The ICTY’s exoneration of the late Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia, for alleged war crimes committed in the Bosnia war, proves again we should take NATO claims regarding its ’official enemies’ not with a pinch of salt, but a huge lorry load.

For the past twenty odd years, neocon commentators and ‘liberal interventionist’ pundits have been telling us at every possible opportunity, that Milosevic (a democratically elected leader in a country where over 20 political parties freely operated)  was an evil genocidal dictator who was to blame for ALL the deaths in the Balkans in the 1990s. Repeat after me in a robotic voice (while making robotic arm movements): ‘Milosevic’s genocidal aggression’ ‘Milosevic’s genocidal aggression’.

But the official narrative, just like the one that told us that in 2003, Iraq had WMDs which could be launched within 45 minutes, was a deceitful one, designed to justify a regime change-op which the Western elites had long desired.

The ICTY’s conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn‘t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There was no official announcement or press conference regarding Milosevic‘s exoneration. We’ve got journalist and researcher Andy Wilcoxson to thank for flagging it up for us.

How very different it all was when the trial of the so-called ‘Butcher of the Balkans’, began in February 2002! Then, you‘d have to have been locked in a wardrobe not to be aware of what was going on.

CNN provided blanket coverage of what was described as “the most important trial since Nuremberg.” Of course, Milosevic’s guilt was taken as a given. “When the sentence comes and he disappears into that cell, no one is going to hear from him again,” declared US lawyer Judith Armatta from the Coalition for International Justice, an organization which had the former US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmerman, as an advisory board member.

Anyone who dared to challenge the NATO line was labeled a “Milosevic apologist”, or worse still, a “genocide denier”, by ‘Imperial Truth Enforcers’.

But amid all the blather and the hype surrounding the ’trial of the century’ it soon became apparent the prosecution was in deep, deep trouble. The Sunday Times quoted a legal expert who claimed that “Eighty percent of the prosecution’s opening statements would have been dismissed by a British court as hearsay.” That, I believe, was a generous assessment.

The problem was that this was a show trial, one in which geopolitics came before hard evidence. It’s important to remember that the original indictment against Milosevic in relation to alleged Kosovo war crimes/genocide was issued in May 1999, at the height of the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia and at a time when war was not going to plan for the US and its allies.

The indictment was clearly designed to exert pressure on Milosevic to cave into NATO’s demands.

The trouble for NATO was that by the time Milosevic’s trial was due to start, the Kosovo narrative had already unraveled. The lurid claims made by the US and its allies about genocide and hundreds of thousands being killed, catalogued by the great John Pilger here, had been shown to be false. In September 2001, a UN court officially held that there had been no genocide in Kosovo.

So in an attempt to beef up their weakening case against Milosevic the prosecutors at The Hague had to bring in new charges relating to the war in  Bosnia, accusing ‘Slobo’ of being part of a ‘joint criminal conspiracy’ to kill/ethnically cleanse Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims in pursuance of a ’Greater Serbia’ project.

In normal criminal prosecutions evidence is collected and then, if it’s deemed sufficient, charges are brought. But the opposite happened in the case of Milosevic: he was charged for political reasons and the hunt for evidence then followed.

The irony is that the former Yugoslav President had already been praised by President Clinton for his role in brokering a peace deal in Bosnia in 1995, which was signed in Dayton, Ohio.

The truth is that Milosevic was no hardcore Serb nationalist but a lifelong socialist, whose commitment was always to a multi-racial, multi-ethnic Yugoslavia.

His aim throughout his time in power was not to build a ’Greater Serbia‘, but to try and keep Federal Yugoslavia together, as the ICTY now belatedly acknowledges.

Not only was Milosevic not responsible for ethnic cleansing which took place in Bosnia, he actually spoke out against it. The ICTY noted Milosevic’s “repeated criticism and disapproval of the policies made by the Accused (Karadzic) and the Bosnian Serb leadership.” Milosevic, a man for whom all forms of racism were anathema, insisted that all ethnicities must be protected.

But in order to punish Milosevic and to warn others of the consequences if they dared to oppose US power, history had to be re-written. The pro-Yugoslavia socialist who had opposed the policies of the Bosnian Serb leadership had to be turned, retrospectively, into the villain of the Bosnian War and indeed blamed for all the bloodshed which took place in the Balkans. Meanwhile, the aforementioned US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman, whose malign intervention to scupper a diplomatic solution helped trigger the Bosnian conflict got off scot-free.

The ‘Blame it All on Slobo’ campaign saw facts simply thrown out of the window. One article, written, I kid ye not, by an Oxford University Professor of European Studies even had Milosevic as leader of Yugoslavia in 1991 (the year that Slovenia broke away). In fact the Bosnian Croat, Ante Markovic, was the leader of the country at the time.

Inevitably, Milosevic was likened to Hitler. “It was just like watching the evil strutting Adolf Hitler in action,” wrote the News of the World’s political editor, when Milosevic had the temerity to defend himself in court. “There were chilling flashes of the World War Two Nazi monster as the deposed Serb tyrant harangued the court.”

To make sure readers did get the Milosevic=Hitler point, the News of the World illustrated their diatribe with a picture of Hitler ‘The Butcher of Berlin’, in front of a concentration camp, with a picture of Milosevic ‘The Butcher of Belgrade’ superimposed on a picture of a Bosnian concentration camp. Which in fact, he had nothing to do with.

Very conveniently for the prosecution, Milosevic died suddenly in his cell in March 2006.

Going by what we had seen at the trial up to that point, it’s inconceivable that a guilty sentence could have been passed. A whole succession of ’smoking gun’ witnesses had turned out to be dampest of damp squibs.

As I noted in an earlier piece:

Star witness Ratomir Tanic was exposed as being in the pay of Western security forces, whilst ex-Yugoslav secret police chief Rade Markovic, the man who was finally going to spill the beans on Milosevic and reveal how his former master had ordered the expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, in fact did the opposite and testified that he had been tortured to tell lies and that his written statement had been falsified by the prosecution.

In addition, as I noted here, the former head of security in the Yugoslav army, General Geza Farkas (an ethnic Hungarian), testified that all Yugoslav soldiers in Kosovo had been handed a document explaining international humanitarian law, and that they were ordered to disobey any orders which violated it. Farkas also said that Milosevic ordered no paramilitary groups should be permitted to operate anywhere in Kosovo.

When Milosevic died, his accusers claimed he had “cheated justice”. But in fact, as the ICTY has now confirmed, the injustice was done to Milosevic.

While he had to defend himself against politically-motivated charges at The Hague, the US and its allies launched their brutal, illegal assault on Iraq, a war which has led to the death of up to one million people. Last year a report from Body Count revealed that at least 1.3 million people had lost their lives as a result of the US-led ‘war on terror’ in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Those sorts of figures help us get Kosovo into some kind of perspective. Even if we do hold Milosevic and the Yugoslav government responsible for some of the deaths there in 1999, (in a war which the West had clearly desired and provoked) far, far, greater death and destruction has been caused by the countries who were the keenest to see the President of Yugoslavia in the dock. As John Pilger noted in 2008, the bombing of Yugoslavia was the “perfect precursor to the bloodbaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Since then we’ve also had the NATO destruction of Libya, the country which had the highest living standards in the whole of Africa and the backing of violent ‘rebels’ to try and achieve ‘regime change’ in Syria.

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see a pattern here.

Before a US-led war or ‘humanitarian intervention’ against a targeted state, a number of lurid claims are made about the country‘s leader and its government. These claims receive maximum media coverage and are repeated ad nauseam on the basis that people will bound to think they’re true.

Later it transpires that the claims were either entirely false (like the Iraq WMD ones), unproven, or greatly exaggerated. But the news cycle has moved on focusing not on the exposure of the fraudulent claims made earlier but on the next aggressive/genocidal ‘New Hitler’ who needs to be dealt with.  In 1999 it was Milosevic; now it’s Assad and Putin.

And guess what, dear reader? It’s the same people who defend the Iraq war and other blood-stained Western military interventions based on lies, unproven claims or great exaggerations, who are the ones doing the accusing.

As that very wise old saying goes: When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

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In capitalism, the state’s primary role is to secure the interests of private capital. The institutions of globalised capitalism – from the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO right down to the compliant bureaucracies of national states or supranational unions – facilitate private wealth accumulation that results in the forms of structural inequalities and violence (unemployment, poverty, population displacement, bad food, poor health, environmental destruction, etc) that have become ‘accepted’ as necessary (for ‘growth’) and taken for granted within mainstream media and political narratives.

When referring to Western countries, those narratives like to use the euphemism ‘austerity’ for deregulation, privatisation and gross inequalities and hardship, while hiding being the mantra ‘there is no alternative’. When referring to India, they use the euphemism ‘assisting development’ for corporate imperialism, while hiding behind the term ‘investing in’.

Each year, in August, India commemorates the anniversary of independence from Britain. In the 1990s, however, the IMF and World Bank wanted India to shift hundreds of millions out of agriculture. In return for up to £90 billion in loans, India was instructed to dismantle its state-owned seed supply system, reduce subsidies and run down public agriculture institutions and offer incentives for the growing of cash crops to earn foreign exchange.

According to the World Bank’s lending report, India has easily been the largest recipient of its loans in the history of the institution, and these conditions form part of the broader World Bank-backed development plan for India that involves the mass displacement of people in order to restructure India for the benefit of powerful corporations.

When a creditor demands changes are made to an economy in this way – changes that will ultimately radically alter the social fabric of a country – it leads many to question just how much ‘independence’ remains.

In June, the National Alliance of People’s Movements stated that the real impacts of this « dangerous financial institution » – the World Bank – works only to increase the profitability of its « shareholders » and further the cause of powerful capital.

Hostage to neoliberal capitalism

Hundreds of thousands of farmers in India have taken their lives since 1997 and many more are experiencing economic distress or have left farming as a result of debt, a shift to (GM) cash crops and economic liberalisation. Facilitated by the WTO and the US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, there is a deliberate strategy to make agriculture financially non-viable for India’s small farms, to get most farmers out of farming and to impose the World Bank sanctioned model of agriculture. The aim is to replace current structures with a system of industrial (GM) agriculture suited to the needs of Western agribusiness, food processing and retail concerns.

If you want to see the kinds of eventual impact this could have, look no further than what has happened in Mexico on the back of NAFTA, in terms of rising food insecurity, bad health and poisoned agriculture (not to mention a devastated economy with former workers driven into the arms of drug cartels to make a living).

The opening up of India to foreign capital is supported by rhetoric about increasing agricultural efficiency, creating jobs and boosting GDP growth. This jargon is used to try to convince the public that an increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a relative few – via, for instance, deregulations, privatisations and lower labour and environmental protection standards – is for their own benefit because it is good for ‘growth’.

We can already see the outcome of these policies across the world: the increasing power of unaccountable financial institutions, record profits and massive increases in wealth for elite interests and, for the rest, disempowerment, mass surveillance, austerity, job losses, the erosion of rights, weak unions, cuts to public services, environmental degradation, spiraling national debt and opaque, corrupt trade deals, such as TTIP, CETA, RCEP (affecting India) and TPA.

PM Modi recently stated that India is now one of the most business friendly countries in the world. The code for being ‘business friendly’ translates into a willingness by the government to facilitate much of the above, while reducing taxes and tariffs and allowing the acquisition of public assets via privatisation as well as instituting policy frameworks that work to the advantage of foreign corporations.

When the World Bank rates countries on their level of ‘Ease of Doing Business’, it means national states facilitating policies that force working people to take part in a race to the bottom based on free market fundamentalism. The more ‘compliant’ national governments make their populations and regulations, the more ‘business friendly’ a country is.

In the realm of agriculture, the World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ entails opening up markets to Western agribusiness and their fertilisers, pesticides, weedicides and patented seeds.

Rather than improve poor management, inept bureaucracies and deficiencies in food logistics, the mantra is to let ‘the market’ intervene: a euphemism for letting powerful corporations take control; the very transnational corporations that receive massive taxpayer subsidies, manipulate markets, write trade agreements and institute a regime of intellectual property rights thereby indicating that the ‘free’ market only exists in the warped delusions of those who churn out clichés about letting the market decide.

According to the neoliberal ideologues, foreign investment is good for jobs and good for business. But just how many actually get created is another matter, as is the amount of jobs destroyed in the first place to pave the way for the entry of foreign corporations.

For example, Cargill sets up a food or seed processing plant that employs a few hundred people, but what about the agricultural jobs that were deliberately eradicated in the first place or the village-level processors who were cynically put out of business so Cargill could gain a financially lucrative foothold?

The process resembles what Michel Chossudovsky notes in his 1997 book about the ‘structural adjustment’ of African countries. In ‘The Globalization of Poverty’, he says that economies are:

« opened up through the concurrent displacement of a pre-existing productive system. Small and medium-sized enterprises are pushed into bankruptcy or obliged to produce for a global distributor, state enterprises are privatised or closed down, independent agricultural producers are impoverished. » (p.16)

If people are inclined to think farmers would be better off as foreign firms enter the supply chain, we need only look at the plight of farmers in India who were tied into contracts with Pepsico. Farmers were pushed into debt, reliance on one company and were paid a pittance

India is looking to US corporations to ‘develop’ its food and agriculture sector with foreign investment in retail, cold storage and various other infrastructure. Looking at what this could mean for India, food policy analyst Devinder Sharma describes how the industrialised US system of food and agriculture relies on massive taxpayer subsidies and has destroyed many farmers’ livelihoods.

The fact that US agriculture now employs a tiny fraction of the population serves as a stark reminder for what is in store for Indian farmers. Sharma notes that agribusiness companies (whose business model in the US is based on overproduction and taxpayer subsidies) rake in huge profits, while depressed farmer incomes, poverty and higher retail prices become the norm.

The long-term plan is for an overwhelmingly urbanised India with a fraction of the population left in farming working on contracts for large suppliers and Wal-Mart-type supermarkets that offer a largely monoculture diet of highly processed, denutrified, genetically altered food based on crops soaked with chemicals and grown in increasingly degraded soils according to an unsustainable model of agriculture that is less climate/drought resistant, less diverse and unable to achieve food security (Bhaskar Save’s analysis of what the Green Revolution did for India makes for interesting reading).

The alternative would be to protect indigenous agriculture from rigged global trade and trade deals and corrupt markets and to implement a shift to sustainable, localised agriculture which grows a diverse range of crops and offers a healthy diet to the public (alongside appropriate price and/or income support and infrastructure).

Instead, we see the push for bogus ‘solutions’ like GMOs and an adherence to neoliberal ideology that ultimately privileges profit and control of the food supply by powerful private interests, which have no concern whatsoever for the health of the public: for example, see this new report on how the food lobby destroys heath in the EU and this on how taxes in the US ultimately promote obesity and disease by supporting the health damaging practices of the food industry.

Is this what Indians want to see happen in India to their food and health?

Unfortunately, the process is already well on track as ‘Western diseases’ take hold in the country’s urban centres (see ‘India: Obesity, Malnutrition and the Globalisation of Bad Food’).

Devinder Sharma has highlighted where Indian policy makers’ priorities lie:

“Agriculture has been systematically killed over the last few decades… 60 percent of the population lives in the villages or in the rural areas and is involved in agriculture, and less than two percent of the annual budget goes to agriculture… When you are not investing in agriculture… You are not wanting it to perform…”

Support given to agriculture is portrayed as a drain on the economy and is reduced and farmers suffer yet it still manages to deliver bumper harvests year after year. On the other hand, corporate-industrial India has failed to deliver in terms of boosting exports or creating jobs, despite the hand outs and tax exemptions given to it [see this and this].

The number of jobs created in India between 2005 and 2010 was 2.7 million (the years of high GDP growth). According to International Business Times, 15 million enter the workforce every year. And data released by the Labour Bureau shows that in 2015, jobless ‘growth’ had finally arrived in India.

So where are the jobs going to come from to cater for hundreds of millions of agricultural workers who are to be displaced from the land or those whose livelihoods will be destroyed as transnational corporations move in and seek to capitalise small-scale village-level industries that currently employ tens of millions?

Monsanto in India

Thanks to its political influence, Monsanto already dominates the cotton industry in India with its GMOs. It is increasingly shaping agri-policy and the knowledge paradigm by funding agricultural research in public universities and institutes. Its practices and colonisation of institutions have led to it being called the ‘contemporary East India Company‘, and regulatory bodies are now severely compromised and riddled with conflicts of interest where decision-making over GMOs are concerned.

However, Monsanto’s enterprise in India is corrupt. Vandana Shiva has described how on a global level the company has succeeded in imposing the false idea of ‘manufacturing’ and ‘inventing’ seeds in order to slap patents on them (in India’s case, ‘royalties’). Monsanto’s collection of royalties as ‘trait value’ or as a ‘fee for technology traits’ is an intellectual property rights category that does not exist in any legal framework. It was concocted by Monsanto lawyers to work outside of the laws of the land and is thus illegal. Shiva also notes that the introduction of GMOs without approvals, and thus Monsanto’s original entry into India, was a violation and subversion of India’s biosafety regulations.

In India, the Biological Diversity Act 2002 grants explicit rights to farmers over ownership of plant varieties. Even if a breeder holds a right (patent) to a variety, they cannot prevent the farmer from producing or saving the seed. It acknowledges that a breeder does not create a seed from thin air. Seeds are not ‘invented’ but have been developed by farmers over many generations. However, this does not fit the corporate business model of companies like Monsanto, where farmers are to be consumers who purchase corporate owned and controlled products (seeds and chemicals).

While Monsanto works on or around that particular obstacle, it is also hard at work with its propaganda campaign to convince us all that GM food is necessary to feed the world’s burgeoning population. Its claims are always hidden behind a flimsy and cynical veil of humanitarian intent (helping the poor and hungry), which is easily torn away to expose the self-interest that lies beneath. The world (including India) does not need GM to feed itself. GM and these humanitarian sentiments are little more than a Trojan horse aimed at securing greater control of food and agriculture.

Various high-level official reports (listed in this piece) in India have advised against adopting GM food crops, and, in addition to numerous other bodies and sources (many of which are documented here), the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge and Science for Development Report stated that smallholder, traditional farming (not GMOs) can deliver food security in low-income countries through sustainable agri-ecological systems. The roots of hunger and food poverty are political are related to an increasingly globalised and exploitative system of industrialised agriculture and food production. The companies behind the GM project are part of that system: they fuel it and profit from it. Patents, royalties and GMOs ensure more profit and greater control over food and agriculture.

Agriculture and the projection of US power

In his book ‘Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation‘, William F Engdahl describes how the oil-rich Rockefeller family set out to control and profit from global agriculture via the Green Revolution. Along with other players (eg Cargill), Rockefeller interests set out to destroy family farms in the US and the indigenous agriculture and food security of other countries. This hegemonic strategy was actively supported by their proxies in the US government and facilitated globally through ‘free’ trade agreements, the IMF, World Bank and WTO.

GMOs represent the ultimate stranglehold of US interests over global food via ‘terminator’ seed technology, seed patenting and intellectual property rights.

The political backing for GMOs by the US State Department, the strategic position of the US GM biotech sector in international trade agreements (from TTIP to the US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture) and at the WTO and the push to get GMOs into India does not bode well.

Given the history of the US in using agriculture as a tool to leverage global influence, in India on 15 August, we would do well to remember that patriotic sentiments have always been used by the powerful to help disguise the true nature of power.

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On Tuesday, US and British media published new claims of Syrian government use of chemical weapons in the rebel-held northern city of Saraqeb, in Idlib province. The story, put forward by the antigovernment Idlib Civil Defense or “White Helmets” group, alleges that 30 civilians experienced breathing troubles after chlorine gas canisters were dropped from a helicopter in a residential part of the city. No deaths were reported.

The claim was first reported on the Idlib Civil Defence Facebook page. The group posted a YouTube video that purported to show area residents wearing oxygen masks.

Saraqeb is located in the same region that saw a Russian helicopter downed a day earlier, killing all five servicemen on board. Moscow strongly denied that any chemical weapon attack had taken place. In a statement, Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov said that the Idlib Civil Defense claims were fabricated.

Meanwhile, Syrian government claims that rebel groups had killed five people in a chemical weapon attack on the government-held portion of Aleppo were virtually ignored by Western media. This deadly attack was verified by Aleppo’s health director, Mohamad Hazouri. “Five civilians were killed and eight others suffered suffocation due to a terrorist attack with shells containing poisonous gas,” he told the state-run news agency, SANA.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported yesterday that rebel shelling of government-held parts of Aleppo had killed 30 civilians since Monday, including women and children.

These facts were not reported in a lengthy Guardian article dedicated to the alleged government attack in Saraqeb. Other major US and British news sources, including BBC, Reuters, Fox and CBS, also focused their coverage on allegations of a government attack.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby acknowledged that Washington is “not in a position to confirm” the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. Nonetheless, he threateningly added that if the allegations were confirmed, it would be “extremely serious.”

Allegations and insinuations that the Syrian regime is waging chemical warfare should be taken as a warning. In August and September, 2013, the Obama administration seized on claims of a Syrian government sarin gas attack—later proven by journalist Seymour Hersh and others to be fabricated—to bring the US to the brink of yet another full-scale war in the Middle East. Obama ultimately decided against direct US involvement after the British parliament scuttled UK entry, and amid mass popular disaffection with war and sharp divisions within the military-intelligence apparatus.

Obama’s last-minute pullback from direct US involvement has been the source of sharp recriminations in American ruling circles. Proponents of an attack, including the current Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, viewed the decision as a humiliating retreat that would embolden Russia, which maintains its only foreign naval base in Syria.

The new claims come amid a rapid erosion in the position of the US-backed Islamist rebels in Syria. Government forces, backed by Russian air power, have made consistent gains over the past year, culminating in the current siege on the rebel-held city of Aleppo. Western portions of the city are already in government hands.

In an attempt to break the siege, rebel forces led by the Al Nusra Front—recently rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Front for the Conquest of Syria)—have launched a last-ditch offensive, attacking Aleppo on its southwestern outskirts.

The outcome remains unclear, though a Russian military spokesman, Sergey Rudskoy, claimed on Monday that the Islamist forces had been badly beaten. On Tuesday, rebel forces claimed that they had expanded their attack and that they had gained ground in certain Aleppo neighborhoods. This was disputed by Rami Abdel Rahman of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who stated that government forces had retaken five of the eight positions the rebels had gained on Sunday.

Iranian forces and the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah are also reportedly involved in the fighting against Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

“[T]his is really their last stand,” Middle East analyst Firas Maksad told Al Jazeera of the Islamist rebels. “If they lose Aleppo, which they’ve held a major portion of now for about four-odd years, they might as well have lost all the battle for Syria.”

The Islamists’ position is further threatened by the rapprochement between the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and both Russia and Syria. Erdogan narrowly survived a US-backed coup on July 15, after he signaled his intention of normalizing relations with Damascus and Moscow.

Erdogan, who was reportedly alerted to the coup by Russian intelligence, has responded to US machinations by taking further steps toward cooperation with Russia. He will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on August 9 to discuss greater economic cooperation, including a proposed natural gas pipeline, dubbed Turkstream, that would bypass the US client state in Ukraine.

Turkey has been the main staging base for both Islamist fighters and weapons supplied by the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to fuel the fighting in Syria.

With its five-year-old war for regime change in Syria failing, the Obama administration is prepared to do almost anything to prevent defeat in a war that has already killed over 400,000, made upwards of 10 million into refugees, and destroyed what had been, prior to 2011, one of the most advanced Arab societies.

The US and its proxy fighters are clinging to sections of Aleppo, a city that had served as the major supply route for weapons distributed to Islamists across Syria—and where 250,000 people are believed to still reside. The US has sought to scuttle Russian proposals to evacuate the city through humanitarian corridors. US ambassador to the United Nations called the proposal “chilling,” and Secretary of State John Kerry has claimed that it is a “ruse.” For its part, Russia claims that Islamist militias are preventing residents from evacuating.

The US has opposed every serious effort at a negotiated settlement to the war, insisting that there can be no peace discussions without the removal of Bashar al-Assad. That is, Washington insists that the bloodletting must continue until regime change is achieved and Syria is reduced to a vassal state of the US.

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November 1995 – New York Times Iraq Sanctions Kill Children, U.N. Reports UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 30—

As many as 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the Persian Gulf war because of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council, according to two scientists who surveyed the country for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The study also found steeply rising malnutrition among the young, suggesting that more children will be at risk in the coming years. The results of the survey will appear on Friday in The Lancet, the journal of the British Medical Association.

That was over 20 years ago. Today, including sanctions and the Bush/Blair attack of Iraq landmark researchproves that the US-led ‘war on terror’ has killed much higher numbers than previously reported. Counting in Afghanistan and the sanctions prior to the so-called War-on-Terror the horrifying number of fatalities is concluded at somewhere over six million.

In this environment, drone attacks and state sponsored murder such as is extrajudicial executions carried out by the USA and more recently the UK have followed on from truly appalling evidence of coalition abuse of torture and abuse of prisoners, much of it so bad the public were excluded from viewing an orgy of depravity via heavily redacted documents. Read The Torture Report or the first pages of the Senate Intelligence Committee REPORT for some truly shocking facts or indeed “US Stalling Release Of Thousands Of Torture Photos Worse Than Abu Ghraib” by MintPress.

Around the world, in secret detention centres, the United States assisted by Britain, was, and still is, brutalising Muslim detainees in the name of the war on terror. These reports graphically demonstrate nothing but another bloody stain on what was supposed to be a model to the world of justice. You would think all citizens of America and Britain would have insisted that individuals involved in such acts of wanton barbarity would have been brought to a court of justice in shackles.

Far from it. Soon your kids will be able to play the video game. Yes, that’s right, a game to do exactly what these reports have gone to such lengths to condemn.

A team of video-game designers have been working for the last two years on perfecting a more visceral way of experiencing horrifying modern day torture techniques as adopted in US prisons such as Abu Ghraib. The idea is to bring players “uncomfortably close to the abuses that took place in one particularly infamous prison camp.”

The Atlantic reports that

“In the game, which is still in development, players assume the role of an American service member stationed at Camp Bucca, a detention center that was located near the port city of Umm Qasr in southeast Iraq, at an undetermined time during the Iraq War. Throughout the game, players interact with Iraqi prisoners, who are clothed in the camp’s trademark yellow jumpsuits and occasionally have black hoods pulled over their heads. The player must interrogate the prisoners, choosing between methods like waterboarding or electrocution to extract information. If an interrogation goes too far, the questioner can kill the prisoner.”

The developers relied upon actual allegations of the abuse suffered by prisoners in archived news articles and a leaked Red Cross report to assist in the design of the game.

Accordingly, the developers say they chose to have the player grapple with life-like assignments to experience the role of American prison camps in Iraq that ends with the radicalisation of the next generation of fighters and terrorists in the form of ISIS from where so much death and destruction has emanated.

The Atlantic interviewed the game designers and finally reported that the team were “Worried for their safety if their names were associated with what’s likely to be a controversial video game, the designers, a group of five graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University and New York University, asked to remain anonymous in this story.”

The fact that the US and UK discarded the United Nations Convention against Torture to prove its case for going to war in the first place should not allow for the sanitising of such horrific and brutal abuses via a video game to be somehow enjoyed, especially as torture victims continue in their struggle against a justice system that denies them exactly that – justice.

The Atlantic seem to have trivialised the story by turning torture into an interesting read with contributors and experts enthusiastic about realism and ensuring a good game player experience with their advice. The reality is that torture is no better than rape, paedophilia, murder or any other heinous crime that only the sick minded, psychotic and insane would somehow find gratifying.

Instead of simply profiting from the inflicted life-long pain of others, these students need help.

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Bombing Libya Again, This Time Because of 9/11

août 3rd, 2016 by Edward Curtin

In a previous article (published on  July 29) I focussed on Hilary Clinton’s involvement in the destruction of Libya in 2011. 

Happy Fifth Anniversary, Hillary Clinton, You’ve Destroyed Libya… We Await Your Next War By Edward Curtin, July 29, 2016

In that piece I wrote that Libya had disappeared from mainstream media coverage, but that it will reappear if US/NATO forces decide to bomb again.  I suggested that such bombing may be fast approaching.

That bombing has arrived quicker than I thought; it commenced on Monday, August 1, and some MSM have reported it, although not prominently.  The prime minister of Libya’s western-backed government based in Tripoli, Fayez Serraj, said that he requested that the US assist his troops by bombing Islamic State forces in Sirte, Libya’s main petrochemical port, where the Tripoli government’s soldiers are engaged in a ground offensive to retake Sirte from ISIL.

As usual, the double-talk about the role of American ground forces’ involvement continues.  Washington and Tripoli, while admitting US special operation forces are operating in Libya, deny that they are involved in this bombing campaign or in any combat operations in the country.

Being “invited in” and conducting “limited operations,” are phrases straight from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.  Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said the air strikes “would continue as long as [the Libyan government] is requesting them” and they don’t have “an end point at this particular moment in time.”  Cook also said that the legal justification for this bombing, which will no doubt be sustained, is ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force,’ approved by Congress on September 18, 2001 as a result of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

That document reads as follows:

(A) In General – That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Thus the legal justification for the bombing of ISIL in Libya is that they were involved in 9/11, even though ISIL didn’t exist then and is an arch-enemy of al Qaeda.

This is the same justification Barack Obama used for war against Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia.

In 2011 the justification for bombing Libya was to protect Libyans from allegedly being slaughtered by Muammar Gaddafi.  That was pure propaganda.

While self-contradictory in the extreme, such apologia are part of a calculated vicious circle whereupon terrorists are created and supported, then attacked, producing more terrorists, who are bombed, resulting in more chaos, the breakdown of central governments, new terrorists, more chaos, ad infinitum.  Call it the “circle game.”

The result is that any country in the region that opposes U.S.policies is destroyed (Iran being the current exception), while those who support US policies are rewarded, no matter how repressive they are.

A Libyan example of the circle game is the current U.S. bombing of ISIL forces in Sirte in support of the Western-backed government in western Libya, while “secretly” supporting General Khalifa Haftar, an enemy of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, by also bombing his political enemies in eastern Libya, including those who have been fighting ISIL.

The journalist Karim el Barput put it this way to Al Jazeera,

“The government in Tripoli is launching an offensive in Sirte against ISIL, and so we have the bizarre situation where Western governments are diplomatically and publically supporting the government in Tripoli, but then their militaries are supporting Haftar in the east.”

Haftar, a CIA asset and proxy of Egyptian dictator General Abdel el-Sisi, lived in the U.S. for nearly twenty years, residing just outside Washington DC in Falls Church and Vienna, Virginia, in cozy proximity to his patron in Langley.  He became a U.S. citizen, and is now a powerful warlord back in his home country.  It is another familiar story.

After five years off the radar of the MSM, we can expect the US/NATO war against Libya to intensify and receive more attention.  It will be a tale we’ve heard before: bombings and suicide attacks, assassinations, “collateral damage,” militias here, militias there, etc.

All this will be justified in the name of protecting Americans from those who allegedly attacked us on 9/11. It is a shell game.

Cui Bono?

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America’s debauched political system is rigged to assure one of its two neocon-infested duopoly wings wins every time.

The choice each “election” is between the lesser of two abominable evils no sensible person should support.

This year, Hillary is by far the most dangerous of two unacceptable options. Subservience to Wall Street and escalated war on humanity is certain if she succeeds Obama.

Who can support such madness! Is Trump any better? At the margins at most. Whoever heard of a billionaire tycoon populist serving everyone equitably, concerned about anything besides himself and special interests he represents.

Americans face the same dilemma each “election.” Their only sensible option is vote independent or stay home.

The Green Party has a presumptive dream ticket – to be confirmed at its August 4 – 7 national convention at the University of Houston.

Its theme: “Houston, We Have A Solution, Vote Green 2016.” Presumptive presidential nominee Jill Stein, a longtime practicing physician, wants to use her professional skills to heal a sick nation.

A Harvard College, Harvard Medical School graduate (1973 and 1979 respectively), she retired from medical practice, teaching and research to enter politics.

Twice she ran for Massachusetts governor, once for its House of Representatives, the position of Secretary of the Commonwealth, was a town of Lexington representative, then headed the Green Party ticket in 2012.

Campaigning she said “(y)ou can’t just be a non-Trump and deserve one’s vote.” The best way to stop “neofascism” is by stopping Hillary’s “neoliberalism.”

Putting another Clinton in the White House will fan the flames of this right wing extremism. We have known that for a long time, ever since Nazi Germany.

In the tradition of FDR’s New Deal, Jill advocates a “Green New Deal,” progressivism entirely absent in America today, unattainable under Republican or Democrat leadership.

