Les exercices militaires conjoints annuels des Etats-Unis et de la Corée du Sud, connus sous le nom de Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG), ont commencé lundi sur fond de tensions croissantes en Asie, alimentées par le renforcement militaire américain dans toute la région. Bien que nominalement dirigés contre la Corée du Nord, ces jeux de guerre consolident l’alliance militaire de Washington et de Séoul alors que les USA se préparent au conflit avec la Chine.

Les exercices militaires impliquent environ 25.000 militaires américains, dont 2.500 venus de l’extérieur de la Corée du Sud, opérant aux côtés de 75.000 soldats sud-coréens. Les Etats-Unis ont 28.500 soldats stationnés en permanence en Corée du Sud où ils réorganisent actuellement leurs bases dans le cadre d’une réorganisation plus large des forces militaires américaines dans la région Asie-Pacifique.

La Corée du Nord a réagi en menaçant de façon militariste de lancer des frappes nucléaires contre la Corée du Sud et les Etats-Unis « s’ils montrent le moindre signe d’agressivité.» Ces menaces inconsidérées et inflammatoires, qui n’ont rien à voir avec la défense du peuple nord-coréen, font directement le jeu de Washington, fournissant un prétexte à leur propre expansion militaire et leurs provocations dans la région.

La Commission d’armistice militaire du Commandement des Nations Unies, menée par les USA, a déclaré qu’elle avait informé l’armée nord-coréenne que les exercices UFG étaient « non-provoquants ». Cette tentative de dépeindre ces jeux de guerre communs comme défensifs et bénins est fausse. Au cours des cinq dernières années en particulier, le gouvernement Obama a maintes fois exploité les exercices avec la Corée du Sud pour faire une démonstration de force menaçante en Asie du Nord-Est.

En novembre dernier, la Corée du Sud et les États-Unis ont formellement adopté une nouvelle stratégie militaire – les plans opérationnels 5015 (OPLAN 5015) – qui est explicitement de caractère offensif. Dans un conflit avec la Corée du Nord, les forces américaines et sud-coréennes lanceraient des frappes préventives sur des cibles clés, comme les installations nucléaires et des raids de « décapitation » pour assassiner de hauts fonctionnaires, parmi eux le dirigeant nord-coréen Kim Jong-un.

OPLAN 5015 constitue le cadre non seulement des jeux de guerre UFG, mais aussi des exercices Soaring Eagle actuellement menés par l’armée de l’air sud-coréenne, impliquant quelque 60 avions militaires et 530 soldats. Selon le Korea Times, l’armée de l’air s’entraîne à « neutraliser préventivement les menaces de missiles balistiques du Nord en bloquant de manière proactive les missiles et leur voie d’approvisionnement. »

The Korea Times a également noté que les responsables sud-coréens « prêtent une vive attention à la possibilité que Pyongyang procéderait à des provocations militaires » pendant ou après les exercices UFG. En réalité, ces énormes manœuvres, qui partent d’une guerre avec la Corée du Nord, ont toujours exacerbé les tensions dans la péninsule coréenne. Au cours de l’exercice de l’an dernier, les États-Unis ont exploité la situation pour stationner des bombardiers B-2 furtifs à capacité nucléaire sur leurs bases de Guam dans le Pacifique occidental.

Les jeux de guerre actuels sont particulièrement irresponsables en raison des signes d’instabilité croissante à Pyongyang. Séoul a signalé la semaine dernière la défection d’un haut responsable nord-coréen – le numéro deux de son ambassade à Londres. Washington a délibérément cherché à déstabiliser le régime nord-coréen en étranglant son économie grâce à des sanctions punitives et en isolant le pays diplomatiquement.

Les États-Unis renforcent leurs liens de défense avec la Corée du Sud dans le cadre de leur «pivot vers l’Asie » et leur marche à la guerre avec la Chine. Plus tôt ce mois-ci, le gouvernement Obama a approuvé la vente de systèmes GPS militaires à la Corée du Sud pour améliorer la capacité de sa bombe guidée coréenne GPS. Le 14 août, l’agence de presse Yonhap a cité un haut responsable de Séoul disant que la Corée du Sud allait élargir son arsenal de missiles balistiques pour être en mesure de détruire toutes les installations militaires nord-coréennes simultanément.

Le geste le plus significatif, cependant, a été l’annonce le mois dernier que les Etats-Unis allaient stationner leur système THAAD de missiles anti-balistiques en Corée du Sud dans le cadre de leur réseau de missiles anti-balistiques du Pacifique occidental. THAAD, qui peut intercepter et détruire les missiles balistiques, ne vise pas principalement Pyongyang, mais Pékin. Il fait partie des préparatifs américains pour une guerre nucléaire avec la Chine, qui a fait objection au déploiement de THAAD.

Les relations entre Séoul et Pékin se sont dégradées à mesure que la Corée du Sud a été de plus en plus intégrée dans les plans de guerre américains. Les autorités chinoises ont rejoint leurs homologues nord-coréens pour condamner les jeux de guerre des Etats-Unis et de la Corée du Sud. L’agence de presse d’État Xinhua a critiqué « une manœuvre d’intimidation », prévenant qu’elle « entraînerait un cercle vicieux de violence pour la violence » pouvant provoquer des combats.

La semaine dernière, l’armée chinoise a tenu ses propres exercices dans la mer du Japon avec une simulation d’attaque de bombardiers sur une force navale. La possibilité d’un incident mineure ou d’erreur provoquant un conflit plus large a été également mis en évidence la semaine dernière lorsque trois avions militaires chinois ont brièvement pénétré dans une zone couverte par des systèmes d’identification de défense aériens chinois et sud-coréens se chevauchant. L’armée de l’air sud-coréenne a dépêché des chasseurs pour escorter les «intrus» hors de la zone.

Pékin s’inquiète de ce que la Corée du Sud renforce ses liens militaires non seulement avec les États-Unis, mais aussi avec le Japon. Jusqu’à récemment, Séoul avait résisté aux pressions des États-Unis pour une coordination plus étroite avec le Japon, étant donné l’histoire coloniale brutale de Tokyo sur la péninsule coréenne avant 1945. Les États-Unis tiennent à intégrer leurs deux alliés asiatiques du Nord à leurs préparatifs militaires, poussant dans un premier temps à un partage renforcé du renseignement nécessaire à l’intégration des systèmes américains de missiles anti-balistiques, au Japon et en Corée du Sud.

Sous le premier ministre Shinzo Abe le Japon, encouragé par les Etats-Unis, s’est réorienté vers la remilitarisation et une position plus agressive envers la Chine, non seulement quant aux îlots Senkaku/Diaoyu contestés en mer de Chine orientale, mais dans toute la région. Le Japan Times a révélé le week-end dernier que la Chine avait averti le Japon de ne pas envoyer ses forces militaires se joindre aux opérations provocatrices de « liberté de navigation » défiant les revendications territoriales chinoises dans une autre poudrière, la mer de Chine méridionale. Une telle action de la part du Japon constituerait une « ligne rouge », autrement dit cela pourrait conduire à des représailles chinoises.

Cinq ans après que le président Barack Obama a annoncé le « pivot vers l’Asie, » les actions irresponsables de Washington ont conduit à une montée dangereuse des tensions géopolitiques dans toute la région Asie-Pacifique. L’aggravation de la confrontation de longue date dans la péninsule coréenne est juste l’un des déclencheurs potentiels d’une guerre impliquant des puissances nucléaires, qui pourrait rapidement s’étendre à toute la région et au reste du monde.

Peter Symonds

Article paru en anglais, WSWS, le 23 août 2016

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Interview PressTV française avec Peter Koenig, économiste, analyste géopolitique

23 Août 2016

Introduction -PressTV Française

Matteo Renzi, Angela Merkel et François Hollande ont appelé lundi l’Europe à trouver un nouveau souffle après le Brexit, lors d’un sommet extraordinaire à 27 prévu le 16 septembre à Bratislava.

« Le risque majeur, ça vaut pour l’Europe comme pour les nations, c’est la dislocation, la fragmentation, l’égoïsme, le repli », a averti le chef de l’Etat français lors d’une conférence de presse commune avec la chancelière allemande et le chef du gouvernement italien sur le pont du porte-aéronefs Giuseppe Garibaldi, ancré au large de la petite île italienne de Ventotene.

L’Europe n’est « pas finie » depuis le coup de tonnerre du Brexit, la sortie du Royaume-Uni de l’Union européenne, a assuré pour sa part le chef du gouvernement italien Matteo Renzi, hôte de ce mini-sommet à trois.

Le Brexit et ses conséquences sur l’avenir de l’UE avaient déjà rassemblé les trois dirigeants le 27 juin à Berlin où ils avaient appelé à une « nouvelle impulsion » pour l’Europe, au moment où les mouvements populistes ont le vent en poupe sur le Vieux continent.

Mais forger une position commune à Bratislava, au coeur d’une Europe de l’Est qui regarde avec une grande circonspection tout projet de relance de l’intégration européenne, ne sera pas aisé.

Commentaire – Peter Koenig

Tout d’abord, il me semble très rare que les trois Grands se réunissent pour parler sur Brexit, sans pourtant inviter les Britanniques, ceux qui ont voté de quitter cette Europe – si ce n’est que pour les consulter sur leurs raisons, pour écouter peut-être des conseils – quoi faire pour améliorer l’Union Européenne, la bureaucratie de Bruxelles.

Enfin, c’est aussi très typique pour une Europe non-démocratique et qui ne veut pas écouter – je dirais presque c’est un comportement d’adolescents, ne pas vouloir savoir ce qui va mal, de ne pas vouloir voir la réalité et de prendre des responsabilités, d’effectuer des changements pour que ça aille mieux.

Et pourquoi seulement les trois Grands ? – N’ont-ils rien n’a dire les Petits, ceux qui souffrent sous la main de Bruxelles, par exemple la Grèce? – Pourquoi n’ont-ils pas eu la sagesse d’inviter la Grèce à cette réunion qui, en fait, a eu comme objectif de discuter comment cette non-union devrait continuer comme union une fois le Brexit a eu lieu – et on ne peut qu’espérer qu’il se passe vite, le Brexit.

En fait, on sait très peu de ce qui est sortie de cette conversation à l’île de Ventotene en Italie, et encore moins de ce qui sera sur l’agenda pour les 27 membres de l’UE le 16 septembre à Bratislava.

Il me semble que ni M. Hollande, ni Mme Merkel ont une idée de ce qui se passe autour d’eux. M. Renzi, je ne suis pas sûr. Je pense, lui, il est peut-être le plus éveillé de tous.

Ce qui se passe c’est que Brexit a fait tomber un tabou. Avant Brexit on n’osait presque pas parler de la désintégration de l’Europe. Ce n’était politiquement pas correcte. Maintenant, Eurexit, la désintégration de l’Union Européenne, la sortie de l’euro — est sur pratiquement tous les agendas de réunion non-officielles écono-politique en Europe. Même M. Renzi y a songé.

Ce qu’il faut aussi dire en ce moment, c’est que l’Union Européenne n’était jamais une idée européenne, ni l’euro. C’était une idée des Etats-Unis après (ou peut-être déjà pendant) la 2e guerre mondiale. L’idée a été implanté par la CIA – et elle a grandi pendant les différentes conférences à partir du Club de Rome, Paris, jusqu’à Maastricht -puis Lisbonne. Mais l’Europe, l’UE, n’a pas de Constitution. L’Europe ne devait jamais devenir une fédération de pays souverains avec des buts économiques et politiques communs.

Ce n’étais pas prévu par Washington. L’Europe devait surtout rester contrôlable – ainsi la monnaie commune, l’euro – qui avait été créée selon la formule du dollar – sans base économique des pays membres, seulement une monnaie fiat, c’est-à-dire sa valeur est manipulable selon les désirs des intéressés. A l’occurrence on sait qui sont les intéressés.

Une monnaie unique dans un groupe de pays qui n’a pas de but politique commun, pas de Constitution commune, n’est pas soutenable, elle ne peut pas survivre cette monnaie, l’euro ne pourra pas survivre.

Effectivement, je pense le mieux serait une désintégration de l’Union européenne, initié par les mêmes membres de l’union, pour recommencer dans d’autres circonstances et exclusivement par des Européens sans intervention de l’extérieur, surtout pas des Etats-Unis.

 Peter Koenig

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It’s very fashionable nowadays for people to criticize the Kremlin for incompetency, and its recent history of controversial decisions coupled with the suspected liberal fifth-and-six-column infiltration of key national institutions gives plenty of ground for this, but sometimes people jump the gun, such as when accusing Russia of being ‘duped’ by Turkey. It’s interesting that no such criticisms are publicly leveled against Iran despite Tehran bending over backwards to Ankara during and after the failed pro-US coup attempt against Erdogan, but double standards are the norm when people engage in diatribes, and it’s always been the case that Russia has caught much more flak than anyone else whenever multipolar commentators critique their own camp.

This is the precisely the case with the news that Turkish forces have crossed into Syria, with the most common knee-jerk reaction being that President Putin was manipulated by Erdogan as part of some large-scale Machiavellian plot, though of course, without making any mention that this charge could more rightly be directed against the Ayatollah. Anyhow, the prevailing narrative among multipolar supporters appears to be one of grief and despair, with Facebookers pulling their hair out over how stupid Russia apparently was to trust Turkey and work on helping it pivot towards Eurasia. As popular and trendy as it may be for people to jump on the bandwagon and start railing against Russia, and for as ‘healthy’ as it is for people to let off some steam and vocally vent their frustrations every once in a while, there’s actually countervailing evidence that Turkey’s operation isn’t a unipolar conspiracy but evidence of high-level multipolar coordination.

To explain, as of the moment of writing (11.30am MSK), neither Moscow, Tehran, nor even Damascus has issued any statement condemning Turkey’s military intervention, and the website of the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) is noticeably silent about this development. All of this is very strange if one accepts the assumption that Turkey’s moves constitute an ‘invasion’ of Syria, since while the Kremlin critics might invent all sorts of explanations for why Moscow isn’t saying anything, less people can attribute a semi-plausible reason to why Tehran and Damascus aren’t publicly rabid with fury right now. Though it’s true that Turkey is even coordinating part of its operation with the assistance of US air support, there’s actually a novel, contextual touch to that which needs to be further elaborated on.

The recent clashes between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Kurdish YPG militia in Hasakah have been halted for the time being as a result of Russian mediation, but even when they were ongoing, many observers agreed that it’s not to anyone’s interests besides the US’ to see the SAA begin a full-on law and order operation against the Kurds, as this would dramatically impede post-conflict resolution efforts in retaining the Syrian Arab Republic’s territorial sovereignty and unitary nature. However, no such diplomatic sensitivities are present when it comes to Turkey’s capability to do this, since it’s globally known just how ferociously opposed Ankara is to the creation of a Kurdish “federalized” (internally partitioned) statelet all along its southern frontier. Hand in hand with this, most people are aware that the US is desperately trying to curry favor with Turkey and prevent its withdrawal from the unipolar fold, ergo American eagerness to publicly assist its Mideast partner in its latest operation.

To put it more simply, Russia and the SAA – for reasons of political sensitivity and long-term strategy – do not want to attack the YPG and proactively stop it from occupying all of northern Syria, whereas Turkey has no such reservations in doing this and is more than eager to do the ‘heavy lifting’, especially if it could con the US Air Force into helping it target actual terrorists on the ground during this time. The American intent in all of this is to prove that it’s a ‘loyal ally’ of Turkey and to contribute to the attempted reconciliation that Washington is trying to carry out with Ankara, though in this case, it’s being exploited as the ultimate ‘useful idiot’ in helping the Multipolar Community in its quest to destroy the second ‘geopolitical Israel’ of “Kurdistan”. Having said all of this, naysayers will still point to the fact that Turkey is not to be trusted and that the presence of any foreign troops or the ordering of any military attacks on Syrian soil without Damascus’ permission is a violation of its sovereignty and a breach of international law, which is certainly true in this case if President Assad didn’t coordinate any of this with his Turkish counterpart.

However ‘inconvenient’ it may be for the most gung-ho (usually foreign-based) supporters of Syria to admit, Damascus and Ankara have been engaged in secret talks for months now in the Algerian capital of Algiers, as has been repeatedly confirmed by many multiple media sources ever since this spring. Moreover, Turkey just dispatched one of its deputy intelligence chiefs to Damascus a few days ago to meet with his high-level Syrian counterparts, so this might explain the reason why Russia and Iran aren’t condemning Turkey’s incursion into Syria, nor why the Syrian officials aren’t loudly protesting against it either. More and more, the evidence is pointing to Turkey’s operation being part of a larger move that was coordinated in advance with Syria, Russia, and Iran. Nevertheless, for domestic political reasons within both Syria and Turkey, neither side is expected to admit to having coordinated any of this, and it’s likely that bellicose rhetoric might be belched from Ankara just as much as it’s predictable that Damascus will rightfully speak about the protection of its sovereignty.

What’s most important, though, isn’t to listen so much to Turkey and Syria, but to watch and observe what Russia and Iran say and do, since these are the two countries most capable of defending Syria from any legitimate aggression against its territory and which have been firmly standing behind it for years now, albeit to differing qualitative extents though with complementary synergy (i.e. Russia’s anti-terrorist air operation and Iran’s special forces ground one).  This isn’t in any way to ‘excuse’, ‘apologize for’, or ‘explain away’ the US’ opportunistic and illegal inadvertent contribution to this coordinated multipolar campaign, but to accurately document how and why it decided to involve itself in this superficially Turkish-led venture, namely because it was cleverly misled by Erdogan into thinking that this is a precondition for the normalization of relations between both sides.

Russia lacks the political will to cleanse the Wahhabi terrorists and Kurdish separatists from northern Syrian itself, and for as much as one may support or condemn this, it’s a statement of fact that must be taken into account when analyzing and forecasting events. With this obvious constraint being a major factor influencing the state of affairs in Syria, it’s reasonable then that Syria, Russia, and Iran wouldn’t vocally object too much to Turkey tricking the US into doing this instead out of the pursuit of its own self-interests vis-à-vis the attempted normalization with Ankara. The major qualifying variable that must be mentioned at this point is that serious Russian and Iranian condemnation of Turkey’s ongoing operation would signal that something either went wrong with their multilaterally coordinated plan, or that Turkey was just a backstabbing pro-American Trojan Horse this entire time and the skepticism surrounding Moscow and Tehran’s dedicated efforts to coax Ankara into a multipolar pivot was fully vindicated as the correct analysis all along.

In closing, the author would like to refer the reader to his article from over a month ago about how “Regional War Looms As “Kurdistan” Crosses The Euphrates”, in which it was forecast that Russia would assemble a multipolar “Lead From Behind” coalition in pushing back against the US’ attempts to carve the second ‘geopolitical Israel’ of “Kurdistan” out of northern Syria, with it specifically being written that “it can be reasonably assumed that there’s an invisible Russian hand gently coordinating their broad regional activities” in stopping this. With Turkey crossing into Syria to preempt the YPG from unifying all of its occupied territory in northern Syria and breathing sustainable geopolitical life into the US’ latest divide-and-rule project in the Mideast, and keeping in mind the fast-paced diplomacy between Russia, Iran, and Turkey and the months-long ongoing secret negotiations between Ankara and Damascus, all empirical evidence suggests that this latest development in the War on Syria is less a unipolar conspiracy and more a multipolar coordinated plan to bring an end to this conflict and preempt the internal partitioning of Syria.

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Last week Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei arrived in Damascus for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij and other officials of the Damascus government. Guan announced that Beijing and Damascus had come to an agreement that the Chinese military will provide humanitarian aid to Syria and discussed a possibility of involvement of Chinese military servicemen in training of the Syrian army personnel and other operations to ensure security in the Arab country.

Xinhua has not provided details about the agreed Chinese humanitarian aid mission in Syria. Furthermore, there are constant rumors that Chinese military advisers already operate in Syria, observing Damascus’ anti-terrorism efforts. However, there is no clear evidence that China has been involved into the conflict.

Guan also met in Syria with an unknown Russian general during his visit to Damascus. It’s important to note that Guan’s visit came just before crucial military developments in and around Syria like a deployment of Russian aircraft at the Hamedan Air Base in Iran and the escalation between the US-backed Kurdish forces and pro-government militias in eastern Syria.

The spate of Moscow’s military actions in the region could push Beijing to follow its partner to set the ground for gaining diplomatic and financial revenue before the Syrian conflict turned into its final stage. Almost all experts consider the ongoing battle for Aleppo as a turning point in this war. And if Damascus wins, the US-backed “moderates” such a Jabhat Fateh al-Sham & Co will have minor chances to play a significant role the Syrian future. The further rapprochement of Iran, China, Russia and now maybe Turkey over the Syrian conflict pushes the United States represented by the Obama administration to urgently develop its strategy in order to defend its claim to be the main powerbroker in the region. An indirect fueling of the conflict between Damascus and US-backed Kurdish forces in Hasakah and de-facto split of Kurdish-controlled areas from Syria with a significant presence of US military personnel there is one of Washington’s options in the current geopolitical situation. And the direct public warnings to Russia and Syria by a US commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, that the US military contingent in occupied parts of eastern Syria will defend itself clearly showed the direction of Washington’s divide and corner strategy for the war-torn country.

An interesting fact is that some Chinese state-linked media and experts, which closely follow the Russian operations in Syria, describe Moscow’s strategy towards the Syrian conflict as too moderate. According to them, the partial withdrawn of the air grouping, various humanitarian ceasefire agreements across the country and attempts to solve the conflict through a political dialogue before the full military defeat of the militant factions that operate in the country were premature. In this case, Beijing may contribute to strengthening of further military efforts aimed to solve the terrorism problem in Syria.

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When a true photo is used for a Human Rights lie

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a report on July 21, 2016 on the human rights situation in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. The report can only be described as covering up the ongoing war crimes being perpetrated by the governing regime in Kyiv, Ukraine since it launched its ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ (civil war) in April 2014. The war was launched in order to crush resistance in Donbass to the illegal coup d’etat and seizure of power in Kyiv in February 2014 by the movement calling itself ‘Maidan’.

Coincidentally, artillery and other attacks by Maidan Ukraine against the rebel Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics in Donbass intensified during the past two months, the very time frame in which the human rights defenders were preparing their report for publication.

‘Human rights’ report on Ukraine is everything but

The 65-page report by the two agencies is titled You Don’t Exist: Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine. It downplays the grim details as well as international dimension of Ukraine’s two-plus year of ‘anti-terrorist’ civil war. It argues that the victims of the war share equal responsibility for rights violations as the perpetrators. The introduction reads:

Both the Ukrainian government authorities and Russia-backed separatists [sic] in eastern Ukraine have held civilians in prolonged, arbitrary detention, without any contact with the outside world, including with their lawyers or families. In some cases, the detentions constituted enforced disappearances, meaning that the authorities in question refused to acknowledge the detention of the person or refused to provide any information on their whereabouts or fate. Most of those detained suffered torture or other forms of ill-treatment…

The key recommendation in the report’s introductory summary reads:

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch call on the Ukrainian government and the de facto authorities in self-proclaimed DNR and LNR [Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic] to immediately put an end to enforced disappearances and arbitrary and incommunicado detentions, and to launch zero-tolerance policies with regard to the torture and ill-treatment of detainees. All parties to the conflict must ensure that all the forces under their control are aware of the consequences of abusing detainees under international law, and that allegations of torture and ill-treatment in detention are thoroughly investigated and those responsible are held to account.

The methodology of the report is by now old hat, the same one employed in reports on Ukraine by the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights going back two years. The OHCHR’s latest report on Ukraine was issued one week prior to the AI/HRW report and was reviewed here by this author.

Like the UN’s OHCHR, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch consider the rebel forces in eastern Ukraine to have the same obligations to follow international treaties on human rights as the government attacking them. Missing from this equation is the fact that the Ukrainian government is an existing signator to most international human rights conventions and yet it is waging an internal civil war against its citizenry. Whereas the rebels are shunned and unrecognized by the world, including by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and therefore unable to become signators themselves, as they would surely agree if conditions permitted. As a member government of the United Nations and signator to international conventions, does the Ukrainian government bear special responsibility and duty in this conflict? Or are its responsibilities lessened when it can claim, accurately or not, ‘Hey, the other side are human rights violators, too.’?

AI and HRW sidestep these uncomfortable questions. They use the same insulting and pejorative terminology as Kyiv to describe the rebel forces under attack. The terms « de facto authorities » and « Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine » are used interchangeably to describe the elected officials in Donetsk and Lugansk. Let us recall that these officials have heroically led their populations in defending themselves against a brutal military offensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and its allied, extreme-right paramilitary militias. According to understated figures by the United Nations, Ukraine’s offensive has caused the deaths of more than 10,000 people. It has seen tens of thousands injured and several million displaced from their homes or from their Donbass homeland altogether.

How are the leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk supposed to follow the niceties of AI/HRW’s recommended ‘humanitarian war’ when they are shunned and vilified on the world stage, even by the supposed human rights defenders? Does no one in rarefied offices in London and New York care about the Donetsk and Lugansk populations who are subjected to daily artillery shellings and other attacks with the active encouragement and financial assistance of Western governments (not to speak of the blind eyes of international human rights organizations)? AI and HRW have no answers to such questions.

You Don’t Exist consists of 18 case studies of prisoner treatment, nine from each side of the conflict, along with summary recommendations. There is no doubt about the gravity of accusations against the Ukrainian authorities. A litany of international reports have documented the human rights violations ongoing in Ukraine – detentions of critics and even mass killings, such as in Odessa in May 2014; harassment, detention and even killings of journalists and opposition politicians; torture in secret prisons; proscriptions of Russian-language media; destruction of monuments to Ukraine’s Soviet past and the raising of World War Two collaborators with Nazi Germany to the status of national heroes; and so on. As the AI/HRW report acknowledges ever so carefully and sketchily, the situation of illegal detention and torture in Ukraine is so bad that the UN’s investigative rapporteur on the subject made an unprecedented decision in May 2016 to cancel its country investigation.

On the rebel side? Let us assume that the established biases of AI and HRW did not prevent them from conducting impartial investigations and that the allegations of nine prisoner mistreatments in Donetsk and Lugansk are true. Let us also assume, a fair assumption, that rebel forces would accede to international conventions and related investigations on the treatment of prisoners if they were confident that such processes would not simply be used as propaganda tools against them, as is the case to date. How, then, to arrive at conditions of prisoner detention that would satisfy international conventions and human rights agencies? By vilifying those one is seeking to influence, and by turning a blind eye to a cruel war which is the source of human rights violations in the first place? Again, AI and HRW have no answer.

But in the meantime, our human rights agencies are effectively saying that the government of Ukraine is under no more and no less legal obligations than unrecognized, rebel forces. They trivialize Ukraine’s violations by making the government no more responsible than what are declared to be « de facto authorities » and « Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine ».

Deep biases in AI/HRW report discount them as objective observers

The deep bias and prejudice of the AI and HRW report in favour of Ukraine and its Western backers is evidenced in the three-page ‘Background’ chapter of the report, pages 8 to 10. Here we read the standard, Western government and media presentation of the Maidan coup (« ouster » of an elected president, according to the language of the report). There is the « Russian annexation » of Crimea, completely ignoring the long, complicated history of Crimea’s status in post-Soviet Ukraine and in Soviet Ukraine before that, and ignoring the referendum vote to secede from Ukraine on March 15, 2014. There is the whitewashing and trivializing of the violence of the new, Maidan regime in Kyiv against its opponents. The report places quotation marks around the term « self-defense units » when describing how the people of Donbass responded to the arrival of vengeful, extremist and neo-Nazi paramilitaries on their territory following the Maidan coup.

Incredibly, the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement of February 12, 2015 is given one sentence of serious mention in the report. There is no mention of the agreement in the ‘Recommendations’ section of the report, notwithstanding the fact that the agreement is endorsed by the governments of Russia, Germany and France and also by the United Nations Security Council! (Kyiv did not sign Minsk-2; it assigned a former president to sign it in a ghost capacity). The report deals briefly with only one clause of Minsk-2, the one pertaining to prisoner exchanges by the two sides. (Like all the other clauses of Minsk-2, this one has not been adhered to by Kyiv). The full text of Minsk-2 is here.

Minsk-2 provides a comprehensive basis for resolution of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine (Donbass). But backers of the Ukrainian government, including the German and French governments, have never liked the agreement and have done anything to ensure its application. That’s because the agreement’s central recommendations address the heart of the conflict – that a decentralization of political power is required in Ukraine and political autonomy should be granted to regions that have a political and historic claim to such. Kyiv is adamantly opposed to decentralization and to autonomy. Western governments concur, as do, seemingly, Western human rights agencies.

Another particularly damning aspect of the AI and HRW report is the use of the same inflammatory language against the Donetsk and Lugansk rebel republics as that of the government of Ukraine. The Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics are termed « self-declared » – conveying that the duly constituted and elected governing authorities there have no moral or legal authority. The rebel forces are termed « separatists ». This is false – the struggle in Donbass has always been a struggle against the institutional violence of the Maidan state of Ukraine and in favour of political autonomy. But more scandalously, the language of « separatism » shows the high priests of human rights to be unaware that in today’s Ukraine, a label of « separatist » against an individual is a licence to beat, imprison or kill him or her, while tagging an entire, pro-autonomy movement as « separatist » is a recipe for waging civil war. Imagine two human rights organizations with decades of political experience behind them blissfully unaware of the incendiary and destructive power of language in times of civil conflict! This defies comprehension.

The New York Times‘ Andrew Kramer took his cue from the high priests and led his news item summarizing the AI/HRW report with,

« A report by two leading human rights groups released on Thursday accuses Ukraine’s Western-backed security services of practicing abuse and torture in a manner similar to that of the rebel groups they are fighting. »

Clearly, the people of Donbass who are suffering daily shellings and attacks by the Ukrainian army cannot count on the human rights heroes of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for relief. Nor can the people of Ukraine as a whole, for whom the consequences of this war are a domestic economic disaster, widespread human rights violations, and seeing their country played as a pawn in the reckless drive by NATO to provoke war with Russia, complete with nuclear threats.

Relief for Donbass and Ukraine will come from stepped up domestic and international antiwar solidarity and from support by sympathetic governments. Considering NATO’s roll of the nuclear dice in eastern Europe, the responsibilities of progressive and antiwar forces in the world should be self-evident.

Roger Annis is a retired aerospace worker in Vancouver BC. He writes regularly for Counterpunch. He is an editor of the website The New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Similar to petulant children who do not get their own way, there is an increasingly choir of war hawks in the US who are pushing for a major escalation in the Syrian war. In response to the fading power of Washington in the world, and the success of the Syrian Army, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, in fighting terrorism in Syria, the war hawks in Washington are calling for blood.

The fact that the government of Bashar al-Assad is still standing after the West has spent the last five years trying to overthrow it is too much for many in the US to accept. Furthermore, with a growing number of major powers forming strategic relationships outside of Washington’s control, US imperialists are increasingly terrified of how the geopolitical landscape is shaping up.

Making Russia and Iran “Pay a Price” for Fighting Terrorists in Syria

The most recent bellicose comments coming from the US were made by the former Acting Director of the CIA and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member, Michael Morell. In an interview with Charlie Rose that aired on the 8th of August, Morell called for acts of aggression against a troika of powers – namely Syria, Iran and Russia:

Morell: “We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price.”

Rose: “We make them pay the price by killing Russians and killing Iranians?”

Morell: “Yes, covertly… Here’s the other thing I want to do: I want to go after those things that Assad sees as his personal power base; I want to scare Assad.”

The former CIA boss made his comments a week after a Russian helicopter – which was on a humanitarian aid mission – wasshot down over territory controlled by Jabhat Al-Nusra (now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) in Syria, killing the five personnel onboard. This is at least the second Russian helicopter shot down in Syria this year, after two Russians were killed in July when their Mi-25 was downed.

Morell, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, is not a lone voice in his belligerent comments however. There have been numerous politicians, strategists and generals, who have advocated aggressive actions against Russia, not only in Syria, but also in Ukraine.

In October of last year, US Senator John McCain said in an interview with Fox News that if he was President he might arm the Syrian rebels so they could shoot down Russian planes. Also in October, 2015, the former National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter and one of the top geostrategists in the US, Zbigniew Brzezinski, called for US retaliation against the Russian campaign in Syria, potentially using military force.

But the most belligerent rhetoric award in relation to ‘punishing’ Russia must go to the former US general, Robert Scales,  who called for the US to “start killing Russians” in Ukraine in a March, 2015 interview on Fox News:

The only way the US can have any effect in this region and turn the tide is to start killing Russians. Killing so many Russians that even Putin’s media can’t hide the fact that Russians are returning to the Motherland in body bags.

The Special Forces Invasion of Syria

On the same day as Morell’s interview was aired, photos appeared in the British media showing heavily armed UK special forcesoperating on the ground in Syria. This comes shortly after US special forces were pictured fighting alongside Kurdish forces in March of this year.

Realistically, the presence of Western special forces in Syria is nothing new. In August of last year, it was reported that BritishSAS soldiers were dressed as ISIS rebels conducting missions on the ground in Syria. In addition to the illegal air campaign conducted by the US-led coalition, the presence of Western special forces in Syria is yet another violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The news that Western special forces are operational in Syria should also be kept in context however. There is a major distinction between a few thousand special forces operating in Syria and a full-scale Western invasion of Syria with over 100,000 troops deployed.

In 2003, approximately 150,000 ground troops were deployed to Iraq in the initial phase of the invasion. There is still a danger that a coalition of powers may launch a larger war in Syria similar to the scale of the Iraq invasion in 2003 – a type of war thatTony (the war criminal) Blairrecently advocated.

With the West’s strategy in the Middle East in disarray, there is a growing amount of war hawks in the US who are pushing for a significant escalation in the Syrian war. Morell’s call for killing Russians and Iranians is nothing short of lunacy, with the US perhaps having a hand in the recent downing of a Russian helicopter that tragically killed five Russian personnel.

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

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Sélection d’articles  du 15 au 23 août 2016 :

demirtas_reuterz

La question kurde, hier et aujourd’hui Par Samir Amin, 15 août 2016

Le chaos politique qui domine la scène dans le Moyen Orient s’exprime entre autre par l’émergence violente de la question kurde. Comment peut-on analyser, dans ces conditions nouvelles, la portée de la revendication des Kurdes (autonomie ? indépendance ? unité ?) ? Et peut-on déduire de l’analyse que cette revendication doit être soutenue par toutes les forces démocratiques et progressistes, dans la région et dans le monde ? Une grande confusion domine les débats sur le sujet.

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École de jeunes-loups africains pour un univers néolibéral impitoyable Par Luis Basurto, 17 août 2016

La dépolitisation des peuples est fondamentale, et celle des jeunes prioritaire, pour ce projet du néolibéralisme planétaire, africain à l’occasion. Dans les pays dominés du Sud ces postulats sont criminels. Car en Afrique par exemple ce qui manque fondamentalement c’est l’État, cet ensemble d’institutions solides et crédibles qui garantiraient services publiques et droits sociaux, emplois, services de santé et services éducatifs, étant le socle du développement social et économique des pays.

Fethullah Gülen

Turquie : les dessous d’un putsch manqué Par Mohamed Daoud, 17 août 2016

Au delà de l’euphorie des uns qui, enchantés par l’issue heureuse de ce coup de force, font des lectures idéologiques sans nuances ou tombent dans le raccourci des idées reçues et des condamnations de principe des autres, il serait plus utile de s’interroger sur ce revirement brutal dans les alliances, également sur la convergence et la divergence idéologique de ces deux partenaires, sur les conditions d’émergence et les modes de fonctionnement du mouvement ciblé par la répression, celui de Gülen en l’occurrence. Un décryptage sommaire de l’histoire de la Turquie contemporaine peut d’ailleurs servir l’analyse.

forces spéciales us

La criminalité des immigrés clandestins étasuniens et britanniques en Syrie Par Felicity Arbuthnot, 17 août 2016

Le gouvernement britannique considère qu’il a le droit absolu d’envoyer des immigrés clandestins « … équipés de tout un arsenal, y compris des fusils à lunettes, des mitrailleuses lourdes et des missiles anti-chars » dans un pays tiers situé à environ 4000 km pour aller « menacer leur mode de vie ». Ces clandestins là sont les forces spéciales britanniques, présentes en Syrie pour aider les rebelles, coupeurs de mains et décapiteurs d’enfants appelés « modérés ».

paysans

L’agrobusiness, un pavé vers la dépendance alimentaire en Afrique Par Grain, 18 août 2016

Dans toute la sous-région, que ce soit à Mundemba (Cameroun) ou Mboma (Gabon), on observe cette concurrence grandissante de l’agro-industrie face aux économies agricoles locales. Le modèle aujourd’hui encouragé par certaines Politiques publiques, l’agrobusiness est en train de détruire les systèmes qui ont depuis de longues années constituer une réussite pour les paysans. Les Organisations paysannes Africaines et les ONGs ne cessent d’affirmer : le futur de l’agriculture ne saurait être garanti par l’agriculture industrielle mais plutôt par l’agriculture paysanne.

DeCoubertin

La lente déchéance de l’idéal olympique. Une marchandisation sauvage Par Chems Eddine Chitour, 19 août 2016

La moisson de médailles ne profite qu’aux pays scientifiquement développés. Est-ce cela l’olympisme ? Le chauvinisme voire d’une certaine façon le racisme et le nationalisme les plus réactionnaires ont été les choses les mieux partagés durant ces jeux. Aucun pays important n’y échappe. Nous l’avons vu avec la croisade contre la Russie. De plus, il  n’est pas interdit de penser que le poids spécifique de chaque nation intervient même indiretement dans les décisions des juges avec certaines fois des décisions controversées.

jean-guy-allard

Jean-Guy Allard : Un modèle pour les journalistes progressistes œuvrant dans un système capitaliste Par Arnold August, 19 août 2016

Jean-Guy ne cachait pas, comme il l’a révélé dans des entrevues, la surveillance serrée dont ses opinions politiques et ses valeurs journalistiques étaient l’objet dans la presse capitaliste. Bien sûr, il a résisté de son mieux à cette pression. Il n’est toutefois pas surprenant qu’il ait consacré sa retraite et sa pension de retraite à la cause cubaine et latino-américaine.

Feminist-Graphic

La « Haine de la vie » : Le système mondial qui nous menace tousPar Prof. Claudia von Werlhof, 22 août 2016

Le système mondial qui nous menace tous est basé sur un étrange phénomène. Une « haine de la vie » est devenue, un système, une société, une civilisation globale. Elle est enracinée dans toutes les institutions de la civilisation moderne : dans l’économie autant que dans la politique, dans la science autant que dans les relations de genre, et, spécialement, dans la technologie moderne.

america-bajo-la-mira

La résurgence de la droite et les nouveaux coups d’État en Amérique latine Par Claude Morin, 23 août 2016

Nous assistons à une restauration conservatrice en Amérique latine. Afin de comprendre les mécanismes à l’origine de ce processus, je rappelle le déroulement des coups d’État depuis celui au Venezuela en 2002 (au Honduras, en Paraguay, au Brésil), les coups ratés (en Équateur et en Bolivie). On peut observer comment les droites continentales travaillent à discréditer les gouvernements progressistes afin de créer les conditions pour réaliser des golpes d’un genre nouveau ou pour préparer des retournements électoraux comme ce fut le cas au Venezuela et en Argentine en novembre-décembre 2015.

empire

L’Ordre Mondial de l’Empire, victime de sa cupidité et de son arrogance Par Oscar Fortin, 23 août 2016

Sans refaire l’histoire de tous les empires, nous pouvons reconnaître les causes profondes de l’effondrement du présent Empire, dirigé, économiquement, par les Grandes Familles oligarchiques et, politiquement, par Washington et Israël auxquels s’associent les pays membres de l’OTAN sans oublier le Japon, la Corée du Sud ainsi que les pays de l’Amérique latine qui leur sont encore entièrement soumis. Il aura su tirer profit de la Première Guerre mondiale, puis de la Seconde pour enfin s’imposer au monde tout au long de la guerre froide qui a  pris fin avec la disparition de l’URSS.

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Selected Articles: Provoking Nuclear War by Media

août 23rd, 2016 by Global Research News

HIROSHIMA MUSHROOM CLOUD NUCLEAR BOMB EXPLOSION

Provoking Nuclear War by Media

By John Pilger, August 23 2016

The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has quietly cleared the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, of war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica.

U.S.-Russia-Syria

Dangerous Crossroads: U.S. Invades Syria, And Warns Russia…

By Eric Zuesse, August 23 2016

Washington — which demands the overthrow of the internationally-recognized legal government of Syria — officially announced that America’s military forces in Syria will continue to occupy Syrian land, no matter what the Syrian government says, and will shoot down any Syrian planes that fly over U.S. forces.

The_flag_of_Syrian_Arab_Republic_Damascus,_Syria

Imperial Lawlessness

By Mark Taliano, August 23 2016

The dirty war on Syria will be settled on the battlefield.  International law is broken. Powerful nations continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes, and they have no reason to expect that they will be prosecuted. The credibly accused war criminals responsible for war crimes against countries that include Iraq, Libya, and now Syria, will not be prosecuted. International law is selective, and the powerful nations know this. They are repeat offenders, and their impunity emboldens them.

Hillary_Clinton_(24338774540)

War-Waging in Jeopardy? The Desperation of the US Elite and the Return of Henry Kissinger

By Umberto Pascali, August 22 2016

The top Anglo-American elite appears very, very worried that the Neocons (Bush/Clinton) will fail again in stopping, or even slowing down, Russia. They are more and more weary of the impotent Rambo war-cries of the left and right Neocons who are hysterically perched around Hillary Clinton. The Anglo-American elite is trying to find a way out and, oblivious of showing their desperation, is trying to resurrect their loyal lackey Henry Kissinger. Instead of the ineffective threats of the Clintonites  (see Ashton Carter, John Allen, Leon Panetta, Michael Morell, etc. ), this elites try to go back to the soft spider poison strategy used by Kissinger in the 70s.

putin3

Crimea, Georgia and “The New Olympic Sport”: Russia Bashing. The Fantasy of Vladimir Putin as “Vlad the Terrible” Ratchets Up…

By Felicity Arbuthnot, August 22 2016

As the fantasy of Vladimir Putin as “Vlad the Terrible” ratchets up in the US-UK-NATO driven new Cold War, the Independent runs a piece headed: “What lies behind the new Russian threat to Ukraine”, the sub-heading is: “Vladimir Putin, his opponents repeatedly point out, has form on this. The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the Beijing Olympics”. Trying to find the “Russian threat to the Ukraine” is, as ever, a hard task.

money-deficit

Brewing Collapse of the Western Monetary System? German Government Warns of an Upcoming Catastrophe, Tags Russia as an “Enemy Nation”

By Peter Koenig, August 23 2016

Germany has just warned its citizens of an upcoming catastrophe and urged them to stockpile food, water and money for at least 10 days, to be autonomous and independent until the government has caught up putting the necessary public safety systems in place – in case of a ‘catastrophe’. There was no mention on the type of disaster awaiting them. A war, an economic and or monetary collapse, or both? – The warning was later downplayed as part of a ‘routine exercise’ in Germany’s new defense strategy.

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Sans refaire l’histoire de tous les empires, nous pouvons reconnaître les causes profondes de l’effondrement du présent Empire, dirigé, économiquement, par les Grandes Familles oligarchiques et, politiquement, par Washington et Israël auxquels s’associent les pays membres de l’OTAN sans oublier le Japon, la Corée du Sud ainsi que les pays de l’Amérique latine qui leur sont encore entièrement soumis. Il aura su tirer profit de la Première Guerre mondiale, puis de la Seconde pour enfin s’imposer au monde tout au long de la guerre froide qui a  pris fin avec la disparition de l’URSS.

Ce fut une période où de grandes fortunes sont nées et ont appris à s’imposer à travers des gouvernements dont les dirigeants leur étaient redevables de leurs hautes fonctions. Ce fut également la période où l’Empire a su se présenter comme le grand défenseur des libertés individuelles et du progrès. C’était tout ce qu’il fallait pour qu’il devienne le grand protecteur des peuples et des nations. Si, dans les premiers temps, s’imposait cette image du grand sauveur et promoteur des valeurs humaines de liberté, de justice, de solidarité largement promue par les médias officiels et les institutions religieuses dominantes, ce n’est plus maintenant le cas. Les yeux s’ouvrent et les consciences s’éveillent sur la grande arnaque dont le monde est victime de la part de ces gouvernements soumis aux diktats et intérêts de ces oligarchies ambitionnant la domination du monde. La cupidité et l’arrogance avec lesquelles ils se révèlent de plus en plus  leur enlèvent toute crédibilité et en font des ennemis d’Humanité. 

L’Église catholique, traditionnellement alliée à ces oligarchies et gouvernements, s’est démarquée récemment par la voix du pape François qui a dénoncé cet Ordre mondial à travers son Exhortation apostolique  « Evangelii Gaudium » et sa Lettre encyclique « Laudato si ». Ce dernier dont on se gargarise autant se révèle être un désordre mondial comme rarement en aura connu l’humanité.

Bien avant ces paroles du pape François, beaucoup de peuples et de pays, ont élevé la voix pour dénoncer ce pouvoir impérial, ignorant le droit des peuples et des personnes, pour ne laisser cours qu’à sa cupidité et à son arrogance. Ce fut le cas de l’héroïque peuple cubain, de ceux du Vietnam, du Nicaragua, du Salvador et plus récemment de ceux de Bolivie, de l’Équateur et du Venezuela.  Dans tous ces cas, les « sauveurs » de la démocratie se révèlent être des conquérants et des dominateurs sans état d’âme. Les assassinats, la corruption, les manipulations médiatiques, le mensonge, tout est bon pour autant que leurs objectifs de cupidité et de domination soient favorisés.

Les cas de la Libye, de l’Ukraine et de la Syrie demeurent des cas d’espèce qui ne laissent planer aucun doute sur la morale de ceux qui veulent à tout prix sauver l’Empire. Pour se défaire de Kadhafi, amant de son peuple et ennemi de l’Empire, ils n’ont pas hésité à s’emparer de tous les moyens pour en faire un diable et en justifier les bombardements qu’ils ont eu le culot de baptiser « humanitaires ». Ce furent des milliers de   morts et de blessés. Plus que tout, ce fut la fin d’un régime qui apportait paix, éducation, santé et solidarité à son peuple et à l’ensemble de l’Afrique. Aujourd’hui, c’est l’anarchie et le désordre le plus complet.

En Ukraine, l’histoire est  différente, mais l’objectif demeure le même : renverser un gouvernement pour le remplacer par des marionnettes en vue de prendre le contrôle de l’ensemble du territoire ukrainien y incluant la Crimée. Nous savons ce qui s’est passé : la population de Crimée, d’appartenance russe, n’a pas reconnu ce nouveau gouvernement issu d’un coup d’État et a aussitôt fait un référendum sur son indépendance politique et son rattachement à la République de Russie.  Ce fut un oui sans équivoque  que la Russie a aussitôt reconnu.  D’où la colère de Washington et les sanctions imposées à la Russie.

En Syrie, le drame est tout aussi tragique. En dépit du fait que le gouvernement de Syrie soit démocratique et que son Président ait été élu par son peuple, l’Empire a décidé que ce dernier devait partir. Ce fut le début, en 2011, d’une guerre qui ne cesse de faire des milliers de morts. Les groupes terroristes sont utilisés pour déstabiliser l’actuel  gouvernement. La coalition internationale, sous la direction de Washington, ne se préoccupe aucunement du droit international relatif au respect des espaces aérien et territorial. Ils agissent comme s’ils étaient dans leur propre cour. Ils exigent même du Gouvernement syrien de ne pas les attaquer et de les laisser faire ce qu’ils ont décidé de faire. Ils en ont même avisé la Russie. C’est tout le contraire de la Russie, de la Chine, de l’Iran et du Hezbollah qui sont en Syrie à la demande du gouvernement du Président Bachar Al Assad. Cette présence a effectivement pour effet de modifier amplement les plans de la coalition internationale et ceux des terroristes qui agissent en sous-main de ces derniers. La Syrie devient de plus en plus le champ de bataille de ce qui deviendra sans doute l’affrontement majeur entre la coalition sous direction de la Russie et de celle sous la direction de Washington. La réponse à cette mise en garde de Washington contre le gouvernement syrien, tel que mentionné plus haut, peut devenir l’élément détonateur de cette guerre tant désirée par Washington. Poutine aura certainement le dernier mot.

Le premier juillet dernier, le président XI Jinping de la Chine a tenu un discours fort important à l’occasion du 95e anniversaire du Parti communiste chinois. Le contenu de cette intervention est passé inaperçu dans nos médias officiels alors que les déclarations faites marquent un tournant irréversible par rapport à l’Ordre mondial qui régit actuellement l’humanité.

“Le monde est sur le point de changements radicaux. Nous voyons comment l’UE est progressivement en ruine et l’économie américaine s’effondre. Cela finira dans un nouvel ordre mondial. Ainsi, en 10 ans, nous aurons un nouvel ordre mondial qui ne ressemblera en rien à celui de maintenant, et dans lequel la clé sera l’Union de la Russie et de la Chine “,

« L’ordre mondial doit être décidé non pas par un pays ou un petit nombre de pays, mais par un large accord international »

« La Chine préconise que les gens de tous les pays se réunissent pour changer la puissance mondiale, les risques en opportunités, et remplacer la confrontation par la coopération et les monopoles par des offres gagnant-gagnant »,

Les objectifs de la présente guerre ne concernent pas uniquement la protection de certains territoires et gouvernements, mais la mise en place d’un nouvel ordre mondial où chaque peuple, chaque État deviendront de véritables acteurs du destin de notre humanité. Ce sera la fin de ces grandes familles oligarques qui s’imposent par leur pouvoir économique et qui s’asservissent gouvernements, peuples et nations.

Dans l’esprit de la Russie, de la Chine et de tous leurs alliés, l’Humanité n’a d’autres choix que d’avancer vers un monde multipolaire  où chaque peuple et chaque nation seront respectés dans leurs droits. Le tout ne se réalisera pas du jour au lendemain, mais les moments que nous vivons marquent la fin, sans retour, de cet Ordre mondial dominé et dirigé par l’Empire. Le Président de la Chine parle d’une période de 10 ans pour que ce Nouvel  Ordre Mondial apporte oxygène et paix au devenir de l’Humanité.

Cet Empire, dominé par la cupidité et l’arrogance, ne saurait survivre plus longtemps. Les mensonges, les manipulations, l’interventionnisme tous azimuts n’ont plus leur place dans ce monde aux horizons de justice, de vérité, de solidarité et de respect.

Oscar Fortin

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Résumé : Nous assistons à une restauration conservatrice en Amérique latine. Afin de comprendre les mécanismes à l’origine de ce processus, je rappelle le déroulement des coups d’État depuis celui au Venezuela en 2002 (au Honduras, en Paraguay, au Brésil), les coups ratés (en Équateur et en Bolivie). On peut observer comment les droites continentales travaillent à discréditer les gouvernements progressistes afin de créer les conditions pour réaliser des golpes d’un genre nouveau ou pour préparer des retournements électoraux comme ce fut le cas au Venezuela et en Argentine en novembre-décembre 2015.


Les années 80 et 90 avaient été marquées pour l’Amérique latine par deux mouvements contradictoires : le retour des gouvernements civils au terme de dictatures féroces et l’adoption généralisée de politiques néolibérales. Les gouvernements civils pratiquaient une démocratie de « basse intensité » limitée à des scrutins ouverts pendant qu’ils procédaient à des privatisations en cascade, qu’ils s’attaquaient aux programme sociaux au nom de l’austérité budgétaire et qu’ils s’engageaient dans des accords de libre-échange. Ces politiques néolibérales s’inscrivaient dans le « consensus de Washington », lequel établissait une équation entre libéralisme économique, démocratie, droits de la personne et mondialisation. Mais elles avaient un coût énorme pour les majorités. Aussi ont-elles secrété leur antidote : la montée des mouvements sociaux.

