldier of the caliphate attacked one of the most famous nightclubs, where Christians celebrated their pagan holiday,”

The NY Times continued relying on its ‘pro-terrorist’ limited hangout sources – with more ISIS propaganda designed to stir fears in the west:

“a pro-Islamic State group, the Nashir Media Foundation, published the latest in a series of messages calling for attacks on clubs, markets and movie theaters.”

Rather than a suicide bomb attack, or the shooter martyring himself in jihad glory, the Turkish nightclub attack was a carefully calculated mass murder which lacked the usual religious symbolism featured in every other attack – which further indicates that this may not have been a genuine religious terrorist attack as portrayed through mass media.

NOTE: Immediately after this ‘terrorist’ event, Turkey sent its military forces deeper into Syria, and with the full blessing of the US and NATO.

Early reports suggest that one suspected shooter may have been dressed as Santa Claus. However, Turkish PM Benali Yildirim, refutes this claim. The Daily Beast adds the following details:

“Initial reports cited witnesses who saw at least one shooter dressed as Santa Claus, although the CCTV and cell phone videos that have surfaced so far do not entirely corroborate those accounts:

One shows a man wearing dark clothes firing wildly in the street, with bullets ricocheting off of cars, as he moves toward the door of the club.

Another, allegedly taken inside the club, shows a man who may have been the Santa Claus in question dressed all in white: he is wearing a knit hat with a pom-pom on top, a white cloth (or perhaps a short fake beard) over his face, and is carrying a white sack that looks almost like a pillow case as he looks around the chaotic scene in the room.

Some witnesses said bombs or grenades were thrown in addition to carnage wrought by the gunfire. 

Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim said Sunday morning that the shooter was not wearing a Santa costume, but other reports suggested he may have changed his clothes at some point.”

The another NY Times article added the following. Including the generic ‘God is great’ declaration attached in the aftermath of most terror-related events:

“The gunman’s identity and motives remain unclear, but one witness said he had heard the man shout “God is great” in Arabic.”

Emre Eytan Can, 34, an investment banker from Istanbul, said he was a regular at Reina, although he was not there on New Year’s Eve.

“I guess it is a target because it’s full of high-class Turks and foreigners,” he said. “And it’s a place where people let their hair down and drink, which is not in line with Islam.”

An image capture on CCTV, shows a man supposedly entering the well-known Club Reina among debris and shattered glass in the background.

As often is the case in these events, eye-witness accounts have suggested the attack was committed by multiple shooters:

“The whereabouts of the attacker was still unknown and some reports suggested there were multiple attackers. Police special forces and explosives experts were  searching the club, an NTV correspondent at the scene said.”

QUESTION: Will the Turkish nightclub attacker or attackers turn out to be yet another ‘known wolf’ scenario? Will 2017 also be the year of the known wolf terror?

UPDATE: CNN began promoting this bizarre selfie of the new prime suspect in this ‘terror’ event:

turkey-shooter

“Turkish state-run media say police provided this photo of the suspect in the Istanbul nightclub attack. CNN cannot confirm when or where the photo was taken.”

Strangely, authorities gave no real context as to the source of the new “shooter selfie” where the subject appears to be posing with a characterized menacing look in video shot with a selfie stick.

Turkish media have also released a selfie video of the purported selfie shooter…

Stay tuned for other potential plot changes in the case of  Turkey’s Reina Nightclub shooting…

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Turkish Nightclub Shooting: Mistaken Prime Suspect? Nightclub’s Security ‘Taken Over’ Prior to Attack

In the past six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false. Each now bears a humiliating editor’s note grudgingly acknowledging that the core claims of the story were fiction: The first note was posted a full two weeks later to the top of the original article; the other was buried the following day at the bottom.

The second story on the electric grid turned out to be far worse than I realized when I wrote about it on Saturday, when it became clear that there was no “penetration of the U.S. electricity grid” as the Post had claimed. In addition to the editor’s note, the Russia-hacked-our-electric-grid story now has a full-scale retraction in the form of a separate article admitting that “the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility” and there may not even have been malware at all on this laptop.

But while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post (the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, recently boasted about how profitable the paper has become).

After spreading the falsehoods far and wide, raising fear levels and manipulating U.S. political discourse in the process (both Russia stories were widely hyped on cable news), journalists who spread the false claims subsequently note the retraction or corrections only in the most muted way possible, and often not at all. As a result, only a tiny fraction of people who were exposed to the original false story end up learning of the retractions.

Baron himself, editorial leader of the Post, is a perfect case study in this irresponsible tactic. It was Baron who went to Twitter on the evening of November 24 to announce the Post’s exposé of the enormous reach of Russia’s fake news operation, based on what he heralded as the findings of “independent researchers.” Baron’s tweet went all over the place; to date, it has been re-tweeted more than 3,000 times, including by many journalists with their own large followings:

But after that story faced a barrage of intense criticism — from Adrian Chen in the New Yorker (“propaganda about Russia propaganda”), Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (“shameful, disgusting”), my own article, and many others — including legal threats from the sites smeared as Russian propaganda outlets by the Post’s “independent researchers” — the Post finally added its lengthy editor’s note distancing itself from the anonymous group that provided the key claims of its story (“The Post … does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings” and “since publication of the Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some sites from its list”). What did Baron tell his followers about this editor’s note that gutted the key claims of the story he hyped? Nothing. Not a word. To date, he has been publicly silent about these revisions. Having spread the original claims to tens of thousands of people, if not more, he took no steps to ensure that any of them heard about the major walk back on the article’s most significant, inflammatory claims. He did, however, ironically find the time to promote a different Post story about how terrible and damaging Fake News is:

 

Whether the Post’s false stories here can be distinguished from what is commonly called “Fake News” is, at this point, a semantic dispute, particularly since “Fake News” has no cogent definition. Defenders of Fake News as a distinct category typically emphasize intent in order to differentiate it from bad journalism. That’s really just a way of defining Fake News so as to make it definitionally impossible for mainstream media outlets like the Post ever to be guilty of it (much the way terrorism is defined to ensure that the U.S. government and its allies cannot, by definition, ever commit it).

But what was the Post’s motive in publishing two false stories about Russia that, very predictably, generated massive attention, traffic, and political impact? Was it ideological and political — namely, devotion to the D.C. agenda of elevating Russia into a grave threat to U.S. security? Was it to please its audience — knowing that its readers, in the wake of Trump’s victory, want to be fed stories about Russian treachery? Was it access and source servitude — proving it will serve as a loyal and uncritical repository for any propaganda intelligence officials want disseminated? Was it profit — to generate revenue through sensationalistic click-bait headlines with a reckless disregard to whether its stories are true? In an institution as large as the Post, with numerous reporters and editors participating in these stories, it’s impossible to identify any one motive as definitive.

Whatever the motives, the effects of these false stories are exactly the same as those of whatever one regards as Fake News. The false claims travel all over the internet, deceiving huge numbers into believing them. The propagators of the falsehoods receive ample profit from their false, viral “news.” And there is no accountability of the kind that would disincentivize a repeat of the behavior. (That the Post ultimately corrects its false story does not distinguish it from classic Fake News sites, which also sometimes do the same.)

And while it’s true that all media outlets make mistakes, and that even the most careful journalism sometimes errs, those facts do not remotely mitigate the Post’s behavior here. In these cases, they did not make good faith mistakes after engaging in careful journalism. With both stories, they were reckless (at best) from the start, and the glaring deficiencies in the reporting were immediately self-evident (which is why both stories were widely attacked upon publication).

As this excellent timeline by Kalev Leetaru documents, the Post did not even bother to contact the utility companies in question — the most elementary step of journalistic responsibility — until after the story was published. Intelligence officials insisting on anonymity — so as to ensure no accountability — whispered to them that this happened, and despite how significant the consequences would be, they rushed to print it with no verification at all. This is not a case of good journalism producing inaccurate reporting; it is the case of a media outlet publishing a story that it knew would produce massive benefits and consequences without the slightest due diligence or care.

The most ironic aspect of all this is that it is mainstream journalists — the very people who have become obsessed with the crusade against Fake News — who play the key role in enabling and fueling this dissemination of false stories. They do so not only by uncritically spreading them, but also by taking little or no steps to notify the public of their falsity.

The Post’s epic debacle this weekend regarding its electric grid fiction vividly illustrates this dynamic. As I noted on Saturday, many journalists reacted to this story the same way they do every story about Russia: They instantly click and re-tweet and share the story without the slightest critical scrutiny. That these claims are constantly based on the whispers of anonymous officials and accompanied by no evidence whatsoever gives those journalists no pause at all; any official claim that Russia and Putin are behind some global evil is instantly treated as Truth. That’s a significant reason papers like the Post are incentivized to recklessly publish stories of this kind. They know they will be praised and rewarded no matter the accuracy or reliability because their Cause — the agenda — is the right one.

On Friday night, immediately after the Post’s story was published, one of the most dramatic pronouncements came from the New York Times’s editorial writer Brent Staples, who said this:

Now that this story has collapsed and been fully retracted, what has Staples done to note that this tweet was false? Just like Baron, absolutely nothing. Actually, that’s not quite accurate, as he did do something: At some point after Friday night, he quietly deleted his tweet without comment. He has not uttered a word about the fact that the story he promoted has collapsed, and that what he told his 16,000-plus followers — along with the countless number of people who re-tweeted the dramatic claim of this prominent journalist — turned out to be totally false in every respect.

Even more instructive is the case of MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin, a prolific and skilled social media user who has seen his following explode this year with a constant stream of anti-Trump content. On Friday night, when the Post story was published, Griffin hyped it with a series of tweets designed to make the story seem as menacing and consequential as possible. That included hysterical statements from Vermont officials — who believed the Post’s false claim — that in retrospect are unbelievably embarrassing.

 

That tweet from Griffin — convincing people that Putin was endangering the health and safety of Vermonters — was re-tweeted more than 1,000 times. His other similar tweets — such as this one featuring Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy’s warning that Putin was trying to “shut down [the grid] in the middle of winter” — were also widely spread.

But the next day, the crux of the story collapsed — the Post’s editor’s note acknowledged that “there is no indication” that “Russian hackers had penetrated the electricity grid” — and Griffin said nothing. Indeed, he said nothing further on any of this until yesterday — four days after his series of widely shared tweets — in which he simply re-tweeted a Post reporter noting an “update” that the story was false without providing any comment himself:

In contrast to Griffin’s original inflammatory tweets about the Russian menace, which were widely and enthusiastically spread, this after-the-fact correction has a paltry 289 re-tweets. Thus, a small fraction of those who were exposed to Griffin’s sensationalistic hyping of this story ended up learning that all of it was false.

I genuinely do not mean to single out these individual journalists for scorn. They are just illustrative of a very common dynamic: Any story that bolsters the prevailing D.C. orthodoxy on the Russia Threat, no matter how dubious, is spread far and wide. And then, as has happened so often, when the story turns out to be false or misleading, little or nothing is done to correct the deceitful effects. And, most amazingly of all, these are the same people constantly decrying the threat posed by Fake News.

A very common dynamic is driving all of this: media groupthink, greatly exacerbated (as I described on Saturday) by the incentive scheme of Twitter. As the grand media failure of 2002 demonstrated, American journalists are highly susceptible to fueling and leading the parade in demonizing a new Foreign Enemy rather than exerting restraint and skepticism in evaluating the true nature of that threat.

It is no coincidence that many of the most embarrassing journalistic debacles of this year involve the Russia Threat, and they all involve this same dynamic. Perhaps the worst one was the facially ridiculous, pre-election Slate story — which multiple outlets (including The Intercept) had been offered but passed on — alleging that Trump had created a secret server to communicate with a Russian bank; that story was so widely shared that even the Clinton campaign ended up hyping it — a tweet that, by itself, was re-tweeted almost 12,000 times.

But only a small percentage of those who heard of it ended up hearing of the major walk back and debunking from other outlets. The same is true of The Guardian story from last week on WikiLeaks and Putin that ended up going viral, only to have its retraction barely noticed because most of the journalists who spread the story did not bother to note it.

Beyond the journalistic tendency to echo anonymous officials on whatever Scary Foreign Threat they are hyping at the moment, there is an independent incentive scheme sustaining all of this. That Russia is a Grave Menace attacking the U.S. has — for obvious reasons — become a critical narrative for Democrats and other Trump opponents who dominate elite media circles on social media and elsewhere. They reward and herald anyone who bolsters that narrative, while viciously attacking anyone who questions it.

Indeed, in my 10-plus years of writing about politics on an endless number of polarizing issues — including the Snowden reporting — nothing remotely compares to the smear campaign that has been launched as a result of the work I’ve done questioning and challenging claims about Russian hacking and the threat posed by that country generally. This is being engineered not by random, fringe accounts, but by the most prominent Democratic pundits with the largest media followings.

I’ve been transformed, overnight, into an early adherent of alt-right ideology, an avid fan of Breitbart, an enthusiastic Trump supporter, and — needless to say  — a Kremlin operative. That’s literally the explicit script they’re now using, often with outright fabrications of what I say (see here for one particularly glaring example).

They, of course, know all of this is false. A primary focus of the last 10 years of my journalism has been a defense of the civil liberties of Muslims. I wrote an entire book on the racism and inequality inherent in the U.S. justice system. My legal career involved numerous representations of victims of racial discrimination. I was one of the first journalists to condemn the misleadingly “neutral” approach to reporting on Trump and to call for more explicit condemnations of his extremism and lies. I was one of the few to defend Jorge Ramos from widespread media attacks when he challenged Trump’s immigration extremism. Along with many others, I tried to warn Democrats that nominating a candidate as unpopular as Hillary Clinton risked a Trump victory. And as someone who is very publicly in a same-sex, inter-racial marriage — with someone just elected to public office as a socialist — I make for a very unlikely alt-right leader, to put that mildly.

The malice of this campaign is exceeded only by its blatant stupidity. Even having to dignify it with a defense is depressing, though once it becomes this widespread, one has little choice.

But this is the climate Democrats have successfully cultivated — where anyone dissenting or even expressing skepticism about their deeply self-serving Russia narrative is the target of coordinated and potent smears; where, as The Nation’s James Carden documented yesterday, skepticism is literally equated with treason. And the converse is equally true: Those who disseminate claims and stories that bolster this narrative — no matter how divorced from reason and evidence they are — receive an array of benefits and rewards.

That the story ends up being completely discredited matters little. The damage is done, and the benefits received. Fake News in the narrow sense of that term is certainly something worth worrying about. But whatever one wants to call this type of behavior from the Post, it is a much greater menace given how far the reach is of the institutions that engage in it.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Washington Post Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived

Due to incredibly sloppy reporting by the mainstream media – constantly repeating the phrase “Russia hacked the election” – many Americans believed that Russia literally changed votes on election day.

A YouGov poll from last month found that half of all Democrats believe that Russia directly tampered with vote tallies:

deleteBut today, the head of all U.S. intelligence – James Clapper – told Congress (specifically the Armed Services Committee):

They did not change any vote tallies or anything of that sort.

So will the media apologize for scaring the stuffing out of the American people?

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Top American Intelligence Official Debunks Fake News About Russia Hacking Votes

Police made up to 600 arrests throughout Mexico yesterday as protests continued against President Enrique Pena Nieto’s cut to gas subsidies, known colloquially as the gasolinazo. One police officer was killed during confrontations in an impoverished neighborhood of Mexico City, and the mayor deployed 9,000 police to guard commercial centers throughout the city.

Yesterday also saw indications that localized protests by workers may be developing into a broader strike movement. Fourteen thousand bus, truck and taxi drivers in the oil-producing state of Veracruz announced a statewide strike of indefinite length, with many leaving their trucks, cabs, and buses parked on the street.

Workers in Veracruz, located on the Atlantic coast, joined transportation workers in the Pacific coast city of Guadalajara, who also struck yesterday, though initial reports show the strike as only partial. Truck drivers and demonstrators continued to block several key highways and tollbooths linking major inland Mexican cities.

The protest continued as US President-elect Donald Trump threw further doubt into Mexico’s US-export-based manufacturing industry when he tweeted a threat to penalize Toyota for its plans to build an auto plant in Baja California.

In Morelia, 2,000 transportation workers marched demanding the resignation of President Pena Nieto and the revocation of the subsidy cut. El Financierowarned that there are “signs of a total strike of transport” in Michoacan. In Acapulco, Guerrero, taxi drivers are encircling Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) oil trucks, forcing them to stop and taking turns siphoning the gas from their tankers. When a group of soldiers attempted to stop one group of taxi drivers yesterday, the drivers said that if the soldiers intervened they would light the tanker on fire. The soldiers backed down.

The trade unions are stepping in to prevent the demonstrations from coalescing into a nationwide strike. Trade union bureaucrats who announced the recent strikes stated explicitly that they were forced to do so by workers, who in the words of one trade union official, are becoming “violent.”

Castelan Cruvelli, president of the Veracruz transport workers union ASTRAVER, denounced striking workers for threatening scab drivers and appealed to the government for help: “This has not gotten out of control, we are hoping that a government liaison will engage in dialogue with us, as always in a peaceful way.”

Alfredo Dam Ham, leader of the Mexican Transport Workers Alliance (AMOTAC), pledged to the government that the strike would remain peaceful and appealed to drivers to refrain from blocking any roads.

The entire ruling apparatus—including the trade unions, the corporate press, businesses and the capitalist parties—are fearful that the gasolinazo protests have the potential to ignite into a movement of millions of Mexican workers. Last night, police arrested up to 600 people as riots and looting spread throughout the country, including youth as young as 13 years old.

The main national association of gas stations, shop owners and department stores called for the government to send the armed forces to crush demonstrations. The group’s president, Manuel Cardona Zapata, told the television program Despierta yesterday, “We need federal intervention, and if necessary the army, because this situation is out of control.”

According to Cardona, rioters have looted 250 stores in recent days as protests spread throughout the state of Mexico, Michoacan, Hidalgo, Mexico City, Veracruz, Tabasco, Queretaro and Quintana Roo.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), said the subsequent police deployment was “to guarantee the free expression of ideas.” Video circulated yesterday, however, showed police looting stores in the State of Mexico.

Though looting has undoubtedly occurred, it is minuscule compared to the Pena Nieto administration’s looting of the oil industry, which was nationalized in 1938 after a major strike by oil workers against British oil corporations. The oil subsidy cut is part of the Mexican ruling class’s efforts to privatize Pemex and to hand the country’s oil resources over to private corporations.

Protesters, led by transportation workers, have continued to block several oil processing centers, creating what Pemex described as a “critical situation” for oil production. Heavily armed riot police confronted demonstrators in at least one location and were able to “liberate” the Pemex facility when the workers peacefully retreated from the barricades after a tense standoff.

Transportation workers and demonstrators also reportedly established a new blockade around a facility near the border city of Mexicali. Elements of the federal and state police, as well as the army, are guarding other key facilities. Pemex also announced that the blockades are causing severe gas shortages in Baja California and Chihuahua.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, ex-candidate for president and leader of the Movement for National Regeneration (Morena), issued a video statement yesterday afternoon and warned of “chaos” caused by demonstrators who he said were following “fascist strategies.” “We want to put order in the chaos,” he said. Lopez Obrador told viewers to put their faith in a legislative resolution to overturn the gas hike, saying, “Congress represents the people.”

Morena and AMLO are expected to poll well in next year’s presidential elections, with many commentators anticipating a Morena victory. Morena is an ostensibly “left,” populist bourgeois party that plays a key role in Mexican politics by directing demonstrations back into the safe channels of the Mexican state and away from the class struggle. Morena helped suffocate opposition to the Pena Nieto government’s education reforms, paving the way for the government to cover up its role in murdering 43 student teachers in Guerrero in 2014.

The protests in Mexico have been blacked out by the corporate media in the US, despite the fact that millions of Mexican citizens currently reside north of the border. As of Thursday afternoon, the online front pages of the New York TimesWashington Post, CNN, ABC, Fox, and CBS all failed to mention the demonstrations. This is not an oversight. The American ruling class fears that the development of a movement of the working class in Mexico will ignite a parallel struggle by workers of all nationalities in the United States.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Strikes Spread in Mexico, Thousands of Police Deployed to Capital

The war against the people: fear and loathing in NY and DC

Thank you for your support. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Vladimir Putin is the secret president of the United States.

Yep. That’s it. The US is now the USSR. It’s all over. Trump is a Communist who took orders from Putin. Trump is a Red. That was his game all along. He’s a billionaire Commie.

Here is how this would play out in a reasonable court, in the judge’s chambers—

Prosecutor: Your Honor, we’re prepared to offer proof that Putin personally influenced the election in favor of Trump.

Trump’s Lawyer: Nonsense. This is a ruse.

Judge: Mr. Prosecutor, what is the nature your proof?

Prosecutor: We will bring several CIA people to the stand and they will say they have proof.

Judge: Will they back up those statements with evidence, so Mr. Trump’s attorney can cross-examine them?

Prosecutor: No. Secrets must be kept.

Judge: Not in my court.

End of story.

Think about this: what will the major media do when their latest fiction about the Russians and Trump sinks below the waves? They’re lying so hard and so often…is there any end to it?

The answer is no. They’re committed. They can’t turn back.

They’re committing slow suicide in full view of the public.

It almost feels like they want to go down.

“Stop me before I kill again.”

Men and women of the news, whose whole act depends on securing trust and admiration from the public, are squandering whatever is left of it in the space of a few months.

Well, they didn’t believe that outrageous lie. Let’s try one that’s even more ridiculous.

Now they want to censor news which fails to fit their picture. And if they don’t watch out, they’ll take down Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter—their enablers—with them, as people find new social-media outposts.

Trump—love him, hate him, whatever—is playing his role. He’s virtually winning a new election every time the major media slam him and he comes back with a tweet that simply announces, “You’re full of it.”

Influential papers like the NY Times and the Washington Post have gotten a free pass for as long as they’ve been in business. Their staffs have developed a massive sense of their own importance, their own infallibility. They’re like popes—who’ve suddenly been exposed, in leaked documents, for falsely claiming Jesus wanted the Catholic Church built in his name.

George Orwell: “A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible.”

Recognize we’re in a unique situation here. This has never happened before—certainly not in a highly sophisticated civilization where the official means of communicating information were limited to a few basic sources. Those sources have lost now faith with the people. Instead, huge numbers of new outlets have emerged.

The mainstream is beginning to realize how great the shift is.

A centralized reality splitting up equals a centralized and hypnotized perception of reality splitting up.

Centralized reality, by its very nature, presents a false picture. In the absence of that monopoly, many new true stories emerge that were previously hidden. Each of these stories is, in effect, a new reality holding a candle in the dark.

Virtually all major news sources agreeing on the substance of virtually all important stories, over the course of decades, is completely unnatural and absurd. That agreement must be engineered. Concocted. Invented.

The “consistent concoction” is dissolving in the minds of the public. It no longer holds sway.

Hillary Clinton and her supporters should be thanked for contributing to this break-up. The public is viewing their actions as those of a child who refuses to admit she herself is at fault, and instead throws blame in every possible direction: thousands of “fake news” sites; the Russians; Putin; pollsters who failed to warn of impending doom; the Electoral College system; the “deplorables”; WikiLeaks; the FBI.

“It’s not our fault. It’s everybody else’s fault.”

Thank you, thank you.

Keep finding new people to blame. How about the Chinese, the Brexit supporters, some guy who owns a gas station in Death Valley, a massive tribe who live on the dark side of the moon and illegally voted for Trump?

Don’t stop now.

Interestingly, the big donors to Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign, who are shocked and irate after forking over their money, aren’t eagerly drinking the Putin Kool-Aid. They’re hard-headed, and they want real-life answers. As Politico writes (12/15):

…the wealthy Democrats who helped pump over $1 billion into Clinton’s losing effort have been urging their local finance staffers, state party officials, and campaign aides to provide a more thorough explanation of what went wrong. With no dispassionate, centralized analysis of how Clinton failed so spectacularly, they insist, how can they be expected to keep contributing to the party?

’A lot of the bundlers and donors still are in shock and disbelief by what happened. They’re looking for some introspection and analysis about what really happened, what worked and what didn’t,’ said Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and a top campaign bundler himself. ‘It may take some time to do that, but people are still just scratching their heads’.

Or, in the words of a Midwestern fundraiser who’s kept in touch with fellow donors, ‘A lot of people are saying, “I’m not putting another fucking dime in until someone tells me what just happened”.’

The CIA-connected Washington Post can pump out as many “Putin-did-it” articles as they want to. But the big Clinton donors are unimpressed.

Don’t look for major media outlets to give those donors much face time. It would explode the blame-game narrative.

The NY Times is now calling Trump a threat to democracy. Translation: Trump is a threat to the NY Times, and by extension, all major media—because the Times is usually the first voice that sounds in the news echo chamber that bounces fake stories among hundreds of outlets from shore to shore.

I’m waiting for the term “Russian denialist” to pop up in the press, as a label for reporters who “ignore a mountain of evidence” that Putin hacked the election and handed it to Donald Trump.

Stay with us. Coming up after the break, a list of Russian denialists who refuse to believe what’s in front of their eyes, say government officials. Some of the names will shock you. But first, six commercials for medical drugs you don’t need that could put you in the hospital…

The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what’s wrong with this country. It’s just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no f—ing idea what’s going on. If The New York Times didn’t exist, CNN and MSNBC would be a test pattern. The Huffington Post and everything else is predicated on The New York Times. It’s a closed circle of information from which Hillary Clinton got all her information — and her confidence. That was our opening.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor

The major media’s depth of hatred for Donald Trump is beyond most people’s understanding. Most people can’t fathom it, because they believe they know who these media personages are. They see them on television or read their words every day. How bad could these reporters be?

Very, very bad. The media personages see themselves as 12th-generation feudal barons who are suddenly surrounded by the peasants stealing their land, crops, animals, homes, and royal titles.

Here is what Paul Krugman of the NY Times recently wrote about Trump:

Thought: There was (rightly) a cloud of illegitimacy over Bush, dispelled (wrongly) by 9/11. Creates some interesting incentives for Trump.” —As if Trump might secretly provoke another huge terror attack on US soil and, by his response, improve his status in the eyes of the public. Heavy, heavy malevolent conspiracy theory from a baron at the Times.

Back in February, WND reported on a tweet from another NY Times writer: “A columnist with the New York Times caused a social media stir with a tweet that joked of billionaire businessman and GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s assassination.

’Good news guys,’ wrote Ross Douthat in his tweet, as found by Infowars.com. ‘I’ve figure out how the Trump campaign ends.’ Douthat is a foreign-policy expert who supports Marco Rubio and John Kasich. He then included a link to a YouTube video of the 1983 movie, ‘The Dead Zone,’ a flick that features Christopher Walken as a character who tries to shoot to death a politician played by Martin Sheen. Sheen’s character uses a human baby to shield himself from the assassination attempt.

This is the media battling for survival.

Suppose, as rumored, Trump decides to re-cast the whole White House Press Office? Suppose, for example, he intends to deny many veteran reporters their press credentials, and instead welcomes independent journalists?

Suppose Trump decides to establish his own Web channel, and live- streams many fireside chats directly to a global audience, without even letting the press know his schedule?

Suppose the New York Times and the Washington Post fall to the bottom of the pile, left to scramble for crumbs?

Yes, things could get much worse for major media. And they should, because they have been lying to the public ever since the first brick was laid on their first office building.

Trump’s war on the media should become a centerpiece of his presidency. If not, they will shatter his term in office. I hope he understands that fully.

Suppose Trump’s inside man, Steve Bannon, puts his head together with a few deep-pocket investors and shows them how to create strong social-media alternatives to Twitter and Facebook, who are now trying to censor and bury independent online media operations?

Suppose Julian Assange and Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe vault to the top of the press hierarchy?

Suppose the American people laugh the Times and WaPo and CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and FOX out of court?

Suppose their echo chamber falls apart?

The major media’s fear and loathing of Trump knows no bounds. Their loyalty to Hillary Clinton, who played a central role in the inhuman decimation of Libya, and whose Foundation set up a parallel government stop-and shop for global greedheads, is without conscience.

If you think independent media need your support now, watch what is going to happen in the coming months and years. Big media will keep throwing nasty conspiracy theories like cakes of dreck at the wall, hoping something, anything sticks to “fake news” sites.

These “liberals” are so firmly in the Globalist camp, they wouldn’t know how to escape even if they wanted to. The very notion that America might reassert itself as a sovereign nation is a silver bullet aimed at their vampire hearts.

They’ve been sucking all the blood they can out of this country, with their “kind and gentle” “share and care” con job. It pays for their lifestyles, and they fully intend to maintain their status.

Not quite on the level of George Washington’s Farewell Address or Eisenhower’s last warning to America about the military-industrial complex, here is Obama at his final press conference—tortured logic, generalized garbled garbage, and veiled threats of censorship—looking for scapegoats after the election put a cap on his failed presidency:

If fake news that’s being released by some foreign government is almost identical to reports that are being issued through [domestic] partisan news venues, then it’s not surprising that that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect. It doesn’t seem that farfetched compared to some of the other stuff folks are hearing from domestic propagandists.

To the extent that our political dialogue is such that everything is under suspicion, everybody’s corrupt and everybody is doing things for partisan reasons and all of our institutions are, you know full of malevolent actors and if that’s the story that is being put out there, then when a foreign government introduces that same argument, the facts are made up, voters who have been listening to that stuff for years, who have been getting that stuff every day from talk radio or other venues, they’re going to believe it.

So, if we — if we want to really reduce foreign influence on our elections, then we better think about how to make sure that our — our political process, our political dialogue is stronger than it’s been.

Then Obama basically characterized the totality of the WikiLeaks emails as “gossip.” That was his overheated swan song.

He message for the media was: stick to the script; you know what it is; why did you cover material detrimental to The Plan?

“Mele Kalikimaka.”

—So, dear reader, you can choose to obtain your news from purveyors of the Plan, or you can explore and keep exploring independent sources.

What is The Plan? Aiding and abetting the descent of America into a nation swallowed up in a global management system, where the Constitution, freedom, and the individual are relics of a discarded past.

Donald Trump is not The Answer. He never was. A declaration of independence can take many forms, articulated by many individuals, and backed up in different ways.

What’s your way?

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALEDEXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The War against the Truth: “Vladimir Putin is the secret president of the US”

The Coup Against Truth. Driving the World Towards Thermo-nuclear War?

January 6th, 2017 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Jon Rappoport’s mocking of the US presstitutes is superb: “Vladimir Putin is the secret president of the United States”.

“Yep. That’s it. The US is now the USSR. It’s all over. Trump is a Communist who took orders from Putin. Trump is a Red. That was his game all along. He’s a billionaire Commie.”

Ridicule is effective, and nothing deserves ridicule more than the Washington Post, New York, Times, CNN, and the rest of the presstitutes who pretend to be real journalists. But as I have emphasized, and other real journalists, such as Glenn Greenwald (see, for example ) imply, the fake news recklessly promoted by the presstitutes brings with it the threat of thermo-nuclear war.

For several years Russia and her president have experienced endless demonization. The Russians know that Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia (done while Putin was at the Beijing Olympics) was a Washington provocation.

The Russians know that Washington’s coup in Ukraine (done while Putin was at the Sochi Olympics) was a provocation aimed at seizing Russia’s Black Sea naval base in Crimea and cutting Russia off from the Mediterranean. The Russians know that Washington knows that the charges that Russia hacked Hillary’s emails and the US presidential election are lies. The Russians know that the “Russian threat” created by Washington is a lie along with all of its permutations, such as an impending Russian invasion of Poland and the Baltics. The Russians understand that US ABM bases on Russia’s borders are provocations, as are NATO military exercises on Russia’s borders and in the Black Sea. You can add to this list on your own.

The lies are ubiquitous, have grown more absurd, and are now institutionalized in the US government in the CIA, executive branch agencies, and among many US senators and representatives. That these lies are validated by endless media repetitions throughout the Western world are viewed by Russia as indications that Western populations are being prepared for a military attack on Russia. Putin has warned publicly on many occasions that the Western propaganda is dangerously destabilizing. Yet, as he also notes, no one hears his warnings.

Washington is so intent on its anti-Russian propaganda that Congress has passed, and Obama has signed, an intelligence bill that contains a section, Title V, that authorizes active measures to counter purveyors of false news. These purveyors are alternative media websites, such as this one, that challenge the official lies. The truthful alternative media is accused of being under Russian influence.

Last summer a website shrouded in secrecy was created that recently posted a list of 200 websites alleged to be under Russian influence, either directly or indirectly. The Washington Post irresponsibly published a long article endorsing the fake news of 200 websites working for the Russian government.

In other words, the suppression of the truth is the last defense of the corrupt American ruling establishment. During the last 24 years three Washington regimes have murdered millions of peoples in nine or more countries along with US civil liberty. To cover up these vast crimes, unparalleled in history, the presstitutes have lied, slandered, and libeled.

And the Washington criminal regime holds itself up to the world as the indispensable protector of democracy, human rights, truth, and justice. As the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said recently, what makes America exceptional is the use of might in the service of evil.

Washington brands not only its opponents but all who speak the truth “Russian agents,” hoping that the demonization of Russia has sufficiently frightened the population that Americans will turn their backs to those who speak the truth.

It would seem obvious even to the insouciant that an establishment that has gone so far out on a limb that the CIA director publicly attributes the election of Donald Trump to Russian interference but is unable to produce a shred of evidence—indeed in the face of totally conclusive evidence to the contrary—is determined to hold on to power at all costs.

The CIA’s open, blatant, and unprecedented propaganda attack against a president-elect has caused Trump to throw down the gauntlet to CIA director John Brennan. There are reports that Trump intends to revamp and reorganize the intelligence agency. The last president who said this, John F. Kennedy, was murdered by the CIA before he could strike against them. Kennedy believed that he could not take on the CIA until he was re-elected. The delay gave the CIA time to arrange his assassination.

Trump appears to understand his danger. He has announced that he intends to supplement his Secret Service protection (which was turned against JFK) with private security.

Isn’t it striking?

The president of Russia states publicly that Washington is driving the world to thermo-nuclear war and that his warnings are ignored. The president-elect of the United States is under full-scale attack from the CIA and knows that he cannot trust his official security force. One might think that these extraordinary topics would be the only ones under discussion. But you can find such discussion only on a few alternative media websites, such as this one, branded by PropOrNot and the Washington Post as “under Russian influence.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Coup Against Truth. Driving the World Towards Thermo-nuclear War?

“Mind Manipulations” to Influence Election Results

January 6th, 2017 by Peter Koenig

“Hacking” to influence election results? Ridiculous! That may have been a thing of the past.

Or not even. It’s an evil invention of the evil losers of the evil Hillary camp, supported by a criminal departing President Obama, who will be leaving office, of course, not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with a disgrace for his nation and for the truth loving people all around the world.

What a legacy the first African-american US President leaves behind – the architect of thousands of indiscriminate and illegal drone killings, by starting five new wars, being currently involved in seven unjustified and illegal armed conflicts around the globe, killing millions of people and, finally, as a miserable liar.

Already back in August 2016, NSA whistleblower William Binney stated on Aaron Klein Investigative Radio that

“the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) server was not hacked by Russia, but by a disgruntled US intelligence worker.” Binney went on to proclaim that “the NSA has all of Clinton’s deleted emails, and the FBI could gain access to them if they so wished.”

He concluded that there was no need for Trump to ask the Russians for the emails, he could just ask the FBI or NSA to hand them over.

So, one of President Obama’s last deeds in this illustrious office of the Presidency of the United States, is lying to the American people and lying to the world. – Bravo!

The truth behind Donald Trump’s ‘surprise’ election may lay somewhere else. It’s called Psychometrics, a method based on massive behavioral data collection of people to be targeted by propaganda, or more accurately expressed by mind manipulation. This PR technology has been marketed and applied by a small London-based data analysis firm, called ‘Cambridge Analytica’.

The research firm first worked for Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas, who was little known by most Americans. Cambridge Analytica increased his popularity to 40%, but not enough to win the Republican nomination. The data analysis firm was then hired by Trump’s campaign team – successfully as it appears. In this 11-minute YouTube, Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, explains the method on the case of Ted Cruz

https://youtu.be/n8Dd5aVXLCc .

As reported by the Swiss newspaper, ‘Tagesanzeiger’ (TA), Psychometrics, or Psychographics, as such is not new. It was developed in the 1980s, as a scientific tool to help determine people’s personalities.

Psychologists concluded that every trait of a person’s character can be categorized into five personality dimensions. The system is called OCEAN, for Openness, Consciousness, level of Extraversion, Amicability (compatibility) and Neuroticism.

In this regard, Cambridge Analytica’s CEO claims that based on about 70 Facebook-Likes, they can determine with 95% accuracy whether a person is black or white, with 88% accuracy whether he/she is homosexual and with 85% accuracy whether he /she is a Democrat or Republican.

With 150 ‘Likes’ he knows a person better than his / her parents, and with 300, better than his / her partner. These are impressive claims. But Are they correct? Many critics dispute them, mainly arguing there is no proof that targeted people (i) actually do vote, and (ii) that they vote according to their profile. In any case, it would be difficult to verify to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped Donald Trump to win the elections. Cambridge Analytica also claims credit for the BREXIT vote.

Facebook entries are not the only input to “Big Data”. In addition to tens of thousands of ‘likes’ collected, data on peoples’ google browsing, eating and consumer habits, what cosmetics and rock bands they like, whether they are drug, cigarettes and / or alcohol addicts, or just users, what type of alcohol, brand or type of car they prefer, their banking customs, even the speed with which they remove their cell phone from their pockets when it rings – and-so-on – are also entered into “Big Data”. We are indeed living in the age of no holds barred as far as disrespect for privacy and universal data collection is concerned. As long as we let it happen, it will only get worse.

Hundreds of thousands of people are literally being ‘profiled’ for targeted and personalized propaganda messages to convince segments of people and individuals of think-alikes to vote for or against a candidate. The TA concludes, that’s why Trump’s campaign messages were often contradictory and confusing, difficult to establish a clear picture of where he really stands. This is still the case today.

According to Cambridge Analytica,  in the ‘olden days’, social research firms had to get people filling-in cumbersome questionnaires, based on demographics. Today this approach is outdated. We have internet and Facebook. Not all women, blacks, Hispanics, gays, straights – vote alike. This false assumption was still used by Hillary’s campaign and demonstrated to be deceptive. Even though Hillary had about 2.7 million more popular votes, she lost the election by electorates. Cambridge Analytica worked on swing states. Within these States, they targeted specifically the ‘vulnerable’ or undecided, or motivated those with no intention to vote to get off their butts and cast their vote for Trump, or against Hillary, depending on their profile.

For example, Haitians in Florida, who had no intention to vote, but would have leaned Democratic, i.e. for Hillary, were targeted with propaganda describing the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and how the Clintons ruined Haiti’s economy. So – they went to vote for Trump as an anti-Clinton vote. At least this was the plan and apparently, it worked in sufficient cases to be effective.

Although we will never know for sure to what extent Cambridge Analytica has contributed to Trump’s election win, we can be certain that the method, inexpensive as compared to demographic profiling, will be used masively in the future, most certainly in the upcoming elections in France and the Netherlands (Spring 2017) and Germany (Fall 2017).

Thanks goodness for President Putin (I must have said this many times before) to give Mr. Obama and all the people around him, a lesson on how to behave like a statesman and not like a losing looney what he is.

President Putin did not retaliate Obama’s flagrant lie-based expelling of 35 Russian diplomats with families just before New Year’s Eve, in full preparation of year-end festivities. Instead he invited US diplomats in Moscow and their kids to celebrate the year-end festivities with their Russian colleagues. Obama’s act of cowardice was framed as ‘sanction’ for ‘Russian interference in US elections’ – a blatant lie. Mr. Obama, the master puppet of the deep state that pulls the strings on his lips and mind – he, (nominally) President Obama, knows it’s a sham.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media, TeleSUR, TruePublica, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on “Mind Manipulations” to Influence Election Results

Open Letter to “Human Rights Defenders” on Aleppo

January 6th, 2017 by Jean Bricmont

Let there be no mistake: this is by no means a criticism of human rights as an ideal to work for. The complete title should be “Open letter to those who invoke human rights selectively in order to justify the Western Powers’ policy of intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.”

Indeed, the only issue to be discussed about Syria is not the situation on the ground (which may be complicated), but the legitimacy of the interventionist policies of the U.S. and its “allies”,  Europeans, Turkey, and the Gulf states in that country.

For decades, the principle on which international law is based, that is, equal sovereignty of States implying non-intervention of one State in the internal affairs of another, has been systematically violated, to the point of being practically forgotten, by champions of the “right of humanitarian intervention”.  Recently, a number of such advocates of humanitarian intervention, self-identified as stalwart leftists, have joined the chorus of the Washington war party in reproaching the Obama administration for failure to intervene more in the military efforts to overthrow the government of Syria. In short, they are blaming the Obama administration for not having sufficiently violated international law.

Indeed, just about everything that the United States is doing everywhere in the world violates the principle of non-intervention: not only “preventive” invasions, but also influencing or buying elections, arming rebels, or unilateral sanctions and embargoes aimed at changing the target country’s policies.

Those who consider themselves on the left should take note of the historic basis of those principles.  First, the lesson drawn from the Second World War.  The origin of that war was Germany’s use of minorities in Czechoslovakia and Poland, extended later during the invasion of the Soviet Union. The war finally had catastrophic consequences for the very minorities that were used by the Germans.

Partly for that reason, the victors who wrote the United Nations Charter outlawed the policy of intervention, in order to spare humanity the “scourge of war”.

Next, principle of non-intervention was strengthen by the wave of decolonizations in the following decades. The last thing the newly decolonized countries wanted was intervention from the old colonial powers.  The countries of the South have been virtually unanimous in condemning intervention. In February 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, the Non-Aligned Countries’ summit meeting in Kuala Lumpur adopted a resolution stating that:

The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed the Movement’s commitment to enhance international co-operation to resolve international problems of a humanitarian character in full compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, and, in this regard, they reiterated the rejection by the Non-Aligned Movement of the so-called “right” of humanitarian intervention, which has no basis either in the Charter of the United Nations or in international law.[1]

It is obvious that such “interventions” are only possible on the part of strong States against weak States.  It can only be a case of might makes right.

However, even all strong states are not equal among each other. Let’s imagine for a moment that the right of intervention is accepted as a new principle of international law. What would happen if Russia tried to overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia because of “human rights violations” in that country? Or if China were sending troops into Israel in order to “protect the Palestinians”? One would quickly arrive at a new World War. To understand the “unacceptable” character of interventionist policies, it is enough to think of the American Establishment’s shrieks of alarms following the alleged Russian hacking of certain emails made public by Wikileaks. Note that the reality off this hacking remains to be proven (see here) and that, even if it were true, it would only mean that the hacking enabled the American public to become aware of some maneuvers by its leaders, which is a peccadillo compared to American interventions in Latin America, the Middle East or Indochina.