An earlier article explained her agenda, policies serving everyone equitably and fairly, putting people needs and peace above profits, militarism and endless wars on humanity.

In announcing her candidacy for president in June 2015, she said “I have a people-powered campaign. I am running with the only national party that does not take corporate funding.”

She’s beholden solely to a progressive agenda putting people needs, concerns and fundamental rights first.

African American human rights activist Ajamu Baraka is her presumptive vice-presidential running mate. On August 1, Jill tweeted the announcement, saying she’s “(h)onored” to have him join her ticket.

He calls himself “root(ed) (in) the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.”

He’s a former UN Human Rights founding executive director, associated with other human rights groups, an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow, an academic and writer.

He currently serves on the boards of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Africa Action, Latin American Caribbean Community Center, and the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights.

In 2001, he was chosen “abolishionist of the year” by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He’s an anti-imperialist, calling US foreign policy “disastrous.”

In 2013, he said inviting Obama to participate in the 50th anniversary of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington “should be taken as an insult by everyone who has struggled and continues to struggle for human rights, peace and social justice.”

Stein/Baraka in 2016: A ticket deserving universal support, an antidote to out-of-control militarism, endless wars, neoliberal harshness and tyranny over fundamental freedoms – an easy choice in November.

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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According to the Associated Press, Palestine’s National Olympic Committee declared that the Israeli authorities have taken hold of the Palestinian 2016 Olympic team’s uniforms and equipment, forcing the Palestinian team to travel to Brazil without its gear.

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian NOC Munther Masalmeh stated that the gear has not cleared customs yet. On the other hand, Daily Herald reports that “Israel Tax Authority, which oversees customs, says it has heard nothing of the matter but would be happy to assist if approached by the Palestinians.”

Therefore, Palestine’s athletes are headed for the Rio 2016 Olympics without uniforms or equipment. The Olympians include two swimmers, two runners, a judoka and a dressage rider.

Mayada Sayyad has qualified to the 2016 Olympic marathon, while Christian Zimmerman booked his spot at the dressage riding event. Meanwhile, swimmers Mary Al-Atrash and Ahmed Gebrel were granted Universality Tickets to the 50-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle races at Rio 2016. Additionally, Simon Yaacoub was invited to compete in the extra-lightweight category at the judo tournament and Mohammed Abu Khoussa will run in the 100-meter sprints.

Israeli authorities have made a habit of intruding on Palestinian sports. The Palestinian NOC’s official website actually includes a report titled “Israeli Occupation Transgressions against Palestinian Sports,” which illustrates a series of unexplained detentions of the national team, athletes and sports personnel.

Palestine has previously asked the football governing body FIFA to ban Israel for hindering the movement of Palestinian athletes based on alleged security reasons. These efforts were unsuccessful.

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This decision comes ten years after Milosevic was assassinated in the ICTY prison. He was poisoned.

The ICTY is complicit  in his death.

The distinguished judges are not only responsible for the death of Slobodan Milosevic, they are responsible for « legalizing » an illegal invasion of a sovereign country as well as covering up the most heinous crimes committed by US-NATO against the former Republic of Yugoslavia.   

At the outset of Milosevic’s defense, the ICTY denied him the fundamental right of self defense and appointed two bogus British amicus curiae. The latter were appointed without the consent of the defendant.

Milosevic was also denied medical treatment while in detention.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research Editor, August 3, 2016 

*        *       *

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has determined that the late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was not responsible for war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

In a stunning ruling, the trial chamber that convicted former Bosnian-Serb president Radovan Karadzic of war crimes and sentenced him to 40 years in prison, unanimously concluded that Slobodan Milosevic was not part of a “joint criminal enterprise” to victimize Muslims and Croats during the Bosnian war.

The March 24th Karadzic judgment states that “the Chamber is not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence presented in this case to find that Slobodan Milosevic agreed with the common plan” to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb claimed territory.

The Karadzic trial chamber found that “the relationship between Milosevic and the Accused had deteriorated beginning in 1992; by 1994, they no longer agreed on a course of action to be taken. Furthermore, beginning as early as March 1992, there was apparent discord between the Accused and Milosevic in meetings with international representatives, during which Milosevic and other Serbian leaders openly criticised Bosnian Serb leaders of committing ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ and the war for their own purposes.”

The judges noted that Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic both favored the preservation of Yugoslavia and that Milosevic was initially supportive, but that their views diverged over time. The judgment states that “from 1990 and into mid-1991, the political objective of the Accused and the Bosnian Serb leadership was to preserve Yugoslavia and to prevent the separation or independence of BiH, which would result in a separation of Bosnian Serbs from Serbia; the Chamber notes that Slobodan Milosevic endorsed this objective and spoke against the independence of BiH.”

The Chamber found that “the declaration of sovereignty by the SRBiH Assembly in the absence of the Bosnian Serb delegates on 15 October 1991, escalated the situation,” but that Milosevic was not on board with the establishment of Republika Srpska in response. The judgment says that “Slobodan Milosevic was attempting to take a more cautious approach”

 

Slobodan Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic

The judgment states that in intercepted communications with Radovan Karadzic, “Milosevic questioned whether it was wise to use ‘an illegitimate act in response to another illegitimate act’ and questioned the legality of forming a Bosnian Serb Assembly.”

The judges also found that “Slobodan Milosevic expressed his reservations about how a Bosnian Serb Assembly could exclude the Muslims who were ‘for Yugoslavia’.”

The judgment notes that in meetings with Serb and Bosnian Serb officials “Slobodan Milosevic stated that ‘[a]ll members of other nations and ethnicities must be protected’ and that ‘[t]he national interest of the Serbs is not discrimination’.”

Also that “Milosevic further declared that crime needed to be fought decisively.”

The trial chamber notes that “In private meetings, Milosevic was extremely angry at the Bosnian Serb leadership for rejecting the Vance-Owen Plan and he cursed the Accused.” They also found that “Milosevic tried to reason with the Bosnian Serbs saying that he understood their concerns, but that it was most important to end the war.”

The judgment states that “Milosevic also questioned whether the world would accept that the Bosnian Serbs who represented only one third of the population of BiH would get more than 50% of the territory and he encouraged a political agreement.”

At a meeting of the Supreme Defense Council the judgment says that “Milosevic told the Bosnian Serb leadership that they were not entitled to have more than half the territory in BiH, stating that: ‘there is no way that more than that could belong to us! Because, we represent one third of the population. […] We are not entitled to in excess of half of the territory – you must not snatch away something that belongs to someone else! […] How can you imagine two thirds of the population being crammed into 30% of the territory, while 50% is too little for you?! Is it humane, is it fair?!’”

In other meetings with Serb and Bosnian Serb officials, the judgment notes that Milosevic “declared that the war must end and that the Bosnian Serbs’ biggest mistake was to want a complete defeat of the Bosnian Muslims.”

Because of the rift between Milosevic and the Bosnian-Serbs, the judges note that “the FRY reduced its support for the RS and encouraged the Bosnian Serbs to accept peace proposals.”

The Tribunal’s determination that Slobodan Milosevic was not part of a joint criminal enterprise, and that on the contrary he “condemned ethnic cleansing” is of tremendous significance because he got blamed for all of the bloodshed in Bosnia, and harsh economic sanctions were imposed on Serbia as a result. Wrongfully accusing Milosevic ranks right up there with invading Iraq only to find that there weren’t any weapons of mass destruction after all.

icty-hague-650x4873

Slobodan Milosevic was vilified by the entire western press corps and virtually every politician in every NATO country. They called him “the Butcher of the Balkans.” They compared him to Hitler and accused him of genocide. They demonized him and made him out to be a bloodthirsty monster, and they used that false image to justify not only economic sanctions against Serbia, but also the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia and the Kosovo war.

Slobodan Milosevic had to spend the last five years of his life in prison defending himself and Serbia from bogus war crimes allegations over a war that they now admit he was trying to stop. The most serious charges that Milosevic faced, including the charge of genocide, were all in relation to Bosnia. Now, ten years after his death, ICTY admits that he wasn’t guilty after all.

The ICTY did nothing to publicize the fact that they had cleared Milosevic of involvement in the joint criminal enterprise. They quietly buried that finding 1,303 pages into the 2,590 page Karadzic verdict knowing full well that most people would probably never bother to read it.

The presiding judge in the Radovan Karadzic trial, O-Gon Kwon of South Korea, was also one of the judges in the Slobodan Milosevic trial. Milosevic’s exoneration by the Karadzic trial chamber may be an indication of how the Milosevic chamber would have eventually ruled, at least on the Bosnia charges, if Milosevic had lived to see the conclusion of his own trial.

It’s worth recalling that Slobodan Milosevic died under a very suspicious set of circumstances. He died of a heart attack just two weeks after the Tribunal denied his request to undergo heart surgery in Russia. He was found dead in his cell less than 72 hours after his attorney delivered a letter to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which he said that he feared he was being poisoned.

The Tribunal’s official report on the inquiry into his death confirmed that, “Rifampicin had been found in a blood sample taken from Mr. Milosevic on 12 January 2006.” And that “Mr. Milosevic was not told of the results until 3 March 2006 because of the difficult legal position in which Dr. Falke (the Tribunal’s chief medical officer) found himself by virtue of the Dutch legal provisions concerning medical confidentiality.”

The presence of Rifamicin (a non-prescribed drug) in Milosevic’s blood would have counteracted the high blood pressure medication he was taking and increased his risk of the heart attack that ultimately did kill him. The Tribunal’s admission that they knew about the Rifampicin for months, but didn’t tell Milosevic the results of his own blood test until just days before his death because of “Dutch legal provisions concerning medical confidentiality” is an incredibly lame and disingenuous excuse. There is no provision of Dutch law that prohibits a doctor from telling the patient the results of his own blood test — that would be idiotic. On the contrary, concealing such information from the patient could be seen as malpractice.

This all gives rise to well-founded suspicion that powerful geopolitical interests would rather Milosevic die before the end of his trial than see him acquitted and have their vicious lies exposed. U.S. State Department cables leaked to Wikileaks confirm that The Tribunal did discuss Milosevic’s medical condition and his medical records with U.S. Embassy personnel in The Hague without his consent.They clearly didn’t care about medical confidentiality laws when they were blabbing about his medical records to the American embassy.

It’s an unsatisfying outcome that Milosevic has been quietly vindicated for the most serious crimes that he was accused of some ten years after his death. At a minimum financial compensation should now be paid to his widow and his children, and reparations should be paid to Serbia by the western governments who sought to punish Serbia in order to hold Milosevic “accountable” for crimes that their own Tribunal now admits he wasn’t responsible for, and was in fact trying to stop.

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Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential candidate, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after Bernie endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs.

Stein goes even further than Sanders on several key issues, and one of them is her economic platform. She has proposed a “Power to the People Plan” that guarantees basic economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities; living-wage jobs for every American who needs to work; an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance program; tuition-free public education through university level; and the abolition of student debt. She also supports a basic income guarantee; the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, separating depository banking from speculative investment banking; the breakup of megabanks into smaller banks; federal postal banks to service the unbanked and under-banked; and the formation of publicly-owned banks at the state and local level.

As with Sanders’ economic proposals, her plan has been challenged as unrealistic. Where will Congress find the money?

But Stein argues that the funds can be found. Going beyond Bernie, she calls for large cuts to the bloated military budget, which makes up 55% of federal discretionary spending; and progressive taxation, ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share. Most controversial, however, is her plan to tap up the Federal Reserve. Pointing to the massive sums the Fed produced out of the blue to bail out Wall Street, she says the same resources used to save the perpetrators of the crisis could be made available to its Main Street victims, beginning with the students robbed of their futures by massive student debt..

It Couldn’t Be Done Until It Was

Is tapping up the Fed realistic? Putting aside for the moment the mechanics of pulling it off, the central bank has indeed revealed that it has virtually limitless resources, as seen in the radical “emergency measures” taken since 2008.

The Fed first surprised Congress when it effectively “bought” AIG, a private insurance company, for $80 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remarked, “Many of us were . . . taken aback when the Fed had $80 billion to invest — to put into AIG just out of the blue. All of a sudden we wake up one morning and AIG has received $80 billion from the Fed. So of course we’re saying, Where’s this money come from?”

The response was, “Oh, we have it. And not only that, we have more.”

How much more was revealed in 2011, after an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the 2010 Wall Street reform law prompted the Government Accounting Office to conduct the first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve. It revealed that the Fed had provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the economic crisis. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else,” said Sanders in a press release.

Then there was the shocker of “quantitative easing” (QE), an unconventional monetary policy in which the central bank creates new money electronically to buy financial assets such as Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities (many of them “toxic”) from the banks. Critics said QE couldn’t be done because it would lead to hyperinflation. But it was done, and that dire result has not occurred.

Unfortunately, the economic stimulus that QE was supposed to trigger hasn’t occurred either. QE has failed because the money has gotten no further than the balance sheets of private banks. To stimulate the demand that will jumpstart the economy, new money needs to get into the real economy and the pockets of consumers.

Why QE Hasn’t Worked, and What Would

The goal of QE as currently implemented is to return inflation to target levels by increasing private sector borrowing. But today, as economist Richard Koo explains, individuals and businesses are paying down debt rather than taking out new loans. They are doing this although credit is very cheap, because they need to rectify their debt-ridden balance sheets in order to stay afloat. Koo calls it a “balance sheet recession.”

As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, the vast majority of the money supply is now created by banks when they make loans. Money is created when loans are made, and it is extinguished when they are paid off. When loan repayment exceeds borrowing, the money supply “deflates” or shrinks. New money then needs to be injected to fill the breach. Currently, the only way to get new money into the economy is for someone to borrow it into existence; and since the private sector is not borrowing, the public sector must, just to replace what has been lost in debt repayment. But government borrowing from the private sector means running up interest charges and hitting deficit limits.

The alternative is to do what governments arguably should have been doing all along: issue the money directly to fund their budgets.

Central bankers have largely exhausted their toolkits, prompting some economists to  recommend some form of “helicopter money” – newly-issued money dropped directly into the real economy. Funds acquired from the central bank in exchange for government securities could be used to build infrastructure, issue a national dividend, or purchase and nullify federal debt. Nearly interest-free loans could also be made by the central bank to state and local governments, in the same way they were issued to rescue an insolvent banking system.

Just as the Fed bought federal and mortgage-backed securities with money created on its books, so it could buy student or other consumer debt bundled as “asset-backed securities.” But in order to stimulate economic activity, the central bank would have to announce that the debt would never be collected on. This is similar to the form of “helicopter money” recently suggested by former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to the Japanese, using debt instruments called “non-marketable perpetual bonds with no maturity date” – bonds that can’t be sold or cashed out by the central bank and that bear no interest.

The Bernanke proposal (which he says could also be used by the US Fed in an emergency) involves the government issuing bonds, which it sells to the central bank for dollars generated digitally by the bank. The government then spends the funds directly into the economy, bypassing the banks.

Something similar could be done as a pilot project with student debt, Stein’s favorite target for relief. The US government could pay the Department of Education for the monthly payments coming due for students not in default or for whom payment had been suspended until they found employment. This would free up income in those households to spend on other consumer goods and services, boosting the economy in a form of QE for Main Street.

In QE as done today, the central bank reserves the right to sell the bonds it purchases back into the market, in order to reverse any hyperinflationary effects that may occur in the future. But selling bonds and taking back the cash is not the only way to shrink the money supply. The government could just raise taxes on sectors that are currently under-taxed (tax-dodging corporations and the super-rich) and void out the additional money it collects. Or it could nationalize “systemically important” banks that are insolvent or have failed to satisfy Dodd-Frank “living will” requirements (a category that now includes five of the country’s largest banks), and void out some of the interest collected by these newly-nationalized banks. Insolvent megabanks, rather than being bailed out by the government or “bailed in” by their private creditors and depositors, arguably should be nationalized – not temporarily, but as permanent public utilities. If the taxpayers are assuming the risks and costs, they should be getting the profits.

None of these procedures for reversing inflation would be necessary, however, if the money supply were properly monitored. In our debt-financed system, the economy is chronically short of the money needed to support a dynamic, abundant economy. New money needs to be added to the system, and this can be done without inflating prices. If the money goes into creating goods and services rather than speculative asset bubbles, supply and demand will rise together and prices will remain stable.

Is It in the President’s Toolbox?

Whether Stein as president would have the power to pull any of this off is another question. QE is the province of the central bank, which is technically “independent” from the government. However, the president does appoint the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, Chair and Vice Chair, with the approval of the Senate.

Failing that, the money might be found by following the lead of Abraham Lincoln and the American colonists and issuing it directly through the Treasury. But an issue of US Notes or Greenbacks would also require an act of Congress to change existing law.

If Stein were unable to get either of those federal bodies to act, however, she could resort to a “radical” alternative already authorized in the Constitution: an issue of large-denomination coins. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “coin Money [and] regulate the value thereof,” and Congress has delegated that power to the Treasury Secretary. When minting a trillion dollar platinum coin was suggested as a way around an artificially imposed debt ceiling in January 2013, Philip Diehl, former head of the U.S. Mint and co-author of the platinum coin law, confirmed:

In minting the $1 trillion platinum coin, the Treasury Secretary would be exercising authority which Congress has granted routinely for more than 220 years. The Secretary authority is derived from an Act of Congress (in fact, a GOP Congress) under power expressly granted to Congress in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8).

The power just needs to be exercised, something the president can instruct the Secretary to do by executive order.

In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt engaged in a radical monetary reset when he took the dollar off the gold standard domestically. The response was, “We didn’t know you could do that.” Today the Federal Reserve and central banks globally have been engaging in radical monetary policies that have evoked a similar response, and the sky has not fallen as predicted.

As Stein quotes Alice Walker, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

The runaway success of Sanders and Trump has made it clear that the American people want real change from the establishment Democratic/Republican business-as-usual that Hillary represents. But real change is not possible within the straitjacket of a debt-ridden, austerity-based financial scheme controlled by Wall Street oligarchs. Radical economic change requires radical financial change, as Roosevelt demonstrated. To carry the baton of revolution to the finish line requires revolutionary tools, which Stein has shown she has in her toolbox.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com. She can be heard biweekly on “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown” on PRN.FM.

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A 2010 correspondence found in the WikiLeaks Hillary Clinton Email Archive reveals that Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times met secretly with US State Department officials prior to the newspaper’s coverage of WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs. The correspondence was made public by WikiLeaks’ release of emails from a private, unsecured server used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

In view of the Times’ long record of parroting the official line of the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, the revelation that the US government has become the paper’s unofficial editor comes hardly as a surprise.

The purpose of Gordon’s meeting with officials of the State Department was nothing other than damage control: to warn them of what to expect far enough in advance to adjust their press releases accordingly, while making every assurance that his paper would cherry-pick leaked documents to spin coverage in favor of American foreign policy while burying its most criminal offenses.

The hundreds of thousands of documents detailing war crimes in Iraq—now known as the Iraq War Logs—were obtained by WikiLeaks from whistleblower Chelsea Manning. A private in the US Army at the time of the leaks, Manning has been treated with marked cruelty and brutality at the hands of the US government. She is now serving a sentence of 35 years and may be kept in solitary confinement indefinitely.

The revelation of the correspondence again makes clear the degree to which the “fourth estate” is completely integrated into the capitalist state. Notwithstanding the sheer level of cynicism contained within the brief report, one is given a sense of just how much is the total subservience of the so-called “free press” to Washington’s military-intelligence apparatus. Names such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan (director of the CIA) and Keith Alexander (director of the NSA) may as well be added to the masthead of every major American newspaper.

Gordon, the Chief Military Correspondent for the Times, has a long history of service to US imperialism. He gained notoriety in 2002 after co-writing a story with Judith Miller that put forward the bogus claim that Saddam Hussein was procuring aluminum tubes to further a nonexistent nuclear weapons program. During the first phase of the Iraq War, he was the only journalist embedded with the Allied Command.

For his part, Gordon’s coverage of the WikiLeaks documents over the rest of 2010 was extraordinarily tame, focusing only on details that presented American foreign policy in a favorable light. In one article, he invoked WikiLeaks to accuse the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad of funneling weapons to Hezbollah. Others included stories which accused both Iran and Syria of “meddling” in Iraq, accused Ukraine (then under since-ousted President Yanukovych) of illegally selling arms to southern Sudan, and criticized France’s attempt to sell a Mistral ship to Russia.

The email in question held the subject line “WIKILEAKS – OSD/PA MEETING WITH MICHAEL GORDON OF NYT” and was written on October 20, 2010, two days before the official release of the documents to the Internet. The email appears to have been written by a lower-level State Department official and was then forwarded to Clinton by Jake Sullivan, former Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama, National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, and Deputy Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He is now top foreign policy advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign.

The content of the original email consisted of a summary report of the meeting with Gordon. He began by informing officials the exact time the first round of stories would be posted online. He then assured officials that the Times was “not the major news player” for WikiLeaks and that the organization was “much more focused on European publications.” In view of the fact that the Times was only one of a few major world publications given exclusive access to the documents before their release to the public, Gordon’s statement can only mean that the paper was committed to covering up the full extent of the criminality exposed within them.

Gordon went on to describe, in detail, the official line the Times’ coverage would take. The report states:

“[Gordon] confirmed the 5-6 themes we’ve been discussing that will be the focus of NYT stories

• More on civilian casualties than has been public so far

• More on detainee abuse than has been public so far

• Iranian involvement in Iraq

• More on contractors than has been public so far – although on this one, he didn’t

seem like there would be any great surprises here

• A small report on the US hikers”

Gordon also informed officials of two stories the State Department evidently had not anticipated at all:

“The ‘surrender to the helicopter’ issue, which is the focus of a story his colleague is working on – and, apparently, the focus of other news stories (he said this a couple of times); Kurdish-Arab tensions, and the US role in deconflicting those tensions. Gordon said that for him, this was the most important topic long-term – but he also said this will be of much less interest to European papers doing stories.”

The email concluded with the following statement: “NYT has adhered to the process followed after their first meeting at the WH (when the Af/Pak documents were released), and has gone to great efforts to redact names, as well as information regarding force protection and intelligence.” This makes clear that not only had representatives of the Times (likely Gordon himself) aided in the cover-up of information deemed potentially harmful to the American ruling class, but that they had been meeting with government officials to discuss matters of the press for some time.

Gordon is by no means the only Times journalist working overtime to downplay the revelations made by WikiLeaks. His colleague, Roger Cohen, penned a hack opinion-piece on WikiLeaks in December 2010 titled “American Diplomacy Revealed – As Good.” Throughout the article, Cohen made the spurious claim that the only revelation WikiLeaks presented was the competency of the military-intelligence apparatus: “They are, to judge from the WikiLeaks dump of a quarter-million of their private or secret cables, thoughtful, well-informed and dedicated servants of the American interest who write clear, declarative English sentences.. . Overall, my longstanding admiration for America’s conscientious diplomats has been redoubled.”

Bill Keller, then the Times’ Executive Editor, argued in favor of prior restraint in an extraordinary series of comments. In November of 2010, he made the infamous Orwellian statement:

“We agree wholeheartedly that transparency is not an absolute good. Freedom of the press includes freedom not to publish, and that is a freedom we exercise with some regularity.”

This statement by Keller was clearly addressed not to the majority of the Times’ readers, but meant to reassure the military-intelligence apparatus that uses the paper as a propaganda conduit.

The secret passing of information by Gordon to the State Department is Keller’s dictum put into practice. Although this is but one piece of evidence, damning as it may be, it must be viewed in light of the contemporary political context. The Times continues to play a crucial role in the political life of the “liberal” American ruling elite that today is seeking to manipulate public opinion into supporting already far advanced preparations for war against Russia and China.

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Airstrikes in Libya were authorized by U.S. President Barack Obama as part of an open-ended campaign against the Islamic State group.

The United States have launched an open-ended airstrike campaign in Libya against the Islamic State group in what Washington said was a positive response to calls by the U.N.-backed government in Libya.

The latest campaign comes four years after NATO, led by the U.S., Britain and France, intervened in the country’s Arab Spring-inspired uprising against longtime Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Since then, the country has been mired in chaos, with three different competing governments, a situation that has been exploited by extremists.

« The first airstrikes were carried out at specific locations in Sirte today causing severe losses to enemy ranks, » Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Seraj said on state TV. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the strikes did not have « an end point at this particular moment in time. »

Monday’s airstrikes were the third the U.S. has carried out against the extremist group in Libya. The last acknowledged U.S. airstrikes in Libya were in the western city of Sabratha in February.

 But U.S. officials said airstrikes are different, marking the start of a sustained air campaign .

The new Libya campaign has been authorized by U.S. President Barack Obama, who previously said the 2011 NATO intervention « didn’t work » and was one of the things he regrets the most about his eight years in office.

The Islamic State group seized the coastal city of Sirte, the hometown of Gaddafi, last year, making it their most important base outside Syria and Iraq.

Libyan forces began an offensive to retake the city in May and fighters of the Islamic State group are now besieged in a few square miles of the center, where they hold strategic sites.

Just months before leaving office, the new intervention in Libya marks the latest front Obama has started in the Middle East as U.S. forces continue airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, while more ground troops have been sent to Iraq and special forces are fighting alongside the Kurdish-Arab coalition in northern Syria known as Syria Democratic Forces.

News of the new intervention had been circulating since early this year. Back in March, journalist and founder of The Intercept website Glenn Greenwald ridiculed the West’s fresh intervention when he titled an article on the issue: “The U.S. Intervention in Libya Was Such a Smashing Success That a Sequel Is Coming.”

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“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.”

(J. Edgar Hoover, Elks Magazine, August 1956.)

On 23rd May Sean Adl-Tabatabai wrote what now surely seems a prophetic article: “Erdogan Is Preparing For Military Coup In Turkey.” 

The writer warned that:

“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be out of control. He is cracking down on opposition, imprisoning opponents and seizing media outlets … the Turkish leader has threatened to dissolve the Constitutional Court.” This at a time when: “ …the security problems have deteriorated amidst a wave of terrorism.”

Moreover:

“The events make the Turkish military emerge on political landscape again after many years of marginalization during ‘Sultan’ Erdogan’s rule. The divisions between the Turkish military and Erdogan have a long history, but today it is amplified by tumultuous events in and outside the country. For instance, the plans to create a buffer zone in Northern Syria and send the Turkish troops to Syria and Iraq are opposed by military brass.” (Emphasis added.)

“The Turkish military has long seen itself as the ‘guardian of Turkish democracy’ of the staunchly secular state, created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic.”

« Related Events »: Preparing a Military Coup Leading up to a  « Failed Coup »? 

On 5th May, Erdogan had sacked his Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu leading to Murat Yetkin, writing in the daily Hurriyet: “As long as Erdogan is President, it will not be important who the Prime Minister is.”

Davutoglu had seemingly been reluctant to endorse Erdogan’s plan to change Turkey’s constitution, creating a US style Presidential system but without the constitutional safeguards pertaining to the US (inadequate as some may think they are) and other Presidential democracies.

On 24th May Erdogan appointed close ally and former Transport Minister Binali Yildrim in Davutoglu’s place. Yildrim had also been responsible for government censorship and expanded state surveillance. Crackdowns on thousands of websites led to Cyber-Rights.Org stating that: “the current Turkish law on controlling internet content, through its procedural and substantive deficiencies, is designed to censor and silence political speech.”

Apart from being dogged by claims of questionable financial dealing, Yildrim has also been accused of being a segregationist, his wife reportedly sitting apart at an official dinner. He is also quoted as declining to go to a particular university after he saw students mixing together in the gardens which, he reflected, would lead him down the wrong path.

Two days after Yildrim became Prime Minister the Speaker of the Turkish parliament, Ismail Kahraman, sparked demonstrations when he talked of the new constitution President Erdogan hoped to achieve: “For one thing, the new constitution should not have secularism », he said, according to the Turkish media.

“It needs to discuss religion … It should not be irreligious, this new constitution, it should be a religious constitution.” 

Erdogan’s AK Party has roots in political Islam thus pushing to replace the existing constitution toward Sharia law. As Speaker, Kahraman is overseeing efforts to draft the new constitutional text. His comments were widely believed to be a testing of the political waters on behalf of the President.

In context, in the most recent (April 2013) comprehensive survey of attitudes to Sharia law in majority Muslim countries, Pew Research Center found a mere 12% of Turks were in favour of making it the country’s official law.

All in all NATO ally Turkey and would be EU Member was sailing in choppy political waters before the coup and the numerous question marks surrounding it.

President Erdogan was vacationing in the breathtakingly picturesque port town of Marmaris on the Mediterranean coast of south west Turkey when he was alerted to the crisis on Friday, 15 July. He escaped just minutes before a gang rushed the hotel to kill him, we are told.

Marmaris, incidentally, is historically no stranger to drama – and there has been plenty of fleeing from there. The region of it’s location was invaded by Alexander the Great in 334 BC, conquered by Mehmed the Conquerer in the mid-fifteenth century and in 1798 Admiral Lord Nelson “and his entire fleet sheltered in the harbor … en route to Egypt to defeat Napoleon’s armada during the Mediterranean campaign.” In 1958 the town was almost entirely destroyed by an actual earthquake, not a political one. (Wikipedia.)

Minutes after Erdogan left the hotel: “Around twenty five soldiers in helicopters descended (on it) shooting … in an apparent attempt to seize him”, according to CNN Turk.

Not finding him there, oddly the helicopter-facilitated soldiers apparently never thought to seek his vehicle on the road to the nearest airport, Dalaman, a one and a half hour’s drive away.

Further, once in the air: ‘A former military officer with knowledge of the events claimed:

“At least two F-16s harassed Erdogan’s plane while it was in the air en route to Istanbul.

“They locked their radars on his plane and on two other F-16s protecting him.

“Why they didn’t fire is a mystery.” ‘ Indeed.

Back in the severely damaged Presidential palace, with Parliament also ravaged and debris strewn and with, already 265 dead and 1,440 injured, President Erdogan was quoted as announcing the attempted coup: “A gift from Allah.”

Arrested immediately were 2,839 army personnel with 2,745 Judges and Prosecutors ordered detained, as the purge the of accused conspirators began.

In under a week 60,000 people had been fired or detained and 2,300 institutions closed on Erdogan’s orders. Latest figures stand at 70,000 including media, health, education and judiciary purged or interned according to the State sponsored Anadolu news agency – which may be the only news outlet standing since: “at least 131 newspapers, television and radio stations, magazines, publishers and news agencies” have been ordered closed this week alone.” (Independent, 31st July 2016.)

The NATO ally President and would-be European Union Member is clearly not a freedom of the press enthusiast. Reports claim that even prior to the coup attempt – since 2014 – 1,845 journalists, critics and writers have faced accusations of insulting the President – which carries a potential jail sentence.

Of the latest crack down, states Tyler Durden (2) in Zero Hedge, staggeringly:

“In his first ‘emergency powers’ decree … Erdogan authorised the closure of 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 hospitals … The government also announced it would seize the properties of all these schools, universities and private institutions.”

A “nice little earner” as the saying goes, in fact surely one of the largest real estate grabs in history. Interestingly the seizures took place just two days after Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings: “ … cut Turkey’s credit rating deeper into junk territory, saying (the) failed coup has undermined the country’s economy and investment environment. »

“The rating now stands at double-B, with a negative outlook, which indicates additional downgrades could follow.” (Wall Street Journal, 20th July.)

Nothing like some prime real estate to fall back on in hard times.

The legality of the real estate grab? Perhaps, as human rights, the law itself is on hold, since Judges have become an endangered species.

Further purge figures are chilling. According to The Independent, by 21st July 2016:

·      9,000 police officers were sacked

·      6,000 military personnel arrested

·      15,200 teachers and education staff sacked

·      6,500 education ministry staff suspended

·      1,577 university Deans ordered to resign

·      8,777 Interior Ministry workers dismissed

·      1,500 Finance Ministry staff fired

Two hundred and fifty staff, including administrative and management have been fired from Turkish Airlines, Europe’s fourth largest carrier

Landline operator Turk Telekom, thirty percent State-owned, has fired employees in « cooperation with the security forces » with some managers reportedly summoned by prosecutors.

Additionally, 50,000 passports have been cancelled.

Amnesty International has already issued an alarming Report (3) claiming:

“ … credible reports that Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul are holding detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denying them food, water and medical treatment … In the worst cases some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.

“… The grim details that we have documented are just a snapshot of the abuses that might be happening in places of detention,” said Amnesty International’s Europe director John Dalhuisen.