À partir de 1998, à commencer par le Venezuela, mais à la façon d’une vague déferlante, des gouvernements progressistes conquièrent le pouvoir en lien avec des mouvements sociaux et redessinent la carte géopolitique de la région en impulsant de nouvelles politiques publiques axées sur l’incorporation de secteurs jusque-là marginaux par le biais de programmes sociaux. Parallèlement, ils s’engagent dans une intégration continentale solidaire contraire aux ambitions hégémoniques des États-Unis.

Chassée du pouvoir dans plusieurs pays, la droite n’allait pas encaisser le coup sans réagir. Tout en se battant pour conserver le pouvoir dans plusieurs autres pays, elle engageait le combat contre les gouvernements progressistes. Elle allait mener une guerre économique par le biais des sociétés qu’elle contrôle : on assistera à des grèves patronales, aux désinvestissements, à l’évasion fiscale, à des pénuries, à des sabotages. Ces tactiques s’intègrent à une guerre idéologique menée par les médias qu’elle possède et qui vise à semer la confusion, à apeurer les secteurs moyens, à attiser les ressentiments des uns contre les autres, à faire naître des mouvements de protestation bâtis sur les rumeurs de corruption et de narcotrafic au sein des gouvernements progressistes. La droite développe la guerre psychologique. L’objectif est de préparer le terrain pour une récupération du pouvoir par les urnes ou autrement.

Notre exposé va se concentrer sur ces autres façons de reprendre le pouvoir. Nous allons passer en revue ces situations qui empruntent la voie du coup d’État (golpe). Ces golpes obéissent à une nouvelle scénarisation. Ils ne sont plus menés par un état-major et ils ne débouchent plus sur des gouvernements militaires. Voilà la nouveauté. À la différence des années 60 et 70, la droite entend désormais gouverner sans intermédiaire.

1. Reconquérir le Venezuela en sortant Chávez

L’histoire débute au Venezuela. Depuis janvier 1999, Hugo Chávez, fort de sa victoire aux urnes en décembre 1998, a entrepris une transformation profonde. Une nouvelle constitution adoptée en décembre entend refonder la démocratie mise à mal par la corruption et le clientélisme pratiqués par les gouvernements issus du pacte de Punta Fijo en 1958. Plusieurs élections viennent confirmer la légitimité de la « révolution bolivarienne » en marche. Le nouveau Venezuela aspire à une démocratie participative fondée sur une redistribution équitable de la manne pétrolière. Il se heurte au Venezuela des nantis et de ces secteurs moyens aliénés qui ont les pieds à Caracas et la tête à Miami. À partir de décembre 2001, l’opposition réunie dans la «Coordination démocratique» organise des protestations à répétition pour exiger la démission du président Hugo Chávez ou à tout le moins un référendum en vue de sa destitution. Le 11 avril 2002, une manifestation, orchestrée par des partis politiques, l’élite économique et les médias, dégénère en un affrontement au cours duquel des manifestants (15) sont tués. Le lendemain, un groupe de militaires vénézuéliens s’empare du président Hugo Chávez et le transfère dans un poste militaire. Peu après, après avoir annoncé que Chávez avait signé une lettre de démission, un groupe civilo-militaire forme un gouvernement dirigé par le chef d’une association patronale et annonce tout de go qu’il va défaire ce que la Révolution bolivarienne a construit. Washington s’empresse de saluer le changement de gouvernement et de lui donner une caution démocratique, une interprétation que d’autres pays d’Amérique latine refusent d’avaliser. En l’espace de quelques heures, des manifestants venus des ceintures populaires de Caracas déferlent sur le centre-ville, provoquant un retournement de la situation, le retour de Chávez au Palais présidentiel et la dispersion de ceux qui prétendaient constituer le nouveau gouvernement.

Le Venezuela venait de vivre un coup d’État raté. Un coup d’État que ses auteurs ne voulaient pas reconnaître comme tel. Aussi avaient-ils inventé ce simulacre d’une démission de Chávez. L’autre nouveauté était que les militaires n’avaient été qu’un moment et qu’un partenaire dans une opération dirigée par et au profit d’une opposition civile qui regroupait des nantis, des organisations patronales, les grands médias, l’Église. Les putschistes avaient fabriqué l’incident déclencheur : le massacre. On devait découvrir que les victimes du 11 avril avaient été abattues par des tireurs embusqués qui n’avaient rien à voir avec les chavistes. Et que les États-Unis avaient été partie prenante du complot visant à virer un régime qu’il ne pouvait contrôler dans ce qu’ils considéraient leur « arrière-cour ».

Ce ne sera pas le dernier coup d’État. Mais les suivants se donneront encore plus de mal pour camoufler leur nature et pour faire croire que le changement de gouvernement est en accord avec les institutions, avec la constitution, en somme qu’il s’inscrit dans la légalité. Ce sera le cas pour le Honduras en 2009, pour le Paraguay en 2012 et pour le Brésil en 2016.

2. Conserver le Honduras : non à la constituante

Le 28 juin 2009, des militaires honduriens arrêtaient le président Manuel Zelaya et le détenaient sur une base aérienne avant de l’expulser au Costa Rica. Ici encore les putschistes prétendirent que Zelaya avait signé une lettre de démission. Roberto Micheletti, le président du Congrès, fut désigné chef du gouvernement. Or il se trouve que la lettre livrée pour preuve était datée du 25 juin. Tous les pouvoirs (exécutif, législatif, judiciaire) s’entendirent pour faire de la destitution de Zelaya et de la désignation de Micheletti une « succession constitutionnelle ». Tous ont invoqué la constitution et les lois du Honduras pour justifier leurs actions en accusant Zelaya, sans procès, de les avoir violées. Des juristes indépendants ont pourtant conclu que le Congrès avait outrepassé ses prérogatives en démettant le président. Le gouvernement Micheletti a par la suite multiplié les décrets qui démontraient son total mépris de la légalité dans laquelle il se drapait.

L’oligarchie était le véritable instigateur du coup d’État. Cette oligarchie ne se reconnaissait plus dans Zelaya, un industriel forestier devenu politicien après avoir présidé des organisations patronales. Élu à la présidence en 2005, sous la bannière libérale, celui qu’on surnomme « Mel » s’employait à réaliser sa promesse d’ouvrir le pouvoir à la participation citoyenne, s’appuyant de plus en plus sur les mouvements sociaux. Zelaya était vu comme un traître à sa classe puisqu’il collaborait avec des gens de gauche. N’avait-il pas entraîné le Honduras à adhérer à l’ALBA (Alliance bolivarienne pour les Amériques), cette alliance progressiste opposée au libre-échange et à l’hégémonie états-unienne?

Mais la principale faute de Zelaya avait été d’organiser une consultation en ce 28 juin sur l’opportunité d’ajouter une quatrième urne lors des élections générales du 29 novembre. Zelaya voulait sonder ses concitoyens sur leur intérêt pour la convocation d’une assemblée constituante, une demande des organisations populaires, syndicales, autochtones.  Instruites des opérations de même nature menées au Venezuela, en Bolivie, en Équateur, les élites y ont vu un engrenage menant à un réel partage du pouvoir dont elles feraient évidemment les frais dans ce pays le plus pauvre d’Amérique centrale. Les auteurs du coup d’État entendaient bloquer l’émergence d’un mouvement social de plus en plus revendicatif, enhardi par ses victoires arrachées dans des luttes auxquelles Zelaya avait choisi de ne pas s’opposer, décidant plutôt de les accompagner, y trouvant même sa mission.

La société civile se mobilisa contre le coup d’État, mais se heurta à une répression mortelle. Les militaires appliquèrent avec zèle et brutalité les différentes mesures adoptées par le régime de facto : couvre-feu, état de siège, interventions auprès des médias de l’opposition, etc. Presque tous les pays d’Amérique latine dénoncèrent le coup d’État et imposèrent des sanctions. Rien n’y fit. La restauration de Zelaya fut impossible. Les élections du 29 novembre 2009, contrôlées par les putschistes, furent une mascarade cynique. Que les États-Unis en aient reconnu la validité à l’avance, sans égard au contexte local et continental, démontre un cynisme et un mépris sans pareils. Les agissements des États-Unis en catimini, par le biais d’États-clients (particulièrement le Costa Rica d’Óscar Arias, mais aussi le Panama et le Pérou), révèlent que la logique impériale persiste en dépit des discours du président Obama : faire obstacle à tout changement qui remet en question leurs ambitions hégémoniques en jouant des divisions, des rivalités entre les États et en exploitant les contradictions internes. Il ne faut pas perdre de vue que le Honduras est, avec la base de Soto Cano (Palmerola), une pièce maîtresse du dispositif états-unien d’intervention dans la région.

Sept ans plus tard, le Honduras demeure un État en déliquescence. Avec un taux d’homicides de 68 pour 100 000 (2014), il est le pays le plus violent de la planète. Les assassinats politiques sont monnaie courante, ciblant les militants, les indigènes, les journalistes : la leader écologiste Berta Cáceres figure parmi les victimes. La corruption y est endémique. Le débat actuel concerne la réélection. Le président Juan Orlando Hernández, un imposteur élu grâce à la fraude en 2013, aspire à un second mandat en 2017, ce qu’interdit l’article 239 de la Constitution de 1982. Or une section de la Cour suprême a récemment déclaré cet article inconstitutionnel. L’opposition avait dénoncé cette interprétation qui ouvrait la voie à un « coup d’État permanent ». Aujourd’hui le mouvement issu de la résistance au coup d’État révise sa position, envisageant de s’unifier autour de la candidature de Manuel Zelaya qui jouit d’une énorme popularité. C’est comme si l’histoire bégayait.

3.Pas de réforme agraire au Paraguay

Une autre destitution allait braquer, pendant un court moment, le regard médiatique sur le Paraguay. Le 22 juin 2012, au terme d’un « procès politique » expéditif, en alléguant cinq motifs, mais sans fournir aucune preuve, le Congrès destituait le président Fernando Lugo et le remplaçait par le vice-président Francisco Franco. Nombre d’observateurs informés ont alors parlé d’un « coup d’État parlementaire ». L’émotion a été grande en Amérique latine, particulièrement chez les pays voisins, entraînant la suspension du Paraguay d’organisations régionales (Mercosur, Unasur, CÉLAC).

Élu en mars 2008, Fernando Lugo devait son élection à sa popularité auprès des déshérités des campagnes – datant de l’époque où il était évêque de San Pedro – et à son engagement auprès des paysans sans terres. Une douzaine de partis et mouvements sociaux avaient appuyé sa candidature. Même le Parti Libéral l’avait soutenu, en lui accolant cependant Federico Franco comme colistier à la vice-présidence. Ce parti estimait que c’était sa seule voie vers le pouvoir après 61 ans de domination du Parti Colorado. Certains riches avaient même fait campagne pour Lugo afin d’en finir avec le régime corrompu et clientéliste instauré sous Alfredo Stroessner entre 1954 et 1989. Ils n’étaient nullement intimidés par la promesse de Lugo d’instaurer des programmes sociaux afin de réduire la pauvreté qui affectait le tiers des ménages. Lugo s’employait à les rassurer, se définissant « au centre comme le trou du poncho ».

Sitôt investi, Lugo découvrit les limites de son pouvoir. D’abord, il ne pouvait compter que sur quelques élus chez les députés et les sénateurs. S’il réussit à instaurer la gratuité des soins médicaux et hospitaliers et à augmenter les dépenses dans l’éducation publique, il dut renoncer à revoir la fiscalité et à engager une réforme agraire. La terre est un enjeu central au Paraguay où 3 % des propriétaires contrôlent 85 % des exploitations. D’immenses superficies ont été accaparées sous le règne des Colorados et sont consacrées à la culture du soja transgénique, principal produit d’exportation. Le tiers des 40 millions d’hectares serait exploité par des producteurs ne détenant pas de titres légaux. Le soja est devenu une grande affaire orchestrée par Monsanto et de puissants groupes commerciaux. Des organisations paysannes réclament des terres et s’opposent aux contaminations découlant des semences transgéniques et des pesticides chimiques.

C’est justement des campagnes qu’est venue l’étincelle menant à la destitution du président Lugo. Le 15 juin 2012, six policiers et onze paysans furent tués dans un affrontement lié à un conflit agraire. Des paysans occupaient les terres mal acquises d’un ex-sénateur colorado. Pressé par la droite de réagir, Lugo avait autorisé l’éviction pacifique des occupants. Le résultat fut le massacre de Curuguaty qui présenta toutes les caractéristiques d’un coup monté. Selon des témoins, les victimes ont été tuées par des armes automatiques alors que les occupants ne possédaient que des pétoires. L’enquête ouverte par le nouveau gouvernement n’a servi qu’à faire arrêter douze paysans et qu’à occulter la conspiration.

En somme, Lugo aura subi le même sort que Manuel Zelaya. Le coup d’État s’est avéré irréversible. La mise en quarantaine du gouvernement Franco n’y a rien changé. Les putschistes ont joué les vierges offensées en rappelant les guerres du passé et la nécessaire défense de la souveraineté. Les alliés du moment ont vite repris leurs querelles afin de faire main basse sur les prébendes associées au pouvoir.

Puis tous les partis ont mis le cap sur l’échéance électorale de 2013. Le népotisme et l’incurie du gouvernement Franco ayant discrédité le parti Libéral, c’est le parti Colorado qui a récupéré le pouvoir. Horacio Cartes, l’une des premières fortunes du pays, acquise par la contrebande du tabac et d’autres trafics, a accédé à la présidence, se mettant ainsi à l’abri d’enquêtes et de poursuites. Le coup d’État parlementaire s’est dissout dans les élections subséquentes sans égard au concert de protestations qu’il avait déclenchées. Et le Paraguay, comme le Honduras avant lui, a pu réintégrer les forums qui avaient voté sa suspension. Le gouvernement Cartes s’est depuis distingué par son alliance public-privé, son ouverture aux privatisations, ses accords militaires avec les États-Unis et son animosité envers le Venezuela bolivarien. Il vient d’annoncer un gel des salaires du secteur public pour les quatre prochaines années. Ses collaborateurs sont moins des militants colorados que des technocrates qui ont acquis leurs diplômes aux États-Unis. Plusieurs ne parlent même pas guarani dans un pays où les deux tiers des habitants sont bilingues. Et le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Eladio Loizaga, a fait partie sous Stroessner et dans le cadre de l’opération Condor d’une organisation chargée d’éliminer les « subversifs ».

En juillet 2016, le tribunal chargé d’identifier et de juger les responsables du massacre de Curuguaty a rendu son verdict. Il a prononcé des peines de 4 à 30 ans de prison contre 11 paysans arrêtés en 2012. Le procès a multiplié les irrégularités. Personne au sein des 300 éléments des forces de l’ordre n’avait été inculpé; aucune analyse balistique ne fut déposée; bien des preuves et certains témoins clés sont disparus; le tribunal n’a accueilli aucune requête de la défense. Ce fut dès le départ un procès politique destiné à casser le mouvement de revendications de paysans qui luttent contre les grands propriétaires et usurpateurs terriens, souvent associés à l’État et aux partis. Déjà Fernando Lugo s’était attiré les foudres de l’oligarchie en remettant en question 8 millions d’hectares mal appropriés sous le règne des Colorados. Ce procès démontre, s’il le fallait, que la droite est solidement ancrée au Paraguay, contrôlant tous les pouvoirs, dont le pouvoir judiciaire.

4. Au Brésil : en finir avec le Parti des travailleurs

Le 12 mai dernier s’est joué le dernier acte menant à la suspension provisoire de Dilma Rousseff, la présidente du Brésil, accusée de manipulation comptable. Le Sénat fédéral, après la Chambre des députés, engageait la procédure de destitution. Au terme d’un procès qui devrait s’achever en août, le Sénat sera appelé à se prononcer à nouveau. Il suffira que 54 sénateurs votent sa destitution pour que Dilma soit destituée définitivement et interdite de poste électif pendant huit ans. Entretemps, le vice-président Michel Temer a assumé la fonction et formé un nouveau gouvernement. Lui et ses acolytes s’emploient par diverses manœuvres à s’assurer qu’au moins les deux tiers des sénateurs voteront pour la destitution, ouvrant la voie à leur exercice du pouvoir jusqu’en janvier 2019. Tous défendent la légalité de leurs actions. Pourtant cette mise à l’écart de la présidente a été qualifiée de « coup d’État » par plusieurs observateurs au Brésil et à l’étranger. Les mouvements sociaux ont repris la rue pour protester au nom de la défense de la démocratie. Leur cri de ralliement est « Fora Temer » (Dehors Temer). Des sondages d’opinion réalisés en juillet indiquent que seulement 16 % souhaitent que Temer complète le mandat de Dilma.

Plusieurs éléments permettent de parler d’un « coup d’État ». Il y a d’abord la nature du délit. Le « pédalage fiscal » a été une pratique de tous les gouvernements depuis plus d’un quart de siècle. Il consiste à emprunter des fonds à des banques publiques avant la fin d’un exercice et à les rembourser au début de l’exercice suivant. Cela n’a rien à voir avec la corruption ou la fraude. En l’absence d’un « délit majeur », il ne peut y avoir destitution. Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira, qui fut ministre sous des gouvernements antérieurs, considère que ce « coup parlementaire » est une « farce » d’un point de vue juridique. Il s’agit ici d’un procès politique engagé par ceux qui ont perdu lors du scrutin de 2014 comme ils avaient perdu en 2002, en 2006 et en 2010. La première demande de révocation a été formulée à peine un mois et demi après la réélection de Dilma. Le refus de la présidente de suspendre l’enquête sur la corruption en lien avec le financement des partis a été déterminant. La campagne a été menée par le président de la Chambre, Eduardo Cunha, accusé de corruption, d’évasion fiscale et autres crimes. Menacé de cassation et du retrait de son immunité, il a répliqué en exécutant sa menace et sa vengeance contre la présidente. Plus d’un tiers des parlementaires font l’objet de poursuites ou d’investigations judiciaires. Plusieurs parlementaires auraient cherché à échapper aux poursuites qui les menaçaient en votant la destitution de Dilma Rousseff. Des écoutes téléphoniques déjà anciennes viennent de dévoiler les manœuvres qui ont précédé la procédure de destitution. Au cœur du complot se trouvait Michel Temer, choisi comme colistier de Dilma Rousseff afin de concrétiser l’alliance entre le PT et le PMDB, le parti contrôlant le plus de sièges au Congrès. Sa trahison lui a ouvert la voie à la présidence. L’une des missions du gouvernement Temer était d’en finir avec des enquêtes qui éclaboussaient la classe politique. Ou de s’en servir seulement contre les adversaires. L’enjeu principal est cependant beaucoup plus ambitieux : en finir avec les gouvernements PT (Parti des Travailleurs), au pouvoir depuis 2002 et reconfigurer les politiques publiques. Le gouvernement Temer est formé exclusivement d’hommes blancs, plutôt âgés, de grands patrons, sans aucune représentation de la diversité qui compose la société brésilienne. Trois des ministres ont dû démissionner rapidement parce qu’ils étaient mêlés à des enquêtes. Ce gouvernement n’attend que la confirmation de la destitution pour appliquer à pleine vapeur un programme qui a déjà été rejeté par 54 millions de Brésiliens en 2014. Il a déjà mené une purge des ministères et institutions supposément pour en congédier les fonctionnaires PT. Le ministère de la Culture a écopé lourdement. À l’horizon se profilent une réduction draconienne des programmes sociaux, une réforme du système de pensions et des lois du travail, des privatisations des entreprises et services publics.

André Kaisel parle d’un « coup juridico-médiatico-entrepreneurial ». Le parlement a été l’acteur le plus visible. L’appareil judiciaire a été également de la partie. L’opération Lava Jato (lavage express) lancée par la police fédérale pour enquêter sur le scandale Petrobras a débusqué un système de corruption, de pots-de-vin. Elle a pour ce faire négocié des confessions contre des réductions de peine. Le juge Sérgio Moro tire dans toutes les directions, mais cherche ostensiblement à épingler l’ex-président Lula. Il a commandé des écoutes électroniques, il a coulé des informations de façon à compromettre Lula. Mais il n’a produit aucune preuve contre lui. Conscient que Lula est encore très populaire et qu’il pourrait l’emporter s’il se présentait aux élections en octobre 2018, le système judiciaire cherche à le discréditer en ouvrant des enquêtes sur lui. Les puissants médias (l’empire Globo, Veja, Folha de São Paulo, Estado de São Paulo) ont fait campagne contre Dilma en vue de susciter l’indignation des classes moyennes contre le PT, au nom de la morale, comme si le PT avait l’exclusivité de la corruption. Ils ont orchestré de grandes manifestations en 2013 et en 2015. Depuis la suspension de Dilma, ils cherchent à manipuler les esprits, trafiquant les sondages (Datafolha, par exemple) ou passant sous silence des informations défavorables à Temer. Trois pouvoirs se sont donc ligués pour abattre la présidence. Dramatisation, complot, ruse, audace, voilà des ingrédients d’un coup d’État classique comme le rappelait l’historien Laurent Vidal en évoquant l’acception du terme au XVIIe siècle.

Le coup a aussi une dimension géopolitique. Le ministre José Serra préside à un virage de la politique étrangère. Il s’emploie à la réorienter vers les blocs dirigés par Washington, dont l’Alliance du Pacifique, jouant en faveur du libre-échange, transformant le Brésil en cheval de Troie au sein du Mercosur ou d’Unasur. Serra est disposé à autoriser les États-Unis à utiliser la base aérienne d’Alcántara (Maranhão) pour le lancement de satellites, offrant donc une base militaire en territoire brésilien. On sait que les États-Unis convoitent l’accès aux ressources de l’Amazonie ainsi qu’aux réserves de pétrole dans l’Atlantique et que les multinationales attendent le démantèlement de Petrobras et se positionnent pour exploiter la zone « pre-sal ».

Le coup d’État est donc une tentative pour redéfinir le Brésil au seul profit de la droite et de ses agents politiques. Les putschistes désespèrent de triompher par le vote populaire. L’enjeu est de supprimer le caractère populaire de la démocratie brésilienne, d’empêcher le peuple d’accéder au pouvoir d’État. Depuis 70 ans, les puissants ont cherché à bloquer l’accès au pouvoir : ils l’ont fait contre Vargas, Kubitschek, Goulart avant le coup d’État de 1964, maintenant contre le PT. Leur myopie leur fait perdre de vue que les programmes sociaux ont créé à faibles coûts plus de 40 millions de consommateurs et que cette redistribution a contribué au dynamisme économique et à leurs affaires. Le PT n’a pas pris l’argent aux riches pour le donner aux pauvres. La fiscalité brésilienne demeure l’une des plus faibles de l’OCDE pour les grandes fortunes. Pour ne pas indisposer les puissants, le PT a renoncé à une réforme fiscale comme il a renoncé à la réforme agraire. Dilma a commis l’erreur, comme elle l’a reconnue, de confier le portefeuille de l’économie à un ministre libéral, ce qui a contribué à l’érosion de sa crédibilité auprès de sa base sociale.

Il suffirait que quelques sénateurs modifient leur vote pour que Dilma soit restaurée à la présidence. Le gouvernement putschiste emploie tous les moyens pour exclure cette éventualité. Dans le cas où Dilma reviendrait, il lui faudrait affronter un Congrès qui lui sera majoritairement hostile. Le scandale Petrobras, et le scandale du mensalão avant lui, sont très liés au système politique brésilien, surnommé « physiologisme », un système vieux comme la République, qui consiste à échanger un soutien politique contre des largesses licites ou illicites. Ce système articule les relations entre le gouvernement et les partis, l’exécutif et le législatif, le niveau fédéral et celui des États. Les gouvernements ne peuvent faire passer des lois sans conclure des pactes avec des parlementaires qui ne soutiendront les projets qu’en échange d’avantages. Plus de 35 partis sont en compétition pour des votes. Les campagnes électorales coûtent cher. De grandes sociétés de construction (telle Oderbrecht) sont invitées à contribuer à la caisse en échange de contrats publics surdimensionnés.

5. Les nouveaux golpes : des traits communs

En somme, tous ces coups d’État partagent des caractéristiques essentielles, même si chacun s’ajuste aux réalités et circonstances locales. Ils s’attaquent tous à la tête des gouvernements progressistes afin de démettre l’Exécutif. Tous renversent des gouvernements élus lors de scrutins réguliers. Ces coups sont précédés par une campagne de discrédit contre la présidence afin de rallier des appuis dans la population. Ils font appel à des segments de la société civile, des associations patronales et professionnelles. Un incident leur sert généralement de prétexte, un incident qu’ils ont provoqué. Ces coups reposent sur le concours de plusieurs appareils (législatif, judiciaire, militaire, policier), sur la collaboration du pouvoir religieux (l’Opus Dei, la hiérarchie, les évangéliques au Brésil), des grands médias qui ont une position de monopoles dans plusieurs pays. Au front interne s’ajoute un front externe. La droite locale dispose d’appuis à l’extérieur. On doit parler d’une droite régionale, voire continentale. Les États-Unis sont un partenaire essentiel. L’ambassade, la CIA, les ONG fournissent conseils, logistique, argent et protection. D’autres pays servent au besoin de relais, tels l’Espagne et Israël. Les grands médias et les agences à l’étranger agissent comme caisses de résonance. Cela est évident pour le Venezuela. Cela l’est moins pour le Brésil.

La démarche menant au changement de régime comporte des similitudes. Les putschistes cherchent à préserver les apparences. Ainsi au Honduras, la Cour suprême statuait sur l’illégalité de l’action présidentielle (la consultation), le Congrès destituait le président, élisait son successeur et les militaires intervenaient sans entrer au gouvernement. Les médias jouaient également leur rôle : après avoir chauffé l’atmosphère par une campagne anti-Zelaya, ils s’imposaient un blackout complet sur le coup avant de se faire les porte-parole du nouveau régime. Le scénario hondurien s’est inspiré du coup d’État du 11 avril 2002 au Venezuela : la capture du président par les militaires, la fausse démission, le blackout médiatique.

Ces coups sont d’autant plus efficaces qu’ils se donnent un vernis de légalité et qu’ils combinent des fronts d’attaque juridico-judiciaire, parlementaire et médiatique. Le discrédit médiatique, la persécution judiciaire, l’instance parlementaire se complètent.  Les médias jouent sur les esprits et les sentiments pour mobiliser des appuis au sein du « peuple ». Les journalistes, les procureurs, les juges collaborent au coup. Les partis se liguent pour violer la souveraineté populaire et déposer le président élu. S’affranchissant des règles, ils choisissent de compter le but avec la main. Ces coups sont beaucoup plus difficiles à retourner parce qu’ils se font depuis les institutions en invoquant la constitution. Jusqu’à présent le Venezuela a été l’exception, mais pour combien de temps encore?

J’aurais pu parler d’opérations de déstabilisation dirigées contre deux autres gouvernements progressistes. Elles n’aboutirent pas à des coups d’État, mais elles sortaient franchement du cadre de l’opposition légale. Faute de temps, je rappellerai seulement que le gouvernement Morales a survécu à quelques tentatives depuis sa première élection en décembre 2005. Il y eut d’abord un mouvement sésessioniste basé à Santa Cruz. Plus récemment, une campagne de salissage a contribué à une défaite lors du référendum de février dernier : les médias ont fait circulé des histoires ayant trait à la vie privée d’Evo Morales, ont parlé de cas de corruption et de narcotrafic, sans que ces histoires soient en lien direct avec le président. La conséquence est que 51 % des Boliviens ont refusé qu’Evo Morales brigue un nouveau mandat en 2019.

Le président Rafael Correa a fait face le 30 septembre 2010 à une rebellion de policiers nationaux. Blessé, puis séquestré dans un hôpital, il sera libéré par sa garde. La rébellion couvrait quatre provinces. Les mutins tentèrent de s’emparer de la télévision d’État. Des officiers de l’aviation fermèrent l’aéroport international de Quito. L’affrontement se solda par cinq décès et près de 200 blessés. Une commission d’enquête conclut qu’il s’agissait d’une tentative de coup d’État baptisé « S30 ». L’interprétation des événements fait encore l’objet de débats, plusieurs ne voulant y voir qu’une mutinerie qui a dérapé.

Les documents publiés par WikiLeaks montrent que les États-Unis ont vainement tenté d’empêcher l’élection de Rafael Correa en 2006. En plus de dépenser près d’un million de dollars dans la campagne, ils ont cherché à convaincre les frères Gutiérrez de soutenir Alvaro Noboa, le « roi de la banane », au second tour afin de bloquer Correa, deuxième pour le ballotage. Correa et Morales sont la cible de la résistance des élites locales qui compensent leur manque de crédibilité à l’intérieur par le fait que les États-Unis leur donnent soutien, conseils et argent. Correa considère d’ailleurs l’impérialisme comme son pire ennemi : aussi lui a-t-il retiré la base militaire de Manta d’où il pouvait intervenir en Amérique du Sud. Morales, considérant que l’ambassade états-unienne à La Paz était le centre névralgique de tous les complots, a expulsé l’ambassadeur. L’ouvrage BoliviaLeaks, publié en août 2016, lui donne raison.

6. L’Argentine et le retour de la droite néolibérale

La restauration de la droite néolibérale peut emprunter d’autres voies que le coup. Le 22 novembre 2015, Mauricio Macri triomphait au deuxième tour dans un scrutin des plus serrés, avec moins de 3 % d’avance sur son adversaire, Daniel Scioli, le candidat du kirchnerisme et de la continuité. Il héritait d’une Argentine polarisée. Sa gestion allait dramatiser la division par un retour agressif à des politiques néolibérales, celles-là même qui pavèrent la voie sous Carlos Menem à la crise de 2001-2002.

L’ancien maire de Buenos Aires avait fait de sa position un tremplin pour se projeter sur la scène nationale. Membre d’une famille qui a fait fortune grâce aux contrats avec l’État, il professait sa foi dans le marché. Son talent fut de construire une alliance avec des partis individuels qui n’avaient aucun avenir face à la version kirchneriste du péronisme. PRO et Cambiemos firent campagne en promettant la « pauvreté zéro », la vérité, le changement, la sécurité, l’harmonie. On annonçait la levée des contrôles sur l’achat de dollars et la fin des marchés parallèles du peso. La coalition profita des erreurs du gouvernement sortant. Ne pouvant se présenter pour un troisième mandat consécutif, Cristina Fernández avait choisi son candidat sans le soumettre aux primaires. C’était comme si elle jugeait que Daniel Scioli pouvait le mieux assurer son retour en 2020. Une portion de l’électorat bénéficiaire de ses politiques n’était pas disposée à transférer son appui de la présidente sortante à un candidat sans grand relief personnel. Les grands médias (et surtout l’empire médiatique Clarín) avaient œuvré à fabriquer une image de CFK : celle de la « reine Cristina », arrogante, pugnace, et de ses virées dans les boutiques lors de ses déplacements à l’étranger. On insinua que le suicide du procureur Alberto Nisman pouvait être un homicide commandé contre celui qui avait monté un dossier impliquant la présidente et le ministre des Affaires étrangères à propos d’une entente avec l’Iran. On retrouve dans cette campagne de dénigrement les ingrédients des opérations de désinformation qui préparent les coups d’État : créer la confusion, désorienter le citoyen, susciter l’opposition. En d’autres mots, l’électeur était moins porté à voter en fonction d’un bilan positif que sur la base de rumeurs, d’images, de promesses.

Aujourd’hui, huit mois après l’avènement du nouveau pouvoir, la majorité des Argentins vit une désillusion. Les promesses n’ont pas été tenues. Un programme caché s’est mis en place. Plus de 100 000 postes ont été supprimés. L’inflation a grimpé. Le dollar s’échange contre plus de pesos. La consommation a chuté, comme le pouvoir d’achat. Les investissements étrangers ne se matérialisent pas. Entretemps, l’Argentine a réglé avec les fonds vautours et a relancé l’endettement extérieur. Le président figurait dans les Panama Papers : il détenait des fonds non déclarés dans des paradis fiscaux. Il justifie contre tout bon sens l’austérité par l’héritage laissé par le gouvernement Kirchner. Loin de gouverner pour tous les Argentins, il gouverne à l’évidence pour une minorité, avec des ministres choisis parmi les directeurs de grandes sociétés, en multipliant les mesures néolibérales. Son gouvernement mène en outre une vendetta contre son prédécesseur, multipliant les enquêtes, engageant des causes contre CFK et ses fonctionnaires sous prétexte de déceler des fraudes. Il a entrepris une purge dans les institutions publiques sous prétexte que le kirchnerisme avait créé des postes pour ses protégés. Les manifestations sont criminalisées, des militants sont emprisonnés sous de faux prétextes (Milagro Sala) et les militaires sont courtisés. Macri a repris à son compte la thèse des « deux démons », une façon de jouer en sourdine les crimes du terrorisme d’État à l’époque de la « sale guerre » (1976-1983) : il s’est même permis de mettre en doute le chiffre de 30 000 victimes. Le macrisme cherche par un discours creux (« amour », « espoir ») sans égard à la réalité à « dépolitiser » la société afin qu’elle ne conteste pas ses choix politiques.

On assiste en même temps à un réalignement de la politique étrangère argentine. La visite d’Obama a servi au sacre d’un allié inconditionnel. Un axe s’est constitué entre Buenos Aires, Asunción et Brasília contre le Venezuela, une nouvelle version de la « Triple Alliance » selon Caracas. L’Argentine apparaît comme un autre pion de la stratégie états-unienne de redéploiement en Amérique latine. Washington négocie l’octroi de deux bases militaires, l’une en Patagonie, l’autre aux limites de trois pays, près de la plus grande nappe phréatique d’eau douce de la planète. Autant Cristina avait le sens de la patrie tout en étant passionnément solidaire de « notre Amérique », autant Macri se révèle un éteignoir du sentiment patriotique et un fossoyeur des institutions bolivariennes. Les fêtes du Bicentenaire ont démontré son ignorance du passé et sa servilité à l’endroit d’une Espagne représentée par l’ex-souverain Juan Carlos.

7. Le Pérou : consolidation d’un allié sur le flanc pacifique

Le gouvernement Humala (2011-16) a fortement déçu. Élu sur des promesses de gauche, il a gouverné surtout à droite, cédant aux sociétés minières, criminalisant les actes de protestation. Tout au plus sa victoire avait-elle empêché l’accès de Keiko Fujimori à la présidence avec son cortège de mesures néolibérales, de corruption et d’autoritarisme. Les Péruviens ont eu droit à deux présidents pour le prix d’un, dans la mesure où Nadine Heredia, l’épouse d’Ollanta Humala, s’est souvent ingérée dans les décisions du président. La victoire de Pedro Pablo Kuczynski aux élections de juin 2016 a à nouveau évité le triomphe de Keiko. Il est positif que la gauche avec Verónika Mendoza soit venue très près d’accéder au deuxième tour. Le Frente Amplio représente une nouvelle gauche axée sur la société civile, plus rassembleuse que la gauche traditionnelle. PPK a défendu un programme néolibéral, pas très différent de celui que défendait Keiko. En l’absence du soutien d’un parti bien établi (Peruanos por el Kambio), il doit avant tout sa victoire à une coalition hétérogène unie dans la volonté de bloquer Keiko. Les électeurs péruviens ont préféré le candidat qui dégageait compétence et honnêteté. Malgré cela, moins de 43 000 votes séparaient les deux candidats.

Fuerza Popular, le parti des fujimoristes, bénéficie en revanche d’une organisation puissante et dotée de fonds lui permettant d’acheter des votes et des  loyautés. Les fujimoristes détiennent désormais la majorité absolue au Congrès (73/130 députés). Ils ont une capacité de blocage et ne s’en priveront pas. Refusant de se contenter d’une loi du  Congrès sur la détention domiciliaire, ils réclament le pardon pour Alberto Fujimori condamné en 2009 à une peine de 25 ans; à défaut de quoi ils menacent de ne point collaborer avec PPK et de mettre en danger la gouvernance. Ils annoncent une position obstructionniste.

PPK a choisi comme ministres des hommes et cinq femmes qui proviennent pour l’immense majorité des grandes entreprises et qui sont liés aux organismes financiers internationaux ou sont des technocrates qui ont fait partie de gouvernements précédents (ceux de Fujimori, Toledo, García, ou Humala). En bref, son cabinet ressemble à celui mis en place par Macri, un gouvernement de patrons, favorable au patronat. Il campe son gouvernement nettement dans le camp de la droite régionale. Il appuie l’opposition vénézuélienne au nom de la défense des prisonniers politiques, mais refuse de s’ingérer dans la crise brésilienne dans laquelle il ne voit qu’un conflit entre partis politiques. L’élection péruvienne renforce ainsi la droite régionale et laisse entrevoir des collaborations en vue d’isoler l’Équateur et la Bolivie.

Conclusion

Ce parcours aura illustré les éléments d’une nouvelle conjoncture. La caractéristique dominante serait la résurgence et la restauration de gouvernements de droite et une réaffirmation depuis le pouvoir du néolibéralisme. Cela n’augure rien de bon pour l’avenir immédiat des forces populaires et pour le processus de démocratisation. Sans compter que cette conjoncture a aussi sa face externe puisqu’elle s’accompagne d’un redéploiement des États-Unis dans la région.

Les politiques néolibérales sont contraires à la démocratie. Elles rendent les gouvernements instables parce qu’elles provoquent la contestation chez ceux qui en écopent et qui forment la majorité. Les politiques progressistes, à l’inverse, en redistribuant les revenus et en accordant des droits, créent des gouvernements plus populaires, plus légitimes, plus stables. La première source d’instabilité vient de la résistance des privilégiés à accepter le changement qui les désavantage. Tous les cas que nous avons présentés indiquent que l’instabilité vient de la droite. Celle-ci est prête à user de tous les moyens pour récupérer le pouvoir. La restauration conservatrice à laquelle nous assistons ne passe pas par les urnes ou bien si elle en émerge, comme dans le cas argentin, ce n’est qu’une fois que le terrain ait été apprêté par une propagande mensongère qui induit des groupes à voter contre leurs intérêts réels. Le néolibéralisme est l’ennemi de la démocratie dont il est la négation. La situation s’est inversée. Dans le passé, la gauche ne croyait pas en la démocratie qu’elle qualifiait de « bourgeoise ». Aujourd’hui, c’est la droite qui ne croit pas en la démocratie parce qu’elle ne se reconnaît plus dans une démocratie participative et sociale.

Une constatation s’impose : les États qui résistent le mieux aux coups d’État institutionnels sont ceux qui ont pu, à l’initiative de gouvernements progressistes, adopter de nouvelles constitutions. La constitution doit être l’assise d’une refondation politique, d’un élargissement effectif des droits politiques qui de théoriques deviennent concrets. Refonder la société exige de déplacer des groupes qui tiennent le haut du pavé. Les constitutions progressistes mises en place au Venezuela, en Équateur, en Bolivie résultent de l’élection d’un gouvernement capable de changer les règles du jeu politique en s’appuyant sur une majorité législative et sur une mobilisation de la société. La constitution bolivarienne se révèle aujourd’hui un rempart légal contre l’obstructionnisme de l’Assemblée nationale et les manœuvres déstabilisatrices de l’opposition. La crise actuelle au Brésil a démontré que la réforme politique est incontournable pour la sauvegarde et l’approfondissement de la démocratie.

Le juriste et sociologue portugais Boaventura de Sousa Santos signale une faiblesse des gouvernements progressistes. Profitant d’une forte demande sur les marchés extérieurs, ils ont financé des programmes sociaux qui ont permis une inclusion sociale par le biais de la consommation individualiste. Malheureusement, cette inclusion n’a pas agi sur les consciences. Elle est passive et elle est réversible selon la conjoncture. Le Parti des Travailleurs au pouvoir s’est distancé des mouvements sociaux qui l’avaient porté. Dilma a admis que face à la récession elle avait adopté un programme économique d’austérité qui l’avait discréditée auprès des électeurs populaires sans lui assurer la collaboration des parlementaires et des élites. Elle n’a pas fait des mouvements sociaux les partenaires de son gouvernement.

Ce que la crise brésilienne démontre c’est que le golpe a réactivé les mouvements sociaux. Dilma et Lula sont partis à la reconquête d’une crédibilité. Les putschistes ont sous-estimé les réactions populaires. Les manifestations ont changé de signe. Les «  Fora Temer » ont remplacé les « Fora Dilma ». En Argentine, le tarifazo – l’augmentation brutale du prix du gaz décrétée par le gouvernement Macri – a unifié le peuple, provoquant cette réaction unitaire que ni les partis politiques ni les mouvements sociaux n’avaient réussi à faire contre les DNU (décrets de nécessité et d’urgence), contre l’abrogation (partielle) de la loi des médias, contre les versements aux fonds vautours, contre le véto présidentiel à la loi anti-congédiements, contre la légalisation des évasions rapatriées sous prétexte de financer les fonds de retraite, etc. En s’attaquant en plein hiver austral au budget domestique, Macri a fait l’unité contre lui et sa « meilleure équipe des 50 dernières années ». Le 14 juillet, le peuple est descendu dans la rue dans tout le pays. Il a démontré que le double discours de Macri – attribuant toutes ses mesures d’austérité à la nécessité de réparer l’« héritage » K et invitant les Argentins à l’optimisme – ne passait plus.

Cette réactivation des mouvements sociaux pourrait marquer les limites de la restauration conservatrice. C’est ce qui nous permet d’être optimistes. Je sais aussi que l’histoire n’évolue pas de façon linéaire, mais plutôt en spirale, avec ses moments de reflux qui préparent de nouvelles avancées.

Claude Morin

Claude Morin. L’auteur a enseigné l’histoire de l’Amérique latine à l’Université de Montréal de 1973 à 2006. Tout en continuant à commenter l’actualité régionale, il est guide-accompagnateur pour des voyages en Amérique latine.

Pentagon Threatens to Down Russian and Syrian Planes

août 23rd, 2016 by Stephen Lendman

Syrian land and airspace are sovereign state territory. No foreign power may deny its military or other aircraft from operating anywhere within its borders – or Russian planes and ground personnel invited by its government.

America and its rogue partners operate illegally in Syria. On the phony pretext of combating ISIS, they’re waging war on its government, terror-bombing selected targets, using terrorists called “moderate rebels” as imperial foot soldiers on the ground.

After a near confrontation between Syrian and US aircraft last week in territory where American special forces operate on the ground aiding terrorist fighters, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook outrageously said “(w)e would advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of those areas.”

In other words, don’t attack US-supported death squads killing Syrian civilian and military personnel.

“We are going to defend our people on the ground, and do what we need to defend them,” Cook stressed. Claiming an illegally imposed US de facto no-fly zone isn’t one, Cook added “the Syrian regime would be wise to avoid areas where coalition forces have been operating.”

He threatened Russia, saying “(i)f they threaten US forces, we always have the right to defend” them.”

Last Friday, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said two Syrian Su-24 warplanes attacked Kurdish forces training with US Special Operations troops. They left the area before US aircraft intercepted them.

In response, a Syrian Army General Command statement said Kurdish forces were “attacking state institutions, stealing oil and cotton, obstructing exams, kidnapping unarmed civilians and spreading chaos and instability.”

Last Saturday, commander of US forces in Syria and Iraq General Stephen Townsend threatened Russia and Syria, saying “we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened.”

During a Monday Security Council session, Syrian UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari blasted nations claiming to be “friends of the Syrian people” while supporting terrorist elements massacring them.

He criticized UN General-Secretariat reports, willfully falsifying facts on the humanitarian situation. He denounced characterizing foreign-supported terrorists as “armed opposition” elements.

He stressed conflict won’t end until terrorism is defeated, its backers ceasing to support it. His government granted no permission for the US-led “international alliance” to operate in Syrian territory – in its airspace or on the ground.

He explained US warplanes destroyed a power plant supplying Aleppo with electricity. So-called “friends of the Syrian people” are its worst enemies.

Instead of combating terrorism, they support it. Millions of suffering Syrians attest to their barbarity.

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

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Cinquante quatre personnes sont mortes et soixante-neuf ont été blessées, le 20 août, lors d’un attentat suicide horrifiant visant un mariage kurde dans la ville turque de Gaziantep, proche de la frontière syrienne. De nombreuses victimes grièvement blessées luttent encore contre la mort.

Le Parti démocratique populaire (HDP) pro-kurde a confirmé que le mariage était celui d’un de ses membres. La noce tirait à sa fin et les invités commençaient à partir quand le kamikaze, identifié comme un garçon âgé de 12 à 14, a fait sauter sa veste explosive. « Les célébrations touchaient à leur fin et il y eut une grosse explosion, » a dit l’un des invités, « il y avait du sang et des débris humains partout. »

Il y avait beaucoup d’enfants parmi les victimes, apparemment parce qu’ils s’étaient rassemblés d’un côté de la danse folklorique à la noce et se trouvaient donc plus proches de l’explosion.

Les deux mariés, Besna et Nurettin Akdogan, ont été blessés. « Ils ont transformé notre mariage en bain de sang, » a dit la mariée à l’Agence de presse turque Anadolu après avoir quitté l’hôpital.

Le couple se serait enfui de la ville de Siirt et réfugié à Gaziantep afin d’échapper aux combats entre l’armée turque et les milices ethniques kurdes en Turquie. L’offensive du gouvernement contre les séparatistes kurdes s’est intensifiée lorsque les milices kurdes du côté syrien ont commencé à jouer un rôle plus important dans la guerre.

Des funérailles de masse ont eu lieu dimanche pour les victimes de l’attentat, bien que les autorités aient dit que d’autres tests ADN étaient nécessaires pour identifier toutes les victimes dont beaucoup ont été déchiquetées.

Plusieurs chefs d’État ont fait des déclarations condamnant l’attentat. Le président russe Vladimir Poutine l’a appelé « scandaleusement cruel et cynique, » et le président français François Hollande l’a dénoncé comme une « attaque terroriste infâme. » La chancelière allemande Angela Merkel a adressé une lettre au premier ministre turc Binali Yıldırım regrettant qu’« Encore une fois, des hommes, des femmes et des enfants innocents aient été victimes d’une violence lâche et perfide. »

Le président américain Barack Obama s’est fait remarquer par son silence ; ses relations avec le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdo&;an se sont effondrées depuis qu’Erdo&;an a attaqué Washington publiquement pour avoir soutenu le coup d’État militaire manqué contre lui le mois dernier.

A l’heure de l’écriture de cet article, personne n’avait revendiqué la responsabilité de l’attentat de Gaziantep ; les médias internationaux et plusieurs responsables turcs ont attribué l’atrocité à l’État islamique en Irak et en Syrie (EI) qui aurait recruté des enfants pour les utiliser comme kamikazes.

« Les premières données suggèrent que c’était une attaque de l’EI, » a déclaré Erdo&;an lors d’une visite à Gaziantep après l’attaque qu’il a appelé un crime « odieux ». Déclarant que les attaquants visaient à « provoquer les gens en abusant des sensibilités ethniques et sectaires, » il a ajouté, « Notre pays et la nation ont un seul message à ceux qui nous attaquent : vous ne réussirez pas. »

L’atrocité de Gaziantep est le produit d’années d’incitation par Washington et ses alliés impérialistes européens à la terreur islamiste et au carnage ethnique dans la région dans le cadre de leur guerre par procuration de changement de régime en Syrie. Depuis 2011, les puissances de l’OTAN et leurs alliés du Moyen-Orient acheminent des milliards de dollars et de vastes quantités d’armes aux milices islamistes et nationalistes kurdes combattant en Syrie. Des centaines de milliers de Syriens sont morts et plus de 10 millions ont fui leurs foyers, déclenchant la plus grande crise de réfugiés depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Les tentatives d’Erdogan de suivre les méandres de la politique impérialiste ont eu des conséquences catastrophiques pour la Turquie, surtout depuis que Washington et ses alliés européens ont commencé à attaquer l’EI en 2014, après son expansion en Irak et menacé de renverser le régime fantoche soutenu par les États-Unis à Bagdad. L’EI a développé un réseau logistique important en Turquie et riposte depuis l’an dernier par une série d’attentats terroristes à l’intérieur de la Turquie.

Parmi ces attaques, il y a l’attentat d’octobre 2015 à Ankara, qui a tué cent cinq personnes et ceux de mars 2016 sur l’avenue Istiqlal à Istanbul. Tous deux avaient été planifiés par les forces de l’EI à Gaziantep.

La dernière attaque a été menée en représailles d’un changement encore plus large dans l’alignement des forces dans la guerre syrienne, qui a intensifié le conflit entre le gouvernement Erdo&;an et l’EI. Comme l’intervention militaire russe l’an dernier a fait pencher la balance de la guerre en faveur du président syrien Bachar al-Assad, le gouvernement turc a constamment changé sa politique. Se trouvant isolé après avoir, de façon irresponsable, abattu un bombardier russe au-dessus de la Syrie à l’automne dernier, et face à la perspective d’une défaite des forces soutenues par les États-Unis en Syrie, il a réorienté sa politique vis-à-vis de Moscou et du régime Assad.

Cette réorientation s’est accélérée le mois dernier après que Moscou eut prévenu Erdo&;an du coup d’État préparé contre lui par des agents turcs agissant depuis la base aérienne turque d’Incirlik, une plaque tournante critique pour les frappes aériennes des États-Unis et de l’OTAN en Syrie et en Irak.

Tant Washington que l’EI sont furieux des liens qui se développent entre la Turquie, la Syrie, la Russie et maintenant la Chine qui a promis la semaine dernière de commencer à élargir son aide au régime d’Assad.

Peu avant l’attentat de Gaziantep, le premier ministre turc, Binali Yıldırım, a précisé que son gouvernement envisageait de prendre l’initiative sans précédent de permettre à Moscou d’utiliser la base aérienne d’Incirlik pour bombarder l’EI. Cette base a été traditionnellement utilisée par Washington pour faire avancer ses desseins contre Moscou. Les remarques de Yıldırım ont confirmé les rumeurs qui ont circulé depuis qu’Igor Morozov, un membre de la chambre haute russe, a appelé Moscou à passer un « accord avec Erdo&;an que nous obtenions la base de l’OTAN à Incirlik comme notre principale base aérienne. »

Yıldırım a déclaré à la presse, « La Turquie a ouvert la base aérienne d’Incirlik pour lutter contre les terroristes de l’EI. Elle est utilisée par les États-Unis et le Qatar. D’autres pays pourraient également souhaiter utiliser cette base que les Allemands utilisent aussi actuellement. » A la question spécifique de savoir si Moscou pouvait également utiliser la base aérienne d’Incirlik, Yıldırım a répondu : « Si nécessaire, la base Incirlik peut être utilisée. »

Les responsables américains sont de plus en plus furieux de ces changements qui menacent de séparer la Turquie de l’OTAN et de créer un large réalignement des grandes puissances contre les États-Unis en Eurasie. Ces derniers répondent par une escalade irresponsable des menaces d’action militaire contre les forces gouvernementales russes et syriennes, au risque de provoquer une guerre mondiale.

La semaine dernière, après que les Forces aériennes d’Assad ont bombardé la milice kurde où se trouvaient des Forces spéciales américaines « embarquées » opérant illégalement en Syrie, le porte-parole du Pentagone a averti que les États-Unis étaient prêts à attaquer quiconque menaçait ses troupes, au risque d’un affrontement direct avec la Russie, l’Iran ou les forces syriennes.

Samedi 20 août, le commandant des forces américaines en Irak et en Syrie, le lieutenant-général Stephen Townsend, a lancé une menace plus officielle d’entreprendre une action militaire contre la Syrie et la Russie. Il a dit à CNN : « Nous avons informé les Russes où nous en sommes… [Ils] nous disent qu’ils ont informé les Syriens, et je dirais simplement que nous allons nous défendre si nous nous sentons menacés. »

« Si les Syriens tentent cela de nouveau, ils sont en grand danger de perdre un avion, » a déclaré un haut fonctionnaire militaire américain resté anonyme à CNN.