The consequences of US interventionist policies are multiple and catastrophic. On the one hand, you have the millions of deaths due to American wars (the following study arrives at a total of 1.3 million victims, counting only the”war on terror“).

Moreover it would be a mistake to imagine that the victims of interventions will not react to the threat of intervention by building alliances and trying to defend themselves by increasing internal repression. When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, Washington introduced unprecedented security and surveillance measures and, far worse, invaded two countries. How can one imagine that Syria, Iran, Cuba, Russia or China will not take repressive measures to protect themselves from foreign subversion?

Thereby one enters into a logic of unending wars. Indeed, after having themselves intervened in Ukraine and Syria, the Western powers then entered into conflict with Russia and China because of the measures that those countries took in response to those interventions. Far from being a source of peace, the Security Council of the United Nations becomes the scene to express endless acrimonies.

In the case of Syria, if, at it now seems, the insurrection ends up being defeated, the Western policy of intervention by arming the rebellion will be shown only to have prolonged the suffering of the population of this unfortunate land. The “human rights defenders” who defended this interventionist policy bear a heavy responsibility in that tragedy.

Although defense of human rights is a liberal concept and liberalism is in principle opposed to fanaticism, today’s “human rights defenders” often display fanaticism. We are warned against a perfectly imaginary Russian influence in Europe (compare the U.S. commercial, cultural, intellectual, diplomatic influence in Europe to that of Russia) and we are told not to consult the “Kremlin medias”. But in any war, and support to the Syrian insurrection is a war, the first casualty is truth. Any truly liberal mind would consult the « propaganda » of the other side, not to take it on faith, but in order to counterbalance and evaluate the propaganda to which his own side is constantly subjected.

Leaving aside “Russian propaganda”, such “human rights defenders” seem unable to pay attention to the following study:  “Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013.” This study, done by a former UN arms inspector Richard Lloyd and a Professor of Science, Technology and National Security at MIT, Theodore A. Postol, concludes that the gas attack near Damascus in August 2013 that almost resulted in all-out war against Syria, could not be due to the Syrian government. It is difficult to imagine that experts in such positions would deliberately lie in order to “support Assad” or that they are incompetent concerning relatively elementary questions of physics.

The “human rights defenders” also question whether it is still possible to talk with Putin “after Aleppo”. But the U.S. “war on terror”, including the invasion of Iraq, with its hundreds of thousands of deaths, has never prevented anyone from talking to the Americans. Actually, after that 2003 war that France disapproved, France became more integrated into NATO and followed the U.S. more faithfully than ever.

Besides, the European “human rights defenders” are in a particularly absurd situation. Consider, for instance, the alleged use of chemical weapons in 2013 by the Syrian government. There was wide agreement in France over the need to intervene militarily in Syria. But, without American intervention, such a purely French one turned out to be impossible. The European “human rights defenders” are reduced to beg the Americans: “Make war, not love!”  But the Americans suffer from “war fatigue” and have just elected a president opposed in principle to wars of regime change. The only possibility for the European “human rights defenders” is to have their own peoples accept massive military spending in order to create a relationship of force that would make the interventionist policies possible. Good luck!

Finally, one must distinguish, among the “human rights defenders” the Noble Souls and the Beautiful Souls.

The Noble Souls warn their “friends” against the idea of “supporting “ the butcher, the criminal, the murderer of his own people, Bashar al Assad. But this misses entirely the point of the anti-interventionist attitude.

States can support other States by giving them weapons and money. But individuals, or social movements, like an antiwar movement, cannot do that. So, it makes no sense to say, when individuals express criticism of interventionist policies in our society, necessarily in a marginal way, that they “support” this or that regime or leader, unless one considers that all those who do not want Russia to intervene in Saudi Arabia or China in Palestine support the Saudi regime or Israeli colonization.

Anti-imperialists support another foreign policy, for their own governments, which is an entirely different matter.

In every war, there is massive propaganda in favor of those wars. Since present wars are justified in the name of human rights, it is obvious that the war propaganda will concentrate on “violations of human rights” in the countries targeted by interventionists.

Therefore, all those who are opposed to the interventionist policies have to provide full information to counter that propaganda, for example, the study mentioned above concerning the use of poison gas in 2013, or the testimonies about Aleppo that contradict the dominant discourse (for example a former UK Ambassador to Syria). It is quite remarkable that some leftists, who are very critical of their mainstream media when it comes to domestic policies, swallow almost entirely the Western “narrative” when it comes to Russia or Syria. But if the media distort reality in our own countries, why wouldn’t they do the same when it comes to foreign countries, where things are harder to verify?

This critique of war propaganda has nothing to do with “support” for a given regime, in the sense that such a regime would be desirable in a world freed of interventionist policies.

The Noble Souls want to “save Aleppo”, “are ashamed of the inaction of the international community” and want to “do something”. Yes, but do what? The only practical suggestion that was made (before the recent events) was to create a “no fly zone” that would prevent the Russian air force from helping the Syrian army. But that would be one more violation of international law, since Russia was invited to Syria by the legal and internationally recognized government of that country, in order to combat terrorism. The situation of Russia in Syria is not, from a legal point of view, very different from the one of France when it was invited by the government of Mali to come fight the Islamists in that country (who, by the way, were in Mali because of the French-backed intervention in Libya). Moreover, intervening militarily in Syria would imply either a war with Russia or a Russian surrender without fighting. Who wants to bet on the latter possibility?

To illustrate the hypocrisy of the Noble Souls, compare the situation in Syria and in Yemen. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia is committing numerous massacres, in total violation of international law. If you are indignant because nothing is done about Syria, why don’t you do something yourselves about Yemen? Moreover, there is a big difference between the two situations. In the case of Syria, a military intervention might lead to war with Russia. In the case of Yemen, on the other hand, it would probably be enough, in order to put pressure on Saudi Arabia, to stop delivering weapons to that country. Of course, the Noble Souls know perfectly well that they are unable to stop such deliveries. But, then, what is the point of being indignant about Syria?

The Beautiful Souls, on the other hand, are against all wars, all violence. They “condemn” Assad and Putin of course, but also Obama, the European Union, NATO, everybody! They denounce, they light candles and turn out lights. They “testify”, because “remaining silent” means “being complicit”.

But what they do not realize is that, on the ground, in Syria, nobody, whether the government or the rebels, know that they exist and, if they knew, they couldn’t care less about their indignations, condemnations and lighting up of candles.

This does not mean that the Noble Souls and the Beautiful Souls do not have any effect. They have one, but here it is: to stand in the way of any alternative foreign policy in their own country, which would be based on diplomacy and respect for the United Nations Charter. Yet, only such a policy would favor peace in the world, balance and equality between Nations and, eventually, advance the cause of human rights. But the demonization by the “human rights defenders” of Assad and Putin, as well as of anybody willing to talk to them, renders such an alternative politically almost impossible.

For the “human rights defenders” political realism and the consequences of their actions have no importance: what matter to them is to show that they belong to the “camp of Virtue”. You imagine yourselves as being free, while following at each step the indications of the dominant media as to what should be the object of your indignation.

If I had the slightest illusion concerning the lucidity that you may have about the consequences of your actions, I would call them criminal, because of the harm that you do to Europe and to the rest of the world. But since I harbor no such illusion, I will limit myself to call you hypocrites.

Notes.

[1]    Final  document of the Thirteenth Conference of Heads of State and of Governments of the Movement of Non-aligned Countries, Kuala Lumpur, February 24-25, 2003, Article 354. (Available on http://www.bernama.com/events/newnam2003/indexspeech.shtml?declare)

Jean Bricmont teaches physics at the University of Louvain in Belgium. He is author of Humanitarian Imperialism.  He can be reached at [email protected]

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Open Letter to “Human Rights Defenders” on Aleppo

Syria: The Diplomatic Endgame

January 6th, 2017 by Prof. Tim Anderson

Wars are always concluded with political settlements. In the endgame over Syria, Russia has worked directly with Turkey, to agree on orderly evacuations of the NATO-backed terrorist groups from Aleppo and, with Iran, is now engaged in talks on a wider resolution to the failing war on Syria.

The exclusion of Washington from these talks reflects new realities on the ground, with Syria’s key allies helping Turkey’s President Erdoğan look for a way out. The US practice of backing al Qaeda groups to overthrow the Syria Government has failed. Nevertheless, a door at the talks in Astana (Kazakhstan) has been left open for the new Trump administration, which claims commitment to withdrawal from Syria and better relations with Russia.

The Syrian Army’s liberation of Aleppo has forced all sides to reconsider their strategy.

Many question whether Turkish President Erdoğan can be trusted. That, in my view, is not the right question – even though the Turkish leader remains a key sponsor of terrorism in Syria. He is certainly not trustworthy, and has been reported as planning coordinated terrorist attacks through both Nusra and ISIS (while pretending to fight both), to strengthen his position against Russia at the talks. But he too has to face some hard realities. Syria has not been broken.

Syria’s President Assad has no relationship with Erdoğan, considering him ‘an abnormal and psychologically disturbed person’. However Assad still hopes that others, in particular Russia, may influence the Turkish leader to change his stance towards Syria.

Turkey is Syria’s largest neighbour, with 800 km of border and – with a new regime due in Washington on 20 January – the most intransigent obstacle to ending the war on Syria.

Even with Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Douma retaken by the Syrian Army, the country could suffer terrorism for years to come, if Turkey continued to facilitate the entry of foreign jihadists into Syria. Sooner or later, with or without Erdoğan, Syria and Turkey must have some sort of agreement.

Naturally, whoever has the upper hand on the ground has the strongest position at peace talks. That is certainly Russia and Syria, at the moment. But it also raises concerns of further attacks before the 23 January talks, to strengthen Erdoğan’s hand.

Intrigues in the western and Israeli media constantly suggest splits between Russia, Syria, Hezbollah and Iran. For example US and Israeli sources (such as Stratfor, linked to Israeli intelligence) claim that Russia cannot afford to keep supporting Syria and that there are serious splits within the Syrian alliance. These seem to be mostly wishful thinking.

Iran remains firmly behind Syria. The Islamic Republic’s representative at the Astana talks, Ali Akbar Velayati, reinforces Syria’s consistent line that those Syrian fighters (not foreigners) who are willing to lay down their arms can take advantage of a peace process. However the internationally proscribed groups ISIS, al Nusra and the foreign fighters will play ‘no part in the negotiations’. Russia, similarly, has shown little variation from its stated position.

The two key themes at Astana are a ceasefire and a political settlement. There was little progress in either at Geneva, where the Obama administration remained determined to remove the Assad-led government and impose a Saudi Arabian-backed exile group.

Past ceasefires have also been controversial for Syrians, who saw al Qaeda groups seizing the opportunity to regroup. However, in an interview with al-Watan newspaper, the Syrian President pointed out that ceasefires held more advantages than disadvantages. He said the Syrian Government had always agreed to the principle of truces because (i) they allowed civilians to escape, (ii) they allowed humanitarian aid to enter and (iii) they gave the terrorist groups ‘an opportunity to rethink their position. Overall a ceasefire ‘provides an opportunity for less destruction.’

On the other side, President Assad said it was clear that the big powers ‘want to give terrorists an opportunity to breathe, strengthen their positions and send logistic supplies’. However he insists that ‘truces were useful to us in order to prove to all … that these states [that pretend to not back terrorism] are lying.’

Concerns have been expressed over the political settlement, that Syria’s allies might allow some sort of ‘soft coup’ against the government, or weakening of the nation through federalisation. Russian analyst Andrew Korybko, for example, says that there are ‘forces within the tripartite [Russia, Turkey and Iran] which truly believe that the ‘federalization’ (internal partition) of Syria and a soft regime change against President Assad are to Syria’s long term and sustainable benefit’.

Certainly there is a lot of western talk about federalisation (effectively Washington’s ‘Plan B’ for Syria) but it is hard to see substance in it from Syria’s allies. Iran has never suggested it and Turkey definitely does not want to see a Kurdish entity on its border.

Russia these days is itself a federation and there has been speculation that the Russia Government’s support for the Kurds might mean it is sympathetic to the idea. However we should observe that, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has mentioned the idea, he did not promote it. President Putin, at his marathon press conference on 23 December, ducked a similar question from an Iraqi Kurd. Both Putin and Lavrov have re-stated the principled position that the Syrian people must decide on any constitutional change.

From the Syrian side President Assad says federalism is unconstitutional, would require a referendum vote and that most Syrians (including most Kurds) would be against it. Further, he is emphatic that Russia has not tried to ‘lean on’ Syria: ‘not once have the Russians [or the Soviet Union] tried to impose anything on us, even when there were differences, including Syria’s role in Lebanon.’

When al Watan asked Assad about the problem of sects and community divisions he replied that he was concerned about this ‘before the war … [but] after one year and then two years the picture became clear. I believe that today the social structure of Syrian society has become purer than it was before the war … now it distinguishes between religion and fanaticism, between religion and sectarianism.’ That is, the Syrian President remains optimistic that the sectarianism provoked by the terrorist groups has been widely rejected by the Syrian people.

None of this excludes the possibility, as suggested by Korybko, that some form of concession such as ‘municipal autonomy’ might be given to the regions, in a political settlement. There were some important political and constitutional changes during the conflict, not least the inclusion of non-Baathist political players, and further changes seem likely.

The regional implications of the failing war are far reaching. Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone observes that the US has ‘spectacularly failed’ in its objectives, undermining its reputation in the entire region following the disasters of Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, which have left a legacy of instability and large scale terrorism. That problem has to be addressed by the peoples of the region, in some coordinated way.

But what mechanisms exist for regional action? The Arab League has shrunk to little more than a forum for the Gulf monarchies (the GCC), after several of its members funded and armed the attacks on Libya and Syria. Some new regional grouping seem likely to displace it, and necessary to deal with any future threats.

The Syrian view these days is upbeat. Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad hopes the Astana talks will help eliminate terrorism and hold its supporters to account. Presidential adviser Dr Bouthaina Shaaban goes further, asserting that Syria, Iran and their Resistance allies ‘will lead the future of the region’, against terrorism and foreign intervention. She points to a changing and supportive global environment, with a shift in power away from the USA and towards Russia and China and their allies.

Sources

Andrew Korybko (2016) ‘Syria’s diplomatic ammo going into the Astana political fight’, 29 December, Oriental Review, online: http://orientalreview.org/2016/12/29/syrias-diplomatic-ammo-going-into-the-astana-political-fight/

Bashar al Assad (2016) ‘President Assad’s al Watan Daily Interview’, 7 December, President Assad, online: http://www.presidentassad.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1563:president-assad-s-al-watan-daily-interview-december-7-2016&catid=322:2016&Itemid=468

Mehr News Agency (2017) ‘No terrorists invited to Astana meeting on Syria’, 1 January, online: http://en.mehrnews.com/news/122419/No-terrorists-invited-to-Astana-meeting-on-Syria

PBS Newshour (2016) ‘What it means that the U.S. is not part of the Syria cease-fire’, 29 December, online: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/means-u-s-not-part-syria-cease-fire/

RT (2016) ‘US policy of backing terrorist elements in Syria came unstuck’, Russian television, 30 December, online: https://www.rt.com/op-edge/372299-ceasefire-syria-russia-obama/

SANA (2016) ‘Shaaban: Liberation of Aleppo from terrorism will change power balance regionally and internationally’, Syrian Arab News Agency, 16 December, online: http://sana.sy/en/?p=96389

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Syria: The Diplomatic Endgame

CNN reports:

The Democratic National Committee “rebuffed” a request from the FBI to examine its computer services after it was allegedly hacked by Russia during the 2016 election, a senior law enforcement official told CNN Thursday.

“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” a senior law enforcement official told CNN. “This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information.

***

The FBI instead relied on the assessment from a third-party security company called CrowdStrike.

As first reported by George Eliason, CrowdStrike’s Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder Dimitri Alperovitch – who wrote the CrowdStrike reports allegedly linking Russia to the Democratic party emails published by Wikileaks – is a fellow at the Atlantic Council … an organization associated with Ukraine, and whose main policy goal seems to stir up a confrontation with Russia. [1].

The Nation writes:

In late December, Crowdstrike released a largely debunked report claiming that the same Russian malware that was used to hack the DNC has been used by Russian intelligence to target Ukrainian artillery positions. Crowdstrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, told PBS, “Ukraine’s artillery men were targeted by the same hackers…that targeted DNC, but this time they were targeting cellphones [belonging to the Ukrainian artillery men] to try to understand their location so that the Russian artillery forces can actually target them in the open battle.”

Dmitri Alperovitch is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

The connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council has gone largely unremarked upon, but it is relevant given that the Atlantic Council—which is funded in part by the US State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk—has been among the loudest voices calling for a new Cold War with Russia. As I pointed out in the pages of The Nation in November, the Atlantic Council has spent the past several years producing some of the most virulent specimens of the new Cold War propaganda.

It would seem then that a healthy amount of skepticism toward a government report that relied, in part, on the findings of private-sector cyber security companies like Crowdstrike might be in order.

The Atlantic Council is also funded by the U.S. military and the largest defense contractors, including:

  • United States Army
  • United States Navy
  • United States Air Force
  • United States Marines
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Raytheon
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Boeing

[1]  Here’s an example of the Atlantic Council’s bellicose rhetoric from July 2016:

Poland should announce that it reserves the right to deploy offensive cyber operations (and not necessarily in response just to cyber attacks).  The authorities could also suggest potential targets, which could include the Moscow metro, the St. Petersburg power network, and Russian state-run media outlets such as RT.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on DNC Refused to Give FBI Access to Its Servers … Instead Gave Access to a DNC Consultant Tied to Organization Promoting Conflict with Russia

The political firestorm over allegations of Russian hacking in the US presidential election campaign reached a new peak with the hearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where three top intelligence officials testified for several hours. The three officials refused to provide any evidence to support the claims that the Russian government directed hacking into the email of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Nor is there any such evidence in the 50-page report the intelligence agencies delivered to President Obama Thursday, to be followed by briefings of congressional leaders and President-elect Donald Trump on Friday. According to the Washington Post, “U.S. officials said there are no major new bombshell disclosures even in the classified report,” let alone the declassified version that is to be made public on Monday.

This did not stop the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain, from describing the alleged hacking as “an act of war,” and repeatedly urging the intelligence officials to embrace that terminology—language with the most ominous implications given that the United States and Russia, between them, control more than 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.

McCain’s bellicose comments were echoed by committee Democrats, who attacked Trump for his Twitter comments citing the lack of evidence of any Russian involvement and noting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has publicly denied that Russia was the source for Democratic Party emails his organization made public.

Given the incessant campaign to transform the alleged hacking into a pretext for war with nuclear-armed Russia, let us conduct a reality check. What was actually uncovered by the hacking into the DNC and the Clinton campaign?

The material released by WikiLeaks exposed two major facets of the 2016 presidential campaign: the deliberate sabotage of the Bernie Sanders campaign by the DNC leadership, which put its thumb on the scale in favor of Clinton; and the abject subordination of Clinton to the financial aristocracy, documented in the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms.

The term “hacking the election” has been thrown about, although US intelligence agencies have said there is no evidence that a single ballot was miscast or miscounted as a result of electronic interference with the conduct of the vote. The sole consequence of the alleged hacking was the publication of true information about actions by Democratic Party officials and Clinton herself that discredited her campaign. It is this which the Democrats and their media supporters wish to suppress.

Press reports Thursday readily conceded that the “crime” in question was not the hacking of the material from the DNC and Podesta, but the delivery to WikiLeaks to make it public. The New York Times wrote that the alleged Russian hacking group “is blamed not just for taking emails from the D.N.C., the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Mr. Podesta, but also making them public,” an action which amounted to “turning a traditional espionage operation into an attempt to influence the election…”

Washington Post columnist acknowledged, “We will stipulate that governments regularly spy on each other, and the United States also gathers intelligence on governments like Russia, China and India. The difference here is that intelligence operations allegedly led to the release of information to the public, via WikiLeaks and media coverage.”

Here, to put it plainly, is the real “crime,” as far as the US ruling elite is concerned: someone—the identity of the actual leaker or hacker is irrelevant—gave the American people access to material that documented the conspiracy of Democratic Party leaders against the democratic rights of the members of their own party who supported Sanders, and also demonstrated the class interests served by Hillary Clinton, the favorite of the party establishment.

It is remarkable that in the vast media furor over the alleged Russian hacking, there has been almost no reference to the content of the material revealed. The attitude of press organs of big business like the New York Times and the Washington Post suggests that if one of their reporters had received the DNC emails from an unknown source—as a Times reporter supposedly received Donald Trump’s tax return—the editors would have suppressed the information.

In fact, it is more than likely that this is exactly what happened. No one has asked the Times or the Post when they first learned of the DNC campaign against Sanders or received transcripts of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street. It is doubtful that WikiLeaks was the first media outlet to do so. But WikiLeaks conducted themselves as actual journalists, not stenographers for the CIA and Pentagon, and made the secret documents public, damaging the candidate who was the overwhelming favorite of the military-intelligence leadership. For that and other exposures, Julian Assange has earned the undying hatred of American imperialism and its servants—and the thanks of the international working class.

And what of Senator Sanders himself, and his liberal ally, Senator Elizabeth Warren? As the campaign over alleged Russian hacking has unfolded in the media, these political cowards have prostrated themselves before the intelligence agencies. This fact exposes yet again the absurdity of their pretense to represent an opposition. They share the basic class outlook of the entire political establishment, Democratic and Republican, which regards the military-intelligence apparatus as its last line of defense against the working class, at home and abroad.

At Thursday’s hearing, Republicans and Democrats took turns urging the spy chiefs to denounce Assange for the publication by WikiLeaks of US military and diplomatic communications that document war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and conspiracies against governments around the world—activities that make hacking the email of the DNC pale by comparison.

The New York Times wrote, “The gathering was extraordinary as much for its context as its content—a public, bipartisan display of support for the intelligence community that seemed aimed, at times, at an audience of one” (i.e., Trump).

Senators from the two parties—most of whom supported the Iraq war on the basis of lies about “weapons of mass destruction”—seemed to be in competition to demonstrate the most abject loyalty to the intelligence agencies. They were all speaking from talking points supplied by the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon. Senator Joseph Donnelly, an Indiana Democrat, was the most sycophantic, telling the spy chiefs that in a truth-telling competition with Assange and WikiLeaks, “We’re on your side every time.”

This theme was elaborated explicitly in an editorial in the Thursday edition of the Washington Post, which berated Trump for dismissing the claims of Russian hacking of the Democrats, which it described as an effort to “deny reality.” Declaring that Trump would soon have to rely on “intelligence pros” to help him conduct US foreign policy, the editorial asked, “Why does Mr. Trump give Mr. Assange more weight than the U.S. intelligence agencies?”

Trump seemed to retreat in the face of the media barrage, tweeting his disapproval of Assange and his love for the intelligence agencies. But the Post’s question should be turned back on the newspaper itself. Why should anyone believe Assange? Because WikiLeaks has conducted actual journalistic investigation, uncovering evidence of US government crimes and making it public.

The intelligence agencies, by contrast, are proven liars. No senator challenged the veracity of the panel of witnesses, who were headed by retired general James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence. By rights, Clapper should have been jailed for perjury after his sworn testimony before Congress in March 2013. Asked point-blank, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper responded with the flat denial, “No, sir.” Three months later, Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has hundreds of programs to collect the telecommunications and Internet activities, not only of every American, but of every human being on the planet.

The public, bipartisan display of support for the “intelligence community” is aimed at delegitimizing any opposition to the numberless crimes committed by the US military-intelligence apparatus against the population of the world, including the American people, on a daily basis.

The CIA is an organization dripping with blood, detested by hundreds of millions around the world, including in the United States, as the instigator of countless coups, massacres, assassinations and wars. From Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954, to Chile in 1973, to the bloodbaths in Central America in the 1980s, to today’s mass repression in Egypt and drone warfare in a dozen countries, the CIA is a byword for criminality.

On Thursday, dozens of US senators prostrated themselves before the intelligence agencies. Some 40 years before, in a similar committee room, senators took sworn testimony about how the CIA had been running a “Murder Incorporated” in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

That investigation was a byproduct of the Watergate crisis that forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon. At the time, it was revealed that CIA personnel had been employed at Nixon’s Committee for the Re-Election of the President, or CREEP, and were involved in organizing the burglary of the Watergate hotel. The congressional inquiry led to the exposure of illegal spying on the American people and the infiltration of government agents into antiwar, civil rights, labor and socialist organizations.

Four decades ago, it was possible for the US ruling elite to conduct a limited “reform” of the CIA, which amounted to removing a few discredited officials and setting some limits on the agency’s operations—limits that were quickly breached in practice. Today, even such a largely cosmetic exercise is impossible. Instead, the intelligence agencies demand unquestioning loyalty, and the Democrats and the media salute.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Congress Grovels Before the CIA as it Escalates “Russian Hacking” Hysteria

Un toro llamado Trump en una tienda llamada China

January 6th, 2017 by Yasheng Huang

Algunos de los peores ataques de Donald Trump, presidente electo de Estados Unidos, han ido dirigidos a China. La ha acusado de “violar” a Estados Unidos con sus políticas de comercio y de crear el “engaño” del calentamiento global para socavar la competitividad estadounidense. Entonces, ¿por qué tantos asesores y comentaristas chinos tienen una actitud optimista acerca del futuro de las relaciones entre los dos países?

La razón parece ser el que Trump es un hombre de negocios y, parafraseando al Presidente estadounidense Calvin Coolidge, el negocio de China son los negocios. Se piensa que China puede manejarse mejor con un hábil y experimentado negociador como Trump que con una Hillary Clinton supuestamente más ideologizada.

A mucha gente le sorprendería ver que se categoriza a Clinton como una ideóloga. Y hay escasa evidencia que respalde la afirmación de que la gente de negocios encarna de alguna manera el pragmatismo, dado que tantos poderosos líderes de negocios estadounidenses muestran un alto nivel de ideologización. Por ejemplo, los hermanos Koch se aferraron tercamente a ideas libertarias inviables y claramente desacreditadas, y numerosos directores ejecutivos de las empresas de la lista Fortune 500 tienden instintivamente a alinearse con los republicanos, a pesar de que la economía estadounidense muestra mejores resultados en administraciones demócratas. Nadie debería olvidar el infame e imprudente consejo de Andrew William Mellon al Presidente Herbert Hoover en vísperas de la Gran Depresión: “liquidar la mano de obra, liquidar las existencias, liquidar a los agricultores, liquidar los bienes raíces”.

La revelación de que Trump y la Presidenta Tsai Ing-wen de Taiwán hablaron por teléfono probablemente ha acabado con todo resto de esperanza de que el próximo gobierno estadounidense no sea sino un toro en una tienda de porcelana china. Esa llamada violó un protocolo –evitar contactos directos entre Estados Unidos y Taiwán a nivel presidencial- que los presidentes estadounidenses de ambos partidos habían observado cuidadosamente a lo largo de cuatro décadas.

La violación del protocolo diplomático por parte de Trump generó ondas expansivas por toda Asia, que no hicieron más que agravarse cuando en una serie de tuits preguntó si China había consultado con Estados Unidos antes de devaluar su moneda o construir una enorme base militar en el Mar del Sur de China.

Trump juega con fuego al poner en cuestión la política de “una sola China”. La gestión hábil y cuidadosa por gobiernos tanto republicanos como demócratas ha ayudado a mantener la frágil paz entre China y Taiwán. El objetivo principal de Estados Unidos es mantener el statu quo al disuadir a Taiwán de buscar la independencia de manera activa y desalentar el impulso de China de obligar a Taiwán a una reunificación apresurada.

En otro tuit Trump preguntó por qué no podía relacionarse con Taiwán a nivel presidencial cuando Estados Unidos le vende miles de millones de dólares en armamento. Sea fingida o no esa consternación, es verdaderamente preocupante que el presidente electo de Estados Unidos la manifieste. EE.UU. vende a Taiwán equipos militares destinados principalmente a autodefensa y como una señal a China de que no tendrá una actitud impasible en caso de que emprenda acciones militares contra la isla. Pero atenúa deliberadamente este mensaje al evitar contactos de alto nivel con Taiwán, con la intención de evitar darle a entender que contará con apoyo estadounidense en caso de que la isla llegase a declarar la independencia.

Por más de 40 años, esta doctrina de “ambigüedad estratégica” ha funcionado brillantemente. La paz ha sobrevivido a múltiples cambios de dirigencia a ambos lados del estrecho de Taiwán, y el comercio y la inversión entre Taiwán y China han florecido.

Si Trump rompe esta arraigada política pueden producirse diversas consecuencias negativas. Para comenzar, podría envalentonar a Taiwán a ser más proactiva en sus intentos por romper el statu quo. De hecho, el propio Partido Progresista Democrático de Tsai tiene un compromiso oficial con la independencia de la isla y, si bien Tsai misma no ha intentado aún emprender objetivos revisionistas, la situación podría cambiar si siente que Trump simpatiza con su causa.

Trump podría causar daño al exacerbar al gobierno y los militares de línea dura de China, si confirma su creencia de que Estados Unidos desea socavar los “intereses centrales” de su país. En concreto, mantener las apariencias, si no la realidad, de que existe una sola China. Al principio, el ministerio chino de asuntos exteriores criticó tibiamente la llamada de Trump con Tsai, pero People’s Daily, el periódico oficial del Partido Comunista chino, ha manifestado desde entonces su rechazo de manera mucho más enfática, advirtiendo que “crear problemas en la relación entre China y Estados Unidos significa crear problemas para Estados Unidos mismo”. Poco después, la Armada china retuvo temporalmente un dron sumergible estadounidense en aguas internacionales. Claramente, China está dando señales de agitación.

No hay un método claro para hacer frente a la locura de Trump. En el mismo tuit en que justificaba su llamada con Tsai, repetía la falta acusación de que China está devaluando su moneda para lograr ventajas comerciales ante EE.UU. Su conocimiento de la economía internacional no existe, o bien está atrasado diez años. En realidad, hoy sale de China una enorme cantidad de reservas en moneda extranjera y el país necesita desesperadamente apuntalar el valor del renminbi ante la fuga de capitales.

Parece que Trump está suscitando el antagonismo con China sin ninguna razón válida. Peor aún, al anunciar que EE.UU. se retirará de la Asociación Transpacífico (diseñada, al menos en parte, para dar forma al comercio y las inversiones globales siguiendo más las reglas occidentales que la visión mercantilista de China), también está abandonando una política estadounidense que podría mantener a raya la influencia china en Asia. Desde el anuncio de Trump, muchos países asiáticos han prometido unirse a un bloque regional liderado por China. Con la ayuda de Trump. Puede que el “Siglo de China” comience antes de lo que se espera.

Yasheng Huang

Yasheng Huang: Profesor en la Escuela de Administración y Dirección de Empresas SLOAN del Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts (MIT).

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on Un toro llamado Trump en una tienda llamada China

¿El final de la ideología en Cuba?

January 6th, 2017 by Arnold August

En 1960, el sociólogo y académico norteamericano Daniel Bell (1919-2011) publicó “El final de la ideología”, obra que llegó a ser un clásico en las ciencias políticas oficiales. La publicación fue catalogada por el Times Literary Supplement como uno de los 100 libros más influyentes de la segunda mitad del siglo XX.

A pesar de que en los años 1950 e inicios de los 60 había otros partidarios del “Final de la ideología”, Bell es considerado como el más influyente. Aun cuando tuvieron lugar algunas variaciones, esta escuela de pensamiento tiene un común denominador. Tratando de no simplificar excesivamente esa importante tendencia, para el propósito de este artículo, es posible afirmar que surgió debido al fracaso percibido, tanto del socialismo en la antigua URSS como del capitalismo en Occidente. Es decir, nació en oposición al “extremismo”.

En noviembre de 1968, junto con otros estudiantes de ciencias políticas de la Universidad de McGill, en Montreal, fundamos la Asociación de Estudiantes de esa disciplina. Organizamos una huelga y presentamos dos reivindicaciones principales: la primera, exigir la participación estudiantil en los comités de contratación de la Facultad; la segunda -asociada a este potencial empoderamiento estudiantil- reclamar un profesorado y un currículo más incluyente.

Este último podría incluir publicaciones no sólo de Daniel Bell -por supuesto considerado obligatorio y una indiscutible referencia en ciencias políticas-, sino también de científicos sociales progresistas, así como los trabajos de Marx y Lenin. En aquella época eso último estaba excluido. Tras diez días de ocupación y huelga, la solicitud de los estudiantes fue aceptada por la universidad.

Bell no vio llegar la inevitable insurrección que se estaba fraguando en Estados Unidos entre los ciudadanos afrodescendientes, poco después de que su best-seller saliese de prensa. Esas luchas progresistas, así como la de los pueblos indígenas, tienen su origen al inicio de las Trece Colonias. En los años 1960, los estudiantes estadounidenses fueron atraídos por ideologías y políticas alternativas. De hecho, el movimiento de los jóvenes era omnipresente en toda Norteamérica y en gran parte de Europa.

Mientras en los años 60 esta tendencia se caracterizaba por diferentes aspectos de la izquierda política e ideológica y experimentaba sus propios altibajos, parecía la despedida de la tesis del final de la ideología. Sin embargo, el legado de Bell nos sigue acechando.

En el último año aproximadamente, en Cuba ha tenido lugar un aumento continuo de artículos en un lenguaje indirecto acerca de la idea del final de la ideología, escritos por algunos blogueros e intelectuales cubanos marginales. Al inicio eran tímidos, pero luego cada vez más audaces.

Hablaban de la “estéril dicotomía entre socialismo y capitalismo”, aconsejando a los revolucionarios cubanos ser “equilibrados y profundos en sus criterios” cuando se trata de criticar el imperialismo estadounidense, o de evitar el extremo de ser “fidelista o anticastrista”, etiquetando de “extremistas” o “fanáticos” a los marxistas-leninistas o a los fidelistas, escribiendo sobre dos grandes falacias acerca de lo revolucionario en Cuba, la derecha y la izquierda como un “dogma excluyente” y, por último, postulando que “la vida es más compleja incluso que las ideologías”.

Leyendo estos artículos regresaban continuamente a mi mente aquellos días universitarios de 1968. ¿Cómo pudo ser posible que nos opusiéramos al final de la ideología en el corazón del capitalismo, y que ahora ello vuelva a surgir -entre todos los lugares imaginables-, justamente en Cuba? Podría argumentarse que la oposición en Cuba está viniendo de la “izquierda”, es decir de quienes pretenden apoyar a la revolución. Pues bien, ¿de dónde más podría surgir sino de esa llamada izquierda?

No olvidemos que Bell se consideraba a sí mismo de izquierda y que su oposición a la ideología fue ostensiblemente desde una perspectiva de izquierda y no de derecha. Es así como logró construir su credibilidad. Bell se había desilusionado del socialismo y no veía otra alternativa, por lo que libró una batalla tanto contra el capitalismo como contra el socialismo. Su trabajo refleja su propio dilema personal y político. Sin embargo, objetivamente hablando, esta llamada neutralidad respecto a los extremos consistió en lanzar un salvavidas al capitalismo. No es un accidente que Bell sea tan apreciado por las élites gobernantes de Occidente.

Siempre he aseverado que la más peligrosa oposición a la Revolución cubana proviene de la llamada izquierda, y no de la derecha abiertamente plattista. Es un cáncer en la sociedad cubana que, si se deja crecer sin una fuerte resistencia ideológica, podría influir en algunos ingenuos, especialmente entre los jóvenes, los intelectuales y los artistas.

Al mismo tiempo, cuando Bell escribía sus ensayos a finales de los años 1950, compilados en su volumen de 1960, Cuba constituía el escenario de la más evidente refutación de su teoría: el ataque a Moncada de 1953, su programa resultante y el triunfo de la revolución el 1 de enero de 1959. Fidel Castro y el Movimiento 26 de julio constituyeron el camino embrionario hacia a una nueva ideología revolucionaria marxista-leninista en Cuba.

Lejos de ser un período caracterizado por el final de la ideología, Cuba dio al mundo el resurgimiento y la confianza en la necesidad de la ideología. Cuba representó el fin del final de la ideología. La revolución cubana surgió durante el auge de la Guerra fría, pero se erigió resueltamente en contra de cualquier intimidación por parte de la llamada izquierda o del imperialismo. Para la izquierda de aquella época, y más aún para la derecha, esta posición no se correspondía con lo políticamente correcto. De esta manera, Fidel tuvo la perspicacia de no revelar el escenario completo en el periodo inicial. Sin embargo, la ideología se encontraba en el centro del pensamiento y la acción.

Desde 1953 Cuba siempre ha sido -y lo sigue siendo- la quintaesencia del desarrollo de los principios ideológicos. Cada palabra escrita y pronunciada por Fidel está impregnada de ideología. Cuba no está anquilosada, por el contrario sigue evolucionando según la situación. De otra manera, no hubiese podido sobrevivir a sus enemigos durante todo este tiempo.

Estoy convencido de que uno de los principales objetivos implícitos de la campaña mediática corporativa internacional contra Fidel, justo después de su fallecimiento, consistió en una revancha del imperialismo contra él por negarse a capitular en el tema de la ideología.

Pero, ¿por qué -podrán preguntarse los medios interminablemente- la revolución cubana nunca suscribió el final de la ideología, como debía hacerse, según las ciencias políticas oficiales? En todos estos años, desde el 26 julio de 1953 hasta el 25 noviembre de 2016, Fidel vivió y murió tal como lo exigió a los demás: como un humilde revolucionario.

En el actual contexto histórico, tratar de impregnar a la cultura política cubana de “neutralidad” respecto a la ideología: oposición a los “extremos”, “equidistancia” entre socialismo y capitalismo, etc., no constituye un desafío al dogmatismo de la izquierda tal como tratan de presentarlo.

El verdadero desafío es contra el socialismo y la ideología marxista-leninista. En los años 1960, la teoría del Bell complacía a los círculos de gobernantes que deseaban preservar el statu quo. ¡Las élites estaban en el poder y no temían ser desalojadas por su propio capitalismo! El Final de la ideología y su crítica al capitalismo fue tan sólo un pretexto para criticar al socialismo. En 1968, en la Universidad McGill, esto constituyó el principal argumento de los profesores y administradores conservadores.

Aparentemente ellos no estaban ni a favor ni en contra de ninguna ideología. “Todas las opciones políticas son bienvenidas”, aseguraban. Sin embargo, Bell fue aún más aceptado. Él se oponía, decían ellos, tanto al capitalismo como al socialismo. Sin embargo, quienes favorecían el statu quo del capitalismo se apoyaron en el final de la ideología.

Quienes se oponen a la ideología “extrema” de la izquierda fueron totalmente integrados a la ideología capitalista y ayudaron a elaborarla y a difundirla. El propósito del “Final de la ideología”, en los años 1960, y ahora respecto a Cuba, es poner fin a las ideologías marxista-leninista y socialista.

Arnold August

Arnold August: Periodista y conferencista canadiense.

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on ¿El final de la ideología en Cuba?

Los Balcanes, ese infierno tan conocido

January 6th, 2017 by Guadi Calvo

Como se preveía, tras los reveses sufridos por el Daesh en Siria a manos del Ejército Árabe Sirio y sus aliados Rusia, Irán y Hezbollah, muchos de los combatientes de la organización wahabita están volviendo a sus países de origen.

A mediados de noviembre último se detectó al líder de la rama del Daesh kosovar-albana en Siria, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, quién habría ha conseguido filtrase, nuevamente hacía Europa, con nada menos que 400 de sus hombres, disimulado entre las olas de refugiados.

Muhaxheri, cuyo “nombre de guerra” es Abu Abdullah al-Kosova, no sólo es uno de los jefes del Estado Islámico, sino uno de los más conocidos entre los extranjeros que llegaron para luchar contra el gobierno del presidente Bashar al-Assad.

A pesar que el fundamentalista fue detectado en su paso por Macedonia por agentes del italiano Sistema di Informaziones per la sicurezza della Repubblica (AISE), que avisaron de inmediato al Aki (Agencia de Inteligencia de Kosovo) y las unidades antiterroristas de Kosovo, Albania y Macedonia, la búsqueda de Muhaxheri, fracasó, seguramente cubierto por una alambicada e impenetrable red de protección para los terroristas que funciona en los Balcanes occidentales.

Lavdrim Muhaxheri, también conocido como “el carnicero Kacanik”, una pequeña ciudad en la frontera entre Kosovo y Macedonia conocida por ser un importante centro de reclutamiento de terroristas islámicos.

El retorno de Muhaxheri a los Balcanes, constituye una amenaza no solo para los países del área, sino para toda Europa ya que estas organizaciones tienen contactos a lo largo del continente y podrían producir ataques en cualquier lugar.

Muhaxheri, conoce particularmente bien la operatividad de las fuerzas de seguridad occidentales, ya que desde 2007, con 18 años, comenzó a recibir formación militar, en la base estadounidense de Bondsteel, tras enrolarse en las KFOR, las fuerzas militares de Kosovo.

Enrolado en una compañía militar privada, posiblemente la norteamericana Blackwater, subcontratada por la OTAN estuvo en Afganistán y en Camp Victory de Irak, hasta 2012.

A finales de ese año retornó a Kosovo, empezó a frecuentar asociaciones fundamentalistas musulmanas, como la red Parimi y la organización islámica juvenil de Kacanik. Participó en la creación de la ICK (Comunidad Islámica de Kosovo), que dio cobertura para la formación y organización de milicianos que luego se desplazaron a Siria e Irak, para integrarse al Daesh. Se cree que Muhaxheri, había sido reclutado en Kosovo por el imam Zekerija Qazimi, ahora condenado a 10 años de prisión.

La actitud y experiencia militar de Muhaxheri, fueron las condiciones fundamentales para lograr un rápido ascenso en la estructura del Estado Islámico para Irak y el Levante (EIIL), organización que daría lugar a la creación del Daesh, en julio del 2014.

Muhaxheri, figura en todas las listas de los terroristas más buscados del mundo, confeccionadas por sus antiguos mandantes como la Misión de Administración Provisional de las Naciones Unidas en Kosovo (MINUK), INTERPOL y el Departamento de Estado estadounidense, la Oficina Europea de Policía (Europol). El 24 de septiembre de 2014, el Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos designó a Muhaxheri como un terrorista global.

Las fuerzas de seguridad de Kosovo detuvieron en noviembre a una veintena de terroristas, se cree dirigidos por Muhaxheri, que preparaban una serie de ataques en Kosovo y Albania. El ataque más importante se ejecutaría en el Elbasan Arena Stadium, en la ciudad albanesa de Elbasan, el 12 de noviembre, cuándo por las eliminatorias del mundial de futbol 2018, jugarían las selecciones de Albania e Israel.