Further:

(There are) “multiple reports of detainees being held in unofficial locations such as sports centres and a stable. Some detainees, including at least three Judges, were held in the corridors of courthouses.”

Moreover:

“ … 650-800 male soldiers were being held in the Ankara police headquarters sports hall. At least 300 of the detainees showed signs of having been beaten. Some detainees had visible bruises, cuts, or broken bones. Around 40 were so badly injured they could not walk. Two were unable to stand. One woman who was also detained in a separate facility there had bruising on her face and torso.”

“Lawyers described how people were brought before prosecutors for interrogation with their shirts covered in blood.” The full Report on a NATO ally and EU aspirant Member is a shocking read – as is the near silence of NATO Member nations and those of the EU. The West is remarkably selective over those deemed despots who “torture and kill their own people.”

In another alleged atrocity:

“The top counter-terrorism official responsible for Turkey’s campaign against Islamic State (went to) a ‘meeting’ at the Presidential palace in Ankara. He was later found with his hands tied behind his back, shot in the neck, according to a senior official.” (4)

Ironically, Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights. It is also signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Mr Erdogan is also reported as seeking to introduce constitutional changes bringing the Turkish intelligence agency and military Chief of Staff directly under his control. Just four days after the alleged coup he talked of bringing back the death penalty for a horrifying 8,777 people who have not even been charged or tried yet.

“Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons, for years to come?” he is quoted as saying. (5)

It has to be asked, how did the President and his loyalists, taken by surprise by an attempted coup, organize the logistics of the arresting, rounding up, firing of 70,000 people in such a short space of time?

List names, addresses, places of work, organize teams to apprehend them, write letters or visit them to fire them. An operation of such magnitude would surely take weeks, if not months to organize. 

Discussing the all with a canny, politically savvy Turkish businessman, his view: “No, he didn’t plan it but he got everything he wanted from it – again – so who did to put him in to such a driving seat …?

Incidentally, the dictionary definition of “cui bono” is: “a principle that probable responsibility for an act or event lies with one having something to gain.” (Merriam Webster.)

Notes  

1.     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3694546/At-height-Turkish-coup-bid-rebel-jets-Erdogans-plane-sights.html 

2.     http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-23/first-emergency-decree-erdogan-shuts-down-thousands-hospitals-schools-charities 

3.     https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/07/turkey-independent-monitors-must-be-allowed-to-access-detainees-amid-torture-allegations/ 

4.     http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/07/the-after-coup-purges-in-turkey-continue-the-erdogan-administration-is-firing-any-public-servant-who-might-just-might-not.html#more 

5.     http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/turkey-pm-warns-against-feeling-revenge-after-coup-496420178

 

 

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bush_blair_0

California Civil Law Suit against George W. Bush Et Al: DOJ Blocks Submission of Chilcot Report

By Inder Comar, August 02 2016

The case, Saleh v. Bush, involves claims by an Iraqi mother that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Wolfowitz — waged a war of aggression against Iraq in 2003, and that they should be personally responsible for the consequences of the unlawful invasion.

VIDEO: Bahraini Women and Children are Being Terrorized, Raped and Tortured

The US Government Tortures Children

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, August 02 2016

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just released its report,  “Extreme Measures: Abused  Children Detained As National Security Threats.” From my reading of the report, Israel and the US are the two worst abusers.  Boko Haram is a distant third.

a Abayomi Azikiwe with warplane

Pentagon Bombs Libya Again: Under the Guise of “Fighting Terrorism”

By Abayomi Azikiwe, August 02 2016

Even before the ink was dry on the meaningless platform resolutions passed at last week’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, the administration of President Barack Obama has bombed the North African state of Libya. This latest attack continues the more than five year war against the people of Libya, once the most prosperous state in Africa, now destroyed at the aegis of U.S. imperialism, NATO and its regional allies.

Olympic-logo

Discrimination against Russians at Rio Undermines the Olympic Charter

By Rick Sterling, August 02 2016

With the Rio Summer Olympics starting on August 5, there is huge controversy about Russian participation.  On the basis of a report by Canadian lawyer Richard Mclaren (the “Mclaren Report”), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended the banning of all Russian athletes from the Rio Games. Before his report was even issued, Mclaren influenced the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) in their decision to ban all Russian athletes from track and field events, including those who never failed any doping tests, in Russia or elsewhere.

Parry-NetanyahuPalestinians inside Israel Are under Attack

By Jonathan Cook, August 02 2016

Was it meant as an epic parody or an insult to his audience’s intelligence? It was hard to tell. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to apologise for last year’s notorious election-day comment, when he warned that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves” – a reference to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian. In videos released last week in English and Hebrew, Mr Netanyahu urged Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. They needed to “work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said. “I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”.

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The US Government Tortures Children

août 2nd, 2016 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just released its report,  “Extreme Measures: Abused  Children Detained As National Security Threats.”

From my reading of the report, Israel and the US are the two worst abusers.  Boko Haram is a distant third.

Which country is the worst abuser, Israel or the US?  Taking into account that the US is responsible for the violence in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria that has resulted in torture and detention, if we include these victims in the American total, then the US is the Number One torturer of children.  As it is unlikely that Israel could get away with abuse of Palestinian children without Washington’s support, we can add Israel’s abuses to Washington’s total.

Guantanamo Bay is a great distance away from Washington’s wars against Muslims in Afghanistan, North Africa and the Middle East.  Yet even at Guantanamo, where the only violence is the violence that the US military inflicts on detainees, the US government tortured children, according to the Human Rights Watch report.

What kind of military tortures children?  The only answer that I can come up with is a military that has no self-respect.

What kind of US government would pay two US psychologists $81 million to help the CIA devise torture techniques? 

Only a lawless government with no respect for US law and international law.

Think back to the torture memos written by US Department of Justice (sic) officials John  C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee. These memos justifying the US government’s torture of detainees despite the prohibition of torture by both US statutory law and international law to which the US is a signatory have been denounced by civil libertarians as the work of legal incompetents or criminals or both.  Yet, John Yoo is a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, and for his service to the White House torturers Jay Bybee was appointed a US federal judge to the second highest court.  If Hitlery becomes president, Bybee and Yoo could end up on the Supreme Court.

The positions held by Yoo and Bybee tell the world all that is needed to know that the United States is a lawless entity and that this lawlessness is accepted by America’s legal, political, and educational institutions and by the American people.

What self-respecting parent would send a son or daughter to study law at a university that hosts a “legal scholar” who discounts law in behalf of torture?

If you were a judge on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals and a torturer was appointed to the court, would you welcome the criminal or resign in protest against a government that has no respect for its own laws?

How many NSA officials have resigned over illegal spying on the American people?

How many FBI officials have resigned over false flag frame-ups of “terrorists?”

When the Democratic National Committee can hire Americans for $50 per night to fill up the empty seats at the Democratic convention, what does that tell you about the price of American integrity?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-28/did-dnc-hire-actors-below-minimum-wage-work-convention

Do you remember the 775 Guantanamo detainees described by the US Secretary of Defense and the Vice President of the US as the most dangerous, most violent men on earth?  We will never know how many of these detainees were tortured in an effort to elicit a confession in support of the government’s unfounded claims, but nine of them died in custody.

We do know that despite torture and the assurances from the highest officials that the detainees were dangerous and violent, as of July 12, 2016, 90 percent of the detainees have been released without charges.  Only 76 remain, and apparently there is no evidence that can be used to charge them.  Apparently, they are being held only in order to save the US government from being 100 percent wrong. Being 90 percent wrong is close enough for government work.    See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Guantanamo_Bay_detainees   

and  http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees

Do you remember those photos of the torture of the Abu Ghraib prisoners?  As horrifying as the photos are, they are the mild part.  Others photos were not released.  The photos reveal more than torture.  The photos reveal the extreme pleasure that the US soldiers got from torturing the prisoners.  They were having the time of their life abusing other humans!

Some feminists have excused the female soldier, one of the several grunts punished while the higher officials responsible went scot free, with the rationale that she was only getting back at the male gender for the abuses she, as a female, had suffered from men.

The Abu Ghraib photos required silencing.  Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the senior American commander in Iraq, appointed Major General Antonio Taguba to compile a report based on an investigation of the torture.  All Gen. Taguba had to do was to explain away the torture and be promoted from 2-star to 3-star general.

If that is what Sanchez intended, he chose the wrong man.  Gen. Taguba filed an honest report, finding:

That between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force (372nd Military Police Company, 320th Military Police Battalion, 800th MP Brigade), in Tier (section) 1-A of the Abu Ghraib Prison (BCCF). The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements (ANNEX 26) and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence…In addition to the aforementioned crimes, there were also abuses committed by members of the 325th MI Battalion, 205th MI Brigade, and Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center (JIDC).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taguba_Report

Instead of becoming a 3-star general with lucrative consulting opportunities and board memberships at the end of his military career, Taguba was sent into retirement.

See: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/06/25/the-generals-report

Seymour Hersh’s report on “The General’s Report” shows a US military whose leaders, both military and civilian, are devoid of integrity.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/06/25/the-generals-report

If we contrast the fate of Gen. Taguba, who took the US Military Code seriously, with the mindlessness of Fox “News” and its incoherent insouciant Medal of Honor winner, Dakota Meyer, who is displayed on need, we can see how integrity was lost to ignorance and propaganda.

Mischaracterizing Democratic convention delegates protests, “no more war,” as disrespect for the military, Dakota Meyer declares that “America is the beacon of hope.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/medal-honor-recipient-reacts-disrespect-140945017.html

That is not the way the world sees it.  In every world poll, the United States is ranked overwhelmingly as the greatest threat to peace,  with Israel as the runner-up. The “threats”, such as North Korea and Iran,  designated by the warmongers in Washington hardly register as threats in world polls.

Long ago Americans were divided into “liberals” and “conservatives” and set against one another, while those who did the dividing took away our civil liberties and prosperity. Both the Fox “News” imbecile and the Medal of Honor winner, who think of themselves as “conservatives,” believe that it is liberals who are disrespectful of the military and that their hatred of the military is why “liberals” are opposed to war.  Of course, informed Americans are aware that it was conservatives who did not want to get into wars.  It was conservatives, not liberals who opposed US involvement in WWI and WWII. Liberals were hot to trot.

It has escaped Fox “News” and the Medal of Honor winner that Democrat Hitlery is all in favor of war and wants more of it.  The people who don’t want war are the ones that understand that WWIII will be nuclear and bring an end to life on earth.  The people denigrated by the Fox “News” imbecile and the insouciant Medal of Honor winner are the people who are trying to save not only the United States but all life on earth from the stupid, reckless, arrogant war crowd.

To whom is America “the beacon of hope”?  Is America the beacon of hope to the millions of peoples who have been killed, maimed, and displaced by America’s wars during the past 15 years?  Is America the beacon of hope to the Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Ghetto that Israel uses for a shooting gallery?  Is America the beacon of hope to the Latin American peoples whose representative governments Washington routinely overthrows?  Is America the beacon of hope to the Russians and Chinese who are being encircled with military bases and demonized with hostile words and misrepresented with lies?  Is America the beacon of hope for the middle class whose jobs and future were offshored?  Is America the beacon of hope to the poor whose public assistance was wiped out by Clinton’s Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996?

America is a beacon of hope only to the One Percent who loot and plunder both our economic future and our civil liberties.

People can be intelligent without being brave, and they can be brave without being intelligent.  Our soldiers fit in the later category.  They do the work for the One Percent and are paid for their physical and emotional injuries with medals.

In the past 15 years “the beacon of hope” has destroyed in whole or part seven countries–Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria.  The “beacon of hope” has overthrown representative governments in Honduras, Ukraine, Egypt, Argentina, and Brazil, installing in their place right-wing crooks, and is working hard to overthrow the elected governments in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia.  The extraordinary range of death and suffering for which “the beacon of hope” is responsible is unprecedented.

As if this is not enough, “the beacon of hope” is now recklessly and irresponsibly threatening two nuclear powers–Russia and China–with military encirclement justified with the most blatant and transparent lies.  We hear the propaganda 24/7.  Even the “liberal” NPR specializes in telling lies about Russia.  Is it hopeful to convince two nuclear powers that the US is preparing to attack?

It is Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, who says he doesn’t want conflict with Russia and sees little point to NATO.  Yet, the “liberal” media doesn’t miss an opportunity to demonize Trump, just as the presstitutes demonize the peace-seeker, Vladimir Putin.

The presstitutes are screaming:  “Give us Hitlery and more war!”

Feminists want Hitlery for war on the glass ceiling.

The neoconservatives want Hitlery in order for them to achieve their ideology of world hegemony.

The military/security complex and Wall Street want Hitlery for their profits.

Why is Donald Trump, the candidate who wants to avoid dangerous conflict with nuclear powers, being demonized, instead of Hillary?

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More talk of war, repression and national oppression amid worsening social conditions in the United States and globally

Now that both the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) are completed in Cleveland and Philadelphia, the political character of these capitalist parties in the United States are clear for all conscious people to see. There was nothing new that developed among the leading forces within either of the organizations that ostensibly represent the American electorate.

In Philadelphia at the RNC, the forces of billionaire real estate magnate Donald Trump dominated the gathering with speeches calling for the U.S. to return to its past glory. What glory one may ask?

Are they speaking of going back to the 1940s and 1950s when racial segregation was still legal in the country and any remote notions of equality and self-determination for African Americans would be considered communistic warranting an investigation by the Congress for subversion?

Or do they seek an even further retreat into the early 20th century when lynch law was considered the norm where African Americans could be accused of crossing the racial and social boundaries designated by the ruling class in both the North and the South and could face deadly consequences?

Also the questions of imperialism and militarism were only addressed from the perspective of the effectiveness of an agenda for global domination that is articulated by the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), State Department spokespersons operating in the best interests of the defense industry and international finance capital. Of course notions over whether the wars of the last quarter century in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Colombia, etc. were necessary interventions never reached the podium. The ideas advanced revolve around the “toughness” of the capitalist-imperialist state in its willingness to exert U.S. influence around the world.

Trump’s positions which seem to advocate a protectionist economic and foreign policy are highly questionable and clearly demagogic. Modern day capitalism is tantamount to globalization or as most socialist say, imperialistic. How can one man such as Trump reverse the course of modern-day imperialism without the backing of the social class in which he represents?

V. I. Lenin clearly pointed out a century ago in 1916 during World War I in his seminal work entitled “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism”, that “Imperialism emerged as the development and direct continuation of the fundamental characteristics of capitalism in general.

But capitalism only became capitalist imperialism at a definite and very high stage of its development, when certain of its fundamental characteristics began to change into their opposites, when the features of the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher social and economic system had taken shape and revealed themselves in all spheres. Economically, the main thing in this process is the displacement of capitalist free competition by capitalist monopoly.

Free competition is the basic feature of capitalism, and of commodity production generally; monopoly is the exact opposite of free competition, but we have seen the latter being transformed into monopoly before our eyes, creating large-scale industry and forcing out small industry, replacing large-scale by still larger-scale industry, and carrying concentrations of production and capital to the point where out of it has grown and is growing monopoly: cartels, syndicates and trusts, and merging with them, the capital of a dozen or so banks, which manipulate thousands of millions. At the same time the monopolies, which have grown out of free competition, do not eliminate the latter, but exist above it and alongside it, and thereby give rise to a number of very acute, intense antagonisms, frictions and conflicts. Monopoly is the transition from capitalism to a higher system.”

Consequently, Trump, like his Democratic Party counterparts, who we will take on in the next section, are attempting to sell the electorate on false dreams of an America where jobs will be brought back at decent wages therefore eliminating the need for immigrant labor. Xenophobia, racism and this imaginary “protectionism” is the future of U.S. capitalism. Such an ideological position defies logic and the historical development of capitalism over the last century.

The Democrats and Their Illusionary “Diversity” Under Capitalism and National Oppression

In Philadelphia at the DNC this same general line advocated by the Trump wing of the Republican Party also prevailed. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats seek to once again frighten African Americans, Latinos, Middle Easterners, Asians, Women, the LGBTQ communities, people living with disabilities, environmentalists and even peace advocates that their brand of capitalist-imperialism is safer and more productive.

These two political wings of the ruling class rely on different constituencies to carry out the same objectives. The Democrats must get the votes of the nationally oppressed, the working class and their trade unions, the majority of women and other exploited sectors of the proletariat and racially excluded groups. Hillary Clinton cannot win without these important constituencies who numerically now make up the majority of the population.

Yet despite the long list of African Americans and other nationally oppressed groups which served as delegates to the DNC and spoke from the rostrum, they have no real authority within the Democratic Party. The trick here is to take the most oppressed and exploited and get them to vote and work against their own interests. This same strategy is shared by the Republican as well utilizing racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry and militarism. White working and middle class people are encouraged to vote for Trump because he will supposedly expel the Islamist threat both domestically and internationally and bring good paying employment back to the U.S.

After the passage of a series of Civil Rights bills during 1957-1968, the national oppression of African Americans went from a classical colonial model to one of neo-colonialism. In other words allow selected politicians and entertainers serve as a buffer between the African American masses and the ruling class without any fundamental transformation of the capitalist ownership and relations of production.

Kwame Nkrumah, the former President of the first Republic of Ghana (image right), a leading Pan-Africanist and Socialist who served as the chief strategist of the African Revolution from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, wrote in the conclusion of his groundbreaking study entitled “Neo-Colonialism: The Last State of Imperialism” that

“When Africa becomes economically free and politically united, the monopolists will come face to face with their own working class in their own countries, and a new struggle will arise within which the liquidation and collapse of imperialism will be complete.

As this book has attempted to show, in the same way as the internal crisis of capitalism within the developed world arose through the uncontrolled action of national capital, so a greater crisis is being provoked today by similar uncontrolled action of international capitalism in the developing parts of the world. Before the problem can be solved it must at least be understood. It cannot be resolved merely by pretending that neo-colonialism does not exist. It must be realized that the methods at present employed to solve the problem of world poverty are not likely to yield any result other than to extend the crisis.”

Therefore, the imperialist-militarism and jingoism which flowed from the podium during the final night of the DNC represents the actual program of this purported “liberal wing” of the capitalist class. Nonetheless, there is no solution to be found in the endless wars of destabilization and conquest led by Washington and Wall Street.

The only solution lies in the formation of a mass party of the working class and oppressed which speaks directly for and in the interests of the people. What we can expect from the Democrats and the Republicans is much of the same propaganda and broken promises. The future resides with the efforts of the exploited and the oppressed when they are organized, mobilized and deployed in their own name.

  • Posted in Non classé
  • Commentaires fermés sur America’s Election 2016: War, Globalization and « Fake Democracy »

«Donnez-nous vos avions et nous vous donnerons nos bombes»

 Larbi Ben M’hidi

«Entre ici Jean Moulin avec ton terrible cortège.. et écoute aujourd’hui jeunesse de France ce qui fut pour nous le chant du malheur, c’est la marche funèbre des cendres que voici..(…)»

André Malraux Discours pour le transfert des cendres de Jean Moulin au Panthéon

« Gare au terrorisme à bas coût! » C’est par ces mots que Boualem Sansal qualifie le terrorisme islamique à qui il trouve une analogie avec la Révolution algérienne. Réduire une glorieuse révolution, fruit d’une condition sociale abominable imposée par la France, à un acte abject d’un pschychopathe qui a fauché la vie de dizaines de personnes à Nice le 14 juillet. Il écrit:

«Chaque terroriste a besoin d’inventer son mode opératoire à lui, qui sera sa signature et produira l’effet le plus important pour le coût le plus bas. Ce fut l’attentat à la bombe dans des cafés phares de la capitale, très courus par la bourgeoise algéroise (le Cafétéria, le Milk-Bar, L’Otomatic, le Coq Hardi), commis par de jeunes Algériennes se faisant passer pour des Européennes délurées».(…) On a envie de crier je suis la France », je suis Nice » pour dire sa peine et sa solidarité.»

Les mots de Sansal ne sont pas gratuits, ils sont là pour apitoyer et dire en creux sa proximité. Je n’ai toujours pas compris à quoi cela correspondait les Je suis… surtout quand on sait que derrière chaque attentat il y a une manipulation, bref une opération de false flag. Personne ne disait: «Je suis Alger quand l’Algérie saignait…»

Le paléo-algérien de coeur : L’éloge sincère de la révolution

Pourtant, il fut une époque où vous témoigniez du respect non feint pour le pays qui vous a vu naître. Dans un de vos ouvrages, lucide vous écriviez avec sincérité à propos de l’Algérie et de sa révolution. Vous sembliez fier de l’Algérie de cette époque, avant que l’intégrisme ne la rattrape Nous lisons : «(…) Socialiste, révolutionnaire, tiers-mondiste, matérialiste jusqu’au bout des ongles, que partout dans le monde progressiste on appelait avec admiration ‘la Mecque des révolutionnaires », qui recevait quotidiennement et avec quelle ferveur les héros de ce temps, les Cubains Che Guevara et Fidel Castro, affectueusement surnommés ‘los barbudos », le légendaire général Giap, le vainqueur de la déjà mythique bataille de Diên Biên Phu, Gamal Abdel Nasser, le champion du panarabisme triomphant, Mehdi Ben Barka, le Marocain panafricaniste activement engagé dans la révolution tricontinentale, Mandela, qui un jour abattrait l’apartheid et serait le premier président noir de l’Afrique du Sud, les Black Panthers, dont le célèbre Eldridge Cleaver, et les Black Muslims, et des personnages sulfureux et excitants comme Ilitch Ramírez Sánchez, dit «Carlos», ami inconditionnel de nos frères les Palestiniens de l’OLP (Organisation de libération de la Palestine) que l’Algérie soutenait avec une passion intensément anti-impérialiste, anticolonialiste et antisioniste ».

Allant plus loin dans votre plaidoyer pour effectivement nous convaincre de l’aura de l’Algérie, vous écriviez : « Il y avait tous ceux qui avaient courageusement soutenu les révolutionnaires algériens pendant la guerre d’Algérie, et parmi eux ceux qu’on appelait les «porteurs de valise», qui acheminaient en Suisse l’argent collecté en France par le FLN auprès des travailleurs émigrés. Tous ces gens venaient à Alger chercher refuge, solliciter des subsides, s’initier auprès du FLN à l’art de la lutte révolutionnaire, ou simplement respirer l’air romantique d’Alger la Blanche et faire la fête entre militants de la cause des peuples opprimés, les guerriers doivent aussi se reposer. (…) l’armée algérienne était dirigée par des hommes qui avaient fait une guerre révolutionnaire contre la France et ne manquaient ni de technique ni de détermination. C’était en janvier 1991. Le pays entrait dans une guerre civile qui allait durer une douzaine d’années. Le monde entier a suivi cette barbarie qui au fil des mois prenait des allures de génocide, mais jamais personne n’est intervenu, ni le Conseil de sécurité, ni un quelconque État.»

Les faux-fuyants de Boualem Sansal

Que s’est il passé pour qu‘il y ait ce virage à 180° ? Comment en êtes vous arriver à brûler des icones que vous respectiez à une certaine époque ? D’aucun diront que tout change, que c’est l’air du temps auqule il faut s’adapter, Qu’il n’y a que les imbéciles qui ne changent pas d’avis ! Que Paris et ses avantages valent bien ce bûcher .  Mais vous vous rendez compte que ce n’est pas un problème de liberté d’expression , cette liberté du renard formaté à l’occidental dans le poulailler des sans grades des faibles. Honnêtement pourriez vous  gloser de cette façon sur des « icône » ou supposés telles en France ? De plus le plus grand reproche que l’on pourrait vous faire , est que vous touchez à un équilibre subtil invisible mais là celui du vivre ensemble et d’une communion autour d’un certain nombre d’invariants admis par tout et qui constitue en dehors de l’histoire officiel un modus vivendi entre algérien s’agissant de la glorieuse Révolution  de novembre qui est non seulement fierté pour les Algériens mais pour tous les peuples épris de liberté, amenés à secouer les jougs de l’oppression et du  colonialisme. Vous vous souvenez certainement d’Amilcar Cabral Pour qui : «  les Musulmans se tournent vers la Mecque, les révolutionnaires se tournent vers Alger la Mecque des révolutionnaires »  Vous avez certainement entendu parler des dizaines de thèses sur la Révolution algérienne aux Etats

Je rapporte ci-après quelques indignations pour que vous mesuriez monsieur  Sansal l’étendue de votre faute que vous assumez sans regret, Nous vous demandons pourtant  ni remord ni ni repentir :

«Boualem Sansal est allé chercher un exemple dans la tactique de guérilla urbaine qu’était la bataille d’Alger pour suggérer au gouvernement français la méthode dure utilisée par les généraux tortionnaires contre les vaillants combattants pour la Libération nationale. Il reprend insidieusement une sémantique que même les militaires français ont fini par abandonner depuis fort longtemps: comparer les compagnons de Larbi Ben M’hidi aux faux dévots et autres ayatollahs de la mort est une démarche aussi hasardeuse que malheureuse. (…) Sollicité par El Watan pour s’exprimer après les critiques suscitées par sa tribune, Boualem Sansal ne répond pas sur le fond. Il adopte une attitude victimaire, criant à la persécution. Il en fait sa ligne de défense. (…) L’écrivain qui, souvent, dans ses interventions médiatiques, exprime du mépris pour l’Algérien, le maintenant dans l’«indigénat» intellectuel – comme en témoigne son interview accordée au Monde, en juin dernier.» (1)

Maâmar Farah  journaliste au long cours fondateur du Journal Le Soir d’Algérie,  avec des mots simples tente de convaincre Boualem Sansal qu’il ne faut pas toucher aux icônes, aux invariants:

«Notre fond commun, le point de départ et la source restaient la Révolution armée, toujours sacralisée. Nos héros étaient solidement assis sur de fermes convictions, que nous pensions inébranlables. Nous nous risquions même à travestir légèrement la réalité, à faire pousser un peu la démagogie, à montrer les nôtres sous le meilleur jour, parce que nous avions la certitude d’agir pour le bien de ce pays, pour que les générations montantes ne soient pas démoralisées (..) qu’il ne fallait donc pas les descendre de leur piédestal. Maâmar a eu raison de rappeler la loi Gayssot qui inflige une amende à tous ceux qui osent faire bouger un cil s’agissant de la shoah. «Nous sommes écrit-il, contre les censures et les anathèmes, mais nous devons fraternellement lui rappeler que, même là où il vit, la loi républicaine protège le martyr du peuple juif et toute l’histoire héroïque de la résistance contre le nazisme.» Et le comble de tout est que vous l’évoquez en citant la glorieuse ‘bataille d’Alger » qui fut un grand moment de la lutte héroïque de notre peuple et une référence mondiale dans l’art de la guérilla urbaine. Quand ils se sont retrouvés coincés dans les villes irakiennes, les Américains ont projeté la ‘bataille d’Alger » pour savoir comment agissent les cellules dormantes et celles qui ne dorment jamais! C’est cette grandeur, ce monumental exercice de la guerre d’indépendance, que vous avez tenté de rabaisser.» (2)

«Assimiler les couffins de Zohra Drif, Djamila Bouhired et Hassiba Ben Bouali, écrit Saïd Rabia du journal El Watan , aux terroristes de Nice est un raccourci, le moins que l’on puisse dire, indécent. Larbi Ben M’hidi, un des chefs emblématiques de la Révolution, avait opposé cette cinglante réplique, restée dans les annales, à ce genre de condamnation à un journaliste français qui lui avait posé une question sur le ‘terrorisme » pratiqué par le FLN lors de la bataille d’Alger: «Donnez-nous vos chars et vos avions, nous vous donnerons nos couffins.» Pour Boualem Sansal, la bataille d’Alger est donc une somme d’actes de terrorisme contre un gentil colonialisme. Qu’est-ce qui lui a pris pour oser un tel parallèle? Ce n’est assurément pas les outils intellectuels qui manquent à l’écrivain pour faire la différence entre le mouvement de Libération nationale et les terroristes de Daech. Sa contribution, qui prétend être une explication aux nouvelles méthodes du terrorisme de Daech, s’aventure aux limites du révisionnisme. Faire le parallèle entre les héros de la bataille d’Alger et les terroristes de Daech est une contrevérité que rien ne justifie.» (3)

Faut-il déchoir Monsieur Sansal de la nationalité algérienne?

Nous ne crierons pas avec les loups et faire de monsieur Sansal un persécuté, voire un martyr. De ce fait nous ne sommes pas d’accord sur la déchéance proposée dans un accès de colère compréhensible au vu du préjudice moral à toute une nation. Ainsi:

«Des juristes affirment qu’il n’est point exclu de voir l’écrivain Boualem Sansal, déchu de sa nationalité pour deux erreurs jugées très graves. La première étant de s’être rendu en Israël dans une démarche en faveur de la normalisation culturelle avec l’Etat sioniste et ainsi que la comparaison de l’attentat terroriste de Nice en France à la bataille d’Alger. Le juriste ajoute que cela pourrait être jugé comme grande trahison qui est passible d’une condamnation à perpétuité ou condamnation à mort ainsi que d’une déchéance de nationalité. Le président de la Commission des droits de l’homme plaide à ce que Sansal soit déchu de sa nationalité, estimant que les procédures juridiques seront faciles du fait que ce dernier détient une autre nationalité.» (4)

 La réalité : s’attirer les bonnes grâces des puissants

En fait les attaques ad patria  de monsieur  Sansal sont récurrentes . Ce n’est donc pas la première fois . Avec une rare lucidité, l’urbaniste Abderrahamane Zakad donne quelques leçons à tout ceux qui font dans l’Algérien bashing à longueur de journée  en fait qui démonétisent leur  pays pour une poignée d’euros et une visibilité en météore obligeant l’obligé à toujours en rajouter  , à toujours pédaler en tapant sur ce qui plait aux puissants du moment. Il écrit:

«(…) Boualem Sansal a écrit un texte sur l’International Herald Tribune, texte repris par Le Monde du 13 juillet 2013. (…) Tu devrais mieux te contenir à écrire des romans au lieu de te lancer dans des considérations politiques qui te dépassent, en plus invérifiables autant par toi que par nous. A moins que tu pointes aux officines ou chez Enrico Macias, un autre embobineur chez qui certains artistes algériens vont faire une «ziara» sous couvert de «malouf». Quel Algérien ne sait pas que nous avons des problèmes, que nos institutions boitent, que la justice n’est pas efficace ou sous les ordres et que le doute s’installe? Pourquoi ce tollé sur la corruption sans cesse rabâchée alors qu’il n’existe aucun tollé pour la combattre? Aide-nous, ya si Boualem Sansal, à régler nos problèmes au lieu de t’atteler à toujours nous insulter de Paris. (…) C’est le rôle d’un homme de culture d’aider les autres au lieu de leur taper dessus à coups d’hypothèses. Quel Algérien également ne sait pas que notre pays est en danger avec ce qui se passe à nos frontières et elles sont immenses? (…) C’est de cela qu’il convient de parler, toi qui veut monter sur la scène. (…) Voilà de quoi il faudrait parler. Mais ayant trop tété à la mamelle de la littérature coloniale, ton esprit est embué par les métastases de la colonisation dont parle Frantz Fanon Si tu veux parler ou écrire viens ici, petit! Viens vivre avec nous où tu peux dire ce que tu veux, sinon, boucle-la!» (5)

Enfin, pour Khidr Ali cette provocation du point de vue des Algériens, n’est pas gratuite il y a un message de son auteur, à passer:

«Boualem Sansal écrit-il est un écrivain algérien qui aime cultiver le sens de l’iconoclastie, de la provocation, pour exister. (…) A son retour d’Israël, il avait commis un papier dans lequel il décrivait le «bonheur» des Palestiniens vivant en Israël, un pays qu’il présente comme un exemple de démocratie et de vivre ensemble A le suivre dans son faux parallélisme, les Hassiba Ben Bouali, Djamila Bouhired, Djamila Boupacha, Ourida Meddad, Djouher Akrour, qui déposaient les bombes dans les quartiers européens, dans le cadre de la quête de l’indépendance du pays, ne seraient pas moins coupables que le désaxé-criminel de Nice. Quel outrage pour la mémoire des héros éternels de la bataille d’Alger? Du révisionnisme? (…) Le terroriste tunisien, pris de fanatisme démentiel a écrasé sous les roues d’un camion des dizaines de personnes. Boualem Sansal a fait pire en l’occurrence, il a souillé la mémoire de la Révolution algérienne et la noblesse de sa cause.» (6)

Pas de procès en sorcellerie

Nous devons pas faire de procès en sorcellerie mais nous devons réagir car la liberté invoquée par monsieur Sansal s’apparente comme je l’ai écrit plus haut à la liberté  du renard dans le poulailler. Nous ne ferons pas comme en France de texte  qui interdisent sous peine d’amende de prison et naturellement de mort médiatique de toucher à des tabous. Un vrai intellectuel libre de ses idées doit les développer à l’encontre de tout ce qui lui parait  indigne et inconvenant en tout cas qui fait problème avec la dignité humaine.