Les commentateurs de CNN ont ajouté que la situation « augmente la probabilité d’un conflit direct » entre les forces américaines d’une part, et Moscou et Damas de l’autre.

Alex Lantier

Article paru d’abord en anglais, WSWS, le 22 août 201

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Hier, une bagarre a éclaté entre les troupes de l’Armée arabe syrienne (AAS) et les forces kurdes locales, dans la ville majoritairement kurde de Hasakah au nord-est de la Syrie. Hasakah, qui compte environ 200 000 habitants, abrite une garnison de l’Armée arabe syrienne (AAS) depuis des années. Il y a une certaine inimitié entre les Kurdes et les soldats, mais habituellement le calme règne.

Il y a déjà eu des heurts, mais il s’agissait de rivalités locales entre les Forces de défense nationales auxiliaires syriennes, des minorités arabes locales (chrétiennes) et des gangs qui forment une force de sécurité intérieure kurde sous le nom d’Asayish. Ces combats se terminaient habituellement au bout d’un jour ou deux quand les adultes des deux camps réglaient le désaccord sur tel ou tel point de contrôle ou voie d’accès.

L’État islamique (en gris sur la carte) a autrefois menacé Hasakah mais le danger est maintenant écarté.

Hier, une nouvelle bagarre a éclaté, mais cette fois, elle a pris un tour sérieux. L’armée de l’air syrienne a été appelée pour contrecarrer des attaques directes contre la garnison de l’AAS et les quartiers des minorités :

Des avions de combat du gouvernement syrien ont bombardé des parties de la ville de Hasaka tenues par les Kurdes au nord-est du pays, jeudi, pour la première fois en cinq ans de guerre civile, selon la milice kurde syrienne YPG (Unités de protection du peuple) et un groupe de surveillance.
[…]
Le gouvernement syrien a encore des points d’ancrage dans les villes de Qamishli et Hasaka, toutes les deux situées dans le gouvernorat de Hasaka, qui coexistent largement pacifiquement avec les parties du territoire tenues par les YPG.

La cause de la flambée de cette semaine n’est pas claire.
[…]
Xelil dit que l’artillerie des forces gouvernementales a bombardé des districts kurdes de Hasaka, et qu’il y a eu des affrontements violents dans la ville.

 L’Observatoire syrien pour les droits de l’homme, qui suit la guerre à travers un réseau de militants, a déclaré que des avions de combat avaient ciblé les positions des forces de sécurité kurdes dans le nord-ouest et le nord-est de la ville de Hasaka.

Il semble que ces combats aient éclaté à cause de l’arrivée, pour une raison inconnue, de troupes américaines à Hasakah. L’armée américaine se plaint maintenant que ses troupes aient essuyé des tirs de l’armée de l’air syrienne :

Les frappes aériennes syriennes ont eu lieu au nord-est de la ville de Hasaka, un endroit où les affrontements au sol entre les combattants kurdes des YPG et les forces du régime syrien ont augmenté. Il y avait là un petit nombre d’agents spéciaux américains agissant comme conseillers des YPG lorsque les frappes aériennes syriennes ont commencé.

 « Après que les Su-24 syriens ont commencé à frapper, les États-Unis ont immédiatement contacté les Russes », a dit Davis qui a précisé que l’aviation américaine rétorquerait si les forces de la coalition étaient attaquées.

Les Russes ont expliqué que ce n’était pas eux qui avaient effectué ces frappes et les États-Unis ont envoyé précipitamment des avions de chasse pour protéger les Américains et leurs alliés.

 Quand les avions des États-Unis et de la coalition sont arrivés, les jets syriens étaient partis.

Il n’y a pas État islamique dans la région qui est maintenant loin de la ligne de front.

  • Pourquoi les troupes américaines, qui n’ont aucun fondement juridique pour être en Syrie, se trouvent-elles dans la ville de Hasakah ou dans sa région ?
  • Qui conseillent-t-elles ? Et dans quel but ?
  • Pourquoi les rares conflits locaux s’enveniment-ils juste au moment où les troupes américaines arrivent dans la région ?

Les États-Unis ont la chutzpah [culot en hébreu, NdT] d’avertir les Syriens de ne pas défendre leurs propres troupes sur leur propre sol :

Des nouvelles patrouilles aériennes de combat américaines ont été envoyées sur la zone, hier, et l’ont survolée aujourd’hui aussi.

 Davis a dit que les Syriens seraient « bien avisés » de ne pas interférer avec les forces de la coalition sur le terrain à l’avenir.

Les forces gouvernementales syriennes sont attaquées par les troupes kurdes qui sont conseillées par les forces spéciales américaines. Et, si l’on en croit le porte-parole américain, les forces de l’air syriennes n’ont pas le droit de les défendre ? Qu’est-ce que cela a à voir avec la lutte contre ISIS dans l’est de la Syrie, qui est soi-disant la seule raison pour laquelle les troupes américaines sont en Syrie ?

L’armée de l’air syrienne est revenue à Hasakah aujourd’hui et a continué de bombarder la position à partir de laquelle l’armée syrienne est attaquée. Ils ne seraient pas là sans l’accord des Russes. Est-ce que l’armée des États-Unis veut entamer le combat contre l’armée de l’air syrienne et ses alliés russes ?

Les YPG kurdes disent qu’ils évacuent actuellement les civils de certains quartiers de la ville. Ils semblent s’attendre à un conflit prolongé.

Tout mouvement contre l’armée syrienne à Hasakah sera attentivement examiné par Ankara. La Turquie craint, avec raison, que les États-Unis ne soutiennent l’objectif kurde d’une entité nationale kurde à cheval sur la Syrie et l’Irak. Ce qui mettrait en danger la Turquie du fait de sa propre grosse minorité kurde.

Si les Kurdes expulsent les forces syriennes de Hasakah avec le soutien des États-Unis, la Turquie saura que toutes les assurances américaines de ne pas œuvrer contre les intérêts de son allié turc sont mensongères. Cela augmentera l’animosité turque, déjà profonde, contre les États-Unis et cela accélérera ses démarches en vue d’une alliance avec la Russie et l’Iran.

 

Article original en anglais :

No ISIS There – Are U.S. Troops In Hasakah « Advising » Kurds To Attack The Syrian Army? Moon of Alabama, 19 août 2016

Traduction : Dominique Muselet

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La Russie se déploie militairement en Iran

août 23rd, 2016 by Valentin Vasilescu

Les dirigeants et les médias occidentaux sont désarçonnés par l’installation d’une base militaire russe en Iran, comme ils l’avaient été lors de leur installation en Syrie, en septembre 2015. Pourtant, ces deux déploiements avaient été très longuement préparés, depuis novembre 2015 pour l’Iran, depuis juin 2012 pour la Syrie. Même si elle n’est pas destinée à être permanente, la base d’Hamadān atteste du changement de statut international de la Russie, désormais présente au-delà de sa zone d’influence traditionnelle.


Le 30 septembre 2015, la Russie a déployé un groupe de bombardiers de combat sur la base aérienne de Hmeymim pour débuter la campagne de bombardements contre les jihadistes en Syrie. Le 23 novembre 2015, le président Vladimir Poutine a effectué une visite en Iran. Il est supposé que, durant cette visite, il avait demandé l’autorisation d’utiliser la base aérienne de Hamadān pour au moins une escadrille de bombardiers lourds Tu-22M3 russes qui devait opérer en Syrie. Les conditions de livraison des missiles anti-aériens russe S-300 à l’Iran contenaient l’autorisation d’utilisation par les Russes de cette base aérienne. Poutine voulait que ces systèmes S-300 prennent sous leur protection les bombardiers lourds russes déployées en Iran. Par ailleurs, la version livrée de S-300 à l’Iran est la plus puissante (S-300 PMU2), étant proche de la performance du S-400.

Jusqu’à la Révolution islamique de 1979, les États-Unis avaient créé en Iran des infrastructures d’aérodromes ultra-modernes disposant de groupes techniques dans des bunkers capable de faire fonctionner, armer et maintenir des bombardiers lourds B-52 et des bombardiers supersoniques B-58 en cas de conflit avec l’URSS. Par conséquent, les bombardiers lourds Tu-22M3, à géométrie variable, avec une vitesse maximale de 2 300 km/h et un équipage composé de quatre membres, disposent en Iran de bien meilleures installations qu’en Syrie ainsi que pour les munitions. Et la Russie possède plus de 70 bombardiers de ce type. Deux bombes accrochées sur des bombardiers légers Su-24, Su-25 et Su-34, peuvent être assemblées et testées électroniquement sur la plate-forme de la base aérienne de Hmeymim. Mais quand il s’agit de 40 à 90 bombes à embarquer dans la soute d’un bombardier Tu-22M3, il faut projeter un groupe technique spécial, de nombreux armuriers et des outils spécialisés.

À la fin juillet 2016, l’armée arabe syrienne a réussi à couper la route d’accès de Castello qui relie Alep au gouvernorat d’Idlib au nord-ouest de la Syrie occupée par les jihadistes. La manœuvre de l’armée arabe syrienne a isolé un groupe de 10 000 combattants à l’est d’Alep. Les mercenaires ont réussi à transférer en une nuit à Idlib environ 10 000 autres combattants qui ont commencé deux contre-attaques dans le nord-ouest et au sud d’Alep, pour briser l’encerclement.

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Bien que des avions de reconnaissance sans pilote russes aient détecté très tôt des formations de plusieurs colonnes de transport massif de troupes, d’approvisionnement de munitions et de blindés, les quelques bombardiers russes ne pouvaient agir que sur l’une d’entre elles. Commence alors la course sur les 55 km qui séparent Idlib de Alep, sachant qu’il faut 1 h 15 aux camions et au matériel blindé des jihadistes pour les franchir.

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Les quelques bombardiers russes restants à la base aérienne de Hmeymim (Su-24 et Su-25), après que les Russes aient échoué dans leur tentative d’imposer un cessez-le-feu (27 février 2015) peuvent exécuter chaque jour 2 à 3 sorties, chaque avion ayant besoin d’un minimum de trois heures pour se ravitailler et des armes pour revenir au-dessus de la cible à neutraliser. Ces avions sont armés chacun de 2 à 4 bombes intelligentes d’une grande précision (KAB-250 S/LG de 250 kg KAB-500 L/Kr de 500 kg et KAB-1500 L à guidage laser ou KAB-1500 Kr guidée par caméra TV). Chaque avion peut également être équipé de missiles air-sol guidés de type Kh-29 L/T et T Kh-25 T (guidés par faisceau laser ou une caméra TV), lancés à partir d’une distance de 10 à 12 km de la cible.

Il est connu que les jihadistes continuent à opposer une résistance farouche aux troupes terrestres syriennes, en raison de la protection offerte par les tunnels souterrains qu’ils avaient creusés, de l’utilisation des terrains fragmentés au nord-ouest de la Syrie, et des armes antichars modernes états-uniennes, avec lesquels ils ont été formés. Dans une analyse publiée sur Réseau International le 2 décembre 2015, nous soutenions que la Russie avait fait une grosse erreur en hésitant à apporter au moins 30 bombardiers lourds Tu-22M3, Tu-95MS et éventuellement Tu-160 dans un pays voisin, où les avions pourraient exécuter des vols quotidiens, trois frappes chacun. L’action des bombardiers lourds vise à la destruction des infrastructures des jihadistes, y compris le stockage des armes et des munitions dans la province d’Idlib et dans le nord de la province d’Alep, et également la destruction des jihadistes. Les objectifs des bombardiers lourds russes sont disposés sur une bande de 20 à 30 km de profondeur et longue de 70 à 80 km, le long de la frontière syrienne, dans les gouvernorats d’Alep, Idlib et Lattaquié.

C’est seulement après avoir nettoyé cette bande frontalière par des bombardements qu’elle pourrait être sécurisée par l’armée arabe syrienne et que les bombardements de l’aviation russe pourraient être étendus à d’autres régions de la Syrie. Contrairement aux bombardiers tactiques Su-24, Su-25 et Su-34 utilisés par les Russes en Syrie, un bombardier lourd russe Tu-22M3 couvre avec un tapis de bombes une superficie équivalente à plusieurs terrains de football dans une mission. Par exemple, lors de l’invasion de l’Irak en 2003, la coalition menée par les USA a utilisé environ 1 400 avions de combat, et dans les premiers jours de l’opération, ils ont utilisé plus de 100 bombardiers lourds états-uniens B-2, B-52 et B-1B.

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Le 15 août 2016, Al-Masdar News a publié des photos des trois premiers bombardiers lourds russes Tu-22M3 déployés sur la base aérienne d’Hamadān dans l’ouest de l’Iran. Le lendemain, des avions Tu-22M3, ainsi que quatre bombardiers légers Su-34 ont bombardé des cibles des groupes État islamique et Jabhat al-Nusra/Jabhat Fatah al-Sham dans Seraquib (5 km à l’est de Idlib), Al-Bab (nord-Est du gouvernorat du d’Alep) et Deir ez-Zor.

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Auparavant, des formations d’avions russes Tu-22M3 (qui, en pleine charge ont une portée de 2 500 km) avaient réalisé des frappes aériennes en Syrie, en décollant de la base aérienne de Mozdok (Ossétie du Nord), volant au-dessus de la mer Caspienne, l’Iran et l’Irak. Étant proche de la limite de la plage tactique, la quantité de bombes (9 000 à 12 000 kg) a été réduite à un tiers pour pouvoir transporter une plus grande réserve de carburant. La distance entre les cibles bombardées en Syrie et la base aérienne Mozdok est de plus de 2 300 km qui est parcourue en près de trois heures. En utilisant la base aérienne iranienne de Hamadān, la distance est divisée par trois, soit 700 km. Souvent, durant les trois heures qui suivent le décollage de Russie des bombardiers russes, leur trajet est découvert par les satellites d’une grande puissance mondiale qui prévient les groupes jihadistes de l’imminence d’une attaque aérienne russe. Cela leur donne le temps de rentrer dans les tunnels souterrain dont ils disposent.

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Le 23 novembre 2015, un bombardier Su-34 russe effectuait facilement un atterrissage sur la base aérienne de Hamadān. L’avion, très probablement en route vers la Syrie, a dû avoir une défaillance technique et a préféré atterrir en toute sécurité à Hamadān. Il a attendu sur place l’équipe technique qui est arrivée le lendemain, à bord d’un avion-cargo IL-76 pour réparer la panne. Les deux avions ont ensuite quitté la base aérienne Hamadān.

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Il est possible que le déploiement des bombardiers lourds russes sur la base aérienne de Hamadān ait été reporté jusqu’à ce que tous les cinq bataillons de missiles antiaériens de longue portée russes, livrés à l’Iran à partir du 15 avril 2015, soient devenus opérationnels et que leurs équipages aient terminé leur formation en tir réel. L’un des cinq bataillons de S-300 a été localisé au sud de Téhéran, soit à moins de 100 km de la base aérienne de Hamadān. Les bombardiers russes au sol sont donc protégés par des missiles iraniens S-300. Le système S-300 se compose de huit lanceurs sur un châssis de camion, chacun avec quatre missiles sur la rampe. Il est capable de suivre 100 cibles aériennes et d’engager le combat avec 12 à 36 d’entre eux à une distance de plus de 200 km.

Valentin Vasilescu

Traduction du roumain : Avic Réseau International

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Pour Londres, la propagande est un art

août 23rd, 2016 by Thierry Meyssan

Nul humain normal ne peut accepter de voir souffrir des enfants, par conséquent ils sont de bons sujets pour la propagande de guerre. Thierry Meyssan revient sur l’usage des enfants par la Coalition internationale durant la guerre contre la Syrie.


Comme dans toutes guerres, celle contre la Syrie donne lieu à une avalanche de propagande. Et l’argument des enfants est toujours porteur.

Ainsi, au début de la guerre, le Qatar voulait démontrer que la République, loin de servir l’intérêt général, méprisait le Peuple. La pétro-dictature a alors diffusé sur sa chaîne de télévision Al-Jazeera la légende des enfants de Deraa, torturés par la police. Pour illustrer la cruauté de son adversaire, le Qatar précisa qu’on leur avait arraché les ongles. Bien sûr, malgré leurs recherches, aucun journaliste n’a trouvé de trace de ces enfants. La BBC a bien diffusé l’interview de deux d’entre eux, mais ils avaient toujours leurs ongles.

Comme le mythe était invérifiable, le Qatar a alors lancé une nouvelle histoire : celle d’un enfant, d’Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb (13 ans), qui aurait été torturé et castré par la police du « régime ». Cette fois, on disposait d’une image probante. Chacun pouvait y voir un corps sans sexe. Las ! L’autopsie démontrait que le corps avait été mal conservé, qu’il avait fermenté et gonflé. Le ventre cachait le sexe de l’enfant, toujours là.

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Dans ce magazine, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle imagine l’arrestation d’un espion allemand par Sherlock Holmes. L’écrivain travaillait pour le Bureau de la Propagande de guerre.

Fin 2013, les Britanniques ont pris en charge la propagande de guerre. Ils disposent d’une longue expérience en la matière et sont considérés comme les inventeurs de la propagande moderne, lors de la Première Guerre mondiale avec le Bureau de la Propagande de guerre. Une des caractéristiques de leurs méthodes est de toujours avoir recours à des artistes car l’esthétique neutralise l’esprit critique. En 1914, ils recrutèrent les grands écrivains de l’époque —comme Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells ou Rudyard Kipling— pour publier des textes attribuant des crimes imaginaires à l’ennemi allemand. Puis, ils recrutèrent les patrons de leurs grands journaux pour reprendre les informations imaginaires de leurs écrivains.

Lorsque les États-uniens reprirent la méthode britannique, en 1917 avec le Comité d’information publique, ils étudièrent plus précisément les mécanismes de persuasion avec l’aide du journaliste vedette Walter Lippmann et de l’inventeur de la publicité moderne, Edward Bernays (le neveu de Sigmund Freud). Mais persuadés du pouvoir de la science, ils en oublièrent l’esthétique.

Début 2014, le MI6 britannique a créé la société Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat) [Communication et Stratégies Innovantes] à laquelle on doit par exemple les magnifiques logos des groupes armés, du plus « modéré » au plus « extrémiste ». Cette société, qui dispose de bureaux à Washington et à Istanbul, a organisé la campagne pour convaincre les Européens de recueillir 1 million de réfugiés. Elle a réalisé la photographie du jeune Aylan Kurdi, noyé sur une plage turque, et est parvenue en deux jours à la faire reprendre en « une » des principaux journaux atlantistes dans tous les pays de l’Otan et du Conseil de coopération du Golfe.

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Chaque année, avant la guerre, une centaine de personnes mourraient noyées sur les plages turques, personne n’en parlait. Et surtout, seuls les journaux à scandales montraient des cadavres. Mais cette photographie était si bien composée…

Comme j’avais fait remarqué qu’un corps ne peut pas être rejeté par la mer perpendiculairement aux vagues, le photographe expliqua après coup avoir déplacé le cadavre pour les besoins de la photo.

Celle du jeune Omran Daqneesh (5 ans), dans une ambulance à Alep-Est est donc accompagnée d’une vidéo. Les deux supports permettent de toucher à la fois la presse écrite et les télévisions. La scène est si dramatique qu’une speakerine de CNN, Kate Bolduan, n’a pu s’empêcher de pleurer en la voyant. Bien sûr, lorsque l’on réfléchit, on observe que l’enfant n’est pas pris en charge par des secouristes qui lui administrent les premiers soins, mais par des figurants (les « White Helmets ») qui l’assoient face à l’objectif.

Les metteurs en scène britanniques n’ont que faire de l’enfant qui ne les intéresse que pour réaliser leurs images. Selon Associated Press, la photographie a été prise par Mahmoud Raslan, que l’on aperçoit d’ailleurs dans la vidéo. Or, selon son compte Facebook, cet homme est un membre d’Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki (soutenu par la CIA qui lui a fourni des missiles antichar BGM-71 TOW). Toujours selon son compte Facebook, confirmé par une autre vidéo, c’est lui qui, le 19 juillet 2016, égorgeait un jeune enfant palestinien, Abdullah Tayseer al-Issa (12 ans) [1].

Les lois européennes encadrent strictement le rôle des enfants dans la publicité. Manifestement, elles ne s’appliquent pas à la propagande de guerre.

Thierry Meyssan

 [1] Note de l’auteur : Mahmoud Raslan n’a pas tenu le couteau du bourreau, mais avec Umar Salkho, il a condamné à mort Abdullah Tayseer al-Issa et a organisé son exécution publique.

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En mer de Chine méridionale, on ne joue pas qu’à Chine contre États-Unis. Peu de gens en Occident réalisent que deux histoires très différentes se déroulent en Asie du Sud-Est, sur terre comme sur mer.

La Cour permanente d’arbitrage de La Haye a récemment dénié à la Chine ses droits historiques au sein de la ligne en neuf traits en mer de Chine méridionale ; la cour a aussi décidé que les îles Spratleys ne sont pas des îles, mais des rochers, et qu’à ce titre, les rochers Spratleys ne sauraient constituer une base légale pour l’établissement d’une quelconque zone économique exclusive (ZEE).

Ces décisions ont été prises selon la Convention des Nations unies sur le droit de la mer (UNCLOS dans son acronyme anglais). Mais regardons maintenant les détails, qui sont un mélange de ballet diplomatique et d’opéra de Pékin.
Le cadre à l’intérieur duquel Pékin est disposée à négocier est décrit dans le détail ici. Mais le problème est que dès le préambule, Pékin stipule bien que le prérequis à toute négociation avec les Philippines est de ne pas discuter de la décision de la Cour permanente d’arbitrage de La Haye. L’orgueil nationaliste chinois a encaissé un fort revers lors de cette décision de La Haye, et le Parti communiste chinois sait fort bien qu’il lui a toujours été difficile de dompter cet orgueil nationaliste populaire.

Manille, de son côté, fait face à un problème de constitutionnalité. La Constitution des Philippines stipule que « l’État doit protéger les ressources halieutiques de la nation incluses dans sa zone économique exclusive, et de les réserver exclusivement pour l’utilisation et la jouissance des citoyens philippins ». Puis la Constitution précise plus loin que l’État « peut former des sociétés de co-production, des sociétés à capitaux mixtes ou des accords de partage de l’exploitation des ressources dans l’intérêt des citoyens philippins, ou de sociétés ou associations philippines », dans une limite minimale de 60% des parts de ces montages revenant aux citoyens philippins. Si le Président Duterte venait à ne pas respecter ces directives constitutionnelles, il pourrait être mis en examen.

C’est là qu’entre en scène la manière asiatique de faire des affaires, tendant à sauver la face pour tout le monde. Un exemple imagé est à notre disposition : jusqu’à présent, personne n’a exigé ni le démantèlement des installations ni le retrait du personnel chinois de ce que la Cour de La Haye appelle « des récifs coralliens recouverts à marée haute » [low tide elevations en anglais ; la déclaration en français, deuxième langue officielle du tribunal, divise les récifs coralliens en deux catégories, découverts ou recouverts à marée haute. Il n’est jamais fait mention de marée basse, NdT] en mer de Chine méridionale.

Dans la pratique, les Philippines utiliseront la déclaration de la Cour permanente d’arbitrage de La Haye comme base de discussion, sans pour autant insister pour que Pékin en reconnaisse la validité. Mais cela implique l’existence d’un deuxième obstacle : Pékin pourrait toujours insister pour que Manille reconnaisse la souveraineté de Pékin sur une sélection de rochers. Les diplomates philippins espèrent justement que cela ne soit pas le cas. Si tel était le cas, les problèmes commenceraient véritablement.

La première étape des négociations devrait être de ne prendre aucune décision quant à la souveraineté sur ces rochers, incluant le très controversé récif de Scarborough. Comme ce fut le cas dans les années 1940, lorsque la République de Chine inventa la ligne en neuf tirets, cette décision devrait être remise à plus tard. À court terme, un accord sur les droits de pêche à l’intérieur des douze miles nautiques autour de ce récif devrait être la seule issue possible.

Dans la pratique, cela signifie que Pékin ne s’opposera pas aux activités de pêche et d’exploration pétrolière par les Philippines dans cette zone économique exclusive, tout en réduisant son activité sur ces récifs coralliens recouverts à marée haute. C’est beaucoup demander à Pékin, mais c’est une solution viable, parce qu’elle générerait une augmentation du commerce entre les deux pays.
Le Président Duterte sait aussi bien que les dirigeants à Pékin que la Chine est un partenaire incontournable pour le développement des infrastructures philippines.

Cela ouvrirait la voix à une exploration conjointe des ressources pétrolières entre la Chine et les Philippines. Bien sûr, selon la Constitution des Philippines, cela ne peut pas être à parts égales, mais la Chine peut tout à fait obtenir des conditions très favorables sur les droits d’exploitation. Sans compter que l’accord peut être étendu aux eaux internationales situées en dehors de la zone économique exclusive philippine, là où commencent les revendications du Vietnam et de la Malaisie.

Au même moment, la Chine ne renoncera pas à s’équiper d’une force militaire de haute mer de classe mondiale, capable d’intervenir partout dans le monde. C’est cet objectif qui explique la présence de la base de sous-marins ultra-sophistiquée de l’île de Hainan, ainsi que la construction de terre-pleins dans les très controversées îles Spratleys . La stratégie globale de Pékin consiste à sécuriser complètement la mer de Chine méridionale, pour être prête à faire face à n’importe quelle initiative de la part de l’Empire américain.

En effet, Pékin comprend très bien ce que les États-Unis veulent dire par liberté de navigation, et qu’il s’agit d’un langage codé pour définir le privilège que veut se réserver la marine américaine d’imposer un blocus sur les routes commerciales chinoises qui traversent la mer de Chine méridionale, comme cela est analysé ici. Si la marine américaine s’approchait trop près des côtes méridionales chinoises, un blocus maritime pourrait être dévastateur pour la Chine. Finalement, la logique derrière la fortification de ces rochers et îlots en mer de Chine méridionale est précisément de maintenir la marine américaine à distance autant que faire se peut. Plus que toute vague revendication de souveraineté, il faut y voir la vraie motivation derrière la politique chinoise dans la région.

Une chose est  certaine : si le Pentagone choisissait de faire le malin, nous assisterions à une bataille rangée en mer de Chine. La RAND Corporation [Laboratoire d’idées américain fondé en 1948 par l’US Air Force. Il est intéressant de noter l’identité de ses membres français : Pascal Lamy, le juge Bruguière,  Jean-Louis Gergorin, ancien vice-président d’EADS, mais aussi certains des plus féroces néoconservateurs américains comme Condolezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Francis Fukuyama, NdT] est déjà en train de paniquer suite à l’envoi par les forces aéronavales chinoises de leur bombardier stratégique H-6K pour survoler ces fameux récifs coralliens recouverts à marée haute.

Gardons un œil sur le Mékong

D’un côté nous avons donc une partie d’échec très importante qui se joue en mer de Chine méridionale. D’un autre côté nous avons l’intégration économique de l’Asie du Sud-Est, au sein de l’ASEAN, qui donne à cette organisation un rôle stratégique majeur.

Le problème central est la véritable déconnexion qui existe entre les États membres plutôt terrestres et ceux plutôt maritimes de l’ASEAN. Les Philippines et l’Indonésie sont très préoccupées par les questions relatives à la mer de Chine méridionale. Le Cambodge, le Laos, la Thaïlande mais aussi Brunei, sont plus en faveur d’une attitude conciliante avec la Chine. Les autres États membres sont simplement spectateurs. Enfin, il y a le Vietnam qui joue le rôle de pivot : un État qui a des revendications en mer de Chine méridionale, mais qui préfère ne pas pas mettre la Chine en porte-à-faux, car elle est un voisin proche, et un partenaire commercial de premier ordre.

Or, dans un futur proche, cette Asie du Sud-Est terrestre, et non maritime, devrait devenir le moteur de la croissance de la région. Quelques chiffres donnent un éclairage à ce sujet. La grande région englobant les territoires du bas-Mékong, et qui inclue aussi les provinces chinoises du Yunnan et du Guangxi, compte plus de 400 millions de personnes et génère plus de la moitié du PNB de l’ASEAN, qui est de 2 500 milliards de dollars. Le Cambodge, le Laos, la Birmanie, la Thaïlande et le Vietnam représentent un marché de 250 millions de personnes pour un PNB de 700 milliards de dollars. Même sans le Vietnam, le PNB de ces pays est de 500 milliards de dollars pour un marché de 150 millions d’habitants.

La croissance de ces pays est phénoménale ; la partie terrestre du bas-Mékong croît à un taux annuel de six pour cent. Cela me rappelle, à titre de comparaison, l’époque au début des années 1980 lorsque le Vietnam s’imaginait encore pouvoir faire partie du club des Tigres asiatiques.

L’expansion économique atteint tous les recoins de la région. Le corridor économique est-ouest, une initiative soutenue par la Banque asiatique de développement, s’étend du sud de la Birmanie jusqu’à Danang au Vietnam, en passant par le centre et le nord-ouest de la Thaïlande et le sud du Laos. Un corridor économique nord-sud s’étend, lui, de la ville chinoise de Kunming au Yunnan à Bangkok et jusqu’au sud de la Thaïlande. Le corridor sud s’étend du sud de la Birmanie jusqu’au nord-est de la Thaïlande, englobant le Cambodge et Vung Tau au Vietnam. Le réseau routier dans ce corridor, également développé par la Banque asiatique de développement, est à l’état embryonnaire, mais progresse rapidement.

Bien sûr, de nombreux problèmes persistent, en rapport avec le réseau routier, les points de passage frontaliers, les lourdeurs bureaucratiques, les barrières linguistiques, et la rapidité de l’internet. Mais tout cela montre le chemin qui reste à parcourir.

Toute cette activité économique est, bien sûr, à relier à la Chine, qui se pose de facto comme la puissance régionale en terme de développement d’infrastructures ferroviaires à grande vitesse. Il se trouve que c’est un des piliers de la politique chinoise Une Ceinture, Une Route, à savoir relier la branche sud-est asiatique des Nouvelles routes de la Soie au réseau global. La société China Railway Group Limited est très bien positionnée contre ses concurrents japonais et coréens pour remporter le contrat pour la construction de la ligne ferroviaire à grande vitesse reliant la Malaisie à Singapour.

Le tronçon de 417 kilomètres reliant la province chinoise du Yunnan à la capitale laotienne, Vientiane, est déjà en cours de construction, tandis que la ligne à grande vitesse Chine-Thaïlande est de nouveau en construction, après quelques problèmes d’ordre financier.

Dans les faits, il s’agit de plus de 3 000 kilomètres de voix ferrées à grande vitesse, reliant la province chinoise du Yunnan au Laos, la Thaïlande, la Malaisie et Singapour. Le raccordement de cette partie sud-est asiatique du réseau global des Nouvelles routes de la soie s’étendra à terme au centre de la Chine, l’Asie centrale, l’Asie du sud-ouest, et à l’Europe.

Il nous faut donc garder un œil sur l’Asie du Sud-Est. Les enjeux dépassent sa seule façade maritime, qui est l’otage de la relation conflictuelle et compliquée entre la Chine et les États-Unis. On doit s’attendre à d’importantes retombées géopolitiques suite à cet essor économique de la grande région du bas-Mékong, ainsi que de l’intégration progressive de la façade terrestre de l’Asie du sud-est.

 Pepe Escobar

Article original paru sur RT.com

Traduit par Laurent Schiaparelli, édité par Wayan, relu par Catherine pour Le Saker Francophone

Pepe Escobar est l’auteur de Globalistan : How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues : a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009), Empire of Chaos (Nimble Books) et le petit dernier, 2030, traduit en français.

 

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Five years after the Pentagon and NATO destroyed the Libyan state under the leadership of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, the administration of President Barack Obama has once again launched a major offensive in its so-called “war on terrorism.”

Department of Defense officials and the White House said that the aerial bombardments in the western coastal areas around Sirte, the home area of Gaddafi, would last for 30 days.

Ostensibly the U.S. is carrying out this military operation in order to both degrade the Islamic State which had moved into Sirte last year but to also fortify the Government of National Accord (GNA), which represents another effort to consolidate political forces within Libya that are favorable to imperialism and its allies in the region.

The GNA is the brainchild of Martin Kobler, a German career diplomat, who on behalf of the United Nations drafted a scheme to impose a neo-colonial regime in Libya in order to facilitate the deployment of a 6,000-person military force led by the former imperialist power of Italy and encompassing troops from the United States, Britain and France. All of these Western states participated in the overthrow of the Jamahiriya system under Gaddafi in 2011.

Regional Divisions in the East to the West Remains

Nonetheless, the GNA effort has failed to bring in key elements who dominated previous imperialist machinations in the North African state. The rival regime driven out of the capital of Tripoli now held-up in Tobruk in the east of the oil-rich nation, has never accepted the GNA concept.

On August 22, the rival group in Tobruk voted to reject participation in the GNA. The political gesture further complicates the situation inside the country.

According to Reuters press agency,

“The vote was the first since January, when the parliament rejected an initial list of ministers put forward by the GNA’s leadership, or Presidential Council, which is meant to represent all sides of Libya’s fractured politics. The Council arrived in the capital in March seeking to overcome divisions that have surfaced since the overthrow and killing of veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In 2014, an armed alliance took control of institutions in Tripoli and the then newly elected, internationally recognized parliament relocated to the east.”

This same report continued noting

“Spokesman Abdallah Bilhaq said 101 deputies had attended Monday’s session, with 61 voting against the GNA, 39 abstaining, and just one voting in favor. The number of attendees was a little over half the chamber, but even the figure needed for a valid vote is the subject of dispute. A bloc of pro-GNA lawmakers that says it represents about 100 deputies accused the government’s opponents of hijacking the parliamentary process.”

A major outstanding issue in the dispute between the Tobruk-based faction and the GNA in the West of the country is the question of which military apparatus now in existence will constitute the national army. The leading eastern factions have endorsed the former General Khalifa Haftar, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset who spent nearly three decades in the U.S. after defecting from the Libyan government under Gaddafi. Haftar was flown from Virginia back to Libya during the 2011 counter-revolution to purportedly head the armed rebellion against the Jamahiriya.

Hafter and his forces have been fighting the Islamists along with other opponents in Benghazi and it surroundings in the East. The Tobruk regime, known as the House of Representatives, rightly point to the fact that the GNA is being propped-up by armed Islamist groups. The U.S. airstrike are supposed to secure a victory over the IS in Sirte but the conclusion of this battle has been elusive.

« We reject this government because it is waging a war against the institution of the military, and it wants to support the role of militias on the Libyan stage, » said Abubakr al-Ghazali who opposed the GNA in the aftermath of the House of Representatives vote. The opposition to the GNA has extended to outspoken criticism of the bombing operation from divergent factions based in the East. These attacks launched by the U.S. against the Islamic State in Sirte have become the latest rationale for continued Pentagon involvement.

Interestingly enough longtime foes Sadek Al-Ghariani and Khalifa Hafter both have condemned the initial air campaign in early August on the so-called Islamic State in Sirte. Characterizing the Pentagon attacks as “illegal” during a press conference on August 4, Ahmed Mismari, the spokesman for Hafter’s Libyan National Army’s, asserted that the U.S. bombing operations had been carried out for electoral purposes to assist former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Haftar’s spokesman said it would be his forces that would “liberate” Sirte.

In an article published in early August by the Libya Herald it says “For his part, Dar Al-Ifta head Sadek Al-Ghariani, who leads the hardline Islamist alliance against both Hafter in the East and the Presidency Council in the West, likewise called it illegitimate, coming his closest to endorsing the so-called Islamic State. Asked on his Tanasah TV station why international intervention was acceptable in 2011 but not in the fight against IS, he said that non-Muslim military help against Qaddafi in 2011was legitimate because he was not a true Muslim and not following the Sunna (the Way) of the Prophet. However, raids now were illegal because what was happening in Libya was a conflict between local people who were all Muslims. This comes despite his previous backing for the Misratan-led Bunyan Marsous operation against IS and its welcoming of the American attacks.” (Aug. 4)

Whether Gaddafi and Jamahiriya system was Islamic or not seems to be an irrelevant question in light of imperialist bombings and military interventions. Under the Jamahiriya, Libya had secured a firm position as being the most prosperous state in Africa. The Gaddafi government played a progressive role in promoting the notions of a United States of Africa consisting of a single currency, a lifting of travel restrictions and a unitary military force.

Genuine Unity Must Be Based on National and Pan-African Interests

Such divisions within the Libyan society and body-politic can only further drain the capacity of the Libyan people to form a genuine government of national unity that would operate in line with the political objectives of African integration and self-reliance. The perils of U.S.-NATO military intervention has been rendered for all to see based upon the events since 2011.

Not only has Libya fell victim to the war of regime-change in 2011, other states such as Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Palestine, are undergoing similar crises. There have been 11 million people dislocated in and outside of Syria, and along with Libya, helps to fuel the outmigration from Africa across the Mediterranean and the Middle East to Europe. The migrant situation to Southern, Central and Eastern Europe from Africa, the Middle East and Asia has created a political impasse within the European Union (EU).

The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom (UK) on June 23 was in part a reflection of the unresolved issues stemming from the dislocation triggered through the wars waged by the Pentagon and NATO forces against the peoples of the oppressed nations. This EU fracturing is the result of the failure of an imperialist construct that grew directly out of the post-World War II domination of Western Europe by the U.S.

In the contemporary phase of capitalist development these large trading blocs and regional institutions dominated by imperialism cannot bring stability and prosperity to Europe let alone Africa and other regions throughout the world. Genuine unity must be centered upon the interests of the working class and oppressed who have the most to gain from cross-border alliances and mutual cooperation.

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The Russian deployment to Shahid Nojeh base in Hamadan in Iran has ended shortly after it began.  The Russians have confirmed that all the Russian aircraft that were briefly stationed at the base have returned to Russia.

“Russians are interested to show they are a superpower that can influence security trends. On the other hand, they are willing to show they have been influential in the Syrian operation to be able to negotiate with the US and secure their share of Syria’s political future. Of course, there is a kind of show-off and discourteousness in this regard.”

These words have been interpreted to mean that the Iranians were incensed by Russian bragging at the use by their aircraft of the Shahid Nojeh air base in Iran, which they found somehow “discourteous”.

That is extremely unlikely and in fact it makes no sense.  The first media reports of Russian aircraft using the base did not come from Russia; they seem to have come from the Al-Masdar News agency in the Middle East.  There have been some suggestions that Al-Masdar is an Israeli project.  However it appears to be based in Lebanon and seems to take a pro-government line in the Syrian war.  That suggests it obtained its information about the deployment from sources in Syria or Iran.

The Russians did inform the US of the deployment before it took place, as they are required by agreements they made with the US last autumn to do.  It would in fact have been completely impossible to keep the deployment secret from the US given the sheer size of some of the aircraft involved (especially the TU22M3s) and the blanket US satellite surveillance of Iran which constantly takes place.  In fact it took no time for satellite photos of the deployment to be made public, as they were bound to be.

The simple fact is that the deployment was bound to become public knowledge within hours of it taking place and it is absurd to think that the Iranians could have thought otherwise or could have seriously imagined that the Russians wouldn’t comment on it or would try to downplay it.

In fact Brigadier-General Dehghan’s words look like they are being misreported.  They do not properly speaking read like a complaint about the Russians “showing off” about their deployment to the Shahid Nojeh base.  Rather they read more like a complaint about the Russians’ habit of negotiating with the US in order to “secure their share of Syria political future”.  The Iranians have made no secret about their unhappiness about the discussions the Russians continuously have with the US over Syria.  Brigadier-General Dehghan’s comments simply appear to be a restatement of this.

Why then has the deployment ended so quickly?  The short answer is we don’t know, just as (despite what the international media has been telling us) we don’t actually know that it was the Iranians who ended the deployment.

It could be that the decision to end the deployment was taken by the Russians.  Despite what some have said use of the Shahid Nojeh base is not crucial to the Russian air campaign in Syria.  TU22M3 bombers can reach anywhere in Syria with full loads flying from their bases in southern Russia.

The 4 SU34 fighter bombers that were briefly deployed to Shahid Nojeh base did benefit from the substantially shorter distance to their targets in Syria.  However they could have been deployed even more effectively if they had been sent to the Russian base in Syria at Khmeimim, which if shortening flight times really was so important would have been the obvious thing to do.

It is possible that the Russians became concerned that what was intended primarily as a political statement of support for Iran was drawing a stronger international reaction than they might have anticipated.  The US vigorously criticised the deployment, which cannot have come as a surprise to the Russians and which they must have anticipated.

However of more concern to the Russians may have been private criticism of the deployment coming from Israel and Saudi Arabia, two countries strongly hostile to Iran with which Russia is however anxious to maintain good relations.

The other possibility is that the decision to end the deployment was indeed taken by Iran.  As I discussed previously, the Russian deployment to Shahid Nojeh base was not uncontroversial in Iran, with some criticism of the deployment being made in the Iranian parliament the Majlis.

It could be that this swayed the Iranian authorities into reversing their decision to grant the Russians use of the base.  Or it could be that the Iranians are annoyed about private discussions between the US and the Russians that are underway, as Brigadier-General Dehghan’s words might suggest.

This episode does however underscore an important point: Russia and Iran are partners who are in the process of forging closer relations with each other, and they are working closely with each other in Syria.  However they are not allies and their relationship is not trouble-free.  On the contrary, as I have discussed previously, their relationship is historically complicated, and has been marked by long periods of outright hostility.  This makes frictions and disagreements inevitable and it looks like we have just witnessed one.

This spat is unlikely however to result in any significant or long term cooling of relations.  Despite Iranian resentment at Russia’s negotiating strategy in Syria the Iranians know perfectly well that without Russia’s help the Syrian government which Iran supports and in which it has invested so much would long since have fallen.

Indeed Iranian commentators and officials have actually said as much.  With Iran’s relations with the US and the West still very fraught, it still makes sense for Iran to forge closer relations with Russia and the Eurasian powers, and there is no sign of any second thoughts in Tehran about that.

The Russians for their part still seem to be committed to forging a close relationship with Iran, which is obviously in their interest, and they too know that they need the help of Iran if they are to achieve their objectives in Syria.

If only for these reasons both the Iranians and the Russians have been careful to leave open the possibility of future Russian deployments to Shahid Nojeh base, and the Russians have even been hinting that they are in private talks with the Iranians for the use of other Iranian facilities for their Syrian campaign as well.  It is not impossible that once this dispute (whatever its cause) has been smoothed over that we will be seeing Russian aircraft in Iran again.

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Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) has received thousands of membership applications, although formal registration is still pending approval by the Registrar of Societies (ROS), said former Malaysian Prime Minister and party chairman Mahathir Mohamad on Sunday (Aug 21).

The 91-year-old statesman was out and about again after recovering from a bad bout of cough.

The application to register Bersatu with the ROS was submitted on Aug 9 by former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) speaking about new political party Bersatu, which he chairs. (Photo: Melissa Goh)

Bersatu membership will be open to ethnic Malays and the indigenous people of Malaysia, also known as Bumiputra or sons of the soil. Non-Bumiputra citizens can apply to be associate members, who will have no voting rights but can be appointed to the party’s top leadership.

At the press conference, pro-tem president Muhyiddin was already talking about seat allocations in the coming polls for the General Election (GE), even though it is not due until 2018.

Mr Muhyiddin said Bersatu will work with all opposition parties in order to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Barisan National (BN) ruling coalition in the next GE.

« We are working towards finding common ground, a winning formula that will defeat BN in the coming election, » said Mr Muhyiddin, who was sacked from Mr Najib’s cabinet in August 2015.

Many Bersatu leaders, including student activist Syed Saddiq and Dr Mahathir, have hinted their intention to take part in an anti-establishment rally called #TangkapMO1 (Arrest ‘Malaysian Official 1’, the person referenced in a US lawsuit seizing the assets of troubled state fund 1MDB). The rally is organised by a coalition of student unions and will take place in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 27.

« I will see, but I will be around in KL and not going anywhere, » said Dr Mahathir.

The police have reminded organisers about serving a 10-day notice under the laws governing public assemblies. Dataran Merdeka, the iconic independence square, has been declared off limits.

Meanwhile, « red shirt » protesters, led by pro-Malay rights activist Jamal Yunos, have warned of a counter-rally if the #TangkapMO1 rally goes ahead.

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New information on the Aleppo Boy story at the very least gives it the appearance of being an elaborately staged hoax.

AP News broke the story. Off-guardian.org reported “of the three journalists credited, one was in Beirut, one in Geneva, and one in Moscow” – none in Aleppo or anywhere in Syria.

The obvious question is how is a breaking story possible without being anywhere near where it happened? What sources were used? What due diligence checking was done – red flags without answers! AP likely published the script and photo it was handed, functioning as an imperial press agent, mocking legitimate journalism.

In his photo gone viral, Omran Daqneesh looks remarkably calm, more soot-covered than bloodied, not at all like someone traumatized in shock and pain – alone enough to raise suspicions.

Years of Iraqi sanctions, imposed solely for political reasons, killed 5,000 children aged five or under monthly. Untold numbers of others suffered horrifically. The Media ignored them. No photos of their ordeal went viral.

US imperial wars from the rape of Yugoslavia through multiple Bush/Obama wars alone were responsible for millions of young children killed, injured or perishing from preventable diseases or starvation.What mainstream sources told their stories? Who showed their images? Who explained their suffering? Who laid blame where it belongs?

Images of Aleppo Boy Omran’s self-style photojournalist,Mahmoud Raslan, are seen posted on Facebook together with Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki “rebels” (aka US-backed terrorists) – responsible for beheading 12-year-old Abdullah Tayseer Issa near Aleppo weeks earlier.

Why haven’t photos and stories of this atrocity gone viral? Why hasn’t Raslan been exposed as an ally of US-supported terrorists? Why doesn’t this automatically raise red flags about the veracity of the Aleppo Boy story?

Instead, London’s Telegraph gave Raslan feature op-ed space to promote himself as Omran’s photographer.

The atrocity of US-led aggression on a nonbelligerent country went unmentioned – nor do any Western media report the real Syria story.

Instead Aleppo Boy propaganda stunts are used to enlist public support for greater mass slaughter, destruction and displacement than already.

Propaganda wars precede and accompany hot ones. They relate what aggressors want people to know, suppress their ugly crimes and intentions, while enlisting public support for what demands universal opposition.

Aleppo Boy Omran may turn out to be a lit fuse for a more explosive war in Syria than currently. The conflict is already a potential flashpoint for East/West confrontation – the unthinkable horror of possible global war.

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.

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Matthew Wheeler of the International Crisis Group (sometimes referred to as ICG or simply, the Crisis Group), recently wrote an editorial in the New York Times titled, « Can Thailand Really Hide a Rebellion? » The editorial took a coercive tone, with its final paragraph appearing almost as a threat, stating:

It would be shortsighted and self-defeating of the generals running Thailand to insist on dismissing these latest attacks as a partisan vendetta unconnected to the conflict in the south. They should recognize the insurgency as a political problem requiring a political solution. That means restoring the rights of freedom of expression and assembly to Thai citizens, engaging in genuine dialogue with militants, and finding ways to devolve power to the region.

Wheeler’s editorial intentionally misleads readers with various distortions and critical omissions, mischaracterising Thailand’s ongoing political crisis almost as if to fan the flames of conflict, not douse them as is the alleged mission of the Crisis Group.

Wheeler’s recommendations to allow violent opposition groups back into the streets for another cycle of deadly clashes (which have nothing to do with the southern insurgency) while « devolving power » to armed insurgents in the deep south appear to be a recipe for encouraging a much larger crisis, not resolving Thailand’s existing problems.

Wheeler never provides evidence linking the bombings to the insurgency or provides any explanation as to why the insurgency, after decades of confining its activities to Thailand’s southern most provinces, would escalate its violence so dramatically. Wheeler also intentionally sidesteps any mention of evidence or facts that indeed indicate a « partisan vendetta. »

Instead, his narrative matches almost verbatim that promoted by the supporters of ousted former-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his political supporters.

Wheeler’s distortions include an intentional omission of the scale of violence Shinawatra and his followers have carried out in the past, as well as the political significance of the provinces targeted in the recent bombings in connection to Shinawatra’s conflict with the current ruling government, not the insurgency’s,

The provinces targeted represented political strongholds of anti-Shinawatra political leaders and activists, all of whom have no connection at all to the ongoing conflict in Thailand’s deep south.

Crisis Group is Covering up an Engineered Buddhist-Muslim Conflict

More alarming are Wheeler’s attempts to cite growing tensions in Thailand’s northern city of Chiang Mai between Buddhists and Muslims as evidence, he claims, of the real dimensions of Thailand’s conflict. Wheeler is attempting to claim Thailand is experiencing a potential nationwide religious divide, separate from Shinawatra’s struggle to seize back power.

However, he cites a 2015 protest with a decidedly bigoted tone targeting a Halal industrial estate that was slated to be built in the northern city. The protest was led by monks affiliated with Thaksin Shinawatra’s political movement, including monks whose temples Shinawatra’s family visits regularly, including Sri Boonruang Temple whose walls are adorned with images of Thaksin Shinawatra himself.

These temples and those who frequent them represent a divergent and politicised version of Buddhism, Buddhist in name only.

They are actively involved in directly supporting Thaksin Shinawatra and working along political peripheries to divide and destabilise Thai institutions and sociopolitical balance impeding Shinawatra’s return to power.

The anti-Muslim protests appear almost identical to anti-gay protests staged by overt supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra, a group called Rak Chiang Mai 51. Out in Perth, a gay news service based in Australia, would report in its 2009 article, « Chiang Mai Pride Shut Down by Protests as Police Watch On, » that:

Organisers were forced to call off Chiang Mai’s planned second annual Gay Pride Parade on February 21 after harassment from the Rak Chiang Mai 51 political group.

Dressed in their trademark red shirts, members of Rak Chiang Mai 51 locked parade participants into the compound where they were gathering, throwing fruit and rocks and yelling abuse through megaphones.

In an interview with Rak Chiang Mai 51 leader Kanyapak Maneejak (also known as DJ Aom), when asked about the incident during a « City Life Chiang Mai » interview, she claimed:

Our third aim is to protect Lanna culture and we simply did not like the Gay Pride Parade. In the past there were no gays or ladyboys, but today they live together openly, they wear revealing clothes in the streets. We had to go out in force to protect our culture against this. The people who were spitting were not red shirts; they were infiltrators who wanted us to look bad. It was not just us who wanted to stop this parade, villagers and the entire province of Chiang Mai called up our station to ask us to intervene. We were afraid that this would become an annual event, and we all know that Chiang Mai is a place for human trafficking.

The bizarre defence of the groups violence and intolerance predicated on defending « Lanna culture »echo verbatim the rhetoric now being directed at Muslims by groups also centred in Chiang Mai.

Both Chiang Mai’s Muslim and gay communities have noted this sudden and unprecedented intolerance and violence has taken them by surprise, as it has many Thais across the country and those familiar with Thailand’s renowned culture of tolerance and inclusion.

The most extreme among politically motivated Buddhist sects have even taken to the streets in protests similar to those carried out by politicised sects in neighbouring Myanmar. In Myanmar, such protests are staged both in support of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and as part of a violent campaign against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.

So similar are these two political movements that the Western media has found itself once again playing a role intentionally deepening sociopolitical, ethnic and religious divides.

Reuters in a 2015 article titled, « Spurred by Myanmar radicals, Thai Buddhists push for state religion status, » would claim:

A campaign to enshrine Buddhism as Thailand’s state religion has been galvanized by a radical Buddhist movement in neighboring Myanmar that is accused of stoking religious tension, the leader of the Thai bid said.