Muhaxheri, ya había realizado el viaje entre Siria y Kosovo en otras oportunidades, en 2013, durante Ramadán, se dejó fotografiar, desafiando a las autoridades que no pudieron dar con él antes que regresara de nuevo a Sira, llevando otro contingente de milicianos.

Se estima que unos 230 kosovares han viajado a Siria e Irak, para integrase o bien a las filas del Daesh o al al-Qaeda sirio conocido como frente al-Nusra. Según la Inteligencia kosovar, cerca de sesenta de ellos ya han muerto en combate. En noviembre de 2012, Naman Demoll, fue el primer kosovar muerto en la guerra siria.

Entre albaneses, macedonios y kosovares se estima que suman entre 500 y 600 hombres que han combatido en Siria.

Solo cuesta unos cien euros llegar desde Kosovo al frente de guerra en Siria, que incluye un vuelo a Estambul y un ticket de bus a la frontera con Siria. En Kosovo la policía ha detenido a decenas de personas incluso imanes y acusados de reclutar y brindar ayuda a los combatientes.

Los kosovares representan una mínima parte de los miles de combatientes extranjeros, que han llegado a Siria desde 2011, los contingentes de europeos más numerosos provienen de Bélgica, el Reino Unido y Francia. Se estima que la totalidad de terrorista que combatieron en Siria ronda los 200 mil hombres de ellos el 80% son extranjeros de culto wahabíes.

Los paseos del carnicero

Según los datos obtenidos por la inteligencia italiana, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, arribó a los Balcanes acompañado por su lugarteniente Ridvan Haqifi, que ya en julio por medio de un video había amenazado vengarse.

Ahora se temen ataques a instituciones internacionales y estatales, de iniciar una guerra para instalar un estado islámico, nada menos que en el centro de Europa.

Muhaxheri, se hizo conocido a través de varias apariciones en videos que circularon profusamente por las redes sociales, donde aparecía degollando a prisioneros. Su actuación más “memorable” se conoció el 21 de mayo de 2015, donde se lo ve fusilando a otro prisionero, al que le dispara, una granada propulsada por cohetes (RPG) que literalmente desintegra a la víctima. Entonces no se supo si el video era reciente o anterior a principios de 2015, ya que para la fecha que se hizo público, Muhaxheri aparecía como muerto en combate. Situación que el jefe kosovar aprovechó para pasar a un segundo plano militar y preparar su vuelta a los Balcanes.

Desde la intervención rusa a finales de 2015, unos 35 mil terroristas, de ellos unos 200 jefes, fueron exterminados, lo que ha provocado una estampida generalizada de los hombres del Califa Ibrahim y miembros del frente al-Nusra.

A pesar de la ya sabida relación entre moderados y fundamentalistas, occidente siguió apoyando a los grupos “moderados” como el Ejercito Libre Sirio (ELS) con armamentos de última generación como misiles anti-tanque TOW que destruyeron casi todos los blindados y tanques del Ejército Árabe Sirio. Más de 20 mil de estos misiles han sido enviados a Siria desde finales de año de 2014.

No se cree probable, pero nada se sabe manera cierta, si Muhaxheri, con sus hombres lograron introducir en Europa parte de este armamento. Lo que sí es prácticamente un hecho que el líder wahabita, ya estará en alguno de los campamentos de las montañas de Kosovo, cerca de Tropoje, en la frontera con Albania, activos desde la guerra de 1999.

En ese mismo sector se ha detectado un número importante de jóvenes argelinos y marroquíes, que en principio se alojan en centros de migración, para enseguida desaparecer en la montaña.

En mayo último las autoridades kosovares han condenado al imán Zekrjja Qazim, a 10 años de prisión, por su responsabilidad en la radicalización de ciento de jóvenes que acudían a su mezquita de al-Quddús en Gjilan.

El fundamentalismo musulmán en los Balcanes, se encuentra en una etapa de creciendo exponencial. Las organizaciones reciben de manera constante a jóvenes dispuestos a realizar su “yihad”.

Esta enmarañada red aglutina grupos de Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, la Federación de Bosnia y Herzegovina, bien entrenada y armada puede volver a convertir a los Balcanes en ese infierno tan conocido.

Guadi Calvo

Guadi Calvo: Escritor y periodista argentino, analista Internacional especializado en África, Medio Oriente y Asia Central.

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on Los Balcanes, ese infierno tan conocido

En respaldo a Acción Ecológica

January 6th, 2017 by Boaventura de Sousa Santos

A pocos años de completar las dos primeras décadas del siglo XXI, nos encontramos en un momento decisivo de la historia planetaria. La locomotora del capitalismo ha conducido a una situación de crisis civilizatoria radical, en que la misma sostenibilidad de la vida sobre la Tierra se encuentra amenazada.

Tenemos múltiples evidencias que nos alertan sobre la gravedad de esta crisis: el aumento de las sequías y las inundaciones; la recurrente amenaza de una crisis alimentaria global; los flujos migratorios de refugiados ambientales; el aumento de enfermedades inducidas por un medioambiente contaminado; la explotación cada vez más voraz de los recursos naturales; el despojo de tierras ancestrales a los pueblos indígenas para abrir camino a grandes megaproyectos de desarrollo y la violencia producida por todos estos procesos, son solo unas cuantas muestras de la creciente devastación de la cual somos testigos hoy en día. En la complejidad de la actual crisis, todos estos elementos están interrelacionados.

Desde la década de los setenta, diversos movimientos y organizaciones ecologistas emergieron tanto en el norte como en el sur global, advirtiendo y denunciando la situación límite en la que nos encontramos. De entre todas ellas, Acción Ecológica de Ecuador es sin lugar a dudas una de las más importantes. Durante sus treinta años de existencia, ha demostrado un profundo compromiso desde el ecologismo popular con innumerables procesos de defensa de la naturaleza y los derechos humanos de las comunidades que la habitan.

Desde esta posición de solidaridad con quienes son más afectados y marginalizados por esta crisis, Acción Ecológica ha promovido que aquellas voces que no son escuchadas -de indígenas, campesinos, mujeres y jóvenes-, irrumpan con fuerza en los debates nacionales, contribuyendo así a la construcción de una democracia más auténtica y a una sociedad más justa. Por esta razón, Acción Ecológica constituye no solamente un referente, sino también un ejemplo de insoslayable relevancia para otras luchas en distintos rincones del planeta.

Disolver una organización de la importancia de Acción Ecológica, constituiría un grave atropello, un mal precedente y una alarmante evidencia del deterioro de las libertades democráticas en el Ecuador. Por estas razones, deseo expresar mi solidaridad con Acción Ecológica y hago un llamado al Gobierno ecuatoriano para que reconozca el aporte imprescindible que realiza, respete sus derechos como organización de la sociedad civil y garantice su normal y libre funcionamiento.

Boaventura de Sousa Santos

Boaventura de Sousa Santos: Profesor de la Universidad de Coimbra, Portugal y de la Universidad de Wisconsin-Madison, EEUU.

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on En respaldo a Acción Ecológica

China arrancó el 2017 con un llamamiento a intensificar las reformas enfocadas en la oferta, abriendo nuevas fuentes de crecimiento que ayuden a eludir las presiones a la baja existentes hoy en medio de una economía mundial debilitada.

China debe aumentar las reformas para permitir que el mercado desempeñe un papel decisivo en la economía y acelerar su cambio estructural en 2017, destacó el asesor del Banco Popular de China, Huang Yiping.

A pesar de los signos de estabilización en 2016, la economía china aún enfrenta una presión bajista, ya que su proceso de reestructuración aún no está terminado, según el miembro del comité de política monetaria del banco central y economista de la Universidad de Peking.

Enfatizó que mientras los viejos motores del crecimiento de la economía pierden fuerza, los nuevos no son lo suficientemente fuertes como para reemplazarlos, lo que supone el mayor problema para la economía china en la actualidad.

La segunda economía del mundo está tratando de basar su economía más en el consumo, los servicios y la innovación a medida que el crecimiento se ralentiza por la debilidad del comercio exterior y el exceso de capacidad industrial.

Sin embargo, Huang destacó que las nuevas industrias están creciendo rápidamente en muchas partes del país, especialmente en lugares donde el mercado desempeña un papel más importante y los empresarios son más activos.

A fin de crear más espacio para las reformas, sugirió que el Gobierno debería fijar un objetivo más flexible para el crecimiento económico en 2017 y apuntar a un objetivo de crecimiento del PIB de seis a siete por ciento, en comparación con 6,5 a siete por ciento en 2016.

Alertó el experto que el tipo de cambio del yuan se verá afectado en gran medida por las expectativas de los inversionistas sobre el crecimiento económico de China.

Reflexionó que a pesar de que China registra fundamentos económicos sólidos, un superávit por cuenta corriente y enormes reservas de divisas, ahora afronta algunas dificultades para apoyar el crecimiento.

Ante las continuas dificultades económicas y los ambiciosos objetivos de crecimiento, el gigante asiático ha convertido la reforma enfocada en la oferta en una prioridad para liberar nuevas formas de crecimiento e incrementar la eficiencia económica.

Incrementar el gasto en investigación y desarrollo, alentar la inversión privada, apoyar las industrias emergentes y modernizar los motores tradicionales figuran entre las medidas adoptadas por la Administración para impulsar la reforma.

De acuerdo con especialistas, tales iniciativas deben conducir a la mejora del capital humano, a elevar la productividad de todos los factores e incrementar la oferta en áreas sin exceso de capacidad donde exista demanda.

En su mensaje a la nación por Año Nuevo, el presidente chino Xi Jinping, calificó de extraordinario el cierre del 2016 y llamó a mayores esfuerzos para avanzar no solo como país sino como parte de la comunidad internacional.

Entre los avances, aplaudió que este territorio promovió de manera activa el crecimiento económico, profundizó plenamente la reforma, logró mejoras en reforma de defensa nacional y militar, suscitó el Estado de derecho, avanzó en la gobernanza estricta del Partido Comunista de China (PCCh) y combatió la corrupción a todos los niveles.

Asimismo llamó a continuar trabajando para que los resultados de la reforma y el desarrollo beneficien a más personas y sacar a más individuos de la pobreza.

Damy Vales

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on China, por más reformas orientadas al mercado en 2017
Trump-and-Putin1

U.S. Foreign Policy and the Campaign to Destabilize the Trump Presidency

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, January 04 2017

The unspoken truth pertaining to Obama’s Executive Order is that the punishment was intended for Trump rather than Putin. The objective is not to “Box-In” the president-elect for his “unfamiliarity with the role of intelligence”. The strategy is to delegitimize Donald Trump by accusing him of high treason.

us-tank

Political Insanity: Outgoing President Obama’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve” against Russia: US Sends 3,600 Tanks Against Russia – Massive NATO Deployment Underway

By Donbass International News Agency and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, January 05 2017

As we recall Obama on December 29th “ordered a series of retaliatory steps against Russia”. Is this a “fast-track” procedure on the part of the outgoing president, with the support of US intelligence to create chaos prior to the inception of the Trump administration on January 20th? According to Donbass International News Agency Service, “A Massive US military deployment should be ready by January 20.” Political Insanity prevails.

india_usa

India, From the Destabilization of Agriculture to Demonetization, “Made in America”

By Colin Todhunter, January 05 2017

A version of the following piece was originally published in June 2016. However, since then, India’s PM Narendra Modi has embarked on a ‘demonetisation’ policy, which saw around 85 percent of India’s bank notes becoming invalid overnight. Emerging evidence indicates that demonetisation was not done to curb corruption, ‘black money’ or terrorism, the reasons originally given.

Aerial view shows reactor buildings at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama nuclear power plant in Takahama town, Fukui prefecture

Fukushima Radiation Looms. No Nuclear Power Plant On Planet Earth! “The Incompatibility of Radiation with Human Life”

By Eiichiro Ochiai, January 05 2017

The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan six years ago has not been fixed.  It is becoming increasingly evident that it is difficult to fix it, as three reactors’ nuclear fuel rods were melted; there is no precedence for such a disaster in human history.  The health effects of radioactive material released are becoming significant day by day.  Un-fortunately, its reality has been covered up by the Japanese government.

1483393541Cover

Britain’s Role in Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide

BMark Curtis, January 05 2017

An edited extract from Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World: In the hundreds of media articles on the 1994 Rwanda genocide, there is barely a mention of Britain being a permanent member of the UN security council and in any way responsible for what happened. I recounted Britain’s role in my previous book, The Great Deception, so I will not repeat everything here. Since then, however, another book, by Linda Melvern, an investigative journalist, confirms the quite terrible British, and US, role.

valentinecover-400x600

The History of the CIA

By Dr. P. Wilkinson, January 05 2017

Douglas Valentine’s latest book, The CIA as organised crime, is not new. Nor is it intended to be. This book attempts something very difficult: compressing the essentials of nearly 30 years of intensive research, insight and implicit social theory into a volume accessible to readers with rapidly deteriorating attention spans who have been conditioned to what I would call “journalism as pornography”.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Selected Articles: Obama’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve” against Russia, India: Demonetization “Made in America”, Fukushima Radiation Looms

Brexit and Populism in Britain

January 5th, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Populism has a much needed place in political arrangements, the necessary, disruptive gust that keeps the complacent from losing touch. For one, it often threatens to destroy those arrangements altogether, or at the very least provide a blustery challenge.

This, however, comes with its costs, notably in the modern State. For one, it promises a mixture of bloodletting and indifference to the technocrats and advisors who claim various skills and expertise. Killing the priest class, the monopolists on expertise and ritual, leads to blood, confusion, and the need for a good deal of re-ordering.

In the turmoil that is modern Britain, the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers offers a rather brutal example of this in action. As Britain’s former EU ambassador, he was meant to be the expert in formulating some plan of action regarding his country’s exit from the European Union. What he found instead were few plans in the offing, and a refusal to accept the complexity of the task at hand.

In resigning, he accused his employers of “muddled” thinking. “We do not yet know what the government will set as negotiating objectives for the UK’s relationship with the EU after exit.” There was also a grave shortage of “multilateral negotiating experience” in Whitehall, a fact not replicated “in the Commission or in the Council.”[1] In the battle of the experts, Britain was coming up short.

The government’s response was dull and domestic. In the words of a government spokesman, the resignation enabled “a successor to be appointed before the UK invokes Article 50 by the end of March. We are grateful for his work and commitment over the last three years.”[2]

What Sir Ivan was experiencing was a standard bureaucratic assassination, or, in this case, an assassination on one of the more expert figures on the business of European governance. His critics chose to focus on the fact that his views had become the subject of leaks (in the British civil service, the equivalent of contracting HIV).

“If the reports are true that he has been hounded out by hostile Brexiteers in government,” suggested Sir Ivan’s former employee Nick Clegg, also formerly leader of the Lib Dems, “it counts as a spectacular own goal.”

But what is being sought? Hardly complicated advice, a true sign of the times. Former conservative Tory cabinet minister John Redwood hoped for a replacement “who thinks it’s straightforward.” Sentiment and attitude counted over evidence and application. Sir Ivan had been one of those cerebral nuisances, a person who did “not really have his heart” in the Brexit process, castigating it as being “very difficult and long-winded.” Flat-earth theorists were far more preferable.

In such cases, the role of the expert is treated as handy scapegoat, the great obfuscator against feeling and sentiment. The experts are the modern variant of pre-Protestant Catholic priests. The populist revolution being witnessed in Europe and the United States resembles, in some way, a Protestant expectoration against Catholic establishment order, the savaging of the cult of the saints (in modern terms, neo-liberal market practices, trade deals, open borders), the concealing practices of the clerics. To know God, it is best to get rid of those who obscure pathways to his vision.

The United States has been no exception to such suspicions of the “expert”, ever perched between the radically innovative and the crudely atavistic. Ingenious political models of republicanism have been entangled with divination more rooted in primitive theocracy. God accompanies the workings of Lockheed Martin and Boeing; bustling punditry and political science exists alongside pure staple prejudices and hatreds, long nursed by frontier desires and racial division.

It was the sort of thing that worried Richard Hofstadter, who suggested that populism had its nasty analogues in the form of paranoia in politics.[3] Certainly, when it came to Senator Joe McCarthy, hunting the expert during the early phase of the Cold War was fair game.

It was a mission laced with anti-Communist fervour, while previous enemies of populism had been the Banker, the Jew, or Wall Street. As the “rogue elephant” of sorts, McCarthy, according to Daniel Bell, “formulated his appeal derived from something deep in the moralizing strain of the American temper, in the willingness to believe in conspiracy and that debunkers are usually more right than wrong.”[4]

In one way, McCarthy’s war on the experts (those in the US State Department bookishly versed with their portfolios) resembled the Stalinist purges without the number of fatalities, though the principle was the same: executing catharsis, a ceremonial stripping and ripping of the educated establishment in favour of visceral revenge for the natural voice.

Unfortunately, much of the modern populist purging has very much to argue against. It is not merely the issue of experts, but the broader managerial classes who have done their part in taking institutions out of their democratic, accountable orbit.

What we will mourn in passing is the killing of the genuinely informed citizen, providing unvarnished and unabashed advice to governments as they bumble through history. In the words of Sir Ivan, “I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power.”

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

Notes

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38503504
[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38498839
[3] http://harpers.org/archive/1964/11/the-paranoid-style-in- american-politics/
[4] https://www.commentarymagazine.com/ articles/mccarthy-and- populism/

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Brexit and Populism in Britain

In the aftermath of the November 8 US presidential election, sections of the Democratic Party, the intelligence services and the media have intensified unsubstantiated pre-election claims that the Russian government hacked into Democratic Party email servers to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

The immediate purpose was to distract from the content of the leaked emails, which exposed a conspiracy by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to undermine her challenger in the primaries, Bernie Sanders.

With Trump’s victory, it has become the focus for a ferocious struggle within the ruling elite over foreign policy centred on the issue of what order the US should first aggressively escalate its diplomatic, economic and military offensive—against Russia or China. More fundamentally, its aim is to brand anyone raising questions about foreign policy as the “dupe” of a foreign power and to justify further sweeping censorship, above all against social media.

The same applies to the manufacturing of the fake news scandal in Europe. The divisions within the US over foreign policy are mirrored within and between national ruling elites across the continent. What all agree on, however, is that, whatever side eventually wins out, the agenda of militarism and war requires police-state methods.

This is the content of the resolution passed by the European Parliament on November 23, on “EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties.” The declared aim of the extensive resolution is to combat “third-party actors aiming to discredit” the European Union (EU) that “do not share the same [European] values.”

The resolution then defines as the main “actors” Russia and Daesh (or ISIL) and it is Russia that occupies most of the resolution.

It equates Russia with “transnational terrorist and criminal organisations…” that have “repeatedly engaged in a strategy of deliberate deception and disinformation, especially in the ‘new media’, social networks and the digital sphere…”

Accusing Russia of “information warfare”, the resolution asserts that it “is employing a wide range of tools and instruments” to “challenge democratic values, divide Europe, gather domestic support and create the perception of failed states in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood…”

The resolution specifically cites think tanks such as Russkiy Mir, the RTchannel, Sputnik, alongside “internet trolls” and “cross-border social and religious groups…”

No evidence is presented to back up these claims. Nor is the content of the “disinformation” that it alleges ever specified. Rather “information warfare” is presented as any reportage, regardless of whether it is true or false, that undermines the interests of the European bourgeoisie.

While “not all criticism of the EU or its policies necessarily constitutes propaganda or disinformation”, the resolution states, “instances of manipulation or support linked to third countries and intended to fuel or exacerbate this criticism provide grounds to question the reliability of these messages…”

It is on the basis of such spurious equations that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have been forced into hiding and exile, accused of treason and threatened with imprisonment and worse.

Just as sinisterly, the EU resolution decrees “information warfare” to be an undeclared act of war. Such methods form an “integral part of modern hybrid warfare, which is a combination of military and non-military measures of a covert and overt nature, deployed to destabilise the political, economic and social situation of a country under attack, without a formal declaration of war,” the resolution states, “targeting not only partners of the EU, but also the EU itself, its institutions and all Member States and citizens irrespective of their nationality and religion…”

The claim that Russia is engaged in a de facto war against the EU stands reality on its head. There is no doubt that Moscow engages in propaganda against aspects of EU policy, but its actions are only a pale reflection of the unending campaign conducted by the US and the EU over the last period.

Washington, in particular, serves as the largest manufacturer of fake news in the world, as evidenced by the criminal lying claims that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” to justify pre-emptive war in 2003. But not far behind it are the major European powers, who are supporting US disinformation regarding the Syrian civil war, which they helped to ignite, with the same aim.

The “fake news” scandal is part of active and far-advanced efforts, led by the US, to destabilise Russia and encircle it militarily. It was US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland who admitted, in 2014, that Washington had spent $5 billion to secure regime change in Ukraine, just after the so-called Euromaidan protests succeeded in forcing the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych out of office. Representatives from Germany, Poland and France performed the official benediction on his overthrow on behalf of the EU.

The resolution was passed just two weeks after the announcement of NATO’s largest troop deployment against Russia since the Cold War. Its “incumbent response force” is being tripled to 40,000 and hundreds of thousands of troops have been placed on higher alert levels. This month, an additional 4,000 NATO forces are being deployed along Russia’s border in breach of the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act.

Poland has been the most aggressive in demanding such deployments. It is no coincidence that the resolution to the European Parliament was prepared by Polish Deputy, Anna Fotyga, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and a member of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defense (SEDE), aligned with NATO.

By declaring Russia to be engaged in a de facto war against the EU, the resolution’s supporters are seeking to politically legitimise this massive escalation in NATO’s provocations against Moscow. Any criticism or campaign against European support for NATO’s warmongering is to be deemed the work of “Russian trolls” or terrorists.

The motion describes as “hostile propaganda” anything that has the effect of “provoking doubt, dividing Member States, engineering a strategic split between the European Union and its North American partners and paralysing the decision-making process, discrediting the EU institutions and transatlantic partnerships…”

The text indicates the social and political factors driving the resort to authoritarianism. It complains that the “financial crisis and the advance of new forms of digital media have posed serious challenges for quality journalism, leading to a decrease in critical thinking among audiences, thus making them more susceptible to disinformation and manipulation..”

In other words, the huge social gulf that exists between working people in Europe and the ruling elite as a result of the 2008 financial crisis and the EU’s unending policy of austerity means the overwhelming majority of people are hostile to the political establishment and its official media, which they correctly regard as nothing more than propaganda outlets for the interests of the super-rich. This insight, which the resolution slanders as a “decrease in critical thinking,” makes the population far less susceptible to the efforts to dragoon them behind militarism and war.

On this basis, the resolution calls for an intensification of EU and NATO efforts to combine forces, in particular to step up “counterintelligence efforts aimed at countering” so-called “fake news” operations. Daesh/ISIL is also introduced here from the standpoint of justifying a clampdown on social media and new measures against “hate speech”, which is never defined.

The resolution was passed by 304 to 179, with 208 abstentions. However, a minority opinion tabled against the resolution made no mention of the threat to democratic rights through the escalation of state censorship. Its objections centred on complaints that Russia should be regarded by the EU as an ally in the Middle East.

As the resolution was being debated, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Bundestag that public opinion was being “manipulated” on the internet and that it would be necessary to “regulate it.” Simultaneously it was announced that Helsinki is to be the “hub” for a NATO/EU research centre into “hybrid warfare” directed against Russia and ISIL, while in the Czech Republic a new interior ministry department began operations January 1, known as the Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats. State Secretary for European affairs, Tomáš Prouza, said it was directed against “Russian propaganda” aimed at building “negative images of the European Union and NATO…”

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Anti-Russia “Fake News” Campaign Rolled out Across Europe. Moscow Tagged as a Sponsor of ISIS-Daesh

Both the US and Turkey support ISIS-Daesh. And now they are accusing one another.

From the very outset the recruitment, training and financing of  the terrorists was a joint US-NATO-Turkey operation. According to Israeli intelligence (Debka, August14, 2011): 

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters spearheading the Assad regime’s crackdown on dissent. … NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011) 

This initiative, which was also supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, involved a process of organized recruitment of thousands of jihadist “freedom fighters”, reminiscent of  the enlistment of  Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war: 

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Ibid, emphasis added)

These mercenaries were subsequently integrated into US and allied sponsored terrorist organizations including Al Nusrah and ISIS. 

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, January 5, 2016

*        *        *

While it may seem too much to say at this point of time that NATO, given the gravity of the situation triggered by the out-going US president’s nebulous foreign policy, is disintegrating, what is happening is that the Western military alliance is facing an unprecedented crisis. This crisis is certainly as unusual and dramatic as any Shakespearean tragedy. More than a strong military alliance, NATO is at its worst and looks like a house divided against itself. It looked like this when Turkey, second biggest military power in the western alliance, point-blank accused the Obama administration of covertly supporting ISIS and other terror outfits, which are bent upon destroying Iraq and Syria and are now likely to target Turkey too.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan alleged, giving the Obama administration a ‘new-year-surprise’, on last Wednesday, December 28 that Turkey is in possession of “confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos” of the US’ support to ISIS.

While Erdogan had previously lambasted the US for supporting Gulen, Erdogan’s enemy number one and a potential terrorist according to Turkish officials, this time he took it to the next level and blamed the US, for the first time ever, for continuously supporting Daesh and Kurds.

We already know that the US has been officially supporting certain ‘moderate groups’ in Syria and that this support has directly contributed to the intensification of the conflict in Syria. What we know now is the support US has been providing to the most devastating terror groups the world has ever seen.

Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defence Intelligence Agency (and National Security Advisor-designate in the Trump administration), had himself claimed last year in a TV interview that the rise of the IS was a “wilful decision” by the Obama administration in furtherance of its agenda to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The support, as such, does exist. As a matter of fact, the recently announced lifting of restrictions on the supply of heavy weapons to these so-called moderates is yet another irrefutable evidence of the support the US continues to provide to these groups who are directly threatening the lives of those fighting Daesh and other terror networks.

Just a day before Erdogan lambasted the US role, Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, said that the policy change – set out in the annual defence policy bill and signed into law by the US President Barack Obama on December 23 – would lead to weapons ending up “in the hands of jihadists with whom the sham ‘moderate’ opposition have long acted jointly.”

“Such a decision is a direct threat to the Russian air force, to other Russian military personnel, and to our embassy in Syria, which has come under fire more than once. We therefore view the step as a hostile one,” Zakharova said in the statement.

In this context, Turkey’s lash out against the US is a reflection of the growing frustration with the dual policies (read: rounds of negotiations with Russia were combined with supply of weapons to terrorists) the US has been following in the region. For Turkey, continuous US support for Kurds marks the red line that the ‘super power’ has violated many times and that it is unwilling to cut-off.

Whereas the allegation that a NATO member (the US) is trying to destabilize another NATO member (Turkey) is a reflection of a crisis brewing in the alliance, it also marks the strong urge in the region to oust the US (read: a number of other countries including Iran have tacitly claimed to have evidence of the support US has been providing to Daesh) and embrace Russia as an ally, truly capable of and willing enough to counter existential threats such as ISIS.

With Turkey taking a series of steps to re-write its relations with the West, including the EU (read: Turkey is planning to upgrade its Customs deal with the EU in the first half of 2017), and with Turkey distancing itself from playing a second fiddle to the US in Syria and Iraq, a potential exit of the US from the region is looking imminent.

It is this potential and probable ‘exit’ from the region that seems to have prompted Erdogan to set the trajectory of his new foreign policy in motion without waiting for the new US president to assume responsibilities. The new trajectory has excluded, interestingly enough, the US only as Turkey has invited both Saudi Arabia and Qatar to formally join the trilateral forum to discuss the Syrian endgame.

These two GCC states, which have been deeply involved in the Syrian conflict, would know that the US has rendered itself fairly irrelevant to the endgame in Syria. Therefore, the strong likelihood is that they will cooperate – tacitly at least – with the Russian-Turkish move to get the opposition to sit across the table with the Syrian government.

Significantly enough, at a meeting between Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani and the visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Doha on last Monday, the Saudi-backed Chief Negotiator for the Syrian Opposition, Riyad Hijab was also present.

Again, Çavuşoğlu had arrived in Doha late Sunday from the Saudi city of Jeddah, where he had participated in an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) executive committee. The emergency meeting in Jeddah was held to discuss recent developments in the war-torn Syria, especially in the northern city of Aleppo.

That Saudi Arabia and its allies are also supporting these developments is evident from the recent statement issued by Riyad Hijab. The Syrian opposition’s main political body on last Tuesday, December 27, urged rebel groups to cooperate with “sincere regional efforts” to reach a ceasefire, but said it had not been invited to any conference, referring to the Kazakhstan meeting.

“We support the shifts in positions of some international powers and the positive, sincere efforts that could represent a starting point for realising the Syrian people’s aspirations by reaching an agreement that brings security and stability,” Riyad Hijab said in a written statement distributed to the press.

While the ‘known-unknown’ here is the behind-the-scene bargain going on between Russia/Iran and Saudi Arabia via Turkey, the development itself indicates the growing sense in the region of the need to re-define the US’ traditional role in the Middle East. This redefinition, as the series of developments indicates, is about limiting the US involvement and increasing the role that these regional countries can themselves play.

Erdogan’s charge sheet against the US has accelerated the US exit and put other regional countries in the position to tap into this scenario—a scenario that countries like Saudi Arabia can use to get out of the financial, political and military crisis they are currently immersed in.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on NATO against NATO? Turkey Lambasts US Role in Supporting ISIS-Daesh in Syria

A version of the following piece was originally published in June 2016. However, since then, India’s PM Narendra Modi has embarked on a ‘demonetisation’ policy, which saw around 85 percent of India’s bank notes becoming invalid overnight.

Emerging evidence indicates that demonetisation was not done to curb corruption, ‘black money’ or terrorism, the reasons originally given. That was a smokescreen. Modi was acting on behalf of powerful Wall Street financial interests. Demonetisation hascaused massive hardship, inconvenience and chaos. It has affected everyone and has impacted the poor and those who reside in rural areas (i.e. most of the population) significantly.

Who does Modi (along with other strategically placed figures) serve primarily: ordinary people and the ‘national interest’ or the interests of the US?

Convenient bedfellows

We don’t have to dig too deep to see where Modi feels at home. Describing itself as a major ‘global communications, stakeholder engagement and business strategy’ company, APCO Worldwide is a lobby agency with firm links to (part of) the Wall Street/US establishment and functions to serve its global agenda. Modi turned to APCO to help transform his image and turn him into electable pro-corporate PM material. It also helped Modi get the message out that what he achieved in Gujarat as Chief Minister was a miracle of economic neoliberalism, although the actual reality is really quite different.

In APCO’s India brochure, there is the claim that India’s resilience in weathering the global downturn and financial crisis has made governments, policy-makers, economists, corporate houses and fund managers believe that the country can play a significant role in the recovery of the global economy. APCO’s publicity blurb about itself claims that it stands “tall as the giant of the lobbying industry.”

The firm, in its own words, offers “professional and rare expertise” to governments, politicians and corporations, and is always ready to help clients to sail through troubled waters in the complex world of both international and domestic affairs.

Mark Halton, former head of Global Marketing and Communications for Monsanto, seemed to agree whenhe praisedAPCO for helping the GMO giant to:

… understand how Monsanto could better engage with societal stakeholders surrounding our business and how best to communicate the social value our company brings to the table.

If your name isseverely tarnishedand you need to get your dubious products on the market in countries that you haven’t managedto infiltratejust yet, why not bring in the “giant of the lobbying industry.”

As a former client of APCO, Modi now seems to be the go-to man for Washington. His government is doing the bidding of global biotech companies and is trying to push through herbicide-tolerant GM mustard based on fraudulent tests and ‘regulatory delinquency‘, which will not only open the door to further GM crops but will possibly eventually boost the sales of Monsanto-Bayer’s glufinosate herbicide. In addition, plans have been announced to introduce 100% foreign direct investment in certain sectors of the economy, including food processing.

Neoliberal dogma

This opening up of India to foreign capital is supported by rhetoric about increasing agricultural efficiency, creating jobs and boosting GDP growth. Such rhetoric mirrors that of the pro-business, neoliberal dogma we see in APCO’s brochure for India. From Greece to Spain and from the US to the UK, we are able to see this rhetoric for what it really is: record profits and massive increases in wealth (ie ‘growth) for elite interests and, for the rest, disempowerment, surveillance, austerity, job losses, the erosion of rights, weak unions, cuts to public services, bankrupt governments and opaque, corrupt trade deals.

APCO describes India as a trillion-dollar market. Note that the emphasis is not on redistributing the country’s wealth among its citizens but on exploiting markets. While hundreds of millions live in poverty and hundreds of millions of others hover above it, the combined wealth of India’s richest 296 individuals is $478 billion, some 22% of India’s GDP. According to the ‘World Wealth Report 2015’, there were 198,000 ‘high net worth’ individuals in India in 2014, while in 2013 the figure stood at 156,000.

APCO likes to talk about positioning international funds and facilitating corporations’ ability to exploit markets, sell products and secure profit. In other words, colonising key sectors, regions and nations to serve the needs of US-dominated international capital.

Paving the way for plunder

Modi recently stated that India is now one of the most business friendly countries in the world. The code for this being lowering labour, environmental, health and consumer protection standards, while reducing taxes and tariffs and facilitating the acquisition of public assets via privatisation and instituting policy frameworks that work to the advantage of foreign (US/Western) corporations.

When the World Bank rates countries on their level of ‘Ease of Doing Business’, it means nation states facilitating policies that force working people to take part in a race to the bottom based on free market fundamentalism. The more ‘compliant’ national governments make their populations and regulations, the more attractive foreign capital is tempted to invest.

The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ – supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID – entails opening up markets to Western agribusiness and their fertilisers, pesticides, weedicides and patented seeds.

Anyone who is aware of the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the links with the Indo-US Nuclear Treaty will know who will be aware that those two projects form part of an overall plan to subjugate Indian agriculture to the needs of foreign corporations (see this article from 1999). As thebiggest recipientof loans from the World Bank in the history of that institution, India is proving to be very compliant.

The destruction of livelihoods under the guise of ‘job creation’

According to the neoliberal ideologues, foreign investment is good for jobs and good for business. Just how many actually get created is another matter. What is overlooked, however, are the jobs that were lost in the first place to ‘open up’ sectors to foreign capital. For example, Cargill may set up a food or seed processing plant that employs a few hundred people, but what about the agricultural jobs that were deliberately eradicated in the first place or the village-level processors who were cynically put out of business so Cargill could gain a financially lucrative foothold?

The Indian economy is being opened-up through the concurrent displacement of a pre-existing (highly) productive system for the benefit of foreign corporations.For farmers, the majority are not to be empowered but displaced from the land. Farming is being made financially non-viable for small farmers, seeds are to be privatised as intellectual property rights are redefined, land is to be acquired and an industrialised, foreign corporate-controlled food production, processing and retail system is to be implemented.

The long-term plan is tocontinue to starve agricultureof investment and have an urbanised India with a fraction of the population left in farming working on contracts for large suppliers and Wal-Mart-type supermarkets that offer highly processed, denutrified, genetically altered food contaminated with chemicals and grown in increasingly degraded soils according to an unsustainable model of agriculture that is less climate/drought resistant, less diverse and unable to achieve food security. This would be disastrous for farmers, public health and local livelihoods.

Low input, sustainable models of food production and notions of independence and local or regional self-reliance do not provide opportunities to global agribusiness or international funds to exploit markets, sell their products and cash in on APCO’s vision of a trillion-dollar corporate hijack; moreover, they have little in common with Bill Gates/USAID’s vision for an Africa dominated by global agribusiness.

And, finally, to demonetisation

Modi rode to power on a nationalist platform and talks about various ‘nation-building’ initiatives, not least the ‘make in India’ campaign. But he is not the only key figure in the story of India’s capitulation to Washington’s agenda for India. There is, for instance,Avrind Subramanian, the chief economic advisor to the government, and Raghuram Rajan who was until recently Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.He was chief economist at theInternational Monetary Fundfrom 2003 to 2007 and was a Distinguished Service Professor of Financeat theUniversity of Chicago Booth School of Businessfrom 1991 to 2013. He is now back at the University of Chicago.

Aside from Rajan acting asa mouthpiecefor Washington’s strategy to recast agriculture in a corporate image and get people out of agriculture in India, in arecent article, economist Norbert Haring implicates Rajan in the demonestisation policy. He indicates that the policy was carried out on behalf of USAID, MasterCard, Visa and the people behind eBay and Citi, among others, with support from the Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Haring calls Rajan the Reserve Bank of India’s “IMF-Chicago boy” and based on his employment record, memberships (not least of the eliteGroup of Thirty which includes heads of central, investment and commercial banksand links, place him squarely at the centre of Washington’s financial cabal.

Haring says that Raghuram Rajan has good reason to expect to climb further to the highest rungs in international finance and thus play bow to Washington’s game plan:

He already wasa President of the American Finance Association and inaugural recipient of its Fisher-Black-Prize in financial research. He won the handsomely endowed prizes of Infosys for economic research and of Deutsche Bank for financial economics as well as the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Prize for best economics book. He was declared Indian of the year by NASSCOM and Central Banker of the year by Euromoneyand by The Banker. He is considered a possible successor of Christine Lagard at the helm of the IMF, but can certainly also expect to be considered for other top jobs in international finance.”

The move towards a cashless society would secure a further degree of control over India by the institutions who are pushing for it. Securing payments that accrue from each digital transaction would of course be very financially lucrative for them. These institutions are therefore pursuing a global ‘war on cash’.

Small, wealthy countries like Denmark and Sweden can bear the impact of a transition to a cashless economy, but for a country such as India, which runs on cash, the outcomes so far have been catastrophic for hundreds of millions of people, especially those who don’t have a bank account (almost half the population) or do not even have easy access to a bank.

But, regardless of the large-scale human suffering imposed as a result of demonetisation, it could kill two birds with one stone: 1) securing the interests of international capital, including the eventual displacement of the informal (i.e. self-organised) economy; and 2) acting as anotherdeliberate nail in the coffinof Indian farmers, driving even more of them out of the sector. The US’s game plan remains well and truly on course.

Not really a case of ‘make in India’. Some 50 years after independence, as a state India remains compromised, weak and hobbled. More a case of made in Washington.

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on India, From the Destabilization of Agriculture to Demonetization, “Made in America”

A version of the following piece was originally published in June 2016. However, since then, India’s PM Narendra Modi has embarked on a ‘demonetisation’ policy, which saw around 85 percent of India’s bank notes becoming invalid overnight.

Emerging evidence indicates that demonetisation was not done to curb corruption, ‘black money’ or terrorism, the reasons originally given. That was a smokescreen. Modi was acting on behalf of powerful Wall Street financial interests. Demonetisation hascaused massive hardship, inconvenience and chaos. It has affected everyone and has impacted the poor and those who reside in rural areas (i.e. most of the population) significantly.

Who does Modi (along with other strategically placed figures) serve primarily: ordinary people and the ‘national interest’ or the interests of the US?

Convenient bedfellows

We don’t have to dig too deep to see where Modi feels at home. Describing itself as a major ‘global communications, stakeholder engagement and business strategy’ company, APCO Worldwide is a lobby agency with firm links to (part of) the Wall Street/US establishment and functions to serve its global agenda. Modi turned to APCO to help transform his image and turn him into electable pro-corporate PM material. It also helped Modi get the message out that what he achieved in Gujarat as Chief Minister was a miracle of economic neoliberalism, although the actual reality is really quite different.

In APCO’s India brochure, there is the claim that India’s resilience in weathering the global downturn and financial crisis has made governments, policy-makers, economists, corporate houses and fund managers believe that the country can play a significant role in the recovery of the global economy. APCO’s publicity blurb about itself claims that it stands “tall as the giant of the lobbying industry.”

The firm, in its own words, offers “professional and rare expertise” to governments, politicians and corporations, and is always ready to help clients to sail through troubled waters in the complex world of both international and domestic affairs.

Mark Halton, former head of Global Marketing and Communications for Monsanto, seemed to agree whenhe praisedAPCO for helping the GMO giant to:

… understand how Monsanto could better engage with societal stakeholders surrounding our business and how best to communicate the social value our company brings to the table.

If your name isseverely tarnishedand you need to get your dubious products on the market in countries that you haven’t managedto infiltratejust yet, why not bring in the “giant of the lobbying industry.”

As a former client of APCO, Modi now seems to be the go-to man for Washington. His government is doing the bidding of global biotech companies and is trying to push through herbicide-tolerant GM mustard based on fraudulent tests and ‘regulatory delinquency‘, which will not only open the door to further GM crops but will possibly eventually boost the sales of Monsanto-Bayer’s glufinosate herbicide. In addition, plans have been announced to introduce 100% foreign direct investment in certain sectors of the economy, including food processing.

Neoliberal dogma

This opening up of India to foreign capital is supported by rhetoric about increasing agricultural efficiency, creating jobs and boosting GDP growth. Such rhetoric mirrors that of the pro-business, neoliberal dogma we see in APCO’s brochure for India. From Greece to Spain and from the US to the UK, we are able to see this rhetoric for what it really is: record profits and massive increases in wealth (ie ‘growth) for elite interests and, for the rest, disempowerment, surveillance, austerity, job losses, the erosion of rights, weak unions, cuts to public services, bankrupt governments and opaque, corrupt trade deals.

APCO describes India as a trillion-dollar market. Note that the emphasis is not on redistributing the country’s wealth among its citizens but on exploiting markets. While hundreds of millions live in poverty and hundreds of millions of others hover above it, the combined wealth of India’s richest 296 individuals is $478 billion, some 22% of India’s GDP. According to the ‘World Wealth Report 2015’, there were 198,000 ‘high net worth’ individuals in India in 2014, while in 2013 the figure stood at 156,000.

APCO likes to talk about positioning international funds and facilitating corporations’ ability to exploit markets, sell products and secure profit. In other words, colonising key sectors, regions and nations to serve the needs of US-dominated international capital.

Paving the way for plunder

Modi recently stated that India is now one of the most business friendly countries in the world. The code for this being lowering labour, environmental, health and consumer protection standards, while reducing taxes and tariffs and facilitating the acquisition of public assets via privatisation and instituting policy frameworks that work to the advantage of foreign (US/Western) corporations.

When the World Bank rates countries on their level of ‘Ease of Doing Business’, it means nation states facilitating policies that force working people to take part in a race to the bottom based on free market fundamentalism. The more ‘compliant’ national governments make their populations and regulations, the more attractive foreign capital is tempted to invest.

The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ – supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID – entails opening up markets to Western agribusiness and their fertilisers, pesticides, weedicides and patented seeds.

Anyone who is aware of the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the links with the Indo-US Nuclear Treaty will know who will be aware that those two projects form part of an overall plan to subjugate Indian agriculture to the needs of foreign corporations (see this article from 1999). As thebiggest recipientof loans from the World Bank in the history of that institution, India is proving to be very compliant.