Pourquoi monsieur  Sansal le choix de l’Algérie comme exemple pour le terrorisme?  Je comprend votre empathie envers ce crime atroce, qui ne ferez pas devant des dizaines de vies fauchées ?  Le faites vous pour toutes les victimes de la barbarie ? Les 300 morts de l’Aid el Adha une semaine plus tôt en Irak vous ont-ils scandalisés de la même façon ?

Vous auriez pu aussi dans le même mouvement d’honnêteté intellectuelle prendre comme exemple le terrorisme légitime de la résistance française. Pourquoi ne pas dire que  le résistant Jean Moulin, dirigeant des Forces françaises libres, un révolutionnaire qui usa de tous les moyens dont il disposait pour contrer la puissance allemande, était un terroriste?  A ces messieurs qui vous pressent de donner un avis conforme  à ce qui est attendu de vous, Doit-on leur rappeler d’où vient le mot terreur et comment Victor Hugo a décrit cette période tragique dans son fameux roman 93? Doit-on leur rappeler les mots de la Marseillaise de Rouget de l’Isle  «Aux armes citoyens Formez vos bataillons Marchons, marchons Qu’un sang impur Abreuve nos sillons»?

Monsieur Sansal ceux qui vous ont demandé un avis sur la tuerie de Nice,  connaissent ou devraient connaitre le Chant des partisans de Joseph Kessel que  mêmes en tant qu’algériens , nous identifiant aux maquisards de la Résistance , nous ânonnions tout loupiots au lycée «Ami, entends-tu les cris sourds du pays qu’on enchaîne? Ce soir, l’ennemi connaîtra le prix du sang et des larmes. Ohé! Les tueurs à la balle et au couteau, tirez vite! Ohé! Saboteur, attention à ton fardeau: dynamite!» N’utilisaient-ils pas les mêmes méthodes?

L’attentat abject de la rue de Thèbes à Alger  fait par des terroristes européens et qui ensanglanta la Casbah,  n’était ce  pas du terrorisme! Le plasticage de la maison où étaient cachés Ali la Pointe, Petit Omar et Hassiba Ben Bouali n’était-ce pas du terrorisme? Comment peut-on qualifier l’assassinat de Ben M’hidi,  ou la guillotine de dizaines d’Algériens, n’était-ce pas du terrorisme d’Etat ?

En cautionnant la colonisation israélienne en Palestine, en visitant l’Etat hébreu pour une vulgaire rencontre littéraire quelque part on ne peut être que complice de la politique inhumaine et d’apartheid  à l’encontre des Palestiniens. Leur Si vous étiez parti  en Israël pour porter la bonne parole pour la juste cause comme ce fut le cas  des combats des écrivains israéliens Gédéon Levy, Uri Avnéri et tant d’autres Israéliens qui font de la défense de la dignité humaine à propos du calvaire palestinien, nous aurions applaudi.

Souvenez-vous, monsieur Sansal de ce postulat en mathématiques cher au professeur Aoudjehane : «Pour qu’un produit de facteur soit nul, il faut et il suffit qu’un facteur soit nul», en l’occurrence vous avez annulé en une fois tous les facteurs positifs, et pourquoi ne pas le dire, quelque fierté qu’un Algérien maîtrise la langue de Vauvenargues. Quelle mouche vous as prise de problématiser les rares fondations Arkaïz pour reprendre le bon mot de Lacheraf auxquels les Algériens s’accrochent comme à une bouée, devant cette anomie identitaire.  les pouvoirs n’ont jamais voulu mettre en œuvre un récit national fait certaines fois de mythes, pour éviter aux jeunes cette apesanteur identitaire.

Monsieur Sansal, en traitant Larbi Ben M’hidi – à qui même son tortionnaire le général Bigeard a tenu à présenter les honneurs- de terroriste banal comme le psychopathe de Nice qui n’a rien à voir avec l’islam, vous avez tort.

Je vous reproche peut-être à votre corps défendant d’avoir problématisé le récit historique du pays qui vous a vu naître. S’il vous plaît monsieur Sansal laissez-nous avec nos rêves, notre fond rocheux identitaire avec la glorieuse révolution de Novembre. Je suis sûr que si vous en faites un motif de fierté, vous allez avoir la reconnaissance des Algériens et le vrai respect de ceux qui ont combattu les Algériens. Par votre comparaison maladroite, c’est une seconde mort pour nos icônes, mais rassurez-vous, ils sont immortels: Dans mille ans on racontera encore leur épopée dans les chaumières. Ils auront quitté le récit historique pour le mythe.

Chems Eddine Chitour

1.http://www.algerie.xyz/2016/07/les-faux-fuyants-de-boualem-sansal.html

2.http://www.lesoirdalgerie.com/articles/ 2016/07/28/ article.php?sid=199785&cid=8

3.Dérapage de Boualem Sansal Said Rabia, El Watan, El Watan 21.07.16

4.http://rmbuzz.com/2016/07/des-juristes-favorables-a-retirer-la-nationalite-algerienne-a-sansal/

5.Abderrahamane Zakad, http://www.algeriepatriotique.com/article/viens-vivre-avec-nous-sinon-ferme-la#comment-23074

6.http://www.algerie1.com/actualite/monsieur-boualem-sensal-vous-etes-fou-a-lier/

 

 

Article de référence http://www.lexpressiondz.com/chroniques/analyses_du_professeur_ chitour /246821-un-heros-peut-il-mourir.html

 

  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur Larbi Ben M’hidi et les autres. La deuxième mort d’un Immortel.

Palestine: La solution est la paix

août 2nd, 2016 by Ziad Medoukh

Dans un monde en effervescence : guerres, violence, attentats, haine, crimes, attaques terroristes, agressions, bombardements, interventions militaires, pauvreté, précarité, chômage, chocs sociaux et économiques, menaces nucléaires, traumatisme collectif, et horreur absolue qui fauche des vies infiniment précieuses et répand la souffrance et la peur.

Avec la domination de l’intolérance et le rejet de l’autre, nous vivons une crise morale, qui commence à avoir des conséquences dramatiques sur des pays et des nations. Tant de manipulation et d’instrumentalisation par des médias et des politiques qui cherchent à récupérer avec «opportunisme » les monstruosités, la douleur, l’horreur, pour soigner leur côte de popularité, pour ouvrir des brèches criminelles entre les peuples, pour avoir plus d’intérêts économiques.

Le résultat est certes le même, horrible, l’horreur  ne tombe pas du ciel. Elle naît de fractures, de fêlures, de rejets, de discriminations, d’intolérances ; de violences sociales, guerrières, de frustrations , d’injustice et d’humiliations.

Si nous ne sommes pas vigilants, les politiques et les médias arriveront à nous faire détester les opprimés et aimer ceux qui les oppriment.

Loin des manipulations politique et médiatique, d’une malhonnêteté flagrante, nous devons sortir du cercle vicieux de la guerre et de la terreur.

Cette situation nous rappelle combien la vie est sacrée et que face à la barbarie, nos meilleures armes sont la force de l’esprit là où sévit l’obscurantisme, la puissance de l’amour là où hurle la haine, les instruments de la paix là où tuent les armes de guerre.

Plus que jamais, œuvrer à un vivre ensemble pacifique s’impose, nous avons besoin des paroles solidaires et réconfortantes, des actions contre l’amplification du climat de racisme et contre des idéologies dominantes qui commencent à gagner la majorité des esprits.

L’espérance naîtra de notre capacité à nous rencontrer avec nos multiples appartenances, pour nous reconnaître d’une même humanité. Elle se renforcera par notre volonté de nous unir autour d’un même combat pour la dignité. Tout le monde devrait  nous montrer des voies pour bâtir la paix, et s’engager sans relâche pour conjurer la vengeance et la peur, en semant la paix dans le cœur des enfants et des jeunes.

La solution n’est ni sécuritaire ni militaire, elle est avant tout sociale et scolaire, la solution est la paix, nous devrons remplacer la culture de la guerre par la culture de la paix.

La paix est une demande populaire partout dans le monde, le problème est que la paix est devenue un slogan pour beaucoup de pays, d’institutions, d’organisations et de personnes, qui jour et nuit déclarent avoir travaillé et œuvré pour réaliser cette paix dans leur entourage, dans leurs pays, dans leurs régions et dans le monde, mais sur le terrain, ils ne font rien pour la réaliser, au contraire, ils incitent à la haine et l’intolérance dans leurs actions et dans leurs mesures.

Les raisons sont simples : les intérêts économiques de ces pays, l’absence d’une éducation à la paix dans les écoles et dans les universités, et surtout l’absence d’une vraie volonté pour réaliser cette paix. Sans oublier que le monde entier vit une crise morale, avec des valeurs humaines qui tombent en faveur des intérêts personnels.

Nous vivons dans la violence, les guerres, la peur, l’inquiétude et la méfiance entre personnes et entre pays.

J’accuse comme premiers responsables à cette situation d’insécurité dans le monde les fabriquant d’armes, qui au travers de leurs relations économiques avec les hommes politiques et les décideurs, essayent de garder cette situation d’insécurité dans le monde afin d’augmenter leurs profits et leurs bénéfices, même sur le dos de milliers de victimes.

Il y a ici une raison principale de cette situation c’est l’injustice, quand un pays riche, au lieu d’aider les pays pauvres à sortir de leur crise économique et de leur envoyer des aides alimentaires, leur envoie des missiles et des militaires pour occuper  et déstabiliser ce pays.

De même, il y a des conflits qui durent depuis plus d’un demi-siècle comme le conflit israélo-palestinien, et aucun pays, ni aucune organisation n’arrive à trouver une résolution de ce conflit, pourtant simple : la fin de l’occupation et la fin de la colonisation des territoires palestiniens, et l’instauration d’une paix juste et durable.

Mais on voit des pays qui encouragent Israël dans sa politique agressive à l’encontre des Palestiniens par l’envoie d’armes à cet état d’apartheid, et le défendent dans les instances internationales.

On doit accepter l’autre et essayer de vivre avec lui, loin des différences ethniques et religieuses, on doit augmenter le nombre de rencontres interculturelles et internationales partout dans le monde, chacun doit connaître la culture de l’autre, on doit enseigner à nos enfants à vivre ensemble, le rôle de l’école devrait changer, l’école ce n’est pas seulement un espace scientifique et d’apprentissage, mais c’est un lieu de rencontre, c’est inculquer les principes et les valeurs humaines dès l’enfance, afin de participer à créer une génération tolérante, une génération qui s’ouvre sur la justice, sur la paix et sur la stabilité dans le monde. Une génération qui soit capable de lutter pour instaurer la paix, et qui se mobilise pour ces valeurs humaines et humanistes.

La question ce n’est pas de créer et d’engager une nouvelle éthique, mais de revenir à nos valeurs humaines de tolérance, de justice, d’accepter l’autre, de vivre ensemble, de mettre la paix comme un objectif à réaliser, et pas seulement comme un slogan ou comme un discours. Il y a ici une responsabilité de ces associations et organisations nationales et internationales qui œuvrent pour la paix, qui devraient renforcer leurs actions et toucher un public plus large, notamment dans les lieux de conflit afin d’arrêter la violence et augmenter la chance pour arriver à des solutions pacifiques. A mon avis, il y a un manque de conscience chez les gens, il manque un travail de fond. Ce qu’ont encouragé la violence et les guerres partout dans le monde.

Cette violence favorise l’injustice et la haine, ce qui rend la solution pacifique très difficile, et ainsi la violence engendre la violence, et c’est la paix qui sera perdante.

Quand , le monde prendra-t-il conscience que la violence est en train de saper les fondements de l’humanité et des civilisations ?

Tout le monde doit assumer ses responsabilités afin d’éviter d’aggraver notre crise morale et cette tendance vers l’intolérance.

Pour sortir de cette crise morale, on devrait commencer un travail de fond avec la nouvelle génération, on devrait proposer aux  enfants et aux  jeunes une culture à la paix, une éducation à la tolérance, un enseignement des valeurs humaines. Il y a un rôle très important à jouer par les médias, qui devraient augmenter leurs programmes et leurs chaînes pour sensibiliser les gens au danger de la violence et des conflits et essayer de rapprocher les peuples et participer à instaurer une culture de paix et de tolérance. Par exemple, les chaînes de TV et les journaux, au lieu de mettre à la Une de leurs pages et de leurs écrans, une image ou des nouvelles d’une guerre, attentat, ou bombardement, pourraient mettre une action de paix ou une rencontre sur la tolérance dans le pays ou la région de cette guerre ou attentat.

Je vous donne un exemple concret : on a créé à notre université de Gaza un Centre de la paix pour enseigner les principes de la démocratie, des droits de l’homme, de tolérance et de paix aux jeunes étudiants, ce Centre organise des ateliers, des rencontres et des formations sur ces principes ; quand on invite des journalistes à visiter notre Centre afin de couvrir nos activités, ils ne viennent pas, mais quand il y a un bombardement israélien sur Gaza ou des affrontements , les journalistes arrivent nombreux. Ces journalistes au lieu de m’interroger sur les actions de notre Centre, demandent des réponses sur les attaques et les offensives israéliennes contre la bande de Gaza. Et ça se répète en Iraq, en Syrie, au Yémen où les médias s’intéressent aux clashs et aux attentats violents, au lieu de parler des actions faites pour la tolérance et pour la paix dans ces pays, qui sont nombreuses, mais pas connues à cause de la non-couverture médiatique.

Toujours en Palestine, et malgré l’occupation et la colonisation, et malgré leur souffrance au quotidien depuis plus de 70 ans, il y a plus de 300 organisations, associations, centres, magasins, médias, facultés et écoles, qui portent le nom de la Paix dans les territoires palestiniens.

En conclusion, nous devrons tous travailler ensemble et nous mobiliser afin d’essayer de sauver ce monde de sa crise morale et de favoriser le dialogue entre les pays et les gens pour arriver à une vraie paix durable, une paix qui passe avant tout par la justice.

Il est vrai que construire la paix nécessite discrétion, humilité, persévérance et tolérance, des qualités rares dans notre monde actuel, mais nous devons croire en l’humanité, car l’humanité est plus forte que les prisonniers de la haine ! Et que l’humanité est pacifique avant tout !

Ziad Medoukh

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It is important that those committed to peace and social justice take cognizance of this historic civil law suit directed against a former president of the United States including senior officials of his administration.

 An Iraqi mother against alleged war criminal George W. Bush, et al.

This is a civil suit. It seeks compensation. While it  does not contemplate a criminal indictment, it nonetheless constitutes a far-reaching legal initiative by Californian human rights lawyer Inder Comar (image right). 

The political ramifications are far-reaching.  

Forget the ICC and the Hague tribunals, which serve the interests of US-NATO. Within the US legal system, e.g in California, the State of New York, Nevada, etc. a civil complaint against GWB et al, Barack Obama and/or a war criminal of your choice (e.g. Hillary Clinton) can be launched at the State and District level. 

We call upon Global Research readers to spread the word.

We are also launching a donation drive in support of the Saleh vs. Bush legal suit.  To donate

click here and tag a one time donation to « legal action against Bush » 

Global Research will transfer your donation to cover the legal expenses of Sundus Shaker Saleh

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research Editor, August 2, 2016

*      *     *

In papers filed Monday, August 1, 2016, the Department of Justice opposed the submission of the Chilcot Report to the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit in an ongoing litigation related to the legality of the Iraq War.

The case, Saleh v. Bush, involves claims by an Iraqi single mother and refugee that six high ranking members of the Bush Administration — George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Wolfowitz — waged a war of aggression against Iraq in 2003, and that they should be personally responsible for the consequences of the unlawful invasion.

 

 

Defendants Bush and Rumsfeld shake hands

The plaintiff, Sundus Shaker Saleh, alleges that high ranking Bush-Administration officials intentionally misled the American people by making untrue claims that Iraq was in league with Al Qaida and that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. She also alleges that certain of the Defendants, and in particular, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, publically supported an invasion as early as 1998 and used 9/11 as an excuse to push for an invasion of Iraq, regardless of the consequences.

Ms. Saleh is relying on the judgments made by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal convened in 1946, which found German leaders liable for unlawful wars of aggression against neighboring countries. The Nuremberg judgment held that committing a war of aggression was the “supreme international crime.”

The conclusions of the Chilcot Report were submitted to the Ninth Circuit as further evidence of wrongdoing by the six defendants in the case. Ms. Saleh also provided copies of notes and letters from former Prime Minister Tony Blair to George W. Bush included in the Chilcot Report, in which Mr. Blair appeared to commit to the invasion with Mr. Bush as early as October 2001.

In December 2014, the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the Defendants were immune from further proceedings under the federal Westfall Act(codified in part at 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671, 2674, 2679).

The Westfall Act provides immunity to former government employees from civil lawsuits if a Court determines that the employees were acting with the lawful scope of their employment.

Ms. Saleh is urging the Ninth Circuit to overturn the finding of immunity made by the District Court and to permit her lawsuit to proceed before the District Court.

Inder Comar Esq is a distinguished human rights lawyer based in San Fransisco, Cal. He is Global Research’s Law and Justice Correspondent

*       *      *

We call upon Global Research readers to spread the word. We are also launching a donation drive in support of the Saleh vs. Bush legal suit.

To donate

click here and tag a one time donation to « legal action against Bush » 

(Insert Note on paypal orders. If through credit card, send us an email to confirm that the donation is for « legal action against Bush »).

Global Research will transfer your donation to cover the legal expenses of Sundus Shaker Saleh. 

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With the Rio Summer Olympics starting on August 5, there is huge controversy about Russian participation.  On the basis of a report by Canadian lawyer Richard Mclaren (the “Mclaren Report”), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended the banning of all Russian athletes from the Rio Games. Before his report was even issued, Mclaren influenced the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) in their decision to ban all Russian athletes from track and field events, including those who never failed any doping tests, in Russia or elsewhere.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been under media pressure to ban all Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics.  The NY Times has carried many reports and editorials.  The Daily Mail in London went so far as to publish a front page story falsely claiming the “entire Russian team banned from Olympics” two days before the IOC decision to the contrary.

Ultimately the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided against banning all Russian athletes across all Olympic sports. They decided that that each sporting federation should decide the issue on their own. At the same time the IOC imposed special conditions on Russian athletes which prevent them from competing if they have ever tested positive, even if their suspension has already been served, unlike the rules for other Olympic competitors. In the wake of this decision, there have been aggressive attacks on the IOC and its president,for “failing” to impose collective punishment on the entire Russian team.

How Did we Get Here?

The sequence of significant events is as follows:

In February 2014, the Winter Olympics were held in Sochi Russia.  The same month, 900 miles to the northwest, a bloody coup unfolded in Kiev Ukraine . This led to Crimea seceding and re-uniting with Russia which led to Western sanctions and rising international tension.

In December 2014 , German TV network “ARD” showed a documentary “How Russia Makes its Winners” by Hajo Seppelt. The documentary includes interviews with Vitaliy and Yuliya Stepanov.

In January 2015, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) established an“Independent Commission” to look into the ARD documentary allegations.

In November 2015, the WADA Independent Commission released a 300+ page report claiming widespread use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in Russian athletics. The report recommended the prohibition of numerous athletes, coaches and trainers plus de-certification of Moscow Laboratory and firing of its director, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov.

In December 2015, Russian authorities suspended or fired numerous officials and asked to see the evidence which WADA’s accusations and assertions were based on. Dr. Rodchenkov emigrated to USA.

In early May 2016,  the American TV program “Sixty Minutes” broadcast a story about Russian doping primarily based on testimony from Vitaliy and Yuliya Stepanov, now living in the USA.  The NY Times published articles about Russian doping test manipulations based on Dr. Rodchenkov.

On19 May 2016, WADA appointed Richard Mclaren to investigate the media allegations.

On 16 July 2016, just three weeks before the start of the Rio Olympics, WADA published the Mclaren report.

Problems with the Mclaren Report

The Mclaren Report has strongly influenced media reports, public opinion and official decisions regarding Russian participation in the Olympics. Following are significant problems with the investigation and report :

* The report relies primarily on the testimony of the chief culprit, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov.   The Independent Commission found Rodchenkov to be “at the heart of the positive drug test cover-up”.

While it’s possible that Rodchenkov’s is truthful, it’s also possible he is lying or misleading to redirect responsibility away from himself.

* The report asserts that Rodchenkov is credible and truthful with little demonstrated proof.  The November 2015 Independent Commission report concluded that Dr. Rodchenkov was not credible. The fact that Rodchenkov was aware of techniques for manipulating test results is not evidence of State control; he was the main culprit. The former director of Moscow Laboratory has admitted his involvement in urine sample swapping, design of a steroid cocktail not easily traced, and more. He was instrumental in helping some athletes cheat the system. He is the person with most motivation to implicate others, especially higher up. The fact that Rodchenkov was involved in extorting athletes for money suggests opportunism not integrity.

* The investigation did not consider the factual corrections or counter-arguments of Russian authorities.  Mclaren says “The IP did not seek to interview persons living in the Russian Federation …. I did not seek to meet with Russian government officials and did not think it necessary….”  Since the Russian Ministry of Sport and other agencies are accused of serious violations in this report, this is a strange absence and strong evidence of bias. It is a basic standard of fairness to hear both sides of a controversy before reaching a conclusion.

* The investigation excluded a written rebuttal supplied by one of the accused Russian individuals.  Mclaren says, “I also received, unsolicited, an extensive narrative with attachments from one important government representative described in this report. In the short span of 57 days that I was given to conduct this IP investigation it was simply not practical and I deemed such interviewing would not be helpful.” (P21)  Since one of the main purposes of the investigation was to determine the truthfulness of Rodchenkov’s accusations, this decision to not consider the ‘unsolicited’ information is shocking. It should have been mandatory to evaluate the arguments and information coming from Russian authorities.

* As reported by Sports Integrity Initiative, there are numerous inconsistencies in the Mclaren Report (also called the IP report). For example “The IP report appears to contain two different versions – both from Rodchenkov – about how ‘protected’ Russian athlete samples were able to be identified at the laboratory.” Also, “The IP Report and IO Report contain conflicting accounts of how samples taken at the Sochi 2014 Olympics were consolidated for shipment to the laboratory.” These unexplained contradictions, not noted by Mclaren, reflect adversely on Rodchenkov’s credibility and the investigation.

* Curiously, the primary “whistle-blowers”, Vitaliy and Yuliya Stepanov, are not interviewed for the report. They appear prominently in the ARD videos and the ‘Sixty Minutes’ report. In those appearances there are more contradictions. In the “Sixty Minutes” report, Vitaliy is described as a “low level” doping control officer. In the ARD movie (“How Russia Makes its Winners”) Vitaliy is described as an adviser to the Director General who worked personally with Minister of Sports and was a trainer of doping control officers. In both documentaries Vitaliy comes across very sympathetically and is only concerned with “clean sport”. However at 5:45 of the first Seppelt video we learn that Vitaliy was procuring the drugs and helping his wife Yuliya cheat.  In fact, Vitaliy and Yuliya Stepanov only joined the anti-doping crusade after Yuliya was caught doping (by Russian controls).

* The investigation was neither thorough nor comprehensive.  The Mclaren investigation had a mandate to carry out a “thorough and comprehensive investigation” to corroborate or refute the public allegations of Dr. Rodchenkov.  Prof. Mclaren acknowledges that “The compressed time frame in which to compile this Report has left much of the possible evidence unreviewed. This report has skimmed the surface of the data.”  By relying primarily on testimony and evidence provided by Rodchenkov, and excluding testimony and data from Russian Ministry of Sports officials, it is clear the investigation was neither thorough nor comprehensive.

* Prof. Mclaren was biased.  Long before his investigation was complete, Mclaren was using his position to confidentially influence the IAAF to ban the entire Russian track and field team from the Rio Olympics. He also influenced Canadian and American athletes to launch a campaign to ban the entire Russian team. This action was denounced by the President of the European Olympic Committees who said« Firstly, the McLaren report is meant to be a totally independent report that must remain totally confidential until its publication on Monday, 18 July 2016 at 09:00 in Canada.  It is clear from the e-mail and letter that both the independence and the confidentiality of the report have been compromised.  My concern is that there seems to have been an attempt to agree an outcome before any evidence has been presented. Such interference and calls ahead of the McLaren Report publication are totally against internationally recognized fair legal process and may have completely undermined the integrity and therefore the credibility of this important report.”

* The Mclaren Report fails to identify specific cheaters and instead casts suspicion on all Russian athletes.  The investigation had a specific mandate to “Identify any athlete that might have benefited from those alleged manipulations to conceal positive doping tests.” (P3) Instead of doing that,  Mclaren vaguely talks about “many” or “dozens” of cheaters.  The Mclaren report says “The IP investigative team has developed evidence identifying dozens of Russian athletes who appear to have been involved in doping. The compressed time-line of the IP investigation did not permit compilation of data to establish an anti-doping rule violation.”  The report effectively smears the reputation of innocent and clean Russian athletes.

* The Mclaren report ignores WADA statistical data regarding test violations.  Data from WADA shows that while Russians had the most overall test violations, numerous countries including Belgium,France, and Turkey have higher percentage of test violations given the number of athletes and tests. This is factual not anecdotal information that should have been referenced in an objective report.

Conclusions

The Mclaren report and WADA decisions have been excessively influenced by sensational and exaggerated media reports.  Vitaliy and Yuliya Stepanov have been the explosive witnesses whose testimony is portrayed uncritically in the ARD and “Sixty Minutes” videos. As mentioned earlier, the Stepanovs were both involved in doping before becoming whistle-blowers. Yuliya Stepanova says “All athletes in Russia are doping. You cannot achieve the results you’re getting, at least in Russia, without doping. You must dope. ” This is exaggerated and false. It denies the existence of clean Russian athletes, the intense training and honest hard work of many Russian athletes and coaches. It has fallen on people like world record holder Yelena Yisinbaeva to challenge the false assertions and question why she is being punished.

Doping is a long standing problem in many countries. Some of the most spectacular examples include Ben Johnson (Canada, 19998), Marion Jones (USA, 2000), and Tyson Gaye (USA, 2013). WADA statistics confirm that doping is a global problem. In 2011 a scientific study estimated that 29 – 45% of all track and field athletes internationally were doping. Sebastian Coe, current President of IAAF, tried to suppress news of the study.

Yes, doping is a problem in Russia, as in many countries.  Russian authorities acknowledge this and have taken significant efforts to clamp down and stop the doping.  If there are still some cheaters and violators that does not negate the overall positive trend. There is significant evidence that the assertion that doping in Russia is “state sponsored” is substantially false, no matter how many times it’s repeated.

Following WADA’s Independent Commission report in late 2015,  Russian athletes have been tested through international certified laboratories. The frequency of testing has increased in an effort to demonstrate compliance with anti-doping rules and regulations. If there was still concern that Russian athletes were somehow cheating, the testing regime at the Rio Olympics could be escalated. Instead, WADA and the Mclaren Report recommended banning all Russian athletes from the Olympics.

This looks like a politically motivated action. There is the politics of the IAAF where there have been accusations of leadership corruption. There is the politics of WADA and the concern with their own “image”. And looming overall, there is the politics of international contention and propaganda. Barely a day passes without an‘anti Russia’ story in the media.

One of the founding goals of the Olympic movement is to promote peaceful society instead of conflict.  WADA has an important task that deserves support but not if it becomes a politically biased crusade.  As shown above, the Mclaren Report has major deficiencies. The targeting of Russia and indiscriminate punishment of their athletes is a betrayal of the Olympic spirit.

Rick Sterling is a retired aerospace engineer who now writes about international issues.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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Five Russian servicemen were killed Monday when US-backed Islamist opposition militias shot down a helicopter in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province. The downing of the helicopter took place as fighting raged in Aleppo between US-backed opposition militias and Russian and Syrian government forces.

The helicopter was shot down near Saraqeb, halfway between Aleppo and Khmeimim air base, where many Russian aircraft operating in Syria are housed. It was the single biggest Russian loss of life in Syria since Moscow launched a military intervention to back the Syrian regime in September of last year.

Russian Defense Ministry official Sergey Rudskoi said,

“Today there has been a terrorist attack that resulted in the loss of a Russian military transport helicopter Mi-8, which was returning to base after completing a humanitarian mission to deliver food and medical supplies to Aleppo residents. It carried a crew of three and two officers from the Russian center for the reconciliation of warring factions in Syria. The helicopter was gunned down over territory controlled by the al-Nusra Front terrorist group and related groups of the so-called ‘moderate opposition.’”

The French daily Le Monde confirmed that “the wreck’s identification number indeed corresponds to that of a helicopter that is armed but used for research and medical evacuation purposes.” The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the helicopter had indeed delivered humanitarian aid to Shia villages near Aleppo surrounded by Sunni Islamist opposition forces.

While it remains unclear how the helicopter was shot down, there is a very real danger that this event could escalate into an all-out diplomatic or even military confrontation between Russia and the United States. There are multiple reports that the embattled Islamist forces in the area, which are linked to Al Qaeda, might have shot down the Russian helicopter with a missile provided by the US government.

“I’ve heard some local sources where the helicopter was downed speaking of the possibility of MANPADs—shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles—being used in that context,” freelance journalist Alaa Ibrahim told Russian state-owned Russia Today .

The Reuters news agency wrote that there was a “prospect—which could cause a major diplomatic incident—of the helicopter having been brought down by a US-supplied weapon.” It continued: “The United States has equipped some rebel groups with TOW anti-tank missiles, which can also be used against helicopters.”

It is quite possible that Washington provided such weapons to the Islamist opposition for use against Russian and Syrian government forces. The US is growing increasingly desperate as the situation facing its Islamist proxies, whom it has supported for five years in a bloody war for regime-change against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, grows darker by the day.

The military situation appears to be turning decisively against the Islamist opposition militias. The noose around east Aleppo has been tightening ever since July 7, when Syrian regime forces cut the Castello road going north from Aleppo to Turkey.

Decimated by Russian air power, the anti-Assad forces were stunned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement earlier this month that he would seek better relations with the Syrian regime. They now fear that Turkey may permanently cut off their supply lines.

The opposition faces being crushed across the entire north of Syria and is mounting a desperate last-ditch offensive to try to break the encirclement of its forces in Aleppo.

US-backed forces are attacking Aleppo from the southwest of the city, trying to rescue opposition forces who find themselves encircled by Syrian government forces in the east of Aleppo. That city, which has been devastated by four years of fighting and looting by Islamist militias, is now being plunged into some of the most violent fighting it has seen.

The Islamist counterattack is being mounted by two militias, the al-Nusra Front, until last week Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, which has renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Front for the Conquest of Syria), and Ahrar al-Sham. The areas of Aleppo held by the US-backed forces have long been critical to the Islamist opposition, giving it a foothold in what was once Syria’s economic capital, near key supply bases in Turkey from which the NATO powers have supported it.

Russian sources said 42 civilians had been killed and 98 wounded as opposition militias shelled areas of Aleppo held by Syrian government forces.

They claimed that the opposition forces had suffered a major defeat after they launched an offensive with four suicide attacks by al-Nusra fighters in armored vehicles rigged with explosives. Syrian regime forces counterattacked, with air support from Russian strategic bombers. Rudskoi stated, “More than 800 militants were killed during the fighting; 14 tanks, 10 infantry fighting vehicles, more than 60 vehicles with mounted guns were destroyed.”

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Aleppo. Areas of the city controlled by the opposition are home to an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people. There are mounting reports of shortages of food and other basic supplies. Russian officials claim they have gathered 14 tons of humanitarian supplies, of which 2.5 tons have been delivered by helicopter or other means of transport, and they are appealing to residents to leave via “humanitarian corridors” set up around the city.

Virtually the entire population remains trapped in horrific conditions, however. Russian military sources themselves claim that only 169 people managed to flee through the “humanitarian corridors” this weekend. They also reported that opposition militias had executed four people whom they caught trying to flee through the corridors.

US, European and United Nations sources are charging Russian and Syrian government forces with carrying out war crimes in Aleppo. UNICEF claimed that four hospitals and a blood bank had been hit by air strikes, and US Secretary of State John Kerry attacked the Russian “humanitarian corridor” strategy for potentially being a “ruse.”