Experts say the campaign could appeal to Thailand’s military junta, which is struggling for popularity 18 months after staging a coup, and tap into growing anti-Muslim sentiment in a country that prides itself on religious tolerance.

Reuters’ report is a distortion, however. It claims that the military-led interim government might find the idea of dividing Thailand along religious lines appealing, but it is the government itself that is attempting to promote an inclusive society and prevent sociopolitical, ethnic and religious divisions.

It is particularly interesting to note how not only Reuters, but also foreign-funded organisations posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in Thailand are attempting to blame the government and Thailand’s institutions for growing bigotry and calls for violence toward Muslims despite the fact that the worst offenders are centred around Shinawatra’s political strongholds in northern and northeastern Thailand, precisely where overt supporters of Shinawatra have already put their bigotry and violence on full display.

Current Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-Cha in centre. Note the motto of Thailand’s armed forces on the wall behind him, which reads « For Country, Religions, Monarchy, and People. » Religions is plural indicating a conscience effort to create an inclusive society for all.

The government for its part, has both condemned such bigotry, and has taken tangible action to combat it. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would publish in its news feed a report titled, « Thailand’s Muslim-Friendly Destination Strategy Goes Well Beyond Just Tourism » (PDF), which aptly quantifies the current government’s position on the subject, stating (our emphasis):

When one of Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist-majority countries launches a tourism outreach to attract Muslim visitors, it clearly has a much wider significance than just a travel industry development. Although the primary goal of the tourism authorities is to boost visitor arrivals, expenditure and average length of stay, the Thai government is also mindful of the broader goal to build inclusive societies, prevent religious and ethnic conflict, and contribute to the third and, arguably, the most important pillar of ASEAN integration, the Socio-Cultural Blueprint.

And similar comments, sentiments and initiatives can be found throughout the interim government’s activities since taking power in 2014. The Reuters report, like the Crisis Group’s NYT editorial penned by Matthew Wheeler, is merely an attempt to create and compound conflict, not inform people of its true characteristics, nor defuse it.

Anti-Islamic Violence in the North, Anti-Buddhist Violence in the South, Meeting in the Middle

A Thai-based Buddhist scholar when interviewed, helped make sense of the networks of politicised Buddhism attempting to divide Thailand religiously; stating:

The anti-Halal and anti-Muslim movements involve a faction of people connected to the [pro-Shinawatra] Reds… there is an anti-Islamic sentiment within their Buddhist-faction. One person who I know is involved with the anti-Islam group is a professor, Banjob Bannaruji — he is the face for them. He is very popular with Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University.

Violence carried out by extremist sects in Myanmar, a phenomenon political players focused on Thailand are attempting to replicate.

Banjob Bannaruji would also be mentioned in the above cited Reuters article as leading the campaign to push Buddhism as Thailand’s « state religion. » It should be noted that both in 2007 and again in 2014 his attempts to push this agenda have been rejected by charter drafters, the military and now two interim governments.

While extremist sects in northern Thailand, considered strongholds of Shinawatra’s political influence, are taking on a violent stance toward Islam, there is evidence that Shinawatra has also deployed agitators to Thailand’s deep south to stir up instability there.

A classified 2009 US diplomatic cable titled, « Southern Violence: Midday Bomb Attack in Narathiwat August 25 Meant to Send a Signal, » released by Wikileaks, reveals that the US Embassy maintained contacts with militants in the deep south, claiming (our emphasis):

Insurgents did confirm to a close embassy contact late August 25 that they had carried out the attack, intended as a signal for Buddhists to leave the deep south. With local elections scheduled for September 6 and a string of election-related acts of violence occurring in recent weeks, however, not all deep south violence is automatically insurgency related.

The cable would reveal that Sunai Phasuk, of foreign-funded Human Rights Watch, is their « contact » who regularly speaks with militants.

The US Embassy then admits that Shinawatra’s political forces are also likely operating in the south, using the conflict as cover:

The posting of the anti-Queen banners on her birthday, a national holiday, was both unusual and significant, but the fact that the banners were professionally printed on vinyl, written in perfect central Thai rather than the local Malay dialect, and touched on issues which don’t resonate in the south suggests those behind it were not local but national actors. Most in the know blame the red-shirts seeking to take advantage of inaction in the mosque attack case to undermine the Queen in particular and the monarchy in general.

The US Embassy cable would also admit (our emphasis):

Yala Vice-Governor Gritsada appeared surprised when we mentioned these banners to him on August 19, but he confirmed that the banners were written in perfect central Thai and mentioned issues that do not resonate down south, like the blue diamond. Gritsada said Pranai Suwannarat, the director of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) had agreed these banners were the likely work of the UDD, not the insurgents. Sunai told us that the widespread presence of the banners indicates the strong organization and funding available to the UDD in Pattani province.

The UDD refers to Thaksin Shinawatra’s street front, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, also known as « red shirts » and include groups such as Rak Chiang Mai 51 mentioned above.

In essence, Shinawatra, his political supporters and his foreign proponents have created their own artificial conflict with which to consume Thailand’s institutions and sociopolitical balance, nationwide starting in the north and south, and meeting in the middle.

In the north, Shinawatra’s networks have mobilised politicised extremist sects to promote hatred and violence toward Muslims. And in the south, Shinawatra has operatives stirring up political instability, and likely even violence to target Buddhists while simultaneously implicating Muslims.

This is the reality of Thailand’s current conflict, a reality Matthew Wheeler of the International Crisis Group intentionally attempts to distort in an effort to protect this reality from the scrutiny and attention required to prevent it from spiralling further out of control. In essence, The Crisis Group is attempting to spur on and exploit, not prevent a crisis. But why?

What is the Crisis Group and Why is it Trying to Destabilise Thailand?

The Crisis Group claims on its website to be, « an independent organisation working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world. » 

If that were the case, one would expect to see the organisation backed by names synonymous with preventing wars and building a more peaceful world. Instead, the Crisis Group’s own website reveals financial support from organisations and corporations openly engaged in precisely the opposite.

Its various councils include such members as oil giants British Petroleum, Chevron and Shell and lobbying firm Edelman UK.

Edelman’s involvement in the Crisis Group is particularly significant since Thaksin Shinawatra employed Edelman as a lobbyist for several years. During Edelman’s lobbying for Shinawatra, Kenneth Adelman served concurrently as both Thaksin Shinawatra’s representative and as a director at the International Crisis Group.

The Crisis Group’s « government and foundation » supporters including USAID and the Open Society.  Again, a glaring conflict of interest exists here, with Open Society also funding a raft of organisations posing as NGOs and both foreign and local media working to undermine Thailand’s stability and bring Shinawatra and his supporters back into power.

The implications and actions of the Crisis Group then and now expose the organisation as self-serving merely behind the pretence of « preventing wars and building a more peaceful world. » Then and now, the Crisis Group’s various publications, reports and editorials like Wheeler’s appearing in the NYT have attempted to pressure the Thai government into taking actions that would compound and complicate its ongoing political crisis, not solve it.

In 2010 (PDF), the Crisis Group would urge the Thai government to capitulate to violent street demonstrations staged by Shinawatra which included the deployment of hundreds of heavily armed militants. Nearly 100 were killed in the violence and sections of both the capital Bangkok, and provincial halls across Shinawatra’s north and northeast strongholds were burned to the ground. The Crisis Group’s « recommendations » echoed precisely the demands of Shinawatra himself. Considering that both individual directors of the Crisis Group as well as corporate sponsors were quite literally lobbying for Shinawatra, this should come as no surprise.

What is surprising is that the Crisis Group is portrayed throughout the media as anything other than a lobbying front for special interests, helping to create and exploit crises, not end them.

The New Atlas is a media platform providing geopolitical analysis and op-eds. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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US War Crimes or ‘Normalized Deviance’

août 23rd, 2016 by Nicolas J. S. Davies

The U.S. foreign policy establishment and its mainstream media operate with a pervasive set of hypocritical standards that justify war crimes — or what might be called a “normalization of deviance,” writes Nicolas J S Davies.

Sociologist Diane Vaughan coined the term “normalization of deviance as she was investigating the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. She used it to describe how the social culture at NASA fostered a disregard for rigorous, physics-based safety standards, effectively creating new, lower de facto standards that came to govern actual NASA operations and led to catastrophic and deadly failures.

Vaughan published her findings in her prize-winning bookThe Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture and Deviance at NASA, which, in her words, “shows how mistake, mishap, and disaster are socially organized and systematically produced by social structures” and “shifts our attention from individual causal explanations to the structure of power and the power of structure and culture – factors that are difficult to identify and untangle yet have great impact on decision making in organizations.”

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

When the same pattern of organizational culture and behavior at NASA persisted until the loss of a second shuttle in 2003, Diane Vaughan was appointed to NASA’s accident investigation board, which belatedly embraced her conclusion that the “normalization of deviance” was a critical factor in these catastrophic failures.

The normalization of deviance has since been cited in a wide range of corporate crimes and institutional failures, from Volkswagen’s rigging of emissions tests to deadly medical mistakes in hospitals.  In fact, the normalization of deviance is an ever-present danger in most of the complex institutions that govern the world we live in today, not least in the bureaucracy that formulates and conducts U.S. foreign policy.

The normalization of deviance from the rules and standards that formally govern U.S. foreign policy has been quite radical.  And yet, as in other cases, this has gradually been accepted as a normal state of affairs, first within the corridors of power, then by the corporate media and eventually by much of the public at large.

Once deviance has been culturally normalized, as Vaughan found in the shuttle program at NASA, there is no longer any effective check on actions that deviate radically from formal or established standards – in the case of U.S. foreign policy, that would refer to the rules and customs of international law, the checks and balances of our constitutional political system and the experience and evolving practice of generations of statesmen and diplomats.

Normalizing the Abnormal

It is in the nature of complex institutions infected by the normalization of deviance that insiders are incentivized to downplay potential problems and to avoid precipitating a reassessment based on previously established standards.  Once rules have been breached, decision-makers face a cognitive and ethical conundrum whenever the same issue arises again: they can no longer admit that an action will violate responsible standards without admitting that they have already violated them in the past.

This is not just a matter of avoiding public embarrassment and political or criminal accountability, but a real instance of collective cognitive dissonance among people who have genuinely, although often self-servingly, embraced a deviant culture.  Diane Vaughan has compared the normalization of deviance to an elastic waistband that keeps on stretching.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

Within the high priesthood that now manages U.S. foreign policy, advancement and success are based on conformity with this elastic culture of normalized deviance.  Whistle-blowers are punished or even prosecuted, and people who question the prevailing deviant culture are routinely and efficiently marginalized, not promoted to decision-making positions.

For example, once U.S. officials had accepted the Orwellian “doublethink” that “targeted killings,” or “manhunts” as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called them, do not violate long-standing prohibitions against assassination, even a new administration could not walk that decision back without forcing a deviant culture to confront the wrong-headedness and illegality of its original decision.

Then, once the Obama administration had massively escalated the CIA’s drone program as an alternative to kidnapping and indefinite detention at Guantanamo, it became even harder to acknowledge that this is a policy of cold-blooded murder that provokes widespread anger and hostility and is counter-productive to legitimate counterterrorism goals – or to admit that it violates the U.N. Charter’s prohibition on the use of force, as U.N. special rapporteurs on extrajudicial killings have warned.

Underlying such decisions is the role of U.S. government lawyers who provide legal cover for them, but who are themselves shielded from accountability by U.S. non-recognition of international courts and the extraordinary deference of U.S. courts to the Executive Branch on matters of “national security.” These lawyers enjoy a privilege that is unique in their profession, issuing legal opinions that they will never have to defend before impartial courts to provide legal fig-leaves for war crimes.

The deviant U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy has branded the formal rules that are supposed to govern our country’s international behavior as “obsolete” and “quaint”, as a White House lawyer wrote in 2004.  And yet these are the very rules that past U.S. leaders deemed so vital that they enshrined them in constitutionally binding international treaties and U.S. law.

Let’s take a brief look at how the normalization of deviance undermines two of the most critical standards that formally define and legitimize U.S. foreign policy: the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

The United Nations Charter

In 1945, after two world wars killed 100 million people and left much of the world in ruins, the world’s governments were shocked into a moment of sanity in which they agreed to settle future international disputes peacefully.  The U.N. Charter therefore prohibits the threat or use of force in international relations.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a press conference.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a press conference.

As President Franklin Roosevelt told a joint session of Congress on his return from the Yalta conference, this new “permanent structure of peace … should spell the end of the system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, the spheres of influence, the balance of power, and all the other expedients that have been tried for centuries – and have always failed.”

The U.N. Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of force codifies the long-standing prohibition of aggression in English common law and customary international law, and reinforces the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy in the 1928 Kellogg Briand Pact. The judges at Nuremberg ruled that, even before the U.N. Charter came into effect, aggression was already the “supreme international crime.”

No U.S. leader has proposed abolishing or amending the U.N. Charter to permit aggression by the U.S. or any other country.  And yet the U.S. is currently conducting ground operations, air strikes or drone strikes in at least seven countries: Afghanistan; Pakistan; Iraq; Syria; Yemen; Somalia; and Libya. U.S. “special operations forces” conduct secret operations in a hundred more. U.S. leaders still openly threaten Iran, despite a diplomatic breakthrough that was supposed to peacefully settle bilateral differences.

President-in-waiting Hillary Clinton still believes in backing U.S. demands on other countries with illegal threats of force, even though every threat she has backed in the past has only served to create a pretext for war, from Yugoslavia to Iraq to Libya. But the U.N. Charter prohibits the threat as well as the use of force precisely because the one so regularly leads to the other.

The only justifications for the use of force permitted under the U.N. Charter are proportionate and necessary self-defense or an emergency request by the U.N. Security Council for military action “to restore peace and security.”  But no other country has attacked the United States, nor has the Security Council asked the U.S. to bomb or invade any of the countries where we are now at war.

The wars we have launched since 2001 have killed about 2 million people, of whom nearly all were completely innocent of involvement in the crimes of 9/11. Instead of “restoring peace and security,” U.S. wars have only plunged country after country into unending violence and chaos.

Like the specifications ignored by the engineers at NASA, the U.N. Charter is still in force, in black and white, for anyone in the world to read. But the normalization of deviance has replaced its nominally binding rules with looser, vaguer ones that the world’s governments and people have neither debated, negotiated nor agreed to.

In this case, the formal rules being ignored are the ones that were designed to provide a viable framework for the survival of human civilization in the face of the existential threat of modern weapons and warfare – surely the last rules on Earth that should have been quietly swept under a rug in the State Department basement.

The Geneva Conventions

Courts martial and investigations by officials and human rights groups have exposed “rules of engagement” issued to U.S. forces that flagrantly violate the Geneva Conventions and the protections they provide to wounded combatants, prisoners of war and civilians in war-torn countries:

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

–The Command’s Responsibility report by Human Rights First examined 98 deaths in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. It revealed a deviant culture in which senior officials abused their authority to block investigations and guarantee their own impunity for murders and torture deaths that U.S. law defines as capital crimes.

Although torture was authorized from the very top of the chain of command, the most senior officer charged with a crime was a Major and the harshest sentence handed down was a five-month prison sentence.

–U.S. rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan have included: systematic, theater-wide use of torture; orders to “dead-check” or kill wounded enemy combatants; orders to “kill all military-age males” during certain operations; and “weapons-free” zones that mirror Vietnam-era “free-fire” zones.

A U.S. Marine corporal told a court martial that “Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency”, nullifying the critical distinction between combatants and civilians that is the very basis of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

When junior officers or enlisted troops have been charged with war crimes, they have been exonerated or given light sentences because courts have found that they were acting on orders from more senior officers. But the senior officers implicated in these crimes have been allowed to testify in secret or not to appear in court at all, and no senior officer has been convicted of a war crime.

–For the past year, U.S. forces bombing Iraq and Syria have operated under loosened rules of engagement that allow the in-theater commander General McFarland to approve bomb- and missile-strikes that are expected to kill up to 10 civilians each.

But Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network has documented that U.S. rules of engagement already permit routine targeting of civilians based only on cell-phone records or “guilt by proximity” to other people targeted for assassination. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has determined that only 4 percent of thousands of drone victims in Pakistan have been positively identified as Al Qaeda members, the nominal targets of the CIA’s drone campaign.

–Amnesty International’s 2014 report Left In The Dark documented a complete lack of accountability for the killing of civilians by U.S. forces in Afghanistan since President Obama’s escalation of the war in 2009 unleashed thousands more air strikes and special forces night raids.

Nobody was charged over the Ghazi Khan raid in Kunar province on Dec. 26, 2009, in which U.S. special forces summarily executed at least seven children, including four who were only 11 or 12 years old.

More recently, U.S. forces attacked a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, killing 42 doctors, staff and patients, but this flagrant violation of Article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention did not lead to criminal charges either.

Although the U.S. government would not dare to formally renounce the Geneva Conventions, the normalization of deviance has effectively replaced them with elastic standards of behavior and accountability whose main purpose is to shield senior U.S. military officers and civilian officials from accountability for war crimes.

The Cold War and Its Aftermath

The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy is a byproduct of the disproportionate economic, diplomatic and military power of the United States since 1945. No other country could have got away with such flagrant and systematic violations of international law.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, at his headquarters in the European theather of operations.  He wears the five-star cluster of the newly-created rank of General of the Army.  Feb. 1, 1945.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, at his headquarters in the European theater of operations. He wears the five-star cluster of the newly-created rank of General of the Army. Feb. 1, 1945.

But in the early days of the Cold War, America’s World War II leaders rejected calls to exploit their new-found power and temporary monopoly on nuclear weapons to unleash an aggressive war against the U.S.S.R.

General Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech in St. Louis in 1947 in which he warned, “Those who measure security solely in terms of offensive capacity distort its meaning and mislead those who pay them heed. No modern nation has ever equaled the crushing offensive power attained by the German war machine in 1939. No modern nation was broken and smashed as was Germany six years later.”

But, as Eisenhower later warned, the Cold War soon gave rise to a “military-industrial complex”that may be the case par excellence of a highly complex tangle of institutions whose social culture is supremely prone to the normalization of deviance. Privately,Eisenhower lamented, “God help this country when someone sits in this chair who doesn’t know the military as well as I do.”

That describes everyone who has sat in that chair and tried to manage the U.S. military-industrial complex since 1961, involving critical decisions on war and peace and an ever-growing military budget. Advising the President on these matters are the Vice President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, several generals and admirals and the chairs of powerful Congressional committees. Nearly all these officials’ careers represent some version of the “revolving door” between the military and “intelligence” bureaucracy, the executive and legislative branches of government, and top jobs with military contractors and lobbying firms.

Each of the close advisers who have the President’s ear on these most critical issues is in turn advised by others who are just as deeply embedded in the military-industrial complex, from think-tanks funded by weapons manufacturers to Members of Congress with military bases or missile plants in their districts to journalists and commentators who market fear, war and militarism to the public.

With the rise of sanctions and financial warfare as a tool of U.S. power, Wall Street and the Treasury and Commerce Departments are also increasingly entangled in this web of military-industrial interests.

The incentives driving the creeping, gradual normalization of deviance throughout the ever-growing U.S. military-industrial complex have been powerful and mutually reinforcing for over 70 years, exactly as Eisenhower warned.

Richard Barnet explored the deviant culture of Vietnam-era U.S. war leaders in his 1972 book Roots Of War. But there are particular reasons why the normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy has become even more dangerous since the end of the Cold War.

In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. and U.K. installed allied governments in Western and Southern Europe, restored Western colonies in Asia and militarily occupied South Korea. The divisions of Korea and Vietnam into north and south were justified as temporary, but the governments in the south were U.S. creations imposed to prevent reunification under governments allied with the U.S.S.R. or China. U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam were then justified, legally and politically, as military assistance to allied governments fighting wars of self-defense.

The U.S. role in anti-democratic coups in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, Chile and other countries was veiled behind thick layers of secrecy and propaganda. A veneer of legitimacy was still considered vital to U.S. policy, even as a culture of deviance was being normalized and institutionalized beneath the surface.

The Reagan Years

It was not until the 1980s that the U.S. ran seriously afoul of the post-1945 international legal framework it had helped to build. When the U.S. set out to destroy the revolutionary Sandinista government of Nicaragua by mining its harbors and dispatching a mercenary army to terrorize its people, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) convicted the U.S. of aggression and ordered it to pay war reparations.

President Reagan meets with Vice President George H.W. Bush on Feb. 9, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Presidential Library.)

President Reagan meets with Vice President George H.W. Bush on Feb. 9, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Presidential Library.)

The U.S. response revealed how far the normalization of deviance had already taken hold of its foreign policy. Instead of accepting and complying with the court’s ruling, the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the binding jurisdiction of the ICJ.

When Nicaragua asked the U.N. Security Council to enforce the payment of reparations ordered by the court, the U.S. abused its position as a Permanent Member of the Security Council to veto the resolution. Since the 1980s, the U.S. has vetoed twice as many Security Council resolutions as the other Permanent Members combined, and the U.N. General Assembly passed resolutions condemning the U.S. invasions of Grenada (by 108 to 9) and Panama (by 75 to 20), calling the latter “a flagrant violation of international law.”

President George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher obtained U.N. authorization for the First Gulf War and resisted calls to launch a war of regime change against Iraq in violation of their U.N. mandate. Their forces massacred Iraqi forces fleeing Kuwait, and a U.N. report described how the “near apocalyptic” U.S.-led bombardment of Iraq reduced what “had been until January a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society” to “a pre-industrial age nation.”

But new voices began to ask why the U.S. should not exploit its unchallenged post-Cold War military superiority to use force with even less restraint. During the Bush-Clinton transition, Madeleine Albright confronted General Colin Powell over his “Powell doctrine” of limited war, protesting, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

Public hopes for a “peace dividend” were ultimately trumped by a “power dividend” sought by military-industrial interests. The neoconservatives of the Project for the New American Century led the push for war on Iraq, while “humanitarian interventionists”now use the “soft power” of propaganda to selectively identify and demonize targets for U.S.-led regime change and then justify war under the “responsibility to protect” or other pretexts. U.S. allies (NATO, Israel, the Arab monarchies et al) are exempt from such campaigns, safe within what Amnesty International has labeled an “accountability-free zone.”

Madeleine Albright and her colleagues branded Slobodan Milosevic a “new Hitler” for trying to hold Yugoslavia together, even as they ratcheted up their own genocidal sanctions against Iraq. Ten years after Milosevic died in prison at the Hague, he was posthumously exonerated by an international court.

In 1999, when U.K. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Secretary of State Albright the British government was having trouble “with its lawyers” over NATO plans to attack Yugoslavia without U.N. authorization, Albright told him he should “get new lawyers.”

By the time mass murder struck New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, the normalization of deviance was so firmly rooted in the corridors of power that voices of peace and reason were utterly marginalized.

Former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz told NPR eight days later, “It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done. …  We must make a distinction between punishing the guilty and punishing others.  If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don’t approve of what has happened.”

But from the day of the crime, the war machine was in motion, targeting Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

The normalization of deviance that promoted war and marginalized reason at that moment of national crisis was not limited to Dick Cheney and his torture-happy acolytes, and so the global war they unleashed in 2001 is still spinning out of control.

When President Obama was elected in 2008 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, few people understood how many of the people and interests shaping his policies were the same people and interests who had shaped President George W. Bush’s, nor how deeply they were all steeped in the same deviant culture that had unleashed war, systematic war crimes and intractable violence and chaos upon the world.

A Sociopathic Culture

Until the American public, our political representatives and our neighbors around the world can come to grips with the normalization of deviance that is corrupting the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, the existential threats of nuclear war and escalating conventional war will persist and spread.

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

This deviant culture is sociopathic in its disregard for the value of human life and for the survival of human life on Earth. The only thing “normal” about it is that it pervades the powerful, entangled institutions that control U.S. foreign policy, rendering them impervious to reason, public accountability or even catastrophic failure.

The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy is driving a self-fulfilling reduction of our miraculous multicultural world to a “battlefield” or testing-ground for the latest U.S. weapons and geopolitical strategies. There is not yet any countervailing movement powerful or united enough to restore reason, humanity or the rule of law, domestically or internationally, although new political movements in many countries offer viable alternatives to the path we are on.

As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned when it advanced the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 3 minutes to midnight in 2015, we are living at one of the most dangerous times in human history. The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy lies at the very heart of our predicament.

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

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One year ago this weekend (on 21 Aug) an RAF pilot sitting in a Ground Control Station at RAF Waddington pushed a button and Hellfire missiles flashed away from a British Reaper drone loitering a few miles from Raqqa in Northern Syria.  The missiles slammed into an SUV killing all three occupants.  What was said in the Ground Control Station at the time is not publicly known but, as a senior British military officer put it a few months later, a Rubicon had been crossed.

For the first time, as the then Prime Minister David Cameron went on tell hushed MPs in the House of Commons, British forces had launched a remote air strike against one of its own citizens and in a country in which the UK was not at war. The target of the strike, 21-year Cardiff man Reyaad Khan, was killed alongside his cousin from Aberdeen, Ruhul Amin and a Belgian man, known only as Abu Ayman al-Belgiki.

A year on from the Khan Killing as it has become known, it’s possible to put together something of a timeline of events leading up to the strike and what has happened subsequently.

Reyaad Khan

Reyaad Khan – killed in British targeted drone strike on Aug 21 2015

 

Sep 26, 2014 MPs authorise British air strikes in Iraq specifically excluding military action in SyriaThe parliamentary resolution reads “this motion does not endorse UK air strikes in Syria as part of this campaign and any proposal to do so would be subject to a separate vote in Parliament.”
Oct 21 2014 MoD announces  that British drones will begin surveillance operations inside Syria  Despite the barring of operation in Syria, one month after the vote the MoD quietly announces British drones will cross the Iraqi border and enter Syria.  A response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) from Drone Wars UK later revealsthat all UK Reapers entering Syria are in fact armed.
Early summer 2015 US intelligence agencies and Special Forces launch drone targeted killing program within SyriaSeparate from US bombing campaign, US intelligence agencies in conjunction with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) initiate a targeted killing campaign aimed at ISIS leaders.
May 2015 The British National Security Council (NSC) gives general approval for targeted killing operations against a number of UK citizensThe Times reports that a NSC meeting in May gave overall approval for the targeted killing operations. In his evidence to the parliamentary Human Rights Committee Michael Fallon stated that the NSC gave overall approval, while he later authorised the specific operations.
Jun 26 2015 The Sousse Beach massacre In a week-long series of terror attacks in Syria, Tunisia, Kuwait and France, 30 of 38 people killed in the terrorist attack on a Tunisian beach are British.  The attacker, Seifeddine Rezgui, is linked to the Ansar al-Sharia group in Libya.
Jun 26 2015 The Sun publishes communication between Junaid Hussain and an undercover reporterThe Sun reports that in a sting operation, a Syrian-based British ISIS member Junaid Hussain instructed one of its reporters working undercover in bomb making and urged him to attack an Armed Forces Day parade.
Jul 2 2015 First apparent US drone targeted killing of senior ISIS figure in Syria under new US programUS drones target and kill ISIS leader Tariq bin Tahar al-‘Awni al-Harz.
July 4, 2015 Briton Abu Rahin Aziz  killed in US drone strike near RaqqaAbu Rahin Aziz, known as Abu Abdullah al-Britani, killed in US drone strike in Syria. Subsequent to Khan killing, Guardian Journalist Alice Ross writes Aziz may have been on the UK kill list but targeted by a US drone.
July 7, 2015 US drone strike targets British hacker Reyaad Khan.A US drone targets 21-year old Cardiff born Reyaad Khan near Raqqa. Initially he is reported killed but it subsequently transpires that he was wounded and hospitalised.
Aug 13 2015 US drone strike on Briton Junaid Hussain near Raqqa.Junaid Hussain, who instructed an undercover Sun journalist in bomb-making, is wounded in the strike but three civilians were killed  and five more wounded
Aug 21 2015 British drone strike on Reyaad Khan – First British drone strike on UK citizenAlthough only Khan was specifically targeted in the strike, killed alongside him was another British man, Ruhul Amin, and a Belgian, Abu Ayman al-Belgiki.  The Times reports that British and US intelligence monitored Khan as he was treated in a hospital following the attack on July 7 (above), and ‘on his release the opportunity arose for the RAF Reaper drone to strike’.  Separately the paperreports senior military officer insisted lawyers were present during the operation as there was “significant concern” over the legality of conducting a “kill mission” against British members of ISIS in a country with which the UK was not at war.
Aug 24 2015  US strike in co-ordination with UK on Junaid Hussain   Ten days after being wounded in a targeted drone strike, Junaid Hussain is also targeted again and this time killed in a US strike in conjunction with the UK.
Sep 7, 2015 David Cameron makes a statement in House of Commons on the drone targeted killings Cameron:  “Both Junaid Hussain and Reyaad Khan were British nationals based in Syria and were involved in actively recruiting ISIL sympathisers and seeking to orchestrate specific and barbaric attacks against the west, including directing a number of planned terrorist attacks right here in Britain, such as plots to attack high-profile public commemorations, including those taking place this summer.

Our intelligence agencies identified the direct threat to the UK from this individual and informed me and other senior Ministers of that threat. At a meeting of the most senior members of the National Security Council, we agreed that should the right opportunity arise, military action should be taken.

I want to be clear that the strike was not part of coalition military action against ISIL in Syria: it was a targeted strike to deal with a clear, credible and specific terrorist threat to our country at home….

… Is this the first time in modern times that a British asset has been used to conduct a strike in a country where we are not involved in a war? The answer to that is yes. Of course, Britain has used remotely piloted aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this is a new departure, and that is why I thought it was important to come to the House and explain why I think it is necessary and justified.”

Oct 29, 2015 Select Committees announce inquiries into the killingsUpon their reconstitution in the new parliament both the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) and the Joint Human Rights Committee (JHRC) announce separate inquiries into the drone killings.
Nov 9 2015 Reports of disquiet amongst senior RAF officers about the operationsThe Telegraph reports disquiet amongst senior RAF officers about the “the crossing of a Rubicon” as the UK follows the US down the path of a drone targeted killing programme.
Nov 12 2015 Mohammed Emwazi  (aka ‘Jihadi John’) killed in US drone strikeIn what PM David Cameron called “a combined effort” Mohammed Emwazi is killed in a US drone strike near Raqqa in Syria.  A US official told the Washington Post that ‘three drones took part in the operation, one of them British.’
Dec 2, 2015 House of Commons votes to authorise UK air strikes in SyriaFollowing intense pressure from David Cameron and Michael Fallon, who argued that it was “morally indefensible” for UK not to bomb IS in Syria, MPs vote to extend UK military action into Syria.
Feb 19 2016 US targeted strike against Noureddine Chouchane in Libya use UK basesMichael Fallon authorises use of UK bases to launch a US targeted killing strikeagainst Noureddine Chouchane in Libya.
May 1 2016 Briton Raphael Hostey reported killed in US drone strikeRaphael Hostey (known as Abu Qaqa al-Britani) reported killed in US drone strike although it is not clear if he was explicitly targeted.
May 2016 Joint Human Rights Committee publishes its report into drones and targeted killingAlthough focused on the wider legal issues rather than the specific operations, Parliament’s Human Rights Committee raises important questions about the normalisation of drone targeted killing operations.   A government response to the report is expected in the Autumn.

Truth and Consequences

One year on from the August 2015 strike that targeted and killed Reyaad Khan, serious questions remain about the operation itself, the circumstances in which the UK Government would (as it has already indicated) undertake further such targeted killings and especially about the consequences of such a policy

Legal Basis

Initially the Prime Minster stated that the strike against Khan was undertaken because he posed “a direct threat to the UK” and it was not part of military operation against ISIS in Iraq. However the formal notification of the air strike to the UN t told a different story, arguing the strike was also part of military operations to support the Government of Iraq (despite fact that parliament had excluded strikes in Syria).

These variances matter as different legal frameworks apply to the use of lethal force inside and outside of a war-zone.  Outside an armed conflict, lethal force can only legally be used to prevent an imminent and direct threat when there is no other option. Given that we have two different explanations, the legal basis for the strike against Khan is unclear.  As the report of the Joint Human Rights Committee puts it:

When dealing with an issue of such grave importance, taking a life in order to protect lives, the Government should have been crystal clear about the legal basis for this action from the outset. They were not. Between the statements of the Prime Minister, the Permanent Representative to the UN and the Defence Secretary, they were confused and confusing.

The government has so far refused to release the legal advice it received about the basis for the strike from the Attorney General, or even a summary or gist of that advice.  As the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drones noted “the advice has remained a closely guarded secret, not seen even by the Chief of Air Staff or Commander responsible for authorising the strike.”

As the UK government has already confirmed it would again use drones to launch strikes outside of an armed conflict if it deems it necessary, it should explain carefully and clearly what it believes are the legal basis for such strikes.

Eroding the meaning of ‘imminent’ threat

Given that such strikes are taking place outside of an armed conflict, the use of such force can only be legal if there is an imminent threat to human life.  However in relation to such strikes CIA Chief John Brennan argued in 2011 that a “more flexible understanding of ‘imminence’ may be appropriate.”  It now appears that the UK is adopting such flexibility in relation to its strikes.  During his evidence to the Joint Human Rights Committee, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was questioned about imminence in the context of strikes outside of a war zone:

Jeremy Lefroy MP  Is your understanding that “imminence” means what it used to mean—that is, so proximate that it leaves no time for deliberation—or have circumstances changed so that an ongoing threat from a specific terrorist is considered imminent all the time?”

Michael Fallon MP: Circumstances have certainly changed from the definition that you have quoted. I would not want to rest on that. You look at these things on a case-by-case basis in the light of the assessment that you make in each particular case. I do not think it is possible to have a hard and fast rule about how you would define “imminent”.

It appears that the UK, following the US lead, is using an expanded understanding of ‘imminence’.  As The Times noted in its editorial the day after Cameron’s statement on the Khan killing, the event Khan was supposed to have plotted to attack – the VJ celebrations – “had passed off peacefully by the time he was actually killed.”

The problem with having no ‘hard and fast definition’ of imminence means there is a real danger that many acts could be interpreted as being the last moment before an attack could take place and trigger such targeted killing operations.  In addition, once someone is identified as a possible or potential threat they could be placed permanently on a kill list to be targeted when possible. A position that is very distant from how the legal community would interpret international law in this area and could lead toserious consequences for those involved in such strikes.

Oversight and accountability

Currently there is no real public oversight or accountability for the Khan strike.  Ministers argue that because of the sensitive nature of the operations, public accountability must take place through theIntelligence and Security Committee.  The ISC announced an inquiry into the strike, however it is not being allowed to look at military aspects of the strike but just the intelligence aspects (and apparently only selected parts).  The Chair of the ISC, Andrew Tyrie, told the Guardian in January after Cameron had appeared before the parliamentary Liaison Committee:

On the basis of today’s evidence, the intelligence and security committee will not be able to do a thorough job. The prime minister should reconsider his decision to prevent the ISC from looking at information on the military aspects of the drone strikes. Unless he permits this, the ISC will be incapable of providing reassurance to parliament and the public that the strikes were both necessary and proportionate.

If even the secretive Intelligence and Security Committee is denied access to investigate the killing, there is in all reality no democratic oversight or accountability over the UK’s killing of Reyaad Khan.

Some will argue that due to the nature of these operations we must give the government the benefit of the doubt and reject suspicions that they would manipulate or exaggerate intelligence.  The recent publication of the Chilcot Report should remind us however that we are right – perhaps even duty bound – to be suspicious  of actions by the state in this area.

While the appalling attacks by terrorist groups like ISIS much be strongly resisted, so too must the draconian responses that such attacks partly seek to generate.  The UK must not follow the US down the road of routinely undertaking the targeted killing of terrorist suspects.  The government’s response to the Joint Human Rights Committee’s report, expected next month, will be an important indication of how far down that road they intend to go.

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This week marks the first anniversary of the 2015 Greek debt crisis, the third in that country’s recent history since 2010. Last Aug. 20-21, 2015, the ‘Troika’—i.e., the pan-European institutions of the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), plus the IMF-imposed a third debt deal on Greece. Greece was given US$98 billion in loans from the Troika. A previous 2012 Troika imposed debt deal had added nearly US$200 billion to an initial 2010 debt deal of US$140 billion.

That’s approximately US$440 billion in Troika loans over a five year period, 2010-2015. The question is: who is beneftting from the US$440 billion? It’s not Greece. If not the Greek economy and its people, then who? And have we seen the last of Greek debt crises?

One might think that US$440 billion in loans would have helped Greece recover from the global recession of 2008-09, the second European recession of 2011-13 that followed, and the Europe-wide chronic, stagnant economic growth ever since. But no, the US$440 billion in debt the Troika piled on Greece has actually impoverished Greece even further, condemning it to eight years of economic depression with no end in sight.

To pay for the US$440 billion, in three successive debt agreements the Troika has required Greece to cut government spending on social services, eliminate hundreds of thousands of government jobs, lower wages for public and private sector workers, reduce the minimum wage, cut and eliminate pensions, raise the cost of workers’ health care contributions, and pay higher sales and local property taxes. As part of austerity, the Troika has also required Greece to sell off its government owned utilities, ports, and transport systems at ‘firesale’ (i.e. below) market prices.

Europe’s Bankers Got 95 Percent of Greek Debt Payments

The US$440 billion in Troika loans—and thus Greek debt—has not been employed to benefit the Greek people, or to help the Greek economy recover from its eight years of depression; it has gone to pay the principle and interest on previous Troika debt, as that debt has been piled on prior debt in order to pay for previous debt
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A recent 2016 released study has revealed conclusively where all the interest and principal payments on the US$440 billion debt has gone. It has gone directly to European bankers and investors, and to the Troika institutions of the EC, ECB, and IMF, who indirectly in turn recycle it back to private bankers and investors.

According to the White Paper (WP-16-02) published by the European School of Management and Technology, ESMT, this past spring 2016, entitled « Where Did the Greek Bailout Money Go? », more than 95 percent initial Troika loans to Greece went to pay principal and interest on prior Troika loans, or to bailout Greek private banks (owned by other Euro banks or indebted to them), or to pay off European private investors and speculators. Less than 10 billion euros was actually spent in Greece.

The ESMT study further estimates the most recent, third Greek debt deal of last Aug. 2015 will result in more of the same: Of the US$98 billion loaned to Greece last year, the study projects that barely US$8 billion will find their way to Greek households.

The Cost to Greece Eight Years Later

In exchange for the 95 percent paid to the Troika and banker-investor friends, the austerity measures accompanying the Troika loans has meant the following: Greece’s unemployment rate today, in 2016, after eight years is still 24 percent. The youth jobless rate still hovers above 50 percent. Wages have fallen 24 percent for those fortunate enough to still have work. The collapse of wages is due not just to layoffs or government and private business wage cutting, both of which have occurred since 2010, but is due also to the shifting of full time to part time work. Full time jobs have collapsed 27 percent, the lowest ever, while part time jobs have risen 56 percent, to the highest ever. The poorest and most vulnerable Greek workers and households have seen their minimum wages reduced by 22 percent since 2012, on orders of the Troika. And pensions for the poorest have been reduced by approximately the same. All that to squeeze Greek workers, households and small businesses in order to repay interest on debt to the Troika, to Europe’s bankers, and private investors.

None of the debt, austerity, depression, and collapse of incomes existed before the Troika intervened in Greece starting in 2010. Greece’s debt to GDP was around 100 percent in 2007, about where it had been every year for the entire preceding decade, 1997-2007. It was no worse than any other Eurozone economy, and better than most. Greek debt rose in 2008 to 109 percent due to the global recession, accelerating to 146 percent of GDP in 2010 with the first Troika debt deal of US$140 billion. It then surged to more than 170 percent in 2011, where it has remained ever since as another US$300 billion was added in Troika loans in 2012 and 2015.

Greece’s debt since 2010 is certainly not a result of Greek government spending, which has fallen from roughly 14 billion euros to 9.5 billion in 2015, reflecting Greece’s deep austerity cuts demanded by the Troika. Nor can it be attributed to excessive wages and too many public jobs, as both these have declined by a fourth as debt has accelerated. The debt is Troika loans forced on Greece in order for Greece to pay principal and interest on previous loans forced on Greece.

And Still No Relief 2015-16

What happened a year ago, in the third Troika debt deal of Aug. 2015, was the same that happened in 2012 and 2010: US$98 bill more debt was added to Greece’s already unsustainable US$340 or so billion. In exchange, last August Greece had to implement the following even more severe austerity measures:

Generate a budget surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP from which to repay Troika debt-i.e. around US$8 billion a year. Raise sales taxes to 24 percent, plus more tax hikes on « a widening tax base » (i.e. higher taxes for lower income households). Introduce what the Troika calls « holistic pension reform »—i.e., cut pensions up to 2.5 percent of GDP, or around US$5 billion a year, and abolish minimum pensions for the lowest paid and the annual supplemental pension grants. Introduce a « wide range » of labor market reforms, including « more flexible » wage bargaining, easier mass layoffs, new limits on worker strikes, and thousands more teacher layoffs as part of « education reform ». Cut health care services and convert 52,000 more jobs to part time. And introduce what the Troika called a more « ambitious » privatization program. And this is just a short list.

And How Has Greece’s Economy Actually Performed over the Past Year?
Greek government spending since Aug. 2015 has further declined by 30 percent as of mid-year 2016, except for military spending that has risen by US$600 million. Since Aug. 2015, quarterly Greek GDP has continued to contract on a net basis. Greek debt as a percent of GDP has risen further.

There are 83,000 fewer full time jobs. (But 28,000 more part time jobs). Youth unemployment rates have risen from 48.8 to 50.3 percent. Consumer spending has dropped by almost 10 percent, as consumer confidence continues to plummet, home prices deflate, and business investment, exports, and imports all slow. In other words, the Greek economy continues to worsen despite the added US$98 billion Troika debt and the more extreme austerity measures imposed a year ago.
Is Another Fourth Greek Debt Crisis Inevitable?

The answer is « Yes. » Greece cannot generate a 3.5 percent surplus from which to pay the mountain of principal and interest on its debt. Debt repayments in 2016 to the Troika were relatively minimal in 2016. In 2017-18, however, greater debt repayments will come due as Greece’s inability to repay will no doubt worsen, when the next Europe-wide recession hits, which is likely in 2017-18 as well. The next Greek debt crisis may erupt even before, as a consequence of the current deterioration in Europe’s banking system in the wake of Brexit and the deepening problems in Italy’s and Portugal’s banking systems. Contagion elsewhere could quickly spill over to Greece, precipitating another fourth Greek banking and debt crisis.

An Emerging New Financial Imperialism?

By imposing austerity to pay for the debt the Troika since 2010 has forced the Greek government to extract income and wealth from its workers and small businesses-i.e. to exploit its own citizens on the Troika’s behalf-and then transfer that income to the Troika and Europe bankers and investors. That’s imperialism pure and simple-albeit a new kind, now arranged by State to State (Troika-Greece) financial transfers instead of exploitation company by company at the point of production. The magnitude of exploitation is greater and far more efficient.

What’s happened, and continues to happen in Greece, is the emergence of a new form of financial imperialism that smaller states and economies, planning to join larger free trade zones and ‘currency’ unions, or to tie their currencies to the dollar, the euro, or other need to avoid at all cost, less they too become ‘Greece-like’ and increasingly debt-dependent on more powerful capitalist states to which they decide to integrate economically.

Neoliberalism is constantly evolving and with it forms of imperialist exploitation as well. It starts as a free trade zone or ‘customs’ union. A single currency is then added, or comes to dominate, within the free trade customs union. A currency union eventually leads to the need for a single banking union within the region. Central bank monetary policy ends up determined by the dominant economy and state. The smaller economy loses control of its currency, banking, and monetary policies. Banking union leads, of necessity, to a form of fiscal union. Smaller member states now lose control not only of their currency and banking systems, but eventually tax and spending as well. They then become ‘economic protectorates’ of the dominant economy and State-such as Greece has now become.

For a deeper analysis of Greek debt and the emerging new financial imperialism, see Dr. Jack Rasmus, « Looting Greece: An Emerging New Financial Imperialism, » by Clarity Press, September 2016.

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« Obstacle to Peace », The Genocide of a Land. Palestine

août 23rd, 2016 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

In our days of darkness, spreading ignorance, and absence of serious debate in public forums, we can take hope from the fact that some scholars still produce serious and informative books on the most critical issues of our time. If in the future policymakers again seek the guidance of truth, they will have the information at hand. One such book of truth is Jeremy R. Hammond’s just published Obstacle to Peace, a closely reasoned, heavily documented (68 pages of footnotes), fully indexed, readable book with a Foreword by Richard Falk, an Introduction by Gene Epstein, and an endorsement by Noam Chomsky.

The obstacle to peace is the United States government, which has consistently opposed the entire world’s decades long effort to stop the Zionist genocide of a land called Palestine.

Palestine is a stolen and oppressed land. Israel’s greatest leaders themselves acknowledge the fact. Tom Are quotes David Ben-Gurion:

If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural, we have taken their country. Sure God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We came from Israel, it’s true, but that was two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?  http://thomas-l-are.blogspot.com

What once was a country consists today of a few small isolated Palestinian ghettos in the West Bank surrounded by Israeli settlements and an open air prison known as Gaza. Periodically Israel launches military assaults on the civilian population of Gaza, destroying the lives of the people and the infrastructure of the prison camp.

Israel then prevents outside efforts from sending supplies to the suffering people in Gaza. “Freedom flotillas” crewed by Nobel Laurates, present and former members of US and European legislative bodies, and even members of the Israeli Knesset set sail with supplies for Gaza and are pirated and captured in international waters by the Israeli Navy, which, as a warning to others, kills some of the delegation in “self-defense.” The United States steadfastly defends Israel’s criminal behavior with its UN veto and other governments, though disapproving, are unwilling to confront Washington and force a change.

Washington’s 21st century wars in the Middle East were initiated by neoconservative regimes whose principal policymakers are tightly allied with Israel. The wars focused on Arab nations—Iraq, Libya, and Syria—that were supportive of the Palestinians and had foreign policies independent of Washington. Washington succeeded in destroying two of the countries and has not given up on destroying Syria despite the risk of confrontation with Russia.

The risks that Washington is imposing on Americans and Europeans in order to advance Israeli expansion in the Middle East are horrific. Zionists claim a “greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates. Washington’s wars in the Middle East are designed to remove obstacles to “greater Israel.” For example, on past occasions Israel has attempted to seize southern Lebanon for the water resources, but were driven out by Hezbollah, a militia supplied by Syria and Iran. This is one reason Syria and Iran are on Washington’s target list.

To achieve its or Israel’s goals, Washington uses jihadists. Russia sees the jihadists as threats that could spread to the Muslim areas of the Russian Federation, and Russia acts to protect itself. China also has realized that its province bordering Kazakhstan is subject to jihadist destabilization and appears to be aligning with Russia, Iran, and Syria against Washington’s effort to overthrow the Syrian government and install in its place chaos as Washington has done in Iraq and Libya, thus removing another constraint on Israel’s expansion and the restraint of a secular Syrian government on jihadism.

To get all of this from Hammond, you might have to connect some dots. But what you will get is a massive amount of verbatim dialogue that documents beyond all doubt the conspiracy between Israel, Washington, and the US presstitutes to get rid of “the Palestinian problem” by getting rid of Palestinians.

What does emerge strongly from Hammond’s book is that justice is not a thriving characteristic of the Israeli government, US foreign policy, or the media. The United Nations has produced report after report documenting the extermination of a people, but is powerless to act because of Washington’s veto.

What has happened to Palestinians is a replay of what happened to the native inhabitants of North America and Australia. Palestinians have been dispossessed and murdered. For this crime, the United States shares responsibility with Israel.

Become informed while you still can. Propaganda is turning truth-tellers into “conspiracy theorists” and “domestic extremists.” We can’t take the continued presence of truth-tellers for granted.

When one appears support him or her. Order Hammond’s book here: http://www.obstacletopeace.com

You will never regret being informed.

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.

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The IDF says it has attacked a Syrian Army launch site near Israel’s border in the Golan Heights, after a Syrian mortar landed inside Israeli territory. The initial incident produced no casualties or damage, according to Israeli media.

Israel believes that the mortar, which landed next to a minefield, was not aimed at its land, but nonetheless dispatched aircraft to neutralize the source of the firing. In accordance with its policy, Israel holds Damascus responsible for any overspill from its internal conflict, and considers any rockets that breach the border a direct attack. IDF planes have made dozens of such sorties since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

While the majority of the Golan Heights have been in Israeli possession since it won the Six-Day War in 1967, the Syrian side of the border has been a focal point for fighting between the Syrian government and the Al Nusra Front, a militant Islamist organization.

Israeli media has also reported that anti-Israel group Hezbollah is exploiting the chaos to establish its own positions, which could then be used to bombard the sparsely-settled area that lies next to the border.

The previous night, the IDF hit up to 50 targets in Gaza after an aimed shell landed near a house in the Jewish town of Sderot.

The strikes were aimed at the territory’s various anti-Israel militias including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, although responsibility for the mortar was taken by a small, radical Salafist group, Ahfad al-Sahaba.

The ground and air assault targeted military infrastructure, though Palestinian media said that two people were hurt, and a water tower was destroyed in the strikes.

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A Yemeni military source disclosed that Saudi Arabia has attacked the civilians in Sana’a with chemical weapons, killing and injuring a number of people in the capital city’s Ninth district.

« A number of Yemeni people have been killed as a result of inhaling poisonous gases in the chemical attack, » Military Expert Major General Abdel Sattar al-Sa’deh told FNA on Monday.

He reiterated that Sana’a’s Ninth district has been under artillery attacks of the pro-Saudi forces, yet it seems that the Saudi forces have been recently supplied with chemical weapons to exert more pressure on the district.

Al-Sa’deh said that the Yemeni citizens felt weakness, unconsciousness and tiredness after the Saudi forces attacked them with artillery shells containing white-colored substances.

« This is for the first time that this kind of poisonous artillery shells are fired at residents of the Ninth district and the villages of Qoubareh, Qoul Ali, al-Ma’di, al-Asarat and al-Aqran, » he added.

Al-Sa’deh reiterated that the chemical warfare used by Saudi Arabia only targets humans and animals.

On Sunday, fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition hit Sana’a during a massive rally that attracted millions of people rallied in strong support for a political body recently formed to run the country in the face of a Saudi military campaign to reinstate a former president.

During the demonstration, Saudi fighter jets bombed Yemen’s capital, including the area around the Presidential palace.

The bombardment resulted in an “unknown number of casualties,” local officials said. People on Twitter said that at least three civilians were killed and a number were wounded.

Saudi Arabia has been repeatedly slammed for causing civilian casualties during its bombing campaign. In the latest case on August 13, at least ten children were killed in an airstrike blamed on the Saudi-led coalition that hit a religious school in Northwestern Yemen.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) confirmed that 28 youngsters were also injured in that attack. After Saudi jets hit their hospital, killing 19 people, MSF announced on Thursday that it was pulling its staff out of northern Yemen.

Just days after the airstrike on MSF hospital in Hajjah, the US military announced it has withdrawn from Saudi Arabia its personnel who were coordinating with the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, and sharply reduced the number of staff elsewhere who were assisting in that planning.

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Provoking Nuclear War by Media

août 23rd, 2016 by John Pilger

The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has quietly cleared the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, of war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica.

Far from conspiring with the convicted Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Milosevic actually “condemned ethnic cleansing”, opposed Karadzic and tried to stop the war that dismembered Yugoslavia. Buried near the end of a 2,590- page judgement on Karadzic last February, this truth further demolishes the propaganda that justified Nato’s illegal onslaught on Serbia in 1999.

Milosevic died of a heart attack in 2006, alone in his cell in The Hague, during what amounted to a bogus trial by an American-invented “international tribunal”. Denied heart surgery that might have saved his life, his condition worsened and was monitored and kept secret by US officials, as WikiLeaks has since revealed.