The destruction of livelihoods under the guise of ‘job creation’

According to the neoliberal ideologues, foreign investment is good for jobs and good for business. Just how many actually get created is another matter. What is overlooked, however, are the jobs that were lost in the first place to ‘open up’ sectors to foreign capital. For example, Cargill may set up a food or seed processing plant that employs a few hundred people, but what about the agricultural jobs that were deliberately eradicated in the first place or the village-level processors who were cynically put out of business so Cargill could gain a financially lucrative foothold?

The Indian economy is being opened-up through the concurrent displacement of a pre-existing (highly) productive system for the benefit of foreign corporations.For farmers, the majority are not to be empowered but displaced from the land. Farming is being made financially non-viable for small farmers, seeds are to be privatised as intellectual property rights are redefined, land is to be acquired and an industrialised, foreign corporate-controlled food production, processing and retail system is to be implemented.

The long-term plan is tocontinue to starve agricultureof investment and have an urbanised India with a fraction of the population left in farming working on contracts for large suppliers and Wal-Mart-type supermarkets that offer highly processed, denutrified, genetically altered food contaminated with chemicals and grown in increasingly degraded soils according to an unsustainable model of agriculture that is less climate/drought resistant, less diverse and unable to achieve food security. This would be disastrous for farmers, public health and local livelihoods.

Low input, sustainable models of food production and notions of independence and local or regional self-reliance do not provide opportunities to global agribusiness or international funds to exploit markets, sell their products and cash in on APCO’s vision of a trillion-dollar corporate hijack; moreover, they have little in common with Bill Gates/USAID’s vision for an Africa dominated by global agribusiness.

And, finally, to demonetisation

Modi rode to power on a nationalist platform and talks about various ‘nation-building’ initiatives, not least the ‘make in India’ campaign. But he is not the only key figure in the story of India’s capitulation to Washington’s agenda for India. There is, for instance,Avrind Subramanian, the chief economic advisor to the government, and Raghuram Rajan who was until recently Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.He was chief economist at theInternational Monetary Fundfrom 2003 to 2007 and was a Distinguished Service Professor of Financeat theUniversity of Chicago Booth School of Businessfrom 1991 to 2013. He is now back at the University of Chicago.

Aside from Rajan acting asa mouthpiecefor Washington’s strategy to recast agriculture in a corporate image and get people out of agriculture in India, in arecent article, economist Norbert Haring implicates Rajan in the demonestisation policy. He indicates that the policy was carried out on behalf of USAID, MasterCard, Visa and the people behind eBay and Citi, among others, with support from the Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Haring calls Rajan the Reserve Bank of India’s “IMF-Chicago boy” and based on his employment record, memberships (not least of the eliteGroup of Thirty which includes heads of central, investment and commercial banksand links, place him squarely at the centre of Washington’s financial cabal.

Haring says that Raghuram Rajan has good reason to expect to climb further to the highest rungs in international finance and thus play bow to Washington’s game plan:

He already wasa President of the American Finance Association and inaugural recipient of its Fisher-Black-Prize in financial research. He won the handsomely endowed prizes of Infosys for economic research and of Deutsche Bank for financial economics as well as the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Prize for best economics book. He was declared Indian of the year by NASSCOM and Central Banker of the year by Euromoneyand by The Banker. He is considered a possible successor of Christine Lagard at the helm of the IMF, but can certainly also expect to be considered for other top jobs in international finance.”

The move towards a cashless society would secure a further degree of control over India by the institutions who are pushing for it. Securing payments that accrue from each digital transaction would of course be very financially lucrative for them. These institutions are therefore pursuing a global ‘war on cash’.

Small, wealthy countries like Denmark and Sweden can bear the impact of a transition to a cashless economy, but for a country such as India, which runs on cash, the outcomes so far have been catastrophic for hundreds of millions of people, especially those who don’t have a bank account (almost half the population) or do not even have easy access to a bank.

But, regardless of the large-scale human suffering imposed as a result of demonetisation, it could kill two birds with one stone: 1) securing the interests of international capital, including the eventual displacement of the informal (i.e. self-organised) economy; and 2) acting as anotherdeliberate nail in the coffinof Indian farmers, driving even more of them out of the sector. The US’s game plan remains well and truly on course.

Not really a case of ‘make in India’. Some 50 years after independence, as a state India remains compromised, weak and hobbled. More a case of made in Washington.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on India, From the Destabilization of Agriculture to Demonetization, “Made in America”

Dangerous crossroads: Is Obama intent upon waging a military operation on Russia’s border prior to the end of his presidential mandate?

This military onslaught could potentially create a fait accompli.

Are these US deployments part of Obama’s “act of retribution” against Russia in response to Moscow’s alleged hacking of the US elections, which according to the director of National Intelligence James Clapper constitute an “Existential Threat” to the Security of the US. 

As we recall Obama on December 29th “ordered a series of retaliatory steps against Russia”.

Is this a “fast-track” procedure on the part of the outgoing president, with the support of US intelligence to create chaos prior to the inception of the Trump administration on January 20th?

According to Donbass International News Agency Service, “A Massive US military deployment should be ready by January 20.”

Political Insanity prevails. 

And insanity could potentially unleash World War III. 

Meanwhile none of this is front page news. The mainstream media is not covering it.

Below is the report of the Donbass International News Agency report.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, January 5, 2017

*       *       *

Correction. A previous version of this text by the Donbass News Agency (translated from Russian) misquoted the original RT source:  the figures refer to pieces of military hardware rather than tanks.

***

The NATO war preparation against Russia, ‘Operation Atlantic Resolve’, is in full swing. 2,000 pieces of military hardware will be sent in coming days from Germany to Eastern Europe, and 1,600 US military hardware are deployed to storage facilities in the Netherlands.

At the same time, NATO countries are sending thousands of soldiers in to Russian borders.

According to US Army Europe, 4,000 troops and 2,000 military hardware will arrive in three US transport ships to Germany next weekend. From Bremerhaven, US troops and huge amount of military material, will be transported to Poland and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

USA is sending to Russian borders 3rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. Overall, more than 2,500 pieces of cargo are shipped to Germany, where those will be unloaded in the period January 6-8. US military material and troops will continue to Poland by rail and military convoy’s. Massive US military deployment should be ready by January 20.

“Some 900 cars with military materiel will be transported by train from Bremerhaven to Poland. There are also about 600 pieces of freight that will be transported by train to Poland from the military training ground at Bergen-Hohne. Nearly 40 vehicles will travel directly by road from Bremerhaven to Poland,” told Bundeswehr press office.

“Three years after the last American tanks left the continent, we need to get them back,” said Lieutenant General Frederick “Ben” Hodges, commander of US forces in Europe.

He made the statement during a visit to the Logistics School of the Bundeswehr in Garlstedt, Lower Saxony. He told journalists that the measures were a “response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea.”

While NATO is preparing for war against Russia, Hodges turned everything upside down and accused Russia of preparing for war. “This does not mean that there necessarily has to be a war, none of this is inevitable, but Moscow is preparing for the possibility,” Hodges said.

In the dangerous escalation against nuclear-armed Russia, which poses the danger of a third world war, the German Bundeswehr is playing a central role. “Without the support of the [German] Army, we can go nowhere,” Hodges said during an appearance at the Joint Support Service of the Bundeswehr.

Germany, which rolled over Eastern Europe in its war of extermination 75 years ago, is preparing to send combat troops to the Baltics. In January, 26 tanks, 100 other vehicles and 120 containers will be transported by train to Lithuania. Germany will send the 122nd Infantry Battalion.

At the same time total of 1,600 US fighting vehicles are due to be stored at a six-warehouse complex in the southeastern village of Eygelshoven, near the Belgian and German borders. The Eygelshoven facility was originally opened in 1985 during the Cold War, when it was used by US troops to practice drills in case of a possible Soviet attack, wrote RT News.

Abrams Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Paladin artillery have already started arriving in what is part of a $3.4 billion Congress-approved scheme to increase NATO military capability in Europe. Storage sites are also planned to be reopened in Poland, Belgium and Germany.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Political Insanity: Outgoing President Obama’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve” against Russia: Massive NATO Deployment Underway

Shortly after Christmas, and lost in the holiday shuffle, Turkish President and terrorist supporter Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made a statement accusing the U.S.-led coalition of supporting not only terrorists in Syria but ISIS itself. He also stated clearly that Turkey has proof that U.S.-led coalition is supporting the notorious terrorist organization it claims to be fighting.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, December 27, Erdogan stated that “They give support to terrorist groups including Daesh (ISIS).”

He added that “Now they give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It’s very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos.”

Erdogan also called on GCC members such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar to join Russia, Iran, and Syria in peace talks regarding the current crisis next month. He said these countries (the Russian coalition) have “shown goodwill and given support” to Syria. He stressed that Turkey would not take part in negotiations if “terrorist groups” like the Kurdish separatists were involved.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner responded to Erdogan’s statement by saying that it was “ludicrous” and that it has “no basis for truth.” Toner added that the U.S. is “100 percent behind the defeat and destruction of Daesh, even beyond Syria and Iraq.”

Erdogan’s statement is actually true as Mark Toner and anyone who can operate a keyboard knows full well. The United States and its coalition have long supported terrorists in Syria, and both have done so since day one. That being said, Turkey and Erdogan specifically have supported the same terrorists for just as long. For that reason, Erdogan’s statements may appear startling if taken alone.

Thus, the question now becomes – what is Erdogan’s purpose behind those statements? After all, Erdogan has remained stalwart in the NATO camp ever since the beginning of the crisis where he argued that Turkey only supported moderates, never acknowledging the fact that Turkey was buying ISIS’ stolen oil and providing jihadists with porous borders so that they could easily cross over into Syria. So why would Erdogan throw his NATO and GCC “allies” under the bus and actually spill the beans regarding Western/GCC support of terrorists?

The answer is actually a number of possibilities. Some researchers may suggest that Erdogan’s stance is changing and that he is moving Turkey more into the Russian orbit, abandoning the NATO position of destroying Syria and, thus, beginning the process of dropping the U.S., GCC, and NATO baggage and exposing imperialists at the behest of the Russians. Others attribute his statements to the mere ravings of a madman lashing out at the slightest sign of criticism or political trouble. While these explanations are possibilities, the reality is most likely that it is a complex web of intrigue that centers itself around Erdogan himself and the position of the Muslim Brotherhood that has caused Erdogan to make such a statement.

It appears that Erdogan is attempting to sit on the fence between two world powers and their alliances – the Western world hegemon and the Russian coalition – while, at the same time, trying to promote his neo-Ottoman vision for Turkey. While Erdogan was firmly within the NATO camp at the start of the Syrian crisis, it is quite likely that Erdogan has started to realize that chaos in Syria might very well equal chaos in Turkey and that U.S. support for the Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq might ignite Kurdish separatists in Turkey, throwing his own country into chaos and civil war yet again. Thus, Turkey has moved more toward the direction of Russia, despite having shot down a Russian jet and acting provocatively toward Russia in the past. Putin is, of course, using the carrot more so than the stick, a diplomatic strategy that tends to yield better results in the long run, particularly when the power bearing the carrot has a massive stick for backup. For that reason, Turkey is willing to at least provide token support to “peace talks” and other Russian-led initiatives.

However, to suggest that Erdogan has actually moved into the Russian orbit is naïve. Turkey continues to keep its borders open for ISIS fighters to cross into Syria and it continues to maintain its “safe zone” area which is nothing more than a forward operating base and supply line corridor (the Jarablus Corridor) for ISIS and its related terror organizations. As previously mentioned, Erdogan has been willing to risk direct war with Russia on a number of occasions and the Turkish government has even announced support for terror brigades to be used on Russian territory, the Crimea.

Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman dreams have become more and more obvious through his own statements, such as his vocal support for the Misak-Milli, a series of decisions by the Ottoman Turkish empire that saw Turkey claiming parts of Iraq, Syria, Armenia, Georgia, Greece, and Bulgaria. He has even suggested the possibility of doing away with the Treaty of Lausanne, which delineates the Turkish borders.

Erdogan’s willingness to throw his GCC allies under the bus most likely is compounded by his Muslim Brotherhood affiliations, a slightly more moderate form of Islamic extremism that calls for a referendum in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. It is for this reason that a rift exists between the Islamist Erdogan and the Wahhabist Saudis. For beginners, it is the equivalent of “Democratic” socialists versus communists.

As Erdogan’s own plan of playing both sides continues, the situation inside his own country will most likely continue to deteriorate, despite his clever handling (or masterminding) of the recent coup that saw him eliminate many of his political and institutional enemies. As the domestic situation in Turkey worsens, Erdogan will likely face losses both in Syria and Iraq and will most likely move closer to Russia. As a result, the West will attempt to rein him in, using both the carrot and the traditional American stick. Domestically, his troubles may overwhelm him or, at the very least, the stability of his country.

Erdogan is currently attempting a delicate balancing act between two world powers. Delicacy, however, is not what Erdogan is most skilled at.

Regardless, it is important to remember that Turkey is still very much a part of NATO and very much a part of the anti-Syria, pro-ISIS coalition. His recent statements regarding the coalition support of ISIS is merely an attempt to bargain with the United States and gain brownie points with Russia, both designed to enhance his position for his own foolhardy neo-Ottoman dreams.

With that being said, we should welcome Erdogan’s newfound honesty and encourage him, if he has the photos and videos he claims to possess, to release them to the media immediately.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria,and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 850 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Erdogan Claims To Have Evidence, Photos, Video Of U.S. Coalition Support For ISIS-Daesh

Three US senators introduced a bill to congress on Wednesday that would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, defying international stances on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict resting on a two-state solution.

According to The Guardian, Republican senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Dean Heller (Nevada), and Marco Rubio (Florida), introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act at the 115th Congress in Washington on Wednesday, as Republicans control both the Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since 2007.

If implemented, the bill would give legitimacy to Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem since 1967, disregard Palestinian claims to the city, and possibly terminate a longstanding White House policy to perpetually defer a 1995 Congressional decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the embassy there.

The bill has been introduced as President-Elect Donald Trump will be sworn in as the American President on Jan. 20. The soon-to-be president of the United States pledged during his campaign that, if elected, he would ensure that the US embassy in Israel was moved to Jerusalem, with Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway reiterating last month that the move would be a “very big priority” for the Trump administration.

Trump has also been a vocal supporter for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, which have been condemned by the international community as representing a clear violation of international law.

Earlier this month, outgoing US President Barack Obama renewed a presidential waiver that again delayed plans to relocate the embassy for another six months, citing “national security interests,” as every US president has done since Bill Clinton.

While many countries have consulates in Jerusalem that cater to citizens residing in the occupied Palestinian territory, the majority of embassies to Israel are located in the Tel Aviv area.

Meanwhile, Trump’s choice for US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has been described as a “pro-settler lawyer” who has openly announced his disdain for the two-state solution and his support for recognizing an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

He has positioned himself as a divisive and controversial figure in Israeli-Palestinian politics, accusing President Barack Obama of being an “anti-Semite” and comparing American Jews who oppose the half-century occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to Nazi prisoners who served as guards in concentration camps.

Friedman also serves as president of the American Friends in Beit El Yeshiva — a group that supports the illegal settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank — and said he hoped to “strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem,” just hours after being appointed to the post.

Last month, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat warned that the PLO would revoke all previously signed agreements with Israel as well as the PLO’s 1993 recognition of Israel if Trump followed through on his pledge to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

During a conference call in Washington D.C. organized by the Wilson Center, Erekat reportedly said such a move would indicate the US’s acceptance of “Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem,” and further warned that “any hope of peace in the future will just vanish,” Times of Israel reported.

In November, in response to Trump’s initial comments on the issue, Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour threatened to “make life miserable” for the United States at the United Nations if the embassy was moved, pointing out that such a decision would represent a violation of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 regarding the status of Jerusalem, and constitute “belligerency” towards Palestinians.

Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made similar promises to move the embassy during their presidential campaigns, but once in office they signed the waiver required to avoid following through with the move.

The American bill’s introduction also comes on the heels of a UN General Assembly resolution, which passed last month, reiterating the international community’s rejection of Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory and restating its illegality under international law.

After strongly condemning the resolution’s passage, the Israeli government has openly expressed its anticipation for a Trump presidency when right-wing politicians believe they will more easily advance plans to expand Israeli settlements and consolidate Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank.

The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.

While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right as many Knesset members have called for an escalation of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, and with some having advocated for its complete annexation.

A number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on US Senators Introduce Bill to Move Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Divisions within the US state over allegations of Russian hacking of Democratic Party emails grew more embittered and public Wednesday following statements by Donald Trump that further distanced the president-elect from the CIA and other US intelligence agencies.

In a Twitter post late Tuesday, Trump questioned the veracity of a soon-to-be-released official report by the CIA, FBI and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on the alleged Russian intervention into the 2016 US election. The intelligence officials are due to brief leaders of Congress on Thursday and Trump on Friday.

To date, no evidence has been presented to the public to substantiate the charges of Russian government hacking of the Democratic Party and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Trump alluded to this fact when he tweeted: “The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”

He followed this up with a tweet on Wednesday quoting approvingly from an interview conducted by Shawn Hannity of Fox News with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’—why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!”

In the interview, Assange reaffirmed his earlier statements that the documents WikiLeaks published were not provided by the Russian government or “any state party.” He said that the email hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta were likely the result of the Democratic Party’s amateurish security practices. “Podesta gave out that his password was the word ‘password,’” Assange said. “This is something a fourteen-year-old kid could have hacked.”

Trump’s comments left Democrats and the intelligence agencies aghast and outraged. The Wall Street Journal reported, “White House officials have been increasingly frustrated by Mr. Trump’s confrontations with intelligence officials,” quoting one official as saying, “It’s appalling… No president has ever taken on the CIA and come out looking good.”

The mood was summed up by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (Democrat of New York), who issued a thinly veiled threat against the president-elect. “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

Democrats combined their denunciations of Trump for not accepting the statements of intelligence agencies and for being too close to Russian President Vladimir Putin with an escalation of the witch-hunt against Assange. “Today, Trump sided with Julian Assange—an alleged sex offender who has hidden out in the Ecuadorian embassy for years and has dumped millions of classified State Department documents that put US persons at risk—rather than our country’s own intelligence professionals,” declared Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Republicans more closely aligned to the CIA also spoke out against Trump’s comments. “We have two choices: some guy living in an embassy on the run from the law… who has a history of undermining American democracy and releasing classified information to put our troops at risk, or the 17 intelligence agencies sworn to defend us,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.”

In an indication of the policy disputes behind the conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday evening that Trump “is working with top advisers on a plan that would restructure and pare back the nation’s top spy agency… prompted by a belief that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has become bloated and politicized.”

The Journal reported that Trump’s advisers “are working on a plan to restructure the Central Intelligence Agency, cutting back on staffing at its Virginia headquarters and pushing more people out into field posts around the world.” A source close to the president-elect told the Journal, “Mr. Trump shares the view… that the intelligence community’s position that Russians tried to help his campaign is an attempt to undermine his victory or say he didn’t win.”

The highly public conflict only two weeks before the inauguration of Trump points to the depth of the divisions that have arisen in the American state.

There is no progressive side in this faction fight. On the part of the White House, the CIA and substantial sections of the Republican Party, together with the majority of the American media, the hacking charges are aimed at creating as much pressure as possible to prevent any shift away from the Obama administration’s highly provocative and confrontational economic, diplomatic and military campaign against Russia. The faction that has coalesced around Trump favors a more aggressive US policy first of all against China. Trump spokespeople have sought in comments and interviews to redirect the furor over alleged cyber-attacks away from Russia and toward China.

It is significant that the Democrats, while signaling their willingness to cooperate with Trump on pursuing aggressively protectionist policies and saying little about the ultra-right-wing cabinet he has assembled, make the defense of the intelligence agencies and the pursuit of a war-mongering policy against Russia the issues on which they remain intransigent.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Split Widens Between Trump, CIA over Russian Hacking Allegations

“Why is radiation incompatible with life?  If this tenet is correct, nuclear power (both weapon and electricity-producing) should not be allowed to exist on this earth, as they produce radionuclides as their by-products. 

We will look into this issue from a scientific standpoint.”

I.  Introduction

Science has advanced since the beginning of 20th century, and led to the current atomic age.  The discovery of nuclear fission reaction in 1938 led immediately to its use for a military purpose.  The atomic bombs dropped on Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, flattened the two cities and killed several hundred thousands people instantaneously.  Most of the cause of death was of non-radiation; extreme heat and the destructing shockwaves.  However, many died also from the strong radiation effects, without incurring barn or physical injury.  The nuclear fission reaction has since been applied to the “so-called” peaceful use, i.e., nuclear power to produce electricity.  Both usages produce inevitably huge amounts of radioactive material as the byproducts.  The radiation from these sources predominate now the radiation background of the earth.  The radioactive materials have so far released to the surface of the earth through the atomic bomb explosions, tests of nuclear weapons, accidents of nuclear facilities including those of Chernobyl in Ukraine, Three mile island in Pennsylvania in USA, Fukushima in Japan, and some nuclear submarines, and, also from the routine release from the nuclear facilities.

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 affected and killed many people, but the damaged reactor No.4 has not been fixed and has been in a sarcophagus to prevent further release of radioactive material.  The sarcophagus, however, has been deteriorated after thirty years, and now is covered with another huge dome.  The people affected are still suffering from many health problems thirty years later.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan six years ago has not been fixed.  It is becoming increasingly evident that it is difficult to fix it, as three reactors’ nuclear fuel rods were melted; there is no precedence for such a disaster in human history.  The health effects of radioactive material released are becoming significant day by day.  Un-fortunately, its reality has been covered up by the Japanese government.  What’s more, the government is eagerly trying to restart the nuclear power plants as many as possible, having done so three nuclear power reactors so far, despite the fact that no electricity shortage has been experienced when no single nuclear power plant was in operation for two years (2013-2015).  This implies that Japan does not need the nuclear energy.  Unfortunately even the largest opposition party (Minshin) seems to be in favor of restarting them.

The politicians’ concern is simply “economics”, which is seen only from the standpoint of the operating corporations.  In terms of the overall economic effects, the nuclear power plants are known to be ineffective or rather disastrous. The people who are in favor of nuclear power, i.e., the present government of Japan (and others), the majority of politicians, the corporations of operating and manufacturing nuclear power plants, the bureaucrats, and many “so-called” experts depending on the nuclear industry, are concerned only with their own livelihood.  They are unaware of or ignoring the fact that radiation coming from the unavoidable byproducts of the nuclear power operation is indeed incompatible with living organisms.

This fact, i.e., INCOMPATIBILITY OF RADIATION WITH LIFE, seems to be recognized by the nuclear industry.  Hence, the nuclear industry and its associates (termed often “nuclear mafia”) are desperately trying to cover up the evil health effects of radiation.  They have tried, and have so far been able to cover them up relatively successfully.  This has been possible, only because the evil effects are basically subtle, not felt by the person affected, and have so far been confined to relatively small areas and few people (compared with the vast area of the entire earth and the majority of the human race).

In the following short article we would like to show why radiation is incompatible with life, and hence that the “nuclear” power reactors as well as weapons which produce radioactive material should not be on the earth.

II.  Why is radiation incompatible with life?

1. The interaction of radiation particles with biomolecules

Then, the basic question is: Why is radiation incompatible with life?  If this tenet is correct, the nuclear power (both weapon and electricity-producing) should not be allowed to exist on this earth, as they produce radionuclides as the by-products.  We will look into this issue from scientific standpoint.

Let’s recognize that the earth is a rare body in the universe.  A few earth-like bodies have been found, but whether life exists on those bodies is unknown.  The vast majority of the bodies in the universe have no life on them anyway.  Why is the earth so blessed with life?  The basic reason (i) is that the majority of material (likely more than 99.99999%) is made of stable atoms.  Two other reasons are: (ii) cosmic ray, harmful to life, are relatively little to reach the earth’s surface, and (iii) the prevailing temperature on the surface of this planet allows the presence of liquid water.  This last issue has something to do with the currently debated “climate change”, and would not be discussed here.

First, an atom is made of a nucleus and surrounding electrons.  A nucleus consists of electrically neutral neutrons and positively charged protons.  They are confined in a very, very small area (nucleus) by “strong” (“nuclear”) force.  On the other hands, electrons are attracted by “electromagnetic” force to the nucleus, as electrons are negatively charged.  All material including those constituting human bodies on this earth are made of stable atoms.  It needs to be added in haste that a few unstable atoms do exist on the earth and the extent of their effects on life is quite limited, though real, but cannot be made visible unless carefully studied.

When we say “stable or unstable atom”, we mean “nucleus” rather than the whole atom consisting of a nucleus and surrounding electrons.  The energy state of nucleus is governed by the “strong” force (“nuclear” force).  “Unstable” implies “having extra energy”, that needs to be shed.  So an unstable nucleus (of an atom) undergoes a spontaneous change to a more stable state.  The process is termed as “nuclear decay”, in which the extra energy is released as “radiation”.  Hence such an stable nucleus is called “radioactive nucleus=radionuclide”.  There are a few radiation types: alpha (α), beta (β), gamma (γ) and neutron, and others.  The energies carried by these radiations are very large, as the processes of change are governed by the “strong” force.  Some examples of radiation energy are as follows: 20 KeV for β from T(tritium), 1.2 MeV for β and γ combined of Cs(cesium)-137, 546 KeV for β from Sr(strontium)-90, 5.245 MeV for α from Pu(plutonium)-239.  We will assume 1 MeV as a typical radiation particle energy in the argument below.  On the contrary, stable nuclei remain intact forever as such without emitting radiation.

Because the majority of atoms on the earth are stable, they do not emit radiation.  It needs to be pointed out, though, that a few radioactive nuclides do exist on the present earth.  They include uranium (U)-238, thorium (Th)-232 and potassium (K)-40.  The direct effects of these radioactive nuclei on the living organisms are relatively minor, except for K-40.  Hence the all the living organisms are hardly subject to the negative effects of naturally occurring radionuclides; an exception is K-40.

Reason (ii) mentioned above is how radiation from the outside of the earth, i.e., cosmic ray, approaches the earth.  Cosmic ray consists of electrically charged particles such as proton, α particle and electron (β), and of electrically neutral ones including γ-ray and neutrons.  The magnetic field encircling the earth changes the course of the electrically charged particles.  As a result, most of them would be reflected away off the earth, and would not significantly reach the surface of the earth.  Neutrons and γ-ray will lose its energy as they enter the earth’s atmosphere.  However, neutron causes the formation of e.g., the radioactive carbon C-14 from the atmospheric nitrogen.  Ultraviolet light is also harmful to living organisms, but it is being shielded off significantly by the ozone layer in the current atmosphere.  These special conditions surrounding the earth contribute to significant reduction of in-coming radiation, and helps living organisms to survive.  We are thus very fortunate, but unfortunately have brought instruments to produce a lot of radioactive material in the form of nuclear weapons and nuclear power reactors.

The effects of radiation on living organisms are based on their interactions with the molecules (compounds in general) in life.  The physical effect of radiation is of various nature, but are summarized as “ionization”, i.e., ejection of electron from a chemical compound.  In order to understand the likely magnitude of the radiation effects, we need to look at the material, i.e., chemical compounds; how they are constructed and the energy values involved in their changes, i.e., chemical reactions.

The materials on the earth are all made of chemical compounds/molecules; they consist of atoms connected by chemical bonds, which are made through the electromagnetic force.  For example, water molecule is made of two hydrogen (H) atoms and one oxygen (O) atom in the manner of H-O-H, where the line connecting H and O is a chemical bond, formed by placing two electrons between two atoms.  The negative two electrons attract two positively charged nuclei, i.e., (+ of the nucleus of H) (– two electrons)(+of the nucleus of O).  All chemical compounds are composed of atoms connected through chemical bonds.  Some of typical energy values for chemical reactions are as follow: 13.6 eV for removing an electron from a hydrogen atom; 4.3 eV for breaking H-C bond in CH4(methane), 3.6 eV for breaking C-C bond in H3C-CH3 (ethane), 30.6 eV to remove an electron from Fe(2+).  The chemical reaction energy ranges from 1 eV to 100 eV.

Now we will try to figure out what effects a radiation particle will have on chemical materials.  We assume that a typical chemical energy to eject an electron from a molecule is about 30 eV and the ejected electron may travel with 20 eV.  That is, a single impact of a radiation particle on a single chemical compound would use energy of 50 eV to eject an electron.  If this is so, a single radiation particle of 1 MeV will eject electrons from approximately 20 thousand molecules.  This number varies with many variables (density of chemicals in the material, kind of compounds, etc), and likely ranges something like from 100 to 10,000 molecules affected.  Many of the molecules with lost electrons may break in chemical bonds and be destroyed.  Some of them turn into free radicals.  Some ejected electrons could have high enough kinetic energy and act as β-particles.  Anyway, a single radiation particle of typical energy will destroy something like 100 to 10,000 molecules.  In the subsequent argument, we will assume 2,000 as a typical number of molecules destroyed.

The effects mentioned in the segment above are of direct nature; i.e., “direct” effect of radiation.  The “indirect” effect is due to the chemical reactions caused by some entities formed by the direct effect.  The most important one is the effect of hydroxyl free radical (.OH), which forms as the breakage of H-O bond in water molecule.  This free radical is extremely reactive, and removes a hydrogen atom from a molecule it encounters.  The results would be another free radical formation, and likely deformation on the affected molecule.  Hydroxyl free radical is one of the so-called “reactive oxygen” species (ROS), which include superoxide free radical, hydrogen peroxide, alkyl hydroperoxides, and oxygen molecule in a singlet state (1O2).  The ROS’s are all more reactive than the oxygen molecule present in the atmosphere, which is in a triplet state (3O2).  ROS’s can form under ordinary physiological conditions, except for hydroxyl free radical, which is formed only by high-energy radiation.

2. Why is 10 Sv (Gy) lethal?

Radiation exposure dose is measured in terms of absorbed energy, Gy=J/kg.  Effects on living organisms are dependent on the nature of radiation.  α-Particle, being heavy (with two protons and two neutrons) and electrically charged, has stronger effects compared with β (an electron) or γ-particle.  γ is an electromagnetic wave, but behaves as a particle (photon) when it interacts with atoms and molecule.  Thus, equivalent exposure dose Sv (Sievert) is defined as Gy times weighing factor, which is 20 for α and 1 for β and γ.  We will see now what Gy or Sv imparts.  In the case of β and γ, Sv value is the same as Gy value.

From the careful studies on the atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it has been determined that exposure of 10 Sv (or Gy) or higher causes an instant death of a human.  However, this energy raises the body temperature merely by 0.0024 degree, if given as heat energy.  Obviously this temperature change would not even be felt by the person, let alone killing him.  Yet it does kill a person instantly.  How come?  This question does lead to the basic reason why radiation is incompatible with life.

10 J was given by a radiation exposure to, say, the explosion of an atomic bomb.  In this case, radiation comes from outside of the body; this is termed as “EXTERNAL” exposure.  Suppose this radiation consists of the typical 1 MeV particles.  Since 10 J=6.26 x 1019 eV, this much of energy will be supplied by 6.26 x 1013 particles of 1 MeV.  1 kg of human body typically consists of 1012 cells.  Therefore, each cell will receive 60 radiation particles on average, if they distribute evenly throughout the body.  Hence, 60 x 2,000=120,000 molecules in each cell will be destroyed.  Likely many cells would die, or cannot be reproduced, and hence the body will die soon.  It is more likely that they do not distribute evenly, and hence that the more highly exposed portions would have many more molecules destroyed.

This is a simple idea.  Is there any proof for it?   Two observations will be mentioned.

First, Dr. Shuntaro Hida witnessed the horror of the effects of the atomic bomb as a physician immediately after Hiroshima bomb:

“…A fever so high that even doctors of internal medicine had rarely seen it. … as we examined our patients and wondered why they were running such fever, they began to bleed from their eyes, nose and mouth.  Even we doctors had never seen such bleeding from the eyes….we attempted to examine the inside of their mouths, but could not.  It was not simply bad breath, it was the smell of decay.  A smell so bad, we could not put our faces near their mouths….even though these people were still alive, the insides of their mouths were decaying.  Such persons soon died.”

[1].  These observations imply that many organs inside the body were destroyed by the strong radiation.

A few workers were accidentally exposed to a strong radiation due to an accidental critical condition in JCO, a company dealing with the nuclear fuels, on 1999.09.30.  The person exposed to the highest dose of 17 Sv (mostly neutrons) was hospitalized immediately but died 83 days later despite utmost care given, including replacement of the bone marrow.  A doctor who took care of him said: “…the double strands of DNA were all broken….he died of multi-organ failure….” [2].  This implies that many biomolecules including DNA were broken and many organs were damaged by the radiation.

Dr. S. Hida gives another insight regarding radiation exposure [1].  He reported:

“A patient claimed: ‘I am not sick from the “pika“ (the A-bomb explosion)’ ‘What makes you say that?’ ‘Well, I did not come to Hiroshima until two days after the bombing.  You see one of my children did not return home…It wasn’t until after walking around the ruins for two days, I began to feel ill’…Soon after, he began to display a number of odd symptoms and passed away.”  It was very likely due to inhaling the floating radioactive debris (minute particles=fallout), which irradiated the body from inside.  This is termed “INTERNAL” exposure.  This aspect of exposure is more serious than the external exposure at the lower dose level, but has been ignored officially.

3. Defense mechanisms against radiation?

Another question would be: Can living organisms have defense mechanisms against the destructive effects of radiation?  It is impossible.  Chemical means can provide energy of utmost 100 eV (usually much lower) available to defend the radiation effects, which has million times as large energy.  This is the basis for the tenet that radiation is incompatible with life on the earth.

It needs to be mentioned that some damages done by radiation can somewhat be repaired by some mechanisms present in living organisms.  Particularly it is true with DNA, the basis of life.  There are several mechanisms to repair the damages on DNA.  They have been evolved for repairing damages done by non-radiation effects, as DNA is constantly subject to disturbing effects, chemical and biological.  The mechanisms evolved so far can repair some damages done by radiation if they are of the same nature as non-radiological ones.  Radiological damages are quite random, and some of them are beyond the existing repairing capacities.  No direct repairing mechanism is known for other biomolecules.

However, some existing chemicals and general physiology such as immunity, can reduce or alleviate the damaging effects by radiation or the damaged situation.  The free radicals formed by radiation, particularly on water molecule and oxygen molecule, can be deactivated by some chemical agents, such as glutathione, flavonoids and ascorbic acid.  For example, glutathione (abbreviated as G-S-H) can react with hydroxyl radical .OH radical:  2G-S-H + 2.OH  G-S-S-G + 2H2O.  Therefore, these molecules can somewhat reduce the indirect radiation effects.  Most of SOR’s except hydroxyl radical occur under normal conditions without radiation, and hence some living organisms including human have evolved mechanisms to reduce their effects.  Enzymes are known for hydrogen peroxide (catalase), superoxide (superoxide dismutase), and so on.

Anyway, no defense has evolved against the radiation effects, and not sufficient mechanisms have been devised for repairing the damages caused by radiation.  Radiation affects any chemical compounds, but its effects are most prominent on living organisms, particularly animals, as they are based on fairly fragile systems.

4.  Is there safe dose?

Could a sufficiently low exposure be safe?  Or is there any threshold of exposure level below which no ill health effect is expected?  The data obtained so far rejected the presence of threshold, and have demonstrated a linear relationship without threshold (termed “LNT” relationship) in the relationship between health risk and the exposure dose at low levels.

X-ray is equivalent to γ-ray, though weaker, and is used for diagnostic purposes and others in medicine.  The exposure is entirely external, and the dose can be determined accurately.  Several studies have demonstrated the LNT relationship regarding the cancer risk and the X-ray exposure dose [3,4].  These data deal with low level of exposure below 100 mSv.  Even the data on the atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki indicated LNT relationship for all kinds of cancer and many non-cancerous diseases [5].  51.3% of all the children in Ukraine who got thyroid cancers due to the Chernobyl accident received less than 100 mSv, and 16% even less than 10 mSv [6].  However, the Japanese government still insists that there is no danger for cancer at exposure dose lower than 100 mSv.

Another issue is the effect of internal exposure as against external dose.  The official data regarding Hiroshima and Nagasaki [5] are based on the external exposure dose due to the bomb explosion.  They did not take account of possible “internal” exposure.  The exposure dose caused by external irradiation is defined per the body mass (Kg), as irradiation is supposed to spread throughout the body; i.e., Gy (or Sv)= energy absorbed by 1 kg of the body.  When a radioactive material enters a body and irradiates the immediate vicinity of the local the radionuclides settled in, it irradiates, let’s suppose, only the area that weighs 2 g, because α or β particles do not travel long distances.  Nominally D (Gy) value =D joule/kg.  In reality it irradiates the area of 2 g, and hence the actual dose should be D joule/2g = D joule/0.002 kg=500D joule/kg.  The actual dose values would depend on many factors, and not always 500 times of the nominal value.  Anyway, the internal dose would be much higher than the nominal dose value implies.

Often, an official argument is based on the nominal external dose rate, even if the actual radiation is “internal”, and therefore, it devalues the magnitude of effects.  This is particularly true in the case of accidents of the nuclear facilities, where the external exposure dose is typically relatively low, and the serious effect is mostly due to the internal exposure.  In this case, internal exposure dose cannot be estimated from the external dose value such as spatial dose, as radioactive material may enter through various routes, and such a chance to enter a body has little to do with the spatial dose.  The chance of inhalation of minute particles floating may be somewhat related to the spatial dose rate, though.

5.  Humankind has not found safe ways to dispose and store the radioactive material

The incompatibility of radiation with life implies that the radioactive material have to be disposed and stored safely, in the way they would not affect all the living organisms on the earth.  We have not yet found very effective ways to do so.  The radioactivity lasts long.  Pu-239, for example, last 480,000 years, which is twenty times of the half-life (24,000 years), by that time the radioactivity will diminish to about a million times smaller than the original.  Even the most widely distributed cesium (Cs-137) takes about 600 years (20 times of half-life 30 years) to become almost nil.  Meanwhile they keep emitting radiation, heating and damaging their surroundings.

The Chernobyl’s damaged nuclear reactor has been covered by a large sarcophagus to reduce the escape of radiation the last thirty years.  It has deteriorated significantly because of radiation from the debris and weather, so that another huge cover has recently been constructed and placed on top of the sarcophagus.  It is said that this cover may last a hundred years, and then it will have to be replaced or covered further.  This illustrates how difficult it is to store radioactive material.  This is a single example.  There are hundreds of sites where radioactive waste is now stored and some difficulties are experienced.  It is imperative for us to find safe ways to store the radioactive waste.  There may not be an absolutely safe solution on the earth.  Yet, the humankind is earnestly increasing the radioactive wastes in huge quantities.  This is insane.

III. Nuclear Power Plants need not and should not be on Earth

1.  Nuclear power reactors are NOT CLEAN

Approximately 450 nuclear power reactors are presently on this earth.  In the nuclear power production of electricity, only one third of the heat produced in a reactor is converted into electricity, and the remainder two third of heat is released into the surrounding.  A typical 1giga watt reactor will release 4.7 x 1016 joule of heat into the environment per year.  This much heat will bring 100 million tons of water at zero degree to boiling.  This is with a single nuclear reactor.  The nuclear power reactors are excellent environmental heaters.  Hundreds of such reactors are operating on this earth.  But this fact is ignored in the argument of the nuclear power being environmentally clean.  This is not the only reason for the nuclear reactors being unclean.

In addition, this typical reactor of 1 giga (thousand mega) watt of capacity (electricity) produces in a year radioactive material equivalent to about 1000 Hiroshima atomic bombs.  In 2015, the total amount of electricity produced by nuclear reactors was 2,441 BkWh (billion kilo watt hours: data [7]), which is 8.79 x 1018 joule.  It was produced by about 280 nuclear reactors of 1 giga watt capacity.  So they produced radioactive material approximately equivalent to 280,000 Hiroshima bombs.  In addition, they released 1.3 x 1019 joule of heat into the environment.  These are the values for just one year.  Nuclear power reactors have been operating the last forty years, though not always this many.

Anyway, an enormous amount of radioactive material has been made on the earth.  How much of it has been released into the environment is not easy to estimate.  They have come out into the environment through the tests of the nuclear weapons, use of depleted uranium bombs, the routine release of some radioactive material from the nuclear facilities under normal conditions and others, in addition to the accidents at nuclear facilities.  The effects of the released radioactive material have been amply observed and reported, and yet are not shared with the majority of humankind.  We mention here only a few cases, and refer them to a few major sources.  The nuclear weapon explosion tests in the atmosphere affected the people in the eastern side, Utah, of the test site in Nevada (1951-1960, ref [8]).  Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in the present Ukraine (1986) was one of the worst nuclear facility accidents, and people are still suffering  [9]. Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster (2011) cause by the huge earthquake along with tsunami is far from settled, and health effects are only now becoming manifest [10]. These incidents represent the notion that the nuclear power is “not clean” at all, rather it is the dirtiest.

The world on the whole depends on the nuclear power by about 11% for the electricity production in 2015 [7].  A number of countries still rely significantly on the nuclear power.  Some numbers are: 76% in France, 56% in Ukraine, 56% in Slovakia, 53% in Hungary, 38% in Slovenia, 38% in Belgium, 35% in Armenia, 35% in Sweden, 34% in Finland, 34% in Switzerland, 33% in Czech, 32% in S. Korea, and 31% in Bulgaria [7].  Fortunately no serious accidents of nuclear facilities has been experienced so far in these countries except for Ukraine (Chernobyl accident), though minor accidents are known to have taken place in many of these countries as well as others not listed here.  Nuclear facilities are prone to accidents anyway.

The level of dependency on the nuclear power seems to be reflected in the cancer incident rate in those nations.  The cancer rates of some countries listed above are plotted against the nuclear power dependency; it is shown in the figure below [11].  Except for France, there seems to be a correlation between them.  This does not necessarily imply that radiation from the nuclear facilities alone is somehow related to the cancer.  The more direct data relating the nuclear facilities and the cancer rate are illustrated by a study termed KiKK [12].  It investigated all German nuclear reactors and found that children living within 5 km from a nuclear reactor had higher risk of cancer (particularly, leukemia), more than twice compared to those living farther away.  A similar study has been conducted [13] with regard to leukemia among children living near nuclear facilities in other countries: UK, Canada, Japan and USA, and found the trend similar to that of KiKK.