However, the attempts of Washington and its NATO allies to posture as humanitarians, shocked by the violence of the forces led by Moscow and Damascus, are shot through with hypocrisy. It was they who launched the proxy war that has now cost an estimated 400,000 lives. Airstrikes by US war planes in northern Syria have killed more than 200 civilians in just the last two weeks.

Washington and its allies have worked closely and openly with “rebel” forces such as al-Nusra that are linked to the Al Qaeda terrorist group that carried out the September 11 attacks in the US. They continue to shield them as part of their drive to topple Assad and deprive Russia of a key ally.

Whatever embarrassment al-Nusra’s ties to Al Qaeda may cause in Washington, powerful sections of the US ruling elite are signaling that they will continue backing the opposition. There is a grave danger that, in order to rescue its Islamist proxies from defeat, the US government will launch a broader intervention in Syria and the Middle East that could provoke an all-out military collision with Russia.

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Growing problems in Europe banks, especially Italy, with $2 trillion and $400 billion in non-performing loans, respectively, is about to worsen as Brexit effects slowly take hold. Europe’s recent phony bank ‘stress tests’, underestimate the problem, but still show not only Italian banks, but UK (Barclays, RBS), France (SocGen), Ireland (Allied Irish), and even German (Deutsche, Commerz) all in increasing trouble.
Stress tests are designed not to show the full problem (Portugal, Greek and Cyprus banks are excluded, as just one example) so the problem is even worse than reported.

Listen to my radio show, Alternative Visions, of July 29 and discussion of the Euro banking crisis emerging. The show also includes my preview of the US recession coming in 2017 and comments assessing the Trump and Clinton convention speeches. (Trump’s focus on lack of wage and income growth hits voters’ concerns more than Hillary-Obama’s claim of 12 million mostly low paid, part-time, temp jobs created since 2010).

TO listen to the show go to:

http://www.alternativevisions.podbean.com

Jack Rasmus looks at the growing crisis in Italy’s banking system, with its $400 billion in non-performing loans, and the Eurozone’s policy of driving interest rates into negative territory despite more than $2 trillion in Euro-wide NPLs. How global central bank monetary policies of more and more QE, negative interest rates, and now talk of ‘helicopter money’ to follow are wrecking the global capitalist financial system.

Bank earnings, pension funds, insurance companies, junk bond markets are all flashing ‘red’ in the wake of central bank zero and negative interest rates. Meanwhile oil prices have begun a new ‘leg down’ in price. China continues to struggle with its ‘rotating financial bubbles’ in stocks, wealth management and property markets. And Italian-Europe banks grow increasingly fragile.

Given this scenario, Jack predicts a coming inverting of policy in 2017, as the US economy slips into recession, the UK and Italian banks pull Europe into recession, and Japan continues its contraction. Interest rates will be raised by central banks to prevent a financial crisis. That means a further slowing in the real economy—requiring fiscal austerity policies to give way to fiscal stimulus to offset the effect of interest rate rises by the Fed and other central banks.

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Barbarians at the Gates

août 2nd, 2016 by Craig Murray

A key weapon of the neo-liberal establishment in delegitimising the emergence of popular organisation to the left, is to portray all thinkers outside the Overton window as dangerous; actively violent, misogynist and racist.

WikiLeaks have once again done the world a great service by publishing smoking gun evidence that the Democratic National Committee – which was supposed to be a neutral body overseeing the Democrats primary election – was doing everything possible to tilt the field against Bernie Sanders. Just one of the ways that was done was by secretly promoting to the media the idea that Sanders’ supporters were violent, misogynist and intimidatory thugs.

One of the major events used to further this trope was the Democratic state convention in Nevada. This is a powerful demonstration of a phenomenon that we are witnessing daily in the UK – the use of the mainstream media to perpetrate the trope, despite the existence of irrefutable evidence that the narrative being put forward by the mainstream media is factually untrue.

I have posted this video before, but please look at it now, whether again or for the first time. This is video of the actual events at Nevada taken from the heart of the “Barbarian crowd of Sanders supporters. The media characterisation of the events you are watching – a characterisation that was spread in active collusion between the media and neo-liberal politicians – includes accusations which we see repeated again and again, of violence, physical threat, misogynist abuse and spitting. What the actual evidence shows is something which we are seeing again and again as the actual reality – neo-liberal members of the paid political class astonished and indignant that their “position” and authority is not being treated with deference by ordinary people. Watch the video.

It is important to say that there is a lot of other video evidence available. This is the clearest I can find. No evidence appears anywhere online which bears out the stories of violence, abuse and spitting – which is quite astonishing given that the entire mainstream media carried and promoted those stories.

The Labour Party constituency meeting at Brighton gives us a precise analogy to the Nevada Democrats meeting. Again claims were made of violent intimidation, swearing and spitting. Again, in this age where everybody has a video camera in their pocket, there is absolutely zero objective evidence of this behaviour and a great deal of evidence to the contrary. It appears the real sin of the Brighton Labour Party members was to elect pro-Corbyn officers. That election has now been annulled. The National Executive Committee of the Labour Party is playing precisely the role against Corbyn that the NDC played against Sanders.

None of this is new. From the start, the Labour establishment has attempted to portray ordinary members as thugs. 7 months ago Stella Creasy claimed that a violent and intimidatory mob had gathered outside her constituency office, and in consequence she and her staff had been too scared to go to work. Here is a video of the actual incident.

Again the obvious and glaring disparity between what actually happened – this “peace vigil” was led by the local vicar to urge Creasy to withdraw her support for bombing Syria – and what Creasy claimed had happened, was ignored by the mainstream media. The mainstream media has become the home of fact free journalism. If you want to find anything approaching truth, you have to go surfing the social media.

It is highly significant that among the “demands” made in a recent letter by 44 anti-Corbyn female MPs was that demonstrations at their offices should be banned, and anyone who participates in one expelled from the Labour Party. I think that in itself says enough about their sense of entitlement and attitude to free speech.

Just a couple more examples of many score I could give. The “brick through Angela Eagle’s window” story is repeated continually by the mainstream media to show the violence of Corbyn supporters. But in fact the broken window was in a stairwell of an office block, actually on a different face of the building to the one on which Angela Eagle’s office has windows. There is no evidence at all that Ms Eagle’s office was the target, let alone that a Corbyn supporter was the perpetrator. I have been able to find no evidence of the existence of the brick. What is interesting, is that on this common stairwell, not connected to the Labour Party, a Party poster was used to close up the void, thus giving a photo opportunity that all of the mainstream media used and reinforcing the false impression – more than impression, false statement in the entire mainstream media – that it was Ms Eagle’s window that was broken. How did this happen? Emergency glaziers carry boards. I have also seen no evidence of the existence of the brick. Was it a literal brick? Where did it come from? Or was it, perhaps, a lump of Portland cement?

My all time favourite for mainstream media distortion of a story comes, naturally, from the BBC. Labour MP Marie Rimmer has been brought to trial for kicking a canvasser. This is how the BBC reported it. This really is beyond satire.

Screenshot (79)

To us Scottish nationalists, the portrayal of those who challenge the status quo as violent and racist is something that we have lived with for years. That is why I use the expression “vauntie cybernat” at the top of my blog, “cybernat” having become the mainstream media term for barbarian during the referendum campaign.

The smearing of critics of the status quo being violent, threatening racists and misogynists was demonstrated perfectly in the killing of the petition against the BBC’s obnoxiously right wing and obviously biased political correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg. A whole wave of obscene, vile and threatening online abuse was alleged to be associated with the petition, but careful investigation – of which zero was done by the mainstream media – proved this to be an outright lie.

Finally, we come to the slur that Corbyn supporters are anti-Semitic. As I have stated before, one obvious flaw in this charge is that almost all Corbyn supporters enthusiastically cheered on Bernie Sanders. Again, the slightest examination of the facts shows that in many cases the accusation absolutely does not stand up, as with the Ruth Smeeth incident where the man demonstrably did not say what she quoted him as saying. Again the mainstream media had no interest in simply provable actual fact.

What has been extremely reprehensible has been the tendency to the mainstream media to slip in, as the Guardian did with the case of Luciana Berger, examples of genuine and appalling anti-Semitic abuse, without making clear that in these cases the perpetrators (and somebody was convicted) were from the far right and had absolutely nothing to do with Corbyn and his supporters. Much the same is true of references to the murder of Jo Cox.

The Establishment will always attempt to characterise any root challenge to its hegemony and ideology as violent, atavistic and subscribing to appalling beliefs and behaviour. The theme of challengers as “Barbarians” runs through history. We will have to put up with it for some time. The good news is, they are seriously rattled.

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Palestinians inside Israel Are under Attack

août 2nd, 2016 by Jonathan Cook

Was it meant as an epic parody or an insult to his audience’s intelligence? It was hard to tell.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to apologise for last year’s notorious election-day comment, when he warned that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves” – a reference to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian.

In videos released last week in English and Hebrew, Mr Netanyahu urged Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. They needed to “work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said. “I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”.

Pointedly, Ayman Odeh, head of the Palestinian-dominated Joint List party, noted that 100,000 Bedouin citizens could not watch the video because Israel denies their communities electricity, internet connections and all other services.

Swiftly and predictably, the reality of life for Israel’s 1.7 million Palestinians upstaged Mr Netanyahu’s fine words. In a radio interview, Moti Dotan, the head of the Lower Galilee regional council, sent a message to his Palestinian neighbours: “I don’t want them at my [swimming] pools.” Sounding like a mayor in the southern United States during the Jim Crow-era, he added: “Their culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours. Why is that racist?”

Dotan was no extremist, observed the liberal newspaper Haaretz. He represents the Israeli mainstream. Notably, Mr Netanyahu did not distance himself from Mr Dotan’s remarks.

At the same time, Samar Qupty, star of a new film on Palestinians in Israel called Junction 48, was questioned for two hours and then strip searched at Ben Gurion airport and denied her hand luggage before being allowed to fly to an international film festival.

Stories of state-sponsored humiliation at the airport are routine for Israel’s Palestinian academics, journalists, actors and community leaders – in fact, for any Palestinian active in the public sphere.

The list of restrictions on Palestinian citizens is long and growing. A database by the legal group Adalah shows that some 60 Israeli laws explicitly discriminate against non-Jews, with another 18 in the pipeline.

Two laws passed last month intensify the repression of dissent. An Expulsion Law is designed to empower Israeli MPs to oust Palestinian lawmakers whose views offend them, while a Transparency Law stigmatises human rights groups working to protect Palestinian rights.

Recently leaked protocols reveal that the police have secretly awarded themselves powers to use live fire against Palestinian protesters in Israel, even if they pose no danger. Yet another law threatens jail for any Palestinian citizen who tries to dissuade another from volunteering in the Israeli army.

Growing numbers of Palestinian citizens, including poets and writers, are being jailed or put under house arrest for posts on social media the Israeli authorities disapprove of.

Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman recently compared the work of the Palestinians’ national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Darwish is banned from school curriculums.

The culture minister, Miri Regev, meanwhile, has tied state funding for theatre and dance companies to their readiness to perform in Jewish settlements, illegally located in the occupied territories in the West Bank.

In his video, Mr Netanyahu said: “Jews and Arabs should reach out to each other, get to know each other’s families. Listen to each other.”

And yet his officials have just halved funding for the training of Palestinian student teachers, though not Jewish ones, to deter the former from pursuing teaching careers. Jewish schools face severe staff shortages, but Israel’s educational segregation is so complete that Palestinian citizens cannot be allowed to teach Jewish children.

Mr Netanyahu also extolled his government for a promise to increase funding for Israel’s near-bankrupt Palestinian local authorities. He forgot to mention, however, that he had conditioned the money on the same councils demolishing thousands of homes in their jurisdiction. For decades Palestinians in Israel have been routinely denied building permits.

Israel’s Palestinian citizens were not fooled by Mr Netanyahu’s video. But as their leaders noted, they were not the intended audience. The video was a cynical PR exercise aimed firmly at the Europeans, who have been discomfited by Israel’s increasingly repressive climate and the government’s regular incitement against its Palestinian minority.

Mr Netanyahu is worried about a backlash in the West, including growing support for the boycott movement, European efforts to revive peace talks, and potential moves at the United Nations and International Criminal Court.

Palestinians in Israel have known worse repression than they currently endure. For Israel’s first two decades they lived under military rule, locked into their towns and villages and largely invisible unless they agreed to do and say as they were told. Palestinian MPs could be elected to the parliament but only if they were first approved by Zionist parties like Mr Netanyahu’s.

The Israeli right sounds ever more nostalgic for that era. Slowly the ethos of the military government for Israel’s Palestinians is returning – and the perfume of Mr Netanyahu’s soothing words about ending “discord and hate” will not cover the stench.

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism 

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Even before the ink was dry on the meaningless platform resolutions passed at last week’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, the administration of President Barack Obama has bombed the North African state of Libya.

This latest attack continues the more than five year war against the people of Libya, once the most prosperous state in Africa, now destroyed at the aegis of U.S. imperialism, NATO and its regional allies. Under the cover of fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS), the White House seeks to further cover-up its culpability in creating the worst humanitarian crisis since the conclusion of World War II.

In 2011, the Obama administration deployed hundreds of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) personnel to facilitate the counter-revolutionary militias that were funded by imperialism to overthrow the Jamahiriya government under the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Tens of thousands of people died in the war which relied upon the blanket bombing of the civilian and state institutions reducing the North African state to destitution, impoverishment and the center of destabilization throughout the region.

This latest round of aerial bombardments are being presented to the U.S. and world opinion as a defensive measure against the Islamic extremists who have a base in the embattled country along the western coastal cities including Sirte, the home area of Gaddafi. However, it was the U.S. which created the conditions for the formation of ISIS in their war against Iranian influence in Iraq and the attempts to remove the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

According to the Washington Examiner, “A Pentagon statement says the airstrikes were conducted at the request of the new Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and were authorized by President Obama acting on the recommendations of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. Forces aligned with the new government have already captured territory surrounding the city of Sirte, and the Pentagon said American airstrikes were designed to enable the Libyan government-backed forces ‘to make a decisive, strategic advance.’ » (Aug. 1)

The article goes on to say

“While the U.S. has conducted unilateral strikes aimed at individual Islamic State members, this is the first time the U.S. has provided air cover for Libyan fighters on the ground. The strikes were described as consistent with the U.S. approach to combating the Islamic State by working with ‘capable and motivated local forces.’ The Pentagon said it plans more strikes in the coming days.”

Nonetheless, as per usual, the administration provides no end-game to the bombings. In 2011, Obama called the U.S. involvement in Libya as “limited” and that the Pentagon was “leading from behind.” Yet the deployment of CIA operatives even prior to the beginning of the bombings on March 19, 2011, was revealed in a report published by the New York Times.

The-then NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said of this notion of a limited leading from behind that without the assistance of the Pentagon the mission in Libya could have never been carried out. It is the U.S. that supplies much of the war material such as fighter jets, bombs, intelligence mapping and diplomatic cover in all modern-day wars of regime-change and imperialist conquest.

The Democratic Party and the War Machine

These military actions in Libya are by no means a surprise to those who watched the Democratic National Convention (DNC) during the week of July 25. There was never any acknowledgement from anyone speaking from the podium of the failures of Pentagon and CIA military adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other geo-political regions.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who served in the first administration of Obama voted in favor of the intervention and occupation of Iraq carried out by President George W. Bush, Jr. Although Obama claimed that he opposed the Iraq war when he got into office the war was continued despite the drawing down of thousands of ground troops. However, the redeployment of Pentagon troops and intelligence operatives in Iraq is escalating into the thousands.

It was Obama who accelerated troop deployments in Afghanistan where the war also moves forward with an announcement at the recent NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland that there would be an increase in western troop levels in Central Asia as well as Eastern Europe targeting the Russian Federation in a renewed Cold War. Moreover, Clinton served as the public face of the Pentagon-NATO bombing of Libya to the point of calling for the capturing and killing of Gaddafi, where she joked and laughed in its aftermath on October 20, 2011.

During the week of August 1, it was the Democratic leadership that maintained a posture of support for the families of slain war soldiers. Nevertheless, it has been quite obvious that under the Obama administration the plight of currently serving and discharged military personnel has been far less than adequate. Many Afghan and Iraq war veterans are homeless, incarcerated and suffering from numerous physical and psychological ailments.

Despite the vast funding through the tax dollars of working families and the expropriation of resources of other countries, the services for veterans in many cases are non-existent. Suicide rates among veterans are reported to be as high and over 220 per day in the U.S. This grim set of circumstances involving the economic draft of youth due to the structural unemployment and poverty wages; the deployment to wars aimed exclusively for the acquisition of natural resources, strategic land masses and waterways; combined with blatant disregard towards the needs of the no longer enlisted soldiers has resulted in a human services crisis of monumental proportions.

A Political Economy of Imperialist War

The only rationale for permanent war in the age of imperialism is for economic gain along with maintaining a political advantage over other regional blocs such as the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, political alliances that have emerged in South America, Central America and the Caribbean and the rival European Union (EU). Even though the EU is a subordinate inter-imperialist rival to the U.S., the recent withdrawal from the EU by the British electorate has sent shockwaves through the world capitalist markets.

Consequently, there is the prospect for a continuation and even expansion in the production of military hardware which will be a source of profit for the defense industry and Wall Street. Declining energy and commodity prices have placed a dent in the profitability margin for the oil industry which reaped a windfall in the aftermath of the above-mentioned wars waged in the Middle East, Central Asia and the African continent. Other avenues of exploitation are needed by the capitalist system and these are the imperatives which are driving the dominant factions within both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Although the capitalist parties in Britain and the U.S. are facing internal rebellions from both the right and the social democratic left, these institutions appear to have outlasted their functionality as instruments for the social containment of the working class and the nationally oppressed. This is why even the semblance of bourgeois or parliamentary democracy are absent within the context of intra-party affairs. Trump can walk in and take over the Republican Party without ever having to hold public office. Clinton with her laundry list of indiscretions and racism towards African Americans and other oppressed peoples is being sold to the electorate as a defender of “diversity” and stability.

The renewed bombing of Libya signals the escalation of war against the peoples of the so-called Global South and those oppressed nations and communities within the imperialist states themselves whether in Europe or North America. To counter these provocations an international anti-imperialist movement must be built. This is the task of the organizations committed to reversing the tide of imperialist war and economic exploitation.

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The Convention of the US Democratic Party in Philadelphia ended with a big schism. And this schism divides not only the supporters of Hillary Clinton and her opponents but also Bernie Sanders and the movement that he led and symbolized until just a few days ago.

The senator from Vermont who attracted thousands across America to his rallies and ignited them with his speeches looked ridiculous and helpless in Philadelphia. His speech endorsing Hillary turned in a matter of seconds a charismatic leader who had embodied the hopes of millions of people into a provincial pathetic old man who does not understand what is happening around him. With a confused smile on his face he repeated that Hillary would be an excellent president, that the party had adopted the most progressive platform ever; he coaxed his indignant supporters to “live in the real world”, clearly demonstrating lack of connection with the new political reality which had made possible his ascent to prominence in the national political arena.

Sanders garners very little support now: he is pitied at best. Young people who sympathize with him ask everyone not to criticize him too harshly since it was he who raised the banner of the movement, awakened them and brought them together. But they are mistaken in attributing their own accomplishments to him. In the last 20 years, a candidate similar to Sanders has appeared in almost every primary election only to get filtered out in the early stages of the race.

The fact that Bernie did not succumb to the same fate can be explained not by his special talents and merits but by the long overdue need for social change in American society, which accumulated imperceptibly over the years and suddenly exploded. This need is objectively generated by the systemic crisis and the contradictions of neoliberalism that have to be resolved by whatever means possible. Nothing but an excuse was needed for this spontaneous sentiment, particularly acute among young people, to turn into a political movement. The excuse was Bernie’s nomination as a candidate. A wave caught him and carried him forwards.

As long as he was making his speeches, which reflected the mood of the people, everything was going quite well. But when the time came for serious political decisions, the  senator from Vermont failed to become a leader, demonstrating  total   helplessness.

What has happened cannot be explained just by the individual qualities of one person. Bernie’s capitulation in Philadelphia was prepared in the course of his campaign by the left intellectuals from the circles close and not so close to him. All of them – from Noam Chomsky to Michael Moore, unanimously reiterated that Donald Trump, a brawler and a homophobe, is the main danger, and that support for Hillary is the only way to prevent the catastrophe that would inevitably befall the world if the Republican candidate won the election.

Now these people are in panic: they succeeded in breaking up Sanders’ movement, forcing him to surrender, but now they suddenly realize that the most likely outcome of this situation will be a victory for Trump. Looking at the electoral fraud, the corruption of the Democratic Party apparatus, the machinations and lies, millions of people have reasonably concluded that Trump is not the “greater evil” in today’s American politics. Sanders’ capitulation tore away the last moral justification from under the political rhetoric of the Democrats. For those who followed the election, hoping for a change, and who now feel how profound the impending crisis is, it has become clear that nothing good can be expected from these politicians. And since even the best, most honest of the Democrats has surrendered so shamefully, everything is hopelessly rotten.

If Trump wins the election, it will be possible to argue with complete certainty that Sanders ensured this outcome at the moment he declared his support for Clinton, thereby betraying not only his supporters, his voters and himself, but also American democracy. Now it is the moral duty of any decent American to punish the Democrats. All of them. Including Bernie.

And they will do it, even if they don’t vote for Trump: they will stay at home, or vote for the Green party candidate Jill Stein or libertarian Gary Johnson. By doing this they will open the road for Donald Trump. This will be the beginning of a new epoch for the United States and the world, the epoch in which the place of the neoliberal consensus will be taken by the uncertainty of risk and freedom. In reality, we know very little about Trump today, not counting his politically incorrect statements, which do not really matter, because they do not suggest any practical actions, except for the laughable project of the border wall construction. But if Trump is really half as dangerous as the liberal mass media insist, he cannot be stopped by lacklustre support for the “lesser evil”. Only the enthusiasm of a mass radical mobilization around an alternative program of transformation can stop him, the program that Sanders tried to propose and abandoned in Philadelphia.

One cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. And in conditions where concern for the interests of the eggs is the most important ideological principle, no omelette can be made. The trouble is that all the efforts of the politically correct egg protectors are worthless. In the course of the story the eggs will be broken anyway,  but the omelette will not be made.

The policy of  the “lesser evil” is a recipe for a disaster. In a period of crisis  adherence to the principle of risk minimization does not work. It always produces the worst possible outcome. In the situation of a more- than-likely Trump victory only those on the left who did not support Hillary will survive politically. Everybody else will drown together with her.  Attempts to preserve the integrity of a mechanism that does not work are burdened with the potential for apocalyptic disaster on a planetary scale. In the conditions of unending crisis, the calls on the left to accept the lesser evil in the name of avoiding the greater evil will lead us from one disaster to another.

There is nothing accidental about these successive capitulations of the left.  There is a common element behind all of them: rejection of the simple principles that define the identity of the left.  Half a century ago these principles were self-evident but now it is time to recall them. The first of them is class interests. Not the abstract demagogy of sympathy towards the weak, inclusiveness, and rights of minorities, but the specific interests of real working class people including the “white males” so despised by the liberals. In fact, the “white males” are a notion invented by the liberals specifically to undermine class solidarity and discredit the labour movement.

In reality about fifty percent of “white males” are women, and not less than a third are representatives of other, non-white, races. But that makes no difference for the purposes of the liberal discourse. The logic of unity for the sake of solving common problems and achieving common goals is portrayed in this discourse as an attempt by the “white males” to discriminate against the minorities with their special, particular, private interests. It does not matter that the defense of these special interests leads not only to the discrimination against the majority but also  generates the “war of all against all”, in which the minorities end up being the first casualty. The aim of this kind of politics is not to protect the minorities but to fragment the society, while providing the liberal elite with the privilege of redistributing resources among the minorities, who become their clientele.

One of the recent supporters of Sanders noted in an Internet discussion of his capitulation: “the senator from Vermont had to make a choice: what is more dangerous – Trump’s homophobic rhetoric or the dictatorship of financial capital promoted by Clinton. He concluded that the homophobic rhetoric is worse”.

This provides the most accurate insight into what the “real world” is for Sanders…

The second historic principle of the left was the vision of a historical perspective, and building of a strategy based upon it. In the 1930s politicians as different as  Roosevelt, Trotsky, and Stalin had this common vision. It was based on an understanding of objectively urgent problems of development, the solution of which is the essence of historical progress. It is characteristic that the liberal left in the USA continues to identify themselves as “progressives” while not even discussing the issue of historical progress, and what it could mean today. Apart from organizing some humanitarian events, of course.

In the meantime, the issue has become more than clear. Overcoming neoliberalism is the urgent historical task of today – not because we don’t like this system, or because it does not correspond to our values, but because it has exhausted its potential for development and can survive only by devouring the resources needed for basic reproduction of society. In other words, the longer this system stays in existence, the more it will self-destruct and undermine all our livelihoods.

The connection of the historical perspective to class interests is determined by the answers to simple pressing questions: will jobs, which make possible not just survival, but also the cultural, professional and moral development of workers, be created? Will the unions and other organizations of workers be strengthened? In the course of the last two and a half decades the left has been in unison criticizing neoliberalism, the World Trade Organization, the weakening and de-solidarization of the working class. But they are reluctant to admit that the opposite theorem is also true: in the conditions of capitalism only protectionism leads to strengthening of workers’ positions in the labour market, to strengthening of labour unions and the political organizations based on them. Western European protectionism gave birth to a potent social-democratic movement: support of the domestic industry by the Russian governments of Vitte and Stolypin created the preconditions for the revolution of 1917.

Without a transitioning of the old industrial countries to protectionism, a consolidation of the labour movement in the countries of the global South, which also need to protect their own markets and their own industry, is similarly impossible.  Democratic control and the welfare state are similarly impossible without protectionism. Bernie’s campaign raised these issues but when the question arose of what is worse – Trump’s protectionist program with its anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican flavor or Hillary’s anti-social agenda packed into an impeccable politically correct lexicon, the choice was made in favour of the latter. Millions of American workers, regardless of the colour of their skin, their gender or their sexual orientation, will make a completely different choice. By voting for Trump they will be responding  not to his scandalous rhetoric, even if they like it, but rather making an intelligent decision based on their interests as labourers in the conditions of capitalism. Trump only needed his scandalous rhetoric to attract the attention of the lower classes of society, to send them a signal, to stand out from a homogenous mass of dull political figures. Now is the time for a substantive discussion. Neoliberal politics has to be dismantled; the societal model has to be changed. If protectionism becomes a fact, the preconditions for a new welfare state will be created: the basis for a new popular movement, now without Sanders and the liberal left, will arise.

The third principle, which was always fundamental for left politics is the struggle for power. Precisely for power, not for representation, influence or presence in the dominant discourse.  It is telling that it was precisely Sanders’ attempt to start a real struggle for power that aroused the indignation of many left radicals, who perceive this kind of behaviour as something completely obscene. And, by contrast, when the Vermont senator abandoned his positions, he consoled himself and his supporters by drawing attention to the way the Democratic Party had adopted the most progressive platform in its history, though anyone who knows how the American state really works understands very well that this program isn’t worth the paper it is written on. All the levers of power (not only in the administration, but also in the party) are in the hands of people who will never allow realization of these ideals.

The struggle for power requires corresponding organization and corresponding mechanisms of mobilization much sturdier than network structures. But most of all it requires strong will and political independence. This is why no matter how  frustrated and embittered the supporters betrayed by Sanders are, the alternative for them should not be support for Trump.

The main problem with Trump is not that he is a misogynist, but that he is a capitalist. To be sure, his victory may be a necessary step in a process of overcoming neoliberalism, and dismantling the corrupt political system, but it will not lead to the triumph of a positive social programme. This task can only be solved by an organization which is built consciously and is progressive in the true historical meaning of this word. Will it be built around Jill Stein and her Green Party or will it be created by the activists who came out of the Sanders’ movement? The answer to this is something we will know in the very near future. But the alternative has to be built now, irrespective of its chances of prevailing in the current political cycle. Political struggle requires patience and perseverance.

The political turn currently under way in the United Sates and Western Europe is changing the conditions under which people in the whole world live and struggle. It is opening new opportunities for them. The opposite is also true: SYRIZAs betrayal, Sanders’ capitulation, Corbyn’s wavering: these are not just issues in Greek, American or British politics. They are failures or weaknesses for which not only the left but humanity as a whole will have to pay the price.

The neoliberal system, which the likes of Hillary Clinton and Francois Hollande are trying to preserve, is already so dysfunctional, so implicated in the processes of natural decay, that every day of its survival undermines the basic mechanisms of reproduction of society. If we are not ready to fight for its deconstruction, it will break down naturally anyway. But then the alternative will not be “another possible world” as imagined by the anti-globalists, but rather spontaneously mushrooming chaos and barbarism.

The paralysis of will that has afflicted the left movement during the epoch of neoliberalism has to be overcome. A great global drama in which everyone will have to play his role is about to start. We have to accept responsibility for the risky decisions, understanding that one cannot be nice and pleasant to everybody, and also that one cannot win without struggle and sacrifice.

Boris Kagarlitsky is the Director of the Institute of Globalisation and Social Movements, a TNI fellow and co-ordinator of the TNI Global Crisis project and Director of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements in Moscow, that also runs Rabkor. He is also member of the edotirial board of Defend Democracy Press.

Boris’s latest books are Empire of the Periphery: Russia and the World System (Pluto Press, February 2008), The Revolt of the Middle Class (Kulturnaya revolutsiya, 2006). He won the Deutscher Memorial Prize for his book, The Thinking Reed: Intellectuals and the Soviet State (Verso 1988).

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A newly-released video attributed Daesh [Arabic acronym for « ISIS » / « ISIL »] urged Takfiri militants to stage attacks in Russia. The threat comes amid Russia’s repeated warnings that Daesh terrorism in Syria and Iraq could soon spread to other parts of the world.

While its authenticity could not be confirmed, Reuters reported that the video is thought to have come from the terrorist group’s Telegram account.

A 9-minute subtitled video shows armed militants launching attacks on vehicles and tents, as well as replenishing arms supplies somewhere in the desert. The footage ends with one of the masked militants encouraging the group’s supporters to mount attacks on Russian soil, while personally threatening President Vladimir Putin.

The alleged Daesh members did not elaborate on why Russia had been designated as its next « target, » however.

The danger posed by the looming return of radicalized Daesh recruits from Syria, where they went to fight in the Takfiris’ ranks, was one of the main reasons Russia launched its airstrike campaign against the militants there.

« There are an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 fighters from Russia and other CIS member states fighting for ‘ISIL’, » Putin said last October after Russia launched its bombing campaign in Syria at the request of Syria’s president, Bashar Assad.

« We certainly cannot allow them to use the experience they are getting in Syria on home soil, » the president stressed, calling on the creation of a broad international coalition to curb the spread of terrorism.

Russia had largely achieved the stated goals of its operation in Syria by the time Putin ordered the withdrawal of the bulk of Russia’s forces in March.

Recently, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated that some 2,000 fighters hailing from Russia, including 17 warlords, had been killed in the course of the five-month air campaign.

Shoigu also warned that the world should brace for a more protracted crises similar to that in Syrian, given the alarming security situation in the world.

« In these circumstances, Russia will be forced to adequately respond to potential threats, » he stressed.

Afghanistan has become another breeding ground for terrorists close to Russia’s borders, posing an immense challenge to the overall security and stability of the Central Asia.

« The Afghan branch of ‘ISIS’ is definitely specialized against Central Asia. Russian is even one of their working languages, » Zamir Kabulov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Asia and Middle East Department, said back in April, estimating that the number of Daesh fighters in Afghanistan has increased tenfold since last year.

« There are now 10,000 ‘ISIS’ fighters in Afghanistan. A year ago there were a hundred, » stated the diplomat.

In one of the most violent attacks to rock the Afghan capital recently, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest during a mass Shiite demonstration in Kabul, killing 80 people and injuring 23 on July 23. That terrorist act was claimed by Daesh.

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The Larger Context Of The Al Qaeda Attack On Aleppo

août 2nd, 2016 by Moon of Alabama

Al-Qaeda in Syria and associated forces are currently driving a large scale attack from the south-west into Aleppo city. Their aim is to create a new corridor between the Idleb/Aleppo rural areas they occupy and the besieged al-Qaeda controlled areas in east-Aleppo. Between 5,000 and 10,000 al-Qaeda fighters, using U.S. supplied equipment, are taking part in the battle. Formally some of the fighters are « moderates » but in reality all this groups are by now committed to implement Sharia law and to thereby suppress all minorities. They made some initial progress against government forces but are under fierce attack from the Syrian and Russian air forces.