Milosevic was the victim of war propaganda that today runs like a torrent across our screens and newspapers and beckons great danger for us all. He was the prototype demon, vilified by the western media as the “butcher of the Balkans” who was responsible for “genocide”, especially in the secessionist Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Prime Minister Tony Blair said so, invoked the Holocaust and demanded action against “this new Hitler”.  David Scheffer, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], declared that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59” may have been murdered by Milocevic’s forces.

This was the justification for Nato’s bombing, led by Bill Clinton and Blair, that killed hundreds of civilians in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and television studios and destroyed Serbia’s economic infrastructure.  It was blatantly ideological; at a notorious “peace conference” in Rambouillet in France, Milosevic was confronted by Madeleine Albright, the US secretary of state, who was to achieve infamy with her remark that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children were “worth it”.

Albright delivered an “offer” to Milosevic that no national leader could accept. Unless he agreed to the foreign military occupation of his country, with the occupying forces “outside the legal process”, and to the imposition of a neo-liberal “free market”, Serbia would be bombed. This was contained in an “Appendix B”, which the media failed to read or suppressed. The aim was to crush Europe’s last independent “socialist” state.

Once Nato began bombing, there was a stampede of Kosovar refugees “fleeing a holocaust”. When it was over, international police teams descended on Kosovo to exhume the victims of the “holocaust”. The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines”. The final count of the dead in Kosovo was 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the pro-Nato Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).  There was no genocide. The Nato attack was both a fraud and a war crime.

All but a fraction of America’s vaunted “precision guided” missiles hit not military but civilian targets, including the news studios of Radio Television Serbia in Belgrade. Sixteen people were killed, including cameramen, producers and a make-up artist. Blair described the dead, profanely, as part of Serbia’s “command and control”. In 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, revealed that she had been pressured not to investigate Nato’s crimes.

This was the model for Washington’s subsequent invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and, by stealth, Syria. All qualify as “paramount crimes” under the Nuremberg standard; all depended on media propaganda. While tabloid journalism played its traditional part, it was serious, credible, often liberal journalism that was the most effective – the evangelical promotion of Blair and his wars by the Guardian, the incessant lies about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction in the Observer and the New York Times, and the unerring drumbeat of government propaganda by the BBC in the silence of its omissions.

At the height of the bombing, the BBC’s Kirsty Wark interviewed General Wesley Clark, the Nato commander. The Serbian city of Nis had just been sprayed with American cluster bombs, killing women, old people and children in an open market and a hospital. Wark asked not a single question about this, or about any other civilian deaths.

Others were more brazen. In February 2003, the day after Blair and Bush had set fire to Iraq, the BBC’s political editor, Andrew Marr, stood in Downing Street and made what amounted to a victory speech. He excitedly told his viewers that Blair had “said they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right.” Today, with a million dead and a society in ruins, Marr’s BBC interviews are recommended by the US embassy in London.

Marr’s colleagues lined up to pronounce Blair “vindicated”. The BBC’s Washington correspondent, Matt Frei, said, “There’s no doubt that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially to the Middle East … is now increasingly tied up with military power.”

This obeisance to the United States and its collaborators as a benign force “bringing good” runs deep in western establishment journalism. It ensures that the present-day catastrophe in Syria is blamed exclusively on Bashar al-Assad, whom the West and Israel have long conspired to overthrow, not for any humanitarian concerns, but to consolidate Israel’s aggressive power in the region. The jihadist forces unleashed and armed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey and their “coalition” proxies serve this end. It is they who dispense the propaganda and videos that becomes news in the US and Europe, and provide access to journalists and guarantee a one-sided “coverage” of Syria.

The city of Aleppo is in the news. Most readers and viewers will be unaware that the majority of the population of Aleppo lives in the government-controlled western part of the city. That they suffer daily artillery bombardment from western-sponsored al-Qaida is not news. On 21 July, French and American bombers attacked a government village in Aleppo province, killing up to 125 civilians. This was reported on page 22 of the Guardian; there were no photographs.

Having created and underwritten jihadism in Afghanistan in the 1980s as Operation Cyclone — a weapon to destroy the Soviet Union — the US is doing something similar in Syria. Like the Afghan Mujahideen, the Syrian “rebels” are America’s and Britain’s foot soldiers. Many fight for al-Qaida and its variants; some, like the Nusra Front, have rebranded themselves to comply with American sensitivities over 9/11. The CIA runs them, with difficulty, as it runs jihadists all over the world.

The immediate aim is to destroy the government in Damascus, which, according to the most credible poll (YouGov Siraj), the majority of Syrians support, or at least look to for protection, regardless of the barbarism in its shadows. The long-term aim is to deny Russia a key Middle Eastern ally as part of a Nato war of attrition against the Russian Federation that eventually destroys it.

The nuclear risk is obvious, though suppressed by the media across “the free world”. The editorial writers of the Washington Post, having promoted the fiction of WMD in Iraq, demand that Obama attack Syria. Hillary Clinton, who publicly rejoiced at her executioner’s role during the destruction of Libya, has repeatedly indicated that, as president, she will “go further” than Obama.

Gareth Porter, a samidzat journalist reporting from Washington, recently revealed the names of those likely to make up a Clinton cabinet, who plan an attack on Syria. All have belligerent cold war histories; the former CIA director, Leon Panetta, says that “the next president is gonna have to consider adding additional special forces on the ground”.

What is most remarkable about the war propaganda now in floodtide is its patent absurdity and familiarity. I have been looking through archive film from Washington in the 1950s when diplomats, civil servants and journalists were witch-hunted and ruined by Senator Joe McCarthy for challenging the lies and paranoia about the Soviet Union and China.  Like a resurgent tumour, the anti-Russia cult has returned.

In Britain, the Guardian’s Luke Harding leads his newspaper’s Russia-haters in a stream of journalistic parodies that assign to Vladimir Putin every earthly iniquity.  When the Panama Papers leak was published, the front page said Putin, and there was a picture of Putin; never mind that Putin was not mentioned anywhere in the leaks.

Like Milosevic, Putin is Demon Number One. It was Putin who shot down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. Headline: “As far as I’m concerned, Putin killed my son.” No evidence required. It was Putin who was responsible for Washington’s documented (and paid for) overthrow of the elected government in Kiev in 2014. The subsequent terror campaign by fascist militias against the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine was the result of Putin’s “aggression”. Preventing Crimea from becoming a Nato missile base and protecting the mostly Russian population who had voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia – from which Crimea had been  annexed – were more examples of Putin’s “aggression”.  Smear by media inevitably becomes war by media. If war with Russia breaks out, by design or by accident, journalists will bear much of the responsibility.

In the US, the anti-Russia campaign has been elevated to virtual reality. The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, an economist with a Nobel Prize, has called Donald Trump the “Siberian Candidate” because Trump is Putin’s man, he says. Trump had dared to suggest, in a rare lucid moment, that war with Russia might be a bad idea. In fact, he has gone further and removed American arms shipments to Ukraine from the Republican platform. “Wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia,” he said.

This is why America’s warmongering liberal establishment hates him. Trump’s racism and ranting demagoguery have nothing to do with it. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s record of racism and extremism can out-trump Trump’s any day. (This week is the 20th anniversary of the Clinton welfare “reform” that launched a war on African-Americans). As for Obama: while American police gun down his fellow African-Americans the great hope in the White House has done nothing to protect them, nothing to relieve their impoverishment, while running four rapacious wars and an assassination campaign without precedent.

The CIA has demanded Trump is not elected.  Pentagon generals have demanded he is not elected. The pro-war New York Times — taking a breather from its relentless low-rent Putin smears —  demands that he is not elected. Something is up. These tribunes of “perpetual war” are terrified that the multi-billion-dollar business of war by which the United States maintains its dominance will be undermined if Trump does a deal with Putin, then with China’s Xi Jinping.  Their panic at the possibility of the world’s great power talking peace – however unlikely – would be the blackest farce were the issues not so dire.

“Trump would have loved Stalin!” bellowed Vice-President Joe Biden at a rally for Hillary Clinton. With Clinton nodding, he shouted, “We never bow. We never bend. We never kneel. We never yield. We own the finish line. That’s who we are. We are America!”

In Britain, Jeremy Corbyn has also excited hysteria from the war-makers in the Labour Party and from a media devoted to trashing him. Lord West, a former admiral and Labour minister, put it well. Corbyn was taking an “outrageous” anti-war position “because it gets the unthinking masses to vote for him”.

In a debate with leadership challenger Owen Smith, Corbyn was asked by the moderator: “How would you act on a violation by Vladimir Putin of a fellow Nato state?”

Corbyn replied: “You would want to avoid that happening in the first place. You would build up a good dialogue with Russia … We would try to introduce a de-militarisation of the borders between Russia, the Ukraine and the other countries on the border between Russia and Eastern Europe. What we cannot allow is a series of calamitous build-ups of troops on both sides which can only lead to great danger.”

Pressed to say if he would authorise war against Russia “if you had to”, Corbyn replied: “I don’t wish to go to war – what I want to do is achieve a world that we don’t need to go to war.”

The line of questioning owes much to the rise of Britain’s liberal war-makers. The Labour Party and the media have long offered them career opportunities.  For a while the moral tsunami of the great crime of Iraq left them floundering, their inversions of the truth a temporary embarrassment. Regardless of Chilcot and the mountain of incriminating facts, Blair remains their inspiration, because he was a “winner”.

Dissenting journalism and scholarship have since been systematically banished or appropriated, and democratic ideas emptied and refilled with “identity politics” that confuse gender with feminism and public angst with liberation and wilfully ignore the state violence and weapons profiteering that destroys countless lives in faraway places, like Yemen and Syria, and beckon nuclear war in Europe and across the world.

The stirring of people of all ages around the spectacular rise of Jeremy Corbyn counters this to some extent. His life has been spent illuminating the horror of war. The problem for Corbyn and his supporters is the Labour Party. In America, the problem for the thousands of followers of Bernie Sanders was the Democratic Party, not to mention their ultimate betrayal by their great white hope. In the US, home of the great civil rights and anti-war movements, it is Black Lives Matter and the likes of Codepink that lay the roots of a modern version.

For only a movement that swells into every street and across borders and does not give up can stop the warmongers. Next year, it will be a century since Wilfred Owen wrote the following. Every journalist should read it and remember it.

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

JohnPilger.com – the films and journalism of John Pilger

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It is now several months since the Immigration Act became law. It contained one crucial amendment, that the UK should take an unspecified number of unaccompanied child refugees from Europe. So far very little seems to have happened.

Save the Children had identified that there were a large number of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe; their most recent estimate was 95,000. Equally alarming was the fact that some 10,000 are believed to have disappeared. These young people are clearly in danger, liable to be dragged into criminality, to be trafficked and forced into prostitution. The need to find them safety is urgent.

The government’s original objection was that taking in these unaccompanied child refugees would act as a magnet and attract others to make the dangerous journey to Europe. However, given the dangers facing these young people in Europe it seemed clear that leaving them without any hope of safety was surely quite wrong.

The amendment was originally passed in the Lords by a large majority. The government then pulled out all stops to prevent it passing in the Commons. Indeed at one point Theresa May, then the home secretary, tried to persuade me to withdraw the amendment, in return for which the government would take more refugees from the region. I declined this.

When the Immigration Bill got to the Commons it was narrowly defeated. In the meantime I was pleasantly surprised that several government ministers stopped me in the corridor to wish me luck with the amendment.

The Lords passed a similar amendment with an even bigger majority and before it reached the Commons again the home secretary told me that the government proposed to accept the amendment.

What made the government give way? It was fairly clear that more Tory MPs were now prepared to ignore their whips and support the amendment. And the reason for this was public opinion. It was becoming clearer that many British people had strong humanitarian feelings and wanted us to do something about the refugee crisis that was being shown so graphically on our TV screens. And there was increasing pressure on Tory MPs from their constituents to vote in favour.

Ministers assured me that the government would accept the letter and the spirit of the amendment. The government stated that they would take unaccompanied refugee children from France, Greece and Italy who had arrived in Europe before March this year. Nobody has ever suggested that all the unaccompanied child refugees in Europe should come to the UK. We should, however, take our share. Some EU countries have done well in this regard: others not at all. A British example could be very influential.

I have had a long phone conversation with the new immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, and am due to meet him in early September. I went to Calais some weeks ago and intend to go again next month. On my first visit I met nine Afghan refugee children and was given documentation about them – which I forwarded to the Home Office on my return. It appears that four of them subsequently got to Britain on the back of a lorry, a very dangerous thing to do, especially as some children have been killed through attempting this. The remaining children may still be in Calais.

All over the country there are now voluntary groups set up to welcome refugees and bring pressure on local authorities to make arrangements to identify suitable foster parents. There are some active NGOs working to achieve progress: Citizens UK, Help Refugees and others. Some local council leaders went to Calais a few days ago, visited the « Jungle » and met the Mayor of Calais. It appears the French authorities are threatening to bulldoze the camp and there is widespread concern lest this should happen before adequate arrangements are made for the people living there, especially the children.

We all want the children to start coming to Britain as soon as possible, hopefully some by September so they do not miss another year of education.

There are of course other children who are eligible to come here. They are young people who have close members of their families already here and again the process is taking a long time.

Such long delays are surely unacceptable. Together with the French, Greek and Italian authorities we must overcome the bureaucratic log jams and show some real political will.

Alf Dubs is Labour member of the House of Lords. He came to Britain on the Kindertransport programme for Jewish children.

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Germany has just warned its citizens of an upcoming catastrophe and urged them to stockpile food, water and money for at least 10 days, to be autonomous and independent until the government has caught up putting the necessary public safety systems in place – in case of a ‘catastrophe’. There was no mention on the type of disaster awaiting them. A war, an economic and or monetary collapse, or both? – The warning was later downplayed as part of a ‘routine exercise’ in Germany’s new defense strategy.

On a related note, against many Members of Parliament and several ministers, the German Bundeswehr (army) has declared Russia as an enemy nation. This is akin to a declaration of war. The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, Alexei Puschkow, has posted the Twitter message:

‘The decision of the German government declaring Russia to be an enemy shows Merkel’s subservience to the Obama administration.’

The idea of the German warning is to scare people. People who are afraid can be easily manipulated. While buying supermarkets’ shelves empty, they will ask for more police and military protection. That’s precisely what Washington and the EU want – a militarization of Europe. Germany, being Obama’s chief vassal, is the mouthpiece for the rest of Europe. At the same time, this scare tactic is an indirect warning of a threat of aggression from Russia. The past weeks of western lie-propaganda have shown Russia’s protection of Crimea with heavy maneuvers in the Black Sea, depicting them as a preparation of war towards the west. Never mind that Ukraine’s self-styled lord Poroshenko has threatened to take Crimea back, amassing troops and tanks at the border of this historic and strategic Russian peninsula.

Of course, things do not look good for the US-NATO led West with its EU stooges. Turkey’s President Erdogan has turned away from the notorious west to Mr. Putin and may be abandoning his alliance with Washington, Brussels – and NATO. Russia has asked Ankara to use its Incirlik airbase in the south, close to the Syrian border, currently mainly occupied by NATO, storing some 50 US nuclear warheads and uncountable US fighter jets and helicopters, plus housing at least 5,000 US-NATO troops. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, said last Saturday, that Russia could use the base, but denied that any such request has been made by Russia. In fact, according to EurActiv.com, “the Pentagon has initiated the transfer of 20 B61-type aviation bombs with nuclear warheads from the Turkish Incirlik air base to the Deveselu base in Romania currently hosting the US missile shield.” Although the Romanian Foreign Ministry has denied this news, it is nonetheless largely credible, says Valentin Vasilescu of Russia’s katehon.com.

Incidentally, Incirlik is the base from which the two Turkish fighters took off to shoot down the Russian fighter jet Su24 patrolling the Turkish-Syrian border last November. The two pilots, one of whom was the killer, were either CIA agents, or were acting on CIA orders. It is known that Incirlik is infested with dozens of CIA agents.

President Erdogan’s new alliance with Russia, his recently re-established relation with his old friend Bashar al-Assad, Turkey’s supposed closing of her borders to the Islamic State (IS-ISIS-Daesh) at the request of Russia, plus Iran putting her Hamadan base at Russia’s disposal, making Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and (perhaps) Turkey the new axis of stability and maybe peace in the Middle East, is not boding well for the West. It is more than a loss of prestige. The area contains an enormous wealth of hydrocarbons and other natural resources – and the new axis threatens to block the Zionist expansion towards a Greater Israel that would cover about a third of the current area called Middle East, including all of Palestine, Jordan, Syria, parts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. This, and for achieving world hegemony, Full Spectrum Dominance, the overall objective of the ever ongoing PNAC (Plan for a New American Century), is what Washington is fighting for. No small matter. And not easy to let go.

——

It would not be surprising if some bold aggression – militarily, monetarily or both – by the West would rock the world. Indications to this effect are plentiful, other than the German appeal to her citizens to hoard food and money.

Could a fabricated incident, like a false flag event, in the Middle East trigger a Russia – US-NATO confrontation? For example, Syrian Government war planes a few days ago were bombing for the first time in the five-year Syrian ‘civil war’ Hasaka, a stronghold of the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units), basically a group of mercenaries, supported and funded by the US and NATO. The leader of YPG is allegedly affiliated with Mossad. Syria’s attack was in response to the YPG’s killing of civilians and Syrian Army soldiers. Was this Syrian attack provoked by YPG? Syria has repeatedly said that any foreign and uninvited foreign intervention on her territory would not be tolerated and immediately fought back. The US instantly sent a warning to Syria that US-NATO war planes may retaliate against President Assad’s forces – which in turn are backed by Russia. Could that be an orchestrated reason for an imminent US-Russia clash? – Such a confrontation would have ramifications way beyond the Middle East and could escalate to WWIII.

It is hard to believe that Washington would risk a war with Russia, being well aware of Russia’s superiority in the air, as well as on and under the sea with latest generation technology and nuclear war heads. But the exceptional nation on a declining course, knows no scruples pulling the entire humanity into her self-made abyss.

Another scenario of a world-shaking catastrophe may be financial. Lord Jacob Rothschild of the ultra-rich Rothschild family, recently proclaimed that “the western central bankers are conducting the greatest experiment in monetary policy history with consequences impossible to predict.” He added that the world is in ‘uncharted waters’. Although he doesn’t precisely explain what he means, he refers to ‘unintended’ low interest rates with ‘30% of global government debt at negative yields’. He also talks about the almost unlimited ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE – indiscriminate production of money) of western central banks. As a consequence, he says, the Rothschilds are shifting their money gradually away from the dollar into gold and other, presumably western ‘aligned’ currencies. He didn’t specify.

Why would a member of one of the most secretive and the globe’s richest families, the Rothschilds, come out in the open telling the world what he is doing with his investments? – Is there a purpose behind it? – Almost for sure. But how does it fit into what the FED-ECB-Wall Street may have concocted to happen next? – Is it a hint that the gold standard in one form or another may return? After all, maybe envisioning such an advent, Russia and China in the past 20 to 25 years, since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, have filled their coffers with gold. According to Sergey Glazyev, one of Russia’s top economists, Russia’s currency is covered twice with the value of gold. China’s Yuan is also fully gold-backed. Russia is the world’s second largest producer of gold. The US too has been amassing gold. Nobody knows exactly how much Russia, China and the US have accumulated.

——

A few months ago, talking about the disintegration of the EU and its currency, the euro, was taboo. Since BREXIT, the topic is increasingly on the agenda of most economic fora in Europe. It’s become ‘mainstream’, so to speak. When before the BREXIT vote people were afraid to touch the subject, today they dare happily voicing their anger and disagreements about the sick, inhuman European Union and its equally sick currency – and how it best would disappear. That’s good. Daring to talk and seeing the reality is healthy.

Washington is of course aware of this. US money circles know that BREXIT may have inspired a mass movement that cannot be stopped. Rather than letting the Europeans take the reins of dissolving their pathetic EU-Euro tandem, Washington, as usual, wants to call the shots – so that the dice fall in its favor. There are several plausible scenarios, all of which are sheer speculation at this point.

Returning to the gold standard – may involve a massive devaluation of the US dollar. It would bring down the economy of most countries dependent on the dollar and with large dollar reserves- which would partially go up in smoke. Also, dollar holdings, means holding US debt. At home in the United States it would mean debt would be eviscerated, while abroad assets held un US-dollar denominated securities would lose their value. This would apply to most developing countries still almost unconditionally tied to the dollar – especially Africa which holds by most accounts close to two thirds of the world’s remaining natural resources. Guess, who may appropriate these resources as payment against fake and fabricated debt? There is not much speculation about what would happen with those in-and-on-the-ground riches.

Worldwide dollar denominated reserves have dropped in the last 20 years from about 80% of all reserves to below 60% today and declining. Most European countries may still have dollar reserves, but also gold. Rather than speculating over the value of gold – which is almost entirely in the hands of the BIS (Bank for International Settlement – Basel, Switzerland), itself controlled by the Rothschilds, Rockefellers and a few other Wall Street magnates, they may decide to take back their sovereignty and return to their own currency, devalued or revalued as they see fit, also eviscerating their debt, ‘resetting’ their system, so to speak.

Brussels, the ECB (European Central Bank) and the IMF, would be mere onlookers – and later trying to become the arbiters on how these countries’ debt maybe converted into gold. We can just hope that ‘sovereignty’ would indeed mean ‘sovereignty’, and that listening to stooges such as the ECB and IMF would be a thing of the past.

Germany, the Obama vassal numero uno that calls out the warning to its people – and by extension to the rest of Europe – may have made a deal under which they would not lose. – In any case for a local or new currency to be launched, it may take half a year. Germany may have prepared for such a move and hopes in ten days after the disaster hits, it may be up to speed putting the new system with electronic tellers and all on stream.

Another scenario may be that some of the TBTF (too-big-to-fail) banks, in connivance with the FED, would call in their outstanding derivatives. Estimates on worldwide outstanding derivatives range from about 700 trillion dollars to more than a quadrillion. This is money not even made of thin air, it’s just invented. But it could break the necks of smaller banks, à la Lehman Brothers – remember September 2008? – That would bring down the western world’s financial system, all the while maintaining the dollar hegemony. All or most derivative denominations are in US dollars.

Whatever may emerge, it is not a pretty picture for the west. In July 2016, on the occasion of the 95th Anniversary of China’s Communist Party, President Xi Jinping declared “The New World Order is Finished.” He also evoked the collapse of the US economy and the disintegration of the European Union. No western mainstream media covered the event.

What the West wants to ignore is that there is an alternative to the fraudulent western monetary system – a Russia-China based monetary scheme, totally delinked from the dollar-euro and the western privately owned FED-BIS-Wall Street manipulated system; a monetary structure built according to the value and strength of the member countries’ economies. Instead of illegal sanctions, blackmail, threats and outright financial wars for those ‘unwilling’ to submit to Washington, the eastern perspective offers a potential of equitable economic development, fairness in trade to a federation of sovereign nations.

It is high time for the freedom loving world to move out from under the boots of the empire; that we return to a multi-polar world of equals, that the international agencies we created to serve humanity are freed from the claws of their hijackers in Washington and those who command Washington, that the UN and its specialized agencies, as well as the International Criminal Court – even the Olympic Committee – may operate according to their peoples’ given mandates, that they may operate without the oppressive fist of Washington dictating them their terms. ‘Economics of Peace’ under a new egalitarian monetary system may lead humanity to freedom and prosperity for all.

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, 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.

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In a move starkly pointing to the risk of all-out war between the major powers in the Middle East, the US military said yesterday that it had scrambled fighter jets Thursday against government bombers inside Syria to protect US Special Forces operating with Kurdish « rebel » militias.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime sent two Su-24 bombers to bomb Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces advancing on government-held positions in the city of Hasakah. The bombers nearly hit US Special Forces troops that are deployed illegally in Syria, embedded in the YPG. US officials tried to contact Syrian government and Russian forces operating in the region, and Russian officials replied that their bombers were not involved.

The US fighter planes arrived after the Syrian bombers had left the area, and no US soldiers were injured. Washington then stepped up its air patrols in the region. Yesterday, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis warned of military action against any threat to US forces.

Washington, he said, would “take whatever action is necessary” to protect US Special Forces in Syria. “We will ensure their safety, » he continued, « and the Syrian regime would be well advised not to do things that place them at risk… We view instances that place the coalition at risk with utmost seriousness and we do have the inherent right of self defense.”

Davis also criticized the Assad government for suddenly attacking the YPG, which until recently served as its de facto ally against CIA-backed Islamist militias. “This is very unusual, we have not seen the regime take this type of action against YPG before,” he said.

Davis’ barely veiled threat that the Pentagon could attack Syrian government forces to protect its troops, which are operating in Syria in violation of the country’s sovereignty and without even the fig leaf of a UN mandate, points to the basic war aims of Washington and its European allies. Claims that their intervention is aimed at fighting Islamist terror groups, which evolved out of militias they supported against the Assad regime, are a political fraud. The imperialist powers’ goal was and remains regime-change.

As the CIA arms the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Aleppo against Assad’s forces, the Pentagon is supporting the offensive of the YPG, which recently renamed itself the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after absorbing a few smaller, ethnic-Arab militias.

Washington’s reckless threats to use force against Syrian government forces risk escalating the conflict into a catastrophic global war of the United States and its European allies against the major powers intervening in Syria to defend the regime: Iran, Russia and now China.

Tehran, Moscow and Beijing have all presented their operations in Syria as missions to fight Islamist terror groups alongside Washington. After Russia intervened in Syria militarily last year, Moscow and Washington developed channels of communications to prevent simultaneous US and Russian air strikes in Syria from accidentally leading to a military clash between the world’s two leading nuclear powers.

The façade of international unity built around agreements to bomb the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militia was, however, superficial and false. Washington and powerful forces in the European Union still aimed for regime-change, and deeply rooted conflicts persisted between the major powers. Moscow and Beijing fear the drive for hegemony in the Middle East mounted by Washington after the dissolution of the USSR in 1991—especially the regime-change policy applied in the illegal 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the 2011 NATO war in Libya, and then the Western-sponsored civil war in Syria.

As Washington stoked conflict with Russia after toppling a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine in 2014, and with China over the South China Sea and North Korea, Moscow and Beijing concluded that they could not allow yet another violent, US-led regime-change, this time in Syria. US threats have not succeeded in whipping Russia and China into line. Instead, Russia and China are escalating their involvement in Syria.

The near-confrontation between US and Syrian jets points to the danger that this situation will trigger a military clash—either with an accidental collision between US, Russian or allied forces in Syria or a deliberate attack intended as a signal to the opposing side—which could escalate into all-out war.

The Syrian government launched more air strikes against YPG forces near Hasakah yesterday. Fighting had broken out earlier this week between Kurdish forces and the pro-regime National Defense Forces (NDF) militia in Hasakah, and the Syrian army issued a statement declaring it had “responded appropriately” to Kurdish attempts to conquer the city.

Hasakah residents are reporting that both the US-backed YPG and pro-government forces are using heavy weaponry in the city.

“This is the first time the regime used warplanes to strike in Hasakah. The bombing is very strong. This is the first time the relationship between the two sides reaches this level,” Hasakah resident Lina al-Najjari told the Wall Street Journal. “We live in an area that is surrounded by the fighting. We have prepared our suitcases to leave once we get the chance. But we cannot leave our house at the moment. We cannot step outside.”

The Kremlin also launched large-scale air strikes on Islamist targets across Syria, in the north near Aleppo and in the northeast around Deir-ez-Zor. The strikes were mounted from warships in the Black Sea and by strategic bombers flying out of bases in Iran and Syria.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials continued to voice support for the Assad regime after Beijing took the unprecedented step earlier this week of sending a high-level military delegation to Damascus. Admiral Guan Youfei, the director of the Chinese military’s Office for International Military Cooperation, agreed with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij to step up Chinese personnel training and aid for the Syrian army.

The Chinese army’s English-language China Military Online web site declared, “There are already Chinese military advisors in Syria, focusing on personnel training in weapons, since the Syrian government forces are buyers of Chinese weapons, including sniper rifles, rocket launchers and machine guns.” Moreover, it asserted that, while many Syrian-Chinese arms deals were suspended due to the war, now “there could be engagement again over these contracts.”

Citing Middle East Studies Professor Zhao Weiming of Shanghai International Studies University, the site also suggested that Beijing’s new Syria policy was retaliation for the US “pivot to Asia,” which seeks to isolate China. “Since the US has been interfering militarily in China’s backyard in the South China Sea, this could be push-back from the Chinese military into an area, the Middle East, that is usually considered a US sphere of military influence,” it reported.

A major factor in the sudden public intervention of China into the Syrian conflict, Chinese analysts explained, is last month’s failed US-backed coup in Turkey. “In developing a closer relationship with Syria, one has to take into account the changes at hand in Syria and the region, including the fast recovering relations between Turkey and Russia,” said Wang Lian of the School of International Studies at Peking University.

The Assad regime’s bombing of the YPG points to some of the geo-strategic concerns that underlay Washington’s decision to give at least tacit backing to the coup attempt.

Washington’s search for reliable proxies in Syria, and, in particular, the Pentagon’s choice of the Kurdish YPG as a suitable candidate, ultimately united a wide coalition of countries against it. Turkish officials were deeply concerned that YPG victories in Syria would stoke Kurdish separatist sentiment within Turkey itself. The Syrian regime, backed by Russia and China, was preparing an attack on the YPG to keep it from gaining too much influence and setting up a US-backed regime in northern Syria.

The failure of the coup in Turkey and the subsequent purge of pro-US Turkish officers suspected of sympathy for the coup only shifted Ankara closer to the Russian and Syrian regimes.

The main danger that arises is that, in order to salvage its intervention in Syria, the US government and its allies will mount an even more reckless military escalation.

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Hillary Clinton has serious health problems.

She needs stools and pillows at hand constantly. She wants to debate Trump sitting down.

Ben Garrison

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Last weekend, the situation in southwestern Aleppo was remaining tense. The Syrian Army, the National Defense Forces, Hezbollah, and other pro-government militias supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, made a series to attempts to advance on the areas controlled by Jaish al-Fatah operation room but was not able to make significant gains against.

The pro-government forces failed to seize Tell Mahrouqat and Al-Qarassi village, but they seized the Alqara hill and Tal Syratel. The control of Alqara will allow the Syrian army to strengthen fire pressure on the Khan Touman-Ramouseh road. Nonetheless, this will not shift the balance in the area, significantly. The pro-government forces will need to expand control of the 1070 Project, the Technical College and the Hikma School if they want to take an upper hand in the ongoing positional warfare for Aleppo city.

The Syrian and Russian Air Forces conducted over 70 air strikes in and near Aleppo city. They were reported at the Ramouseh roundabout, the Ramouseh Artillery Academy, the Al-‘Amariyah neighborhood and the village of Al-Qarassi.

On August 21 evening, a ceasefire agreement was reportedly signed between the National Defense Forces loyal to the Syrian government and the Kurdish police, Asayish/the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the city of Hasakah in eastern Syria. Reports said that agreement included transfer of captured areas and further talks on the situation in the city. There were also reports that Maj. Gen. Hassan Mohamad has replaced Maj. Gen. Mohamad Khaddour as commander of the Syrian army’s 17th Division and the eastern region of Syria. However, August 22 showed that the goal of setting up a ceasefire in the city likely failed again. Shellings and firefights resumed in various neighborhoods.

We remind, August 18th represented an unprecedented day in the Syrian conflict, with the Syrian air force launching bombardments on Kurdish positions after pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF) were engaged in clashes with Kurdish police, known as the ‘Asayish, ’ and their allies in the People’s Protection Units (YPG).’

In response to the Syrian air strikes, another first in the conflict occurred on August 19 when the US coalition scrambled fighters to counter the SU-24s. Pentagon threated to shoot down Syrian planes over Hasakah because they pose a threat to the US Special Forces servicemen deployed with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the area. In turn, the Syrian government forces have deployed at least 2 surface-to-air missile systems to the area of Hasakah. Battles took place in the streets of Hasakah till August 21 morning with the both sides blaming each other in escalation.

The Israeli Air Force conducted up to 30 airstrikes over the Gaza Strip overnight on August 22 after a rocket struck the Israeli border-city of Sderot. A half dozen people were reportedly wounded in Gaza due to these the Israel Air Force’s air strikes. Reports say that Aknef Beit Al-Maqdis, a Palestinian militant group linked to Al-Qaeda, was responsible for the attack on Sderot. The organization responsible for the rocket attack in Sderot on Sunday was Aknef Beit Al-Maqdis, which is a Palestinian militant group with close ties to Al-Qaeda. Aknef Beit Al-Maqdis was recently involved in the Syrian war by attacking pro-government forces in the Yarmouk Camp District of southern Damascus.

No casualties were reported in the Israeli town. However, the recent air strikes on the Gaza Strip will likely further escalate the already complicated situation in the region amid the ongoing tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, another side directly involved into the Syrian war, in southern Lebanon.

On August 18, Hezbollah warned Israel against the ongoing construction of a two-kilometer-long road in the Shebaa Farms in Israeli-occupied Lebanese territory. A day later, a Lebanese flag was raised in Shebaa Farms by people from southern Lebanon as a protest against the construction of the road. The UN forces, stationed in the area to monitor a ceasefire, the Lebanese and Israeli military forces went on high alert as the protesters entered into the occupied territory. About 500 Israeli troops were deployed in area about three kilometers away from the demonstrators. Israeli snipers also were spotted in the area of increased probability of starting a new armed conflict.

 

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Secretary of State visits Kenya with initiatives on South Sudan and Somalia

Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Nairobi, Kenya on August 22 for meetings with President Uhuru Kenyatta and foreign ministers from several regional countries in East Africa.

Washington’s top envoy focused attention on the fractious political situation in neighboring South Sudan and Somalia.

In the Republic of South Sudan a split between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar in December 2013 was never fully resolved. The agreement brokered by the regional Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) sought to create a coalition aimed at the re-integration of military forces from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) headed by Kiir and the SPLM/A in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) led by Machar.

US Secretary of State John Kerry with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

The former Vice-President Machar returned to the capital of Juba in April under the presumption that he would be placed back into his position held prior to the December 2013 fighting which took on the dimensions of an ethnic conflict between the Dinka and Nuer groups. The fighting over the last two-and-a-half years has worsened the humanitarian crisis inside South Sudan with reports of atrocities committed by the military forces of both factions and the displacement of two million people impacted by the conflict.

Despite the agreement for a coalition government, clashes erupted during mid-July after which Kiir appointed another Vice-President Taban Deng Gai prompting Machar to flee the capital and the country. Deng, a former negotiator for the SPLM/A-IO, has apparently broken ranks with Machar.

Deng had served as the minister of mines in the government prior to the fracturing of the SPLM. He is the previous governor of Unity state.

In recent weeks, the U.S. sponsored a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for the deployment of an additional 4,000 troops as part of a so-called “protection force.” Kerry’s visit in part is designed to encourage acceptance of the plan and to create the appearance of concern from the White House which played a pivotal role in the partition of the Republic of Sudan in 2011, once Africa’s largest geographic nation-state.

The immediate response from the government in Juba was to reject the UN resolution. At present it appears as if President Kiir is prepared to accept the protection force on the condition that the government in Juba can negotiate the size and terms of the deployment. There are already 12,000 UN troops stationed in South Sudan under the UN Mission (UNMISS) to the oil-rich country.

Machar was reported to have been in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on August 17 in an area on the border with South Sudan under the care of the government of President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa. UN forces have been stationed in the DRC for many years in an attempt to maintain some semblance of stability particularly in the Eastern region of the vast Central African state which is the size of all of Western Europe.

Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman, said on August 18 that: « We were aware yesterday of the presence of Riek Machar in DRC. At that point the UN Mission contacted the authorities in the DRC who in turn requested MONUSCO [UN’s mission in the DRC] to facilitate his extraction and his transfer to the care of the DRC. We have undergone an extraction operation and so he is currently in the care of the authorities in the DRC. »

Nonetheless, some media accounts have reported that the DRC government was not officially in charge of Machar’s security. « They said they are aware that he is in one of the border areas of DRC but they have no official information of Machar being under their care, which is contradictory to the statement of the UN, » according to Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Juba. (Aug. 18)

A spokesman for Machar reportedly said that he wants to travel to Ethiopia very soon. Additional reports from the SPLA-IO said that there had been an assassination attempt against Machar and he was in need of medical attention.

Abayomi Azikiwe on press TV on Kenya, April 5, 2015

Somalia: The Failure of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Horn of Africa

In addition to the crisis in South Sudan, Kerry was in Nairobi to discuss the ongoing war in Somalia where a U.S. and European Union (EU) supported regime in Mogadishu has not been able to subdue and eradicate the Al-Shabaab Islamic organization which has waged a struggle against the fragile government over the last several years.

At present there are 22,000 African troops from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) occupying the Horn of Africa state. AMISOM was established in 2007 in the aftermath of the intervention of neighboring Ethiopia in a bid to oust the Union of Islamic Courts (ICU) which had drawn the ire of Washington under the previous administration of President George W. Bush, Jr.

Since 2007, the U.S. has launched numerous bombing operations in Somalia against the Islamists who now are largely represented by Al-Shabaab after an agreement with the leadership of the ICU to join the Somalian Federal government in early 2009. Al-Shabaab is demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country.

The war has spread into Kenya after Nairobi intervened in the South of Somalia in 2011 at the aegis of the U.S. There have been numerous incursions by Al-Shabaab into Kenya resulting in the deaths of military personnel and civilians.

In recent months several participating states in the AMISOM project have become weary of its viability. A drawing down of forces in Somalia by 2018 has created the potential for an even larger political vacuum in the region.

Abdiwahab Abdisamad Abdisamad, who is described in a Voice of America (VOA) report as a Horn of Africa security analyst, suggested that the restructuring of the Somali National Army is the only way to bring lasting security and stability in the country.

“So many people are asking themselves how 22,000 AMISOM troops, 10,000 Somali troops, the alpha group unit trained by the U.S. government, plus other Somali regional administrations’ troops which total over 100,000 troops,” Abdisamad said cannot bring peace and security. “All those forces are struggling to contain 5,000 militants. Therefore, this proves that this project is a failure and it is clear that a reformation of Somali military is better.”

Kerry said that the U.S. is allocating an additional “$117 million to support refugees, returnees and drought victims in Somalia. He said another $29 million will be donated to the U.N. refugee agency for the safe and voluntary return of Somali refugees in Kenya, primarily from the sprawling Dadaab camp.” (VOA, Aug. 22)

Washington to Maintain Imperialist Posture in the Region

Kerry weighed in on the electoral politics in Kenya commenting on recent dismissals from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Washington did not support the election of President Kenyatta in 2013, backing his rival and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is perceived as being more pro-U.S.

“I am pleased to see that progress is being made in reforming the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and I urge in the most emphatic terms that disagreements about policy and process be resolved through peaceful means,” said Kerry. “Kenya has come a long way since the elections of 2007. It is up to leaders on all sides that the violence that took place in the aftermath of that election is never repeated.” (VOA, Aug. 22)

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry is also scheduled to visit the West African state of Nigeria as well as Saudi Arabia during his tour. The foreign policy of the Obama administration has fostered greater instability on the continent with the destruction of Libya, the partitioning of Sudan, the expansion of sanctions against Zimbabwe and threats to exclude the Republic of South Africa from the American-sponsored Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).

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Official Washington’s disdain for international law – when it’s doing the lawbreaking – was underscored by ex-CIA acting director Morell voicing plans for murdering Iranians and maybe Russians in Syria, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says.

On Aug. 17, TV interviewer Charlie Rose gave former acting CIA Director Michael Morell a “mulligan” for an earlier wayward drive on Aug. 8 that sliced deep into the rough and even stirred up some nonviolent animals by advocating the murder of Russians and Iranians. But, alas, Morell duffed the second drive, too.

Morell did so despite Rose’s efforts to tee up the questions as favorably as possible, trying to help Morell explain what he meant about “killing” Russians and Iranians in Syria and bombing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into submission.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell.

In the earlier interview, Morell said he wanted to “make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. … make the Russians pay a price in Syria.”

Rose: “We make them pay the price by killing Russians?”

Morell: “Yeah.”

Rose: “And killing Iranians?”

Morell: “Yes … You don’t tell the world about it. … But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”

In the follow-up interview, some of Rose’s fretful comments made it clear that there are still some American non-neocons around who were withholding applause for Morell’s belligerent suggestion.

Rose apparently has some viewers who oppose all terrorism, including the state-sponsored variety that would involve a few assassinations to send a message, and the notion that U.S. bombing Syria to “scare” Assad is somehow okay (as long as the perpetrator is the sole “indispensable” nation in the world).

Rose helped Morell ‘splain that he really did not want to have U.S. Special Forces kill Russians and Iranians. No, he would be satisfied if the U.S.-sponsored “moderate opposition” in Syria did that particular killing. But Morell would not back away from his advocacy of the U.S. Air Force bombing Syrian government targets. That would be “an okay thing” in Morell’s lexicon.

The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” That would seem to cover Morell’s plan.

But Morell seems oblivious to international law and to the vast human suffering already inflicted in Syria over the past five years by government forces, rebels, terrorists and outside nations trying to advance one geopolitical goal or another.

What is needed is a serious commitment to peace talks without unacceptable preconditions, such as outside demands for “regime change.” Instead, the focus should be on creating conditions for Syrians to make that choice themselves through elections or power-sharing negotiations.

Morell prefers to think that a few more U.S.-directed murders and some more aerial-inflicted mayhem should do the trick. Perhaps he thinks that’s the sort of tough-guy/gal talk that will impress a prospective President Hillary Clinton.

A Slight Imprecision?

Charlie Rose begins the “mulligan” segment with the suggestion that Morell might have slightly misspoken: “Tell me what you wanted to say so we understand it … Tell me what you meant to say … perhaps you did not speak as precisely as you should have or I didn’t ask the right questions.”

TV interviewer Charlie Rose.

TV interviewer Charlie Rose.

 

Morell responded, “No, no, Charlie, you always ask the right questions,” and then he presented his killing plan as a route to peace, albeit one in which the United States dictates “regime change” in Syria: “So there’s not a military solution to this, there is only a political solution. … And that political solution is, in my view, a transition of power from Assad to a, a, a transitional government that represents all of the Syrian people.

That is only going to happen if Assad wants it to happen, if Russia wants it to happen, if Iran wants it to happen.  So … we need to increase our leverage over those … three people and countries, in order to get them more interested in having a conversation about a transition to a new government.

And sometimes you use military force for military ends. Sometimes you use military force to give you political leverage. … So what I tried to say was, Look, we need to find some ways to put some pressure on Assad, or put some pressure on Russia, and put some pressure on Iran. Now, with regard to Russia and Iran, what I said was, what I wanted to say was: Look, the moderate opposition, which the United States is supporting (everybody knows that, right?), the moderate opposition is already fighting the Syrian government, and they’re already fighting Russians and Iranians. …

So … the Syrian military, supported by Russia and the Iranians, is fighting the moderate opposition. And the moderate opposition is already killing Iranians and Syrians. What, what I said is that’s an okay thing, right, because it puts pressure on Iran and Russia to try to see some value in ending this thing politically. And what I said is that we should encourage the moderate opposition to continue to do that and perhaps get a lot more aggressive.” (Emphasis added)

Rose: “You weren’t suggesting that the United States should do that, but the moderate forces on the ground.”

Morell: “And I think I came across as saying U.S. Special Forces should go in there and start killing Iranians and Russians. I did not say that. …

So that’s Russia and Iran. Now, Assad. How do you put some pressure on Assad, right? And here I did argue, Charlie, that the U.S. military itself should take some action, and what I would see as valuable is limited, very, very, very limited U.S. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to Assad personally. So, in the middle of the night you destroy one of his offices; you don’t kill anybody, right, zero collateral. … You do this with the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists. … (Emphasis added)

You take out his presidential aircraft, his presidential helicopters, in the middle of the night, right, just to send him a message and get his attention that, that maybe your days are numbered here, just to put some pressure on him to think about maybe, maybe the need to think about a way out of this.

Now these issues that I’m talking about here, right, are talked about in the sit room. They’re talked about in national security circles all the time, right. These are debates that people have, and I certainly understand that there are people on the other side of the argument from me, right. But I wasn’t talking about the U.S. starting a major war with Iran and Russia, and I think that was the way people interpreted it.

Acts of Illegal War

Not to put too fine a point on this, but everything that Morell is advocating here violates international law, the rules that – in other circumstances, i.e. when another government is involved – the U.S. government condemns as “aggression” or as an “invasion” or as “terrorism.”

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Remember, after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in February 2014, when Russia intervened to allow Crimea to hold a referendum on splitting away from the new regime in Kiev and rejoining Russia, the U.S. government insisted that there was no excuse for President Vladimir Putin not respecting the sovereignty of the coup regime even if it had illegally ousted an elected president.

However, regarding Syria, the United States and its various “allies,” including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, have intervened directly and indirectly in supporting various armed groups, including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, seeking the violent overthrow of Syria’s government.

Without any legal authorization from the United Nations, President Barack Obama has ordered the arming and training of anti-government rebels (including some who have fought under Nusra’s command structure), has carried out airstrikes inside Syria (aimed at Islamic State militants), and has deployed U.S. Special Forces inside Syria with Kurdish rebels.

Now, a former senior U.S. intelligence official is publicly urging bombing of Syrian government targets and the killing of Iranians and Russians who are legally inside Syria at the invitation of the internationally recognized government. In other words, not only does the U.S. government operate with breathtaking hypocrisy in the Syrian crisis, but it functions completely outside international law.

And, Morell says that in attacking Syrian government targets — supposedly without causing any deaths — the United States would employ “the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists,” except those rules of engagement explicitly seek to kill targeted individuals. So, what kind of dangerously muddled thinking do we have here?

One can only imagine the reaction if some Russian version of Morell went on Moscow TV and urged the murder of U.S. military trainers operating inside Ukraine – to send a message to Washington. And then, the Russian Morell would advocate Russia bombing Ukrainian government targets in Kiev with the supposed goal of forcing the U.S.-backed government to accept a “regime change” acceptable to Moscow.

A Fawning Audition

Rather than calls for him to be locked up or at least decisively repudiated, the American Morell was allowed to continue his fawning audition for a possible job in a Hillary Clinton administration by extolling her trustworthiness and “humanity.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Morell offered a heartwarming story about how compassionate Clinton was as Secretary of State when he lost out to John Brennan to be the fulltime CIA Director. After he was un-picked for the job, Morell said he was in the White House Situation Room and Clinton, “sat down next to me, put her hand on my shoulder, and she simply said, ‘Are you okay?’ There is humanity there, and I think the public needs to know.”

And, Clinton was a straight-shooter, too, Morell explained: “You know, it’s interesting, Charlie, I worked with her for four years. Leon Panetta, David Petraeus worked with her for four years. We trusted her word; we trusted her judgment. You know, [CIA] Director Panetta, [CIA] Director Petraeus, I provided her with some of the most sensitive information that the CIA collects and she never gave us one reason to doubt how she was handling that. You know, she spoke to us forthrightly. … I trust her word and I trust her judgment.”

Can Morell be unaware that Clinton repeatedly put highly sensitive intelligence on her very vulnerable private email server along with other data that later investigations determined should have been marked SECRET, TOP SECRET, CODEWORD, and/or SPECIAL ACCESS PROGRAMS?

FBI Director James Comey, in announcing that he would not recommend prosecuting Clinton for compromising these secrets, called her behavior “extremely careless.”

For his part, Charlie Rose offered a lament about how hard it is for Clinton to convey her “humanity” and how deserving she is of trust. He riffed on the Biblical passage about those who can be trusted in small matters (like sitting down next to Morell, putting her hand on his shoulder, and asking him if he is okay) can be trusted on big matters, too.

My Travails With Charlie

Twelve years ago, I was interviewed by Charlie Rose, with the other interviewee (who participated remotely) James Woolsey, former head of the CIA (1993-95), arch-neocon, and self-described “anchor the Presbyterian wing of JINSA” (the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs).

The occasion was the New York premier of Robert Greenwald’s full-length film version of his documentary, “Uncovered: the Whole Truth About the Iraq War,” in which I had a small part and which described the many falsehoods that had been used by President George W. Bush and his neocon advisers, to justify invading Iraq. Woolsey did not like the film, and Greenwald asked me to take the Rose invitation that had originally been extended to him.

True to form, Charlie Rose knew on which side his bread was buttered, and it wasn’t mine. He was his usual solicitous self when dealing with an “important” personage, such as Woolsey. I was going to count the minutes apportioned to me and compare them with those given to Woolsey, but I decided to spare myself the trouble.

The last time I checked the Aug. 20, 2004 video is available for purchase but I refuse to pay for it. Fortunately, a friend taped and uploaded the audio onto YouTube. It might be worth a listen on a slow summer day 12 years after my travails with Charlie.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990 and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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Related to the « Wounded Boy In Orange Seat » stunt here is a little item that only increases my distrust of the truthfulness of the whole tale.

On Friday August 19 Middle East Correspondent Raf Sanchez and Said Ghazali of the BritishTelegraph reported of an interview with the father of the allegedly wounded boy in the orange seat:

Abu Ali, the father of the child whose haunted face now peers out from newspaper pages across the world, described his family’s final night of normalcy in an interview with a Syrian activist on behalf of The Telegraph.

Contrary to the reports of the Aleppo doctors who treated Omran, the little boy is only three years old and not five. Omran has been released from the hospital along with his four siblings and all the children are quietly recovering, his father said.

Confirming the above the Syria Campaign, a part of the mostly U.S. financed anti-Syrian propaganda apparatus, had published this on August 18:

Thank god all Omran’s family are safe. His mother had some bad injuries in her legs. His father suffered a minor head injury. His 7 year old sister went through a surgical operation this afternoon and she is doing well.

Note that there is no mentioning of an injured boy.

On Saturday The Telegraph’s Middle East correspondent Raf Sanchez reported a quite different story than the one he himself had told just a day earlier:

It emerged Saturday that Omran Daqneesh’s older brother Ali had succumbed to injuries suffered in the same airstrike that propelled his sibling onto television screens across the planet.Ali, 10, was out on the street when a Russian or Syrian regime bomb fell on his family’s building in Aleppo’s Qaterji neighbourhood on Wednesday.

While the rest of his family suffered minor injuries as their flat collapsed around them, Ali appears to have been more fully exposed to the bomb blast and died in hospital.

Omran’s father, who asked to be identified only by the nickname Abu Ali, meaning “father of Ali”, received mourners at the family’s temporary home on Saturday. Omran, three, and his three surviving siblings stayed inside the house as Abu Ali accepted condolences on the street.

The BBC noted:

The elder brother of Omran Daqneesh, the Syrian boy whose dazed and bloodied image shocked the world, has died of wounds sustained when the family home in Aleppo was bombed, activists say.The Syria Solidarity Campaign said 10-year-old Ali « passed away today due to his injuries from the bombing of his house by Russia/Assad ».

The second Telegraph piece is accompanied by the picture of a boy with what looks like a minor bloody (but completely uncleaned and not disinfected(!)) scratch on the upper left cheek. The eyes are closed and two tubes hang loosely from his mouth. A cardiogram sensor is fixed on the chest below his shoulder. The caption to that pic says « Ali (left) was killed in the blast … ». Is he really dead?

One day we learn from the father and others, that:

  • all children, including Ali, are fine
  • all are recovering
  • all had left the hospital

The next day we learn that:

  • Ali was severely injured
  • Ali died of these injuries
  • in a hospital (which ignores basic trauma care) that he apparently never left.

The Telegraph’s stenographer, who wrote both stories, ignores these large contradictions between the two tales.

I for one believe that both stories are false and that the whole bombing and rescue incident never really happened but was staged. The « rescue » was a stunt and all stories around it, like the « dead Ali », are mere fairy-tales of various « activists » paid by this or that « western » propaganda campaign.