2.  The nuclear power productions are NOT ECONOMICAL

Cleaning and disposing the damaged nuclear facilities require an enormous amount of money, as well as human sacrifice (workers exposed to the radiation).  Compensating the victims who lost lives and healthy ways of life and suffer from other difficulties also need a lot of money.  Decommissioning an old nuclear reactor, even if not damaged, takes decades, and yet the radioactive waste cannot be disposed safely as yet, because humankind has not found a good way to do that.  But, obviously, we have to find it out before too long.  All these processes require money as well as energy.  All told, the amount of money for disposing the nuclear facilities and bringing the sites to clean lots, and providing adequate compensation for the victims would be astronomical.  It could be beyond the ability of corporations, and hence consume a lot of money earned by the citizens.  Such a situation could destroy the financial basis of a nation.

3.  Nuclear power is NOT NECESSARY

Upon the Fukushima disaster due to the great earthquake and tsunami in 2011, all nuclear power plants in Japan were shut down.  After a while, the Japanese government restarted a single nuclear plant in 2012-13.  After this reactor was shut down in order to inspect the facility, no nuclear power plant operated for almost two years until the end of August of 2015 (2013-2015).  While all these things were happening, no electricity shortage was experienced in Japan, even though Japan had relied about 30% of electricity on the nuclear power before the Fukushima disaster.  This fact definitely implies that Japan does not need nuclear power.  Unfortunately, the current government is eager to restart the nuclear power plants, and indeed has done so with three nuclear power reactors as of Jan. 1st, 2017, despite of the strong opposition from the Japanese people.

As mentioned earlier, a number of countries in Europe still depend heavily on the nuclear energy.  Some of them have decided in the face of the Fukushima accident to abolish the nuclear power; Germany, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.  Recently Taiwan government announced that they would abolish their nuclear power plants by 2025.  Other countries listed earlier have not made a move toward abolishment, but, hopefully, they will soon realize the danger of the nuclear facilities, and start decommissioning them.

We are fortunate to have inexhaustible energy sources available on this earth.  The total amount of energy humankind used in 2005 is estimated to be 4.9 x 1020 joule.  The energy influx from the Sun on the entire surface of the earth is estimated to be 8.9 x 1016 joule/sec, and hence it will be 2.8 x 1024 joule per year.  The solar energy alone could amply provide all the energy humankind needs.  Wind power (driven ultimately by solar energy) available on the entire earth is estimated to be 2.3 x 1021 joule per year, and so, theoretically wind power alone may be sufficient.  Humankind needs to technically overcome the practical problems associated with these freely available energy sources, and should resort to these energies as far as feasible, and as soon as possible.  Other inexhaustible energy sources including “geothermal” and “tidal” are also to be employed as much as feasible.  In other words, we could be energy-sufficient, without resorting to non-renewable carbon fossil fuels or nuclear power.

IV   Conclusion

No nuclear power plant should be allowed on the earth, because:

  1. the radioactive material produced by the nuclear power reactors emit radiation which destroy living organisms;
  2. there is no definitive safe way to store long-lasting nuclear wastes, so that no more radioactive material should be produced;
  3. nuclear power reactors are contributing significantly to warming of the environment;
  4. nuclear power plants are not economical, but rather could bring disasters to the operating companies and even the nation’s finances.

 References

[1] See for example: http://wcpeace.org/Hida_memoir.htm

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiYZSKtZb7k; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnRRWwbYPSI

[3] Eisenberg MJ, Afilalo J, Lawler PR, Abrahamowicz M, Richard H, Pilote L., “Cancer risk related to low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging in patients after acute myocardial infarction”, Can. Med. Assoc. J., 183 (2011), 430-436 

[4] Mathews, J. D., Forsythe, A. V., Brady, Z., Butler, M. W., Goergen, S. K., Bymes, G. B., Giles, G. G., Wallace, A. B., Anderson, P. R, Guiver, T. A., McGale, P., Cain, T. M., Dowoty, J. G., Bickerstaffe, A. C., Darby, S. C.,  “Cancer Risk in 680000 people exposed to computed tomography scans in childhood or adolescence: data linkage study of 11 million Australians”, Brit. Med. J., 2013.05.22

[5] Ozasa, K., Shimizu, Y., Suyama, A., Kasagi, F., Soda, M., Grant, E. J., Sakata, R., Sugiyama, H., Kodama, K., “Studies of the mortality of atomic bomb survivors, Report 14, 1950-2003: An overview of cancer and noncancer Diseases” (LSS-14), Rad. Res., 177 (2012), 229-243

[6] Tronko, M., Bogdanova, T., Komissarenko, I. V., Epstein, O. V., Kovalenko, A., Lichtarev, I. A., Kairo, I., Peters, S. B., LiVolsi, V. A., “Thyroid carcinoma in children and adolescents in Ukraine after the Chernobyl nuclear accident”, Cancer, 86 (1999) 149-156

[7] http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics  

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downwinders

[9] Yablokov, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B., Nesterenko, A. V., “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”, Ann. New York Acad., 1181 (2009)

[10] http://apjjf.org/-Eiichiro-Ochiai/4382; http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-human-consequences-of-the-fukushima-dai-ichi-nuclear-power-plant-accidents/5478670

[11] The data of nuclear dependence are from ref [7], and the cancer death rates (2014) are from http://www.globalnote.jp/post-10211.html

[12] Nussbaum, R. H., “Childhood leukemia and cancers near German nuclear reactors: Significance, context and ramifications of recent studies”, Int. Occup/ Environ. Health, 15 (2009), 318-323

[13] Baker, P. J., Hoel, D. G., “Meta-analysis of standardized incidence and mortality rates of childhood leukemia in proximity to nuclear facilities”, Eur. J. Cancer Care, 16 (2007), 355-363 

Eiichiro Ochiai: retired chemistry professor; has become seriously concerned with the radiation effects since the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in 2011 and has published four books on the theme of “Radiation is Incompatible with Life”, including “Hiroshima to Fukushima: Biohazards of Radiation” (Springer Verlag (Heidelberg), 2013).

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Fukushima Radiation Looms. No Nuclear Power Plant On Planet Earth! “The Incompatibility of Radiation with Human Life”

“Why is radiation incompatible with life?  If this tenet is correct, nuclear power (both weapon and electricity-producing) should not be allowed to exist on this earth, as they produce radionuclides as their by-products. 

We will look into this issue from a scientific standpoint.”

I.  Introduction

Science has advanced since the beginning of 20th century, and led to the current atomic age.  The discovery of nuclear fission reaction in 1938 led immediately to its use for a military purpose.  The atomic bombs dropped on Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, flattened the two cities and killed several hundred thousands people instantaneously.  Most of the cause of death was of non-radiation; extreme heat and the destructing shockwaves.  However, many died also from the strong radiation effects, without incurring barn or physical injury.  The nuclear fission reaction has since been applied to the “so-called” peaceful use, i.e., nuclear power to produce electricity.  Both usages produce inevitably huge amounts of radioactive material as the byproducts.  The radiation from these sources predominate now the radiation background of the earth.  The radioactive materials have so far released to the surface of the earth through the atomic bomb explosions, tests of nuclear weapons, accidents of nuclear facilities including those of Chernobyl in Ukraine, Three mile island in Pennsylvania in USA, Fukushima in Japan, and some nuclear submarines, and, also from the routine release from the nuclear facilities.

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 affected and killed many people, but the damaged reactor No.4 has not been fixed and has been in a sarcophagus to prevent further release of radioactive material.  The sarcophagus, however, has been deteriorated after thirty years, and now is covered with another huge dome.  The people affected are still suffering from many health problems thirty years later.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan six years ago has not been fixed.  It is becoming increasingly evident that it is difficult to fix it, as three reactors’ nuclear fuel rods were melted; there is no precedence for such a disaster in human history.  The health effects of radioactive material released are becoming significant day by day.  Un-fortunately, its reality has been covered up by the Japanese government.  What’s more, the government is eagerly trying to restart the nuclear power plants as many as possible, having done so three nuclear power reactors so far, despite the fact that no electricity shortage has been experienced when no single nuclear power plant was in operation for two years (2013-2015).  This implies that Japan does not need the nuclear energy.  Unfortunately even the largest opposition party (Minshin) seems to be in favor of restarting them.

The politicians’ concern is simply “economics”, which is seen only from the standpoint of the operating corporations.  In terms of the overall economic effects, the nuclear power plants are known to be ineffective or rather disastrous. The people who are in favor of nuclear power, i.e., the present government of Japan (and others), the majority of politicians, the corporations of operating and manufacturing nuclear power plants, the bureaucrats, and many “so-called” experts depending on the nuclear industry, are concerned only with their own livelihood.  They are unaware of or ignoring the fact that radiation coming from the unavoidable byproducts of the nuclear power operation is indeed incompatible with living organisms.

This fact, i.e., INCOMPATIBILITY OF RADIATION WITH LIFE, seems to be recognized by the nuclear industry.  Hence, the nuclear industry and its associates (termed often “nuclear mafia”) are desperately trying to cover up the evil health effects of radiation.  They have tried, and have so far been able to cover them up relatively successfully.  This has been possible, only because the evil effects are basically subtle, not felt by the person affected, and have so far been confined to relatively small areas and few people (compared with the vast area of the entire earth and the majority of the human race).

In the following short article we would like to show why radiation is incompatible with life, and hence that the “nuclear” power reactors as well as weapons which produce radioactive material should not be on the earth.

II.  Why is radiation incompatible with life?

1. The interaction of radiation particles with biomolecules

Then, the basic question is: Why is radiation incompatible with life?  If this tenet is correct, the nuclear power (both weapon and electricity-producing) should not be allowed to exist on this earth, as they produce radionuclides as the by-products.  We will look into this issue from scientific standpoint.

Let’s recognize that the earth is a rare body in the universe.  A few earth-like bodies have been found, but whether life exists on those bodies is unknown.  The vast majority of the bodies in the universe have no life on them anyway.  Why is the earth so blessed with life?  The basic reason (i) is that the majority of material (likely more than 99.99999%) is made of stable atoms.  Two other reasons are: (ii) cosmic ray, harmful to life, are relatively little to reach the earth’s surface, and (iii) the prevailing temperature on the surface of this planet allows the presence of liquid water.  This last issue has something to do with the currently debated “climate change”, and would not be discussed here.

First, an atom is made of a nucleus and surrounding electrons.  A nucleus consists of electrically neutral neutrons and positively charged protons.  They are confined in a very, very small area (nucleus) by “strong” (“nuclear”) force.  On the other hands, electrons are attracted by “electromagnetic” force to the nucleus, as electrons are negatively charged.  All material including those constituting human bodies on this earth are made of stable atoms.  It needs to be added in haste that a few unstable atoms do exist on the earth and the extent of their effects on life is quite limited, though real, but cannot be made visible unless carefully studied.

When we say “stable or unstable atom”, we mean “nucleus” rather than the whole atom consisting of a nucleus and surrounding electrons.  The energy state of nucleus is governed by the “strong” force (“nuclear” force).  “Unstable” implies “having extra energy”, that needs to be shed.  So an unstable nucleus (of an atom) undergoes a spontaneous change to a more stable state.  The process is termed as “nuclear decay”, in which the extra energy is released as “radiation”.  Hence such an stable nucleus is called “radioactive nucleus=radionuclide”.  There are a few radiation types: alpha (α), beta (β), gamma (γ) and neutron, and others.  The energies carried by these radiations are very large, as the processes of change are governed by the “strong” force.  Some examples of radiation energy are as follows: 20 KeV for β from T(tritium), 1.2 MeV for β and γ combined of Cs(cesium)-137, 546 KeV for β from Sr(strontium)-90, 5.245 MeV for α from Pu(plutonium)-239.  We will assume 1 MeV as a typical radiation particle energy in the argument below.  On the contrary, stable nuclei remain intact forever as such without emitting radiation.

Because the majority of atoms on the earth are stable, they do not emit radiation.  It needs to be pointed out, though, that a few radioactive nuclides do exist on the present earth.  They include uranium (U)-238, thorium (Th)-232 and potassium (K)-40.  The direct effects of these radioactive nuclei on the living organisms are relatively minor, except for K-40.  Hence the all the living organisms are hardly subject to the negative effects of naturally occurring radionuclides; an exception is K-40.

Reason (ii) mentioned above is how radiation from the outside of the earth, i.e., cosmic ray, approaches the earth.  Cosmic ray consists of electrically charged particles such as proton, α particle and electron (β), and of electrically neutral ones including γ-ray and neutrons.  The magnetic field encircling the earth changes the course of the electrically charged particles.  As a result, most of them would be reflected away off the earth, and would not significantly reach the surface of the earth.  Neutrons and γ-ray will lose its energy as they enter the earth’s atmosphere.  However, neutron causes the formation of e.g., the radioactive carbon C-14 from the atmospheric nitrogen.  Ultraviolet light is also harmful to living organisms, but it is being shielded off significantly by the ozone layer in the current atmosphere.  These special conditions surrounding the earth contribute to significant reduction of in-coming radiation, and helps living organisms to survive.  We are thus very fortunate, but unfortunately have brought instruments to produce a lot of radioactive material in the form of nuclear weapons and nuclear power reactors.

The effects of radiation on living organisms are based on their interactions with the molecules (compounds in general) in life.  The physical effect of radiation is of various nature, but are summarized as “ionization”, i.e., ejection of electron from a chemical compound.  In order to understand the likely magnitude of the radiation effects, we need to look at the material, i.e., chemical compounds; how they are constructed and the energy values involved in their changes, i.e., chemical reactions.

The materials on the earth are all made of chemical compounds/molecules; they consist of atoms connected by chemical bonds, which are made through the electromagnetic force.  For example, water molecule is made of two hydrogen (H) atoms and one oxygen (O) atom in the manner of H-O-H, where the line connecting H and O is a chemical bond, formed by placing two electrons between two atoms.  The negative two electrons attract two positively charged nuclei, i.e., (+ of the nucleus of H) (– two electrons)(+of the nucleus of O).  All chemical compounds are composed of atoms connected through chemical bonds.  Some of typical energy values for chemical reactions are as follow: 13.6 eV for removing an electron from a hydrogen atom; 4.3 eV for breaking H-C bond in CH4(methane), 3.6 eV for breaking C-C bond in H3C-CH3 (ethane), 30.6 eV to remove an electron from Fe(2+).  The chemical reaction energy ranges from 1 eV to 100 eV.

Now we will try to figure out what effects a radiation particle will have on chemical materials.  We assume that a typical chemical energy to eject an electron from a molecule is about 30 eV and the ejected electron may travel with 20 eV.  That is, a single impact of a radiation particle on a single chemical compound would use energy of 50 eV to eject an electron.  If this is so, a single radiation particle of 1 MeV will eject electrons from approximately 20 thousand molecules.  This number varies with many variables (density of chemicals in the material, kind of compounds, etc), and likely ranges something like from 100 to 10,000 molecules affected.  Many of the molecules with lost electrons may break in chemical bonds and be destroyed.  Some of them turn into free radicals.  Some ejected electrons could have high enough kinetic energy and act as β-particles.  Anyway, a single radiation particle of typical energy will destroy something like 100 to 10,000 molecules.  In the subsequent argument, we will assume 2,000 as a typical number of molecules destroyed.

The effects mentioned in the segment above are of direct nature; i.e., “direct” effect of radiation.  The “indirect” effect is due to the chemical reactions caused by some entities formed by the direct effect.  The most important one is the effect of hydroxyl free radical (.OH), which forms as the breakage of H-O bond in water molecule.  This free radical is extremely reactive, and removes a hydrogen atom from a molecule it encounters.  The results would be another free radical formation, and likely deformation on the affected molecule.  Hydroxyl free radical is one of the so-called “reactive oxygen” species (ROS), which include superoxide free radical, hydrogen peroxide, alkyl hydroperoxides, and oxygen molecule in a singlet state (1O2).  The ROS’s are all more reactive than the oxygen molecule present in the atmosphere, which is in a triplet state (3O2).  ROS’s can form under ordinary physiological conditions, except for hydroxyl free radical, which is formed only by high-energy radiation.

2. Why is 10 Sv (Gy) lethal?

Radiation exposure dose is measured in terms of absorbed energy, Gy=J/kg.  Effects on living organisms are dependent on the nature of radiation.  α-Particle, being heavy (with two protons and two neutrons) and electrically charged, has stronger effects compared with β (an electron) or γ-particle.  γ is an electromagnetic wave, but behaves as a particle (photon) when it interacts with atoms and molecule.  Thus, equivalent exposure dose Sv (Sievert) is defined as Gy times weighing factor, which is 20 for α and 1 for β and γ.  We will see now what Gy or Sv imparts.  In the case of β and γ, Sv value is the same as Gy value.

From the careful studies on the atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it has been determined that exposure of 10 Sv (or Gy) or higher causes an instant death of a human.  However, this energy raises the body temperature merely by 0.0024 degree, if given as heat energy.  Obviously this temperature change would not even be felt by the person, let alone killing him.  Yet it does kill a person instantly.  How come?  This question does lead to the basic reason why radiation is incompatible with life.

10 J was given by a radiation exposure to, say, the explosion of an atomic bomb.  In this case, radiation comes from outside of the body; this is termed as “EXTERNAL” exposure.  Suppose this radiation consists of the typical 1 MeV particles.  Since 10 J=6.26 x 1019 eV, this much of energy will be supplied by 6.26 x 1013 particles of 1 MeV.  1 kg of human body typically consists of 1012 cells.  Therefore, each cell will receive 60 radiation particles on average, if they distribute evenly throughout the body.  Hence, 60 x 2,000=120,000 molecules in each cell will be destroyed.  Likely many cells would die, or cannot be reproduced, and hence the body will die soon.  It is more likely that they do not distribute evenly, and hence that the more highly exposed portions would have many more molecules destroyed.

This is a simple idea.  Is there any proof for it?   Two observations will be mentioned.

First, Dr. Shuntaro Hida witnessed the horror of the effects of the atomic bomb as a physician immediately after Hiroshima bomb:

“…A fever so high that even doctors of internal medicine had rarely seen it. … as we examined our patients and wondered why they were running such fever, they began to bleed from their eyes, nose and mouth.  Even we doctors had never seen such bleeding from the eyes….we attempted to examine the inside of their mouths, but could not.  It was not simply bad breath, it was the smell of decay.  A smell so bad, we could not put our faces near their mouths….even though these people were still alive, the insides of their mouths were decaying.  Such persons soon died.”

[1].  These observations imply that many organs inside the body were destroyed by the strong radiation.

A few workers were accidentally exposed to a strong radiation due to an accidental critical condition in JCO, a company dealing with the nuclear fuels, on 1999.09.30.  The person exposed to the highest dose of 17 Sv (mostly neutrons) was hospitalized immediately but died 83 days later despite utmost care given, including replacement of the bone marrow.  A doctor who took care of him said: “…the double strands of DNA were all broken….he died of multi-organ failure….” [2].  This implies that many biomolecules including DNA were broken and many organs were damaged by the radiation.

Dr. S. Hida gives another insight regarding radiation exposure [1].  He reported:

“A patient claimed: ‘I am not sick from the “pika“ (the A-bomb explosion)’ ‘What makes you say that?’ ‘Well, I did not come to Hiroshima until two days after the bombing.  You see one of my children did not return home…It wasn’t until after walking around the ruins for two days, I began to feel ill’…Soon after, he began to display a number of odd symptoms and passed away.”  It was very likely due to inhaling the floating radioactive debris (minute particles=fallout), which irradiated the body from inside.  This is termed “INTERNAL” exposure.  This aspect of exposure is more serious than the external exposure at the lower dose level, but has been ignored officially.

3. Defense mechanisms against radiation?

Another question would be: Can living organisms have defense mechanisms against the destructive effects of radiation?  It is impossible.  Chemical means can provide energy of utmost 100 eV (usually much lower) available to defend the radiation effects, which has million times as large energy.  This is the basis for the tenet that radiation is incompatible with life on the earth.

It needs to be mentioned that some damages done by radiation can somewhat be repaired by some mechanisms present in living organisms.  Particularly it is true with DNA, the basis of life.  There are several mechanisms to repair the damages on DNA.  They have been evolved for repairing damages done by non-radiation effects, as DNA is constantly subject to disturbing effects, chemical and biological.  The mechanisms evolved so far can repair some damages done by radiation if they are of the same nature as non-radiological ones.  Radiological damages are quite random, and some of them are beyond the existing repairing capacities.  No direct repairing mechanism is known for other biomolecules.

However, some existing chemicals and general physiology such as immunity, can reduce or alleviate the damaging effects by radiation or the damaged situation.  The free radicals formed by radiation, particularly on water molecule and oxygen molecule, can be deactivated by some chemical agents, such as glutathione, flavonoids and ascorbic acid.  For example, glutathione (abbreviated as G-S-H) can react with hydroxyl radical .OH radical:  2G-S-H + 2.OH  G-S-S-G + 2H2O.  Therefore, these molecules can somewhat reduce the indirect radiation effects.  Most of SOR’s except hydroxyl radical occur under normal conditions without radiation, and hence some living organisms including human have evolved mechanisms to reduce their effects.  Enzymes are known for hydrogen peroxide (catalase), superoxide (superoxide dismutase), and so on.

Anyway, no defense has evolved against the radiation effects, and not sufficient mechanisms have been devised for repairing the damages caused by radiation.  Radiation affects any chemical compounds, but its effects are most prominent on living organisms, particularly animals, as they are based on fairly fragile systems.

4.  Is there safe dose?

Could a sufficiently low exposure be safe?  Or is there any threshold of exposure level below which no ill health effect is expected?  The data obtained so far rejected the presence of threshold, and have demonstrated a linear relationship without threshold (termed “LNT” relationship) in the relationship between health risk and the exposure dose at low levels.

X-ray is equivalent to γ-ray, though weaker, and is used for diagnostic purposes and others in medicine.  The exposure is entirely external, and the dose can be determined accurately.  Several studies have demonstrated the LNT relationship regarding the cancer risk and the X-ray exposure dose [3,4].  These data deal with low level of exposure below 100 mSv.  Even the data on the atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki indicated LNT relationship for all kinds of cancer and many non-cancerous diseases [5].  51.3% of all the children in Ukraine who got thyroid cancers due to the Chernobyl accident received less than 100 mSv, and 16% even less than 10 mSv [6].  However, the Japanese government still insists that there is no danger for cancer at exposure dose lower than 100 mSv.

Another issue is the effect of internal exposure as against external dose.  The official data regarding Hiroshima and Nagasaki [5] are based on the external exposure dose due to the bomb explosion.  They did not take account of possible “internal” exposure.  The exposure dose caused by external irradiation is defined per the body mass (Kg), as irradiation is supposed to spread throughout the body; i.e., Gy (or Sv)= energy absorbed by 1 kg of the body.  When a radioactive material enters a body and irradiates the immediate vicinity of the local the radionuclides settled in, it irradiates, let’s suppose, only the area that weighs 2 g, because α or β particles do not travel long distances.  Nominally D (Gy) value =D joule/kg.  In reality it irradiates the area of 2 g, and hence the actual dose should be D joule/2g = D joule/0.002 kg=500D joule/kg.  The actual dose values would depend on many factors, and not always 500 times of the nominal value.  Anyway, the internal dose would be much higher than the nominal dose value implies.

Often, an official argument is based on the nominal external dose rate, even if the actual radiation is “internal”, and therefore, it devalues the magnitude of effects.  This is particularly true in the case of accidents of the nuclear facilities, where the external exposure dose is typically relatively low, and the serious effect is mostly due to the internal exposure.  In this case, internal exposure dose cannot be estimated from the external dose value such as spatial dose, as radioactive material may enter through various routes, and such a chance to enter a body has little to do with the spatial dose.  The chance of inhalation of minute particles floating may be somewhat related to the spatial dose rate, though.

5.  Humankind has not found safe ways to dispose and store the radioactive material

The incompatibility of radiation with life implies that the radioactive material have to be disposed and stored safely, in the way they would not affect all the living organisms on the earth.  We have not yet found very effective ways to do so.  The radioactivity lasts long.  Pu-239, for example, last 480,000 years, which is twenty times of the half-life (24,000 years), by that time the radioactivity will diminish to about a million times smaller than the original.  Even the most widely distributed cesium (Cs-137) takes about 600 years (20 times of half-life 30 years) to become almost nil.  Meanwhile they keep emitting radiation, heating and damaging their surroundings.

The Chernobyl’s damaged nuclear reactor has been covered by a large sarcophagus to reduce the escape of radiation the last thirty years.  It has deteriorated significantly because of radiation from the debris and weather, so that another huge cover has recently been constructed and placed on top of the sarcophagus.  It is said that this cover may last a hundred years, and then it will have to be replaced or covered further.  This illustrates how difficult it is to store radioactive material.  This is a single example.  There are hundreds of sites where radioactive waste is now stored and some difficulties are experienced.  It is imperative for us to find safe ways to store the radioactive waste.  There may not be an absolutely safe solution on the earth.  Yet, the humankind is earnestly increasing the radioactive wastes in huge quantities.  This is insane.

III. Nuclear Power Plants need not and should not be on Earth

1.  Nuclear power reactors are NOT CLEAN

Approximately 450 nuclear power reactors are presently on this earth.  In the nuclear power production of electricity, only one third of the heat produced in a reactor is converted into electricity, and the remainder two third of heat is released into the surrounding.  A typical 1giga watt reactor will release 4.7 x 1016 joule of heat into the environment per year.  This much heat will bring 100 million tons of water at zero degree to boiling.  This is with a single nuclear reactor.  The nuclear power reactors are excellent environmental heaters.  Hundreds of such reactors are operating on this earth.  But this fact is ignored in the argument of the nuclear power being environmentally clean.  This is not the only reason for the nuclear reactors being unclean.

In addition, this typical reactor of 1 giga (thousand mega) watt of capacity (electricity) produces in a year radioactive material equivalent to about 1000 Hiroshima atomic bombs.  In 2015, the total amount of electricity produced by nuclear reactors was 2,441 BkWh (billion kilo watt hours: data [7]), which is 8.79 x 1018 joule.  It was produced by about 280 nuclear reactors of 1 giga watt capacity.  So they produced radioactive material approximately equivalent to 280,000 Hiroshima bombs.  In addition, they released 1.3 x 1019 joule of heat into the environment.  These are the values for just one year.  Nuclear power reactors have been operating the last forty years, though not always this many.

Anyway, an enormous amount of radioactive material has been made on the earth.  How much of it has been released into the environment is not easy to estimate.  They have come out into the environment through the tests of the nuclear weapons, use of depleted uranium bombs, the routine release of some radioactive material from the nuclear facilities under normal conditions and others, in addition to the accidents at nuclear facilities.  The effects of the released radioactive material have been amply observed and reported, and yet are not shared with the majority of humankind.  We mention here only a few cases, and refer them to a few major sources.  The nuclear weapon explosion tests in the atmosphere affected the people in the eastern side, Utah, of the test site in Nevada (1951-1960, ref [8]).  Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in the present Ukraine (1986) was one of the worst nuclear facility accidents, and people are still suffering  [9]. Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster (2011) cause by the huge earthquake along with tsunami is far from settled, and health effects are only now becoming manifest [10]. These incidents represent the notion that the nuclear power is “not clean” at all, rather it is the dirtiest.

The world on the whole depends on the nuclear power by about 11% for the electricity production in 2015 [7].  A number of countries still rely significantly on the nuclear power.  Some numbers are: 76% in France, 56% in Ukraine, 56% in Slovakia, 53% in Hungary, 38% in Slovenia, 38% in Belgium, 35% in Armenia, 35% in Sweden, 34% in Finland, 34% in Switzerland, 33% in Czech, 32% in S. Korea, and 31% in Bulgaria [7].  Fortunately no serious accidents of nuclear facilities has been experienced so far in these countries except for Ukraine (Chernobyl accident), though minor accidents are known to have taken place in many of these countries as well as others not listed here.  Nuclear facilities are prone to accidents anyway.

The level of dependency on the nuclear power seems to be reflected in the cancer incident rate in those nations.  The cancer rates of some countries listed above are plotted against the nuclear power dependency; it is shown in the figure below [11].  Except for France, there seems to be a correlation between them.  This does not necessarily imply that radiation from the nuclear facilities alone is somehow related to the cancer.  The more direct data relating the nuclear facilities and the cancer rate are illustrated by a study termed KiKK [12].  It investigated all German nuclear reactors and found that children living within 5 km from a nuclear reactor had higher risk of cancer (particularly, leukemia), more than twice compared to those living farther away.  A similar study has been conducted [13] with regard to leukemia among children living near nuclear facilities in other countries: UK, Canada, Japan and USA, and found the trend similar to that of KiKK.

2.  The nuclear power productions are NOT ECONOMICAL

Cleaning and disposing the damaged nuclear facilities require an enormous amount of money, as well as human sacrifice (workers exposed to the radiation).  Compensating the victims who lost lives and healthy ways of life and suffer from other difficulties also need a lot of money.  Decommissioning an old nuclear reactor, even if not damaged, takes decades, and yet the radioactive waste cannot be disposed safely as yet, because humankind has not found a good way to do that.  But, obviously, we have to find it out before too long.  All these processes require money as well as energy.  All told, the amount of money for disposing the nuclear facilities and bringing the sites to clean lots, and providing adequate compensation for the victims would be astronomical.  It could be beyond the ability of corporations, and hence consume a lot of money earned by the citizens.  Such a situation could destroy the financial basis of a nation.

3.  Nuclear power is NOT NECESSARY

Upon the Fukushima disaster due to the great earthquake and tsunami in 2011, all nuclear power plants in Japan were shut down.  After a while, the Japanese government restarted a single nuclear plant in 2012-13.  After this reactor was shut down in order to inspect the facility, no nuclear power plant operated for almost two years until the end of August of 2015 (2013-2015).  While all these things were happening, no electricity shortage was experienced in Japan, even though Japan had relied about 30% of electricity on the nuclear power before the Fukushima disaster.  This fact definitely implies that Japan does not need nuclear power.  Unfortunately, the current government is eager to restart the nuclear power plants, and indeed has done so with three nuclear power reactors as of Jan. 1st, 2017, despite of the strong opposition from the Japanese people.

As mentioned earlier, a number of countries in Europe still depend heavily on the nuclear energy.  Some of them have decided in the face of the Fukushima accident to abolish the nuclear power; Germany, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.  Recently Taiwan government announced that they would abolish their nuclear power plants by 2025.  Other countries listed earlier have not made a move toward abolishment, but, hopefully, they will soon realize the danger of the nuclear facilities, and start decommissioning them.

We are fortunate to have inexhaustible energy sources available on this earth.  The total amount of energy humankind used in 2005 is estimated to be 4.9 x 1020 joule.  The energy influx from the Sun on the entire surface of the earth is estimated to be 8.9 x 1016 joule/sec, and hence it will be 2.8 x 1024 joule per year.  The solar energy alone could amply provide all the energy humankind needs.  Wind power (driven ultimately by solar energy) available on the entire earth is estimated to be 2.3 x 1021 joule per year, and so, theoretically wind power alone may be sufficient.  Humankind needs to technically overcome the practical problems associated with these freely available energy sources, and should resort to these energies as far as feasible, and as soon as possible.  Other inexhaustible energy sources including “geothermal” and “tidal” are also to be employed as much as feasible.  In other words, we could be energy-sufficient, without resorting to non-renewable carbon fossil fuels or nuclear power.

IV   Conclusion

No nuclear power plant should be allowed on the earth, because:

  1. the radioactive material produced by the nuclear power reactors emit radiation which destroy living organisms;
  2. there is no definitive safe way to store long-lasting nuclear wastes, so that no more radioactive material should be produced;
  3. nuclear power reactors are contributing significantly to warming of the environment;
  4. nuclear power plants are not economical, but rather could bring disasters to the operating companies and even the nation’s finances.

 References

[1] See for example: http://wcpeace.org/Hida_memoir.htm

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiYZSKtZb7k; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnRRWwbYPSI

[3] Eisenberg MJ, Afilalo J, Lawler PR, Abrahamowicz M, Richard H, Pilote L., “Cancer risk related to low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging in patients after acute myocardial infarction”, Can. Med. Assoc. J., 183 (2011), 430-436 

[4] Mathews, J. D., Forsythe, A. V., Brady, Z., Butler, M. W., Goergen, S. K., Bymes, G. B., Giles, G. G., Wallace, A. B., Anderson, P. R, Guiver, T. A., McGale, P., Cain, T. M., Dowoty, J. G., Bickerstaffe, A. C., Darby, S. C.,  “Cancer Risk in 680000 people exposed to computed tomography scans in childhood or adolescence: data linkage study of 11 million Australians”, Brit. Med. J., 2013.05.22

[5] Ozasa, K., Shimizu, Y., Suyama, A., Kasagi, F., Soda, M., Grant, E. J., Sakata, R., Sugiyama, H., Kodama, K., “Studies of the mortality of atomic bomb survivors, Report 14, 1950-2003: An overview of cancer and noncancer Diseases” (LSS-14), Rad. Res., 177 (2012), 229-243

[6] Tronko, M., Bogdanova, T., Komissarenko, I. V., Epstein, O. V., Kovalenko, A., Lichtarev, I. A., Kairo, I., Peters, S. B., LiVolsi, V. A., “Thyroid carcinoma in children and adolescents in Ukraine after the Chernobyl nuclear accident”, Cancer, 86 (1999) 149-156

[7] http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics  

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downwinders

[9] Yablokov, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B., Nesterenko, A. V., “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”, Ann. New York Acad., 1181 (2009)

[10] http://apjjf.org/-Eiichiro-Ochiai/4382; http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-human-consequences-of-the-fukushima-dai-ichi-nuclear-power-plant-accidents/5478670

[11] The data of nuclear dependence are from ref [7], and the cancer death rates (2014) are from http://www.globalnote.jp/post-10211.html

[12] Nussbaum, R. H., “Childhood leukemia and cancers near German nuclear reactors: Significance, context and ramifications of recent studies”, Int. Occup/ Environ. Health, 15 (2009), 318-323

[13] Baker, P. J., Hoel, D. G., “Meta-analysis of standardized incidence and mortality rates of childhood leukemia in proximity to nuclear facilities”, Eur. J. Cancer Care, 16 (2007), 355-363 

Eiichiro Ochiai: retired chemistry professor; has become seriously concerned with the radiation effects since the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in 2011 and has published four books on the theme of “Radiation is Incompatible with Life”, including “Hiroshima to Fukushima: Biohazards of Radiation” (Springer Verlag (Heidelberg), 2013).

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Fukushima Radiation Looms. No Nuclear Power Plant On Planet Earth! “The Incompatibility of Radiation with Human Life”

Talk is growing in the United States of the possibility of using military strikes to take out North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities after the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, threatened he’s close to testing a long-range missile apparently capable of hitting the U.S.

Kim said in his New Year’s Day address that the communist nation has reached the final stage of preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The remark was seen as a thinly veiled threat that Pyongyang is close to developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the continental U.S.

The threat appears to have stoked genuine fears of security among Americans, with reporters bombarding the Defense Department with questions of what the U.S. is going to do about the North’s missile, including whether it’s going to shoot it down or even launch a preemptive strike before it’s fired.

It also prompted President-elect Donald Trump to send a tweet: “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”

On Wednesday, a private intelligence analysis firm, Stratfor, even laid out a list of potential targets in North Korea, including the Yongbyon nuclear complex, home to the North’s plutonium-producing reactor and reprocessing facility.

“When considering an attack on North Korea, there are two broad categories of strikes to deliberate. The first is a minimalist strike, specifically focused on dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons program. In this scenario, the United States would engage North Korean nuclear objectives only,” Stratfor said in an analysis piece carried by MarketWatch and, titled, “How the U.S. could derail North Korea’s nuclear program by force.”

“By not launching strikes on other North Korean targets, Washington leaves the door open, if only slightly, for de-escalation if Pyongyang can be convinced that the strike is not part of a regime change operation. What benefits Pentagon planners in this scenario is that a limited strike requires less resources and preparation, enhancing the element of surprise,”

Potential targets in the minimalist strike include the Yongbyon complex, including the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor and the reprocessing plant, as well as the Pyongsan uranium mine that provides fuel for the reactor, and the Pyongsong nuclear research and development facility, known as the North’s “Silicon Valley,” Stratfor said.

“These facilities form the heart of North Korean nuclear production infrastructure. If they were destroyed or disabled, the North Korean nuclear production network would be crippled, set back years at least,” it said.

U.S. defense officials were quoted by Reuters as saying that if ordered, the U.S. military has three options to respond to a North Korean missile test: a pre-emptive strike before it is launched, intercepting the missile in flight, or allowing a launch to take place unhindered.

Still, many arms and defense experts agree that a military strike is too risky to consider, especially in consideration of the proximity of Seoul to the border with North Korea and the possibility of the North showering artillery shells on the bustling capital area.

Military strikes “would be a wild gamble, especially with the Seoul-Inchon region — South Korea’s commercial, political and population heart — so close to the border. Although the DPRK would lose any war, it could cause horrendous casualties before succumbing,” said Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

“Yet the great achievement of America’s military presence for the past six decades has been to prevent precisely such a conflict from occurring,” he said in a recent piece carried by the National Interest.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea’s military, was also quoted by Reuters as questioning whether U.S. missile defenses could shoot down a test missile, saying destroying North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs would be a huge and risky undertaking.

Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), was also quoted as saying that the North’s main nuclear and missile test sites were on different sides of the country, and an ICBM can be launched from anywhere in the country because it’s mobile.

Robert Manning, a senior Atlantic Council analyst, said U.S. options are limited on the North.

“While everyone says North Korea is at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda, other than strengthening deterrence, imposing tough sanctions that remove North Korea from the international financial system, there is little the U.S. can do in the near-term that does not risk a war, thousands of U.S. and hundreds of thousands of South Korean deaths,” he said.

By Chang Jae-soon

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Talk Grows in U.S. of Possibility of Military Strikes on North Korea

Talk is growing in the United States of the possibility of using military strikes to take out North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities after the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, threatened he’s close to testing a long-range missile apparently capable of hitting the U.S.

Kim said in his New Year’s Day address that the communist nation has reached the final stage of preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The remark was seen as a thinly veiled threat that Pyongyang is close to developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the continental U.S.

The threat appears to have stoked genuine fears of security among Americans, with reporters bombarding the Defense Department with questions of what the U.S. is going to do about the North’s missile, including whether it’s going to shoot it down or even launch a preemptive strike before it’s fired.

It also prompted President-elect Donald Trump to send a tweet: “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”

On Wednesday, a private intelligence analysis firm, Stratfor, even laid out a list of potential targets in North Korea, including the Yongbyon nuclear complex, home to the North’s plutonium-producing reactor and reprocessing facility.

“When considering an attack on North Korea, there are two broad categories of strikes to deliberate. The first is a minimalist strike, specifically focused on dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons program. In this scenario, the United States would engage North Korean nuclear objectives only,” Stratfor said in an analysis piece carried by MarketWatch and, titled, “How the U.S. could derail North Korea’s nuclear program by force.”

“By not launching strikes on other North Korean targets, Washington leaves the door open, if only slightly, for de-escalation if Pyongyang can be convinced that the strike is not part of a regime change operation. What benefits Pentagon planners in this scenario is that a limited strike requires less resources and preparation, enhancing the element of surprise,”

Potential targets in the minimalist strike include the Yongbyon complex, including the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor and the reprocessing plant, as well as the Pyongsan uranium mine that provides fuel for the reactor, and the Pyongsong nuclear research and development facility, known as the North’s “Silicon Valley,” Stratfor said.

“These facilities form the heart of North Korean nuclear production infrastructure. If they were destroyed or disabled, the North Korean nuclear production network would be crippled, set back years at least,” it said.

U.S. defense officials were quoted by Reuters as saying that if ordered, the U.S. military has three options to respond to a North Korean missile test: a pre-emptive strike before it is launched, intercepting the missile in flight, or allowing a launch to take place unhindered.

Still, many arms and defense experts agree that a military strike is too risky to consider, especially in consideration of the proximity of Seoul to the border with North Korea and the possibility of the North showering artillery shells on the bustling capital area.

Military strikes “would be a wild gamble, especially with the Seoul-Inchon region — South Korea’s commercial, political and population heart — so close to the border. Although the DPRK would lose any war, it could cause horrendous casualties before succumbing,” said Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

“Yet the great achievement of America’s military presence for the past six decades has been to prevent precisely such a conflict from occurring,” he said in a recent piece carried by the National Interest.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea’s military, was also quoted by Reuters as questioning whether U.S. missile defenses could shoot down a test missile, saying destroying North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs would be a huge and risky undertaking.

Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), was also quoted as saying that the North’s main nuclear and missile test sites were on different sides of the country, and an ICBM can be launched from anywhere in the country because it’s mobile.

Robert Manning, a senior Atlantic Council analyst, said U.S. options are limited on the North.

“While everyone says North Korea is at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda, other than strengthening deterrence, imposing tough sanctions that remove North Korea from the international financial system, there is little the U.S. can do in the near-term that does not risk a war, thousands of U.S. and hundreds of thousands of South Korean deaths,” he said.

By Chang Jae-soon

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Talk Grows in U.S. of Possibility of Military Strikes on North Korea

Britain’s Role in Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide

January 5th, 2017 by Mark Curtis

An edited extract from Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World

In the hundreds of media articles on the 1994 Rwanda genocide, there is barely a mention of Britain being a permanent member of the UN security council and in any way responsible for what happened. I recounted Britain’s role in my previous book, The Great Deception, so I will not repeat everything here. Since then, however, another book, by Linda Melvern, an investigative journalist, confirms the quite terrible British, and US, role.

After the killings began in early April 1994, the UN security council, instead of beefing up it’s peace mission in the country and giving it a stronger mandate to intervene, decided to reduce the troop presence from 2,500 to 270. This decision sent a green light to those who had planned the genocide that the UN would not intervene. A small UN military force arrived merely to rescue expats, and then left. Belgium’s senior army officer in the UN peace mission believed that if this force had not been pulled out, the killing could have been stopped. Canadian general Romeo Dallaire, who commanded the UN force in Rwanda, later said that this evacuation showed “inexcusable apathy by the sovereign states that made up the UN, that is completely beyond comprehension and moral acceptability”.

It was Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Sir David Hannay, who proposed that the UN pull out its force; the US agreed. According to Melvern, it was left to the Nigerian ambassador, Ibrhaim Gambari, to point out that tens of thousands of civilians were dying at the time. Gambari also pleaded with the security council to reinforce the UN presence. But the US objected and Britain agreed, suggesting only to leave behind a token force, which became the 270 personnel.

On the security council at the time sat – by chance – Rwanda, as one of the ten non-permanent members. So British and US indifference and their policy of reducing the UN force, as expressed in the security council, was reported back to those directing the genocide in Rwanda. Melvern notes that “confident of no significant international opposition, it was decided to push ahead with further ‘pacification’ in the south” of the country. This led to tens of thousands more murders.