The Russian General Staff has warned since April that al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat al-Nusra aka Fateh al Sham) and the various attached Jihadi groups were planing a large scale attack on Aleppo. An al-Qaeda commander confirmed such long term planning in a pep-talk to his fighters before the current attack.

This shines a new light on the protracted talks Secretary of State Kerry has had for month with his Russian colleague. The U.S. tried to exempt al-Qaeda from Russian and Syrian attacks even as UN Security Council Resolutions demanded that al-Qaeda and ISIS areas be eradicated. Then the U.S. tried to make an « offer » to Russia to collectively fight al-Qaeda should Russia put its own and Syrian forces under U.S. control. We called this offer deceptive nonsense. All this, it now seems, was delaying talk to allow al-Qaeda to prepare for the now launched attack.

Another step in the delaying, though a failed one, was the re-branding of Jabhat al-Nusra as Fateh al-Sham. Some « western » media called that a split from al-Qaeda but in reality is was a merging of al-Qaeda central and Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria under a disguising new label. Al-Qaeda’s Qatari sponsors had demanded the re-branding so al-Qaeda in Syria could publicly be sold to « western » governments and their public as « moderate rebels ». But the sham failed. It was too obvious a fake to be taken seriously. The « western » support for al-Qaeda will have to continue secretly and in limited form.

The current attack on Aleppo is serious. The Syrian army lacks ground forces. Significant professional ground forces from Iran were promised but never arrived. Iran was still dreaming of an accord with the U.S. and therefore holding back on its engagement in Syria. The Afghan farmer battalions Iran recruited are not an alternative for professional troops. Defending against an enemy that is using lots of suicide vehicle bombs to breach fortifications and death-seeking Jihadis to storm field positions is difficult. It demands diligent preparation excellent command and control.

If this attack can be defeated the huge losses al-Qaeda will have to take might end its open military style war. If al-Qaeda succeeds with the attack the Syrian army will need very significant additional ground forces to regain the initiative.

But no matter how that battle goes strategically the U.S. is sniffing defeat in its regime change endeavor. It is now proposing to split Syria. Syria and all its neighbors are against this. It will, in the end, not happen, but the damage Washington will create until it acknowledges that fact could be serious. Russia can and should prevent such U.S. attempts of large scale social engineering.

Russia on the other side has now to decide if it wants to escalate enough to create more than the current stalemate. Over time a stalemate becomes expansive and it may, at any time, suddenly turn into defeat. The U.S. negotiation positions so far were obviously not serious. The U.S. delayed to allow for further large attacks on the Syrian government. The alternative for Russia is to either leave Syria completely or to escalate enough to decisively defeat the Jihadis. That is not an easy decision.

Today some Jihadis shot down another Russian helicopter over Syria. The bloody body of the dead pilot was dragged through the mud by some local nuts and the video thereof proudly presented. If the Russian government needs some public pretext to go back into Syria it now has it. Also today the Islamic State threatened to attack Russia within its border. Another good reason to return to Syria in force. Of note is that Russia is already extremely pissed over the unreasonable hostile climate towards it in Washington DC. It will have consequences.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei today acknowledged that the nuclear agreement with the U.S. is a failure. The U.S. did not deliver on its end. Iranian money is still blocked in U.S. controlled accounts and no international bank wants to do business with Iran because the U.S. is threatening to penalize them. The conclusion, Khamenei says, is that no deal with U.S. over any local issue in the Middle East is possible and that all negotiations with it are a waste of time. This new public position may finally free the limits the Rouhani government of Iran had put on Iranian deployments to Syria. Why bother with any self-limitation if the U.S. wont honor it?

How the situation in Syria will develop from here on depends to a large part on Turkey. Turkey is changing its foreign policy and turning towards Russia, Iran and China. But how far that turn away from the « west » will go and if it will also include a complete turnaround on Syria is not yet clear. Should Turkey really block its borders and all supplies to the Jihadis, the war on Syria could be over within a year or two. Should (secret) supplies continue, the war may continue for many more years. In both cases more allied troops and support for the Syrian government would significantly cut the time (and damage) the war will still take. That alone would be well worth additional efforts by Syria’s allies.

Will Tehran and Moscow agree with that conclusion?

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Bernie Sanders won the presidential nomination, but he was cheated out of it by the Democratic National Committee which is the operating body for the Democratic Party.

They helped Hillary win the nomination by combining vote miscounts and appointing super delegates whom no one elected to vote for Hillary. So, she won this nomination illegitimately. All of Bernie Sanders’ supporters know that.

They have turned against Hillary, and it is unlikely that many of them will vote for Clinton. The Democratic National Committee said:

“Who do they dislike more than Hillary? The Russians”, as they’ve been demonizing the Russians for the last 3-4 years.

So, the Americans are told to dislike the Russians. That’s why they blame Putin for WikiLeaks’ release of the emails that showed how the Democrats were cheating with votes. Hillary is a crook in many ways. But she has escaped prosecution because she is too useful for the oligarchs. So they shift all the blame onto Putin, saying that this is all a Russian plot to get Donald Trump elected. Is that what this is? I don’t think this will fool many people. It will be played with in the media because the media is not honest, not independent. It’s like the old Soviet media – it has to answer to the master and can’t say much independently. It’s not going to fool the American people that all this email thing was done by Putin.

The Democrats are looking for a boogeyman, for somebody to shift the blame onto away from them. They don’t even realize that in doing so they are making Russia look like a cyber superpower. Well, it may be a cyber superpower, but we all know that Clinton’s emails did not reach WikiLeaks via Russia. It’s just something they made up. The media simply went along with it. I don’t think that many people will believe this. It just makes the Democratic National Committee look even more ridiculous. It steals an election from the candidate that people wanted and tries to blame Putin for doing that.

Bernie Sanders, when he supported Clinton, discredited himself and demoralized all his supporters. Therefore, they turned away from him too. That eliminates him as a leader. He ruined it for himself. If he had gone to the convention and said: “You stole the elections from me! I’m the one who won”, he would be the most popular American today. He could run as an independent candidate and win. But he didn’t have the courage to do that. He gave up, surrendered. The oligarchs are accustomed to people surrendering to them. They think that Putin will surrender to them too.

Bernie Sanders does not have the support of the oligarchs. The military security complex, Wall Street, and the Israel Lobby are not behind him. He is not their agent. His support came from Democratic voters themselves. So he doesn’t have the power to prevail, unless he really takes the fight to Hillary. But he wasn’t really risky to do that. Bernie Sanders is considered an outsider to the oligarchs. They did not found his campaign. But now he has been broken as a political leader and it is the end for him.

The media will all support Clinton and attack Trump. But this eventually loses its credibility. Fewer people depend on the media because it has lied about so much and for so long. Much more important is how Trump handles himself. If he continues to say that he doesn’t want a conflict with Russia, that NATO is a problem and other issues, then he will win regardless of the oligarchs and the media. He needs to stick to the point that he is against offshoring Americans’ jobs. The fact that corporations have moved middle-class jobs overseas really hurts Americans and the American economy. He is against having tensions with Russia. He realizes that there is no real need for NATO. So, people are supporting him for these reasons. If he sticks to these issues, he will win. But the question is what could he do even if he gets into office. It may turn out that he can do nothing, but he’s the only hope we have.

But at this moment, there is the chance that the Democrats will try to sabotage the elections.

Voting in the US is largely handled by electronic machines. It has no paper trail. So, whoever programs those machines can determine the voting outcome.

And nobody will ever know. Unless Trump has some kind of experts who can ensure that the voting machines are programmed correctly, I suspect that the machines will be programmed to vote for Hillary, especially because so many in the Republican political establishment are opposed to Trump. If he relies on them, they will cooperate with Hillary’s people and program the machines so that Hillary wins. There is no paper balance to recount it. This is the way a lot of elections have been stolen in recent years. This may happen again.

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On top of a hill overlooking the Tapajós, the fourth-largest tributary of the Amazon in Brazil, lies a village of around 130 Indigenous families, who live between the river and their small fruit and manioc farms.

Walking tracks lead deep into the forest to where men hunt and women gather spicy ants to flavour their cassava flour.

This village of wood and palm-thatched houses, and the area surrounding it, is called the Sawré Muybu.

It is one of many Indigenous villages along the Tapajós River that are home to the Munduruku people.

In just a few years this village may find itself an island, surrounded by the reservoir of a large hydroelectric dam. Others nearby will be underwater.

Map of Tapajós River Basin in Brazil.

Map of Tapajós River Basin in Brazil.

The São Luiz do Tapajós dam is the first of four slated to be built on the Tapajós River. This first dam would block the river, creating a reservoir that would submerge an area nearly the size of New York City – including important parts of the Sawré Muybu Indigenous land.

The project has attracted significant international interest. A group of western companies, including French state-owned EDF, have set up a group to study their options in the region. Chinese firms are also reportedly interested, and so is German giant Siemens, and US General Electric who manufacture the turbines used in these projects.

Whether or not the Munduruku have any say in the plans hinges on how this land is officially recognised under Brazilian law.


The 
Sawre Muybu land

The dam licensing process has stalled due to a report from the Brazilian Indigenous agency FUNAI which states that this is Indigenous land.

In a last-ditch action before her impeachment, outgoing Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff moved to have these lands approved for federal recognition as Munduruku Indigenous Territory by the Justice Ministry, a move that may have killed the project.

As a result the invitation for bids for contracts to participate in building the dam – set for August – has recently been postponed by Brazil’s interim president Michel Temer.

But the change to a government that is hostile to environmental licensing means the political weather is again uncertain.

“The government says we don’t exist in this land. The government doesn’t want to recognise us,” a softly-spoken young Munduruku woman (who prefers not to be named) tells me.

“Indigenous women are warrior women, we will fight to the death. And one day, we will win.”

If the dam is built, it would mean the permanent relocation of Indigenous people, officially forbidden by the Brazilian Constitution outside of times of war or disease outbreaks.

That may be why Maurício Tolmasquim, president of the Energy Research Company – which is part of the Brazilian Ministry for Mines and Energy – has denied that the Munduruku have lived on the land for any longer than 30 years or so.

An archaeologist from the Federal university of Para, Bruna Rocha, has found ceramics on the territory dating back 1000 years, painted with similar patterns to the ones the Munduruku use for their symbolic body paint today.

A Munduruku boy is painted with natural stain paints made from fruit. An archaeologist from the Federal University of Para, Bruna Rocha, has found ceramics on the territory dating back 1000 years, painted with similar patterns to the ones the Munduruku use for their symbolic body paint today.

“For us this land, this earth, is very important,” says Chief Arnaldo Caetano Kabá Munduruku, the Chief-of-Chiefs of the Munduruku people. He wears traditional Munduruku beaded straps across his chest made from seeds, and a red feather cap – traditional for important occasions.

Cacique Arnaldo photographed at Sawré Muybu Village.

“God gave it to us, to care for her and preserve her forever. We take care of our land. We always nourish her. She nourishes us every day, us and our children,” he says.

State of war

The Munduruku people – who number around 12,000 in total, all along the Tapajós River – say that they are living in a state of war.

“The people in the village are always worried about this. We go to sleep worrying about this, we don’t sleep well worrying about this business,” says Chief Arnaldo.

So they are “self-demarcating” the Sawré Muybu land, with the hope of prompting official approval from the government.

To do this they are putting up signs around the perimeter of a 700 square mile expanse of Amazon jungle. It is arduous and dangerous work, especially on the so-called “dryline”, the border deep within the forest where small-scale gold miners and illegal loggers lurk.

The day before the attempt to demarcate the dryline, a military police officer was killed in an ambush close to the village. The officer was accompanying an illegal logging operation with the Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA.

Gold miners – already numerous in this part of the Amazon – use mercury in their prospecting, which runs into the river. Mercury is poisonous to humans.

More roads, such as those used to transport machinery to dam construction sites, will mean more mining and logging.

Munduruku indigenous people set up a sign to demarcate their land

Munduruku indigenous people set up a sign to demarcate their land

Another Belo Monte?

The Munduruku have seen how Indigenous people have suffered from the building of the Belo Monte dam on a neighbouring Amazon tributary, the Xingu River.

The Belo Monte is now the third-biggest by installed capacity in the world, after the Three Gorges dam in China and the Brazilian–Paraguayan Itaipu dam. Construction has just been completed.

“We have been there and we saw it with our own eyes, what the dam has done to the fish. Everything is finished there. We went there and didn’t see any nature there,” says Chief Valto Datie Munduruku, the chief of a neighbouring village within the Sawre Muybu.

Aerial View of Belo Monte Dam Imagem aérea da Usina Hidrelétrica de Belo Monte

Indigenous people impacted by Belo Monte – such as the Kayapó and the Juruna, among others living in the so-called Xingu Bend – were not consulted before its construction.

This was because their land was not going to be directly flooded by the project.

But in reality, Belo Monte has changed the lives of Indigenous and riparian communities completely. Those that once relied on fish from the river to eat are now dependent on government handouts for food provisions.

The local town near Belo Monte, Altamira, swelled to nearly double its size during the construction of the dam. Violence, prostitution and murder rates have rocketed. Raw sewage flows into the Xingu due to lack of the infrastructure promised by the government.

“There are still a lot of dead fish appearing every day on the river,” says journalist Sue Branford, after visiting the area last year. “They are sending out boats every day collect dead fish. One biologist told me ‘You can see the fish coming up for air; they can’t breathe because water is so polluted’”.

Federal prosecutor Thais Santi considers the destruction of Indigenous people by the Belo Monte project so severe that she has called it “ethnocide”. She is bringing a charge against the Brazilian government.

Unique culture

The Munduruku were among the most valiant in their efforts to protest against the construction of the Belo Monte.

They are now determined to protect their own land.

All along the Tapajós River are sacred places. The most prominent in the Munduruku belief system is the Atravessia dos Porcos, or Crossing of the Pigs, which is the site where the river itself was created by Karosakaybu, a revered Munduruku ancestor with supernatural powers.

The fish are also important. At the Garganta do Diabo, or Devil’s Throat, rapids form at the meeting of two rivers, where fish migration patterns deliver abundant food for the Munduruku once a year. Soon, it could be completely covered by the 7.6 kilometre-long, 53 metre-high São Luiz dam.

“The government is trying to lie to our people. They have not come here to the village to have the consultation, the conversation, about what is going to happen,” says Chief Arnaldo.

“But our people only say one thing: We do not want the construction of this hydroelectric dam on our river, because it is sacred for us,” says Chief Arnaldo. “We have lived here for all time. We are from here, we were created here. Because of this we will not give up.”

The whole community – apart from the children, who play with monkeys and parakeets, remaining blissfully unaware of the crisis – are locked in the struggle.

And the women are among the most determined to ensure they can stay on their land.

“Indigenous women are warrior women, we will fight to the death. And one day, we will win.”

(The women in this article cannot be named out of concerns for their safety)

Munduruku Children Make Drawings About Solar Energy in the Amazon Crianças Munduruku Fazem Desenhos Sobre Energia Solar na Amazônia

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… Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next– Donald Trump at a news conference July 27, 2016

That’s the money quote that was widely reported as what Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump said that day about Russia and Hillary Clinton’s emails. It is hard to read those sentences as anything but cynical joking, but most of the media, the empty-headed commentariat, and Democratic shills all made a fundamentally bad-faith effort to inflate the joke into something sinister to serve their various agendas.

Trump’s offhand comment was almost universally misreported in a provocative, interpretive, and stupid manner – even Democracy NOW! headlined the story: “Trump Asks Russia to Hack Hillary Clinton’s Email.” That is just wrong.

There is nothing in Trump’s snide remarks inviting anyone to hack anything. Trump expresses “hope” that Russia can “find” 30,000 emails that are missing because Clinton had them deleted from her private server after unilaterally deciding they were not government property. It would be more accurate to say that Clinton hacked herself to eliminate the emails, except she didn’t need to hack, she just needed reassurance from other pliable lawyers that destroying potential evidence was no problem.

As for any invitation to the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails now, that’s so stupid that it’s more than likely deliberately stupid. Clinton’s private server was disconnected many months ago (or years?) and is literally hack-proof. It’s also in FBI custody. And there’s no reason to believe it would be worth hacking by anyone, since Clinton has already deleted, disabled, or destroyed pretty much everything on it.

Saying that “Donald Trump invites Russia to hack into Clinton’s emails,” as the Los Angeles Times did July 27, is at best dishonest mindless sensationalism, but most likely a deliberate political lie. A more accurate interpretation of what Trump actually said would be along the lines of: maybe Russia can find Clinton’s deleted emails somewhere, in the cloud or something, since the U.S. government has failed to figure out what’s been concealed from the American public (or has kept it concealed). If Trump was baiting the Democrats, they took the bait – hook, line, and sinker.

Trump called for selective transparency

Trump implied that if the Russians could find Clinton’s missing emails, they should share them with the media and “probably be rewarded mightily.” There is nothing wrong in asking for this particular transparency, which is clearly in the public interest. But Trump is no more honest than the rest. If reciprocity is a measure of fairness, then he should also be calling for the Russians, or some 15-year-old geek in a basement somewhere, to hack the IRS and release Trump’s tax returns. That, compared to hacking Clinton’s out of service servers, is at least a theoretical possibility.

Compounding its duplicity, the L.A. Times went on to reiterate the lie that has become a widespread media meme: “Donald Trump dared a foreign government to commit espionage on the U.S. to hurt his rival….” Not only are Clinton’s emails beyond the reach of any hacker, it would be impossible to commit espionage even if it were possible to hack them. Clinton had a private server precisely to keep her emails outside U.S. government control and any prying eyes, official or not. Even when the Clinton server was up and running, hacking it would have been legally and morally ambiguous. That hack would have been essentially a crime against another criminal set-up.

The larger context for this herding of the media wagons around the Clinton candidacy was the actual hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) email system that went undetected for about a year. When Wikileaks started releasing DNC emails, attachments, and voice mails on July 22, the Democratic Party’s professional staff was revealed to be small-minded, biased, and dishonest. That was actually a public service. It was also no great surprise, especially to Sanders supporters, but it was a bit startling to see it all revealed so nakedly and shamelessly.

Corrupt DNC exposed just as convention about to begin

Damage control suddenly became a Democratic Party necessity lest the party’s venality and corruption become the issue. Within days of the exposure of the campaign, the government rushed to the rescue. Led by the Democrat-in-chief (who kept his hands clean), the partisan executive branch countered with anonymous leaked stories, attributing the DNC hack to one of its favorite scapegoats, Russia. Right on cue, Clinton allies were accusing Trump of treason. Welcome to Cold War II (which has been on for awhile now, actually). The basic framing meme, as it appeared in a New York Times lede July 26, was straight forwardly disingenuous:

American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee, according to federal officials who have been briefed on the evidence.

This is old school Red-baiting (applied to a no longer Red Russia) with even less intellectual integrity than McCarthy-era smearing. No wonder that no evidence was produced by these unnamed spooks, all they had to do was impugn Putin, Putin, Putin, and people’s minds started shutting down with pre-programmed fear. A few days later head spook (and the first to go on record) James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, kept the story alive by pretending to downplay it (sort of) in good spook fashion, while also slyly influencing the presidential election. Some of what Clapper said about the DNC hacks:

Was this to just stir up trouble or was this ultimately to try to influence an election? Of course, that’s a serious – a serious – proposition… We don’t know enough [yet] to … ascribe a motivation, regardless of who it may have been. [Emphasis added]

Having said the intelligence community doesn’t know who did it or why, intelligence chief Clapper went on to identify and ascribe motive to – you guessed it – Russia:

They believe we’re trying to influence political developments in Russia, we’re trying to affect change, and so their natural response is to retaliate and do unto us as they think we’ve done to them.

Is there any reason to think the U.S. doesn’t do this stuff to Russia when the U.S. does it to Germany and other allies? Clapper knows better, that’s why he made an apparent allusion to the movie “Casablanca,” winking to the insiders while hoping most people don’t get it:

I’m somewhat taken aback by the hyperventilation on this…. I’m shocked someone did some hacking – that’s never happened before.

In “Casablanca,” Captain Renault, a cynical state official, bowing to the Gestapo, decides to shut down Rick’s café because of illegal gambling:

Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

And so it is with DNI Clapper, who is shocked to find that hacking is going on in the world, although he stops just short of admitting the U.S. presumably is or tries to be at the cutting edge of world hackery. In Clapper’s case, his “winnings” would be a wider acceptance by Americans of others doing to them what their own government does to others – as well as to Americans:

I think we’re going to be in a state of suppression of extremism in whatever manifestation or form it takes, whether it’s al Qaeda or ISIS or some other group that’s spawned. This is going to be a long-haul proposition, and I think the same is true in the whole realm of cybersecurity…. I think we just need to accept that, and not be quite so excitable at yet another instance of it.

Wait, say what? Weren’t we talking about Russia, or did al Qaeda or ISIS hack the DNC? Or did they all? Is there anyone who didn’t hack the DNC?

Political hacking is so much worse than, say, torture, or assassination

In what plays like a comic version of good cop/bad cop, former CIA Director Leon Panetta, an avowed Clinton partisan who spoke at the Democratic Convention, used his speech to add to the hyperventilation over the DNC emails release. Panetta, long a defender of Bush-era torture, raised the stakes of the false political charge that Trump asked Russia to hack Clinton. Panetta, without a scintilla of evidence on display, claimed that Trump was asking Russia to involve itself in the U.S. presidential election on Trump’s behalf, all but calling it treason (which others have done):

He asked the Russians to interfere in American politics…. Think about that for a moment. Donald Trump wants to be president of the United States [and] Donald Trump is asking one of our adversaries to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts against the United States to affect our election.

It would be at least as true to argue that Trump asked the Russians to contribute to American justice, which has failed to hold Clinton meaningfully accountable for her missing emails, or any other aspect of her unilateral effort to personally privatize a corner of government.

Panetta also repeated the lie that Trump asked Russia to hack the currently unhackable Clinton computers. Then he expanded that deceit to include the entire Clinton campaign, which he dishonestly equated with the United States. It’s worth remembering that Trump’s remarks were directed at the emails that have gone missing from Clinton’s private server when she was Secretary of State (2009-2013). The inspector general of the State Department has found that Clinton’s server was vulnerable to outside intruders during all or most of the time Clinton was responsible for managing its security. In that respect, it’s possible or even likely that Russia (and others) could have copied and kept all of Clinton’s emails, both the ones she turned over and the ones she deleted. That state of affairs is in itself another kind of joke. It’s also an unresolved Clinton scandal. For Trump to make fun of it as he did is to mock a perverse reality. It’s a reality that Panetta, like other Clinton loyalists, would like to deny it into non-existence, or at least distract from it with his own unreality. Panetta’s demagoguery would have you conclude that Putin is actually Trump’s metaphorical running mate:

No presidential candidate who’s running to be president of the United States ought to be asking a foreign country, particularly Russia, to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts to try to determine what the Democratic candidate may or may not be doing…. This just is beyond my own understanding of the responsibilities that candidates have to be loyal to their country and to their country alone, not to reach out to somebody like Putin and Russia, and try to engage them in an effort to try to, in effect, conduct a conspiracy against another party….

Keeping the public’s eye off the ball is no laughing matter

Panetta is a smart, experienced guy, so he must be aware of what a colossal joke this is, even though CNN chose to swallow it whole. The DNC hack had little to do with the current presidential campaign and almost everything to do with the Democrats’ covert campaign against Bernie Sanders. Any honorable Democrat would denounce that. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned under pressure, without noticeable contrition, and Hillary Clinton promptly rewarded her with an honorary chairmanship of the Clinton campaign. The last thing Clinton wants is to run against the specter of a martyred Sanders. She would much, much prefer to run against Vladimir Putin and his imaginary alliance with Donald Trump. This is consistent with her decades-long demonization of Russia and support for American/NATO soft aggression against Russia initiated by President Clinton more than 20 years ago.

By omission, Panetta endorses this Clinton policy of needlessly risking war, making endangerment equivalent to patriotic loyalty and, in time-dishonored fashion, equating the reduction of war between Russia and the U.S. somehow with disloyalty. It’s neo-liberal logic, so it doesn’t have to make sense. Especially not when it’s part of the framing of a false campaign trope.

“The Russians are hacking, the Russians are hacking” cry is already losing steam. New reports that someone hacked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) or the Clinton campaign itself were downplayed or later minimized in quasi-denial. Early in the week, even before Trump’s provocation, Robert Mackey of The Intercept had assessed the sketchiness of evidence that the Russians were to blame.

Principled pushback against Panetta would not be difficult. For all his disdain for Putin’s Russia, Panetta has long been a champion of American authoritarianism that is unmatched in the world: the “right” of the president of the U.S. to assassinate by drone, in any foreign country, any person the president determines, in secret, with no due process, to be a legitimate target, even a U.S. citizen. There’s a difference between hacking and beheading. Is there any other chief executive in the world with such freedom to kill people with no accountability?

It is a reality of American life these days that there is little public objection to having a President exercise arbitrary, life-or-death power over any one of 7.4 billion people in the world. More common than objection to this plain crime against humanity is widespread acceptance, and sometimes even gratitude for the president’s “restraint” in assassinating only a few hundred people, maybe only half of them innocent civilians.

Hillary Clinton has not opposed the U.S. having an executioner-in-chief. Neither has Donald Trump objected. Even Bernie Sanders hasn’t objected, although he said the power should be used carefully and sparingly. Trump’s sarcastic joke about 30,000 missing emails may not have been all that funny, but the self-serving windbaggery and open deceit the joke provoked are actually hilarious, or would be if the stakes were not so high. Unless something unexpected happens, come January 2017, either Trump or Clinton will have the power to kill at will.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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The Murder of Slobodan Milosevic

août 2nd, 2016 by Peter Robert North

This article was published ten years ago following the assassination of president Milosevic. The ICTY, which has declared his innocence, was complicit in his assassination ordered by US-NATO. 

Based on the evidence provided by the ICTY themselves (some of it clearly inadvertant as a result of their clumsy coverup in the immediate aftermath of his death) i.e., public statements from ICTY officials (doctors/toxicologists) that they performed blood tests on January 12 which revealed the presence of the Leprosy drug ‘Rifampicine’ in Milosevic’s blood but kept it secret from Milosevic,his doctors,lawyers and the entire world for TWO MONTHS until March 7, is clear evidence of foul play on the part of officials in the ICTY.

The fact that the ICTY had to change their story repeatedly resulting in numerous self- contradictory and inconsistent statements also points to a clear coverup.

For example, once the Dutch NOS TV station revealed certain facts soon after Milosevic’s death – especially that Milosevic had a blood test on January 12 – which the ICTY doctors themselves admitted was performed in order to find out why Milosevic’s heart medication wasn’t working – and yet failed to tell anyone in the world including Milosevic himself until March 7 – and yet he dies three short days after writing a letter to the Russian embassy complaining of being poisoned.

The constantly changing stories by ICTY officials – all contradictory of one another – given for his death were also highly suspicious.

They first said it was « natural causes », then said « possibly suicide », then they said he took the « wrong medicine » – without explaining how he could have possibly taken the medicine without them knowing – since he was always closely watched and was ONLY given medicine by the prison dispensary in the presence of armed guards.

Then they changed their story yet again by claiming that he must have been « poisoning himself in secret » in a « complex plot to escape to Russia » – even though this necessitated the involvement of his lawyers,doctors, the Russian government and even the ICTY ITSELF (since it was known Milosevic was under strict 24/7 Video surveillance & ALL medicine as indicated previously had to be taken from the prison dispensary in the presence of armed prison guards then how on earth could he be « poisoning himself » in secret?!)

The « poisoning himself in secret » story just didn’t make any sense; realizing the absurdity, the ICTY offials simply changed their story yet again and LIED by making the ludicrous claim that he WASN’T monitored 24/7 and that « alcohol and other drugs » were being « smuggled in » to the prison for months before his death!!

But since this necessitated knowing involvement on the part of ICTY officials/guards, they had to change their story yet again by claiming that though the prison guards knew about this alleged smuggling of alcohol and drugs for months,somehow,because of sheer « incompetence », nothing was done about it by the higher ups (i.e the judges/prosecutors) and Milosevic was happily able to poison himself for months on end (and presumably also get drunk)!

The fact that soon after Milosevic’s death the Dutch NOS TV station revealed that the ICTY ADMITTED that they KNEW about the presence of the Leprosy drug in his blood since January 12 – but supposedly did nothing about it for two entire months really threw a spanner in the works. This is where the cover up simply fell apart and blew a massive hole in the ICTY’s initial « we didn’t know he was poisoning himself so couldn’t do anything about it » story.

Someone INSIDE the ICTY had to administering the Leprosy drug to Milosevic covertly without his knowledge and that was clearly revealed in the complaint letter that Milosevic wrote to the Russian embassy on March 8 after he received the blood test report -the day before – on March 7 -TWO MONTHS late.

Since in this letter Milosevic makes clear that the ICTY has repeatedly refused to let him go to Russia for heart surgery (even as late as his last appeal of February 24,2006 his request for medical treatment was denied)Milosevic pointed out that Russian specialists would quickly detect the Leprosy drug in a routine blood test – and thus clearly PROVE his poisoning by the ICTY – is it any surprise that the letter doesn’t get delivered until AFTER his death?

Then they changed their story yet again and said that Milosevic WASN’T poisoned because they found no PRESCRIBED drugs in « toxic concentrations ». How cute. Meaning he wasn’t poisoned by the medicines he was SUPPOSED to be taking.

Even though ICTY officials admit that the Leprosy drug, ‘Rifampicine’, is an UNPRESCRIBED drug which apart from interfering with (i.e., blocking) heart medication – in effect acting as a POISON – it also quickly dissipates from the body leaving no trace of its presence (which they themselves admit) they still had the audacity to attempt to mislead the public by twisting the facts to make it sound as if he just simply wasn’t poisoned in any way at all.

The fact that the ICTY blood test report of January 12 did not get delivered to Milosevic until March 7 – two months late – causing him to write his very concerned letter on March 8, outlining his grave fears about being poisoned, and the fact that his MArch 8 lettr did not get delivered to the Russian embassy until well AFTER Milosevic’s death speaks volumes about who the only murderer could possibly be: NATO.

Since NATO have on numerous occasions publically admitted that they own – and ipso facto – control the ICTY, it can also be proved by the fact that Clinton’s former « peace envoy », Richard Holbrooke was even able to intervene recently directly with the president of the ICTY on behalf of an ICTY-indicted KLA mass murderer, Mr.Ramush Haradinaj, to have Mr. Haradinaj released from The Hague prison without him having to even face trial – let alone be convicted for his crimes – also speaks volumes about what kind of « court » the ICTY truly is.

The Truth behind the Death of Slobodan Milosevic

août 2nd, 2016 by Tiphaine Dickson

Published ten years ago by Global Research

STATEMENT OF TIPHAINE DICKSON, LEGAL SPOKESPERSON OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE TO DEFEND SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC, AT THE ICDSM PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT THE BELAIR TULIP IN THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS, MARCH 14th, 2006.

Tiphaine Dickson

This press conference was initially planned last week, to present a request signed by well-known jurists, including the former Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Ramsey Clark, and prominent political figures, including a member of the Russian Duma, the Czech Parliament as well as the European Parliament, which was filed last Friday with the Security Council of the United Nations as well as the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY, to direct the latter institution to permit President Milosevic to receive the specialized medical treatment his well-known and longstanding medical condition required at the Bakoulev Center in Moscow.

It obviously pains me to have made this last trip to The Hague without any hope that Slobodan Milosevic’s health will ever be stabilized.

What an indecent end to a disgraceful process, starting on day one, when in a blaze of astonishing irony, the president of Yugoslavia was indicted by this body for allegations of crimes against Humanity in Kosovo, a claim backed by evidence so slender and biased that it was inversely proportional to its political and indeed its military charge.

The bombing itself—all 78 days of it—was executed in violation of international law, a classic case of aggression, held by the Nuremberg Tribunal to be the supreme international crime in that it holds within it the accumulated evil of all other war crimes.

That the NATO bombing was a violation of international law was acknowledged by Wesley Clark, to the US weekly The New Yorker, but that admission was deemed inadmissible before this Security Council institution, the ICTY. Mr Milosevic was prevented from raising General Clark’s candid admission before this body, although it was so obviously germane to his defense.