There was a time when newspapers like The Telegraph and other media employed journalists who followed up on stories and verified the claims made to them. For many media outlets that is obviously no longer the case. Today any « activist » can skype the stenographer from anywhere, tell a fantasy story of a bombing in east-Aleppo and have it printed. A day later he can call again with a totally different version of that fantasy story and have that printed too. No questions asked.

Is it any wonder that readers and viewers shun such media?

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British wars abroad have two enemies. First, the official enemy, portrayed as a monster whom we always battle with noble intentions. But second is the enemy within – us, the public. The danger posed by the public is that we may stop elites doing what they want, hence we are subject to state ‘information operations’ to convey messages and obscure facts, usually via compliant media organisations. Current British policy in Syria, which is having the effect of prolonging the terrible war by supporting forces fighting the regime, involves outright lying by ministers at a level similar to that over Iraq in 2002-3.

The British government is waging ‘information warfare’ by funding media operations for some Syrian rebel groups. The Ministry of Defence is hiring contractors to produce videos, photos, radio broadcasts and social media posts branded with the logos of rebel groups, to ‘effectively run a press office for opposition fighters’. Materials are being circulated in the Arabic broadcast media and posted online with no indication of British government involvement.

But a key strand of government propaganda over Syria is often simply lying to parliament and the public. In July 2015, Defence Minister Earl Howe told Parliament that the government ‘would seek further Parliamentary approval before UK aircraft conducted air strikes in Syria’. This was untrue – British aircraft were already secretly striking Islamic State targets in Syria as was revealed by human rights organisation Reprieve six days after Howe’s statement. These air strikes,conducted by pilots embedded with US and Canadian forces, began months before Parliament voted in favour of them in December 2015.

The government also confirmed that neither Parliament nor the public should even be told of such operations. After Reprieve revealed the British role, the governmenttold Parliament: ‘Ministers authorise the embedding of UK personnel on deployment with host forces. It has been long-standing practice not to announce such deployments’.

Also in June 2015, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told MPs that the UK had ‘begun’ training Syrian forces in bases outside Syria. In fact, this programme started three years earlier. The Guardian had earlier reported that UK intelligence teams were giving Syrian army officers ‘logistical and other advice’ at bases in Jordan in a US-led programme begun in 2012. The report noted that while the government denied providing direct military training to the rebels, special forces were training the Jordanian military.

In September 2014, David Cameron said in a speech at the United Nations in New York that the UK would not deploy troops in Syria because ‘I don’t believe this threat of Islamist extremism will best be solved by Western ground troops directly trying to pacify or reconstruct Middle Eastern or African countries’. Yet within a year British Special Forces were ‘mounting hit and run raids against Islamic State deep inside eastern Syria dressed as insurgent fighters’. SAS units dressed in black and flying Islamic State flags were being tasked with destroying IS equipment and munitions which insurgents constantly move to avoid coalition air strikes. British special forces now ‘frequently cross into Syria to assist the New Syrian Army’ from their base in Jordan.

Another issue is whether Britain has been supplying arms to the Syrian opposition. In July 2015, Foreign Minister Tobias Ellwood told Parliament that ‘the UK does not provide lethal assistance to anyone in Syria’. Yet over two years earlier, it wasreported that Britain had participated in ‘a massive airlift of arms to Syrian rebels from Croatia’, an operation led by the US and allegedly funded by Saudi Arabia. The New York Times reported later that year that a joint programme involving British, Saudi and US intelligence had sent weapons to rebels fighting in southern Syria.

American journalist Seymour Hersh wrote about an arms ‘rat line’ authorised in early 2012 that funnelled weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. MI6 supported this operation while funding came from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to Hersh, who added that ‘many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida’.

Are any government statements on Syria believable? The government has consistently told Parliament it has no evidence that any UK air strikes in Syria or Iraq have resulted in civilian casualties. Yet Britain has conducted nearly 1,000 air strikes in these two countries since 2014 while the NGO, Airwars, estimates that there have been 1,568 civilian casualties from coalition bombing, mainly by the US, though it does not calculate how many of any of these are due to UK operations.

Should we take seriously the government claim that it wants to see an end to the war brokered by the UN? The government says that ‘UN-led negotiations remain the best opportunity to end the conflict through political transition away from Assad to an inclusive government’. Yet UK and US policy has in practice opposed such negotiated deals. As prominent analyst Avi Shlaim has documented, Western insistence that Syrian president Assad must first step down sabotaged first Kofi Annan’s and then Lakhdar Brahimi UN efforts to set up a peace deal.

British policy in Syria, by stepping up support to opposition forces, is having the effect of prolonging the war while doing nothing to stop Assad’s constant brutal attacks on civilians. It strongly appears as if Britain wants neither side to win or lose – it cannot now afford for Assad’s Russian and Iranian backers to claim victory by keeping the regime in power, but neither does it want to see Islamic State and other jihadists, which dominate the opposition, take control of a post-Assad Syria. So Britain is playing with fire, seeing the people of region as it always has – as expendable unpeople in its geopolitical games.

Follow Mark Curtis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markcurtis30
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Imperial Lawlessness

août 23rd, 2016 by Mark Taliano

The dirty war on Syria will be settled on the battlefield.  International law is broken.

Powerful nations continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes, and they have no reason to expect that they will be prosecuted.

The credibly accused war criminals responsible for war crimes against countries that include Iraq, Libya, and now Syria, will not be prosecuted.

International law is selective, and the powerful nations know this. They are repeat offenders, and their impunity emboldens them.

If a just peace, and respect for international law, was the desired outcome in Syria, then the West, including Canada, would reverse course.

The United States Peace Council (USPC) offers simple steps that are immediately attainable. Peace would be achieved if the West and its allies were to:

  • Stop bombing Syrian economic infrastructure in the name of fighting ISIS. 
  • Stop injecting foreign fighters into Syria.
  • Stop funding, organizing and arming the combatants in Syria.
  • Lift all sanctions on Syria.
  • Provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
  • Help the Syrian refugees settle wherever they want — including back in Syria.

Confusion-mongers would have us believe that it isn’t simple, only because they are allied with the terrorists invading Syria, and their interests are not peace.

NATO does not want peace, neither do Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, apartheid Israel, or the Persian Gulf Monarchies/dictatorships.

The case for peace is strong, and encoded in laws, conventions, and charters.  Article 51 of the UN Charter states that,

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”Mercenary terrorists –proxies for the West and its allies—have been criminally assaulting UN member Syria for years now, while Syria has been legally defending itself.

Syria and its allies respect the rule of law, unlike those countries – including Canada – which oppose international law, as evidenced by their failed attempts to impose illegal regime change.

UN Resolution 2254 is also very clear.  The author writes in “Canada Supports The ISIS and Every Other Terrorist Group which is Trying to Destroy Syria”  that Canada

categorically rejects international law as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which states that the war on Syria demands a ‘Syrian-led, Syria-owned political transition to end the conflict.’

Video: UNSC Session on Syria

 

The West’s on-going violations against Syria share common elements with the West’s violations against Nicaragua during the 1980s, so there is a legal precedent.  The International Court at the Hague ruled, on June 26, 1986 as follows:

         Decision of the International Court at the Hague

 Decides that the United States of America, by training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying the ‘contra’ forces or otherwise encouraging, supporting and aiding military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua, has acted, against the Republic of Nicaragua, in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another State.

Ample evidence demonstrates, and has demonstrated for years, that the West and its allies are committing the same crimes against Syria. We are training, arming, financing, supplying, and protecting all of the mercenary terrorists invading Syria.  They are our proxy soldiers.

Furthermore, all of this Western orchestrated death and destruction continues to be waged without a declaration of war.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-laws-of-war-air-tasking-order-from-the-pentagon-and-the-un-security-council/5541899

In light of recent events, and US threats against Syria, Olaf Brescia explains in “The Laws of War: Air Tasking Order from the Pentagon and the UN Security Council” that

because the United States and its coalition partners have neither been invited into Syria nor has war been declared against Syria or its partners, all aircraft in Syrian airspace other than those of the:

1.    Syrian Arab Air Force

2.    Russian Air Force

3.    Iraqi Air Force

4.    Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force

are prohibited from carrying air-to-air missiles over Syrian airspace.

Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) has no air force in Syria; therefore air-to-air missiles carried by US-coalition aircraft have no legitimate purpose except to employ them against ‘1’ through ‘4.’

US-coalition aircraft may only retain an internal gun and flare/chaff dispensers for self-defense. All air-to-air weapons are prohibited.

Violators will be photographed, national origin and tail number recorded, and escorted out of Syrian airspace.

Repeat offenders could be shot down and its aircrew returned to nation of origin.

Aircraft that can carry air-to-air missile rounds in internal weapon bays – are prohibited.”

The on-going and accelerating lawlessness of the West and its allies is unfolding within a framework of unprecedented state-sponsored terrorism. According to a plausible study by a German think tank, the “Firil Centre For Studies”, about 360,000 foreign terrorist mercenaries fought in Syria, against the legitimate government of Syria, between April 10, 2011 and January 31, 2016.

And the dirty war continues, as Western citizens remain lulled by sophisticated mainstream media (MSM) propaganda, the effectiveness of which far exceeds any propaganda that North Korea might be able to project on its citizens.

Humanity’s hopes for a better future are being suppressed by broken laws, by impunity, and by engineered political passivity.

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Neocons and Clintonites have launched a major campaign with the goal of direct US military intervention and aggression against Syria, potentially leading to war with Iran and Russia. An early indication emerged as soon as it was clear the Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party nominee.  Following the California primary, the NY Times reported on State Department diplomats issuing an internal memo “urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al Assad.”

In early August Dennis Ross and Andrew Tabler opined in the NY Times about “The Case for (Finally) Bombing Assad”. Dennis Ross is a favorite Clintonite.  In her book “Hard Choices”, Clinton described how she asked Dennis Ross to come to the State Department to “work on Iran and regional issues”.

NY Times regular Nicholas Kristof made his pitch for war against Syria. According to the self-styled humanitarian, we need “safe zones” as proposed by Clintonite Madeline Albright and retired General James Cartwright.  That is risky but “the risks of doing nothing in Syria are even greater”.

PBS broadcast a story titled “Repeatedly targeted by airstrikes, Syrian doctors feel abandoned.” The story features video from the “White Helmets” along with photos from the reported April bombing of Al Quds Hospital.

Currently there is a huge media campaign around the situation in Aleppo. Syrian American doctor Zaher Sahloul, of the Syrian American Medical Society, has been interviewed extensively on mainstream media as well as Democracy Now with widespread promotion in Truthout and other sites.

There has been lots of publicity around a letter to President Obama, supposedly written by 15 doctors in East Aleppo. The letter ends “We need your action.” The flow and wording of the letter suggests it may have been composed by a marketing company and there has been no verification of the doctors who supposedly signed it.

An online Change petition asks German Chancellor Merkel and President Obama to “save the people of Aleppo”.

The publicly funded Holocaust Memorial Museum has promoted the video #SaveSyria. One of the producers of the video is The Syria Campaign which is the marketing organization which branded the pervasive “White Helmets” as documented in “Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators”.

In parallel with this media campaign, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has introduced HR5732 the “Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2016”. The resolution calls for escalating economic/financial pressure on Syria and “Assessment of potential effectiveness of and requirements for the establishment of safe zones or a no fly zone in Syria”.

Dr. Sahloul, the Syrian American Medical Society doctor / spokesperson says that Obama’s legacy will be defined by whether or not he attacks Syria to impose a “no fly zone”.  It seems unlikely that Obama would do that at the end of his term.  Instead, the goal is to prepare the public for the new war to begin after Hillary Clinton becomes President.

Falsehoods and Lies of Omission 

In his article ““The media are misleading the public on Syria” author Stephen Kinzer recently wrote “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.”

Here a few facts about Aleppo which contradict the msm narrative:

* At least 85% of Aleppo’s population is in government controlled area.

* The estimate of 300K civilians in rebel/terrorist controlled east Aleppo is likely a gross exaggeration. In Spring 2015 Martin Chulov of the Guardian visited the area and estimated there were 40K.

* While there are very few doctors serving in the opposition controlled Aleppo, there are thousands of doctors working in the government controlled area.

* The dominant rebel terrorist group in Aleppo is the Syrian version of Al Qaeda.

* The armed groups who invaded Aleppo have been unpopular from the beginning. In the Fall of 2012 James Foley wrote:

“Aleppo, a city of about 3 million people, was once the financial heart of Syria. As it continues to deteriorate, many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition — one that is hampered by infighting and a lack of structure, and deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups.

* The rebel-terrorists launch dozens and sometimes hundreds of mortars daily into the government controlled areas causing huge casualties. Western media ignores this destruction and loss of life.

* The much publicized April bombing of the supposed MSF supported “Al Quds Hospital” in Aleppo was full of contradictions and discrepancies. These were highlighted in an Open Letter to MSF. To this date, MSF has not provided corroborating information.

* Much of the video purporting to show bombing effects in Aleppo are stamped with the “White Helmets” logo. White Helmets is a creation of the US and UK and primarily a propaganda tool. The claims they are Syrian, independent and non-partisan are all false.

* Much of the information about Syria comes from “activists” trained and paid by the USA.  In her book  “Hard Choices” Secretary Clinton speaks says the US provided “training for more than a thousand (Syrian) activists, students, and independent journalists” (p464, hardback version). Obviously they are not independent and their reports should be carefully checked.

* In contrast with the ambiguous situation at “Al Quds Hospital”, consider what happened to Aleppo’s “Al Kindi Hospital”.  Take three minutes to view the suicide suicide bombing of Al Kindi Hospital. Take two minutes to view what the “rebels” did to Syrian soldiers who had been guarding the hospital.

* Like Richard Engels fake kidnapping, the contrived CNN reports by “Syrian Danny”, the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta effectively shown to be a staged event intended to force US attack because of the supposedly crossed red line.

* The letter to President Obama was likely written by a paid Syria War propagandist or Washington lobby firm.  Read the letter here and judge for yourself. For contrast watch this interview with a real Syrian doctor not mouthing propaganda from K Street Washington DC.

* The latest propaganda tool being used to promote US aggression against Syria is the photograph of little Omran in the orange ambulance seat. The video comes from the Aleppo Media Center “AMC”.  Like the White Helmets, AMC is a US creation. The photo of Omran has been widely accepted without scrutiny. The insightful Moon of Alabama, has raised serious questions about the media sensation.  Brad Hoff has documented that the main photographer, Mahmoud Raslan, is an ally of the Nour al Din al Zenki rebel terrorists who beheaded a young Palestinian Syrian a few weeks ago. This is confirmed step by step in this  short video. Another good short video exposing the propaganda around #Syrianboy is here.

Why the Burst of Propaganda and Calls for US Attack Now?

The Syrian crisis is at a critical point and there is prospect of the collapse of the rebel-terrorists.  If they crushed or expelled, it would allow hundreds of thousands of displaced Aleppans to return home as soon as services are restored.  This would also allow the Syrian army and allies to focus on attacking ISIS in the east and terrorist groups remaining in Idlib, Hama, the outskirts of Damascus and the south.

The tide is running against the rebel terrorist factions and their supporters. Up until the last year, fanatics and mercenaries were traveling from all parts of the globe into Syria via Turkey. Tens of thousands went to Syria from SE Asia, China, Russia, North Africa, Europe and North America.  They were given carte blanche to depart their home countries, arrive in Turkey and be guided into Syria. For example, young Canadians such as Damien Clairmont went and died in Syria. His mother has courageously exposed the fact that Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) knew about his plans yet did nothing to stop him. Progressive Muslim leaders demanded the government identify and start dealing with the radical recruiters.  It was evidently the policy of the cynically named “Friends of Syria” to “look the other way” as their citizens were being brainwashed then recruited to become terrorists attacking Syria.

Now, with terrorist blowback, these same “Friends” are feeling some consequences from their policies. Terror attacks in Britain, France, Belgium and the USA have ended the policy of collusion with wahabi terrorists. In the last year, security services have started arresting recruiters and new recruits. In Britain, a long time promoter of ISIS has been convicted.  In Belgium, the court has approved the extradition of a suspected French terrorist. Previously Belgium was the Western country with the highest per capita number of citizens joining the terrorist fight in Syria. And now Turkey has started arresting people en route to join ISIS in Syria.

Since the rebel terrorists invaded Aleppo in 2012, they have had a constant pipeline bringing weapons, fighters and supplies into the city. For the past few months the Syrian army has been on the verge of encircling and closing the access routes into rebel terrorist sections of east Aleppo.  Western media and governments which support the rebel terrorists are doing all they can to delay or prevent this closure. They are trying to stall or prevent a Syrian victory until someone more hawkish than Barack Obama is in the White House.

Who is Driving the Conflict?

Regional forces supporting the war on Syria include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Israel has always been deeply involved, contrary to the faulty analysis of some observers.  Israel has provided medical and military support to Nusra/Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups operating near the Golan Heights.  Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was explicit:  “Israel has wanted Assad ousted since Syria war began” .

The USA and western powers are also deeply involved. Working with Saudi Arabia and through Turkey, the US has supplied huge quantities of weapons to the rebel terrorists.  Sophisticated weaponry totaling 994 TONS was provided last winter as documented here.

On the other side, Iran and Hezbollah are committed to defending the existing Syrian government.  They know that if the Syrian government falls, they will be the next ones under attack.  Russia also sees this as a crucial conflict. The USA has expanded NATO up to the Russian eastern border, promoted the 2014 Ukraine coup, and insisted on economic sanctions against Russia. Syria is Russia’s only Arab ally and hosts Russia’s only foreign naval base. Russia probably sees this conflict as a crucial for its own future. In another sign of resistance to US global hegemony, China has indicated it wishes to expand military cooperation with Syria.

Following the US lead, Canada, Australia and West European countries have supported the regime change effort despite it being in clear violation of the UN Charter and international law.

What is at Stake?

Despite five years of tragedy and destruction, the U.S. continues trying to overthrow or destroy the Syrian government. This is not a new US objective.  In 2005, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Syrian President Assad and said to him “Mr. President, you know the rhetoric of regime change is headed towards you from the United States….They’re talking about isolating you diplomatically and, perhaps, a coup d’etat or your regime crumbling. What are you thinking about that?” Amanpour is not only the CNN host, she is the wife of neocon Clintonite James Rubin.

In 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Syria to stop its support of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, “loosen” its alliance with Iran and sign a treaty with Israel. Significantly, these are Israel’s demands and of much higher importance to the Zionist state than the USA.

The war in Syria is bringing numerous conflicts to a head: sectarian wahabism vs secular Islam; the “new american century” with one superpower vs a multilateral world;  zionist dominance and occupation vs Lebanese and Palestinian resistance.

Hillary Clinton is on record criticizing the decision to not bomb Syria in the Fall of 2013. She has continued to promote the idea of a “no fly zone”. She is an avowed zionist who has said she wants to take the US-Israeli relationship to the ‘next level’.

Zionist Israel is deeply worried by the prospect of a strengthened Syria and Lebanese resistance. In addition,  there are many Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Syria and Lebanon. They retain their wish to return home in keeping with international law.  Just as Zionist Israeli interests were a major factor in the invasion of Iraq, so they are in continuing the conflict in Syria. In addition, neocons have not given up their goal of a “new American century”.

What Has been the role of the Western Left?

The left has been weak in responding and opposing the aggression against Syria. Major factors have included:

– Saudi and US State Dept funded Muslim groups which support the aggression against Syria. This includes the recently famous Dr Zaher Sahloul and the Syrian American Medical Society. SAMS and Zahloul are aligned with Saudi Arabia and receive substantial State Dept funding.

– deluded leftist groups who support a fantasy “revolution” in Syria just as they did in Libya.

– the flooding of social media and the internet by “activists” and Syrian “civil society” groups who are actually paid and trained agents of the west. This is confirmed by Clinton herself in her book “Hard Choices”.

– uncritical acceptance of major NGOs who are predominately funded by billionaires. These organizations need to be considered with some skepticism. For example, in 1990, Amnesty International mistakenly corroborated the accuracy of the false claim that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. In the runup to the 2003 invasion of Syria, Human Rights Watch did not oppose the invasion and implicitly accepted it by only criticizing the lack of preparation.  Physicians for Human Rights, another Soros project, has issued grossly misleading reports on Syria.

– alternative media which is progressive on many issues but echoes NPR and mainstream media on critical foreign policy issues including the Syrian conflict.

Some groups including Arab Americans for Syria, Syrian American Forum, Black Agenda Report, Syria Solidarity Movement, Answer and Workers World Party have actively challenged the disinformation but their budgets and influence are relatively small in comparison with the heavily funded organizations pushing for regime change.

Veterans for Peace, one of the most influential and respected peace organizations, has recently sharpened its understanding and position.  Following a recent visit to Syria, the Vice President of Veterans for Peace, Jerry Condon, has said, “Everything we read about Syria in the US media is wrong. The reality is that the U.S. government is supporting armed extremist groups who are terrorizing the Syrian people and trying to destroy Syria’s secular state. In order to hide that ugly reality and push violent regime change the U.S. is conducting a psychological warfare campaign to demonize Syria’s president, Bashar al Assad. This is a classic tactic that veterans have seen over and over. It is shocking, however, to realize how willingly the media repeat this propaganda, and how many people believe it to be true. »

What Needs to Happen

Neoconservatives including Clintonites are pushing hard for a direct US attack on Syria to prevent the collapse of their regime change project. Claiming that the US and NATO can bring a ‘safe zone’ and ‘protect civilians’ is a grotesque falsehood. If the US tries to impose a “no fly zone” it will result in vastly more deaths and risk escalation into direct conflict between Syria, Russia, Iran and Israel.

Former Acting CIA director Mike Morell recently suggested the killing of Russians and Iranians in Syria to make them “pay a price”. He has endorsed Hillary Clinton as President. This is how dangerous, ignorant and arrogant Washington has become.

There is a clear solution to the Syrian tragedy: the countries who have been supplying tons of weapons and paying tens of thousands of mercenary terrorists should stop.  The conflict would soon end. The foreigners would depart with much less fanaticism than what they came with.  Many Syrian rebel terrorists would accept reconciliation.

There needs to be a global campaign but there is much responsibility in the US since our government is the greatest threat to peace. Following are specific ideas which are realistic and could help significantly.

1. Bernie Sanders raised expectations when he talked about the need stop the ‘regime change’ foreign policy. Now is when he needs to be clear and unequivocal: US military aggression against Syria will make things worse not better and must not happen. Sanders proved that a progressive policy is popular.  If Sanders abandons his core foreign policy position and does not speak out strongly against the drive for aggression, it will be a huge disappointment and failure. He must not be allowed to betray his own message and end up as a porter for Hillary Clinton and the war machine.

2. DemocracyNow and other leading alternative media need to start including different analyses. To a sad extent, their coverage of Syria has echoed NPR and CNN.  If DemocracyNow is truly an “Exception to the Rulers”, it needs to start including more critical examinations. DN producers should be studying publications such as Consortiumnews, Global Research, AntiWar, MoonOfAlabama, Al Masdar News, Al Mayadeen, Counterpunch, DissidentVoice, American Herald Tribune, 21stCenturyWire, Black Agenda Report, the Canary, RT, PressTV and TruePublica (not corporate ProPublica).  They should be bringing the observations and analysis of journalists such as Sharmine Narwani, Edward Dark, Eva Bartlett, Brad Hoff, Vanessa Beeley, Stephen Sahiounie to name just a few. Syrian academics such as Issa Chaer (UK) and Nour al Kadri (Canada) could be interviewed. Followers of DN have heard Hillary Clinton as Secy of State and other US officials speaking about Syria countless times. Why have Amy and Juan not interviewed the Syrian Ambassador to the UN?

3. This is an opportunity and challenge for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka of the Green Party. They are clear on this issue. If they can get a mass audience to hear their message, it could be crucial to their winning support and prompting crucial national debate.  At the moment there is almost no debate on the life and death issue of war in the Middle East. Instead, the media is filled with propaganda using a boy’s photo to promote more war. The Green Party could play a hugely important role exposing the danger and duplicity of Clinton and Trump. They could play a key role in blocking the Clintonite march to a new war.

4. Veterans for Peace will hopefully play a leading role in changing the perception and ending the demobilization of the US peace movement. There is a lot at stake.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist and member of Syria Solidarity Movement.

He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Middle East (Syria) – Security Council, 7757th meeting

22 Aug 2016 – Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East (Syria).

Lies of the UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs following by the Syria Envoy to the UN

http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/watch/middle-east-syria-security-council-7757th-meeting/5094372774001

 

Video: Scroll forward to hear Syrian Envoy: Why is there a humanitarian crisis in my country, approx. 1.49. See the quotation from Professor Tim Anderson’s book entiled the « Dirty War on Syria », published by Global Research. Dr Bashar’s speech begins at about 1.49.00. Prof Anderson’s book is quoted from 2.09.30.

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On Monday, August 22nd, the United States government — which demands the overthrow of the internationally-recognized-as-legal government of Syria — officially announced that America’s military forces in Syria will continue to occupy Syrian land, no matter what the Syrian government says, and will shoot down any Syrian planes that fly over U.S. forces there.

As reported on Monday by Al-Masdar News:

The Pentagon has announced that the USA is ready to down Syrian and Russian planes that they claim threaten American advisers who by international law are illegally operating in northern Syria.

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis claimed that US jets attempted to intercept Syrian planes to protect the American advisers operating illegally with Kurdish forces in Syria after Syrian government jets bombed areas of Hasakah when Kurdish police began an aggression against the National Defense Force.

On Monday, another Pentagon spokesman, Peter Cook, said, 

“We would continue to advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of those areas.”

“We are going to defend our people on the ground, and do what we need to defend them,” Cook told reporters. 

This means that the U.S. government will not allow the Syrian government to expel or otherwise eliminate U.S. forces in Syria. The Syrian government never invited U.S. forces into Syria, but the U.S. now officially dares the Syrian government to assert its sovereignty over the areas where America’s troops are located.

Al-Masdar continued:

When pushed further about Russia, Cook made it clear that the US would make the same aggression against Russian jets who are operating legally with the Syrian government’s approval and coordination.

“If they threaten US forces, we always have the right to defend our forces,” Cook said.

This means that the U.S. not only is at war against the legitimate government of Syria, but that the U.S. government will also be at war against Russia if Russian forces (which the Syrian government did invite into Syria) defends Syrian forces from attacks in Syria by U.S. forces — forces that are illegally there.

These U.S. forces number only 300, of whom 250 were sent to Syria on April 24th to serve as advisors to other illegal military forces in Syria.

The vast majority of the illegal military forces in Syria are jihadists who had been hired by the Saudi government and the Qatari government, and supplied with U.S. weapons, to overthrow the Syrian government. Most of the other illegal forces in Syria are Kurdish forces, supported by the U.S. government to break Syria apart so as to create a separate Kurdish state in the majority-Kurdish far north-eastern tip of Syria.

The primary U.S. goal in Syria is to overthrow the Syrian government, which is led by the Baath Party, Syria’s secular Party. Many Arabs insist upon Sharia, or Islamic law, but Syria’s Arabs are an exception; the Baath Party is and has always been supported by the majority of the Syrian people, including by most of Syria’s Arabs. Most Syrians are strongly opposed to Sharia law. Syria is the most secular nation in the Middle East.

For example, when Western-sponsored polls were taken in Syria, after the start in 2011 of the importation of jihadists into Syria, those polls showed that 55% of Syrians want Bashar al-Assad (the current leader of the Baath Party) to remain as Syria’s President, and « 82% agree ‘IS [Islamic State] is US and foreign made group’.” Furthermore, only « 22% agree ‘IS is a positive influence’,” and that 22% was the lowest level of support shown by Syrians for any of the presented statements, except for, « 21% agree ‘Prefer life now than under Assad’” — meaning that Syrians believe that things were better before the U.S.-sponsored jihadists entered Syria to overthrow Assad.

Clearly, when « 82% agree ‘IS [Islamic State] is US and foreign made group’,” very few people in Syria support the 300 U.S. forces there. Not only is the U.S. an invader, but it (and especially the forces that the U.S. supports in Syria — most especially the jihadists, who are the vast majority of these forces) made life far worse (and far shorter) for virtually all Syrians.

Furthermore, that same poll found: “70% agree ‘Oppose division of country’.” Consequently, the Kurdish separatists are likewise opposed by the vast majority of Syrians.

The Syrian government, from now on, is in the uncomfortable position of having invaders on its territory, and of being warned that one of them — the U.S. — will be fully at war against Syria if Syria tries to expel them.

Russia too is now under warning from the United States, that, if Russia, an ally of Syria, takes any action to expel or kill any of the U.S. invaders in Syria, then the U.S. will also be at war against Russia.

The U.S. government is now also daring the Russian government. Perhaps the U.S. strategy here is to force Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, either to back down, and abandon its Syrian ally, or else to launch a nuclear strike against the United States. If Putin backs down, that would greatly diminish his support from the Russian people, which is above 80% in all polls, including Western-sponsored ones. Perhaps this is the strategy of U.S. President Barack Obama, to drive Vladimir Putin out of office — something that might occur if the U.S. drives Bashar al-Assad out of office.

As Seymour Hersh reported, on 7 January 2016,

“the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then [in the summer of 2013] led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya,”

and so Dempsey quit, and Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, was fired over the matter.

« The DIA’s reporting, he [Flynn] said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’”

Flynn is now a foreign-affairs advisor to the Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who is being criticized by the Democratic Presidential candidate, for being soft on Russia and insufficiently devoted to the U.S. goal of overthrowing Assad.

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.

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“In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the People. » (Eugene Victor Debs, 1855-1926.)

Oh dear, as the fantasy of Vladimir Putin as “Vlad the Terrible” ratchets up in the US-UK-NATO driven new Cold War, the Independent runs a piece headed: “What lies behind the new Russian threat to Ukraine”, (1) the sub-heading is:

“Vladimir Putin, his opponents repeatedly point out, has form on this. The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the Beijing Olympics”

Trying to find the “Russian threat to the Ukraine” is, as ever, a hard task. It was of course the US which organized the February 2014 coup which replaced the legitimate government and reduced yet another country to chaos. Russia however also appears the victim in a recent incident which triggered the Independent article which Katehon (2) describes with admirably clarity:

“A Ukrainian group of saboteurs was arrested last week (10th August) by Russia’s secret service, the FSB. It was revealed that the Ukrainians had intended to organize terrorist attacks in Russian Crimea. During the arrest, two Russian citizens from the Federal Security Service and military of the Armed Forces were killed. This tragic incident has provoked tensions between Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainian regime has begun to move its troops towards the border with Russia and the republics of Donbass, preparing for an invasion.”

Thus Ukrainian forces are thus encroaching on Russia, not the other way round. Moreover, according to The Telegraph (10th August): “Russian security agencies said on Wednesday that two Russians were killed as they thwarted Ukrainian commando raids into Crimea over the weekend.” (Emphasis added.) The paper expands:

“The FSB said the agent who died was killed during an overnight operation on Saturday and Sunday, when officers smashed a ‘terrorist’ group and seized an arms cache including twenty homemade explosive devices. The Agency claimed Ukrainian forces tried to ‘break through’ twice more on Sunday night and Monday morning, killing a Russian soldier.”

Katehon further comments:

“Obviously, this hostile activity is coordinated with the United States and NATO, which want to unleash a new war on the border with Russia. At the same time, the US leadership believes that Russia will not inflict a crushing defeat on Ukraine and thereby objectively lower its status in the geopolitical confrontation by trying to solve an insolvable conflict. At the same time, the United States wants to show ‘Russia’s aggressiveness’ to Europe.”

Faithfully toeing the West’s misteaching mantra, the Independent article dropped in: “Crimea has not experienced serious military action since it was annexed from Ukraine by the Kremlin in the chaotic aftermath of the Maidan protests.”

Crimea of course, was not “annexed” by a marauding Russia as is implicated.

Only two years ago the paper wrote (3) of the referendum (16th March 2014( held in Crimea – arranged by Crimea, not Russia – in which over 95% of voters made their feelings clear over the US engineered coup:

“Fireworks exploded and Russian flags fluttered above jubilant crowds on Sunday after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia … after the polls closed late on Sunday, crowds of ethnic Russians in the regional Crimean capital of Simferopol erupted with jubilant chants in the main square, overjoyed at the prospect of once again becoming part of Russia.” The referendum was monitored by 135 international observers from 23 countries.*

Russia thus had not aggressively “annexed” Crimea, the people had voted to secede. Definition of referendum: “A general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.” (Oxford Dictionary.) At the time of the referendum Russia anyway had a lease on Crimea until 2042 under the Kharkiv Pact.

On the day of the referendum the White House released a statement ending, apparently without irony:

“In this century, we are long past the days when the international community will stand quietly by while one country forcibly seizes the territory of another.  We call on all members of the international community to continue to condemn such actions, to take concrete steps to impose costs, and to stand together …” Breathtaking.

This from a country that has, since the end of World War 11, “forcibly seized”, invaded, interfered in or decimated thirty three countries to 2011 (4) – not counting Syria and Ukraine subsequently.

As for:

“The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the Beijing Olympics”, in the Independent’s epic bit of Russia bashing:

“Leaked State Department documents provide further evidence that United States authorities knew that the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, a key ally of Washington in the Caucasus region, initiated the August 2008 war with Russia.

“Cables from US diplomats in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, were released through the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. They show that Washington was well aware that the Georgian government was intensifying its military build-up near the breakaway province of South Ossetia in the weeks before the outbreak of full-scale hostilities.” (5)

Further:

“A cable records that US embassy observers witnessed 30 government buses ‘carrying uniformed men heading north’ towards South Ossetia the day of the Georgian attack.

“The Georgian assault on South Ossetia, launched August 7, involved the shelling of the main city of Tskhinvali followed by a ground invasion by 1,500 troops. The operation destroyed hundreds of civilian properties and claimed the lives of an estimated 160 South Ossetians and 48 Russian military personnel.

“Despite this knowledge of Georgian military preparations, once the war began, US ambassador John Tefft simply relayed the claims of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili that Russia was the aggressor.”

The pretext for the attack was US ally Georgia’s allegation of an imminent Russian attack.

The subsequent investigation into the invasion and destruction, held under Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, found that: “None of the explanations given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack”, were valid.

“In particular, there was no massive Russian military invasion under way, which had to be stopped by Georgian military forces,” Tagliavini confirmed.

“There is the question of whether the force by Georgia during the night of 7/8 August was justifiable under international law. It was not …”, the investigators found.

It was:

“The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008” which “marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia”, the Report stated. Thus Georgia’s belligerence triggered Russia’s response in defence of an allied country, Russia’s own military personnel and Russia’s three military bases there.

The parallels between the Georgia and Crimea disinformation are stark, whether orchestrated by political Western Cold Warriors, or media ones.

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov has said relating to the Crimea insurgents:

“We really don’t conceal what is known, we show people who were detained, stores with weapons and munitions, which were detected in the Crimea. Of course we cannot show everything on TV, but we have irrefutable evidence that it was sabotage, which had been masterminded by the main directorate of intelligence of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry and aimed to destabilize the Russian Crimea.” (6)

He added:

“Russia is open for provision of additional facts … to our Western partners, who are seriously interested in avoidance (of a repeat) of what happened in the future. For that to happen, one should influence Kiev”, he added pointedly.

So why the Independent’s strange interpretation of above events and creating a fantasy of Russia planning an Olympic timed war? Heaven forbid it would be anything to do with their owner, Russian billionaire and former KGB agent (7) Alexander Lebedev, who bought the ailing newspaper for just a £1 in March 2010, pledging major financial backing.

The Independent, built a name on foreign policy expertise, but this year has been forced to shut down the main daily print version and the Independent on Sunday. Whilst the Independent is still on line, the only hard copy in it’s stable is the good, but more limited daily “I.”

Billionaire backers are rare in these straightened times. Mr Lebedev is a Putin critic. The cynic might say there could be a connection given the slant of the Crimea story. However with titles Alexander Lebedev has backed (8) at home and abroad, he has always vowed never to interfere with editorial policy, so many would surely regard such thoughts as conspiratorial rubbish.

Notes 

1.         http://www.independent.co.uk/ voices/the-rio-olympics-are-a- distraction-russia-is- positioning-itself-for- further-action-against- ukraine-a7186736.html

2.         http://katehon.com/agenda/ europe-worried-prospect-war

3.         http://www.independent.co.uk/ news/world/europe/crimea- referendum-how-why-and-where- next-for-soon-to-be-divided- ukraine-9195310.html

4.         http://www.globalresearch.ca/ list-of-countries-the-usa-has- bombed-since-the-end-of-world- war-ii/24626

5.         https://www.wsws.org/en/ articles/2010/12/geor-d06.html

6.         http://www.pravdareport.com/ video/16-08-2016/135337- crimea-0/

7.         https://www.theguardian.com/ media/2010/mar/05/lebedev- buys-independent-newspapers

8.         http://www.washingtonpost.com/ wp-dyn/content/article/2006/ 06/07/AR2006060701166_pf.html

* For minute detail on Ukraine complexities also see: 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ what-the-western-media-wont- tell-you-crimean-tatars-and- ukrainians-also-voted-to-join- russia/5373989

 

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Cette photo fait le tour des médias « occidentaux » accompagnée du récit larmoyant de « militants » d’un quartier d’Alep-est, occupé par al-Qaïda.

Un petit garçon, apparemment blessé, est assis tranquillement dans une ambulance flambant neuve et très bien équipée. À un moment donné, il touche ce qui ressemble à une blessure à la tempe gauche. Ce geste ne provoque chez lui aucune réaction.

Dans la vidéo de deux minutes, d’où provient la photo, on voit que le petit garçon est remis, dans l’obscurité, à une personne vêtue d’une veste de sauvetage qui le transporte dans l’ambulance. Il est assis là tranquillement, sans recevoir de soins, pendant que plusieurs personnes prennent des vidéos et des photos de lui. Un autre enfant, qui n’a pas l’air d’être blessé, est ensuite amené dans l’ambulance.

 

 

Voilà comment l’histoire est racontée:

Mahmoud Raslan, le photojournaliste qui a fait la photo, a déclaré à Associated Press que les urgentistes et les journalistes avaient essayé d’aider l’enfant de 5 ans, identifié comme Omran Daqneesh, ainsi que ses parents et ses trois frères et sœurs, qui ont, respectivement, 1, 6 et 11 ans.

« Nous les avons passés d’un balcon à l’autre », a déclaré Mahmoud Raslan (*), « Nous avons envoyé immédiatement les plus jeunes enfants à l’ambulance, mais la fillette de 11 ans a attendu que sa mère soit dégagée. Sa cheville était coincée sous les décombres. »

Quand on recherche « Mahmoud Raslan », le prétendu «  photojournaliste », sur Internet on ne trouve aucune autre photo ou vidéo à ce nom.

Il y a une quinzaine d’hommes debout autour de la scène qui ne font rien. (tout près d’un site  « qui vient juste d’être bombardé » dans une zone de guerre? Sans aucune crainte d’un nouveau bombardement ?) Au moins deux autres hommes, sans compter le vidéographe, prennent des photos ou des vidéos.

 

alep en2

 

Un autre enfant est transporté dans l’ambulance. On voit quelqu’un qui porte un casque blanc et une chemise des « Casques blancs [The White Helmet, alias « la défense civile syrienne »], une ONG [*] financée par les Etats-Unis et l’Angleterre.

Un homme blessé, mais qui se déplace normalement, est amené à l’ambulance.

alep 3

 

Comme le petit garçon, l’homme semble avoir une blessure à la tête. Mais comme le garçon, il ne saigne pas du tout. Il y a quelque chose de rouge sur son visage, mais le sang ne coule pas. C’est étonnant. Quand j’étais ambulancier urgentiste, les personnes atteintes de blessures à la tête saignaient toujours comme des porcs (elles mettaient souvent du sang partout dans la voiture que je devais alors à nettoyer). Comme le note WebMD:

Les petites coupures sur la tête saignent souvent abondamment parce qu’il y a beaucoup de vaisseaux sanguins sous la peau du visage et sous le cuir chevelu. Bien que l’importance du saignement puisse être impressionnante, souvent la blessure n’est pas grave …

La quantité de substance rouge qu’on voit sur le garçon et sur l’homme ne correspond pas à la quantité de sang habituelle d’une blessure, même mineure, à la tête. On ne voit pas non plus de bandages, ni rien d’autre qui aurait pu servir à arrêter le saignement d’une vraie blessure à la tête.

Comparez les photos ci-dessus à cette photo récente d’un garçon prise dans Alep-ouest. (aucun média « occidental » n’a fait état de ce jeune garçon et de sa souffrance. Il n’est pas de « notre côté ».) L’enfant souffre d’une blessure à la tête infligée par un missile improvisé d’al-Qaïda et de ses associés qui a frappé son quartier. On le soigne.  L’écoulement de sang a été stoppé. La quantité de sang qui a coulé sur son corps et trempé son  vêtement est sans comparaison avec celle qu’on observe dans les images précédentes. On voit aussi que le sang se mélange sur son visage, à la poussière, qu’il n’est pas comme appliqué dessus. Cela ressemble aux patients de mon ambulance. Cela semble vrai.

 

alep 4

 

Tout ce qu’on voit dans la scène du «  petit garçon sur le siège orange » et sur la vidéo se retrouve à l’identique dans des dizaines de vidéos des  « Casques blancs ». C’est le même thème que nous retrouvons encore et encore dans notre collection de photos de Sauvetage dramatique! Un homme portant un enfant se dirige vers la caméra !

Je pense que la vidéo ci-dessus est une mise en scène tout comme les autres vidéos et images des « Casques blancs ». La blessure de l’enfant semble un peu plus réaliste que d’habitude, mais le manque d’épanchement de sang, le fait que personne ne soigne l’enfant, son absence de réaction quand il touche sa « blessure » et le cadre général de la scène vidéo me permettent de conclure qu’il s’agit bien d’une mise en scène.

Cette nouvelle vidéo de propagande, largement diffusée, arrive encore à un moment où al-Qaïda et ses associés en Syrie sont en difficulté. La force aérienne russe les frappe à l’arrière de leur attaque contre Alep-ouest, et elle leur fait beaucoup de mal. Un « cessez-le-humanitaire», qui pourra ensuite être utilisé pour se réorganiser et se réapprovisionner, leur est absolument nécessaire. La propagande contribue à augmenter la pression pour l’obtenir.

Certains de leurs sponsors veulent que les « Casques blancs » soient nominés pour le Prix Nobel de la Paix. L’organisation elle-même fait du lobbying dans ce but sur son site Web. Quelqu’un d’autre a-t-il jamais fait une chose pareille?

 

alep 6

 

N’ont-ils pas honte de se proposer eux-mêmes pour le prix? La photo juste ci-dessus est une autre version de leur principale image de marque, le « Sauvetage dramatique! Un homme portant un enfant se dirige vers la caméra! ». Est-ce que cette dernière mise en mise a pour but de soutenir leur candidature au prix Nobel ?

Et pourquoi pas? Obama n’était rien d’autre qu’un produit de marketing  lorsqu’il a reçu  le prix Nobel de la paix. Il a ensuite réduit en poussière des habitants dans sept pays à majorité musulmane. Il n’y a vraiment aucune raison de ne pas remettre ce prix à un autre instrument de propagande guerrière.

Mais je trouve tout de même qu’une nomination aux Oscars, peut-être dans la catégorie des « effets spéciaux les mieux commercialisés » serait plus appropriée.

Moon of Alabama

Article en anglais :

obama-syria

The “Wounded Boy In Orange Seat” – Another Staged “White Helmets” Stunt

Traduction : Dominique Muselet

Version française publiée par Arrêt sur Info.

 

Note de Mondialisation.ca :

Le quotidien Le Parisien a publié des informations à ce sujet dans un article intitulé :

Syrie : la face obscure du photographe qui a immortalisé l’enfant blessé

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While Obama works on his golf game, this is the « Peace Making Air Tasking Order » from the Pentagon and the UN Security Council – that should be issued immediately:

Because the United States and its coalition partners have neither been invited into Syria nor has war been declared against Syria or its partners, all aircraft in Syrian airspace other than those of the:

1.    Syrian Arab Air Force

2.    Russian Air Force

3.    Iraqi Air Force

4.    Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force

are prohibited from carrying air-to-air missiles over Syrian airspace.

Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) has no air force in Syria; therefore air-to-air missiles carried by US-coalition aircraft have no legitimate purpose except to employ them against ‘1’ through ‘4.’

US-coalition aircraft may only retain an internal gun and flare/chaff dispensers for self-defense. All air-to-air weapons are prohibited.

Violators will be photographed, national origin and tail number recorded, and escorted out of Syrian airspace.

Repeat offenders could be shot down and its aircrew returned to nation of origin.

Aircraft that can carry air-to-air missile rounds in internal weapon bays – are prohibited.”

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NATO Nukes in Romania: Rumor Mill Vs. Reality

août 22nd, 2016 by Ulson Gunnar

Unconfirmed reports regarding the US moving nuclear weapons it reportedly maintains at Incirlik Airbase, Turkey to Romania (a NATO member since 2004) made the rounds last week. It is just one of many stories surrounding the apparent fallout between the United States and its stalwart ally and fellow NATO member, Turkey.

Following a failed coup in July, Turkey has accused the US openly of orchestrating the attempted overthrow of the government. Despite this, US forces continue operating from Turkish territory, and according to official reports, American nuclear weapons remain in Turkey.

But what if they were being moved? And if not to Romania as Romanian officials insist, to another NATO members state, what would this mean? And if they are not being moved, who started this rumor and why?

NATO Nuclear Sharing 

The US currently maintains nuclear weapons in a number of NATO countries (Turkey, Belgium, Italy, German and the Netherlands) under a “nuclear sharing” program that dates back to the Cold War. The impact of joining this program is politically and strategically significant. There are risks and responsibilities involved with hosting US nuclear weapons, and those nations that seek to opt out once in the program can struggle for years before these weapons are finally removed from their territory.

A 2009 Der Spiegel article titled, “Yankee Bombs Go Home: Foreign Minister Wants US Nukes out of Germany,” highlights just how difficult this can be, especially considering that as of 2016, US nuclear weapons remain in Germany, and as Deutsche Welle points out, new weapons may even be on their way.

According to a 2010 paper by The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) titled, “NATO’s Tactical Nuclear Dilemma” (PDF), part of the reasoning of maintaining nuclear weapons in Europe and Turkey is to give the NATO alliance “credibility” as well as discourage nuclear proliferation both within NATO and beyond it.

The paper postulated that the removal of nuclear weapons from Turkey could unbalance the region strategically and spur nuclear proliferation from Iran to Saudi Arabia and perhaps even force Turkey itself to seek its own nuclear weapons. In regards to Turkey, the paper concluded that maintaining US nuclear weapons there was desirable both for Turkey and for NATO.

Possible Reasons for the Rumors

234234234Considering what were perceived to be the consequences of removing nuclear weapons from Turkey in 2010,  the transferring of US nuclear weapons to Romania now would be serious indeed. Thus, floating rumors of the weapons being moved could have been aimed at pressuring Ankara to make concessions regarding any number of current US projects in the region, the most prominent of which would be its ongoing proxy war against Syria, Russia and Iran.

Another possibility may have been to simply add credibility to claims that US and Turkish ties are strained, even unraveling. This might be perceived as necessary considering the lack of actual, quantifiable fallout seen on the ground in Turkey in regards to a continued US presence within its territory, as well as on the ground along the Turkish-Syrian border.

This geopolitical subterfuge might be aimed at Russia and Syria as a means of drawing them in before an inevitable betrayal.

US nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey and throughout Europe have always been somewhat secretive. In the RUSI paper words such as “reportedly” are used in reference to the number and location of US nuclear weapons across the region. This secrecy makes rumors regarding US nuclear weapons and their potential movement from Turkey to Romania particularly attractive in terms of extorting geopolitical concessions and manipulating public perception as they are difficult to confirm or deny.

Rumors Vs. Reality 

However, the perceived implications of the move have already been placed in the minds of many.

But regardless of these rumors, the reality of US-Turkish ties remains to be seen on the ground, in Turkey, at Incirlik Airbase, at America’s sprawling complex in Ankara where a variety of diplomatic, political and military activities are organized from and along the Turkish-Syrian border where US forces and various armed proxies are still operating.

When Ankara begins taking concrete steps toward truly ending the war in Syria, such as cutting off supply lines that have fed US, European, and Persian Gulf-backed militants for years, resulting in the collapse of militant forces particularly in Idlib and around Aleppo, there may be proper impetus to make the prospect of transferring US nuclear weapons out of Turkey more believable.

Likewise, should Turkey begin incrementally removing the large presence of US military and diplomatic personnel from its territory to levels more proportionate to those seen in non-NATO member states, the idea of the US moving its nuclear weapons out of the country will not seem so far fetched.

However, even if Turkey wanted to take all of these steps, it would not be easy to immediately implement them. Much of what constitutes current US-Turkish ties has been in the making for decades, forged during the Cold War and tempered further in its aftermath. And if these decidedly smaller steps are difficult to initiate, larger steps like transferring nuclear weapons and altering the geopolitical and strategic lay of an entire region are even more so.

With this in mind, we should consider these rumors as possibly coercive in nature, and even more so, possibly meant to manipulate public perception into believing the fallout between Turkey and the US is greater than it really is. Regardless, when really put into perspective, the possibility of the US transferring nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania is still just that, rumors.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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The top Anglo-American elite appears very, very worried that the Neocons (Bush/Clinton) will fail again in stopping, or even slowing down, Russia. They are more and more weary of the impotent Rambo war-cries of the left and right Neocons who are hysterically perched around Hillary Clinton. The Anglo-American elite is trying to find a way out and, oblivious of showing their desperation, is trying to resurrect their loyal lackey Henry Kissinger. Instead of the ineffective threats of the Clintonites  (see Ashton Carter, John Allen, Leon Panetta, Michael Morell, etc. ), this elites try to go back to the soft spider poison strategy used by Kissinger in the 70s. Kissinger, in their eyes, has achieved three great successes with his “friendly” detente method:

1) weakening and undermining, progressively but surely, Russia,

2) splitting Russia and China

3) neutralizing the influence of Russia in the Middle East

The Neocons’ ferocious and deranged aggressive policy managed to nullify all three Kissingerian geostrategic achievements. In a sense, it has been a fortune for humanity, a proof of the diplomatic ability of Vladimir Putin and a clear indication of the rapacious stupidity of the Clinton/Bush establishment. For a profit, they did sell to Russia the rope to be used to hang them.   But now the Anglo-American elite realizes that the group, the mafia, the establishment  to whom they gave the car keys, have created a situation of existential danger for their domination. The real economy of the US has been thoroughly weakened by the escalating financial looting, to the point that also their war-waging ability has been jeopardized. And the Elite realizes that Russia and its allies are not going to surrender to the ferocious but hysterical and ineffective assault conceived by the moronic Neocon war criminals. This time will not be a fake coward war like the one against Iraq, or Libya. This time will be a real, nuclear, war. And the Anglo-American elite is ready to start any war against an enemy unable to defend itself, while they are scared to death of a real war in which they could LOOSE.

They realize also that, despite the military adventures and the present expenses allocated for the military, the US is being progressively isolated. They realize that, despite the investments in goebbelsian propaganda, NATO is not the magic bullet they dreamed of. While the real economy of the host country is being bled, The NATO structure is not able any more to fulfill its mission. Its mission being: “Keep the Russian out, the Americans in, and the Europeans down”.