Romeo Dallaire, who had pleaded for reinforcements, complained that:

“My force was standing knee deep in mutilated bodies, surrounded by the guttural moans of dying people, looking into the eyes of dying children bleeding to death with their wounds burning in the sun and being invaded by maggots and flies. I found myself walking through villages where the only sign of life was a goat, or a chicken, or a songbird, as all the people were dead, their bodies being eaten by voracious packs of wild dogs”.

By May, with certainly tens of thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands already dead, there was another UN proposal – to despatch 5,500 troops to help stop the massacres. This deployment was delayed by pressure mainly from the US ambassador, but with strong support from Britain. Dallaire believes that if these troops had been speadily deployed, tens of thousands more lives could have been saved. But the US and the British argued that before these troops went in, there needed to be a ceasefire in Rwanda, a quite insane suggestion given that one side was massacring innocent civilians. The US also ensured that this plan was watered down so that troops would have no mandate to use force to end the massacres.

Britain and the US also refused to provide the military airlift capability for the African states that were offering troops for this force. The RAF, for example, had plenty of transport aircraft that could have been deployed. Eventually, with delays continuing and thousands being killed by the day, Britain offered a measly 50 trucks. Lynda Chalker, then minister for overseas development, visited Dallaire in Rwanda in July. He gave her his list of requirements at the same time as noting that “I was up to my knees in bodies by then”. The 50 trucks had still not yet materialised. But later, on BBC2’s Newsnight, Chalker blamed Dallaire’s lack of resources on “the UN” which “ought to get its procurement right”.

Britain also went out of its way to ensure that the UN did not use the word “genocide” to describe the slaughter. Accepting that genocide was occurring would have obliged states to “prevent and punish” those guilty under the terms of the Geneva convention. In late April 1994, Britain, along with the US and China, secured a security council resolution that rejected the use of the term “genocide”. This resolution was drafted by the British.

The Czech republic’s ambassador to the UN, Karel Kovanda, confronted the security council about the fact of genocide at this time. He said that talking about withdrawing peacekeepers and getting a ceasefire was “rather like wanting Hitler to reach a ceasefire with the Jews”. There were objections to his comments, Kovanda said, and British and US diplomats quietly told him that on no account was he to use such inflammatory language outside the security council.

A July 1994 resolution spoke of “possible acts of genocide” and other security council documents used similarly restrained language. A year after the slaughters, the British Foreign Office sent a letter to an international enquiry saying that it still did not accept the term genocide. It said that it saw a discussion about whether the massacres constituted genocide as “sterile”.

Linda Melvern was told by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali that during the genocide he had individual private meetings with the British and US ambassadors (the US ambassador was Madeleine Albright, who went on to become Clinton’s secretary of state). Boutros-Ghali urged both of them to help stop the killing but said their reaction was: “Come on, Boutros, relax… Don’t put us in a difficult position…the mood is not for intervention, you will obtain nothing…we will not move”.

Let me summarise the British government’s contribution to the genocide in Rwanda. Britain used its diplomatic weight to severely reduce a UN force that, according to military officers on the ground, could have prevented the killings. It then helped ensure the delay of other plans for intervention, which sent a direct green light to the murderers in Rwanda to continue. Britain also refused to provide the capability for other states to intervene, while blaming the lack of such capability on the UN. Throughout, Britain helped ensure that the UN did not use the word “genocide” so the UN would not act, using diplomatic pressure on others to ensure this did not happen. British officials went out of their way to promote these policies and rebuffed personal pleas to help stop the killings from the UN Secretary General and the commander of the UN force. 

All this information is publicly available. We do not need to look over the Atlantic to think of trials of those who have acquiesced in genocide. There is a long list of British policy makers who are to some degree responsible – Prime Minister John Major, Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, Overseas Development Minister Lynda Chalker and UN ambassador Sir David Hannay foremost among them. But these people are being protected by the silence of the media and academia as well as the extreme lack of accountability in the political system.

Melvern notes that, especially in the early stages of the genocide, the press insisted on reporting events as “chaos and anarchy”, not a systematic campaign well planned in advance by Hutu extremists. In her view, “the media’s failure to report that genocide was taking place, and thereby generate public pressure for something to be done to stop it, contributed to international indifference and inaction, and possibly to the crime itself”.

There was only one press article I could find that went into any detail on Britain’s role on the security council. It noted that Britain’s ambassador at the UN was still dealing regularly with the ambassador of the government engaged in state-sponsored genocide.

Neither did the mother of parliaments attempt to address the British role in genocide – either at the time, or since. A debate in the House of Commons did not take place until nearly two months after the slaughter began. According to Melvern, “the Labour party waited until May before putting pressure on the government to act, and then only because Oxfam telephoned the office of David Clark, shadow secretary of state for defence”.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Britain’s Role in Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide

La acelerada impopularidad del gobierno de Temer viene dando muchos dolores de cabeza a sus asesores comunicacionales, dado que todos los recientes sondeos de opinión pública destacan el fuerte descenso de apoyo por parte de la población y la carencia abrumadora de cualquier resquicio de carisma y simpatía que posee el gobierno y el propio Michel Temer entre los ciudadanos.

Ante este escenario, una de estas estrategias elaboradas por los funcionarios del Palácio do Planalto, consiste en tratar de estimular la alicaída economía. Un de estas medidas anunciada poco antes de la navidad, busca permitir que 10,2 millones de trabajadores puedan hacer uso del dinero inmovilizado que actualmente se encuentra bloqueado en cuentas inactivas del Fondo de Garantía del Trabajador Social (FGTS) en la Caixa Económica Federal. Este dinero que llega a la suma R$30 mil millones (cerca de 10 mil millones de dólares) corresponde a las contribuciones que todo trabajador realiza durante su periodo activo y que debería retirar al concluir sus labores en determinada empresa pública o privada.

Hasta ahora, el trabajador que había solicitado su despido de un empleo podía sacar su dinero del fondo de garantía solamente tres años después sin poseer ningún otro empleo con contrato. Ese motivo fue eliminado con la actual resolución. Se calcula que este FGTS acumulado permitirá inyectar nuevos recursos a la economía y generar un impulso que equivale a aproximadamente el 0.5% del PIB. Y claro, de paso permitir a los trabajadores una mayor holgura en tiempos de ajuste y recortes, procurando estabilizar o recuperar ciertos apoyos a la actual administración.

La segunda acción impulsada por el gobierno Temer, consistió en anunciar un conjunto de iniciativas destinadas a estimular el crecimiento económico y generar empleo. Entre los instrumentos más importantes destacan: el acceso a crédito de micro, pequeñas y medianas empresas a través del Banco Nacional de Desarrollo Económico y Social (BNDES); la reducción de los intereses cobrados por las administradoras de tarjetas de crédito; el incentivo a la oferta de crédito para la construcción civil y el refinanciamiento de las deudas tributarias. Este paquete de medidas ha sido pensado como una forma de recrear la agenda del gobierno en un escenario marcado por la persistencia de datos negativos y también por la crisis política que va a producir la delación premiada de los 77 ejecutivos de la contratista Odebrecht.

Las medidas anteriores se ubican en el ámbito de la economía. Pero existe una estrategia para obtener el apoyo de los brasileños que se ubica en el ámbito de la imagen. En ese contexto, la última apuesta diseñada para intentar aumentar el apoyo de la ciudadanía consiste en una idea un tanto esdrújula -introducida por los publicistas del gobierno- de transformar a la primera dama en la cara amigable del gobierno, a partir de lo que denominan como “una agenda positiva”. En efecto, el último número de la revista Veja dedica su portada a la esposa del presidente, Marcela Temer, anunciada como la nueva carta del gobierno para ganar alguna adhesión entre los brasileños. En el artículo se menciona que la “estrella” de la primera dama se vislumbra como la más reciente apuesta para aumentar los bajos índices de popularidad que muestra el mandatario y su equipo de colaboradores.

El problema es que Marcela Temer no reúne ninguna de las condiciones que se requieren para sustentar esta nueva estrategia, que parece condenada al fracaso desde antes de su inicio. Primero que nada, ella muestra y ha expresado en repetidas oportunidades un total desinterés por la política. Asomó en la vida del actual gobernante a partir de un arreglo perpetrado por su madre hace más de una década, cuando quería casar a la hija bonita (segundo lugar en un concurso de belleza local) con un señor rico y poderoso. Por esta misma razón, la vida de Marcela Temer siempre estuvo reducida al ámbito familiar, siendo el prototipo de la mujer tradicional dedicada al hogar y la crianza de los hijos. De hecho, desde que Michel Temer fue instalado en el primer cargo de gobierno a mediados de mayo de 2016, las apariciones públicas de la primera dama han sido muy esporádicas. Es reconocida como una persona a la cual no le gustan las recepciones y eventos políticos, realizándose en su vida de reclusión hogareña, digna de una figura “recatada y del hogar”, como fue ampliamente difundido por los medios de comunicación.

Tratando de inspirarse en Hillary Clinton y su política de asistencia orientada hacia los hijos de migrantes, Marcela Temer surge como la principal impulsora del Programa Criança Feliz, que se dedicará a atender a los hijos de familias beneficiarias de programas sociales del gobierno, especialmente del Bolsa Familia. A pesar de los esfuerzos de los asesores, la capacidad demostrada hasta ahora por la primera dama no la califica para ejercer estas funciones ni menos para revertir el cuadro de impopularidad que presenta el actual gobernante. La mayoría de las previsiones apuntan a que dicho desgaste va a experimentar un aumento en los próximos meses. Mientras tanto, el gobierno continúa inventando estrategias para recuperar el apoyo de la población, intentos que parecen condenados a un absoluto fiasco.

Ciertamente es unánime el sentimiento de que el pueblo brasileño desea salir de la crisis y recibe con renovada esperanza el año que se inicia, pues hasta ahora no existe evidencia verificable de alguna comunidad humana que desee vivir en permanente sufrimiento. Es por lo mismo, una gran contradicción la que se genera entre un deseo entrañable de que la situación mejore para todos los habitantes y la existencia, por otra parte, de un gobierno en el cual no se tiene confianza ni fe, que está integrado por personas involucradas en actos de corrupción y cuyo principal compromiso es con su interés individual y patrimonial. En las calles el ánimo y la expectativa es que las cosas mejoren, pero no se vislumbran salidas ni a corto ni a mediano plazo para salir del impasse en que se encuentra el país. Dios ya no es brasileño.

Fernando de la Cuadra

Fernando de la Cuadra: Doctor en ciencias sociales y editor del Blog Socialismo y Democracia.

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on La patética estrategia del gobierno de Temer para adquirir popularidad

Argentina – La macrieconomía

January 5th, 2017 by Mario Rapoport

Como en muchas otras etapas de su vida económica, la Argentina no tiene buenas macro ni microeconomías, pero luce una espléndida macrieconomía. Dicen que la macro no funciona porque no tuvimos la suerte que tuvo Isabel I de Inglaterra, cuando con un estado casi quebrado recibió, según Keynes, una herencia fabulosa, la que le proporcionó el corsario (o pirata real) Sir Francis Drake en 1580 al apoderarse en su Golden Hind del fabuloso botín que representaba el atraco de cuantiosos tesoros de navíos españoles que venían de América.

La reina, una importante accionaria en el sindicato que había financiado esa expedición, devolvió la totalidad de la deuda externa británica de entonces al más puro estilo kirchnerista; equilibró su presupuesto, que es lo que pretende Macri; y todavía dispuso de un beneficio de 40 mil libras esterlinas que colocó en distintas compañías como la del Levante o creando otras como la Compañía de Indias Orientales. Según Keynes fueron los beneficios realizados por estas grandes empresas los que sirvieron de base a todas las inversiones británicas en el exterior de allí en adelante. De modo tal, calculó el gran economista, que el crecimiento de ese capital de 40 mil libras a una tasa del 3,25 por ciento de interés anual compuesto, le proporcionó a las pobres islas británicas la base necesaria para transformarlas en un imperio, con 4 mil millones de libras colocadas en el exterior en 1930.

Es decir que cada libra esterlina obtenida por Drake en 1580 representaban entonces 100 mil libras. Esto fueron los milagros del capitalismo que los derrochones españoles, de quienes descienden nuestros países no supieron aprovechar. Los fugaron rápidamente a Europa descontados los robos ingleses (aun sobraba mucho oro de las Américas) y terminaron gastándolos sobre todo en la pujante Inglaterra, que con esa herencia financió su revolución industrial.

Vaya historia. En nuestro caso los sucesivos gobiernos (y el actual lo proclama) recibieron una herencia económica negativa, incluso el de Néstor Kirchner, pero con las políticas neoliberales los indicadores macro no funcionan desde hace un año, se incrementó de nuevo la deuda externa, como para parecerse más a los países poderosos que nos superaban en eso, cayó el PIB y los índices inflacionarios subieron, así como la desocupación y la pobreza. El consumo se achicó y la demanda interna dejó de ser el motor que era pero, extrañamente, en una economía que volvió a liberar todos sus controles, la inversiones en vez de crecer decrecieron. Ni que hablar de la microeconomía con miles de empresas quebradas, mientras que las corporaciones que ahora son gobierno no han conseguido enderezar por si mismas su propia situación financiera y productiva. En cambio, como una herencia de nuestro antiguo imperio colonial, las grandes ganancias existieron vía la redistribución de tributos a esas multinacionales, a la agroexportación y a otros intereses y rápidamente se trasladaron al exterior, a los paraísos caribeños, panameños o europeos o a las filiales corporativas externas (sin necesidad de ir tan lejos, se les podría pedir a los amigos británicos hacer un nuevo Hong Kong en las islas Malvinas).

De modo que por la herencia de redistribución y derroche recibida en el 2016, pasaremos un 2017 de ajuste supervisado por el FMI. Entonces volvemos a recuerdos recientes muy desapacibles. Es cierto que no todo fue negativo, tuvimos la suerte de librarnos de los fondos buitre, unos simples estafadores, para conseguir más deuda con otros estafadores y así en continuado siguiendo la pirámide de Ponzi. Eliminamos toda barrera comercial, que los demás no han hecho o tienen al menos los temidos subsidios, y nuestras exportaciones no crecen. Parece que los economistas neoliberales que manejaban nuestra economía, y ahora empiezan a ser despedidos, viajaban tanto en avión que llevaban siempre, aun en primera clase, antifaces negros que le impedían ver el sol para dormir mejor y no vieron la impresionante caída del comercio mundial a bordo de un país escasamente competitivo. Aun en lo que era lo suyo en otra época, antes de la soja (negocio chino), es decir el trigo y el maíz, la Argentina vuelve a revivir la pesadilla de rusos y ucranianos, de quienes aprendieron nuestros Bunge y Born, cuando un tal Alfredo Hirsch vino de Europa conociendo bien el negocio de los cereales de la Rusia imperial que entonces dominaba los mercados mundiales desde Odesa vía Alemania.

Esa ceguera de la historia hace que el mencionado ministro tenga que irse y el presidente mismo colgarse el cartel de primer economista, aunque en el pasado tuvimos otros ingenieros que hubieran querido ese doble rol. Pero no les fue posible. Además de morir, fueron deshonrados por hijas demasiado ambiciosas. Eso para no mencionar al patriarca de la convertibilidad que convenció a varios gobiernos en una solución que al comenzar el siglo produjo el mayor estallido económico social de nuestra historia, en el que se vio involucrado el que se va ahora.

En este juego de dados cargados que es el gran casino mundial en el cual nuestro país participa, ya se ha hecho el reparto y los dólares presentes y futuros ya se fugaron. Queda pues encargar a dos nuevos ministros de las tareas que antes hacía uno sólo, con la unción claro está, de nuestro propio pontífice. Pero estos no se pondrán máscaras. Conocen el juego de haberlo practicado en sus propios negocios: achicar gastos y tomar nuevas deudas, gastos que otros ahorrarán vía el desempleo y el subconsumo, y deudas que nuevas generaciones pagarán, comiendo menos los que siguen aquí o yéndose a otros países a trabajar los que no aguantan más (fuga de cerebros que le dicen).

La siesta de los primeros cien días, que se transformaron en un año y por qué no dos, terminó. Ahora el maestro cocinero deberá viajar menos y ponerse pronto el delantal, porque no huele limpia la cocina. La macricocina tiene grietas por todos lados como la macrieconomía.

Mario Rapoport

Mario Rapoport: Profesor emérito de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA).

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on Argentina – La macrieconomía

La constructora brasileña Odebrecht conquistó América Latina vendiendo grandes obras de infraestructura. Presente en 27 países, la empresa fundada por el ingeniero Norberto Odebrecht en los años cuarenta ha construido líneas de metro en Perú, centrales hidroeléctricas en Panamá, carreteras en Argentina… Pero ese éxito tenía trampa. La empresa ha aceptado pagar 3.500 millones de dólares de multa, la mayor de la historia por sobornos, tras ser acusada de entregar 439 millones a políticos, partidos y funcionarios en al menos 12 países para garantizarse la adjudicación de obras públicas.

Algunos de los países en que Odebrecht pagó sobornos en América Latina son Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, República Dominicana, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Panamá, Perú y Venezuela. La constructora, con 128.000 empleados y unos ingresos brutos de 40.000 millones de dólares, es el personaje central de la trama descubierta por la Operación Lava Jato, que investiga desde 2014 una red corrupta en la petrolera estatal brasileña Petrobras desplegada desde hacía décadas.

La empresa tenía contratos firmados con la petrolera desde la década de los cincuenta. Los investigadores tardaron más de un año en encontrar las primeras pruebas, que llevaron a Marcelo Odebrecht, presidente y nieto del fundador del grupo, a la cárcel en junio de 2015. Desde entonces, Brasil se sumergió en los detalles del multimillonario y sofisticado sistema de corrupción liderado por la constructora y sus filiales.

Tras obligar a los dirigentes políticos de Brasil a arrodillarse ante las denuncias, la empresa se convierte ahora en una amenaza real para representantes del poder en América Latina y abre la caja de pandora de la corrupción en la región. Presidentes, expresidentes y congresistas del continente han sido delatadosante las autoridades internacionales por directivos del grupo.

Acuerdo judicial

Que Odebrecht confiese los delitos y apunte a sus cómplices en las altas esferas del poder no es mera casualidad. El presidente de la constructora y un equipo de 77 empleados de alto rango negociaron acuerdos con la justicia para reducir sus condenas. Odebrecht, por ejemplo, fue condenado a 19 años por delitos que van de lavado de dinero a asociación criminal. La compañía aceptó pagar la multa para cerrar las investigaciones en EE UU, Brasil y Suiza.

El Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos todavía no ha divulgado el nombre de ninguna autoridad involucrada en el escándalo fuera de Brasil, pero se espera que el escándalo salpique a nombres de envergadura. Odebrecht reconoció haber pagado, por ejemplo, 29 millones de dólares en sobornos en Perú a empleados gubernamentales entre 2005 y 2014. La confesión abarca los mandatos de los presidentes Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), Alan García (2006-2011) y Ollanta Humala (2011-2016). En febrero del año pasado, Humala fue señalado como receptor de tres millones de dólares de Odebrecht en sobornos. Él lo niega. En Panamá se especula que uno de los beneficiarios haya sido uno de los hijos del expresidente Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares. Padre e hijo también negaron la acusación.

Por donde pasa, el terremoto Odebrecht amenaza con manchar biografías. En Argentina, el blanco son los gobiernos de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. La empresa admitió haber pagado más de 35 millones de dólares a intermediarios de empleados vinculados a tres proyectos de infraestructura entre 2007 y 2014, cuando Fernández era presidenta. En Venezuela, los delatores ya han mencionado un pago de tres millones de dólares a la campaña de Hugo Chávez y Nicolás Maduro (2012-2013).

En todos los países el modus operandi fue el mismo: la constructora utilizó una sofisticada trama de offshores (empresas fantasma) para pagar los sobornos. En la isla caribeña de Antigua llegó a comprar un banco local para facilitar la tarea. Según las autoridades, Odebrecht utilizó diferentes “capas de blanqueo de dinero” para dificultar el rastreo de las transacciones. Los pagos a agentes públicos en los países mencionados partían del Sector de Operaciones Estructuradas de la empresa, que en Brasil pasó a conocerse como “sector de sobornos”. El departamento, con una contabilidad paralela, garantizaba los fondos utilizados y autorizaba las transferencias con la supervisión del presidente de la compañía.

La publicidad del acuerdo de lenidad hizo que las autoridades de los países involucrados reaccionaran rápidamente. Las Fiscalías de Argentina, Perú, Colombia, Panamá y de Ecuador ya han anunciado que investigan los pagos de sobornos a la constructora. En México, el Gobierno y la petrolera Pemex también afirmaron que van a investigar el pago de 10 millones de dólares en sobornos para beneficiar a Odebrecht en contratos con la compañía.

Los documentos divulgados por la justicia de Estados Unidos pueden ser tan solo la punta del iceberg de la trama internacional de corrupción. Las declaraciones de algunos ejecutivos,como João Carlos Nogueira, exdirector del área internacional de la empresa, amenazan con incendiar los gabinetes de muchos pesos pesados. Nogueira detallará los negocios de Odebrecht firmados en otros países, como Angola, República Dominicana, Cuba, Ghana, México y Venezuela. Otra delación esperada es la de Benedicto Barbosa Júnior, expresidente de Odebrecht Infraestructura, y uno de los coordinadores del sector que repartía los sobornos. La única certeza ahora es que el tsunami ha comenzado y no se vislumbra su fin.

Gil Alessi

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on Odebrecht revela la corrupción sistémica en América Latina

América Latina: El huracán Trump

January 5th, 2017 by Ernesto Samper Pizarro

El año que termina no ha sido el mejor de la región sudamericana. Los logros conseguidos en materia social durante la última década, que permitieron sacar de la pobreza a casi 100 millones de personas, están amenazados por los bajos niveles de crecimiento de sus economías y la absurda decisión de algunos Gobiernos de ajustarlas a través de reducciones en la inversión social que en algunos países inclusive se han convertido en normas constitucionales.

A este panorama sombrío se suman las dificultades de gobernabilidad en democracia nacidas de la insurgencia de unos poderes fácticos —grupos económicos y de comunicación, jueces y fiscales convertidos en protagonistas mediáticos, organizaciones no gubernamentales, redes sociales, agencias calificadoras de riesgo— que han reemplazado en su función representativa a partidos políticos desacreditados por el clientelismo y la corrupción.

Estos poderes fácticos se hicieron sentir en Brasil para desestabilizar a la presidenta Rousseff; en Argentina, para judicializar la gestión de la presidenta Cristina Kirchner; en Bolivia, para atravesarse en el plebiscito sobre el derecho a la reelección del presidente Evo Morales; en Chile, para cuestionar la intachable honestidad personal de la presidenta Michelle Bachelet, y en Colombia, para hundir el referéndum por la paz.

El impacto de la acción de estos nuevos actores sobre la gobernabilidad democrática regional ha sido mucho más relevante que los cambios de modelo acontecidos este año en Argentina, Perú o Guyana como resultado de legítimos procesos electorales. Resulta difícil ignorar, en este balance de luces y sombras, que la coyuntura por la que atraviesa Venezuela ha polarizado el clima político regional hasta llevar a algunos países a trasladar sus diferencias políticas e ideológicas con el Gobierno bolivariano a escenarios propios de la integración como el Mercosur.

Por si faltara algo para complicar las cosas en la región, apareció el huracán Trump. América Latina estaba acostumbrada a seguir la agenda internacional de Estados Unidos en temas que tenían que ver con la derrota de “enemigos” externos de la seguridad norteamericana como los comunistas, los narcotraficantes y, más recientemente, los terroristas.

Con Trump, esta será la primera vez en muchos años en que intereses nacionales como el proteccionismo, la defensa del trabajo doméstico o de la inversión local, convertidos en prioridades de la política exterior, entrarán en abierta contradicción con los del hemisferio.

De lo que se trata, según ha dicho el presidente electo, es de perseguir migrantes latinos ilegales dentro de Estados Unidos, castigar con altos aranceles productos que vienen del sur desgravados en aplicación de los tratados vigentes de libre comercio y penalizar tributariamente aquellas inversiones norteamericanas que osen establecerse en Latinoamérica. El mundo al revés. Y al lado de estas amenazas están los grandes interrogantes. Qué pasará con el proceso de restablecimiento de las relaciones de Estados Unidos con Cuba, cuando aún está pendiente el levantamiento del embargo comercial que agobia la economía de la isla desde hace medio siglo. Qué suerte espera a los recién firmados Acuerdos de Paz entre el Gobierno de Colombia y las FARC que se distancian del manejo ortodoxo de la tradicional lucha norteamericana contra las drogas en América Latina. Qué pasará con el diálogo político en Venezuela —promovido por Unasur y el Vaticano— entre la oposición y el Gobierno que, con grandes dificultades, ha reemplazado la violencia como forma de acción política y busca atender prioridades como la convivencia equilibrada de poderes de cara a unas próximas elecciones y la solución de graves problemas sociales como el abastecimiento de alimentos y medicinas que hoy agobian a Venezuela.

La amenazante política hacia Latinoamérica del nuevo presidente de Estados Unidos debe ser vista en la región como una oportunidad para cerrar filas en defensa de los intereses hemisféricos, fortalecer los procesos de integración en curso y consolidar alianzas con otros países y regiones del mundo como China y el Pacífico.

Ernesto Samper Pizarro

Ernesto Samper Pizano: Actual secretario general de Unasur y fue presidente de Colombia.

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on América Latina: El huracán Trump

Un nuevo proyecto de oleoducto en Dakota del Norte, EEUU, ha provocado un importante movimiento internacional de oposición. El oleoducto, de 1.770 Km y con un coste de 3 700 millones de dólares, prevé transportar más de 500,000 barriles de crudo diarios, dividiendo los territorios sagrados de los nativos americanos así como las tierras que les fueron concedidas por tratados. Pero también amenaza la calidad del aire y los recursos hídricos en la región y supone un impulso importante a la industria petrolera en el peligroso escenario que nos coloca el Cambio Climático.

El pasado 30 de Noviembre, más de 500 organizaciones de la sociedad civil de 50 países firmaron una carta abierta dirigida a 17 entidades bancarias, entre las que se encuentran ING, BNP Paribas, Citigroup o el BBVA, exigiendo la retirada de la financiación del proyecto Dakota Acces Pipeline (DAPL).

Este proyecto supondría la construcción de un oleoducto de 1.770 Km, con un coste de 3 700 millones de dólares, que prevé transportar más de 500 000 barriles de crudo diarios desde Dakota del Norte hacia el centro-oeste y finalmente hasta la costa este y el sur de Estados Unidos. El proyecto de construcción de este oleoducto ha generado un importante movimiento internacional de oposición, liderado por la tribu Sioux de Standing Rock pero apoyada por los gobiernos tribales de más de otras 280 pueblos y con aliados en todo el mundo. Esta creciente resistencia mundial se opone al Dakota Acces Pipeline (DAPL) debido a que la trayectoria del oleoducto divide los territorios sagrados de los nativos americanos así como las tierras que les fueron concedidas por tratados, y a que amenaza la calidad del aire y los recursos hídricos en la región. Además, esta infraestructura es una amenaza climática en toda regla, ya que supondría un impulso importante a la industria petrolera en la región.

El movimiento de oposición al proyecto de oleoducto, que utiliza únicamente métodos de resistencia pacífica para manifestar su rechazo al DAPL, ha sido violentamente reprimido en varias ocasiones desde su puesta en marcha en abril de 2016 por la policía de varios estados y agencias de Estados Unidos, miembros de la Guardia Nacional estadounidense y fuerzas armadas de seguridad privadas que trabajan para los patrocinadores del proyecto. Las fuerzas de seguridad han utilizado perros de ataque, balas de goma, granadas de conmoción, pistolas paralizantes eléctricas y pistolas de pimienta contra los manifestantes de forma indiscriminada, y se han producido numerosas detenciones.

Los bancos que conforman el consorcio que financia el DAPL son signatarios de los Principios de Ecuador, un marco voluntario de buenas prácticas para instituciones financieras orientado a identificar y gestionar los riesgos sociales y ambientales asociados a las operaciones de financiación de proyectos. Estos Principios recogen el respeto de los derechos indígenas, y específicamente el derecho de las comunidades indígenas a negar el consentimiento a proyectos que afectan a sus tierras ancestrales. Por ello, es díficilmente explicable que no se haya identificado desde el principio la contundente oposición al proyecto por parte de la tribu Sioux de Standing Rock, así como las ampliamente documentadas violaciones graves de los títulos de tierras nativas, las amenazas a las fuentes de agua y la profanación de cementerios como razones para que los bancos participantes en el consorcio no financien este proyecto.

Las organizaciones firmantes de la carta, entre las que se encuentra Ecologistas en Acción, instan a los bancos involucrados en la financiación del oleoducto Dakota Access a paralizar el desembolso de nuevos préstamos y a exigir a Energy Transfer Partners, la promotora del proyecto, la paralización total de las obras hasta que los problemas puestos sobre la mesa por la tribu sioux de Standing Rock sean resueltos de forma satisfactoria.

De los 17 bancos contactados, 8, entre los que se encuentra el BBVA, no han respondido a la carta. Los que han respondido se limitan a tomar nota o a alegar que las políticas de confidencialidad aceptadas en la operación les impiden discutir aspectos de esta. Meras formalidades para no asumir sus responsabilidades.

Las respuestas (o el silencio administrativo) de los bancos a la referida carta muestran la nula voluntad que tienen estas entidades financieras transnacionales de cumplir los compromisos que adquirieron con la firma de los Principios de Ecuador y la ineficacia de los mecanismos basados en la responsabilidad social corporativa para proteger los derechos humanos de la actividad de las empresas transnacionales. Estos mecanismos, que son utilizados por las corporaciones para mejorar su imagen pública, se caracterizan por su carácter voluntario y por no ser exigibles jurídicamente, y no sirven para garantizar el respeto a los derechos de las comunidades afectadas por proyectos como Dakota Acces Pipeline.

En los primeros días de este mes de diciembre, el proyecto del oleoducto Dakota Access ha sufrido un importante revés, al ser denegado por el Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejército de Estados Unidos el permiso para perforar bajo el río Missouri en respuesta a una demanda presentada por la tribu Sioux de Standing Rock. Una importante victoria del movimiento de resistencia al oleoducto, ya que supone la paralización temporal de las obras a la espera de nuevos estudios medioambientales. Sin embargo, la batalla no ha terminado. La intención de la promotora, Energy Transfer Partners, es recurrir judicialmente esta decisión y continuar con la construcción del oleoducto sin modificar el trazado. Así las cosas, conseguir la retirada definitiva de la financiación por parte de los bancos referidos continúa siendo un objetivo fundamental en la lucha contra el DAPL.

Yago Martínez Álvarez

Yago Martínez Álvarez: Co-coordinador del Área de Antiglobalización, Paz y Solidaridad de Ecologistas en Acción.

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on Irresponsabilidad social corporativa en Dakota del Norte: La gran banca financia un polémico oleoducto en EE.UU.
underreported-stories-media-mystery

“Repeater Journalism” versus the Biggest Underreported Stories of 2016

By Eresh Omar Jamal, January 04 2017

You have the majority of mainstream journalists worldwide simply ‘repeating the narrative’ portrayed in the powerful quarters of the world media, namely the Western (American) media, and the information they receive from the biggest news agencies (Western mostly), instead of doing their job — ‘questioning what happened’ and ‘investigating how’ it did. When such impervious power rests in the hands of a handful of individuals, you will of course have a select number of stories being regularly reported by the media. And some stories, never. So what were some of those stories worthy of being covered in the news that were not?

world-007

The Top Ten Under-Reported News Stories of 2016

By Neil Clark, January 04 2017

What would George Orwell have made of 2016? Some of the biggest news stories of the year, promoted by pro-Establishment media, were either false, such as the claims made in December that a ‘Holocaust’ was taking place in eastern Aleppo, or not backed up by any hard evidence, such as the allegations that Russia interfered in the US election. Ironically, these stories were pushed most aggressively by media outlets that expressed the most concern about ‘fake news’ and the urgent need to take action against it!

ban-ki-moon-iran-geneva-ii

Ban Ki-moon: Requiem for a UN ‘Yes Man’

By Joe Lauria, January 04 2017

After ten years of almost total obedience to Washington, Ban Ki-moon stepped down Sunday as United Nations Secretary-General, leaving behind a sorry legacy that has undermined the U.N.’s legitimacy, which rests on its real and perceived neutrality in overseeing world affairs.

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers a lecture on "Our Common Challenges: Strengthening Security in the Region" in Singapore

Aping Washington: Tony Abbott, Israel and Australian Foreign Policy

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, January 04 2017

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has gotten, of late, into the business of clairvoyance. At the very least, he is having a punt at the idea of what the United States is going to do next, notably in certain realms of foreign policy. Where they go, he wishes Australia to adoringly follow.

palestine

Inexhaustible Memories of Palestine

By Barbara Nimri Aziz, January 04 2017

One wonders how many more impassioned, compelling chronicles we need to inform us of the ongoing drama and injustices in their homeland. Yet, opening the pages of this ‘return’ I found myself following Karmi’s chronicle as if it were a crime story. (At one level it is a crime story.) Unlike many narrators of Israeli crimes, this book begins as an account of ‘soft’ crimes, those by Palestinian officials and the United Nations in complicity with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in their charade of possessing power and winning justice.

camus1

Remembering Albert Camus’ “The Plague”: The World as a Prison, It is the U.S….?

By Edward Curtin, January 04 2017

On this date, January 4, in 1960, Albert Camus died in a car crash at a point when he thought his true work had not even begun.  He was 46 years old.  He had already written The Stranger, The Fall, and The Plague, among other works.  He had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  Yet he felt that in his writing he had to hide behind a mask that stifled him.  After all these successes, as well as  criticism from the left and right French intelligentsia, he was looking forward to a time when he would be able to speak his own truth without the mask of depersonalization –  to enter a period of création en liberté.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Selected Articles: Most Underreported News Stories of 2016, Ban Ki-moon’s ‘Yes Man’ Legacy, Remembering Camus

El sociólogo norteamericano, profesor James Petras, realizó para Radio Centenario (CX36) un completo balance del 2016 de la coyuntura internacional y trazó algunas perspectivas que se esperan para el año que comienza. Habló de las organizaciones internacionales, del papel de Estados Unidos bajo el gobierno de Barack Obama en el mundo y lo que se puede esperar del nuevo gobierno de Donald Trump, del avance  de la ultraderecha en Latinoamérica; de la resistencia del pueblo y el gobierno bolivariano a los embates de la oligarquía nacional y de los EEUU, así como de los pasos que debería dar Venezuela para evitar la hiperinflación; y de lo que se viene en Europa tras el ‘brexit’ inglés y la consolidación del apoyo del PSOE a  Mariano Rajoy en España. Además analizó la situación en Turquía, que sufrió un nuevo atentado del terrorismo islámico.

Efraín Chury Iribarne: James Petras, bienvenido a Radio Centenario y desde Montevideo, Uruguay, va el deseo de que el 2017 sea un gran año.

James Petras: Muchas gracias. Feliz nuevo año para vosotros y los oyentes, espero que tengamos salud pues tenemos por delante  luchas positivas para compensar el año pasado.

EChI: ¿Con qué tema quieres comenzar? 

JP: Podríamos empezar con el atentado terrorista en Turquía.

El Estado Islámico se adjudicó el asesinato, obviamente porque quienes atacan Turquía, particularmente en ataques contra civiles, son terroristas no son kurdos. Los kurdos en general atacan blancos policiales y militares. En ese sentido no era muy difícil averiguar quiénes son los responsables.

Pero hay que analizar por qué en el último tiempo Turquía comenzó a ser blanco de ataques por parte de ISIS. Y creo que tiene que ver con la larga asociación que existe entre ISIS y el presidente turco, Recep Tayyip  Erdogan. Después de trabajar juntos para aterrorizar Siria, el gobierno de Erdogan terminó la relación porque querían atacar Siria propiamente ellos, para conquistar la frontera norte siria y desplazar a los kurdos sisrios que formaron una franja política.

Entonces, para defenderse en su ataque a los kurdos, empezaron a atacar también al ISIS y una vez que ISIS se sintió traicionado por su aliado, empezaron los ataques en Ankara, Estambul, etc.

También tenían la ventaja que antes de la ruptura entre Turquía y el Estado Islámico, hubo una gran purga en Turquía de los gulanistas, una secta que infiltró las instituciones turcas; y para aplastar a los gulanistas hicieron una purga de más de 150.000 personas, incluyendo generales y hombres y mujeres de Inteligencia. Y eso debilitó la capacidad del gobierno de Erdogan de controlar a los terroristas, una vez que se concretó la ruptura.

Más allá de eso,  debemos anotar que según las últimas noticias, los terroristas de ISIS están ahora cambiando su lugar logístico de apoyo desde Turquía hacia Arabia Saudita y los otros países en el Golfo, asociados con Arabia Saudita.

Entonces tenemos un cambio en el ambiente. Ahora Turquía está atacando a los terroristas islámicos y formando un acuerdo con Rusia para una tregua. Y es una tregua muy frágil porque hay grupos que siguen atacando a Siria y también, Turquía se quedó con un pedazo del norte de Siria y vamos a ver como arreglan ese detalle.

Pero por el momento, la gran mayoría de los sirios por el momento no han sufrido asaltos graves. Siguen algunos ataques porque hay terroristas afuera del control de Rusia y Turquía, y del acuerdo.

Entonces se trata de una tregua relativa.

En todo caso, han sufrido los cientos de miles de sirios que están desplazados e incluso muchos han muerto en este conflicto que tiene sus orígenes en el apoyo de los Estados Unidos al levantamiento que fue el inicio del ataque. No es una guerra civil como dicen, no hay rebeldes, hay grupos terroristas o grupos bajo el apoyo y dirección de la Otan y principalmente de Washington.

Y sigue hasta ahora  Washington canalizando armas, financiamiento a los grupos terroristas en Siria, a pesar de la tregua.

La tregua fue establecida de espaldas a EEUU rechazando la participación y el bloque de Washington sobre la pacificación del país.

EChI: ¿Cómo se toma allí en EEUU la respuesta de Vladimir Putin a las sanciones que le impuso Washington? 

JP: evidentemente hay una división, todo el mundo entiende que es una provocación de (Barack) Obama para perjudicar la posibilidad de un acuerdo entre Putin y (el presidente electo, Donald) Trump. Más allá de eso, entienden que es una medida extremista, una desproporción, porque no tenemos antecedentes de que un gobierno va a expulsar de un consulado a 35 personas y sus familias en sólo 72 horas. Debían arreglar sus familias, sus casas, sus muebles, en sólo tres días. Era increíble.

Pero la gestión de Trump ha ganado mucha publicidad favorable mostrando que el señor presidente Putin es un hombre conciliador, y no hay que olvidar que en vez de expulsar a un número similar de diplomáticos norteamericanos los invitaron a una fiesta de fin de año. Incluso los hijos de los diplomáticos estadounidenses, igual que de todos los demás países, fueron invitados a la fiesta que se hace en el Kremlin para los niños.

Y eso tuvo un impacto muy positivo en general, la gente dice por un lado tenemos un Presidente extremista, que ha tratado de provocar guerras. Y por otro lado tenemos un Presidente  que  está actuando de manera de facilitar acuerdos y amistades.

Creo que el gran ganador de esto es Putin por lejos y otra vez muestra los aspectos bélicos e irracionales de Obama.

EChI: ¿Cómo cerró Venezuela este año tan particular, de tantos problemas? 

JP: En general, debemos decir que a pesar de las agresiones, sabotajes y la baja del precio del petróleo, el gobierno sigue estable, con el apoyo de sectores importantes, tal vez en minoría pero con un respaldo sólido entre los sectores populares. Y particularmente, la soberanía del país y la capacidad de derrotar las agresiones golpistas de la oposición.

Debemos reconocer sin embargo, que el gobierno tiene que hacer algunas rectificaciones sobre la economía para que no haya más superinflación, que está haciendo tanto daño a la economía y la población. Yo creo que hay que aplicar un gran cambio económico y hay medidas que pueden tomar para evitar la hiperinflación que está deteriorando la vida para las grandes mayorías. El gobierno está haciendo algunas gestiones con los sectores más moderados de la oposición, liberando algunos delincuentes de la oposición que habían sido encarcelados; y está ahora en posición de reabrir negociaciones para ver si pueden formar un consenso sobre las necesidades económicas, algunas difíciles y dolorosas.

EChI: ¿Cómo analizas el papel de la Organización de Estados Americanos en la región en este año que acaba de finalizar?

JP: Bueno, muy negativo.

Entendemos que el papel de Luis Almagro fue muy negativo, no tiene mucho prestigio, es una figura que más que nada ha jugado un papel más para los países de América del Sur y sobre todo como representante de los EEUU, tratando de perjudicar e involucrar a la OEA en conflictos internos, apoyando la oposición y repitiendo los insultos de Washington.

Ahora, yo no sé en qué grado la respuesta en Uruguay está dirigida a Almagro. Imagino que en la población su imagen es bastante negativa, por lo menos en su pro intervencionismo. Y más allá de eso es difícil averiguar, pero creo que en general en el mundo diplomático no está visto como una figura meritoria, es más visto como un títere de Washington.

EChI: Bien, aprovecho que estamos en estas organizaciones para ir a Naciones Unidas que ha cambiado su Secretario General. ¿Qué dejó el anterior, el surcoreano Ban Ki-Moon, y qué enfrenta el portugués António Guterres?

JP: Bueno, Moon, el ex Secretario General era muy pro norteamericano, lo que fue muy perjudicial para la Organización porque no intervino ni denunció los crímenes de lesa humanidad de Washington en las guerras contra Libia, Siria y el resto de los países afectados por el intervencionismo. Fue muy parcial, no era un mediador, no tenía ningún afecto para bajar la temperatura conflictiva, incluso los golpes que ocurrieron en Brasil, en Honduras y Paraguay, no tuvieron en él ninguna sensibilidad por el intervencionismo norteamericano.

En otras palabras, el Secretario General de Naciones Unidas fue mucho más un partidario de Washington que un representante de una organización mundial.

EChI: Y aprovecho tu capacidad analítica para que nos cuentes cómo cierra el año, por ejemplo para la Unión Europea y para nuestra región.

JP: Creo que hay varias cosas que debemos anotar.

Primero, que en Inglaterra ganó el referéndum la oposición a participar en la Unión Europea, porque mucha gente en Inglaterra siente que las decisiones de Bruselas perjudicaban a los trabajadores y la soberanía del país, que los oligarcas no reflejan la opinión nacional y los intereses populares. Fue un gran golpe contra la UE y podría facilitar la desconexión de otros países contra una organización oligárquica-banquera.

En segundo lugar, fue muy positivo también el acuerdo alcanzado por Rusia con China, ampliando sus relaciones y profundizando sus conexiones.