NATO short-circuited the Security Council to bomb, yet instrumentalized a Security Council body to indict President Milosevic and kept bombing, as the Prosecutor announced that because of the indictment of the President of the country being bombed in violation of international law, the president, the reprentative of his people, was no longer a suitable guarantor in any peace negotiations.

Disgraceful from the start.

And so it went, with President Milosevic’s removal from then Yugoslavia, without as much as a court order to the director of the Belgrade jail in which he was being held, and in violation of a decision by Yugoslavia’s constitutional court.

And it ground on, with every single request for provisional release, based on his ill-health, denied.

Was the presumption that President Milosevic would abscond? Such a conclusion is preposterous, as in four years, he made clear his tireless commitment to defending himself, and above all he demonstrated his unrelenting passion for setting out the facts about the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.

His commitment to presenting his case, that there were no Balkan wars but indeed one war, waged against Yugoslavia, was evident for all to observe.

This was most obvious when President Milosevic was poised to begin his defense in late August 2004. His health was better than it became in recent months, yet, incredibly, Dr. Falke, the ICTY prison doctor, reported that Slobodan Milosevic would not have the ability to represent himself in the proceedings against him.

Contrast this finding—a matter of law, which in any event, a medical practitioner is not entitled to determine—with the trial Chamber’s subsequent findings questioning the necessity of specialized medical care in Moscow.

Contradictory positions with a common thread: the violation of the rights of an accused person.

That Pavle Strugar, accused before the ICTY, may receive hip replacement surgery—a minor procedure—based on the guarantees of Montenegro, seems absurdly inconsistent with the denial of complex vascular and cardiac care in a renowned specialized facility in Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council.

I can tell you that President Milosevic was hoping that our letter to the Security Council and to the Trial Chamber would be persuasive, and that this press conference could help him receive treatment so that he could finish his defense without fear of a hypertensive crisis or constant ringing in his ears.

But that is not to be.

Our hope is that the confidentiality of all medical records, doctors’ notes, prescription protocols and records, as well as test results be waived and be available for scrutiny and for discussion, without exception.

We will shortly be requesting that the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, waive the civil and criminal immunity of certain individuals who by systematic neglect, potential medical malpractice, or worse, precipitated the death of a man, who even in death, stands wrongfully accused of having been its cause.

We hope, and are fully confident, that the truth will emerge.

isis

America’s “Humanitarian Massacre” of Syrian Civilians. The “Counter-Terrorism” Campaign Is Directed against the Syrian People

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, July 31 2016

The US counterterrorism bombing campaign under “Operation Inherent Resolve” does not target terrorists.  Quite the opposite. Both ISIS-Daesh and Al Nusra are protected by the US led coalition.  The forbidden truth is that the counterterrorism campaign is directed against the Syrian people.

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America’s Recent “Achievements” in the Middle East

By Eric Zuesse, August 01 2016

What’s especially interesting there, is that in all of these missions, except for Iraq, the U.S. was doing it with the key participation of the Saud family, the royals who own Saudi Arabia, and who are the world’s largest buyers of American weaponry.

jill steinJill Not Hill: Green Party’s Jill Stein Forges Ahead after Democratic National Convention

By Ann Garrison, August 01 2016

Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein has gotten more media coverage than ever before since Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton and hundreds of Bernie delegates walked out of the Democratic National Convention chanting “JILL NOT HILL.” Stein still faces exclusion from the nationally televised presidential debates and steep ballot access barriers in many states. I spoke to Rick Lass, the Stein campaign’s ballot access coordinator, who said the campaign expects to spend half a million dollars just getting on the ballot.

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What Does the EU Stand for: Globalization or Universalism?

By William Hawes, August 01 2016

What is the purpose of the European Union? This question has been on the minds of everyone following the UK vote in favor of Brexit. Yet in the mad scramble to make sense of the United Kingdom’s rejection of the EU, little lucid commentary has been made. European leaders, the fawning media, and UK citizens alike portrayed the vote as either a refusal of EU austerity, or unhappiness with immigrants and open borders.

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Debt and Austerity: Greece Continues to Be Sucked Dry – and Nobody Stops the “Economic Bloodletting”

By Peter Koenig, July 30 2016

How long will this go on? How long will we see the photographs of a Mr. Tsipras and his Finance Minister in despair. Yet the blood-letting continues. Already new austerity measures are being projected for 2018 – between 5.4 billion EUR asked by Europeans and 9 billion EUR requested by IMF – and the securing of the Greek debt sustainability through deep restructuring measures (meaning more selling of public assets to foreign corporations), as reported by journalist Yannis Kibouropoulos.

corbynantiwar

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s Unelectable Leader. The Strident Anti-Corbyn Headlines are Endless

By Lesley Docksey, July 30 2016

“Labour Party in Turmoil!”  “Is Labour going to split?”  “The Labour Party is increasingly anti-Semitic”  “45 female Labour MPs tell Corbyn ‘Abuse is in your name’”  “Eagle accuses Corbyn supporters of ‘bullying’ Labour rebels”  “The Breaking of the Labour Party”  “Jeremy Corbyn’s deselection threat means Labour’s civil war is now a fight to the death”…. The strident anti-Corbyn headlines are endless.

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L’urgence du jeu du Sultan Culbuto

août 1st, 2016 by Pepe Escobar

Au milieu d’une étonnante, implacable et large purge qui ne montre aucun signe de ralentissement, avec 60 000 – et plus à venir – fonctionnaires, universitaires, juges, procureurs, policiers, soldats emprisonnés, abattus, suspendus ou dépouillés de leur accréditation professionnelle, il est maintenant relativement bien établi que le gouvernement turc a été très bien informé qu’un coup d’État militaire était imminent le 15 juillet. L’information pourrait provenir des renseignements russes, bien que ni Moscou, ni Ankara n’aient révélé les détails. Donc, une fois pour toutes, ce n’était pas un faux drapeau.

Un analyste du renseignement au Moyen-Orient, laïque et haut placé, avec une place de choix à Istanbul pour observer le coup d’État, a clarifié le contexte politique interne avant même la proclamation – largement attendue – de l’état d’urgence (si la France peut le faire, pourquoi pas la Turquie ?), il dit :

« Ils savaient cinq à six heures à l’avance qu’un coup était en cours et l’on laissé aller de l’avant, sachant, comme ils le devaient, que ce serait un échec […] Cette affaire a propulsé Erdogan vers un statut semi-divin parmi ses partisans. La voie est libre pour lui de faire ce qu’il veut, qui sera une présidence puissante et la suppression du principe de laïcité dans la Constitution. Cela ouvrirait la voie à l’introduction de certains aspects de la charia. Il a essayé cela dans les premières années du gouvernement de l’AKP avec l’introduction de Zina, une disposition strictement islamique, qui aurait criminalisé l’adultère et aurait ouvert la porte à la criminalisation des autres relations sexuelles illicites dans l’islam, car Zina concerne ce sujet en général et pas seulement l’adultère. Mais lorsque l’UE a objecté, il a reculé. »

La source de renseignements ajoute :

« Dans les semaines qui ont précédé cet événement, Erdogan avait été inhabituellement discret. Dans cette même période, le Premier ministre avait été remplacé et le nouveau avait annoncé un renversement complet de la politique étrangère, y compris la réparation des relations avec la Syrie. Est-ce que Erdogan a atteint lui-même la conclusion que la politique en Syrie était insoutenable, ou était-ce forcé par les anciens du parti, dans le contexte des dommages énormes qu’il a fait dans le pays de diverses manières, ainsi qu’en Syrie ? S’il a été poussé à changer de politique, le coup d’État manqué lui donne l’occasion de réaffirmer son autorité sur l’échelon supérieur de l’AKP. Certes, cela est arrivé au meilleur moment. »

L’historien turc Cam Erimtan ajoute au contexte, en expliquant comment

« Au début du mois prochain, le Haut Conseil militaire de la Turquie (ou YAS, en turc) est convoqué et il est prévu qu’un grand nombre d’officiers seront alors redondants. L’État turc est décidé à s’engager dans un exercice de nettoyage, en supprimant tous les opposants au gouvernement dirigé par l’AKP. Ce coup-qui-n’était-pas-un-coup fournit alors suffisamment de munitions pour faire un ménage complet dans les rangs […] même si le Président a pointé du doigt, au-delà de l’Atlantique, la silhouette sombre de Fethullah Gülen et de son organisation supposée terroriste FETÖ (Fettullahçı teror Örgütü ou Fethullahist Terror Organisation), insinuant que les comploteurs font partie intégrante de cette ombre, clairement insaisissable, et peut-être même inexistante, qu’est l’organisation. »

Le résultat final ne sera pas beau à voir : Erdogan est maintenant également appelé Commandant en chef de la Turquie, ce qui indiquerait, entre autres choses, qu’il considère la tentative de coup d’État comme une attaque sur sa personne. Quelles que soient les motivations des comploteurs, le résultat final de leur action sera une acceptation encore plus sincère et enthousiaste de la politique de Sunnification menée par Erdogan et peut-être un démantèlement rapide de l’État-nation qu’est la Turquie, pour la remplacer par une fédération anatolienne d’ethnies musulmanes, peut-être liées à un califat revivifié, et à un éventuel retour de la charia en Turquie.

C’est comme si Erdogan avait été béni par un effet inverse du Parrain. Dans le chef-d’œuvre de Coppola, Michael Corleone énonce le célèbre « Juste quand vous pensez que vous êtes dehors, ils vous ramènent dedans ». Dans le cas du parrain Erdogan, juste au moment où il pensait qu’il était irrémédiablement piégé, Dieu – comme il l’a admis – l’a sauvé. Appelons-ça un Sultan Culbuto.

Le Lions contre les Faucons

Comme Erdogan referme sa poigne de fer en interne, une connexion autrefois en acier inoxydable entre l’OTAN et la Turquie s’évapore lentement. C’est comme si le sort de la base aérienne d’Incirlik  était – littéralement – suspendue au fil de quelques ondes radar sélectionnées.

Il y a une méfiance extrême et généralisée en Turquie soupçonnant que le Pentagone savait ce que les rebelles avaient en tête. Il est vrai que pas une épingle ne tombe sur Incirlik sans que les Américains le sachent. Les membres de l’AKP soulignent l’utilisation du réseau de communication de l’OTAN pour coordonner les putschistes et échapper ainsi aux renseignement turcs. À minima, les putschistes ont cru que l’OTAN les soutiendrait. Non, aucun allié OTAN ne daigna avertir Erdogan de l’imminence du coup d’État.

Ensuite, il y a la saga de l’avion ravitailleur des F16 rebelles. Les avions-citernes à Incirlik sont tous du même modèle – KC135R Stratotanker – pour les Américains et les Turcs. Ils travaillent côte à côte et sont tous sous le même commandement : la 10e base principale de Tanker, dirigée par le général Bekir Ercan Van, qui a été dûment arrêté dimanche dernier – alors que sept juges ont également confisqué toutes les communications de la tour de contrôle. Ce n’est pas un hasard si le général Bekir Ercan Van se trouve être un proche du chef du Pentagone Ash Carter.

Ce qui est arrivé dans l’espace aérien turc après que l’avion d’Erdogan, le Gulfstream IV, a quitté la côte méditerranéenne et a atterri à l’aéroport Atatürk d’Istanbul a été largement cartographié – mais il y a encore des lacunes cruciales dans le récit, ouvrant à la spéculation. Comme Erdogan a été muet comme une carpe dans toutes ses interviews, on se retrouve devant un scénario de style Mission impossible avec, comme acteurs, les F16 rebelles, Lion Un et Lion Deux, sur une mission spéciale avec leurs transpondeurs éteints. Face à face entre le loyaliste Lion Un et Lion Deux. Lion Un est piloté par personne d’autre que l’homme qui a abattu le Su-24 russe en novembre dernier, il est aux commandes du désormais fameux avion-citerne qui a décollé de Incirlik pour ravitailler les F16 rebelles. S’ajoutent au scénario trois paires supplémentaires de F16 qui ont décollé de Dalaman, Erzurum et Balikesir pour intercepter les rebelles, y compris la paire qui protégeait le Gulfstream d’Erdogan – qui utilisait l’indicatif THY 8456 pour se déguiser en vol Turkish Airlines.

Mais qui était derrière tout cela ?

Erdogan en mission pour Dieu

Le célèbre lanceur d’alerte saoudien, Mujtahid a fait sensation en révélant que les Émirats arabes unis ont non seulement « joué un rôle » dans le coup d’État, mais ont aussi gardé la Maison des Saoud dans le coup. Comme si cela n’était fichtrement pas suffisant, l’émir auto-déchu du Qatar, Sheikh Hamad al-Thani, très proche de Erdogan, a prétendu que les États-Unis et une autre nation occidentale – la France étant une forte possibilité – avaient mis en scène le tout, avec l’implication de l’Arabie saoudite. Ankara, comme prévu, a nié tout cela.

L’Iran, d’autre part, a clairement vu la fin du jeu et a été un fervent partisan d’ Erdogan depuis le début. Et encore une fois, personne ne veut en parler, bien sûr, mais les renseignement russes était très au fait de tous ces mouvements – le prompt appel téléphonique du président Poutine à Erdogan après le coup d’État apporte un crédit à cette thèse.

Encore une fois, voyons les faits basiques : tout agent des renseignements en Asie du Sud-Ouest sait que sans le feu vert du Pentagone, les factions militaires turques auraient eu les plus grandes difficultés, sinon l’impossibilité, d’organiser un coup d’État dans les temps. En outre, au cours de cette nuit fatidique, jusqu’à ce qu’il soit devenu clair que le coup a été un échec, les comploteurs – de Washington à Bruxelles – n’ont pas été exactement décrits comme maléfiques.

Une source supérieure américaine du renseignement, qui ne souscrit pas au consensus washingtonien habituel, est catégorique, « l’armée turque n’aurait pas bougé sans le feu vert de Washington. La même chose avait été prévue pour l’Arabie saoudite en avril 2014, mais a été bloquée au plus haut niveau à Washington par un ami de l’Arabie saoudite ».

La source, qui pense en dehors de la boîte, souscrit à ce qui devrait être considéré comme la clé, l’hypothèse de travail en cours. Le coup d’État a eu lieu, ou a été avancé, essentiellement à cause du rapprochement soudain d’Erdogan avec la Russie. Des Turcs de tous horizons auraient ajouté de l’huile sur le feu, insistant sur le fait que, très probablement, le bombardement de l’aéroport d’Istanbul était une Opération Gladio. Des rumeurs de l’Est à l’Ouest avancent déjà qu’Erdogan devrait quitter l’OTAN tôt ou tard et adhérer à l’Organisation de coopération de Shanghai (OCS).

Bien qu’Erdogan ne soit un joueur absolument pas fiable et possède un canon géopolitique flexible, une invitation de Moscou-Pékin peut être attendue sous peu. Poutine et Erdogan auront une réunion absolument cruciale début août. Erdogan s’est entretenu au téléphone avec le président iranien Hassan Rouhani. Ce qu’il a dit a provoqué des frissons tout au long de la colonne vertébrale de l’OTAN : « Aujourd’hui, nous sommes déterminés plus que jamais à contribuer à la solution des problèmes régionaux main dans la main avec l’Iran et la Russie, et en coopération avec eux. »

Donc, une fois encore, l’avenir du XXIe siècle est en jeu. L’OTAN contre l’intégration eurasienne, avec le Sultan Culbuto se balançant en plein milieu. Dieu a certainement joué avec ce scénario tentant quand il a parlé à Erdogan sur Face Time.

Pepe Escobar

 

Article original en anglais : The Sultan of (Emergency) Swing, Strategic Culture Foundation, 23 juillet 2016.

Traduit et édité par jj, 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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Le 19 et 20 juillet 2016, la ville de Rio de Janeiro accueillait  un procès symbolique sur le  coup d’Etat en cours au Brésil suite à la procédure d’impeachment de la présidente Dilma Rousseff.

A  l’initiative des mouvements sociaux brésiliens,  des experts internationaux en provenance du Mexique, de France, d’Italie, d’Espagne, du Costa-Rica, d’Argentine, de Colombie et des Etats-Unis se sont réunis mardi pour juger de la nouvelle forme de coup d’Etat au Brésil.

Il existe des précédents. Pendant la guerre du Vietnam, Bertrand Russell a créé un tribunal en Suède, en 1966, pour condamner la guerre. Ensuite, il y a eu deux autres tribunaux Russell, à Rome, en 1974, pour discuter des questions de l’Amérique latine. Les coups d’Etat  au Chili, au Brésil et en Argentine ont été statués. Au Tribunal Russell sur l’Amérique latine, par exemple, étaient présents [les auteurs] Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez et Jose Saramago. Il s’agissait de prendre position contre les coups de l’Argentine, du Chili et du Brésil. Ce sont donc des Tribunaux d’opinion  (non valable d’un point de vue juridique), dans lequel plusieurs intellectuels prennent position sur les questions politiques pertinentes.

Le Président a demandé aux  jurés de se prononcer sur les points suivants:

a) la procédure d’impeachment de la Présidente de la république tel que traité par le Congré National , viole-t-elle la constitution?

b) la procédure d’impeachment, sans apporter la preuve de l’acte de délit de responsabilité par la présidente de la République, se caractérise – elle par un coup parlementaire ?

c)Au cours de la procédure d’impeachment, les clauses constitutionnelles avec appui de la Convention Américaine des Droit de l’Homme (Pacte de San José de Costa Rica), a-t-elle été violée?

d) la procédure d’impeachment, doit-elle être déclarés comme nulle et par conséquents tous ses effets ?

Dans la première session du procès, tenue le mardi, les témoins ont comparu devant le tribunal et le ministère public et la défense ont présenté leurs arguments.

Les jurés ont répondu à l’unanimité «  oui »  aux quatre questions, et  déclarent la procédure d’impeachment de la Présidente de la République, avalisée par la Chambre des députés et du Sénat fédéral,  en violation de tous les principes démocratiques  et d’ordre constitutionnel au Brésil.

Le terme de « Coup d’Etat », tel que défini par les sciences politiques  est donc la terminologie qui  caractérise la procédure qui a amené à la destitution de la présidente Dilma Russeff.

Selon le président du Tribunal, Juarez Tavares,  l’intérêt d’un tel tribunal permet d’élargir le débat au niveau international car le Brésil traverse une phase importante de son histoire démocratique dans l’indifférence la plus totale.   Il met également en avant le rôle des mouvements sociaux dans la lutte pour la démocratie au Brésil , largement occulté et manipulé  par  les médias de masse en Europe et ailleurs.

 

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« La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas ». Cette citation de Baudelaire cadre parfaitement à l’heure où nous essayons de décrire – en tant que consommateurs d’informations, sans être péjoratif – les processus et les mécanismes d’un type de guerre qui a émergé, en particulier à partir de l’essor et de la consolidation du monde unipolaire des années 90.


N’ayons plus peur de qualifier la guerre telle qu’elle est : non-conventionnelle. Avec les nouvelles guerres, les conspirations, les machinations obscures des pouvoirs mondiaux, il se passe la même chose qu’avec une bactérie: on peut penser qu’elle n’existe pas puisqu’elle « ne se voit pas », mais elle agira quand même et ses effets seront visibles par la suite. Le scepticisme est aussi un produit de l’industrie.

Pour les mêmes raisons, il est certain qu’il est difficile de lui donner un visage, de l’appréhender dans toute sa dimension et toute sa profondeur, d’en dégager les ressorts, de la mettre au jour et de la séparer du fait politique sur lequel s’appliquent les actions non-conventionnelles de la guerre actuelle. Il s’agit d’aller à l’encontre du principe de « dénégation plausible » sur la base duquel la CIA « n’infirme ni ne confirme » tel ou tel agissement, dissimulant la vérité derrière un épais rideau de fumée.

Les dispositifs et les recours employés lors de l’éclatement de la Yougoslavie dans les années 90 ont évolué à des stades que nous rencontrons encore aujourd’hui mais qui n’ont pas cessé d’avoir la même base et le même cadre comme essence. On ne peut cependant pas affirmer que ce sont des modèles qui se répètent en toutes circonstances et dans tous les contextes sociopolitiques, et qu’ils s’opèrent selon exactement les mêmes caractéristiques.

Au contraire, il faut respecter la base historique et territoriale spécifique aux endroits où ils sont employés, et même s’ils conservent une structure essentielle, ses propres codes sont adaptés en fonction des variables situées autour des possibilités et des conditions qui leur sont offertes.

La guerre à laquelle nous assistons est…

  • non-conventionnelle dans le sens où elle obéit à une stratégie progressive qui cherche dans un premier temps à se servir des éléments internes qui composent la cible, notre pays par exemple (le Venezuela, ndlr), pour ensuite les retourner contre cette même cible ainsi que contre ses autorités légitimes. Elle sape toute base de légitimité, accentuant ses contradictions au niveau communicationnel, économique et opérationnel, coupant le lien affectif entre le peuple et les gouvernants, mettant en œuvre des tactiques de sabotage, pendant qu’on prépare psychologiquement la société à vivre une rébellion, qu’on forme une avant-garde politique (« la résistance ») ainsi qu’une structure de gouvernement qui finira par prendre le pouvoir une fois le gouvernement légitime subverti.
  • pluridimensionnelle puisqu’elle recouvre plusieurs secteurs et plusieurs domaines dans leur dimension économique, financière, symbolique, culturelle, communicationnelle. Sans oublier la consommation et le secteur des armes.
  • asymétrique car au-delà d’un simple affrontement, elle évolue à partir d’approximations indirectes jusqu’à ses objectifs, elle emploie des recours formellement non-militaires et appelle à appliquer le principe des avantages comparatifs, comme c’est le cas dans l’actuelle guerre du pétrole ou dans les guerres financières.
  • économique puisqu’il s’agit d’un des domaines les plus privilégiés afin d’attenter au mode de vie qui régit la société
  • culturelle parce qu’elle s’attaque également à la population (ou à une partie de celle-ci) dans sa manière de représenter ou de porter atteinte à l’amour propre en termes de valeurs culturelles, de fracturer un roman national spécifique et de pratiquer un droit à l’histoire ; elle est culturelle dans son besoin de saper toute la solidité de l’identité nationale ainsi que son héritage historico-spirituel.
  • irrégulière dans la mesure où il n’existe pas de cadre formel ou légal préétabli (la législation, les codes et les conventions relatifs à la guerre ont cessé d’exister). Ce ne sont ni des acteurs institutionnels, ni des fonctionnaires à proprement parler.
  • hybride dans le sens où elle réunit de multiples outils ainsi que tous les éléments du spectre social nécessaires comme la création de mouvements sociaux, par exemple, montés de toute pièce, de même que les hommes à tout faire des « mouvements étudiants », ou les structures syndicales, les ONG, les partis politiques modelés à l’image de leurs créateurs. Sans oublier l’assaut médiatique permanent et l’aggravation des conditions défavorables de l’économie qui se font ressentir au quotidien.
  • liquide puisqu’elle privilégie la « fluidité » et l’interconnexion de tous les champs d’action, puisqu’elle a besoin de gommer la limite qui existe entre un fait banal et un fait extraordinaire réalisé par un ennemi qui prend soin de ne pas délimiter son territoire, de ne pas être identifié, de dissimuler son visage, d’être anonyme, d’être décentralisé. Il ne faut pas qu’il puisse être enfermé s’il ne veut pas être vaincu.
  • Elle est systémique, dans le sens où elle est inhérente à la mécanique du capital, l’unique système mondial, celui qui est en train d’épuiser ses propres limites matérielles et au sein duquel ses élites s’entretuent pour savoir qui aura le pouvoir. Pendant ce temps, on continue de catégoriser et de licencier les travailleurs respectivement selon leur capacité de main d’œuvre nette, ou selon la nécessité de se séparer de ceux dont la force de travail est insuffisante dans un contexte mondial où les ressources arrivent à épuisement.

« Chaque guerre contient toutes les guerres antérieures » disait Elías Canetti. Et cela se voit en particulier de nos jours alors que l’humanité se rapproche du précipice à grandes enjambées.

Alep en tant qu’exemple

Vu sous cet angle, on comprend alors qu’avant que ces guerres entrent dans une phase ouvertement militaire, armée, les nations qui subissent ces processus souffrent d’abord d’innombrables agressions qui fragilisent le tissu social, démoralisent ou affaiblissent les esprits. La vie collective est atomisée et fracturée, la vie dans son ensemble est détériorée, les faiblesses structurelles sont accentuées, produit d’une accumulation de chocs et de débâcles économiques dont les impacts touchent tous les domaines.

C’est ce qui se passe à chaque fois. L’Irak a connu une première guerre puis des décennies d’embargo économique avant que l’agenda néoconservateur ne se remette en marche au lendemain du 11 septembre et que le pays soit de nouveau envahi en 2003 et continue d’être le théâtre d’horreurs dix ans plus tard.

La détérioration galopante des conditions en Syrie avant que la guerre internationale n’éclate a du passer par l’infiltration d’agitateurs et de groupes préparés à l’action militaire qui ont formé des cellules dont la tâche était double. Premièrement, il s’agissait de mener à bien des actions de renseignement dans les zones où ils souhaitaient s’établir à l’heure où les grèves et les « mobilisations » s’accumulaient. En second lieu, sont apparus les premiers enlèvements et séquestrations de dirigeants et de personnalités hostiles à la possible « résistance ». Il s’agissait ensuite d’activer ces groupes au moment de l’initiation de la phase armée dans l’ensemble du pays.

C’est ainsi qu’a été envahie Alep. C’est dans ce processus qu’a été abattu Haji Bakr selon certaines sources, l’architecte de la structure État islamique.

Alep, principal pôle commercial et plus grande ville syrienne était, de fait, pro-gouvernement.

La ville a été envahie, rapportent les enquêteurs sérieux. Les médias l’ont rapporté comme si ça avait été un processus de « libération ».

Ce petit recueil nous a permis de décrire très clairement le processus de la guerre non-conventionnelle qui entraîne ensuite la phase supérieure de cette entreprise : la guerre à grande échelle.

Mais avant cela, on a fabriqué la crise en s’appuyant sur la problématique sociale préexistante jusqu’à l’hypertrophier. On a accentué le trait des éléments perturbateurs et violents, et de mieux en mieux armés.

L’autre guerre

Mais, encore une fois, cela n’est pas le fruit du hasard, mais plutôt d’une trajectoire bien calculée. Les aspects territoriaux se voient validés dans leur totalité : dans le secteur de l’énergie, en particulier celles concernées par les matières premières, dans sa valeur comme lieu de transit de l’énergie et/ou de marchandises, dans sa position géostratégique, dans le secteur bio-régional, dans les antécédents politiques qui font s’interroger et qui représentent effectivement une alternative face au modèle occidental.

Tout cela en accord avec la logique du mouvement du (turbo)capitalisme actuel, qui se réduit à la rétention brutale des richesses, à la préservation de privilèges de plus en plus difformes, et à sa prévalence comme ligne directrice mondiale sans qu’aucune institution ne fasse office d’intermédiaire entre le pouvoir et la population, sans des institutions qui autrefois servait de facteur d’accumulation (comme l’État) avant que celles-ci ne deviennent des obstacles.

Un chiffre qui reflète bien cela est celui du rapport Oxfam qui conclut que 1% de la population mondiale détient autant de richesses que les 99% restants. Et que, en relation absolue avec ce dernier chiffre, il y aura cette année plus de 60 millions de personnes déplacées à cause de la guerre.

Il faudrait pouvoir rajouter à ce nombre les personnes déplacées à cause d’écocides ou de catastrophes climatiques. On pourrait à nouveau ajouter à ce dernier chiffre (combien de millions atteindrait-on alors?) les personnes vivant en ville et en situation précaire, les victimes de l’austérité et de l’indigence, mais également tout le quart monde dans son ensemble.

Combien de personnes sont sans droit ni même sans moyens de subsistance ?

C’est ce qui semble être la conséquence de toutes ces guerres, qui ont non seulement vulnérabilisé mais qui en plus s’accélère, car la guerre accélère tout. Et avec méthode.

Car elle a été théorisée. L’organisation RAND, un des think tanks les plus proches des cercles conservateurs du gouvernement et du Pentagone, l’a baptisée la « guerre longue ».

 Diego Sequera

 

Source: Mision Verdad

Traduit de l’espagnol par Rémi Gromelle pour Investig’Action

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Both militant and Syrian government sources have estimated the counteroffensive in southwest Aleppo to involve approximately 5,000 fighters moving in from Idlib province.

The operation seeks to break the now full encirclement of Aleppo by government forces.

Similar operations have been attempted both from the inside and outside of northern Aleppo near the fiercely contested Castello Road now under full government control.

Pro-militant media sources, including Qatari state broadcaster Al Jazeera has attempted to give the operation a « humanitarian » impetus, while more objective observers understand the urgent necessity of anti-government militants to salvage the immense amount of men, materiel and weapon stockpiles located within the encirclement. The political and strategic significance of holding the city of Aleppo is also not to be overlooked for both sides.

Al Jazeera in their article, « Syria’s civil war: Rebels push to break Aleppo siege, » would claim:

Syrian rebels have launched an offensive aimed at breaking a government siege of eastern Aleppo, where the UN estimates some 300,000 people are trapped with dwindling food and medical supplies. 

A rebel alliance that includes the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham group – which was formerly the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front – and the Ahrar al-Sham group said it had taken army positions in the southwestern government-held parts of the city within the first few hours of launching a battle to break the siege imposed on rebel-held areas.

Here, even pro-militant sources admit that the offensive is led by designated terrorist groups including Jabhat Al Nusra, undermining whatever humanitarian narrative pro-militant news organisations attempt to confer.

The assault has included vehicle-borne explosive devices and smokescreens created by burning tires.

Western military analysts have assumed Russian warplanes lack the sophisticated targeting systems that would enable them to peer through weather and battlefield conditions like clouds and smokescreens to spot targets. The ongoing battle and the successful or unsuccessful application of airpower during it will indicate whether or not this is still an issue.

Should the counteroffensive fail, and some reports have claimed it already has, despite the apparently large mobilisation and likely weeks of staging beforehand, it will indicate a more or less permanent control held on the city by government forces and will represent a significant blow to the militants and their foreign sponsors.

The inability for militants to hold any of Syria’s major cities undermines the narrative that the conflict is truly a civil war or that the militants themselves represent the majority of the Syrian people, most of whom live within government-held territory.

According to an article published in 2015 by the Washington-based think tank, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, titled, « The Political Geography of Syria’s War: An Interview With Fabrice Balanche, » it was estimated that:

In Syria, there now remain around 18 million inhabitants who have not perished in the war or fled the country. They are distributed thus: 3–6 million in rebel-held areas, 10–13 million in government-held areas, and 1–2 million in the Kurdish region.

This number of 3-6 million living under « rebel-held » territory, will now undoubtedly be even less with the retaking of significant portions of Aleppo throughout 2016 by government forces.

The notion that Syria is experiencing a « civil war » can be critically contested considering the majority of support for militants comes from abroad, and that the vast majority of the population has gravitated toward government-held territory. This further challenges established narratives surrounding the current offensives seeking to « break-in » to Aleppo, as well as narratives surrounding the wider war as a whole.

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

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Faced with an attempt to overthrow his government, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described the coup as “a gift from God” – and wasted no time in exploiting it to further entrench his authoritarian regime.

Turkish government broadcaster TRT was seized by a group of military officers calling themselves the “Peace in the Country Council” on July 15, who announced that they had taken over the country. Within 24 hours, the coup attempt had failed. Erdoğan responded by calling his supporters to the streets. Once his government’s survival was guaranteed, it quickly became clear that one coup’s failure was becoming another’s success.

The authoritarian president has been seeking to concentrate more power in his own hands. However, his ambitions were frustrated last year by the success of the left-wing Kurdish-led People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in elections. This blocked plans by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to change the constitution, which required winning two-thirds of parliamentary seats.

Fascist mobs, with support from the police, attacked neighbourhoods populated by Kurds, the Alevi religious minority, other minorities and leftists.

Fascist mobs, with support from the police, attacked neighbourhoods populated by Kurds, the Alevi religious minority, other minorities and leftists. Istanbul, July 16. Photo: Sendika10.org.

Erdoğan’s use of the failed coup to launch one of his own was borne out by scenes on July 16 and following days. Mobs of Erdoğan’s right-wing Islamist supporters beat and lynched soldiers surrendering after the coup and launched attacks on neighbourhoods inhabited by minorities and supporters of the left. It has been further borne out by a huge purge that has targeted not just the military, judiciary and civil service, but also the media, academia and civil society. The purge deepened pre-existing moves by Erdoğan to control these institutions.