The recent developments in Turkey has shown, for the first time,  that a NATO/US sponsored coup d’état did NOT succeed.  Now, Turkey is entering  a new political trajectory and a new geostrategic realm. Though it’s difficult to foresee with perfect accuracy what is going to happen, it is clear that a process of progressive disintegration of the anglaomerican control and domination apparatus has started. It could progress very fast and very dramatically. The possibility of Turkey leaving NATO, de jure or simply de facto, is being contemplated by many of the most competent observers. An informal military relation with Russia, China (and Iran!) is already a fact. The notorious US  network of influence nominally run by Fetullah Gulen is being dismantled not only in Turkey, but in Azerbaijan  and, it is expected to be weakened and neutralized in all the Turkic areas, i.e. the Southern Flank of the ex Soviet Union. These areas were supposed to be the bastion of the “West” against Russia. They are rapidly becoming the opposite.

The Turkish lesson is being studied very carefully by a large number of countries. Starting with the Bulgaria leadership who cowardly preferred an economic suicide when was told by Hillary Clinton’s darling, Victoria Nuland to cancel the gigantic Southern Stream pipeline from Russia.  The Turkish lesson is being studied all over the Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa, and of course, Continental Europe. The British Brexit decision, though clearly dictated by clever, realpolitik considerations of surviving “to fight another day,” is part of these lessons learned and probably, was an incentive to the Turkish military and elite to make the Gulen coup fail.

And so the decrepit Kissinger is again presented on the public scene by the elite who hope he can do the “detente” trick again. We seriously doubt that Russia will fall for that for even a second. Despite the many “friends” of Russia who are vociferously telling Putin: Look, look how good is Kissinger. He represents the good faction in the West. Sign a deal with him and everything will be good and fine. Most likely Russia will treat the “messenger boy” with extreme formal respect, will even  go to the motion of discussing and negotiating in some form. BUT it will never let its strategy be conditioned by the promise and the good word of the Detente man. There will not be another Gorbachev, there will not a be an Yeltsin. Quite the contrary. Maybe there will not even be a Medvedev in the future of Russia.

Last February 4, Kissinger was in Moscow giving a speech at the Gorchakov Fund explaining why he represented  the alternative to a confrontation and presenting his plan to go back to the good old days  i.e. when Russia was… royally undermined. See the complete speech to believe (see transcript of speech below).

<http://gorchakovfund.ru/en/news/18352/ >

On Aug 19, The Doctor comes back with the same music in an interview  to Jacob Heilbrunn for the National Interest magazine. It is very telling of the  uneasy situation the Masters of Kissinger are at this point. <http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-interview-henry-kissinger-13615 >

On one side, the old factotum of Wall Street has to say words that, he believes, will be well received in Moscow (criticism of the  anti Russia attitude of the Neocons), on the other he cannot by explain frankly that his Detente strategy in the 1970s, and his “nice words” in 2016 have the same purpose: Smash Russia!  He is asked: “détente played a critical role in bringing down the Soviet Union, didn’t it?” Kissinger’s answer: “That is my view. We viewed détente as a strategy for conducting the conflict with the Soviet Union.”

See the following exchange:

Heilbrunn: I’d forgotten that he’d managed that feat. In the end, though, détente played a critical role in bringing down the Soviet Union, didn’t it?

Kissinger: That is my view. We viewed détente as a strategy for conducting the conflict with the Soviet Union.

Heilbrunn: I’m amazed that this doesn’t get more attention—in Europe, this is the common view, that détente was essential toward softening up Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and getting over the memory of World War II, whereas in the United States we have a triumphalist view.

Kissinger: Well, you have the view that Reagan started the process with his Evil Empire speech, which, in my opinion, occurred at the point when the Soviet Union was already well on the way to defeat. We were engaged in a long-term struggle, generating many competing analyses. I was on the hard-line side of the analysis. But I stressed also the diplomatic and psychological dimensions. We needed to wage the Cold War from a posture in which we would not be isolated, and in which we would have the best possible basis for conducting unavoidable conflicts. Finally, we had a special obligation to find a way to avoid nuclear conflict, since that risked civilization. We sought a position to be ready to use force when necessary but always in the context of making it clearly demonstrable as a last resort. The neoconservatives took a more absolutist view. Reagan used the span of time that was available to him with considerable tactical skill, although I’m not sure that all of it was preconceived. But its effect was extremely impressive. I think the détente period was an indispensable prelude.

Heilbrunn: The other monumental accomplishment was obviously the opening to China. Do you feel today that—

Kissinger: —Reducing the Soviet role in the Middle East. That was not minor.

Heilbrunn: That’s correct, and saving Israel in the ’73 war with the arms supply.

Kissinger: The two were related.

Heilbrunn: Is China the new Wilhelmine Germany today? Richard Nixon, shortly before he died, told William Safire that it was necessary to create the opening to China, but we may have created a Frankenstein.

Kissinger: A country that has had three thousand years of dominating its region can be said to have an inherent reality. The alternative would have been to keep China permanently subdued in collusion with the Soviet Union, and therefore making the Soviet Union—already an advanced nuclear country—the dominant country of Eurasia with American connivance. But China inherently presents a fundamental challenge to American strategy.

See:
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-interview-henry-kissinger-13615
The Interview: Henry Kissinger

See:
http://www.fort-russ.com/2015/08/kissinger-goal-of-us-is-break-up-of.html
Kissinger: The goal of the US is a break up of Russia

See:
http://gorchakovfund.ru/en/news/18352/
Primakov Lecture by Henry A. Kissinger at the Gorchakov Fund in Moscow


ANNEX

Primakov Lecture by Henry A. Kissinger at the Gorchakov Fund in Moscow

February 4, 2016

From 2007 into 2009, Evgeny Primakov and I chaired a group composed of retired senior ministers, high officials, and military leaders from Russia and the United States, including some of you present here today. Its purpose was to ease the adversarial aspects of the U.S.-Russian relationship and to consider opportunities for cooperative approaches. In America, it was described as a Track II group, which meant it was bipartisan and encouraged by the White House to explore but not negotiate on its behalf. We alternated meetings in each other’s country. President Putin received the group in Moscow in 2007, and President Medvedev in 2009. In 2008, President George W. Bush assembled most of his National Security team in the Cabinet Room for a dialogue with our guests.

All the participants had held responsible positions during the Cold War. During periods of tension, they had asserted the national interest of their country as they understood it. But they had also learned through experience the perils of a technology threatening civilized life and evolving in a direction which, in crisis, might disrupt any organized human activity. Upheavals were looming around the globe, magnified in part by different cultural identities and clashing ideologies. The goal of the Track II effort was to overcome crises and explore common principles of world order.

Evgeny Primakov was an indispensable partner in this effort. His sharp analytical mind combined with a wide grasp of global trends acquired in years close to and ultimately at the center of power, and his great devotion to his country refined our thinking and helped in the quest for a common vision. We did not always agree, but we always respected each other. He is missed by all of us and by me personally as a colleague and a friend.

I do not need to tell you that our relations today are much worse than they were a decade ago. Indeed, they are probably the worst they have been since before the end of the Cold War. Mutual trust has been dissipated on both sides. Confrontation has replaced cooperation. I know that in his last months, Evgeny Primakov looked for ways to overcome this disturbing state of affairs. We would honor his memory by making that effort our own.

At the end of the Cold War, both Russians and Americans had a vision of strategic partnership shaped by their recent experiences. Americans were expecting that a period of reduced tensions would lead to productive cooperation on global issues. Russian pride in their role in modernizing their society was tempered by discomfort at the transformation of their borders and recognition of the monumental tasks ahead in reconstruction and redefinition. Many on both sides understood that the fates of Russia and the U.S. remained tightly intertwined. Maintaining strategic stability and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction became a growing necessity, as did the building of a security system for Eurasia, especially along Russia’s long periphery. New vistas opened up in trade and investment; cooperation in the field of energy topped the list.

Regrettably, the momentum of global upheaval has outstripped the capacities of statesmanship. Evgeny Primakov’s decision as Prime Minister, on a flight over the Atlantic to Washington, to order his plane to turn around and return to Moscow to protest the start of NATO military operations in Yugoslavia was symbolic. The initial hopes that the close cooperation in the early phases of the campaign against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan might lead to partnership on a broader range of issues weakened in the vortex of disputes over Middle East policy, and then collapsed with the Russian military moves in the Caucasus in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. The more recent efforts to find common ground in the Syria conflict and to defuse the tension over Ukraine have done little to change the mounting sense of estrangement.

The prevailing narrative in each country places full blame on the other side, and in each country there is a tendency to demonize, if not the other country, then its leaders. As national security issues dominate the dialogue, some of the mistrust and suspicions from the bitter Cold-War struggle have reemerged. These feelings have been exacerbated in Russia by the memory of the first post-Soviet decade when Russia suffered a staggering socio-economic and political crisis, while the United States enjoyed its longest period of uninterrupted economic expansion. All this caused policy differences over the Balkans, the former Soviet territory, the Middle East, NATO expansion, missile defense, and arms sales to overwhelm prospects for cooperation.

Perhaps most important has been a fundamental gap in historical conception. For the United States, the end of the Cold War seemed like a vindication of its traditional faith in inevitable democratic revolution. It visualized the expansion of an international system governed by essentially legal rules. But Russia’s historical experience is more complicated. To a country across which foreign armies have marched for centuries from both East and West, security will always need to have a geopolitical, as well as a legal, foundation. When its security border moves from the Elbe 1,000 miles east towards Moscow, Russia’s perception of world order will contain an inevitable strategic component. The challenge of our period is to merge the two perspectives—the legal and the geopolitical—in a coherent concept.

In this way, paradoxically, we find ourselves confronting anew an essentially philosophical problem. How does the United States work together with Russia, a country which does not share all its values but is an indispensable component of the international order? How does Russia exercise its security interests without raising alarms around its periphery and accumulating adversaries? Can Russia gain a respected place in global affairs with which the United States is comfortable? Can the United States pursue its values without being perceived as threatening to impose them? I will not attempt to propose answers to all these questions. My purpose is to encourage an effort to explore them.

Many commentators, both Russian and American, have rejected the possibility of the U.S. and Russia working cooperatively on a new international order. In their view, the United States and Russia have entered a new Cold War.

The danger today is less a return to military confrontation than the consolidation of a self-fulfilling prophecy in both countries. The long-term interests of both countries call for a world that transforms the contemporary turbulence and flux into a new equilibrium which is increasingly multipolar and globalized.

The nature of the turmoil is in itself unprecedented. Until quite recently, global international threats were identified with the accumulation of power by a dominating state. Today threats more frequently arise from the disintegration of state power and the growing number of ungoverned territories. This spreading power vacuum cannot be dealt with by any state, no matter how powerful on an exclusively national basis. It requires sustained cooperation between the United States and Russia, and other major powers. Therefore the elements of competition, in dealing with the traditional conflicts in the interstate system, must be constrained so that the competition remains within bounds and creates conditions which prevent a recurrence.

There are, as we know, a number of divisive issues before us, Ukraine or Syria as the most immediate. For the past few years, our countries have engaged in episodic discussions of such matters without much notable progress. This is not surprising, because the discussions have taken place outside an agreed strategic framework. Each of the specific issues is an expression of a larger strategic one. Ukraine needs to be embedded in the structure of European and international security architecture in such a way that it serves as a bridge between Russia and the West, rather than as an outpost of either side. Regarding Syria, it is clear that the local and regional factions cannot find a solution on their own. Compatible U.S.-Russian efforts coordinated with other major powers could create a pattern for peaceful solutions in the Middle East and perhaps elsewhere.

Any effort to improve relations must include a dialogue about the emerging world order. What are the trends that are eroding the old order and shaping the new one? What challenges do the changes pose to both Russian and American national interests? What role does each country want to play in shaping that order, and what position can it reasonably and ultimately hope to occupy in that new order? How do we reconcile the very different concepts of world order that have evolved in Russia and the United States—and in other major powers—on the basis of historical experience? The goal should be to develop a strategic concept for U.S.-Russian relations within which the points of contention may be managed.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, I perceived international relations as an essentially adversarial relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. With the evolution of technology, a conception of strategic stability developed that the two countries could implement, even as their rivalry continued in other areas. The world has changed dramatically since then. In particular, in the emerging multipolar order, Russia should be perceived as an essential element of any new global equilibrium, not primarily as a threat to the United States.

I have spent the greater part of the past seventy years engaged in one way or another in U.S.-Russian relations. I have been at decision centers when alert levels have been raised, and at joint celebrations of diplomatic achievement. Our countries and the peoples of the world need a more durable prospect.

I am here to argue for the possibility of a dialogue that seeks to merge our futures rather than elaborate our conflicts. This requires respect by both sides of the vital values and interest of the other. These goals cannot be completed in what remains of the current administration. But neither should their pursuits be postponed for American domestic politics. It will only come with a willingness in both Washington and Moscow, in the White House and the Kremlin, to move beyond the grievances and sense of victimization to confront the larger challenges that face both of our countries in the years ahead.

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La « Haine de la vie » : Le système mondial qui nous menace tous

août 22nd, 2016 by Prof. Claudia von Werlhof

Je n’ai que quelques minutes pour vous convaincre de l’utilité d’un nouveau terme : un terme qui nous aidera à comprendre l’époque dangereuse dans laquelle nous vivons ainsi que les luttes associées d’un niveau plus profond, c’est-à dire, les racines.

Le temps pour des plaisanteries légères et les incertitudes est passé. La « tempête » prédite par les Zapatistes s’approchent plus vite qu’on ne s’y attendait. Notre confusion doit s’arrêter.

Le système mondial qui nous menace tous est basé sur un étrange phénomène. Je n’ai été capable de le saisir complètement que récemment, notamment une « haine de la vie ». (2) Cette haine est devenue, en effet, un système, une société, une civilisation globale. Elle est enracinée dans toutes les institutions de la civilisation moderne : dans l’économie autant que dans la politique, dans la science autant que dans les relations de genre, et, spécialement, dans la technologie moderne. Il n’existe plus un endroit où la haine de la vie n’a pas littéralement été versée dans le réel comme l’idée fondamentale et la sensation de notre existence. La haine de la vie n’est pas une émotion fugace ou une simple expérience individuelle ou personnelle d’une certaine situation ou d’un moment. Ce n’est rien de moins que l’hostilité envers la vie elle-même qui – et ceci est ma thèse – est devenue le fondement principal, la force motrice, et le critère définissant une civilisation patriarcale qui remonte à presque 5.000 ans.

Après un interdit virtuel de 30 ans, le terme « patriarcat » ré-émerge maintenant. Il était généralement utilisé par des féministes radicales dont le mouvement était destiné à être détruit avec l’arrivée du néo-libéralisme.

L’apparition des dites « études de genre » en a été la conséquence. Le terme « patriarcat » a été évité et les porte-paroles des études de genre se sont rapidement ralliées aux revendications pour « l’égalité » à l’intérieur du présent système. L’objectif était l’intégration et un partage du pouvoir – quelque chose que la gauche avait propagé depuis longtemps.

Mais la contestation réside à sortir au-delà d’un système animé par la haine de la vie au lieu de se transformer (volontairement !) en un complice toujours plus loyal dans les massacres dont il est responsable.

On a suggéré à maintes reprises ici que le système patriarcal est un système de mort. Ce n’est pas entièrement correct. Le système patriarcal est un système d’assassinats, c »est-à-dire. de mort artificielle : l’écocide, le matricide, l’homicide en général, et finalement « l’omnicide », le meurtre de « tout ».

L’omnicide apparaît déjà à l’horizon sous la forme de la dite « géo-ingénierie ». La géo-ingénierie a commencé avec la destruction de la planète elle-même, de Mère-Terre et de son ordre vivant. La géo-ingénierie a l’intention de transformer la planète en une arme de guerre gigantesque. (3) Elle utilise de nouvelles technologies  de destruction de masse « post-nucléaires » destinée à prendre le contrôle de la planète et de ses énergies pour employer « une guerre du temps » et des « armes plasma » parmi d’autres.

La géo-ingénierie militaire à laquelle on est confronté est un « art de la guerre contre la terre » qui a été développé pendant 70 ans d’expérimentation avec la planète. Elle se cache elle-même dans des habits « civils » et «  scientifiques » et prétend nous protéger du « changement climatique » et du « réchauffement global ». Néanmoins, le changement climatique et le réchauffement global sont les résultats de l’expérimentation citée et pas d’émissions de gaz par effet de serre, qu’on nous conduit faussement à croire afin de cacher les crimes de l’armée. (4)

Dans ce contexte je voudrais annoncer la publication  de Planeta Tierra – la Nueva Guerra, l’édition espagnole du livre de la Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War, (La planète Terre : La dernière arme de guerre) qui sera délivré par La casa del mago, basée à Guadalajara. (5)

On a toujours su que l’armée n’était pas une institution exprimant l’amour de la vie. Mais jusqu’à récemment nous ne savions pas que nos institutions civiles étaient empoisonnées par la même haine de la vie perverse, illogique, et avec les mots de Ivan Illich, « contre-productive ».

Comment peut-on haïr la vie, quand on en fait partie ? Comment peut-on se haïr soi-même ? Et pourquoi ?

C’est ce secret scandaleux qui mérite d’être révélé. Il va de soi que la haine de la vie ne peut pas être reconnue ou nommée ouvertement, soutenue ou propagée. Ce n’est jamais mentionné. Pratiquement, personne ne voudrait prendre part à un projet motivé par la haine de la vie. L’amour de la vie est encore nôtre ; il est profondément humain. Il est encore avec nous depuis la période de la civilisation non-patriarcale, le dit « matriarcat ». La civilisation matriarcale est basée sur l’amour de la vie. C’est une civilisation qui coopère avec la vie, qui célèbre la vie et qui tient à la « bonne vie » des communautés, sans l’état et des hiérarchies, sans police et sans banques. (6)

Le motif sinistre pour haïr la vie doit être caché. Les crimes épouvantables que tous les patriarcats ont commis contre la vie elle-même, contre les enfants, les femmes et tous les êtres humains, contre la terre, les animaux et les plantes ne doivent pas être révélés. La haine de la vie est la raison et la justification rationnelle pour la violence contre cela ; une violence qui veut prévenir toute rébellion ou tout soulèvement de ceux qui ne croient pas dans le système qu’elle défend ; un système que beaucoup considéreraient comme une attaque grave de leur dignité, s’ils la reconnaissaient seulement.

On nous dit est que cette violence est nécessaire pour le développement, le progrès, et une meilleure vie pour tous. Elle est généralement comprise et reconnue seulement par ceux qui en sont directement affectés. Même alors, la promesse d’une vie meilleure est supposée être une consolation, bien que toute chance pour une vie meilleure a, en fait, été sacrifiée !

Pourquoi reconnaissons-nous si rarement combien cette logique est faillible ? Pourquoi reconnaissons-nous si rarement la contradiction flagrante de sacrifier la vie afin de l’améliorer ?

La raison en est le projet utopique du patriarcat. Ceci avait déjà été conçu dans des textes anciens, pendant l’époque du début des patriarcats. Le but du projet est de renverser l’ordre naturel sens dessus dessous et d’établir à la place un ordre non naturel et antinaturel. (7)

On peut en trouver l’origine dans les guerres de conquête contre les civilisations matriarcales du monde. Etablir le contrôle sur ceux qui ont été conquis, requière un système capable d’administrer le contrôle : l’état. Il s’est mis à contrôler la vie elle-même : les humains, la nature et la culture matriarcale. (8) Le système basé sur une haine de la vie a été développé afin de prévenir toute contestation de la règle patriarcale. Il s’est terminé par le désir de remplacer l’ordre naturel par un ordre artificiel pour disposer du « problème de la vie » une fois pour toute. Toute la dépendance à la nature, aux femmes et aux mères devait être surmontée. Un système de création masculine patriarcal a été inventé qui n’avait pas de place pour les cycles, les réseaux et les mouvements de la nature. La Déesse était remplacée par « Dieu, le Créateur » et finalement, par les « dieux terrestres » d’aujourd’hui, les gestionnaires d’une vie artificielle, supposée être « post-humaine et « trans-humaine », une vie de cybers, de robots, d’utérus artificiels, de tubes de tests, et d’industrie globales de reproduction. (9)

Le projet de remplacer la vie par la non-vie pouvait seulement être réalisé avec l’aide de la civilisation moderne patriarcal-capitaliste et sa technologie, la machine. Tous les tentatives des « alchimistes » d’avant de produire des formes meilleures, plus élevées et plus divines ont échoué. Seule la technologie moderne a permis la manifestation monstrueuse du projet patriarcal dont on est témoin aujourd’hui. C’est pourquoi j’appelle le patriarcat moderne « le Monstre ! ».

Le Monstre n’est pas seulement caractérisé par l’exploitation, l’extraction et l’appropriation. Il est d’abord, et avant tout caractérisé en transformant ses possessions en leurs opposés, en tout ce que nous appelons « le capital » la valeur, la monnaie, les machines et les structures hiérarchiques (à la suite de Marx).

Dans cette civilisation, la démocratie véritable est impossible.  Nous sommes face à un système totalitaire qui ne se soucie pas de ses sujets, qui ne peut pas (ou plus longtemps) être stoppé et qui devient constamment plus rapide et plus efficient dans sa tentative de mettre fin à la vie sur cette planète – tout en transformant même ce processus lui-même en un instrument pour continuer l’accumulation de profits et de pouvoir…

Soi-disant, tout ce qui existe aujourd’hui dérive de soi-disant pères ; chaque origine est patriarcale et non plus maternelle, dérivant d’une mère, de la Mère-Terre, matri-archale. Le patriarcat est une nouvelle « formation technologique » qui produit e transforme tout ce qui existe violemment. Il nes’arrêtera pas avant que tout ne soit annihilé.

Le capitalisme est la forme moderne de matérialisation de ce projet utopique de transformation totale. Quand le patriarcat « pur » arrive et que même les plus petits restes matriarcaux ont disparus, nous serons tous morts.

J’espère que les hommes parmi vous, qui avant avaient des difficultés avec le terme « patriarcat » peuvent voir maintenant que cela les concerne aussi. J’espère que vous déciderez de changer de côté et rejoindrez la nature et les femmes. Les femmes sont (encore) plus proches de la vie, puisque la vie émerge d’elles. Elles sont toujours les premières victimes de la haine de la vie, mais elles sont aussi plus proches de la vérité de la vie.

Quand des femmes se lèvent, elles se lèvent pour défendre la vie. Cela a toujours été ainsi. Aujourd’hui, les femmes se lèvent contre la violence et pour la vie, massivement et dans le monde entier. Tout le monde devrait les suivre, les étreindre et les aimer pour cette raison. Ce ne sont pas elles qui sont la menace, c’est le Monstre, « le hydre » patriarcal, une combinaison englobant le capitalisme, le néo-libéralisme, le colonialisme, la mondialisation et le militarisme.

Le patriarcat est un projet historique qui a atteint son sommet avec le capitalisme. A cause de sa haine de la vie il s’effondrera inévitablement. Il ne sait pas remplacer la vie qu’il détruit continuellement. Le capital ne sait rien retourner vers la vie. Le processus de « patriacalisation » est irréversible. C’est une religion. Et les patriarches ne peuvent pas stopper d’y croire parce qu’ils seraient alors forcés de retourner au matriarcat…

Quelle idée formidable ce serait ! Quelle joie cela apporterait ! On pourrait abandonner derrière nous la duperie patriarcale et revivre la dignité humaine en rejetant ce système monstrueux. Sans notre participation et coopération, il ne peut pas être maintenu.

La Mère-Terre ou la mort ! C’est l’alternative à laquelle nous sommes confrontés aujourd’hui (10) D’une maison commune à une cause commune : nous libérer nous-mêmes de la haine de la vie absurde, une maladie collective enterrée dans notre inconscient collectif.

La vie n’est pas ici pour être tuée ; elle est ici pour être aimée et défendue !

 Claudia von Werlhof

Article en anglais (traduit de l’allemand) :

Feminist-Graphic

The “Hatred of Life”: The World System which is Threatening All of Us, publié le 16 août 2016.

Traduction en français : Edith Rubinstein

Notes :

  1. Claudia von Werlhof: El „odio a la vida“ como característica central del patriarcado, Mex. Nov 20, 2015a
  2. _____: El secreto inefable de la civilización moderna, man. Mex. 2015b
  3. Cf. Rosalie Bertell: Planet Earth: The latest weapon of war. London 2000, Women’s Press
  4. Cf. Planetare Bewegung für Mutter Erde, www.pbme-online.org; Claudia von Werlhof: La destrucción de la Madre Tierra como último y máximo crimen de la civilización patriarcal, Mex. 2015c, in: DEP, no. 30, Venice, Feb 2016
  5. Rosalie Betell: Planeta Tierra – la Nueva Guerra, Guadalajara 2016, La casa del mago
  6. Heide Göttner-Abendroth: Das Matriarchat, several volumes, Stuttgart, from 1988, Kohlhammer
  7. Cf. BUMERANG – Zeitschrift für Patriarchatskritik, no. 0, 2015, www.fipaz.at
  8. Cf., for example, Doris Wolf: Was war vor den Pharaonen?, Zurich 1994, Kreuz
  9. Cf. Claudia von Werlhof: Der unerkannte Kern der Krise. Die Moderne als Er-Schöpfung der Welt, Arun 2012, Uhlstädt-Kirchhasel; BUMERANG, no. 1: Mutterschaft im Patriarchat, 2015, www.fipaz.at
  10. Claudia von Werlhof: Madre Tierra o Muerte! Reflexiones para una Teoría Crítica del Patriarcado, Oaxaca 2015d, El Rebozo
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Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day

août 22nd, 2016 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

“The establishment of a normal working-day is the result of struggle between capitalist and labour.” — Karl Marx, Das Kapital, Ch 10

Lengthy hours of work are never a good recipe for feeding the productivity machine.  In Calvinist notions of hard work, the harder such toil is engaged in, the greater the prospects of gain. Combined with industrial rapacity, this doctrine produced terrible results for the toilers of the Industrial Revolution.  Men, women and children were drawn into the machine and ruined to the sound of rising capital. What, however, of actual productivity?

Karl Marx, ever the historical digger, was onto the point in Chapter 10 of Das Kapital: lengthier working days do not a more productive worker make.  Taking aim at his ever familiar target of capital, “the labourer is nothing else, his whole life through, than labour-power, that therefore all his disposable time is by nature and law labour-time, to be devoted to the self-expansion of capital.”[1]

Those things such as time spent for education and intellectual development; or social intercourse and “the free play of … bodily and mental activity, even the rest time on Sunday” would be mere “moonshine”.  Capital, having a “were-wolf hunger for surplus-labour” usurps “the time for growth, development, and healthy maintenance of the body.”

Sweden has been in the news of late for attempting to take the Marxist spirit to heart, with employers seeking to maximise the value of labour from the shorter work time offered.  The latest reduction will take the form of a six-hour working day, though trials were already taking place last year.

Some work places in Sweden will not find the moves particularly novel – the Toyota centres in Gothenburg have been engaging in the practice for 13 years. Staff have registered levels of high satisfaction, which has been rewarded with low turnover rates and, shockingly to those across the Atlantic, high profits.

Linus Feldt, CEO of the Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus, has had his reservations of the eight-hour day for years.  “To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge.”  His strategy entails using pauses, improving the work mix “to make the work day more endurable.”[2]

Sweden’s more than mere flirtation with this idea has its roots in a broader historical debate.  The balance between work and leisure, along with the ever increasing rise of capital, has been the battle of industrialised societies, typified by the rise of organised labour.

Australasia, in its pugnacious infancy, tended to be strides ahead of the pack in accepting that more leisure, better working conditions, and importantly, less work hours, would be productive to company profit and physical health.  Chartist men such as James Stephens, a Welsh-born agitating mason derided by the Melbourne Daily Herald as a “stupid mischievous blockhead”, saw organised unionism as a weapon to blunt the broader ravages of unaccountable capital.

On April 21, 1856, stonemasons working on the site of the University of Melbourne made their point in marching on Parliament House, largely at Stephens insistence.  The result of their pluckiness?   The 48-hour week.

Some of their views were sensibly observant, and the working movement in the antipodes took heed of the stresses inflicted by the environment on the working body for lengthy periods of time.  As the Victorian Operative Mason’s Society Report (11 June, 1884) observed, “the period of labour under the relaxing influence of an Australian climate, cannot extend to the length of daily toil in the mother country [Britain], without sacrificing health, and shortening the duration of human life.”

In the manner that now sounds like textbook socialism, the mind of such working folk would also be deemed important.  This entailed, as the same report noted, “The self-cultivation… of the ‘adult man’.”  Give the worker time to read and study, “and to progress in knowledge and virtue.”

Airing and feeding the mind, while providing more leisure, would also have a lasting effect on family life and engender in a citizen the values of civic understanding. The “natural flow of the animal spirits” needed to be unleashed, and in so doing would come “self-respect, and respect for other, for law, order, and forms so essential to freedom, domestic virtues and good citizenship.”

Other states have made the shorter work week famous in the last few decades.  France’s 35-hour working week was introduced in 2000 by a socialist government as a threshold measure “above which overtime or rest days start to kick in.”[3] With a certain bitter irony, it is the current socialist government that is having severe reservations about it.

The vigilantes of productivity always saw little merit in cutting back such hours.  The 35-hour week entailed higher labour costs while tying French hands in the global market place.  “Labour reforms” have been touted as necessary to unclog the disincentives.

As Prime Minister Manuel Valls explained in January, “Exemptions to the legal duration of working time at 35 hours are no longer a violation of the law.”[4]  Economy minister Emmanuel Macron preferred to be even blunter, suggesting that legal requirements to pay overtime rates of at least 10 percent more than the standard rate should be abolished altogether.

Even in Sweden, there are those sceptics who insist that less work risks becoming a matter of idleness.  The mining town of Kiruna, for instance, saw a trial that ran for 16 years examining the shorter work day.  It was abandoned amidst political acrimony and a lack of reliable data.

For all that, it is still comforting to note that cultural changes in environment, given the appropriate nudge along, do help. While the six-hour day, like any such work programs, can become a caricature, they are very much part of a social welfare sentiment distinctly absent in US or Japanese workplaces.  The rationale is hard to fault: the happier the employee, the greater the productivity.

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

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“The spirit of Black August moves through centuries of Black, Indian and multi-cultural resistance. It is an emblem of the spirit of freedom.” — Mumia Abu Jamal

Neoliberal capitalism is carrying out a vicious assault on public education, health care, public transportation, social housing, regulation of corporations, trade union rights and other essential programmes that benefit the labouring classes in the Americas. In the same vein, there has been a corresponding expansion of the repressive policing, judicial and imprisonment capacity of the state. The criminal justice system across the region is being used to police and regulate the effects of social, economic and political inequalities along the lines of gender, race and class, especially for people of African descent.

It is in the above context that Black August should be embraced across the Americas as a commemorative month that focuses on the history and present-day resistance against the violence of the state and capital as well as the liberation agenda being pursued. Black August had its origin in the penal colonies of California in the early 1970s. It started in prison as a way to acknowledge the political and militant struggles of politicized New Afrikan or African American prisoners and those who were martyred in the process of fighting the prison system.

Black August was used to mark the death of revolutionaries such George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain, Jonathon Jackson and Khatari Gaulden who were killed in prison or during the armed attempt at liberating African prisoners at the Marin County courthouse. This commemorative month was used to politicize fellow prisoners and build their capacity to engage in the struggle for emancipation. These politically conscious prisoners represented the prison front of the Black Liberation Movement (BLM).

In 1979, the BLM adopted and institutionalized Black August as a fixture on the movement’s annual calendar of events. In this broader context, Black August serves as a month-long period to bring attention to significant or momentous Black Radical Tradition events that occurred in August. The month of August is linked to many important and defining moments in the liberation struggle of Africans in the United States and elsewhere in the Americas.

However, given the internationalist and Pan-Africanist character of the Black Radical Tradition, it is not surprising that the liberation forces in the BLM referenced the start of the Haitian Revolution and Marcus Garvey’s birthday as important moments within the Black August tradition. However, the radical forces in the United States need to actually centre, highlight and celebrate August-related events such the Haitian Revolution, Emancipation Day in the Anglophone Caribbean, and the Martinique rebellion of 1789.

Black August is very important to the global African struggle for liberation. It is positively affirming the necessity of a politics that is all about ending oppressive relations in society and the use of all available means, including armed struggle, to create the just society. Black August is unapologetically committed to the emancipation of those who are marginalized in society and it could not be any other way. Black August was born in prison but it could have been below deck on a ship in the Middle Passage or in a shack during plantation slavery.

It is critically important to highlight the commonality of the African working-class experience with the repressive actions of the state’s police, courts and prisons as well as the structural violence of poverty, inadequate education, homelessness, unemployment and limited access to healthcare. The violence of the state and capital is used to keep the African masses in their unequal and marginalized status. Black August provides a focal point for the sharing of strategy and tactics and the promotion of mutual aid through anti-imperialist, anti-racist and feminist transnational networks.

Given the heightened attention being given to violence by the state and its agents against Africans in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Jamaica, Colombia and elsewhere, it is the opportune time for radical and revolutionary forces to use the Pan-African commemorative month of Black August to bring a higher level of ideological consistency and clarity, coordination, self-criticism, unity and cooperation to the African Diasporic struggles in the Americas.

Now more than ever, the case for strategic and operational unity within the ranks of Africans and organizations that favour revolutionary transformation of society could not be more compelling. At this moment of rising opposition of Africans to their oppressive conditions across the region, it is troubling that capitalism’s central role in this domination is not mentioned in the same breath as racism and patriarchy or sexism.

Black August is inseparably linked to the legacy and memory of the assassinated prison leader, revolutionary, Marxist and Black Panther Party Field Marshal George Jackson.

In Jackson’s celebrated book Blood in My Eye, he states that “Revolution within a modern capitalist industrial society can only mean the overthrow of all existing property relations and the destruction of all institutions that directly or indirectly support existing property relations. It must include the total suppression of all classes and individuals who endorse the present state of property relations or who stand to gain from it. Anything less is reform.” Black August is the perfect antidote to any African social movement resistance that is not overtly anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist.

The United Nations-declared International Decade for People of African Descent provides an ideal opportunity for radical and revolutionary Africans to promote and institutionalize Black August across the Americas. The promoters of the region-wide observance of Black August should use this UN decade to educate and organize the people around the revolutionary tradition and programme of African liberation that is personified by this commemorative month.

The institutionalizing of Black August across the Americas must come with an emphasis on the organizing approach to African liberation. The organizing approach to movement-building elevates the following tendencies:

  • mandate activists to join or create mass organizations or cadre organizations in order to consistently organize with and among the labouring classes;
  • establishment of programmes, projects and institutions as the instruments through which the people wage struggle against the systems of oppression on a 24/7 basis;
  • develop a self-emancipation or self-organization culture wherein the members of organizations are the source of decision-making power and leadership, and embody the ethos of the International Workingmen’s Association that asserts that “the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves”; and
  • emphasize building the capacity of the people to self-organize by way of systematically equipping them with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitude to do so.

Mumia Abu Jamal is on point when he asserts that “Black August has many markers throughout the long history of resistance in the Americas.” The significance of Mumia’s assertion is connected to the expectation that oppressed peoples who are not Africans ought to embrace and promote Black August. This commemorative month is in alignment with the thrust of the Black Radical Tradition that is anti-racist, internationalist, feminist, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist.

Black August is a rising tide that lifts all boats. After all, the Haitian Revolution enabled South America’s independence and signalled the death of slavery throughout the Americas and the rest of the world.

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an educator, organizer and writer.

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In the early morning hours of January 26, 1987, federal agents across Los Angeles charged into the homes of seven men and one woman and led them away in handcuffs. More than 100 law enforcement officers—city, state and federal—were involved. “War on Terrorism Hits LA,” read the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.

The defendants were all pro-Palestinian activists, but it wasn’t clear what they’d been arrested for. Soon the government conceded it would not introduce criminal charges, instead seeking to deport the group by alleging material support to a communist organization—an ancient Red Scare statute that would soon be declared unconstitutional. The case quickly became a mess, and in the end, 20 years of legal wrangling would pass before a judge would call the case “an embarrassment to the rule of law.” But in the first days of the defense, the lawyers for the men who would become known as the LA Eight were turning over a greater puzzle: why their clients had been targeted in the first place.And then the document arrived.It was a small manila envelope. No return address. No note. Inside, a typewritten government memo, barely legible. The package had been sent to one of the attorneys for the LA Eight, who rushed it to Marc Van Der Hout, his co-counsel.
Van Der Hout was bewildered as he skimmed through it.The 40-page memo described a government contingency plan for rounding up thousands of legal alien residents of eight specified nationalities: Libya, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan and Morocco. Emergency legal measures would be deployed—rescinding the right to bond, claiming the privilege of confidential evidence, excluding the public from deportation hearings, among others. In its final pages, buried in a glaze of bureaucratese, the memo struck its darkest note: A procedure to detain and intern thousands of aliens while they awaited what would presumably become a mass deportation. Van Der Hout read the final pages carefully. The details conjured a vivid image of a massive detainment facility: 100 outdoor acres in the backwoods of Louisiana, replete with specifications for tents and fencing materials, cot measurements and plumbing requirements.
Four decades had passed since the U.S. closed its World War II-era internment camps, a disgraceful chapter when, without cause, the federal government forcibly relocated 120,000 Japanese Americans, imprisoning them across an archipelago of camps pocking the American South and West. Now, a working group in the Reagan administration was grasping for a similar-sounding measure. In 1987, the targets would not be Japanese Americans, but Middle Eastern aliens, lawful U.S. residents without the protection of green cards.

This wasn’t the far-fetched fever dream of an INS hothead; it was the product of careful deliberation, a process that had begun months earlier in the White House. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan, jarred by images of Americans killed on foreign soil at the hands of terrorists, sought a more aggressive tack to an emerging threat. It was the beginning of a shift from the twilight calm of the Cold War to a hotter, all-encompassing federal fixation on terrorism.

Large swaths of the federal government would be retrofitted with a counterterrorism agenda—from the Office of Management and Budget to the Department of Transportation. High on the list was the country’s immigration apparatus—or, as a phalanx of federal reformers began soon to call it, the first line of terrorism defense.

The document received by the attorneys for the LA Eight had originated from within the Immigration and Naturalization Service, then a division of the Department of Justice. The memo was hatched by Group IV of the INS’ Alien Border Control Committee. Van Der Hout had been in immigration law for years, but had never heard of it. In interviews 30 years later, the members of the ABC Committee insist that the document was not seriously considered—a bureaucratic fantasy with few meaningful ramifications—even as they defended the rationale that produced it.

In 1987, after the memo’s existence was briefly exposed, the ABC Committee was promptly terminated, the subgroup and the plan abandoned. But the ideas borne of the anxieties of the ’80s have gained new currency in the years since. In the wake of 9/11, America began detaining foreign nationals deemed threats to American safety—problematic though the legal grounds might be—in Guantanamo Bay. And with every fresh attack, at home or abroad, our demand for aggressive prosecution mounts. It is this fear that has underpinned the platform of Donald Trump—his promises of banning Muslims, blocking travel from countries compromised by terrorism and removing millions in a Herculean deportation scheme. Trump, however unwittingly, has drawn from much the same playbook as the plan once advanced by the ABC committee.

The existence of the committee and its long-forgotten work illustrates a truism of all government policy: old ideas never really die; they lie dormant in a frigid file cabinet, or buried in the Congressional Record, ready to bloom in a moment of political exigency.

One day recently, over lunch at a Virginia mega-mall, I placed the memo beside the plate of one former member of Group IV of the ABC Committee. How did it come to be? I asked him. He was pleasant, but indignant. The government is loaded with contingency plans like you wouldn’t believe, he told me. Best to stop worrying. “You said the department had to scrap this after it was leaked?” he asked. “If they withdrew this in 1986, they probably had something operational by 1992,” he continued. “They’d be foolish not to.”

***

In the late spring of 1986, Tom Walters sat in his office at the INS, scrawling out the details of a plan he barely understood. Days earlier, he had received an unusual directive from his superior Executive Commissioner, handed down to the Border Patrol: We need you to draw up a plan.

Since Walters had arrived at the INS headquarters in 1984 to oversee the formation of a Border Patrol tactical unit, he had already been asked to draw up a number of contingency plans. As far as he knew, none had come to fruition; INS had a habit of devising plans and shoving them into storage, rarely informing the agencies whose cooperation would be needed to execute them. But as he bulleted the details of this plan, Walters couldn’t recall a scenario as grandiose as the one he was tasked with writing. “This is an emergency response for dedicating border patrol resources,” Walters recalls being told by an Executive Commissioner who handed down the assignment. He pulled an old military plan, literally, off the shelf, outlining the use of an INS Detention and Deportation facility in Oakdale, Louisiana. Walters wrote out his adjustments in longhand, and handed them to a secretary to type up.

The ABC Committee had been authorized in June 1986, by the Department of Justice, but it was founded in spirit a year earlier, in June 1985 in the Oval Office. Underneath a patina of calm and domestic stability, Americans in the 1980s began to witness a creeping trend of political terrorism: 17 Americans killed by Hezbollah in Lebanon, a suicide truck bomber killed 241 at a U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, more bombings in Kuwait, Athens and Madrid. Then, in June 1985, two gun-wielding Lebanese men affiliated with Hezbollah hijacked a San Diego-bound TWA 847, bearing 147 passengers and crew. The hostage crisis lasted 17 days; by its end, hijackers had murdered a U.S. Navy Petty Officer, Robert Dean Stethem, and tossed his body onto the tarmac.

“It was the first time the U.S. felt itself being actually targeted, even though most of the attacks occurred overseas,” says Buck Revell, then an Assistant Director of Investigations at the FBI. President Reagan was especially troubled by the murder of Stethem, and felt pressure to respond. In July, he signed a security directive to convene a cabinet-level task force on combating terrorism. The Task Force devolved into a working group of senior agency officials, charged with drawing up recommendations.

Almost immediately, they seized on immigration law as an untapped weapon against terrorism. “INS didn’t view themselves as part of the national security establishment,” says Revell, who served on the working group. During weekly meetings in a spacious conference room inside the Old Executive Office building, members of the working group became convinced that INS could be retooled to closely track incoming and outgoing aliens, receive intelligence shared by law enforcement, and speed up deportation proceedings.

Frustration with the glacial pace of deportations was informed by the Iranian Hostage Crisis, an event that haunted everyone in the working group. In 1979, after Iranian revolutionaries overtook the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the Carter administration had mobilized INS to register the 75,000 Iranian college students in the United States—an undertaking mentioned throughout the memo that the ABC committee would later produce. In November and December of ’79, according to agency accounts, INS agents piled into cars and rolled into college towns. They met lines of Iranian students that stretched out cafeteria doors, waiting to register their names with INS officials seated behind fold-out tables. Students who evaded Carter’s order to register were detained and, overwhelmingly, released on bond, a setback that infuriated INS officials. Of the 60,000 Iranian students registered, 430 were deported. The revelation that INS lacked a method to track non-immigrant aliens other than road trips and registries that relied on the aliens showing up to be counted earned the agency the scorn of Congress.

If another mass registration were at hand, the working group would avoid the Iranian debacle. On January 20, 1986, President Reagan adopted the Task Force’s 44 recommendations in full, half of which still remain classified.

In November, six months after he wrote the plan for the Border Patrol, Tom Walters was summoned to the INS Commissioner’s windowless conference room, the nicest in the department, on the seventh floor of the Chester Arthur building in Washington. Around the dimly-lit conference table sat 13 low-level representatives from four federal agencies: The Justice Department, Customs, the U.S. Marshals and the FBI. At the head of the table sat the chair of committee, a young Walter “Dan” Cadman. Cadman had been tapped to lead Group IV of the Alien and Border Control Committee, the ABC subgroup that dealt with contingency plans. “Being a young and fairly new guy in the Central Office with little seniority, I got tagged because no one else wanted to sit around on what seemed to them to be a bureaucratic exercise,” Cadman told Politico Magazine via email.

Days in advance of the first meeting, the ABC committee’s members separately received the memo, titled “Alien Terrorists and Undesirables: A Contingency Plan,” the same document that would later leak to Weinglass and Van Der Hout. As the discussion began, Walters found himself in disbelief—not at the moral content of the meeting, but its technocratic scale. “I’d best characterize my reaction as shock,” he told me. Walters, like everyone else at the table, had never thought of INS as a terrorist-fighting organization; it was a domestic agency with a domestic charge. In its doling out of visas, perennial underfunding and quotidian attempts to weed out fraud at the border, INS shared more in common with the Social Security Administration than the Navy’s SEAL Team Six.

For the first hour, the men discussed the mission their superiors had given them: How to make INS a high-functioning weapon in the Reagan administration’s new war on terror. At the conference table in the Chester Arthur building, much of the fortnightly meetings were spent explaining definitions and concepts. Little time was devoted to discussing the merits of internment.

The memo begins with its summary recommendation: Banning incoming aliens from countries compromised by terrorism; deporting non-immigrant aliens through a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act relating to destruction of government property; rushing through new changes to the Code of Federal Regulations, and circumventing the typical rulemaking procedure to do so; expanding the legal definitions of international terrorism; and calling for intelligence-sharing to facilitate the deportations.

The INS’ multi-pronged proposals left little to the imagination, offering two options: a “general registry” and “limited targeting.” In its general registry scenario, the State Department would “invalidate the visas of all nonimmigrants” of the targeted nationalities, “using that as the first step to initiate a wholesale registry and processing procedure.” In its limited targeting scenario, the Investigations Division imagined a series of eight steps to expedite the deportation of the targeted nationalities. One was an executive order, requiring the FBI and CIA to share data with INS to locate alien undesirables and suspected terrorists. Another expanded the legal definition of international terrorism as a deportable offense; to speed the process, the measure would circumvent “proposed rule-making procedures, as a matter of national security.” The INS recommended holding aliens without bond, excluding the public from the deportation proceedings and convincing immigration judges to agree to those terms by referencing classified evidence.

A final note detailed “other program recommendations.” They included “summary exclusion” in the form of an executive order, imagining a president who suspended entry to “any class of aliens whose presence … was deemed detrimental to the public safety.” And it recommended a holding facility in Oakdale, Louisiana, a camp that could “house and isolate” up to 5,000 aliens.

It requested $2 million to develop the 100 grassy acres adjacent to the Oakdale facility with tents and fence materials, which would allow the site to be active on four weeks’ notice. “Community is receptive and has agreed to the location,” the section notes.

Toward the end of the document, an enigmatic military plan makes an appearance, punctuating the clipped prose and smeared typeface with a conspicuous ellipse: “Upon identification and activation of a military location,” it reads, “most of the various components of the South Florida Plan would then be operative.”

The South Florida Plan, according to intelligence officials and sources interviewed by Politico Magazine, was a little-known contingency plan for an emergency scenario inspired the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, when 125,000 Cubans fled the island in a months-long flotilla. From April through October, Cuban refugees, many of them felons and mentally ill prisoners, poured onto the beaches of southern Florida and the Gulf states. The immigration system groaned under the weight of a mass migration crisis, as prisons swelled and the INS was plunged into chaos.

The chaos in South Florida gave officials at the Department of Justice pause. Mariel had jettisoned a sliver of Cuban society. What would happen if the Castro regime collapsed? According to officials at the Justice and Defense Departments, to handle that exodus would require converting some of the largest military installations in the South into mass alien detainment centers, at least until the influx could be stemmed.

Willingly or not, Group IV of the ABC was now contemplating triggering the South Florida Plan. The ABC memo is never clear on the exact number of people targeted for internment and deportation: A Border Patrol preface identifies a target number “considerably less” than 10,000, while the Oakdale facility’s upper limit is proposed at 5,000. But buried in the memo, without preface or explanation, is a page that tallies 230,000 alien U.S. residents from eight targeted countries in the Middle East and North Africa. If internment and deportation proceedings were going to approach anything on that scale, the South Florida Plan was a viable option.

Dan Cadman remembers groaning at the sight of Walters’ memo in November 1986, when the ABC Committee first met. In Walters’ retelling, he simply delivered the memo he was instructed to. Through the group’s four meetings during November, December and January, little disagreement was aired.

“Our thought in [Investigations] was that once the other members had a chance to read the whole thing and come back together, collectively the group could kick that appendix to the curb in going forward with a final document,” Cadman told Politico Magazine in an email. “That didn’t happen because someone in the group—probably equally dismayed at the appendix—leaked the document.”

None of the men would discover the source of the leak—who at the table had sent the manila envelope to Weinglass. Usually, at the end of each meeting, the men would discuss the date they would reconvene. But at the last meeting, days before the leak, Cadman said the meeting time was TBD.

“Nobody called back,” says Walters.

***

As he looked over the leaked document in Los Angeles, Marc Van Der Hout was stunned.

The memo’s language lacks the circumspection of policy, barreling through one legal recommendation after another in a blaze of technocratic procedure. Yet at times, a glint of recognition shines through, moments in which the memo seems possessed of an awareness of its own transgressions. The memo notes that an attempt to register en masse lawful aliens of mostly Arab countries is “replete with problems in that it indiscriminately lumps together individuals of widely differing political opinions solely on the basis of nationality.” It quickly corrects: “There are, however, some advantages to the initiation of a registry”—one of which was the “benefit of being tested in administrative tribunals.”

Van Der Hout and a co-counsel, David Cole, now a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, became convinced that the memo was an uncanny outline of the government’s position and plan to deport the LA Eight—the “test case” which the document seemed to imply.

“They picked for arrest and deportation eight people who were essentially alien activists,” remembers Cole. “They sought to use classified evidence to detain them. [The memo] felt like a kind of blueprint for the case against our clients.”

The attorneys for the LA Eight were not the only ones to receive the leaked document. So did Stephen Engelberg, a reporter for the New York Times. His story on February 1, 1987, brought intense pressure on the INS. Beset by reporters at a news conference, William Odencrantz, a regional counsel for INS, was asked about the similarities between the case and the strategies described in the memo, and the seemingly political nature of the charges. “To use a football analogy,” Odencrantz told them, “we don’t care how we score our touchdown, by pass or run. We just want to get them out of the country.”

It was an astonishing confession. Cole, Weinglass and Van Der Hout launched a legal counterattack with the help of the ACLU. If they could prove the government had targeted their clients for their political beliefs and not due to ostensible unlawful behavior, they might get the case dismissed. Bringing their case to a district court, they won—though the decision would be overturned by the Supreme Court in 1998.

But the battle over the document roared on in the court of public opinion. And in Los Angeles, the leak of a federal plan to target legal U.S. residents based on their nationality caught the attention of another group: The Japanese American Citizens League.

The organization, whose members carried the memory of the internment camps, came to the public aid of the LA Eight, attending press conferences and distributing flyers in their defense. That is likely how the ABC memo passed into the possession of Norman Mineta, a California Democrat who represented the San Jose/Silicon Valley region in the U.S. House.

Mineta, now 84, can’t remember who first handed him the document. But he remembers the shock of reading it, a somber recognition.

In 1942, as a 6-year-old, Mineta and his family joined the roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans who were detained and forced from their homes and behind the barbed wire of internment camps hundreds of miles away. Mineta’s family was held at the Heart Mountain internment camp in Cody, Wyoming. Nationally, roughly two-thirds of those interned were citizens. The rest were aliens legally residing in the U.S.

At the time he received a copy of the ABC memo early in 1987, Congressman Mineta had been leading a charge for the Civil Liberties Act of 1987. The proposal would grant federal reparations to the survivors and families of those Japanese Americans interned during the 1940s. Speaking before a House subcommittee in April of that year, Mineta introduced the ABC memo into the Congressional Record, where Politico Magazine first found it.

Speaking from his living room in Annapolis, Mineta described reading the memo for the first time. He skimmed past the disembodied tone and reams of raw figures. His eyes then stopped on a single detail: the plan’s specification for the number of cots. “All I could think of was in 1942, having been forcibly evacuated and interned, we had to make our own mattresses,” Mineta says. “When we got off the train, the first thing we had to do was get this mattress ticking with hay and straw. And I’m reading this report, thousands of mattresses, cots, to be able to accommodate the people they had apprehended.”