Y también anotar que Rusia obtuvo grandes éxitos en las agresiones de Ucrania, tuvo éxitos en los acuerdos con Siria, donde se logró que Siria recuperara una porción importante del país. Y podríamos ver también la derrota de Obama-Clinton como parcialmente positiva, en el sentido que ellos representan una posición de guerras nucleares con Rusia, lo que afectaría a todo el mundo.

Esos son los aspectos positivos.

Del otro lado, en lo negativo, estuvo el exitoso resultado de Trump, que podría provocar algunos problemas graves internamente en EEUU, como en el tema del cambio climático porque están a favor de la contaminación, la desregulación y otras medidas más.

En América Latina podríamos señalar un contexto muy contradictorio, es que en un sentido la derecha consiguió controlar -a través del golpe en Brasil y las elecciones en Argentina- avanzando la agenda del extremismo neoliberal, perjudicando los estándares de vida   y otras medidas más.

Pero, a fin de año podemos ver el desprestigio de Michel Temer el presidente golpista en Brasil, y de Mauricio Macri, que ha perdido simpatías, es un gobierno muy perjudicial y con menos apoyo, está cada vez más aislado, y podría ser una oportunidad para las elecciones legislativas de este año, donde la derecha pierda y el centro izquierda vuelva a obtener la mayoría del congreso.

Entonces, es un panorama bastante contradictorio donde la derecha consigue algunos éxitos transitorios, pero el panorama futuro es de conflictos, luchas y avances desde el ángulo político.

EChI: ¿Y España cómo quedó tras este año donde se consagró la presidencia de Rajoy con el apoyo del PSOE?

JP: Creo que el Partido Socialista, en particular el apoyo de Felipe González y del ala extremista del PSOE, facilitaron el acuerdo con la ultra derecha de Rajoy. Pero hay mucho descontento en las bases del PSOE, hay algunos sectores de la Dirección que tienen opiniones contrarias. Una vez que se empiece a implementar el acuerdo van a darse muchas divisiones y tal vez, en las próximas elecciones, tras una división profunda, el PSOE va a caer al tercer lugar entre los principales partidos.

El gran éxito de Rajoy al implementar la agenda derechista es transitoria, creo que la crisis económica va a seguir y los opositores –Podemos en particular- van a tratar  de ganar espacios que ocupa ahora el PSOE.

Creo que el PSOE va a perder muchos votos por este acuerdo y tal vez, va a facilitar que las luchas de  izquierda tengan algún espacio mayor en la política española.

No veo un gran levantamiento, pero sí veo muchos conflictos locales, regionales, en el último período, particularmente entre los catalanes y los centralistas en Madrid. Más allá de eso no creo que se pase a conflictos violentos, y espero que se encuentre alguna forma de reconocer la independencia de las naciones diferentes en España. Pero es un proceso de lucha larga, y podríamos ver algún aumento de la represión de Madrid contra los disidentes.

EChI: ¿Queda algún tema que quieras comentar?

JP: Si, lo último que quiero comentar es sobre las posibilidades de algún cambio en la política exterior de Trump frente a la política actual negativa de Obama.

Es posible que Trump vaya a tratar de mejorar la política con Rusia, es muy posible que busque alguna forma de terminar las sanciones a Rusia y tal vez, meterse menos en la política de Medio Oriente y tratar de aumentar las relaciones comerciales con los distintos países. Pero, más allá de las declaraciones de Trump el Partido Republicano está contra de todas las medidas de mejoramiento con Rusia y Medio Oriente que propone el propio Trump. Entonces si hay alguna medida que sólo necesite decreto del Ejecutivo, podría avanzar en el proceso. Pero si  requiere legislación del Congreso, es muy difícil que Trump pueda  realizar alguno de los cambios que ha prometido y busca, incluso, con Rusia.

Entonces, vemos alguna posibilidad de cambios menores, incrementales, para mejorar las relaciones con Rusia y por lo menos habrá menos provocaciones; y ese es un paso adelante porque la política de Obama es muy peligrosa, cuando hablamos de países con armas nucleares y nos sentimos más tranquilos en el grado que Trump trata de acomodarse con Rusia y los países de Medio Oriente.

EChI: Petras muchas gracias por todo este informe, nos reencontramos el próximo lunes. Un abrazo. 

JP: Muchas gracias a todos, particularmente las transcripciones que nos mandan desde Radio Centenario, que circulan entre muchos sitios web, ya que la reenvío a más de 500 contactos. Un abrazo.

 James Petras

James Petras: Sociólogo estadounidense conocido por sus estudios sobre el imperialismo, la lucha de clases y los conflictos latinoamericanos.

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on “Pese a los avances de la derecha en América Latina se viene un año de conflictos, luchas y avances desde el ángulo político”

1. Sin espada

El Presidente colombiano Juan Manuel Santos trae un regalo especial para el Año Nuevo de la Patria Grande: la subordinación formal del hemisferio a la organización terrorista más peligrosa de la historia, la Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (OTAN). El flamante Premio Nobel de la Paz, cuyo ideal político es el Estado del apartheid sionista de Netanyahu, condenado mundialmente (ONU) por la opresión del pueblo palestino y sus violaciones al derecho internacional, se convierte así en el legítimo heredero y consumador de la Doctrina Monroe (1823) de Estados Unidos. Santos es, sin duda alguna, el más brillante y peligroso político criollo al servicio del imperio y de las burguesías latinoamericanas, con que cuenta el imperialismo.

Fiel ejecutor del terrorismo de Estado de los “falso positivos”, copiado del terrorismo estadounidense en Vietnam, el Premio Nobel cuenta entre sus logros la desmovilización de las más poderosas guerrillas del continente. Fue favorecido por la desaparición de la URSS, pero su nombre estará asociado para siempre al fin de un paradigma histórico mundial: la transformación social y toma del Estado por la lucha armada del pueblo. Con la desmovilización de las heroicas guerrillas de El Salvador y de Colombia, como ya había constatado Fidel, queda cerrada la vía del cambio popular armado en América Latina.

La soberanía del pueblo y su poder político pierde, de esta manera, su sostén fundamental: las armas. De las dos formas de poder que constata la Biblia, el verbo y la espada, sólo le queda el verbo. Y éste, en las corruptas democracias burguesas americanas, tiene tanto valor de cambio político como los devaluados billetes de Kim Yong-Un y Maduro, en la economía global.

2. Sin socialismo

En América Latina no hay Socialismo: ni como Estado, ni como partido político, ni como movimiento social, ni como ciencia. La excepción a esta regla, por supuesto, es Cuba, que durante medio siglo –en desfavorable situación de defensa estratégica– luchó por el Socialismo del Siglo 20, y que hoy se encuentra en transición hacia la Nueva Economía Política (NEP) de Lenin. O, si se prefiere, la política de “apertura y reforma” de Deng Xiaoping. La evolución de esta NEP caribeña depende del apoyo de la juventud (escaso); del desarrollo económico (demasiado lento para cohesionar); de Trump (preocupantemente amenazante); de la Venezuela madurista (sin futuro) y de la capacidad de renovación e innovación del Partido (atrofiado, casi cero).

En lugar de la gran narrativa del Socialismo del Siglo 20 y del “hombre nuevo”, hay un vacío ideológico que el Partido y la intelligentsia parecen incapaces de llenar con un nuevo proyecto histórico movilizador. Esta situación es paralela a la de la Patria Grande, cuyo líder ideológico es el Papa Francisco, apoyado por la Internacional Socialista (IS), es decir, la socialdemocracia europea, y una fauna de intelectuales criollos y europeos mediocres y oportunistas, que sirven de comparsas a la socialdemocracia estatal latinoamericano y sus “escuelas de cuadros, en su supuesta construcción de un nuevo “socialismo”.

América Latina busca su camino en la niebla del Siglo 21 no con un GPS, sino, tanteándolo con un palo de bambú.

Venezuela, que podía haber sido el crisol de un nuevo Socialismo Científico del Siglo 21 en el hemisferio, hoy día contribuye fuertemente a la devaluación de toda renovación revolucionaria de izquierda en América Latina. Una dictadura pequeño burguesa inepta, encabezada por una tropa de Rasputines tropicales, constituye, sin duda alguna, un regalo de Dios para la inmunización de las clases medias y pueblos contra toda forma de socialismo anti-capitalista. Si las teorías científicas son “los ojos de la razón”, como decía Hegel en el siglo 18, entonces América Latina busca su camino en la niebla del Siglo 21 no con un GPS, sino, tanteándolo con un palo de bambú.

3. Sin estrategas

Por sendos golpes de la biología y de la justicia de clase burguesa, las grandes voces de los estrategas latinoamericanos han desaparecido; tanto las anticapitalistas, como Fidel y Marulanda, como los desarrollistas (socialdemócratas) Lula, Chávez y Kirchner. Esta mudez se repite a nivel global, donde la izquierda anticapitalista no tiene ningún cuadro destacado; nadie comparable al líder intelectual de la izquierda capitalista (socialdemocracia), Paul Krugman. No tiene un demiurgo que le pueda dar orden teórico y concierto a los eventos nacionales y globales, para convertirlos en paradigma de cambio trans-capitalista del Siglo 21, tal como hicieron Marx y Engels, Lenin, Mao, Ho y Fidel, en su momento.

En la sociedad global, quizás sólo el amigo Noam Chomsky dispone de la capacidad intelectual y del compromiso social para hacerlo. Lamentablemente, el sistema valórico de su “socialismo libertario” es antagónico a la necesidad de las vanguardias y de los líderes de transformación. Por eso, se ha negado a adoptar el papel de demiurgo que hemos discutido con él. Para Marx, el papel de los grandes personajes en la historia es manifiesto. Son claves para la aceleración o desaceleración de los procesos objetivos, cuando éstos producen un cambio de fase en el sistema social. Es decir, cuando las condiciones objetivas de la sociedad ofrecen la posibilidad de un salto cualitativo en la correlación de fuerzas entre liderazgos, masas y momento histórico.

Es difícil ver, cómo puede haber un impacto macropolítico de la protesta, sin líderes y vanguardias adecuadas. Más, cuando en la lucha ideológica no existe el concepto militar del Niemandsland, de la “tierra de nadie”. Lo que no ocupa el pensamiento progresista, lo usurpa el pensamiento oscurantista, como revela nuevamente el caso de Trump, cuya conversión de la democracia liberal en una autocracia burguesa plutocrática, misógina, belicista y pro-zionista, será pagada muy cara por las mujeres y obreros de Estados Unidos, y el mundo entero.

La creación del nuevo orden desde la nada (creatio ex nihilo) es un infantilismo de la aurora humana, como su creación espontánea por la lucha de las masas es un infantilismo de la aurora política (anarquista). La ciencia de los sistemas dinámicos complejos y la psicología de las decisiones, junto con los golpes de la historia, nos han enseñado que mantener esas nociones simplistas sólo prolonga las tiranías de las clases dominantes.

4. Ciega, sin espada, sin verbo

Ordenar estos elementos en un Nuevo Proyecto Histórico trans-capitalista, basado en las ciencias avanzadas, es la tarea civilizatoria del momento.

De esta manera, la Patria Grande entra al año 2017 de la peor manera posible: sin espada, ni verbo, ni “ojos de la razón”. De la peor manera posible, porque el orden liberal mundial está entrando en una fase caótica, con crisis económica, autismo político de la plutocracia gobernante, potencias emergentes y el renacimiento de los anhelos de protección del Estado nacional y de bienestar, en las masas planetarias. Ordenar estos elementos en un Nuevo Proyecto Histórico trans-capitalista, basado en las ciencias avanzadas, es la tarea civilizatoria del momento. Conciencia, empatía y audacia constituyen los (eternos) ingredientes subjetivos de la hazaña paradigmática requerida.

Las masas (redes), científicos y rebeldes latinoamericanos son incubadoras potenciales del futuro. Pero, nada puede sustituir el papel de las vanguardias y genios en su viva interacción con los pueblos, cuando el sistema entra en su fase de autodestrucción. Esta es la fase que estamos viviendo.

Heinz Dieterich

Heinz Dieterich: Profesor emérito de la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM).

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on América Latina desnuda: Sin guerrilla, sin socialismo, sin estrategas

 Los imperios genocidas occidentales (IGO), en franco retroceso –aunque debido a una especie de espejismo parecería lo contrario en distintos aspectos–, diseñaron varios planes para detener su marcha atrás y volver a ubicarse en el papel de absolutos mandamases del planeta. Dos de esos planes se ocuparon centralmente del control total, de ser posible, de la variante energética y de un nuevo “divide y reinarás” a ser implementado en particular en Medio Oriente.

El primero se enfocó en el manejo del petróleo y la reducción vertiginosa de su precio (la primera caída significativa fue alrededor del 2010), con dos objetivos centrales: a) que cese, e incluso se derrumbe, el crecimiento económico y financiero que se producía gracias a la renta petrolífera en distintas zonas y países, especialmente Rusia, Venezuela y Medio Oriente; b) tratar de impedir el desarrollo de energía renovable (solar, eólica, hídrica), pues en la práctica sería mucho más difícil controlarla monopólicamente.

El segundo, en estrecha relación con el anterior, perseguía volver a rediseñar toda la geografía política de Medio Oriente y algunas zonas de Africa con el objeto de robar a manos llenas las riquezas minerales y otras de esos lugares, a través de nuevos gobiernos proclives a los planes de los IGO . Deberíamos pensar que no es casual que las acciones destinadas a producir ese rediseño comenzaron en el 2010 bajo la denominación de “Primavera Árabe” (“PA”), ya que alrededor de esa fecha se produce la caída del precio del petróleo.

Para la ejecución artificiosa de la “PA” se tomaron medidas y se llevaron adelante preparativos y estudios con bastante antelación, como lo hizo conocer el general yanqui a cargo de la OTAN en Kosovo, Wesley Clark. Vale la pena escuchar a este general en distintos videos que se encuentran en la web.

La puesta en marcha de la “PA” se inició con cierto éxito, pero enseguida sufrió los avatares de la realidad, los cuales la fueron estancando. Pero el desastre económico, militar, ecológico y de la infraestructura de los países afectados que ya provocó y sigue provocando, fue y es realmente catastrófico. Como dijo el presidente constitucional de Siria, en pocos meses su país retrocedió más de 25 años en su desarrollo e infraestructura. Y ni hablemos de Libia, el país con la mejor calidad de vida de Africa, que ha “retrocedido”, por medio de un bombardeo asesino implacable de los IGO, prácticamente a las épocas de las cavernas, del hombre primitivo.

Al principio parecía que las cosas marchaban bien para los IGO. La “PA” arranca en Túnez y avanza a través de Líbano, Egipto, Libia, para dirigirse luego hacia Irak, Siria, Yemen y otras zonas.

Cuando todo parecía indicar que el plan artificioso culminaría exitosamente según lo diseñado, aparece en escena un actor al que seguramente no se tuvo en cuenta o se subestimó. Me refiero a la Rusia de Putin. Lo que siguió es conocido por todos. Los IGO no pudieron avanzar como tenían planeado y entonces empezó una multiplicada agresión demencial contra Siria e Irak, extendida luego a Yemen, por medio de bandas terroristas mercenarias, para borrar del mapa no solo los gobiernos del área sino las fronteras de los países. Como dijimos, el plan de los IGO era rediseñar las fronteras de toda la zona a través de la creación de “nuevos estados” que servirían como “estados tapones” o “estados inestables” o “estados clientes” o “estados de conveniencia” para distintas trapisondas, de modo que siempre jueguen a favor de los IGO. Se intentaba repetir la aplicación, de manera redoblada, del “divide y reinarás” que tanto les había beneficiado anteriormente. Se intentaba crear nuevos “pakistanes”, como con tanto éxito lo hizo el imperio inglés. Se crearían estados kurdos, estados cristianos, estados sunnitas, estados shiitas, de manera de tener a mano fuerzas que luego llevarían a que choquen entre sí para beneficio indefinido de los IGO.

Además de esos dos planes centrales, había y hay otro objetivo que para los IGO es muy importante, quizás más importante que lo antes mencionado: hacer desaparecer el Islam.

El Islam: La piedra en el zapato

En la historiografía argentina hay un dicho respecto a la importancia revolucionaria de Perón y su doctrina primigenia que reza así: el peronismo es el hecho maldito del país burgués. De la misma manera, para los IGO y su pandilla de lacayos y serviles, el Islam es el hecho maldito de la supuesta democracia occidental. Había que terminar con Perón y el peronismo –que es prácticamente lo  mismo que desnaturalizarlo– para terminar con la “maldición” que pesaba sobre los oligarcas, criminales y explotadores en la Argentina: esa “maldición” era que la política de Perón impedía a las clases parasitarias y chupasangre seguir saqueando las riquezas que pertenecían a todo el pueblo argentino.  Es necesario terminar con el Islam –que es prácticamente lo  mismo que desnaturalizarlo– para terminar con una religión-ideología-filosofía-práctica-economía que en su  esencia primigenia resulta absolutamente lo opuesto a lo que persiguieron y persiguen los IGO. Por lo tanto, es imprescindible para los IGO reducir el Islam primigenio a una mínima expresión. O adulterarlo completamente de modo que, en todo caso, solo quede la carcaza de un cuerpo que se llamaba “islam”, desprovisto de todo contenido islámico o pervertido hasta tal punto que de ahí en adelante se llame “islam” a principios, políticas y filosofías absolutamente antiislámicas. Y sumado a ello, atomizar ese supuesto cuerpo que lleva por nombre “islam” en incontables grupúsculos opuestos entre si pues, como dice el refrán, “a río revuelto ganancia de pescadores”. O centralizar todos sus componentes férreamente bajo una conducción falsamente islámica, como pretendieron hacer los IGO con la creación primero de Arabia Saudita y luego de los grupos terroristas tipo ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, etc. De máxima, su intención es enviar al Islam al basurero de la historia.

La combinación de los cuatro aspectos mencionados por parte de los IGO –control del precio del petróleo para destruir las economías que dependían en gran medida del mismo; impedir la amplia implantación de las energías alternativas sustentables; rediseño de la geografía política, especialmente en el Medio Oriente; destrucción o desnaturalización de prácticamente todo el Islam– tuvo, no obstante, consecuencias no esperadas:

1) China se transforma en uno de los países poseedores de la mayor cantidad de petróleo extraído y/o refinado.

2) El principal lacayo y marioneta de los IGO en la zona de Medio Oriente, es decir, Arabia Saudita, sufre una notable pérdida de poder económico y político debido a varias causas.

3) Rápida readecuación de Rusia a la nueva situación en el tablero internacional y puesta en marcha de renovados procesos económicos-industriales que la colocan indiscutiblemente a la cabeza del desarrollo e influencia en los acontecimientos mundiales, cosa que molesta de manera muy aguda a los IGO. Estos trazan entonces distintos planes para sofocarla-reprimirla-atacarla, pero se llevan la gran sorpresa que el pato le salió gallareta o, lo que es lo mismo, fueron a cazar y se ven frustrados una y otra vez.

4) Proyección con gran fuerza de la urgente necesidad de un orden socio-económico-ecológico distinto al instaurado en el mundo por los IGO. A la cabeza de esa propuesta se presentan centralmente Rusia y China.

5) Ante la nueva situación entre Rusia y EEUU debido al notabilísimo papel que jugó y juega Rusia en Siria, intensificación  de la relación económica-financiera entre Rusia y China.

6) Surgimiento de importantes acuerdos entre la OPEP y Rusia, lo cual resalta más la importancia de Rusia en la geopolítica internacional.

7) Situación insostenible y/o crítica de la seguridad de EEUU a nivel geológico, ecológico y de salud ambiental, debido a la extracción de petróleo por medio del fracking (Son muchos los temores que esta práctica despierta, puesto que produciría cáncer y temblores de tierra y deja el agua contaminada con elementos radiactivos o tóxicos).

Los siete puntos mencionados no estaban en los cálculos de los IGO –por lo menos con el vigor que tienen–, lo que hace que estos, ante un fracaso de hecho, vean como única salida para seguir manteniendo su hegemonía maléfica, la tercera guerra mundial. Pero aquí vuelve a darse otra paradoja para los IGO: hasta no hace mucho estaban absolutamente seguros que no tenían rivales en un posible enfrentamiento armado a nivel mundial. No obstante, ya se sabe que eso no es así. Ya se sabe que Rusia y China pueden deparar sorpresas increíbles también en ese plano, mal que les pese.

A los siete puntos anteriores hay que sumarle una octavo elemento, que entiendo muy pocos lo tendrían en cuenta. Algo que puede significar una implosión que terminaría por socavar los pilares de los IGO y derrumbar su poderío irremediablemente: el proceso desatado con una virulencia nunca vista por los genocidas occidentales dentro de lo que se conoce como “Islam”.

Breve historia para ubicarnos en el contexto

Apenas muerto el profeta del Islam se inicia una etapa de destrucción del mismo, no desde el exterior sino desde su interior. Quienes eran enemigos mortales del profeta y del Islam, habían fingido islamizarse y pasar a ser, supuestamente, “íntimos” de Muhammad, con el único objeto de salvar sus vidas y sus riquezas. Pero mantenían, bajo el manto de la hipocresía más abyecta, todos sus deseos e intereses antihumanos y un odio sin igual hacia quien les dio cobijo. Apenas fallecido Muhammad sabotean el Islam de distintas formas con el objeto de volver a la época en la que ellos reinaban, marcada por: la explotación inicua de sus súbditos; el robo de las riquezas perteneciente a la gente y a sus pueblos; reducción a la servidumbre de los habitantes de esas tierras  (trata de personas, amenazas, coacciones, abuso de autoridad, detención ilegal, exacción, extorsión, rapto, reclusión en aislamiento, estupro violento); aplicación de la tortura como algo normal; asesinatos masivos e individuales o destierro de cualquiera que reclame justicia o realice críticas, etc.

Esos enemigos del Islam, disfrazados de musulmanes y pasando distintas vicisitudes, se imponen sobre los seguidores sinceros del profeta Muhammad, luego de la muerte de este, mediante la fuerza, la compra de voluntades, los asesinatos en masa, la tortura y cuanta bestialidad puedan realizar. Y con distintas variantes, en más y en menos, tal cosa dura….. ¡1400 años!

Esa situación no pasó desapercibida para los IGO. En la época contemporánea, Napoleón primero, luego el imperio británico y el imperio alemán, a continuación el nazismo y muy poco después los EEUU, se aprovecharon plenamente del hecho de que el “Islam” había pasado, en gran medida, a ser un elemento hueco, vaciado de casi todo el contenido provisto por el profeta Muhammad. Lo que hicieron entonces, paso a paso, fue llenar ese elemento hueco con un nuevo contenido: el que les convenía. Por lo tanto, la representación oficial y mayoritaria del “Islam”, de hecho, la pasaron a tener los imperios occidentales. Y la principal banda de pillos utilizada para sus planes fue la constituida por Arabia Saudita: bajo la bandera del Islam se engendró la más espantosa política antiislámica.

Siempre existió una resistencia a esa degeneración. Pero un tenue cambio con buenas perspectivas recién empieza en 1979 con la revolución islámica en Irán. Y en menos de 40 años (¡después de 1400 años!), los hechos conducen a la situación actual, cuya expresión más álgida, si se quiere, se refleja en los acontecimientos de Medio Oriente y Africa.

Al evaluar los IGO las nuevas posibilidades propicias para el verdadero Islam que aparecían en el horizonte, elaboran un “reordenamiento de las cosas” para seguir dominando. Y en ese “reordenamiento” ven imprescindible no perder el manejo de las fuentes de energía pues  es de importancia estratégica y entraña poder hegemónico. Deciden entonces una jugada bien planificada para no solo quedarse, de ser posible, con las importantísimas reservas de hidrocarburos, sino para terminar también con el resurgir del Islam primigenio que, como espada de Damocles, pondría en peligro permanente todos sus saqueos y robos. Y a ello agregan el peligro que les representa una nueva y dinámica Rusia. Y como en los planes de los IGO está quedarse con todo Medio Oriente para luego fagocitarse Irán, de tener éxito darían un gran paso en la dirección de cerrar un cerco de acoso y destrucción de Rusia.

Si se quiere plantearlo muy resumidamente, este es el disparador de la llamada “Primavera Árabe”.

Como base para el lanzamiento de la “PA” toman la experiencia relativamente exitosa de los ingleses con la separación de territorio de la India para crear Pakistán y el triunfo de EEUU sobre los soviéticos en Afganistán. Y el golpe mortal al Islam pensaban darlo presentando las más brutales y repugnantes acciones preparadas por ellos mismos (es decir, por los IGO), como si fuesen “islámicas”. Ese es uno de los principales motivos para que los IGO creen, pertrechen y lancen a una tropelía de sangre y fuego al ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Boko Kharam, Al Shabaab, Jemaah Islamiyah, Emirato del Cáucaso, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Abu Sayaf, etc. De esa manera los IGO pensaban arrasar con el Islam intelectual, política, ideológica, doctrinal y religiosamente. Para ese fin reclutan mercenarios en más de cien países del mundo, a los que disfrazan de musulmanes y les ponen jefes norteamericanos, franceses, belgas, ingleses, israelíes, turcos, etc, así como árabes antiislámicos. Todos ellos, subrayo para que quede claro, disfrazados de musulmanes: atuendos, estandartes, pendones, consignas, frases, algunas prácticas rutinarias y cosas por el estilo. La escenificación (pour le galerie) se montaba lo mejor posible  para engañar a la mayor cantidad de gente posible con el objeto de desvirtuar el Islam primigenio de la manera más amplia posible y destruirlo lo más profundamente posible. Esta es una cuestión de primerísima importancia para los IGO, porque lo que quieren es que la población mundial piense que si el Islam es eso, merece ser despreciado, odiado y liquidado. Y de conseguirse tal cosa, pasarían a manejar, de modo incontestable, cientos de millones de personas.

Resultado de imagen para arab spring

La “Primavera Árabe”, uno de los acontecimientos más relevantes de la historial mundial contemporánea

Los cuarteles generales para las operaciones terroristas del ISIS y demás, se establecieron en Arabia Saudita, Turquía, Qatar y Jordania. Allí se armaron y arman, prepararon y preparan, entrenaron y entrenan, adoctrinaron y adoctrinan en el falso islam los mercenarios de más de cien países, a los que se lanzaron y lanzan a cometer las peores infamias y canalladas posibles con el objeto de, mediante la triquiñuela explicada, desprestigiar al Islam primigenio para siempre.

De todos modos, en esto hay un dato que no se puede pasar por alto: una importante parte de esos mercenarios se dicen musulmanes. ¿Por qué? ¿Qué es lo que les hace creer que son musulmanes y que su atroz conducta es propia de la doctrina islámica? Esto es algo que hay que dilucidarlo perfectamente.

Formalmente, las personas musulmanas en el mundo son unos mil quinientos millones. Alrededor del 90% son los llamados “sunnitas”. Arabia Saudita ejerce en muy amplia medida la tutela de las dirigencias  de esa masa o de los que responden a las mismas, centralmente, por motivos económicos.

De aquellos vientos son estas tempestades. De la dominación-instrumentación del wahabismo (fines del siglo XIX hasta nuestros días) por parte de los IGO, surgen las primeras bandas terroristas bajo la supuesta bandera del Islam en Medio Oriente.

Para verlo mejor, cito algo de lo escrito en la materia en el libro del Dr. John A. Morrow titulado “El Minarete y el Campanario. Los Pactos del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos del mundo” (University Press of the South, 2015, EEUU):

“Moritz, quien había servido como director de la Biblioteca Khedivial en El Cairo, no podía ser un hombre objetivo, imparcial, pues era un agente y propagandista del imperio alemán (88, 92, 96, 147, 372, nota 12). En opinión de Leo Frobenius (1873-1973 C.), otro agente político y espía celoso, Moritz “despreciaba a los pueblos orientales en lo más profundo de su corazón” (citado por McMeekin 147). Moritz perteneció a una pequeña camarilla de agentes alemanes que empujó el mundo islámico al conflicto con el fin de satisfacer sus propios fines políticos, económicos y militares. De la misma manera que los británicos encabezaron la creación del extremismo “islámico” y el salafismo durante la revuelta árabe con el fin de destruir lo que quedaba del Imperio Otomano, los alemanes apelaron también al nacionalismo árabe y al sentimiento religioso musulmán para conseguir apoyo a su causa. Agentes como Moritz debían convencer a los árabes de que los intereses alemanes y los intereses islámicos eran uno. Mediante el pago a las autoridades religiosas …. obtenían fatwas en apoyo de la jihad alemana contra los Aliados (McMeekin 200, 201-209, 214-15, 233).

Aunque los clérigos corruptos decían que esos dividendos tenían un carácter religioso, todos sabían de qué se trataba: sobornos a cambio de colaboración con los poderes colonialistas. Si los alemanes estaban recabando apoyo de los turcos, de los bereberes, de los persas y de algunos árabes, los británicos estaban diseminando el salafismo ─en el que ahora se encuentra inmerso (el gobierno) de Arabia Saudita─ con el objeto de expulsar de Medio Oriente a los otomanos. Al ocupar EEUU el papel de poder imperial en el siglo XX, heredó de los británicos  el salafismo y lo pasó a usar en sus planes para el mundo musulmán. Para mayor información sobre esto, los lectores pueden recurrir a The Two Faces of Islam de Stephen Suleyman Schwartz (1948 – …. C) y a God’s Terrorists: The Wahhabbi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad de Charles Allen”.

Este es el origen contemporáneo, guste o no, de los grupos terroristas disfrazados de musulmanes. Y esos grupos eran terroristas porque cometían las mismas atrocidades que cometen hoy día el ISIS y sus parecidos. Y estaban disfrazados de musulmanes porque sostenían ideas y prácticas absolutamente contrarias a la doctrina del Islam de Muhammad. Ninguna duda cabe, repito, que de aquellos vientos en el mundo sunnita, muy bien aprovechados por los IGO, son estas tempestades. (Ver, por ejemplo, en http://www.voltairenet.org/article186380.html, lo que dice Jean-Michel Vernochet: Si nos tomamos el trabajo de consultar a los innumerables doctores del islam cuyos trabajos podemos encontrar en internet, notaremos que el wahabismo [1], que es la ideología de los degolladores de Daesh [2], constituye una verdadera ruptura epistemológica con la tradición islámica clásica, al igual que en relación con lo que podemos llamar el islam popular. Cuando hablé de eso, personalmente y cara a cara, con el erudito militante Sheikh (jeque) Imran Hossein, este se mostró totalmente de acuerdo con esa definición de la doctrina wahabita. Estuvimos de acuerdo en que se trata de una herejía cismática que los sabios musulmanes, y también los intelectuales laicos árabes, designan con el término dajjál, ¡cuya traducción más exacta sería el anticristo! [3]”).

Es decir, centralmente, el antiislam disfrazado de Islam proviene de lo que al efecto inventaron a fines del siglo XIX y principio del XX los IGO. Y esa centralidad prende y echa raíces en el mundo sunnita. Dicho en otras palabras, es en el mundo sunnita donde tiene lugar lo que Jean-Michel Vernochet define como “herejía cismática”. 

Aquí resulta interesante responder otro interrogante para que todo se comprenda de la manera más clara posible. ¿Realmente el wahabismo domina-maneja-tutela a la gran mayoría de los musulmanes sunnitas? El wahabismo tiene puntos flojos. El más importante es que para llamarse “islámico” debió mantener, muy a pesar suyo, la integridad del Corán. No puede evitar que los sunnitas lean, estudien el Corán. Eso lleva a que cierta cantidad de ellos vean las contradicciones entre el wahabismo y el Corán. Pero prácticamente no se manifiestan por miedo a las consecuencias. Los wahabís son conscientes de esta realidad y le temen. Y eso es parte de lo que ha conducido a los wahabitas –siempre obedientes a los IGO– a implementar los actuales atropellos criminales y montaje de bandas mercenarias asesinas con el objetivo central –entre otros también importantes– de intentar extinguir el Islam. El numen de ese plan es tratar de convencer al mundo que el Islam es, por naturaleza, malo, caótico, salvaje, criminal, atroz, sanguinario y absolutamente negativo. Se les ocurrió pensar a los wahabitas que de ese modo lograrían también que la mayoría de los musulmanes renuncien al Islam. Al efecto relato una anécdota que grafica lo dicho.

Me encontré con alguien que no veía hacia un tiempo y era musulmán. Le pregunté la manera en que lo afectaba todo lo que estaba sucediendo, especialmente la presentación del Islam como sinónimo de terrorismo. La respuesta, que no la esperaba, fue la de una mente colonizada, ganada para el consenso antiislámico: “por suerte hace algo más de un año que abandoné el Islam y todos lo saben. No tenía idea en dónde estaba metido”. Si el sistema de los IGO consiguiese que esa forma de pensar se extendiese en las sociedad musulmana de norte a sur y de este a oeste, ya no les haría falta ninguna banda de sus mercenarios terroristas, pues tendrían el control, la hegemonía cultural sobre unos mil quinientos millones de seres humanos. Y el que controla las ideas controla las acciones, el que controla las mentes crea e impone el consenso y maneja a las sociedades.

Conclusión

Los IGO y sus lacayos trazaron diversos planes para destruir el Islam y se valieron del disfraz de “islámico” de Arabia Saudita para luego intentar hacer jugar a su favor a la masa sunnita.

Pero con la intervención providencial de Rusia frente a los terroristas, todo lo planeado empezó a fallar, resquebrajarse y, al igual que un buque averiado, empieza a hundirse.

Y esto abre la puerta de lo más inesperado para el wahabismo y para los IGO: los llamados sunnitas estarían despertando de un sopor masivo y se percatarían, descubrirían qué es el wahabismo y quiénes lo dirigen y utilizan. En consecuencia, estarían descubriendo el Islam primigenio, el Islam del profeta Muhammad, que es exactamente lo contrario a lo que hacen los wahabitas.

La perspectiva socio-histórica-política de ello tiene una importancia de consecuencias que  creo son pocos aún los que llegan a vislumbrarla.

Se produciría en el sunnismo una implosión que barrería con unos mil quinientos años del falso islam forjado por los traidores a Muhammad y puesto en marcha globalmente por los IGO. Si la implosión se concreta, a la lucha en contra de los IGO se sumarían unos mil quinientos millones de seres humanos, a la vez que estos recuperarían para sus propios fines los amplísimos territorios que ocupan. Se estaría preanunciando un nuevo reordenamiento del planeta a escala mundial como, justamente, lo proponen Rusia y China. Y también Lyndon Larouche con sus cuatro leyes [restablecimiento de la Ley Glass-Steagall en la forma precisa en que Franklin Roosevelt la puso en vigor; retorno a un sistema de Banca Nacional, estilo Alexander Hamilton –primer secretario del Tesoro de G. Washington– y al sistema de moneda única (Greenback) de Abraham Lincoln; instituir un sistema de crédito federal que genere mejoras altamente productivas en el empleo; adoptar un programa (de desarrollo) intensivo impulsado por la fusión (nuclear)], adaptadas a las nuevas circunstancias mundiales.

Entiendo que esta sería una consecuencia absolutamente inesperada para los inventores de la llamada “PA”. Estoy convencido que si los IGO, aunque más no sea, hubiesen soñado con algo así, jamás se habrían animado a transitar ese sendero. Por eso digo al principio, “Intrigaban ellos e intrigaba Dios, pero Dios es el Mejor de los que intrigan” (Corán, 8:30).

Roberto Verttuti

Roberto Verttuti: Maestro, activista, escritor, traductor y periodista independiente argentino y musulmán.

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on Primavera Árabe: Una puerta abierta con consecuencias inesperadas

Ford: perspectivas del efecto Trump

January 4th, 2017 by La Jornada

En la mañana de ayer el presidente electo de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, amenazó a la empresa General Motors (GM) con hacerla pagar un impuesto fronterizo si continuaba produciendo en México uno de sus modelos de automóvil.

Unas horas más tarde, Ford Motor Company, rival de GM, anunció su decisión de cancelar inversiones por mil 600 millones de dólares en una fábrica que había programado construir en el estado de San Luis Potosí y canalizar tales recursos a la planta que ya posee en Michigan.

Aunque el presidente de la Ford, Mark Fields, negó que la decisión hubiera obedecido a un acuerdo con Trump, y afirmó que había sido tomada con el propósito de mejorar la rentabilidad, lo cierto es que durante su campaña presidencial el magnate neoyorquino amenazó a la empresa en reiteradas ocasiones con fuertes sanciones fiscales si persistía en sus planes de trasladar una parte de su producción a nuestro país.

El episodio, que provocó una fuerte depreciación del peso mexicano frente al dólar y obligó al gobierno federal a descartar –por conducto de Alfonso Guajardo, secretario de Economía– una reacción en cadena de retiros y cancelaciones de inversión extranjera, particularmente estadunidense, tiene sin embargo un precedente cercano: a finales de noviembre pasado la empresa Carrier, fabricante de equipos de aire acondicionado, desistió de trasladar parte de sus procesos productivos a México –que implicaban unos 2 mil puestos de trabajo– y, tras un acuerdo con el presidente electo, optó por mantenerlos en Indiana.

La determinación de la Ford es indicativa de lo que les espera a las economías de ambos países: a la del nuestro, una severa disminución de las inversiones procedentes del país vecino, y a la estadunidense, un notable encarecimiento de sus procesos de producción.

Si bien es cierto que Trump difícilmente podrá cumplir en su totalidad con sus amenazas de deportar a tres millones de migrantes indocumentados en sus primeros meses de gobierno y de regresar a territorio de Estados Unidos las fábricas que se han establecido al sur del río Bravo, debe considerarse que llevará ambos propósitos tan lejos como pueda, lo que va a generar una dislocación significativa en la economía mexicana.

Es necesario, en consecuencia, reconocer que el modelo de desarrollo instaurado en nuestro país a partir del salinato y de la firma del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte, del que la integración con Estados Unidos ha sido columna vertebral, se ha quedado sin fundamento, y es apremiante emprender con urgencia la reconfiguración económica del país, con la mirada puesta en el mercado interno y en la diversificación comercial.

La Jornada

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on Ford: perspectivas del efecto Trump

Trump y la renegociación del TLCAN

January 4th, 2017 by Alejandro Nadal

Aprovechando el descontento provocado por la pérdida de empleos en el sector manufacturero de la economía estadunidense, una de las más insistentes promesas de campaña de Trump fue la de renegociar el Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN). La ironía es interesante porque uno de los principales objetivos del gobierno mexicano al negociar ese tratado fue consolidar el modelo neoliberal que se estaba imponiendo en nuestro país. Reformar la legislación mexicana podía ser fácil de lograr, pero renegociar un tratado internacional con Estados Unidos siempre sería visto como una barrera infranqueable. Hoy la presión para renegociar proviene directamente de Washington.

El TLCAN fue un tratado pionero que precedió a los Acuerdos de Marrakech que dieron origen a la Organización Mundial de Comercio (OMC). Temas como derechos de propiedad intelectual, subsidios, medidas sanitarias y fitosanitarias, energía, servicios financieros y los derechos de los inversionistas, fueron incluidos en el TLCAN y sirvieron de ejemplo para los acuerdos medulares de la OMC. El resultado fue un acuerdo que sólo benefició a las grandes corporaciones de los tres países.

En el caso de México el superávit comercial con Estados Unidos (58 mil millones de dólares en 2015) no ha sido suficiente para mantener un equilibrio en la balanza comercial con el resto del mundo. Por su parte, los 600 mil empleos generados en las manufacturas en los primeros 15 años de vida del TLCAN no sirvieron para compensar la pérdida de aproximadamente 2 millones de empleos en la agricultura en ese mismo plazo. Ese saldo comercial superavitario se explica en buena medida por las exportaciones del sector energético y de las maquiladoras (que al no estar conectadas con el resto de la economía son incapaces de fungir como motores de la economía). Por eso los objetivos sobre empleo y crecimiento con equilibrio se convirtieron rápidamente en un espejismo inalcanzable para México.

Los planes específicos de Trump para renegociar el TLCAN no son claros. Durante su campaña habló de imponer un sobre arancel de 35 por ciento a las exportaciones de autos ensamblados en México y algunos otros productos. Pero una medida de ese tipo no puede justificarse ni imponerse unilateralmente sin modificar la arquitectura del tratado. Las corporaciones estadunidenses que se instalaron en México lo hicieron en respuesta a la norma salarial de hambre que ahí existe y no porque estuvieran buscando beneficiarse con subsidios distorsionadores del comercio internacional. De hecho, en caso de imponerse ese sobre arancel México podría accionar los mecanismos de solución de disputas previstos en el TLCAN o de un panel de solución de controversias de la OMC y lo más probable es que el veredicto le sería favorable. La razón es sencilla: el sobre arancel que propone Trump es ilegal.

Si Trump quisiera cambiar ese estado de cosas debería buscar imponer estándares de compensaciones para el trabajo que reduzcan el diferencial existente entre salarios en México y Estados Unidos. Habría que ver si el acuerdo paralelo (al TLCAN) en materia de trabajo pudiera llegar a convertirse en un instrumento eficaz para mejorar las condiciones laborales en México. Pero no hay que olvidarlo: aquí los principales afectados serían las corporaciones para las cuales el TLCAN fue negociado.

Por cierto, Trump tampoco podrá argumentar que Estados Unidos está sufriendo una crisis de balanza de pagos y que por lo tanto se justifica imponer un sobretasa arancelaria. El artículo 2104 del TLCAN (en el capítulo XXI sobre Excepciones) especifica que no se puede invocar una crisis de balanza de pagos para imponer ese tipo de medidas. Es decir, en su capítulo sobre excepciones, el TLCAN establece que… no habrá excepciones. Por cierto, ese precepto estuvo dirigido a México y no a Estados Unidos.

Si se reabren negociaciones sobre el TLCAN, los gobiernos de México y Canadá buscarán concesiones en rubros que fueron objeto de tensiones en el pasado. Por ejemplo, México podría buscar una ampliación de la cuota azucarera y Canadá podría aprovechar para exigir poner fin a la disputa sobre sus exportaciones madereras hacia Estados Unidos (las empresas estadunidenses argumentan que la industria maderera canadiense recibe un fuerte subsidio que aumenta su competitividad artificialmente). Y tanto Canadá como México podrían exigir una mayor participación en las compras del sector público estadunidense que hoy sigue protegido con reglas de compra nacional que contradicen el TLCAN.

En síntesis, la postura de Trump en materia de política comercial implica un rechazo a décadas de negociaciones multilaterales y bilaterales sobre acuerdos de libre comercio. Pero Trump es un magnate que se ha dedicado a los desarrollos inmobiliarios. Es una actividad lucrativa, pero no tiene nada que ver con el comercio internacional en manufacturas. Ya veremos qué cara pone cuando las grandes corporaciones le expliquen por qué se instalaron en China y México.

Alejandro Nadal

Alejandro Nadal: Profesor e investigador de economía en el Colegio de México (COLMEX).

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on Trump y la renegociación del TLCAN

EEUU han preparado los golpistas del golpe militar de Brasil en 1964, a partir de la fundación de la Escuela Superior de Guerra, fundada por Golbery do Couto e Silva y Humberto Castelo Branco, que habían convivido con las tropas norteamericanas durante la participación de Brasil al final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, en Italia. Junto a la Escuela de las Américas, en Panamá, se formó así la generación que preparó y puso en práctica el golpe militar de Brasil en 1964. La Doctrina de Seguridad Nacional y los métodos de tortura fueron las dos claves esenciales del régimen de terror que fue implantado en Brasil y en los otros países del Cono Sur de América Latina.

En la pos-guerra fría los EEUU buscaron su nuevo enemigo, figura esencial para exorcizar hacia lo exterior, los problemas de la sociedad norteamericana. Junto al narcotráfico, se fijaron en el terrorismo

Como parte de la lucha en contra del terrorismo, con toda la amplitud que George W. Bush pasó a dar al tema, se desarrolló un campo de actividad llamado de “contraterrorismo”, como parte de la función de “policía del mundo” que EEUU han asumido.

El blanqueo de dinero pasó a ser parte de esa acción, en la creencia de que el terrorismo lavaba sus recursos en los mecanismos bancarios. Se pasó a la “investigación y castigo en los casos de blanqueo de dinero, incluyendo la cooperación formal e informal entre los países, confiscación de bienes, métodos para extraer pruebas, negociación de delaciones, uso de examen como herramienta y sugerencias de cómo tratar con las Organizaciones No Gubernamentales (ONGs), sospechosas de ser usadas para financiamiento ilícito”.

En el seminario “proyecto Puentes: construyendo puentes para la aplicación en Brasil” – cuyo tenor fue revelado por WikiLeaks -, realizado en octubre de 2009, en Rio de Janeiro, contó con la presencia de autoridades norteamericanas encargadas de la formación del nuevo personal al servicio del Imperios, para consolidar el entrenamiento bilateral de aplicación y habilidades prácticas de contraterrorismo. Han participado promotores y jueces federales de 26 provincias brasileñas, además de 50 policías federales de todas las provincias, en la más grande delegación, reunión que contaba también con representantes de México, Costa Rica, Argentina, Panamá, Uruguay y Paraguay.

En el trascurso de la reunión intervino nada más que Sergio Moro, el hoy muy conocido promotor brasileño, que pretende ser un “justiciero, al margen de la ley, en contra de la corrupción”. El habló sobre los “cinco punto más comunes de lavado de dinero en Brasil”. Los participantes han solicitado entrenamiento adicional, sobre la búsqueda de evidencias, entrevistas e interrogatorios. Ese interés se daría porque “la democracia brasileña no tiene todavía 20 años de edad. Así, los jueces federales, los promotores, los abogados son novatos en el proceso democrático, no fueron entrenados en cómo lidiar con largos procesos judiciales (…) y se encontraron incapaces de utilizar eficazmente el nuevo código criminal que fue completamente alterado”.

El informe pide, en los resultados de la reunión, que se realicen cursos más profundos en Sao Paulo, Curitiba y Campo Grande. El informe concluye que “el sector judicial brasileño claramente está muy interesado en la lucha en contra del terrorismo, pero necesita herramientas y entrenamiento para empeñar fuerzas eficazmente. (…) Promotores y jueces especializados han conducido en Brasil los casos más significativos de corrupción de individuos de alto nivel”.

El surgimiento de gobiernos que contrarían las orientaciones de EEUU fue la oportunidad para adaptar esas orientaciones a proyectos de desestabilización de esos gobiernos, apoyados en acciones que se concentran en la denuncia reiterada de supuestas irregularidades cometidas por esos gobiernos, por los partidos que los apoyan y por sus líderes. La contribución de Moro y de sus comparsas es la de usar los métodos que aprendieron con los norteamericanos – que incluían ya el uso de las delaciones, entre otros métodos -, para destruir la democracia, reconstruida después del agotamiento de las dictaduras militares, instaladas por la generaciones anteriores de golpistas, igualmente formados por los EEUU.

Los datos revelados por WikiLeaks ya habían demostrado que la información fruto del espionaje hecho por el gobierno de los EEUU en la presidencia de la república de Brasil, en el Ministerio de Minas y Energía y en Petrobras, fue suministrada a Sergio Moro y su comparsa, para que dieran inicio a las denuncias en contra del gobierno del PT. Esa reunión de 2009 es significativa de los nuevos métodos de desestabilización política generados por EEUU, con intervención escandalosa en los asuntos internos de los otros países, violando su soberanía y contando para ello con miembros del Poder Judicial y de la Policía. Esa fue un episodio preparatorio de EEUU de la nueva violación de la democracia brasileña, apoyado en personajes que representan directamente los intereses del Imperio, como Sergio Moro y su comparsa.

Emir Sader

Emir Sader: Sociólogo y científico político brasileño, es coordinador del Laboratorio de Políticas Públicas de la Universidad Estadual de Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).

  • Posted in Español
  • Comments Off on EE.UU. entrena a los nuevos golpistas en América Latina

In remarks delivered during the opening session of the 115th US Congress, top Democrats emphasized their willingness to work with the incoming Trump administration. Rather than warn the American people—including the majority of voters, who cast ballots for Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton—the Democrats signaled their desire to collaborate with Trump and his cabinet of right-wing ideologues, billionaires and retired generals.

The tone was set in the speech delivered by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer after he was formally installed as top Senate Democrat during the upper chamber’s opening session. With the Republicans holding only a narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate, where most actions require a 60-vote super-majority, Schumer will be the most powerful Democrat in Washington after Obama leaves the White House.

Schumer has already signaled his desire to work cooperatively with the new Trump administration, giving a series of interviews in which he recalled his past friendly relations with the Manhattan billionaire, who was a regular donor to Schumer’s congressional and US Senate campaigns.

A profile published in Politico noted that Schumer has created a much broader leadership structure for Senate Democrats than his predecessor Harry Reid, incorporating figures on the right wing of the Democratic caucus, including Mark Warner of Virginia, a telecommunications multimillionaire before winning a Senate seat, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who was interviewed several times by Trump for a potential cabinet appointment.

Joining Manchin and Warner are former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts liberal Elizabeth Warren, chosen to provide a “left” cover for any deals the Democrats make with Trump on such issues as infrastructure or trade. Schumer himself has expressed enthusiasm for an infrastructure deal, telling ABC News, “We think it should be large. He’s mentioned a trillion dollars. I told him that sounded good to me.”

On a parallel track, the AFL-CIO and several House Democrats said Tuesday they were urging Trump to go forward with his pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called NAFTA “a political failure and a policy disaster,” declaring, “We are ready to fix it.”

The union executive is urging American workers to see workers in Canada and Mexico as their enemies, not the billionaire capitalist who is about to enter the White House, and his coterie of semi-fascists, fellow billionaires and ex-generals.

Schumer has ostentatiously distanced himself from the Obama administration’s most recent policy initiative on Israel, joining with Trump in denouncing the decision not to veto a UN Security Council resolution critical of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, and blasting the speech delivered by Secretary of State John Kerry in which he criticized Israel’s policy on settlements.

In his speech Tuesday, Schumer combined rhetoric about defending “the American people, the middle class and those struggling to get there” with advice to Trump on how to explain and carry out his policies more effectively. While he claimed that the Democrats would hold Trump “accountable,” Schumer suggested that there was considerable “common ground” for action, including infrastructure investments and protectionist trade policies. He lent credence to Trump’s cynical campaign talk of protecting Medicare and Social Security, offering to work with him on the issue.

The Democratic leader warned Trump against adopting ready-made the policies of the congressional Republican right, saying these were “pro-corporation, pro-elite policies diametrically opposed to the many campaign themes that helped you win working class votes.” Schumer lectured that if Trump were to do that—as though there was any question about it—“your presidency will not succeed.”

The New York Post reported last weekend that Trump had told Schumer he liked him better than the Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, or Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. Asked about this report, Schumer told CNN that Trump said “something close to it.”

Most notable about Schumer’s first speech as Democratic leader was the fact that he criticized Trump mainly on a relatively minor question—his obsessive use of Twitter—not on the substance of his policies. He denounced “government by Twitter,” but not the most right-wing government in American history, pledged to destroy social programs, slash taxes for the wealthy, attack democratic rights and build up the military-police apparatus.

Schumer seemed most concerned that Trump’s occasional Twitter outbursts in the early morning hours could destabilize world financial markets, something the New York senator’s Wall Street backers find unsettling. Schumer has collected more campaign contributions from the financial industry than any nonpresidential candidate in modern history.

Senate Republicans have clearly taken Schumer’s measure, suggesting he will be a far more cooperative figure than Reid. McConnell, speaking with reporters after the November 8 election, said, “I think what the American people are looking for is results. And to get results in the Senate, as all of you know, it requires some Democratic participation and cooperation.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was equally conciliatory in her briefer and less publicized remarks, delivered in the form of a salute to House Speaker Paul Ryan after the right-wing Republican defeated her by a margin of 239 to 190 in the contest for the leadership of the House of Representatives.

Pelosi hailed Ryan’s supposed intellectual abilities (he is a long-time devotee of ultra-right writer Ayn Rand) and his long service in the House, as an intern, employee and congressional aide before winning a seat at the age of 28. The simpering tone of her tribute reflected the fundamental unity of the two capitalist parties, whose conflicts represent, in President Obama’s words, an “intramural scrimmage” between teams that are on the same side: the side of the financial oligarchy.

Pelosi herself is married to a real estate mogul and venture capitalist, Paul Pelosi, worth more than $50 million. Whatever happens in Washington, no matter how devastating for the working class, Madame Pelosi will go unscathed, and her husband will likely profit.

Both Pelosi and Ryan, though of different generations, have spent a combined 46 years in the House of Representatives without ever facing a significant challenge at the polls. The stagnant and inbred character of this body is shown by the fact that in 2016, despite the political upheavals in the presidential campaign, 380 of the 393 House incumbents won reelection, a victory rate of nearly 97 percent.

Like Schumer, Pelosi declared that House Democrats would seek common ground with Trump “wherever they can,” based on the incoming president’s demagogic pledges to help American workers. She vowed to “stand our ground” on Medicare, Social Security, Obamacare, the environment and civil rights—an empty pledge that she and her fellow Democrats are preparing to break in the coming weeks and months. Significantly missing from her litany was Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, which is believed to be the first major target for budget cutting by the Trump administration and the Republican majority in Congress.

The sole concrete action of the first day of the 115th Congress was an incident that could be indicative of the future. The House Republican caucus sparked a media firestorm by voting Monday night to effectively dismantle the Office of Congressional Ethics, the independent agency set up in 2008 to investigate charges against sitting congressmen, referring them for action, if necessary, to the House Ethics Committee.

Even the limited powers of this body were too much for the now-ascendant Republicans, who voted by 119-74 in a closed-door meeting to gut the OCE’s investigative authority. Congressional Democrats immediately denounced the action as a “betrayal” of Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington, a piece of demagogy employed at the candidate’s rallies during the final month of the presidential campaign. Trump himself joined the attack, deploring the House Republican action in two Twitter posts. By Tuesday afternoon, the House Republicans had unanimously reversed themselves.

While the episode had a somewhat farcical character, it showed the potential for future collaboration between the Democrats and the Trump White House on issues of much greater importance.

Another clear signal of the Democrats’ readiness to collaborate with the ultra-right Trump administration was the announcement Tuesday that Bill and Hillary Clinton would attend Trump’s inauguration.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on As New Congress is Sworn In: Democrats Signal Readiness to Work with Trump

The Top Ten Under-Reported News Stories of 2016

January 4th, 2017 by Neil Clark

What would George Orwell have made of 2016? Some of the biggest news stories of the year, promoted by pro-Establishment media, were either false, such as the claims made in December that a ‘Holocaust’ was taking place in eastern Aleppo, or not backed up by any hard evidence, such as the allegations that Russia interfered in the US election.

Ironically, these stories were pushed most aggressively by media outlets that expressed the most concern about ‘fake news’ and the urgent need to take action against it!

At the same time some very important real news was either ignored altogether — or given only the scantiest coverage.

Here are ten of the biggest under-reported news stories of 2016. I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions as to why they didn’t get the coverage they should have.

The War in Yemen

BBC describes Yemen as a forgotten war, yet the reason it’s forgotten is failure of BBC etc to cover it @The45Storm @medialens @markcurtis30 — Charles Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeC) December 9, 2016

While Syria made the front pages, the US-backed war in Yemen received nowhere near the same attention.

Documented atrocities carried out by the Saudi-led coalition have been largely ignored. British Blairite MPs, so keen to show their concern about a non-existent ‘Holocaust’ in Aleppo in December, failed to support a Labour motion — calling for an independent UN investigation into violations of international law in Yemen, in October.

And the ‘Something Must be Done’ media brigade weren’t too interested either. “Since the rejection of the motion, ‘Do something!’ crusaders like Aaronovitch, Freedland and Cohen have printed not a word about ‘our’ ‘responsibility to protect’ civilian life in Yemen,” noted Media Lens on 3rd November.

Libya in Ruins

In early 2011, Libya was ‘the’ big news story as concerned ‘liberal interventionists’ urged NATO to enforce ‘no-fly zones’ to stop the “New Hitler Colonel Gaddafi.”

The son of a retired Libyan academic who spoke out against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime says he fears the worst for his father and three of his brothers after they were “killing his own people” and carrying out “a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi.”

Well, NATO did intervene and Libya was destroyed. And guess what? The ‘Do Something’ crusaders in the western media are silent. The transformation of the country which had the highest standards of living in Africa into a terrorist-ridden “failed state” is not deemed to be newsworthy. In the words of Leslie Nielsen in the film Naked Gun, it’s a case of: “Nothing to see here- please disperse!”

Tunisia — failed state
Libya — failed state
Yemen — failed state
Syria — failed state
Obama admin had a hand in shaping each one. — Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 21, 2016

Reconciliation in Syria

Good news from Syria doesn’t get much, if any coverage- particularly if it shows the Syrian authorities in a positive light. But the Syrian government has implemented truce and reconciliation programs in and around Homs and Damascus and in other parts of the country too.

In July, President Assad offered an amnesty to antigovernment ‘rebels’ laying down their arms — and this was repeated in October.

@ianbremmer Moreover, Assad is being astonishingly lenient. Most of the “rebels” captured have been given amnesty straight-away @manosiat — Stavros Hadjiyiannis (@StavrosHadjiyia) November 30, 2016

Many rebels have taken up the offer and resumed their lives as civilians. The fact that reconciliation was underway in Syria should have been a big news story in 2016, but — surprise, surprise — given the pro regime-change bias of much of the media, it wasn’t.

#2017 could be beginning of end for #ISIS. But w/o political reconciliation in Iraq/Syria, another violent entity, or entities, will arise — Colin P. Clarke (@ColinPClarke) January 1, 2017

62 People Owning Half of the World’s Wealth

Yes, that’s right — 62. Surely this is something news channels should have been giving major coverage to in 2016?

Surely Oxfam’s Davos report should have kicked off debates about how the world’s economy needs to be restructured in order to make the distribution of wealth more equitable? But the story didn’t have legs.

How very convenient for the 62 people!

The Exoneration of Slobodan Milosevic

In 2016, the man who neocons and Blairites labeled “the Butcher of the Balkans”  and whose “genocidal crimes” were used to promote the globalist doctrine of “liberal interventionism” was effectively declared “not guilty,” by the very court which tried him.

The exoneration of a man accused of genocide made no headlines this month. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it… https://t.co/x2RIM1SAQe — John Pilger (@johnpilger) August 23, 2016

As I wrote in August:

“The ICTY’s [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia] conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn’t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The exoneration of the western elite’s number one bogeyman of the late 90s did make front page news in Serbia, but in the western MSM the news was ignored, and those, like Andy Wilcoxson, John Pilger and myself, who did dare to write about it, were subject to vicious personal attacks by Establishment gatekeepers.

Rather like Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark in the night-time, the non-coverage of this very important story told us everything we needed to know.

Global Warming: Another Record-Breaking Year for Temperatures

2016, according to the UN, is “very likely” to be the warmest year on record — meaning that 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been in the 21st century. In July, NASA revealed that each month from January to June in 2016 had been the warmest respective month globally — since modern temperature records began in 1880.

#ClimateChange

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Top Ten Under-Reported News Stories of 2016

Can Trump Fix The Economy In 2017?

January 4th, 2017 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The Western world and that part of the world that partakes of Western explanations live in a fictional world. We see this everywhere we look—in the alleged machinations of Russia to elect Donald Trump president of the US, in claims that Saddam Hussein and his (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction were a threat to the United States (a mushroom cloud over American cities), that Assad of Syria used chemical weapons against his own people, that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, that a few Saudi Arabians outwitted the entirety of the US, EU, and Israeli intelligence services and delivered the greatest humiliation to the “world’s only superpower” in the history of mankind, that Russia invaded Ukraine and could at any moment invade the Baltics and Poland, that the US rate of unemployment is 4.6%, that China’s trade surplus with the US is due to Chinese currency manipulation, and so on and on.

Allegedly we live in a scientific era of information, but what good can come from faulty orchestrated information? As long as fake news delivered by presstitutes serves powerful private and governmental interests, how can we know the truth about anything?

For example, consider the claim found everywhere in US government and US media statements that the massive US trade deficit with China is the result of Chinese currency manipulation, keeping the yuan underpriced relative to the US dollar.

This false claim, which is widely accepted as truth even by Russian writers on Russian websites is nonsense. China’s currency is pegged to the US dollar. It moves with the dollar. China pegged its currency to the US dollar in order to create confidence in the Chinese currency. Over the past decade China has adjusted the peg of its currency to the dollar and permitted a rise in the value of the Chinese currency from 8.1 yuan to 6.9 yuan to the US dollar. (The yuan reached a strength of 6 to the dollar, but a rising dollar was pulling up the yuan, causing China to widen the float in order to avoid undue appreciation because of the US dollar’s rise to other Asian and European currencies.)

How is a rising yuan “currency manipulation”? Don’t expect an answer from the presstitute financial media or the junk economists who comprise the neoliberal economics profession.

The function of the myth of Chinese currency manipulation is to hide from view the fact that the massive US trade deficit with China is due to US corporations offshoring their production for US markets to China. When US corporations bring goods and services produced offshore back to the US for sale, they enter as imports, thus swelling the trade deficit. The myth about currency manipulation shifts the blame from US corporations to China, while in fact it is the return of offshored production, such as Apple computers, for sale to Americans that swells the US trade deficit.

US corporations produce offshore because the much lower labor costs result in higher profits, higher stock prices for shareholders, and in performance bonuses for executives. One of the main causes for the high Dow Jones averages and the worsened income and wealth distribution in the US is the offshoring of jobs. In 2016 the richest people added $237 billion to their wealth, while the rise in student loan, auto loan, and credit card debt combined with stagnant or declining income left ordinary Americans poorer. During the 21st century, household indebtedness has risen from about 70% of GDP to about 80%. Personal income has not risen in keeping with personal debt.

The offshoring of jobs benefits only a small number of shareholders and executives, and it imposes massive external costs on American society. Former prosperous manufacturing states are in long term depression. Median real family incomes have fallen. Real estate values in abandoned manufacturing areas have fallen. The tax base has eroded. State and local government pension systems cannot meet their obligations. The social safety net is unraveling.

To get an idea of the external costs that offshoring imposes on the American population, go online and look at the pictures of decrepit Detroit, formerly an industrial powerhouse. Schools and libraries are abandoned. Public buildings are abandoned. Factories are abandoned. Homes are abandoned. Churches are abandoned. Here is one 4 minute video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcTYqnL2Bgw

And it is not only Detroit. In my book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism (Clarity Press, 2013), I report the 2010 US Census data. The population of Detroit, formerly America’s fourth largest city, declined by 25 percent in the first decade of the 21st century. Gary, Indiana, lost 22 percent of its population. Flint, Michigan, lost 18 percent. Cleveland, Ohio lost 17 percent. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania lost 7 percent. South Bend lost 6 percent. Rochester, New York, lost 4 percent. St. Louis, Missouri, lost 20 percent. these cities were once the home of American manufacturing and industrial might.

Instead of telling the truth, the presstitute financial media and the corrupt US economics profession have hidden the massive social and external costs of jobs offshoring under the totally false claim that offshoring is good for the economy. In my book, I take to task corporate shills such as Dartmouth’s Matthew Slaughter and Harvard’s Michael Porter, who produced through incompetence or complicity erroneous reports of the great benefits to Americans of having their jobs given to Chinese and American cities left in ruins.

Throughout its history the US has suffered from public lies, but not until the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes did lies become so ubiquitous that truth disappeared.

Consider the November jobs report. We were told that the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6% and that 178,000 new US jobs were created in November. The recovery is on course, etc. But what are the real facts?

The unemployment rate does not include discouraged workers who have been unable to find employment and have ceased job hunting, which is expensive, exhausting and demoralizing. In other words, unemployed people are being pushed into the discouraged category faster than they can find jobs. That is the explanation for the low official unemployment rate. Moreover, this reported low rate of unemployment is inconsistent with the declining labor force participation rate. When jobs are available, people enter the work force in order to take advantage of the employment opportunities, and the labor force participation rate rises.

The reporting by the financial presstitutes adds to the deception. We are given the number of 178,000 new jobs in November. And that is it. However, the data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows many problematic aspects of the data. For example, only 9,000 of the claimed 178,000 jobs are full time jobs (defined as 35 hours or more per week). October saw a loss of 103,000 full time jobs from September, and September had 5,000 fewer full time jobs than August. No one explains how an economy losing full time jobs is in recovery.

The age distribution of the November new jobs is disturbing. 77,000 of the jobs went to those 55 and over. Only 4,000 jobs went to the household forming ages of 25-34.

The marital status distribution of the jobs is also troubling. In November there were 95,000 fewer employed married men with spouse present and 74,000 fewer employed married women with spouse present than in October. In October there were 331,000 fewer married men and 87,000 fewer married women employed than in September.

One can conclude from these large differences month to month that the official statistics are not good, which might well be the case. For example, as I have stressed in my reports on the monthly payroll employment releases, there is always a large number of new jobs for waitresses and bartenders. Yet restaurant traffic has declined for 9 consecutive months. Why do restaurants hire more employees as traffic declines?

As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has informed us, the monthly payroll jobs claims might consist entirely of add-ons from estimates from a flawed birth/death model and manipulations of seasonal adjustments. In other words, the reported new jobs might only be statistical illusions.

John Williams also emphasizes that the claimed real GDP growth numbers might be entirely the products of the under-measurement of inflation. Some years ago the inflation measures were “reformed” in order to cheat those on Social Security out of cost-of-living adjustments. In place of a weighted index that calculated the cost of a constant standard of living, substitution was introduced. In the reformed index, if the price of an item in the index rises, a lower-priced item is substituted in its place, thus negating the inflationary impact of the price rise. Also, price rises are defined away as “quality improvements.” Clearly, this is an index designed to under report rising prices.

The bottom line is that the recovery allegedly underway since June 2009 might be a statistical illusion produced by a flawed measure of inflation.

What can Americans expect from the economy in 2017? First, some perspective. The defeat of stagflation by President Reagans supply-side policy gave the Clinton regime a good economy. The improved US economy was not entirely a good thing, because it masked the adverse consequences of jobs offshoring that began in earnest after the Soviet collapse in 1991.

The Soviet collapse encouraged the change in attitude of the Indian and Chinese governments toward foreign capital. Wall Street and big box retailers such as Walmart forced the relocation of much of US manufacturing to China, to be followed after the rise of the high speed Internet by offshoring professional skill jobs such as software engineering to India. These relocations of US economic activity to foreign locations hollowed out the US economy and reduced the job opportunities for Americans.

The growth of real median family income ceased. Without increases in consumer spending to drive the economy, the Federal Reserve substituted a growth in consumer debt for the missing growth in real median family income. But the growth of consumer debt is limited by the lack of growth in consumer income. Thus, an economy dependent on debt expansion is limited in its ability to expand. Unlike the federal government, the American people cannot print money with which to pay their bills.

Alone among those contending for political office, president-elect Trump has fingered jobs offshoring as a blow to the American people and the US economy. It remains to be seen what he can do about it, as jobs offshoring serves the interests of the global corporations and their shareholders.

For many years now the monthly payroll jobs reports show the US descending into Third World status, with the vast bulk of the claimed new jobs in lowly paid, non-tradeable domestic services. The BLS 10-year job projections show few new jobs that require a university degree. If high value-added, high productivity middle class jobs cannot be brought back to the US, the American economic future is one of continuing decline into Third World status.

Considering the constraints on the consumer, a large share of corporate profits has come from labor cost savings from jobs offshoring. For corporations such as Apple, whose products are almost entirely produced in Chinese factories, there are no more profits to be secured from jobs offshoring. To keep the profits flowing, Apple plans to replace the inexpensive Chinese labor with robots, which do not have to be paid any wage. What better shows the disconnect between capital and labor than to robotize Chinese factories in the face of an excess supply of labor?

Paul Samuelson’s economic textbook taught the fallacy of composition, what is good for the individual might not be good for the group. The Keynesian economists applied this to savings. Saving is good for the individual, but if aggregate saving exceeds investment, aggregate demand falls, pulling down income, employment, and saving.

This is the case with jobs offshoring. It can increase profits for the firm, but in the aggregate it decreases aggregate income of the population and limits sales growth. What jobs offshoring does in this respect will be done in spades by robotics.

When I read economists and financial presstitutes glorifying the cost savings of robotics, I wonder where their mind is or if they have one. Robots don’t purchase housing, home furnishings and appliances, cars, food, clothing, vacations, entertainment. When robots have the jobs, where do humans get the incomes with which to purchase the products produced by robots?

This unexamined question has extraordinary implications for property rights and the social organization of society. Ralph Gomory told me a few years ago that a handful of people hold the robotic patents. Therefore, in a robotized world, the distribution of income and wealth would be concentrated in the hands of a few dozen people. Indeed, would there be any income or wealth of any magnitude? The only way humans could survive would be to again become self-sufficient farmers with no monetary income to purchase products made by robots. As few would be able to purchase products made by robots, there would be no source for income and wealth for the patent holders.

I am convinced that if robotics is going to supplant human labor, the patents will have to be socialized, and income distributed on a relatively equal basis throughout society.

So, can Trump fix the economy in 2017?

There can be no fix unless the ladders of upward mobility that made the US an opportunity society can be put back in place. This will require bringing home the offshored middle class jobs or, assuming that new high value-added jobs could somehow be created, preventing the new jobs from being moved offshore.

There is a way to do this: Base the corporate tax rate on the geographical location where corporations add value to their product. If corporations add value domestically with US labor, the tax rate would be low. If the value is added abroad, the tax rate would be high. The tax rate can be adjusted to offset the benefits of lower costs abroad.

Despite the progaganda about globalism and free trade, the US economy was built on protection, and its strength was the domestic market. US prosperity was never dependent on exports. And as the US dollar is the world reserve currency, the US doesn’t need exports in order to pay for its imports. This is why the US can tolerate the trade deficits caused by jobs offshoring.

Globalism is a concoction by the neoliberal junk economists in complicity with the big banks, Wall Street, and multinational corporations. Globalism is a disguise for the exploitation of the many in behalf of the few. The alleged benefits of globalism were used to justify the offshoring of jobs and to enrich corporate executives and shareholders.

It is the domestic economy that is important, not the global economy. The suffering population in flyover America finally learned this lesson and elected Trump.

Can Trump script “The Escape From Globalism?” He could lose the fight. Globalism has been institutionalized. The large corporations that have offshored their production for US markets would oppose moves against jobs offshoring. So would all their shills in the economics profession and financial media. I don’t know the extent to which globalism has taken root in people’s minds in Asia, Africa, and South America, but in Europe—even some in Putin’s Russia—people are brainwashed in the belief that they can’t exit globalism without paying a large economic price.

Consider, for example, the Greeks. For the sake of the balance sheets of a handful of northern European (and perhaps US) banks, the Greek and Portuguese peoples have been forced into extreme austerity, resulting in such high unemployment and plummeting living standards that women have been forced into prostitution in order to survive. This totally unnecessary outcome has occurred because the Greek and Portuguese peoples and governments are so brainwashed that they believe they cannot survive as independent countries without globalism and the entry to globalism provided by EU membership. In the UK 45% of the population suffers from the same misconception.

Globalism is the latest technique by which capitalism loots and destroys. In the Western world it is the working and middle classes that are looted of their jobs and careers. In Asia, Africa, and Latin America self-sufficient farming communities are looted of their land and forced into monoculture as laborers who produce an export crop. Countries formerly self-sufficient in food become dependent on food imports, and their currency, which carries that burden, is subject to endless speculation and manipulation.

Was it universal ignorance or bribes that compelled governments everywhere to ransome their populations to globalism?

Frontline journalists, such as Chris Hedges, who have seen and reported a lot, have concluded that the fate of the world is in such few hands that act only in their narrow self-interests that only revolution can correct the imbalance between the interest of a handful of oligarchs and the mass of humanity. Hedges’ position is not an easy one with which to argue.

Trump descending into the snakepit that is Washington, D.C., needs to remember what happened to President Jimmy Carter. In fact, the best thing Trump can do for his presidency is to go spend some time with Carter prior to taking office.

Carter was an outsider, a principled person, and the Washington establishment did not want him. They reduced his effectiveness by framing up his budget director and chief of staff. The same thing can happen to Trump, assuming he is able to get his appointees confirmed by the Senate, members of which are allied with the CIA against Trump.

Reaganites had a similar experience in the Reagan adminisration. Reagan had political experience as governor of California, the largest state, but he was an outsider to the Republican establishment, whose candidate for the presidential nomination was George H.W. Bush.

Reagan defeated Bush for the nomination, but was advised by Republicans, who remembered the Goldwater wipeout when the Rockefeller forces turned on Goldwater for not choosing the defeated Rockefeller as his VP running mate, costing Goldwater the election, to select Bush as VP. Otherwise, Reagan would find himself, like Goldwater, running against both the Democratic and Republican establishments.

Reagan’s first term took place with George H.W. Bush’s main operative as chief of staff of the White House. This confronted me with problems as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy where I was the point man for Reagan’s supply-side economic policy.

Both political party establishments are more interested in controlling the party than in doing well for the country. During President Carter’s four years, the main concern of the Democratic establishment was in regaining control of the party from the forces that had sent an outsider to the White House. During Reagan’s eight years, the main concern of the Republican establishment was in regaining control of the Republican party from Reaganites.

It is likely that Trump will now experience in spades what presidents Carter and Reagan experienced. The effort will be made to force him into compromises and to neuter his agenda. Ironically, this determined attack on Trump is being aided by the leftwing, progressive forces that stand to gain by Trump’s standing up for the working and middle classes and for peace with Russia. Many of the liberal, progressive, leftwing websites are already soliciting donations in order to fight against Trump.

So, even when we get a president who might try to represent the interests of the American people, those who claim to speak in behalf of the people join in the oligarchs’ attack on Trump. The left side of the spectrum seems always, like the extreme rightwing side, to defer to their hatreds: Trump is a billionaire = hatred. Trump appointed an energy magnate = hatred. Trump appointed two 3-star generals = warmonger and more hatred.

The liberal, progressive, leftwing cannot get beyond their bogeymen. Of course, they might be correct. However, as I have emphasized, Trump has chosen mavericks who have gone against the establishment. Moreover, these are strong men, like Trump, which is what it takes to bring change from above. The Exxon CEO wants energy deals, not war, with Russia. Gen. Flynn is the one who exposed on TV Obama’s use of ISIS to overthrow Syria against the recommendation of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Gen. Mattis is the one who challenged the effectiveness of torture.

Trump’s main appointments are people who have challenged the Establishment. The usual assortment of establishment-approved appointees cannot bring change to Washington.

The liberal, progressive, left-wing should be happy at the prospect of a government on the outs with the Establishment. Instead, the liberal, progressive, left has aligned with the Establishment in opposition to Trump.

Every day I receive a half dozen requests for donations to “help us fight Donald Trump.” What are these people thinking? Why do they want to fight someone that the entire US political establishment opposes? What they should first try is to gain Trump’s confidence and win him to their agenda, as General Mattis did.

I cannot assure you that Trump is not another fake like Obama. But it is a mistake to begin with this assumption. Why write off in advance the only person with the courage to put his life on the line and take on the corrupt and evil Washington establishment?

Why help the Establshment defeat Trump? If Trump sells out Americans, we can turn on him then, or we can decide whether Chris Hedges is correct that only revolution can rectify the situation.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on Can Trump Fix The Economy In 2017?

Just 17 days from todayDonald Trump will be sworn in as the nation’s 45th President and deliver his inaugural address. Trump is expected to announce priorities in the areas of education, infrastructure, border security, the economy and curtailing the outsourcing of jobs. But Trump’s agenda will be derailed on all fronts if the big Wall Street banks blow up again as they did in 2008, dragging the U.S. economy into the ditch and requiring another massive taxpayer bailout from a nation already deeply in debt from the last banking crisis. According to a report quietly released by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research less than two weeks before Christmas, another financial implosion on Wall Street can’t be ruled out.

The Office of Financial Research (OFR), a unit of the U.S. Treasury, was created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010. It says its role is to: “shine a light in the dark corners of the financial system to see where risks are going, assess how much of a threat they might pose, and provide policymakers with financial analysis, information, and evaluation of policy tools to mitigate them.” Its 2016 Financial Stability Report, released on December 13, indicates that Wall Street banks have been allowed by their “regulators” to take on unfathomable risks and that dark corners remain in the U.S. financial system that are impenetrable to even this Federal agency that has been tasked with peering into them.

At a time when international business headlines are filled with reports of a massive banking bailout in Italy and the potential for systemic risks from Germany’s struggling giant, Deutsche Bank, the OFR report delivers this chilling statement:

“U.S. global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) have more than $2 trillion in total exposures to Europe. Roughly half of those exposures are off-balance-sheet…U.S. G-SIBs have sold more than $800 billion notional in credit derivatives referencing entities domiciled in the EU.”

When a Wall Street bank buys a credit derivative, it is buying protection against a default on its debts by the referenced entity like a European bank or European corporation. But when a Wall Street bank sells credit derivative protection, it is on the hook for the losses if the referenced entity defaults. Regulators will not release to the public the specifics on which Wall Street banks are selling protection on which European banks but just the idea that regulators would allow this buildup of systemic risk in banks holding trillions of dollars in insured deposits after the cataclysmic results of similar hubris in 2008 shows just how little has been accomplished in terms of meaningful U.S. financial reform.

Adding to the potential for another epic crash on Wall Street taking down the entire U.S. economy is data within the OFR report showing how interconnected the big Wall Street banks have become to the largest U.S. insurers through derivatives. This has been allowed to happen despite the fact that the giant insurer, AIG, required a government backstop of $182 billion following the 2008 crash because it had sold credit default protection via derivatives to the big Wall Street banks.

Read complete article

 

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on U.S. Quietly Drops “Financial Bombshell”: Wall Street Banks Have $2 Trillion European Exposure

The Geopolitics of Turkey’s About-Face

January 4th, 2017 by Thierry Meyssan

President Vladimir Putin has announced that he has concluded a cease-fire agreement for Syria, with Turkey, which until now has been the main operational support for the jihadists. How may we explain this astonishing turn of events? Will President Erdoğan be able to turn his country away from the influence of the United States and towards that of Russia? What are the causes and the consequences of this dramatic reversal?

Turkey is a member of NATO, an ally of Saudi Arabia, a patron of international jihadism since the hospitalisation of prince Bandar ben Sultan in 2012, and godfather of the Muslim Brotherhood since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi and the quarrel between Doha and Riyad in 2013-14. Besides this, it attacked Russia in November 2015, destroying a Sukhoi-24 and causing the interruption of diplomatic relations with Moscow.

And yet this is the same Turkey which has just sponsored the cease-fire in Syria, imagined by Russia [1]. Why?

Since 2013, Washington no longer considers Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a trusted partner. The CIA has therefore launched various operations, not against Turkey, but against Mr. Erdoğan personally. In May-June 2013, it organised and supported the Taksim Gezi Park protest movement. During the general elections in June 2015, it financed and supervised the party of the minorities, the HDP, so as to limit the power of the President. It played the same tactic during the elections of November 2015, which the Power had rigged. The CIA then moved on from political influence to secret action. It organised four assassination attempts, the last of which, in July 2016, turned ugly, forcing the Kemalist officers to attempt a coup d’etat for which they were unprepared.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan therefore finds himself in a position similar to that of the Italian Prime Minister of the 1970’s, Aldo Moro – both men heading a NATO member-state, and both having to face the hostility of the United States. NATO managed to eliminate the Italian by manipulating an extreme left-wing group [2], but has failed to kill the Turk.

Moreover, in order to win the elections in November 2015, Erdoğan flattered the Turko-Mongol supremacists by unilaterally expanding the conflict with the Kurdish minority. By doing so, he added the alleged «nationalists» of the MHP to his Islamist electoral base (AKP). In a few months, he caused the deaths of more than 3,000 ethnically-Kurd Turkish citizens, and destroyed several villages, even certain neighbourhoods of major cities.

Finally, by transmitting arms to al-Qaïda and Daesh which were sent by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and NATO, he wove close relations with the jihadist organisations. He did not hesitate to use the war against Syria to make money for himself. First of all by dismantling and pillaging the factories of Aleppo, then by trafficking the oil and antiques stolen by the jihadists. Progressively, his entire clan became linked with the jihadists. For example, his Prime Minister, mafia gangster Binali Yıldırım, organised factories for the confection of counterfeit goods in the territories administrated by Daesh.

However, the intervention of Hezbollah in the second war against Syria, from July 2012, then that of the Russian Federation, in September 2015, turned the fortunes of war. From this moment on, the gigantic coalition of the «Friends of Syria» lost a lot of the terrain they had occupied, and encountered increasing difficulty in recruiting new mercenaries. Thousands of jihadists deserted the battle-field and fled to Turkey.

But in fact, most of these jihadists are incompatible with Turkish civilisation. Indeed, the jihadists had not been recruited to form a coherent army, but simply to swell the numbers. There were at least 250,000 of them, perhaps even many more. At first, these men were Arab delinquants supervised by the Muslim Brotherhood. Progressively, were added Naqshbandi Sufis from the Caucasus and Iraq, and even young Westerners in a quest for Revolution. This implausible mixture can not hold together if it is displaced to Turkey. First of all because now, what the jihadists want is a state of their own, and it seems impossible to proclaim another Caliphate in Turkey. And then for all sorts of cultural reasons. For example – the Arab jihadists have adopted the Wahhabism of their Saudi benefactors. According to this desert ideology, History does not exist. They have therefore destroyed many antique vestiges, allegedly because the Qu’ran forbids idolatry. While this has not caused problems in Ankara, there is no question of allowing them to touch the Turko-Mongol patrimony.

Thus, today Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has to face three simultaneous enemies – not counting Syria ;

- The United States and their Turkish allies, the FETÖ (Fethullah Terrorist Movement) of the Islamist bourgeois Fethullah Gülen;
- The independentist Kurds, and more particularly, the PKK;
- The Sunni state ambitions of the jihadists, particularly Daesh.

While the main interest of Turkey would be, as a priority, to dial down the interior conflicts with the PKK and the FETÖ, Erdoğan’s personal interest would be to find a new ally. He was the ally of the United States when their influence was at its height, and presently hopes to become the ally of Russia, now the leading conventional military power in the world.

This about-face would seem all the more difficult to navigate since his country is a member of the Atlantic Alliance, an organisation that no-one has ever been able to leave. Perhaps at first he could leave the integrated military command, as France did in 1966. At that time, President Charles De Gaulle had to weather an attempted coup d’etat and numerous assassination attempts by the OAS, an organisation which was financed by the CIA [3].

Even supposing that Turkey might manage to handle this evolution, it would still have to deal with two other major problems.

First of all, although we do not know precisely the number of jihadists in Syria and Iraq, we may estimate that they are are now no more than between 50,000 and 200,000. Given that these mercenaries are massively irrecuperable, what is to be done with them? The cease-fire agreement, the text of which is deliberately imprecise, leaves open the possibility of an attack against them in Idleb. This governorate is occupied by a bevy of armed groups who have no links with one another, but are coordinated by NATO from LandCom in Izmir, via certain «humanitarian» NGO’s. Contrary to Daesh, these jihadists have never learned how to organise themselves correctly, and remain dependent on aid from the Atlantic Alliance. This aid comes to them across the Turkish border, which may soon be closed. However, while it is easy to check trucks which travel on well-defined routes, it is not possible to control the passage of men crossing the fields. Thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of jihadists could soon flood into Turkey and destabilise it.

Turkey has already begun changing its rhetoric. President Erdoğan accused the United States of continuing to support the jihadists in general and Daesh in particular, suggesting that if he had done the same in the past, it was under the evil influence of Washington. Ankara hopes to make money by handing over the reconstruction of Homs and Aleppo to his construction and public works company. However, it is difficult to imagine how Turkey can escape from its responsibilities, after having paid hundreds of thousands of Syrians to leave their country, after having pillaged the North of Syria, and after having supported the jihadists who have destroyed this country and killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

Turkey’s about-face, if it is to be confirmed in the months to come, will provoke a chain-reaction of consequences. Beginning with the fact that President Erdoğan now presents himself not only as the ally of Russia, but also as the partner of Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran, in other words, the hero of the Chiite world. The end, therefore, of the mirage of Turkey as leader of the Sunni world, fighting the «heretics» with Saudi money. But the artificial inter-Muslim conflict launched by Washington will not end until Saudi Arabia also lets it go.

The extraordinary shift by Turkey is probably difficult to understand for Westerners, according to whom politics are always public affairs. Leaving to one side the arrest of Turkish officers in a NATO bunker in East Aleppo, two weeks ago, it is easier to understand for those who remember the personal rôle of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the first Chechen war, when he was director of Millî Görüş; a rôle which Moscow has never mentioned, but concerning which the Russian Intelligence services have conserved a quantity of archives. Vladimir Putin has preferred to transform an enemy into an ally, rather than taking him down and having to keep fighting his country. President Bachar el-Assad, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have gladly followed his lead.

Keep in mind:
- After having hoped to conquer Syria, President Erdoğan now finds himself – due only to his own policies – opposed on three fronts – by the United States and Fethullah Gülen’s FETÖ; by the independentist Kurds of the PKK; and by Daesh.
- These three adveraries might once again be joined by Russia, which has in its possession a wealth of information concerning Erdoğan’s personal record. So President Erdoğan has chosen on the contrary to ally himself with Moscow, and may leave the integrated command of NATO.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

  • Posted in English
  • Comments Off on The Geopolitics of Turkey’s About-Face