Mineta’s testimony drove the final stake into the heart of the ABC.

“I believe it is vital to bring to the subcommittee’s attention that in recent months, a Department of Justice task force has proposed as legal and appropriate the mass round-up and incarceration of certain nationalities for vague national security reasons,” Mineta told the House subcommittee in his prepared statement. He quoted Solicitor General Charles Fried, who had told the Supreme Court earlier that year that the Japanese internment camps represented a “racial caste which was our shame.” “So this bill is not just about the past,” Mineta continued, referring to the reparations legislation. “It is about today and the future as well.”

Between 1987, when he entered the plan into the Congressional Record and preserved it for history, and when we spoke last month, Mineta says he hadn’t thought about the ABC memo—with one exception.

During the September 11th attacks, Mineta, then the Secretary of Transportation, ordered the FAA to ground every air carrier in the country. As a cabinet member in the line of presidential succession, he spent much of the next two days in a bunker. On the morning of September 13, the air in New York, Arlington, and Shanksville, Penn., still thick with smoke and ash, Mineta joined President Bush for a summit with the leadership of the House and Senate.

Toward the end of the meeting, Mineta recalls, House Democratic Whip David Bonior of Michigan expressed a fear to Bush: Our Muslim population in metro Detroit, Bonior told the president, is worried about rumors of targeting and round-ups. “David, you’re absolutely correct,” Bush replied. “We’re equally concerned about all that rhetoric.” The president extended a plaintive hand toward Mineta. “We don’t want to have happen today what happened to Norm in 1942.”

***

Fifteen years after President Bush implored the country not to relent to vengeful rhetoric, the country finds itself in familiar waters. The public debate is rife with talk of immigration bans, loyalty tests, intensified surveillance, deportations. Such ancillary ideas revive the one that never really disappears; it returns, it seems, every 30 or 40 years—from the Palmer Raids of 1919 to the camps of World War II, from the anxiety of the mid-1980s to the fear inherent in the 2016 race. But the pernicious resilience of mass internment became more clear when speaking to the men whose meetings and memos kept it alive.

In interviews over the past several months with Politico Magazine, former members of the ABC Committee struck a note of indignant stoicism about the 1986 memo—a brittle shell, earned from years toiling in the most political branch of federal policy. Didn’t I know anything about immigration, the men asked me. Didn’t I know how complex a time this was?

Walters, for his part, exuded an equanimity and glow in his post-retirement, despite the scrutiny he sensed a story about the document would bring him. I asked whether he thought the emotion from immigrant activist groups was warranted.

“I understand the view of the civil libertarian types on this, and they had some legitimate concerns,” Walters told me. But, he seemed to suggest, the group that was under siege was the INS. “The immigration service at the time, especially at the Border Patrol side, was feeling pretty overwhelmed and under-supported,” Walters said. A fantastical government agenda, handed down from on-high, was the last thing the Border Patrol wanted. But the the government gets the contingency plans it asks for.

One retired ABC member, who spoke to Politico Magazine on the condition of anonymity, came close to insisting the document wasn’t far off base. We met over lunch at an Italian chain restaurant in Virginia, where I propped the document astride his veal parmesan.

“Let’s be realistic,” he said. “If I’ve been told to watch out for bad Iranians or whatever—I do some work and quickly determine there’s 3,000 of these people in my county. So I’m going to go out and I’m going to follow 3,000 people? Oh, so I’ll start alphabetically?”

“Believe it or not, everything is not roses,” he said. “And ultimately, it takes force in order to enforce the laws.”

When I asked him about Mineta’s comments about the internment camps, he cocked his head and shot me a plaintive smirk. “Don’t you think that’s a bit hyperbolic?” he said. “If you really want to see genocide in the United States, go back and look to see what happened to the American Indian in California. That’s 1849.” He blinked, considering this for a moment. “Now, the Japanese were rounded up on the entire West coast. You don’t know. You’ve just been attacked—Hawaii! If the Japanese had sent troops, they would have had Hawaii.” He shakes his head, trailing off in a murmur. “We were wiped out. Very few ships got out.”

Most former ABC Committee members made some gesture toward disavowal, an important recognition that the document was not good policy. At the heart of this angst was the I-word: “It smacks of the dark period of U.S. history involving internment of Japanese Americans,” Cadman, the ABC chairman, wrote in an email. “What I regret is that because the project was killed and the group was disbanded, we didn’t get the chance to see the appendix officially disavowed as the work of the group progressed, however slowly that work was going.”

Still, the men of ABC retain a sense of common cause. They agree, for instance, that other branches of government—and civilians—simply don’t understand the tribulations of enforcing immigration law. In most of our conversations, there was a palpable nostalgia for some of the more benign proposals that the document laid out—a registration system, for instance; a way to track outgoing alien departures, not just entries; and, especially, a deportation process unmolested by the maneuverings of finicky defense counselors.

The LA Eight have been free for nine years, but Cole, their lawyer, takes little comfort. “This pattern repeats itself every time we face a crisis that creates fear,” he admonishes. “It’s easier to introduce these things if they’re targeted at foreign nationals than when they’re targeted at Americans. The government can say, ‘we’re talking away their liberties for your security.’”

As for the members of the ABC Committee, some would not rule out voting for Trump; they widely viewed his statements on immigration as flamboyant rhetoric, easy to be misinterpreted by a public that doesn’t understand hard truths, like their memo.

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Like other Bernie Sanders delegates in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I kept hearing about the crucial need to close ranks behind Hillary Clinton. “Unity” was the watchword. But Clinton has reaffirmed her unity with corporate America.

Rhetoric aside, Clinton is showing her solidarity with the nemesis of the Sanders campaign — Wall Street. The trend continued last week with the announcement that Clinton has tapped former senator and Interior secretary Ken Salazar to chair her transition team.

After many months of asserting that her support for the “gold standard” Trans-Pacific Partnership was a thing of the past — and after declaring that she wants restrictions on fracking so stringent that it could scarcely continue — Clinton has now selected a vehement advocate for the TPP and for fracking, to coordinate the process of staffing the top of her administration.

But wait, there’s more — much more than Salazar’s record — to tell us where the planning for the Hillary Clinton presidency is headed.

On the surface, it might seem like mere inside baseball to read about the transition team’s four co-chairs, described by Politico as “veteran Clinton aides Maggie Williams and Neera Tanden” along with “former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.” But the leaders of the transition team — including Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, who is also president of the Clinton-Kaine Transition Project — will wield enormous power.

“The transition team is one of the absolute most important things in the world for a new administration,” says William K. Black, who has held key positions at several major regulatory agencies such as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Along with “deciding what are we actually going to make our policy priorities,” the transition team will handle key questions: “Who will the top people be? Who are we going to vet, to hold all of the cabinet positions, and many non-cabinet positions, as well? The whole staffing of the senior leadership of the White House.”

Black’s assessment of Salazar, Podesta and the transition team’s four co-chairs is withering. “These aren’t just DNC regulars, Democratic National Committee regulars,” he said in an interview with The Real News Network. “What you’re seeing is complete domination by what used to be the Democratic Leadership Council. So this was a group we talked about in the past. Very, very, very right-wing on foreign policy, what they called a muscular foreign policy, which was a euphemism for invading places. And very, very tough on crime — this was that era of mass incarceration that Bill Clinton pushed, and it’s when Hillary was talking about black ‘superpredators,’ this myth, this so dangerous myth.”

Black added: “And on the economic side, they were all in favor of austerity. All in favor of privatization. Tried to do a deal with Newt Gingrich to privatize Social Security. And of course, were all in favor of things like NAFTA.”

As for Hillary Clinton’s widely heralded “move to the left” in recent months, Black said that it “was purely calculated for political purposes. And all of the team that’s going to hire all the key people and vet the key people for the most senior positions for at least the first several years of what increasingly looks likely to be a Clinton administration are going to be picked by these people, who are the opposite of progressive.”

In that light, Salazar is a grotesquely perfect choice to chair the transition team. After all of Clinton’s efforts to present herself as a foe of the big-money doors that revolve between influence peddlers and government officials in Washington, her choice of Salazar — a partner at the lobbying powerhouse WilmerHale since 2013 — belies her smooth words. That choice means the oil and gas industry just hit a political gusher.

On both sides of the revolving doors, the industry has been ably served by Salazar, whose work included arguing for the Keystone XL pipeline. His support for fracking has been so ardent that it led him two years ago to make a notably fanciful claim: “We know that, from everything we’ve seen, there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone.”

Salazar is part of a clear pattern. Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine for vice president underscored why so many progressives distrust her. Kaine was among just one-quarter of Democrats in the Senate who voted last year to fast track the TPP. When he was Virginia’s governor, Kaine said that “I strongly support” a so-called right-to-work law that is anathema to organized labor. A few years ago he faulted fellow Democrats who sought to increase taxes for millionaires.

Clinton announced the Kaine pick while surely knowing that many progressives would find it abhorrent. A week beforehand, the Bernie Delegates Network released the results of a survey of Sanders delegates showing that 88 percent said they would find selection of Kaine “unacceptable.” Only 3 percent of the several hundred respondents said it would be “acceptable.”

The first big post-election showdown will be over the TPP in the lame-duck session of Congress. Clinton’s spokesman Brian Fallon reiterated a week ago that “she is against the TPP before the election and after the election.” But her choices for running mate and transition team have sent a very different message. And it’s likely that she is laying groundwork to convey anemic “opposition” that will be understood on Capitol Hill as a wink-and-nod from a president-elect who wouldn’t mind “aye” votes for the TPP.

Blessed with an unhinged and widely deplored Republican opponent, Hillary Clinton may be able to defeat him without doing much to mend fences with alienated Sanders voters. But Clinton’s smooth rhetoric should not change the fact that — on a vast array of issues — basic principles will require progressives to fight against her actual policy goals, every step of the way.

Norman Solomon, national coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network, is co-founder of the online activist group RootsAction.org. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

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On Thursday, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of more military equipment, valued at around $1.15 billion USD, to the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This sounds like a lot of money to most of us, but the most frightening aspect of the sale is that it represents a continuation of an arms-dealing relationship between Washington and the Saudi regime, which has been worth over $50 billion USD in arms sales to date.

It is not an understatement to say Obama’s tears over gun violence are disingenuous considering his administration has enacted a policy of systematically arming the entire world with all manner of warcraft. According to the Department of Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), during his first six years in office, the Obama administration entered into agreements to sell more than $190 billion USD in weaponry worldwide. As the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, William D. Hartung, states, this figure is higher than any U.S. administration since World War II. Perhaps that is why the Nobel secretary has voiced serious regrets about awarding the Peace Prize to the president.

While there are a number of companies who are making an absolute killing from these sales — like Lockheed Martin and Boeing —  the fact remains that the U.S. government actively facilitates this industry in more ways than one.

In 2013, the Obama administration loosened controls over military exports so military equipment could be sent to almost any country in the world with little oversight. U.S. companies began to enjoy fewer checksthan they had in the past. For example, thanks to the Obama administration, weapons manufacturers can now send military parts to most regions of the world without a license, which makes it easier for companies to extend their market — even to countries that are on the U.N. arms embargo list. This is because, according to Colby Goodman, an arms-control expert with the Open Society Policy Center, once an item is approved for that exemption, there may no longer be any ongoing, country-specific human rights review as had been conducted previously.

As Mr. Hartung observed, all of this raises a number of issues when dealing with global security:

“36 US allies—from Argentina and Bulgaria to Romania and Turkey—will no longer need licenses from the State Department to import weapons and weapons parts from the United States. This will make it far easier for smuggling networks to set up front companies in such countries and get US arms and arms components that they can then pass on to third parties like Iran or China. Already a common practice, it will only increase under the new regulations.”

The expansion of this industry is already well under way, and the U.S. is at the helm. According to Vice News, as of February of this year, the U.S. had sold weapons to nearly half of the countries in the world. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute found American exports reportedly made up a third of the global trade. A congressional report found that for 2014 alone, the U.S. made $36.2 billion in arms sales.

The Middle East region, hardly known for its peace and security, accounts for approximately 40 percent of U.S. weapons exports. Nearly ten percent of U.S. arms exports between 2011-2015 were sent to Saudi Arabia, and a further 9.1 percent went to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who are primarily responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Yemen. But Obama is not merely turning a blind eye to the atrocities in Yemen — his policies are enabling its destruction.

The Obama administration is also doling out weapons elsewhere. In May of this year, the White House lifted its arms embargo against Vietnam — a country once ravaged by the United States — and is set to become a rising recipient of U.S. weaponry. The target of the move is China, as Vietnam has been one of the countries participating in a stand-off with China over tensions in the South China sea.

The current U.S. arms industry is worth more than $70 billion a year but no major news outlet is talking about it. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not talking about it, except as far as to state how much more fantastically militaristic they can make the U.S. government.

In spite of politicians’ and weapons companies’ enthusiasm for an arms industry that generates over $70 billion per year, the glut of sales has not provided the world with security. As CNN has reported, the State Department’s 2017 budget request is likely to include more funding for African armies in places like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria. The U.S. already has a long history of meddling in these nations — and actually helped create the very terror threat they supposedly want to fight there.

Where will this end?

Providing countries with arms so they can confront a nuclear power like China is not going to provide the world with security. There are many who paint China to be the aggressor in the region, however, even if that is the case, provoking these conflicts and making billions of dollars in the process only benefits a select few — none of whom will ever have to feel the pain they inflict on the rest of the world.

This isn’t a case of companies making a profit because the government has little to no say in regulating what goes on. In any given arms sale, the U.S. government is involved in the entire process. Yet this is the same government that claims to passionately care about gun violence domestically while enabling chaos and destruction around the world.

They can hardly be said to be leading by example with their current track record.

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I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, April 16, 1963

When Martin Luther King wrote of the white moderate, he wrote of the enemy of progress, the foe of social justice, the obstacle to the defining social movement of his time. He understood, perhaps better than many of his contemporaries, that the white moderate was the single most pernicious influence in the broader sociopolitical landscape. For it was the white moderate who opposed the essential and necessary radicalism, who blocked attempts at widening the Civil Rights Movement, who enjoined that demands be tempered, grievances be blunted; all while posing as a friend of the movement, a defender of the marginalized and oppressed.

Jill-Stein-announces-VP-Ajamu-Baraka-Green-Party-Convention-0816-by-Elizabeth-Conley-Houston-Chron

Such was the essence of the white moderate in King’s day. Such is the essence of the white liberal today. For it is the white liberal who finds any excuse to slander and attack radical people of color who challenge the ruling class; who justifies support for white supremacy, imperialism, and neocolonialism; and who does so with the palliative opiate of self-satisfaction – the genuine, though entirely wrongheaded, belief in his/her own essential goodness.

This phenomenon has been on full display in the ongoing attacks on Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, a man who has dedicated more than four decades to resistance against racism and oppression of African-Americans and other African diaspora communities. To watch accusations and implications of racism and bigotry lobbed at him like so many arrows from the crossbowmen of corporate media is to receive a crash course in white liberal racism – that undeniable phenomenon whose name must not be spoken.

Perhaps the best example of this sickening tactic came on CNN’s Town Hall with Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. The host, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo – brother of Democratic New York governor Andrew Cuomo – deliberately decontextualized Baraka’s use of the phrase “Uncle Tom” to describe President Obama. An obvious smear intended to discredit the Green Party ticket in the eyes of Black (and liberal white) voters, Cuomo smugly implied that Baraka’s usage of Uncle Tom was, in itself, racist.

But even a cursory analysis of the term, the context in which it was used, and Cuomo’s intent in raising the issue, not only vindicates Baraka’s usage of Uncle Tom, it reveals the deep-seated racism of Democratic party shills, and American liberals in general.

Interrogating Uncle Tom

The term itself is generally accepted to mean a person, usually a black man, who is overly eager to please white people, and is quick to betray his own race in pursuit of acceptance among whites. Thus the term is less a superficial racial epithet than it is a psychological and sociological critique, particularly when used by a black man against a fellow black man. To be sure, racially charged language takes on varying levels of meaning and emotional gravitas depending on who uses it. In this case, however, a black leftist uses it to deconstruct the mythology surrounding the first black president.

Does anyone doubt that, from a purely objective perspective, President Obama has indeed abdicated his responsibility to improve the political, economic, and social lives of Black Americans? A quick look at the statistics for Black America reveals that, if anything, the lives of black people have gotten considerably worse under Obama: life expectancy, per capita wealth, employment levels, infant mortality, children in poverty, etc. all point to a deterioration of the living conditions for Blacks under Obama. Do these facts constitute betrayal of black people in the pursuit of serving the white establishment? Certainly, Ajamu Baraka argued that they do. It is hard to counter his assertion.

And how about Obama’s merciless slaughter of black and brown people around the world? From the lynchings, rapes, and murders of black Libyans carried out by Obama’s proxy terrorist forces during the regime change operation against the Libyan Government of Muammar Gaddafi, to the drone bombings of black and brown people all over the world, to the continued militarization of the African continent under the auspices of Obama’s AFRICOM: Do these policies and actions taken by the first black president constitute a betrayal of people of color in the service of the white ruling class and the Empire? Baraka has argued that they do.

So the question then becomes: Is Baraka’s use of the term Uncle Tom truly unwarranted? Or is it rather that liberals, especially white liberals, choose to ignore the material reality of Obama’s presidency in favor of the mythos of the kind-hearted and cool black president with the big smile swooping down on the wings of hope and change like an angel come down from heaven? Perhaps Ajamu Baraka has simply intruded into the dream and, like temperamental children, white liberals shed their crocodile tears in hopes of crying themselves back to sleep.

Liberal White Supremacy

But there is another, even more insidious, aspect to this CNN Uncle Tom moment that must be reckoned with; namely, what the subtext of the question tells us about the pathology of 21st Century American liberalism.

When the white liberal Cuomo implied that the black radical Baraka was somehow engaging in racism or bigotry by referring to Obama as “Uncle Tom,” Cuomo was actually betraying the deeply rooted, almost unconscious, racism at the heart of American liberalism. For, you see, a white man can accuse a black man of racism when said black man critiques another black man who has been anointed by the white establishment. In other words, it’s not Obama’s skin color that makes Baraka’s use of the term unacceptable to Cuomo, it is Obama’s position.

Cuomo here plays the role of sentinel of the establishment, guarding the gates of discourse, dictating to blacks and whites alike what is or is not appropriate when it comes to critiquing the first black president.

Obama is the right kind of black man, while Baraka is the wrong kind. Obama the liberal is deserving of respect, while Baraka the radical is deserving of scorn. Sorry Ajamu, you’re just not the right kind of black man.

And while black men are murdered seemingly every single day by law enforcement, Obama pens op-ed piecesarguing that “Every day, [police] confront danger so it does not find our families … We recognize it, we respect it, we appreciate it, and we depend on you.” This is the right kind of black man, one who is passive and subservient in the face of ongoing, brutal oppression and violence. Baraka on the other hand, a man who has repeatedly lent his vocal support to the Movement for Black Lives among many other pro-black social movements, is caricatured as a bigot and racist.

The white liberal sees no contradiction here. He/she is blind to the irony of utilizing anti-racist verbiage to uphold an inherently racist and white supremacist argument which stealthily justifies the institutions of oppression and coercion while demeaning and slandering those who seek to dismantle them.

This is the white moderate to which Dr. King referred: the liberal more devoted to “order” than to justice. This is the cultural pathology of liberalism, an ideological disease which afflicts millions of people who, in their own self-deception, see themselves as healthy and righteous.

But diseased they remain, in utter denial of their own mental illness. And, instead, they choose to scapegoat those few men and women of the radical cloth who attempt to minister to the sick, to nurse them back to health. For you see, it is not the disease that must be fought, but rather the foul-tasting medicine. That is why Ajamu Baraka is made into the villain while Barack Obama is the cure. Such is the upside-down reality of the liberal.

White supremacy and racism are not mere discursive constructs to be woven into elaborate, but mostly empty, rhetorical flourishes. They are real phenomena existing in the real world of political life. And they are not simply the collective hatred expressed by hooded klansmen or bareheaded neo-nazis, but rather are the underlying assumptions, ideas, and values at the root of American political, economic, and social life – expressed by the police officer, the politician, and the news anchor in the finely tailored suit.

But to say it, and to do so publicly, is to transgress against the social norm. And to do so when speaking of the first black president is to commit the gravest sin against the god of liberalism.

Ajamu Baraka is not vilified for calling Obama an Uncle Tom. He is vilified for refusing not to.

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News services abroad ask me if President Erdogan of Turkey will, as a result of the coup attempt, realign Turkey with Russia. At this time, there is not enough information for me to answer. Speculation in advance of information is not my forte.

Moreover, I do not know if it is true that Moscow warned the President of Turkey of the coup, and I do not know if Washington was behind the coup. Therefore, I do not know how to weigh the scales.  As I see it, whether Turkey stays with Washington or realigns with Moscow depends first of all on whether or not Moscow warned Turkey and whether or not Washington was behind the coup.  If this is what Erdogan believes, whether true or false, Erdogan is likely to align with Russia.  However, other factors will also influence Erdogan’s decision.  For example, Erdogan’s belief about how resolute Putin is to standing up to Washington.

Erdogan will not want to align with Russia if he thinks Russia is not up to Washington’s challenge.  Erdogan sees Putin endlessly asking for Washington’s cooperation, and Erdogan understands that Washington sees this as a sign of Russian weakness.  Washington slaps Putin in the face, and Putin replies by asking for cooperation against ISIS.  I understand why Putin responds this way.  He wants to avoid a war between US/NATO and Russia that neither side can win.  Putin is a man of peace and accepts affronts in order to save life. This is admirable.  But that might not be the way Erdogan sees it.  Erdogan might see it like Washington sees it: weakness.

The second consideration is whether Washington or Moscow offers Erdogan the best deal. Washington most certainly does not want the breakup of NATO and will strive to keep Turkey in NATO at all costs. Washington, for example, might deliver Gulen to Erdogan, and Washington might put one billion dollars in a bank account for Erdogan.  This is easy for Washington to do, as Washington can print all of the world’s reserve currency it wishes to print.  It is impossible for Moscow to deliver Gulen, and because Yeltsin accepted US advice conveyed through the IMF, the Russian ruble is not a substitute for the US dollar.

The world is accustomed to seeing Washington prevail, because Washington relies on force. Except for Putin’s response to the Georgian attack on South Ossetia, the world is accustomed to seeing Putin rely on diplomacy.  As Mao said, power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and so the world believes.  Putin seemed to be decisive when he accepted the Crimean vote and reunited the Crimea with Russia,  But Putin turned down the requests of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk to rejoin Russia, and this made Russia look weak. It also prolonged the conflict and the death and destruction continues.

In my opinion this strategic failure by Putin is the result of advice from the Russian “Atlanticist Integrationists”—the people who think that Russia does not count unless it is part of the West.  In every sense, these pro-Western members of the Russian government are de facto members of the Treason Party. Yet they serve as a constraint on Russian decisiveness. The absence of Russian decisiveness provokes more pressure from Washington. It is a losing game for the Russian government to invite pressure from the West.

Washington sees that Putin is unable to break away from the influence of the Atlanticist Integrationists, which includes the Russian economic establishment led by the independent central bank. Therefore, Washington continues to make Washington’s cooperation with Russia in Syria dependent on Putin’s agreement that “Assad must go.”  Putin wants to get rid of ISIS, because ISIS can infect Muslim areas of the Russian Federation. But if he agrees to get rid of Assad, chaos will prevail in Syria just as chaos prevails in Iraq and Libya, and Russia will have accepted Washington’s overlordship. Russia will become another vassal country added to Washington’s collection.

The real danger for Russia lies in Russia’s desire for Western acceptance.

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.

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US Politics: Making Promises That Cannot Be Kept

août 22nd, 2016 by John Kozy

We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot. ~Abraham Lincoln 

When I worked on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator, the Congress enacted a pay raise for federal employees that was to take effect in January of the following year. Astute observers noticed that in November, vendors of all kinds throughout the area around the District of Columbia began raising the prices of most of what they sold. By the time the pay raise went into effect in January, a large portion of the raise the federal workers received went directly to vendors for purchases of exactly what was being purchased all along but now at higher prices. The workers received the raise but the vendors got the money.

What happened taught me things about American economic practices that most people don’t seem to recognize. Vendors have a legal, built in, mechanism for commandeering any increases in income wage earners receive without giving back anything whatsoever in return. Vendors can take the money any time they want to. Merchants can keep consumers impoverished just by raining prices regularly. Rather than an economy that promotes prosperity, America has one that prolongs poverty.

In an unregulated market, a so called « free » market, prices cannot be controlled. Controlling them would destroy the market’s « freedom. » So in any free market, vendors have an unlimited means of taking any increase in income wage earners receive from them. All vendors have to do is raise prices. The freedom vendors have of setting the prices of what they sell is what ultimately controls the wealth of wage earning consumers. This freedom of vendors is nothing but legalized theft.

Economists sanitize, launder, the practice by giving it a neutral name. The practice is called inflation and is universally approved of by free market economists. Central bankers even set « targets » for it. The Fed’s current target for inflation is two percent. What this means is that if the target is reached, any pay raise a wage earner gets that is less than or equal to the target goes to vendors even though it nominally is given to wage earners. Wage earners have their pockets picked by inflation. If inflation exceeds the target, the theft is even greater.

No free market group of business practices can ever work for the benefit of all people. People are told, for example, that thrift is good for consumers but bad for economic growth which is measured by increases in consumer spending. So what’s good for consumers is bad for vendors. People are also told the opposite: What is good for vendors is bad for consumers because it means they spend more of their incomes on consumption and save less. It follows from both of these claims that the free market, the unregulated market, cannot work for both consumers and vendors at the same time. The practices that work for vendors impoverish wage earners. A free market works well only for marketers. No battle in a free market’s war on poverty has or will ever be won. Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty was not lost; it was never fought because fighting it was impossible.

Yet on June 22, 2016, Hillary Clinton said,

« The measure of our success will be how much incomes rise for hardworking families. How many children are lifted out of poverty. How many Americans can find good jobs that support a middle class life—and not only that, jobs that provide a sense of dignity and pride. That’s what it means to have an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. That’s the mission. . . . »

But this mission is impossible to achieve. Any attempt to raise wages only raises the profits of vendors and allows governments to take credit for generating economic growth without showing that any real growth has taken place. Being forced to pay more for the same stuff is not equivalent to buying more of it. Gross Domestic Product is not thereby enhanced.

All of this should be known by Hillary Clinton, other astute politicians, and economists. But what Americans don’t know about America is legion. Even those who pass as « highly educated » are found in this ignorant group. Many are highly successful; many are elected office holders. Hillary Clinton, for example, is a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. She has been both a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. Yet she does not seem to even know how the economy works. But she knows how government works. She has promises to break, And years to go before she weeps.

The free market puts a drain in the pockets of every wage earner that is routed to the slimy, green sewer that empties into the pockets of the rich. So in free market economies, an underclass always exists that can never earn a gainful wage. The economy never works for the people in that class. They are constantly robbed by the free market.

Promises made to induce people to support immoral economic practices, especially free market capitalism, are slimy green lies. The more vicious the promise, the slimier the lie. Political campaigns in America consists of making such promises.

Instead of building a shining city on a hill, America’s Founding Fathers created a slum in a slimy sewer of immorality and ignorance. What’s worse, people the world over allow this government to guide their own actions. Nothing good can come of it!

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage. 

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US Seeks « Safe Havens » in Eastern Syria

août 22nd, 2016 by The New Atlas

Tensions amid Syria’s conflict has escalated with warnings by the United States that it would use force against Syrian aircraft operating over their own territory. The US claims to have aircraft operating over Syrian territory and ground forces below, mainly in and around northeastern Syria near the city of Al-Hasakah. 

CNN in its article, « Top US commander warns Russia, Syria, » would report that:

In the most direct public warning to Moscow and Damascus to date, the new US commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria is vowing to defend US special operations forces in northern Syria if regime warplanes and artillery again attack in areas where troops are located.

Unlike Russian and Iranian forces operating in Syria, US forces have not been authorised by Damascus to enter Syrian territory. US operations in Syria violate Syria’s territorial integrity and constitutes as violation of international law.

And while US military and political leaders attempt to portray this most recent confrontation as a matter of US self defence, in reality it is the fulfilment of longstanding US policy papers that have called for the establishment of so-called safe havens and no-fly-zones (NFZs) over parts of Syria as an intermediary step toward regime change, the stated objective of the US government in Syria.

In 2012, the following year of the Syrian conflict’s beginning, a Brookings Institution paper titled, « Assessing Options for Regime Change, » would state:

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under [Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s] leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

Here, US policymakers are admitting that the use of « humanitarian » concerns is a cynical steppingstone toward more direct military intervention. The unfortunately reality of this strategy, as seen in Libya, is that US « humanitarian wars » end up costing a vastly larger toll in innocent human life than the alleged abuses cited to initiate the war in the first place.

This plan of using humanitarian concerns to incrementally establish a foothold in Syrian territory through safe-havens and NFZs would constantly evolve, be updated and revisited throughout the entire duration of the Syrian conflict.

America’s True Intentions in Syria 

More recently, The Brookings Institution’s « Order From Chaos » blog published a post titled, « What to do when containing the Syrian crisis has failed. » Brookings policymakers discuss in it once again the prospects of establishing what would effectively be NFZs:

We must also be clever about employing various options for no-fly zones: We cannot shoot down an airplane without knowing if it’s Russian or Syrian, but we can identify those aircraft after the fact and destroy Syrian planes on the ground if they were found to have barrel-bombed a neighborhood, for example. These kinds of operations are complicated, no doubt, and especially with Russian aircraft in the area—but I think we have made a mistake in tying ourselves in knots over the issue, since there are options we can pursue.

Brookings  policymakers also revisit the notion of establishing « safe-havens » claiming:

…we should push the debate about what creating safe havens really means. I don’t think we should start declaring safe havens, but rather try to help them emerge. The Kurds are making gains in Syria’s northeast, for instance, as are some forces on the southern front—so, if the United States, in cooperation with its allies, accelerates and intensifies its involvement on the ground in those areas, safe havens can essentially emerge. An important advantage of this approach is that it doesn’t require putting American credibility on the line, but does help local allies build up and reinforces successes on the ground.

Here, Brookings specifically mentions Syria’s northeast. It should be noted that none of this is being discussed by US policymakers in the context of fighting terrorist organisations like the self-titled Islamic State or listed terrorist organisation Jubhat Al-Nusra. Instead, it is clearly within the context of seizing Syrian territory toward the end goal of regime change, with the Islamic State and Al-Nusra merely pretexts for US forces entering and operating within Syrian territory.

Similar attempts to create such safe-havens are in motion in Syria’s south, with British special forces now allegedly operating on the ground to incrementally « accelerate and intensify » Western involvement on the ground.

It is the literal fulfilment of the plans recently laid out by Brookings policymakers.

Displacing US Forces from the Game Board 

With US-supported militants being pushed back in and around Syria’s northern city of Aleppo and prospects of Western-backed militants succeeding elsewhere throughout the country increasingly unlikely, the creation of safe-havens and NFZs over parts of Syria directly by Western forces remains a last but desperate option.

Displacing US and British forces on the battlefield with an expansion of forces from among Syria’s allies could finally see these last game pieces in play by the West pushed off the board entirely.

Diplomatic efforts appear to be underway with Syria’s Kurds in particular to encourage them away from what will be a self-destructive geopolitical move made only to Washington’s benefit. Providing alternatives to Western training and support for Kurds and other local forces in the northeast in a genuine fight against the Islamic State and other foreign-backed militant groups operating in Syria could also help eliminate clashes the US may use to cynically escalate the conflict into a direct confrontation with either Syria or Russia (or both).

US strategy in Syria is based on 5 year old plans that even 5 years ago were difficult if not impossible to implement, fraught with risk and even should they succeed, left a long and difficult road ahead of US ambitions in Syria and throughout the region. 5 years later, however, these difficulties and risks have only increased. That the US is still exploring this last and poorest option indicates a bankrupt foreign policy wielded by an increasingly unbalanced world power.

Careful diplomacy and expert strategic manoeuvring by Syria and its allies will be required to avert Syria’s conflict from plunging deeper into tragedy, and ironically, may also help the US from tilting over further out of balance.

The New Atlas is a media platform providing geopolitical analysis and op-eds. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

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Japan Plans Missile Deployment in East China Sea

août 22nd, 2016 by Ben McGrath

Japan is planning to deploy a new type of missile to the East China Sea, where Tokyo is engaged in a tense territorial dispute with Beijing. The decision marks a significant milestone in the drive by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to remilitarize Japan. The planned missile system will be designed locally, by the country’s expanding defence industry, rather than being supplied by the United States or another ally.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported on August 14 that the new surface-to-ship missile will have a range of 300 kilometres, the longest of any missile currently in Japan’s armament. The weapon will be GPS-guided and vehicle-based, making it easy to deploy. Placed on islands in the East China Sea, any Chinese or other vessel approaching the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyu in China) Islands would fall within its range.

Later this month, the government intends to request funding for its new missile in the military budget for the 2017–2018 fiscal year. Japan has steadily increased its budget in recent years, including record-high military spending in March of this year.

The Defense Ministry also plans to use the development of the new missile to boost the arms industry. In April 2014, Tokyo removed a ban on its arms dealers that had prevented them from exporting weaponry to other countries. In February 2015, the government announced it would provide aid to foreign militaries for the first time. By doing so, the government hopes to expand its military influence, largely at the expense of China.

Scheduled to be available in 2023, the missile is expected to be deployed to locations such as Miyako, Yonaguni and Ishigaki Islands in the Okinawa Prefecture, and Amami Island in the Kagoshima Prefecture. In December 2015, Tokyo announced it would deploy additional soldiers and weaponry to Miyako, Ishigaki and Amami by 2019. In March 2016, a Self-Defense Forces (SDF) unit was deployed to Yonaguni Island, along with a new radar installation.

The five uninhabited rocks that make up the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands have become one of the most dangerous flashpoints in Asia over recent years. In 2014, President Barack Obama declared that the islands were covered by the US-Japan security agreement, effectively threatening China with war if it took any action against Japan’s control over them. The US commitment, and the broader US military “pivot” against China, has emboldened the Abe government to take a more aggressive stance in the region.

Last month Tokyo stated that it had scrambled jets to intercept incursions into the air space it claims in the East China Sea a record 199 times in the second quarter of this year. In July, Beijing accused two Japanese F-15 fighter jets of “locking on” to Chinese aircraft, a highly provocative move as it leads the targeted pilot to believe he is about to be fired upon. This month, the Japanese Coast Guard deployed armed ships against 200 to 300 Chinese fishing boats, allegedly escorted by Chinese patrol ships, which Tokyo claimed were violating its territorial waters around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

Japan’s confrontational operations are taking place with the backing of the United States, which recently cleared the way for Japan to purchase 246 SM-2 Block IIIB surface-to-air missiles from military contractor Raytheon. The company brags that the projectile is “lethal against subsonic, supersonic, low- and high- altitude, high-maneuvering, diving, sea-skimming, anti-ship cruise missiles fighters, bombers, and helicopters in an advanced electronic countermeasures environment.”

Abe and the LDP are exploiting the US “pivot” in Asia to cast off the last vestiges of the restraints imposed upon Japanese imperialism following its defeat in World War II. After pushing through legislation in March to permit overseas military deployments, Abe is proceeding with plans to revise the country’s constitution to repudiate the so-called pacifist clause that formally prohibits Japan from engaging in war. »

The entire Japanese ruling elite backs these changes to allow Japan to project military power once more. While the opposition Democratic Party poses as an opponent of Abe, it has put forward its own legislation to expand Japan’s overseas military operations, so long as they have the cover of the United Nations.

Japanese troops are currently training to be sent to South Sudan in November. While justified as a humanitarian mission, the deployment is, in fact, a test case for overseas operations and is being used to assert Japanese energy interests in the oil-rich country.

Abe’s new defense minister, Tomomi Inada, recently returned from Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, the location of Japan’s only overseas base. It was the first destination she visited after her appointment on August 3. While there, she discussed increasing Japan’s role in Africa, an indication of the importance that Tokyo places on the continent and on challenging the influence that China has built up there over the past decade.

The reassertion of Japanese imperialism parallels developments in Europe, where the German ruling class is likewise pursuing a program of remilitarization, and elements within the political, media and academic establishment are downplaying or denying the crimes of the Nazi regime.

The very appointment of Inada was understood internationally as a signal that Japan is turning to a more aggressive, nationalist and militarist foreign policy. She is associated with the country’s far right. Formerly the LDP policy chief, she has posed for photographs with figures like Kazunari Yamada, the leader of a Japanese neo-Nazi group. She has denied war crimes such as the abuse of “comfort women”—sex slaves used by the Japanese army before and during World War II. Asked whether Japanese imperialism had invaded other Asian countries, Inada declared earlier this month: “Whether you would describe Japan’s actions as an invasion depends on one’s point of view.”

Commenting on Inada, Sven Saaler, a Japanese history professor at Tokyo’s Sophia University, told USA Today this week that her “provocative views” posed the “potential for conflict not only with Asian neighbors, but with the United States, as well.”

Immediately, the blatant denial of the past crimes of Japanese militarism disrupts the US agenda of forging an anti-China alliance between Japan and South Korea. Korea was one of the main victims of Japanese imperialism in the first decades of the twentieth century.

More fundamentally, the agenda of Japanese imperialism in Asia is not identical to that of Washington. After more than two decades of economic stagnation and facing immense internal social antagonisms, the Japan ruling class is again being propelled on the path of militarism and war in a desperate attempt to gain access to markets, resources and sources of profit. Processes are underway that could ultimately bring Tokyo once more into a direct military confrontation with its current US ally.

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Russia leaves the Dollar based monetary system and adopts a system of Sovereign Currency. The implications are phenomenal! “In 1990 the first priority of Washington and the IMF was to pressure Yeltsin and the Duma to “privatize” the State Bank of Russia, under a Constitutional amendment that mandated the new Central Bank of Russia, like the Federal Reserve or European Central Bank, be a purely monetarist entity whose only mandate is to control inflation and stabilize the Ruble. In effect, money creation in Russia was removed from state sovereignty and tied to the US dollar.”

2016:

“The Stolypin club report advises to increase the investment, pumping up the economy with money from the state budget and by the issue of the Bank of Russia”. Putin decided to follow the Stolypin club advice as the new monetary policy of the country. -Before It’s News

Here’s an excerpt from yet another recently published article (translated from Russian) describing how the ruble may now evolve (here).

We must nationalize the ruble. What does it mean? It means that we must separate the internal markets from the external ones.

… Thus, the first step for Russia is secession from the IMF and others similar institutions designed to keep the entire world in bondage. The dollar noose must be cut.

Now the amount of printed rubles will not be determined by how many dollars we have but by the actual needs of our economy.

… We have absolutely no need in the central bank in its current form, but we do need a financial regular. Under any regime, it was the Treasury that performed this function. Let it remain the same now regardless of the official name. It may continue to be called the Central Bank. If the essence is changed, there is no need in changing plaques.

You can also see an article (here) that goes into this issue more deeply and claims that Putin has in mind backing a portion of the ruble with gold as well. (We should note there are claims the  ruble is backed by gold already.)

The dramatic – historical – Russian currency changes (if these articles are accurate) seem a little difficult to discern in full at this moment, but obviously things are changing fast. And they are changing for China’s “money” as well. In fact, some have speculated China and Russia could launch a joint, gold-backed currency (here, see bottom of article).

At the beginning of October, the yuan joins the IMF’s SDR  basket (here). This means that major international institutions can issue bonds payable in yuan (actually RMB, the Chinese external currency).

And that is just what has happened already. The World Bank is issuing a large yuan/RMB tranche and this will be the first of many (here).

Investors who want to place funds in RMB rather than dollars will use the new yuan/RMB-based instruments. The US will continue to print dollars but those dollars may not find a home abroad so easily. Instead they may circulate back into the US economy creating significant price inflation.

The US was able to do so much damage domestically and abroad because of its virtually unlimited spending power. It’s been able to prosecute endless, horrible wars and imprison up to five percent of its adult population at any one time.

Now things are changing. Between the Russian announcement and yuan/RMB convertibility, the US will gradually have more trouble printing money at will. Perhaps the corrupt military-industrial complex will be impelled to shrink and large-scale social programs like the wretched Obamacare will have more difficulty with funding as well.

As a libertarian publication, we should rejoice over the upcoming starvation of the US fedgov.

But we will not. We are well aware that the same banking influences that created the monstrous, modern state is ruining US and the West generally in order to build up a more febrile internationalism.

The BRICs, invented by Goldman Sachs are part of it. So is this reconfiguration of reserve currencies.

It seems natural, of course, as “directed history”always does. But it is not natural in the slightest. From what we can tell, it is pre-planned.

Remember both the IMF and the World Bank are controlled by the US. And yet it is these two organizations that are facilitating the rise of the yuan/RMB.

Also, please pay attention to how Russia will issue rubles into the economic system (from the same translated article we quoted previously):

How can we calculate [how many rubles Russia needs]? In exactly the same way as the United States calculates the amount of dollars needed for its economy. Just as the European Union does the same.

The best justification would be that from now on Russia issues rubles based on the value (in rubles) of all natural resources explored on its territory. It is quite amusing that subsequent steps are no rocket science; they are dictated by common sense itself. Since we are breaking down the disadvantageous system,

Putin may be taking a big step, but by circumventing his central bank (initially imposed by the West) he can be seen as moving toward more state control of Russian currency.

And for years, we have debated heatedly with people like Ellen Brown (here) who believe that federal governments can do a much better job of printing money than quasi-independent central banks.

Good Lord! What’s wrong with a little monetary freedom?

All Putin has to do if he wants a healthy currency is declare that the new ruble will be backed by gold and that its issuance will be a private or regional matter.

Let a thousand gold mines bloom. Let the circulation of gold and its related paper notes travel up or down depending on quantity and demand – not the determinations of yet another shadowy, elite clique.

This is the way the US ran before the Civil War and created one of the world’s most prosperous and freest cultures. Those in the US live yet on the dregs of that “golden” period.

But this is not well understood. As time goes on the often-illiterate alternative media may join in hosannas for Putin’s upcoming currency shift. But, again, just because “Russia” will now control its currency instead of a central bank reporting to the IMF, doesn’t necessarily create a better system.

Of course, the argument will be made this sort of system is what Hitler installed in Nazi Germany in order to create the German “miracle” of the 1930s (which we are supposedly not able to talk about). But that system might have destroyed itself over time. Surely it would have.

To begin with, such systems may work very well. But since the “money” is being created by human deciders rather than the competitive market, distortions are inevitable. Price-fixing, which is what it is, never works.

And while we are making the point that this newfound ruble freedom may not be so profound as advertised, let us note that the advent of a currency war is being accompanied by military tension as well.

Conclusion: Whether such tensions are legitimate or dramatized is difficult to say. But given elite banking control of so much around the world, we would not be surprised if we are simply being exposed to a gigantic performance of sorts directed from the top down.Ironically, despite apparent “setbacks,” London’s City surely leads the way.

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A lot rides on defeating US imperialism in Syria. The fate of the region and beyond hangs in the balance.

If Syria goes, Iran is next, a war if initiated by Washington far more potentially consequential and devastating.

Iran’s population alone makes it an important regional country – four times the size of Syria at around 80 million. Imagine the possible war-related death, injury and displacement toll.

Transforming the Islamic Republic into a US vassal state would give America and Israel unchallenged Middle East dominance.

Russian and Chinese regional influence would wane or be eliminated. The loss of Syrian and Iranian sovereignty would greatly aid the scourge of US imperialism worldwide – Moscow and Beijing the key independent powers standing in the way of its global dominance.

Nuclear war would be more likely with the aim of letting America colonize planet earth unopposed if triumphant, provided nuclear devastation and radiation poisoning didn’t kill us all – why nuclear confrontation is so crucial to prevent. The potential consequences should terrify everyone.

Vladimir Putin is committed to defeating the scourge of US-supported terrorism in Syria, mainly concerned about preventing its spread to Russia’s heartland – at the same time wanting the Syrian Arab Republic’s sovereignty and territorial integrity preserved.

During an August 15 meeting with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said “(w)e believe that it is still necessary not to allow international terrorist entities to prevail here, and to ensure the beginning of genuine and true negotiations between all Syrian sides.”

It’s alarming that many so-called (US-supported) moderate (sic) (anti-government combatants) more often coordinate their actions with” Security Council-designated terrorist groups.

China intends offering Syria humanitarian aid and enhanced military help. On Tuesday, People’s Liberation Army Admiral/high-ranking Defense Ministry official Guan Youfei met with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jasssim al-Freij and an unnamed Russian general in Damascus.

Following their meeting, he issued a statement, saying “(t)he Chinese and Syrian militaries traditionally have a friendly relationship, and the Chinese military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with the Syrian military.

How far Beijing intends going militarily remains to be seen. It has its own terrorist problem. It’s threatened by US regional provocations, notably in the South China Sea.

Its government reportedly sent dozens of military advisors to Syria last year to aid in the fight against terrorism, stopping short of committing warplanes and/or ground forces.

Does Guan’s Tuesday visit signify Beijing intending more direct military involvement than already? Will greater East/West confrontation follow?

Flashpoint conditions in Syria could become more serious than currently. Neocon Hillary Clinton likely succeeding Obama next year could threaten world peace and stability by escalating conflict into something more dangerous than now.

A lot depends on the Syrian, Russian, Iranian, Chinese alliance against the scourge of US imperialism – maybe humanity’s fate.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled « Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. »

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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In a move starkly pointing to the risk of all-out war between the major powers in the Middle East, the US military said yesterday that it had scrambled fighter jets Thursday against government bombers inside Syria to protect US Special Forces operating with Kurdish « rebel » militias.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime sent two Su-24 bombers to bomb Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces advancing on government-held positions in the city of Hasakah. The bombers nearly hit US Special Forces troops that are deployed illegally in Syria, embedded in the YPG. US officials tried to contact Syrian government and Russian forces operating in the region, and Russian officials replied that their bombers were not involved.

The US fighter planes arrived after the Syrian bombers had left the area, and no US soldiers were injured. Washington then stepped up its air patrols in the region. Yesterday, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis warned of military action against any threat to US forces.

Washington, he said, would “take whatever action is necessary” to protect US Special Forces in Syria. “We will ensure their safety, » he continued, « and the Syrian regime would be well advised not to do things that place them at risk… We view instances that place the coalition at risk with utmost seriousness and we do have the inherent right of self defense.”

Davis also criticized the Assad government for suddenly attacking the YPG, which until recently served as its de facto ally against CIA-backed Islamist militias. “This is very unusual, we have not seen the regime take this type of action against YPG before,” he said.

Davis’ barely veiled threat that the Pentagon could attack Syrian government forces to protect its troops, which are operating in Syria in violation of the country’s sovereignty and without even the fig leaf of a UN mandate, points to the basic war aims of Washington and its European allies. Claims that their intervention is aimed at fighting Islamist terror groups, which evolved out of militias they supported against the Assad regime, are a political fraud. The imperialist powers’ goal was and remains regime-change.

As the CIA arms the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Aleppo against Assad’s forces, the Pentagon is supporting the offensive of the YPG, which recently renamed itself the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after absorbing a few smaller, ethnic-Arab militias.

Washington’s reckless threats to use force against Syrian government forces risk escalating the conflict into a catastrophic global war of the United States and its European allies against the major powers intervening in Syria to defend the regime: Iran, Russia and now China.

Tehran, Moscow and Beijing have all presented their operations in Syria as missions to fight Islamist terror groups alongside Washington. After Russia intervened in Syria militarily last year, Moscow and Washington developed channels of communications to prevent simultaneous US and Russian air strikes in Syria from accidentally leading to a military clash between the world’s two leading nuclear powers.

The façade of international unity built around agreements to bomb the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militia was, however, superficial and false. Washington and powerful forces in the European Union still aimed for regime-change, and deeply rooted conflicts persisted between the major powers. Moscow and Beijing fear the drive for hegemony in the Middle East mounted by Washington after the dissolution of the USSR in 1991—especially the regime-change policy applied in the illegal 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the 2011 NATO war in Libya, and then the Western-sponsored civil war in Syria.

As Washington stoked conflict with Russia after toppling a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine in 2014, and with China over the South China Sea and North Korea, Moscow and Beijing concluded that they could not allow yet another violent, US-led regime-change, this time in Syria. US threats have not succeeded in whipping Russia and China into line. Instead, Russia and China are escalating their involvement in Syria.

The near-confrontation between US and Syrian jets points to the danger that this situation will trigger a military clash—either with an accidental collision between US, Russian or allied forces in Syria or a deliberate attack intended as a signal to the opposing side—which could escalate into all-out war.

The Syrian government launched more air strikes against YPG forces near Hasakah yesterday. Fighting had broken out earlier this week between Kurdish forces and the pro-regime National Defense Forces (NDF) militia in Hasakah, and the Syrian army issued a statement declaring it had “responded appropriately” to Kurdish attempts to conquer the city.

Hasakah residents are reporting that both the US-backed YPG and pro-government forces are using heavy weaponry in the city.

“This is the first time the regime used warplanes to strike in Hasakah. The bombing is very strong. This is the first time the relationship between the two sides reaches this level,” Hasakah resident Lina al-Najjari told the Wall Street Journal. “We live in an area that is surrounded by the fighting. We have prepared our suitcases to leave once we get the chance. But we cannot leave our house at the moment. We cannot step outside.”

The Kremlin also launched large-scale air strikes on Islamist targets across Syria, in the north near Aleppo and in the northeast around Deir-ez-Zor. The strikes were mounted from warships in the Black Sea and by strategic bombers flying out of bases in Iran and Syria.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials continued to voice support for the Assad regime after Beijing took the unprecedented step earlier this week of sending a high-level military delegation to Damascus. Admiral Guan Youfei, the director of the Chinese military’s Office for International Military Cooperation, agreed with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij to step up Chinese personnel training and aid for the Syrian army.

The Chinese army’s English-language China Military Online web site declared, “There are already Chinese military advisors in Syria, focusing on personnel training in weapons, since the Syrian government forces are buyers of Chinese weapons, including sniper rifles, rocket launchers and machine guns.” Moreover, it asserted that, while many Syrian-Chinese arms deals were suspended due to the war, now “there could be engagement again over these contracts.”

Citing Middle East Studies Professor Zhao Weiming of Shanghai International Studies University, the site also suggested that Beijing’s new Syria policy was retaliation for the US “pivot to Asia,” which seeks to isolate China. “Since the US has been interfering militarily in China’s backyard in the South China Sea, this could be push-back from the Chinese military into an area, the Middle East, that is usually considered a US sphere of military influence,” it reported.

A major factor in the sudden public intervention of China into the Syrian conflict, Chinese analysts explained, is last month’s failed US-backed coup in Turkey. “In developing a closer relationship with Syria, one has to take into account the changes at hand in Syria and the region, including the fast recovering relations between Turkey and Russia,” said Wang Lian of the School of International Studies at Peking University.

The Assad regime’s bombing of the YPG points to some of the geo-strategic concerns that underlay Washington’s decision to give at least tacit backing to the coup attempt.

Washington’s search for reliable proxies in Syria, and, in particular, the Pentagon’s choice of the Kurdish YPG as a suitable candidate, ultimately united a wide coalition of countries against it. Turkish officials were deeply concerned that YPG victories in Syria would stoke Kurdish separatist sentiment within Turkey itself. The Syrian regime, backed by Russia and China, was preparing an attack on the YPG to keep it from gaining too much influence and setting up a US-backed regime in northern Syria.

The failure of the coup in Turkey and the subsequent purge of pro-US Turkish officers suspected of sympathy for the coup only shifted Ankara closer to the Russian and Syrian regimes.

The main danger that arises is that, in order to salvage its intervention in Syria, the US government and its allies will mount an even more reckless military escalation.

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