Unravelling the Coup

The HDP opposed the coup, as did the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and other Kurdish groups that have been mounting armed resistance against the Turkish state’s brutal military onslaught over the past year.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said on July 19th:

Kurdish guerillas could have taken advantage of this attempt and seized many cities, but this would be playing into the hands of the pro-coup mindset.

[The] Kurdish movement, by not making a choice between the two pro-coup mindsets, maintained a dignified stance that insists on the democracy struggle of the peoples. However, people like Erdoğan do not have the capacity to understand this dignified stance.

Both the left and the movement of the long oppressed Kurdish minority (which makes up about 20 per cent of Turkey’s population) warned that whoever was the victor in fighting between coup-makers and Erdoğan’s forces, democracy and the people would lose.

It is not clear who was behind the failed coup. There has been some speculation that the whole thing was Erdoğan’s “Reichstag fire” – a faked coup to rally support for the president and justify further restrictions on democracy. This conspiracy theory is not as outlandish as it might seem, given the Byzantine workings of the Turkish state. Erdoğan’s inner circle has worked in close cooperation with the military in the past year’s war against the Kurdish people and in the sponsorship of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War.

The theory has been fuelled by incongruities in the events on the night of the coup. These include pro-coup air force jets intercepting, but not shooting down Erdoğan’s plane when he returned to the largest city, Istanbul, and the failure of the coup plotters to take over pro-government commercial media outlets. This allowed Erdoğan to rally support in an interview conducted over FaceTime.

However, these facts could also be explained by incompetence on the part of the coup plotters, less support than anticipated from the military or the attempted coup being executed prematurely after being discovered by the intelligence service, the MIT.

Furthermore, as left-wing journalist Ali Ergin Demirhan pointed out on Sendika10.org on July 17th: “Given that Turkey’s is a NATO army, it is well-nigh impossible for the army to conduct a successful coup against the wishes of the U.S. and EU (that is, NATO).” Support from the U.S. and EU was not forthcoming.

The “Reichstag Fire” theory was boosted when Erdoğan blamed the “parallel state” for the coup – code in AKP jargon for the followers of Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Islamic preacher who was an ally of Erdoğan until 2014. The AKP government had allowed Gülen’s supporters to infiltrate the institutions of Turkish state. The aim was to displace supporters of “Kemalism”, the right-wing secular ethnic nationalist ideology of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the Turkish Republic in the 1920s.

In 2014, Gülenists in the judiciary tried to bring corruption charges against members of Erdoğan’s inner circle. Since then, the AKP has carried out several purges against Gülenists in the state apparatus.

However, a July 21 statement by the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress explained:

It is important to specify that this coup was not undertaken by Gülenists.

Due to the conflict between the AKP and the Gülenists, sympathizers of Gülen may have taken part in the coup attempt. But by saying ‘the Gülenists attempted the coup’, AKP-Erdoğan are trying to create a platform on which they can suppress Gülen’s supporters even more.

By labelling the coup as Gülenists (who many people see as worse and more reactionary than them), they are hoping to rally support in order to take revenge on the putschists. In other words, they are trying to kill two birds with one stone.

It is evident that this attempt was backed by a large part of the army. If they had planned and executed it more professionally, it may have succeeded.

In this regard, it cannot be said that it was undertaken by Gülenists or a minority; there isn’t enough of a Gülenists presence in the army to pull off a coup.

There has also been speculation that Kemalists were behind the coup. Until the 1990s, Kemalism was dominant in the Turkish state. When its predecessors first rose to power in the ’90s, the AKP’s Islamism was a challenge to the Kemalist establishment. Kemalist ideology includes an extreme form of secularism based on the French ideology of laïcité, which, among other things, bans people wearing Islamic clothes from higher education and public sector employment.

For much of its existence, the Turkish republic has been under military rule. The armed forces have traditionally seen themselves as the guardians of the state’s Kemalist ideology. Conflict between the AKP and Kemalism has often manifested as conflict between the government and the army, resulting in large-scale purges in 2009 and 2013. This ironically benefited Gülen’s supporters. It is likely that Kemalists were involved in the failed coup. However, the two large Kemalist parties, the MHP and CHP, both opposed the coup.

Ethnic Minorities

For much of his rule, Erdoğan has been at loggerheads with the Kemalists, but in the past year there has been a rapprochement based on the violent oppression of common enemies. Primarily, this has been the Kurds. Extreme ethnic nationalism was always central to Kemalist ideology. As Turkey’s largest minority, the Kurds were subjected to forced assimilation from the Turkish Republic’s birth in the 1920s. (The other two main minorities – Armenians and Greeks – were ethnically cleansed shortly before and during the republic’s birth.)

The state not only banned Kurdish culture, Kurdish names and the Kurdish language, it even banned the letters “q”, “w” and “x” because these exist in Kurdish but not Turkish. Thousands of people were forcibly moved to cities in a bid to erase their ethnic identity.

After the PKK initiated armed resistance in 1984, about 30,000 Kurds were slaughtered by the military and paramilitaries. The Humanitarian Law Project documented 18,000 extrajudicial executions of Kurdish civilians.

When Erdoğan was first elected as prime minister in 2003, his government took a more liberal approach toward the Kurds. The Kurdish language remained banned from use for official purposes, but speaking it was no longer a crime and the letters “q”, “w” and “x” were legalized. The PKK remained illegal, and its leader Abdullah Öcalan remained imprisoned in an island dungeon. But the regime held sporadic talks with the PKK and Öcalan, culminating in the 2013 peace process.

The AKP regime was initially more liberal than its Kemalist predecessors in other respects. However, it was also fiercely neoliberal. In 2013, protests against the privatization of public space in Istanbul’s Gezi Park mushroomed into a nationwide youth-led movement for economic opportunities, civil liberties and against increasing moves by Erdoğan to concentrate power in his own hands.

This “Gezi Park” movement involved Turkey’s large, highly militant but perennially factionalized ‘old left’. Most significantly, though, it sparked the creation of a ‘new left’, similar to anti-neoliberal movements erupting at the same time in public squares in southern Europe and incorporating the feminist, LGBTI, environmentalist and other movements.

The HDP managed to unite most of the old and new left with the Kurdish movement into an electoral force strong enough to deny the AKP a two thirds majority in elections in July last year. In doing so, the HDP secured significant parliamentary representation for forces threatening to both Turkey’s Islamist and Kemalist elites.

Erdoğan’s response was to call a second election, restart the war against the Kurds and launch violent crackdowns against the opposition. There were mass arrests of academics, closure of newspapers and the flattening of Kurdish towns and cities. The regime also used mob violence against leftists, Kurds, religious minorities and those seen as non-conformist.

Significantly, Islamist AKP supporters stood shoulder-to-shoulder with secular fascist “Grey Wolves” affiliated to the Kemalist MHP in this mob violence. Despite this, the second election, on November 1, still failed to give the AKP its two thirds majority or keep the HDP out of parliament.

The renewed war against the Kurds put the armed forces at the centre of politics again. Why a section of the armed forces turned against the regime is unclear. The air force most clearly sided with the coup, while the MIT, the Special Forces Command and the Turkish National Police most clearly opposed it. The bulk of army land forces stayed out of the fighting, leading to speculation that they may be biding their time for another coup attempt.

It is possible that Erdoğan’s foreign policy may be a factor. When the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Erdoğan gave support to mainly Islamist armed groups fighting the Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad, hoping to gain influence over a post-Assad regime. Some groups were supplied with arms and logistical support, while others were directly created and run by the MIT. The extent of Turkish involvement in Syria grew and its objectives changed with the rise of the revolution in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) in 2012. In Rojava, a left-wing movement led by Kurdish forces ideologically allied to the PKK had become a key player in Syria’s conflict.

With crushing Rojava the main objective, and various Turkish-backed armed groups failing to do so, Turkish support went to the groups that Erdoğan viewed as most likely to be able to accomplish this: first the al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front, then ISIS. Western governments have consistently downplayed its NATO ally’s support for ISIS – the West’s official arch-enemy. But at certain times, Turkey’s relationship with the West was strained by the constant traffic of jihadis through Turkey, on the one hand, and the U.S.’s tactical alliance with the Rojava-based forces on the other.

Turkey’s air force shot down a Russian military plane last November in a move intended to force the U.S. to side more closely with Turkey. But all it achieved was a hostile relationship with Russia.

Furthermore, Turkey seems to have suffered blowback from its involvement in Syria in the form of ISIS terrorism in Turkey. Initial ISIS attacks in Turkey suggested the relationship between the AKP and ISIS remained strong. The June 5 attack in Diyarbakir last year, which killed four people, and the October 10 attack in Ankara, which killed more than 100, targeted the HDP and were straight out electoral violence on behalf of the AKP.

Last year’s July 20 attack in Suruç, which killed 33 left-wing youth travelling to Kobanê to help reconstruct the iconic ISIS-ravaged Rojava town, also eliminated militant opponents of the government. There is evidence the police enabled all these attacks.

However, since then, ISIS attacks in Turkey have become more indiscriminate, targeting random civilians and tourists. The reason might be that as ISIS failed to crush Rojava, Turkey has given more support to other armed proxies in Syria.

Suspending Democracy

Just before the failed coup, the Erdoğan government normalized relations with Russia and with Israel. Relations with Israel had become strained after the Israeli murder of Turkish activists attempting to break the blockade of Gaza in 2010. There were also reported moves toward normalising relations with Assad’s ally, Iran, and even Assad himself.

Whether the failed coup-makers were opposed to this policy shift, or opposed to Erdoğan’s previous policy in Syria is a matter for speculation. Interestingly, Iran was one of the first countries to condemn the coup, even before it was certain it had failed. What is certain is that whether the coup succeeded or failed, the result would be the same inside Turkey – greater violence and oppression.

The coup’s failure has strengthened Erdoğan and the Islamist wing of the Turkish state and political elite. On July 16, pro-Erdoğan mobs beheaded and beat to death captured soldiers – many of whom were conscripts who were unaware they were taking part in a coup, having been told by their commanders that they were responding to a terrorism alert in Istanbul. Since then these mobs have, with support from the police, attacked neighbourhoods that are populated by Kurds, the Alevi religious minority, other minorities and leftists in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities.

Syrian refugees have also been targeted, suggesting ethnic nationalism, as well as Islamism, has fuelled the mob violence. However, Sendeka10.org reported on July 17 that residents of these communities militantly resisted the mobs, in some cases successfully.

A purge of the armed forces is understandable after a failed coup, but Erdoğan is using the pretext to achieve the concentration of power he has been striving for. About 7000 people, civilians as well as soldiers, have been arrested. Journalists have had their credentials revoked and TV stations have had their licenses taken away. About 15,200 education workers and more than 2800 members of the judiciary have been sacked.

On July 21, Erdoğan declared a state of emergency and suspended the application of the European Convention on Human Rights.

HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen responded: “If the coup was successful they would have declared a state of emergency. The AKP government who claim that they pushed back the coup and protected democracy now declares a state of emergency and does what would have happened.”

JINHA Women’s News Agency responded that Kurds had been living under a state of emergency for the past 36 years. But the response of the Kurdish movement, the left and Turkey’s militant working class communities has shown that resistance will continue even in the face of greater repression.

As Ali Ergin Demirhan put it: “Ultimately, it behoves everyone who says no to both a coup and an Islamist dictatorship to remember the third option presented at Gezi as a model for resisting for democracy.” •

Tony Iltis writes for Green Left Weekly, where this article first appeared.

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What is the purpose of the European Union? This question has been on the minds of everyone following the UK vote in favor of Brexit. Yet in the mad scramble to make sense of the United Kingdom’s rejection of the EU, little lucid commentary has been made. European leaders, the fawning media, and UK citizens alike portrayed the vote as either a refusal of EU austerity, or unhappiness with immigrants and open borders.

So which one was it: a rejection of austerity or immigration? 

Were UK citizens fed up with austerity measures, and with unreasonable and onerous regulations and taxes paid to the EU bureaucracy? Or were Brexiters caught up in a fever of anti-immigrant nationalism and populist demagoguery, egged on by the odious Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage?

In truth, this is a misleading either/or question: UK citizens were fed up with both lax immigration controls and EU-imposed austerity. By framing the question this way, political commentators miss the larger picture: it is globalization that is the cause of the disintegration of Western political systems and civil society, and it is globalization, i.e. predatory capitalism, that is the root cause of the anger and rage felt by voters of Brexit.

This rage was displaced: for white, working class UK citizens facing declining living standards and social mobility, immigrants are easy targets for their fury to be unleashed on. The undemocratic, sclerotic, neoliberal rule emanating from the EU also made for a useful scapegoat. No one can doubt the contempt and disregard EU leaders have for ordinary citizens, and for a genuine people’s democracy. Besides each member nation offering citizens their own referendum to stay or leave, what else can be done?

This brings us full circle, back to the question: what does the EU stand for? Reduced to a single word, there can be no doubt that at the moment, the EU’s leadership unflinchingly promotes globalization, the tentacle-like network of transnational capitalism, along with all its militarist, industrialist, oligarchic, and kowtowing media trappings.

What seems to have gone unnoticed, except for a few astute observers, was the lack of talk about the UK and EU’s role in the wider world. As the venerable Andre Vltchek explains:

“Almost no commentator bothered to notice what was truly shocking about the entire referendum process: an absolute lack of progressive ideology, of internationalism and concern for the world as a whole. Both sides (and were there really two sides there) presented a fireworks of shallow selfishness and of pettiness. The profound moral corruption of the West was clearly exposed… Everybody in Europe now wants more, more and more. Screw austerity! ‘Give us more benefits!’ Provide us with better wages, job security, and shorter working hours!” 

A cautionary tale was revealed last year when former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis explained his dealings with the Eurogroup, which convenes to discuss Euro currency matters. After the Eurogroup issued a communiqué without him, Varoufakis rightly asked for clarification. Here’s the response:

“The meeting was briefly halted. After a handful of calls, a lawyer turned to him and said, ‘Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group.’”

Varoufakis elaborates:

 “What we have is a non-existent group that has the greatest power to determine the lives of Europeans. It’s not answerable to anyone, given it doesn’t exist in law; no minutes are kept; and it’s confidential. No citizen ever knows what is said within . . . These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody.”

This is the new boss, same as the old boss. EU finance leaders are unaccountable to their citizens, just as European and world business leaders are plotting to unravel national and supranational regulatory structures by imposing the TTIP, TISA, and TTP trade deals.

Yet there is another vision of Europe which can supplant the consumerist, neoliberal mold that the EU is turning into, ostensibly in order to compete with the US and China. The idea of a universal world culture, with dignity and egalitarian democracy for all peoples, is what Europeans should strive for. This is hinted at in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sets the tone for future forms of limited international governance and worldwide social justice initiatives, cultural and environmental rights, and individual liberties.

This sketch of a livable future world confederation, with nonviolent social relations, has its roots in the great Immanuel Kant’s “Perpetual PeaceImagine if all EU policy-makers were required to read such a revelatory work, and form legislation based on it.

Of course, the pro-capitalist EU leadership won’t take action without momentum from civil society. For this to happen, what Bassam Tibi calls a Leitkultur (“Leading Culture”) must develop. This means that the postmodern illusions of superficial multiculturalism and cultural relativism must be squashed. For Tibi, Enlightenment values, based on universal rights, secularism, pluralism, and democracy must be protected and expanded for all Europeans, which could re-engage and spark interest among citizens to rework the wider social fabric.

Additionally, this may have the effect of dislodging people in the West from their Eurocentric bubbles. With significant progress, widening empathy for others could foster the internationalism needed to provide poorer countries with the resources, technology, and solidarity to vanquish poverty, improve quality of life, and fight against Western-backed tin-pot dictators in the developing nations.

In his essay “The Idea of Europe”, George Steiner explains the need to rise above our corporate, consumer worldview:

“It may be that the future of the ‘idea of Europe’, if it has one, depends less on central banking and agricultural subsidies, on investment in technology or common tariffs, than we are instructed to believe. It may be that the OECD or NATO, the further extension of the Euro or of parliamentary bureaucracies on the model of Luxembourg are not the primary dynamics of the European vision. Or if, indeed, they are, that vision is hardly one to rouse the human soul… Making money and flooding our lives with increasingly trivialised material goods is a profoundly vulgar, emptying passion.”

While Steiner is in favor of European integration, for him, a proviso is necessary: Europe must not give in to the standardization, to the tyranny of the masses, and the homogeny of Anglo-American culture, or the authoritarianism of the emerging East Asian model. Europeans must embrace their differences, their local traditions, even as they maintain a wider Union to stave off warfare and unbridled economic competition.

For Europe to thrive and maintain global influence, the traditions of great art, literature, and radical humanism should be nurtured, with economic preferences given to small businesses and cooperatives. This is in contrast to the US-UK “merchant model” of the transnational conglomerates, or their Asian counterparts, the Korean Chaebols and Japanese Keiretsus.

We know what the EU stands for now: globalization and all its discontents. The dreary, neoliberal perspective of leaders like Hollande and Merkel must be replaced: it is the most radical ideas of visionaries like Kant, Tibi, and Steiner that should be upheld. In doing so, the myopia and selfishness of the capitalist worldview becomes all too clear. By embracing universalism, the roots of world conflict can be addressed: material poverty in the developing nations would be history within a few short years, if, for example, the West reallocated their military budgets to such ends. Conversely, the spiritual emptiness of rampant consumerism and sensationalist media could be vanquished in the West, if compassion and solidarity is expanded towards Asia, Africa, Latin America, and indigenous peoples across the globe. Capitalism, and the expanded version of globalization are Europe’s past: the only possible future is to embrace universalism.

William Hawes is a writer specializing in politics and the environment. You can find his ebook of collected essays here. His articles have appeared online at Global Research, Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, and Counterpunch. You can email him at [email protected]

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After baseless allegations from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that the Russian government was behind a hack of the DNC’s emails, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sarcastically quipped that he hoped Russia would find and release the deleted emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server from her time as secretary of state. The New York Times failed to note the sarcasm and treated the comments as evidence of high crimes against the state. It was an example of the modern day red-baiting against Trump, who is portrayed as being in league with Russian President Vladimir Putin to conspire against the United States itself.

The Times said Trump was « essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state. » While Trump is such a narcissitic buffoon that it is often difficult to discern when he is being facetious, he was clearly making a joke.

But treating the comment in the spirit it was intended would mean passing up a golden opportunity to bash Trump for what has become common knowledge in mainstream political analysis: Trump is anti-American for being diplomatic instead of vilifying Russia and Putin at every opportunity. They scrutinize and make a point of every statement Trump makes that fails to antagonize Russia for actions the US government doesn’t antagonize other countries for.

While they merely imply « urging » cyberespionage is treasonous rather than state it explicitly, the Times finds it so important that they place it in the lead paragraph. This is curiously prominent, much more prominent that when President Barack Obama literally joked about incinerating a family with a remotely guided missile.

At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2010, Obama said:

The Jonas Brothers are here. (Applause.) They’re out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But, boys, don’t get any ideas. (Laughter.) I have two words for you – predator drones. (Laughter.) You will never see it coming. (Laughter.) You think I’m joking. (Laughter.)

Unlike Trump’s joke, which warranted its own headline (« Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails »), Obama’s joke wasn’t mentioned in the Times’ headline about the event (« Obama and Leno Share a Time Slot« ) nor the lead. Their summary of the night’s newsworthiness noted « jokes about Representative John Boehner’s tan, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s lack of restraint and the Fox News-MSNBC divide. »

You had to go all the way down to the eighth paragraph to find the briefest possible mention of Obama’s obscene drone murder joke/threat:

Mr. Obama noted the presence of the Jonas Brothers, who can count Sasha and Malia Obama among their fans. But the First Father warned the band: ‘Two words: predator drones.’

If another world leader hypothetically ran a global assassination under which he unilaterally assumed the power to kill anyone he wanted in the world, anywhere, any time, with the only criteria needed to order someone’s death being internal deliberations within the executive branch, it would produce such a frenzy in corporate media they would devote themselves nearly exclusively to beating the drums for regime change, much as they did leading up to the Iraq War.

If that hypothetical leader then joked about people he was killing, it would undoubtedly be a banner headline on the front page for days or weeks. There would certainly be apoplectic outrage, and you most definitely wouldn’t have to scroll down to the eighth paragraph to learn about it.

Mark Karlin wrote in Buzzflash at Truthout in 2014 that Obama’s mock threat to the Jonas brothers « evoked the US indifference to those persons killed overseas by drone strikes. That is because the guffaws of the corporate media were based on the subconscious premise that Obama’s boasting of his power to authorize kill strikes is limited to people of little note to DC insiders, Middle-Eastern civilians (collateral damage) and persons alleged to be terrorists or in areas where terrorists allegedly congregate. »

As  Jeanne Mirer, president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, writes in Drones and Targeted Killing: « If the person against whom lethal force is directed has not been convicted of a crime for which a death sentence is permissible in the state where the killing occurs, the targeted killing is also an ‘extrajudicial’ killing, outside of any legal process. Targeted extrajudicial killing is, by its very nature, illegal. » [1] But corporate media like the New York Times could not care less that Obama is violating international human rights law and the US Constitution by assassinating people.

What produces the greatest moral outrage in the Times and the media elites is perceived attacks on the American state, or perceived threats to American supremacy. Thus theTimes calls Trump’s joke « another bizarre moment in the mystery of whether Vladimir Putin’s government has been seeking to influence the United States’ presidential race. »

What is supposedly bizarre is unclear. What is dubbed a « mystery » is really nothing more than a conspiracy theory. The Times cites the DNC’s accusations that Russian intelligence agents hacked the committee’s emails. The DNC’s frantic finger pointing at Russia are a transparent tactic to distract from the damning content of the emails themselves, as Nadia Prupis has written at Common Dreams.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange noted in an interview with Democracy Now that any such claims are « simply speculation » and when Hillary’s campaign manager Robby Mook was asked in a TV interview to name the experts he was citing as evidence, Mook refused flatly.

The Times validates the DNC’s objective evidence-free accusations by saying American intelligence agencies have confirmed with « high confidence » the Russian government was behind the attack. They have not publicly presented any evidence at all, but their word at face value is good enough for the Times to consider it damning proof.

American intelligence agencies and the military have a motive to hype the Russian « threat » to justify their own budget requests and advance the US government’s policy of global hegemony, presumably unaware that the Cold War ended 25 years ago.

In case Russia’s transgressions are not self-evident enough for Times readers, they call attention to Trump’s refusal to condemn Russia’s « seizure » of Crimea and willingness to consider whether to lift sanctions against the Russian government as a « remarkable departure from United States policy. »

It would be a departure from US policy against Russia. But it is not US policy to sanction countries for incorporating territory outside their recognized borders in general. Quite the opposite in fact. Unlike Crimea, which voted with roughly 97 percent support to join Russia in a peaceful transition to re-integrate itself into the country it had been part of for several centuries, Israel seized the Palestinian territories nearly 50 years ago through violent military aggression against the unanimous wishes of both the Palestinians themselves and nearly the entire Middle East and beyond. In the subsequent half century, the US has showered Israel with more than $150 billion in aid while fighting tooth and nail any attempt in the United Nations to hold Israel to account for its indisputable violations of international law.

The US has also generously gifted millions of dollars in aid to countries like Indonesia after they had seized East Timor and carried a genocidal assault against nearly one third of the country’s population and sponsored France’s attempts to reconquer their former colony Vietnam after World War II (before stepping in directly and unleashing the most horrific military assault on a country’s people and environment in modern times.)

But policies of supporting other country’s human rights and international violations are not of interest to the Times if those countries are seen as allied with US « interests » or « values. » It is only when someone questions whether it is necessary to continue treating another government as an enemy that they are called on to take a hard-line in standing up for international law.

The Times calls Russia « often hostile to the United Sates » while NATO continues to encircle the country from all sides and Obama has ordered what amounts to a permanent buildup of NATO personnel and weapons along Russia’s borders and instigated a new nuclear arms race by spending $1 trillion to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal and make weapons more usable, i.e., more likely to be employed.

In another article titled « As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue, » theTimes asks what they purport to be a widespread question: « Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election. »

While this is merely another conspiracy theory without any actual evidence supporting it, it is the case that countries often do meddle in the elections of other countries. But it is almost always the US government itself doing it to others, which explains why it is ignored by the Times and the rest of the media establishment.

In Rogue State, William Blum lists twenty cases of US interference in the elections of sovereign countries (including Russia itself):

Philippines, 1950s
Italy, 1948-1970s
Lebanon, 1950s
Indonesia, 1955
Vietnam, 1955
British Guyana, 1953-64
Japan 1958-1970s
Nepal, 1959
Laos, 1960
Brazil, 1962
Dominican Republic, 1962
Chile, 1964-1970
Portugal, 1974-75
Australia, 1974-75
Jamaica, 1976
Nicaragua, 1984, 1990
Haiti, 1987-1988
Russia, 1996
Mongolia, 1996
Bosnia, 1998

But the actions themselves are not the issue. Not all violations of international law or subversion of state sovereignty are created equal. If the US government is the perpetrator of such actions, they are glossed over or ignored entirely. But when the US itself is seen as the subject of such violation (even when it is purely in the imaginations of conspiracy theorists and others seeking to demonize official enemies, as appears to be the case in the current moment) any one who doesn’t join forcefully in the demonization is vilified relentlessly, as Trump is experiencing in the pages of theTimes and across the mainstream media.

References

[1] Cohn, Marjorie. Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. Olive Branch Press, 2014. Kindle Edition.

[2] Blum, William. Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. 2016. Kindle Edition.

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Diez años después de que Slobodan Milosevic, ex presidente de la desaparecida Yugoslavia, muriera en extrañas circunstancias, el Tribunal Penal Internacional ha exonerado al político servio de la responsabilidad en supuestos crímenes de guerra cometidos en Bosnia (…).

Diez años después de que Slobodan Milosevic, ex presidente de la desaparecida Yugoslavia,  muriera en extrañas circunstancias,  el Tribunal Penal Internacional ha exonerado al  político servio de la responsabilidad en supuestos crímenes de guerra cometidos en Bosnia entre los años 1992-1995 .

En un fallo extraordinariamente revelador, pero que los medios de comunicación occidentales han procurado mantener discretamente silenciado, la Sala de Primera Instancia del Tribunal de La Haya que condenó a Radovan Karadzic llegó en su sentencia a la conclusión, unánime, de que Slobodan Milosevic no había formado parte  en una « empresa criminal conjunta » para « limpiar étnicamente » a Bosnia  de musulmanes y croatas.

La sentencia establece que las comunicaciones interceptadas entre Milosevic y Radovan Karadzic ponen en evidencia  que el primero había calificado  como ‘un acto ilegítimo en respuesta a otro acto ilegítimo » el intento de la asamblea serbobosnia de expulsar a los musulmanes y croatas del territorio bosnio.

Asimismo, los jueces del Tribunal Internacional también encontraron pruebas irrefutables de que « Slobodan Milosevic había expresado sus reservas acerca de que una Asamblea serbobosnia pudiera excluir a los musulmanes  de Yugoslavia. »

La sentencia dice, igualmente, que en  el curso de  reuniones celebradas con  serbios y  funcionarios serbios-bosnios , « Slobodan Milosevic había afirmado que  los miembros de otras naciones y grupos étnicos debían de ser protegidos,  y que en el interés nacional de los serbios no debe figurar la discriminación en contra de otras etnias » En aquella ocasión « Milosevic declaró, además, que el crimen de los grupos étnicos debía ser combatido con energía. »

UN VILIPENDIO GENERALIZADO

Slobodan Milosevic fue vilipendiado de manera sistemática  por toda la prensa occidental y por los políticos  de los países de la OTAN. Los medios de comunicacion de la época lo calificaron como el « carnicero de los Balcanes « , y lo compararon con Hitler. Fue acusado igualmente de   « genocida » y de ser « un monstruo sediento de sangre », según rezaban los titulares de los grandes rotativos europeos y estadounidenses  de entonces. Con la utilización de ese cliché falsificado se trató de justificar no sólo las sanciones económicas contra Serbia, sino también los bombardeos de la OTAN en 1999 sobre Serbia , así como la encarnizada guerra de Kosovo.

El político serbio pasó los últimos cinco años de su vida en prisión, defendiendo  tanto a su país como a sí mismo de las horrendos cargos de los crímenes cometidos durante una guerra  que ahora el Tribunal Internacional ha reconocido que Slobodan Milosevic trató siempre de  detener.

No obstante, en su última sentencia el Tribunal Internacional de La Haya no hizo nada para que  fuera pública explicitamente conocido que en ella quedaba limpio el nombre de Milosevic de los crímenes de los que se le acusaba. Sigilosamente, los jueces enterraron entre más de 2.590 páginas  su inocencia, a sabiendas de que la mayoría de la gente nunca se iba a molestar en leer entero  tan profuso veredicto. Pero afortunadamente no ha sucedido asi.

¿UN CRIMEN  ENCUBIERTO?

En estas circunstancias, vale la pena recordar que Slobodan Milosevic murió en todavía  inaclaradas circunstancias. Formalmente, su muerte  se debió a un  ataque al corazón. Este se  produjo apenas dos semanas después de que el Tribunal Interlacional rechazara su solicitud para someterse a una cirugía de corazón en Rusia. Fue encontrado muerto en su celda,  72 horas después de que su abogado enviara una carta al Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de Rusia,en la que denunciaba que  Milosevic estaba siendo deliberadamente envenenado.

En un informe oficial del Tribunal de La Haya acerca de la investigación realizada sobre su muerte, se confirmó que se había encontrado rifampicina en   un análisis de sangre realizado postmorten.

La presencia de rifamicina – un medicamento que nunca le había sido prescrito por sus médicos – en la sangre de Milosevic, había estado contrarrestando los efectos del  farmaco que estaba tomando contra la presión alta, hecho que  multiplicó las posibilidades de que sufriera un infarto, que finalmente terminaria siendo la causa de su muerte .

Todas estas circunstancias dieron lugar a la fundada sospecha  de que  poderosos intereses geopolíticos preferían un Milosevic muerto, antes de que finalizara el juicio, a ver cómo el Tribunal Internacional terminaba absolviéndolo por falta de pruebas. Un gran número de cables  del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos, filtrados por Wikileaks, confirmaron que el Tribunal estuvo discutiendo sobre la condición médica deMilosevic, así como sobre los registros médicos realizados por personal de la Embajada de Estados Unidos en La Haya, sin que para ello contaran con el consentimiento de los jueces. Todos  hechos ponen en tela de juicio que la muerte de Milosevic se debiera simplemente a « causas naturales », tal y como pretendieron presentarla los medios occidentales.

Redacción CS

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Anti-Russian hysteria in America reached its apogee this week as Democrats tried to divert attention from embarrassing revelations about how the Democratic Party apparatus had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders by claiming Vlad Putin and his KGB had hacked and exposed the Dem’s emails.

This was rich coming from the US that snoops into everyone’s emails and phones across the globe. Remember German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone being bugged by the US National Security Agency?

Unnamed US ‘intelligence officials’ claimed they had ‘high confidence’ that the Russian KGB or GRU (military intelligence) had hacked the Dem’s emails. These were likely the same officials who had ‘high confidence’ that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

Blaming Putin was a master-stroke of deflection. No more talk of Hillary’s slush fund foundation or her status as a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs and the rest of Wall Street. All attention was focused on President Putin who has been outrageously demonized by the US media and politicians.

Except for a small faux pas – a montage of warships shown at the end of the Democratic Convention is a blaze of jingoistic effusion embarrassingly turned out to be Russian warships!

Probably another trick by the awful Putin who has come to replace Satan in the minds of many Americans.

And what a joy for the war party that those dastardly Ruskis are now back as Enemy Number One. Much more fun than scruffy Arabs. The word is out: more stealth bombers, more warships, more missiles, more troops for Europe. The wicked Red Chinese will have to wait their turn until Uncle Sam can deal with them.

I always find conventions depressing affairs. Rather than the cradle of democracy, they remind me of clownish Shriners Conventions. Or as the witty Democratic advisor Paul Begala said, `Hollywood for ugly people.’ What, I kept wondering, is the rest of the world thinking as it watching this tawdry spectacle?

One thing that that amazed me was the Convention’s lack of attention to America’s longest ever war that still rages in the mountains of Afghanistan. For the past thirteen years, America, the world’s greatest military and economic power, has been trying to crush the life out of Afghan Pashtun mountain tribesmen whose primary sin is fiercely opposing occupation by the US and its local Afghan opium-growing stooges.

The saintly President Barack Obama repeatedly proclaimed the Afghan War over and staged phony troops withdrawals. He must have believed his generals who kept claiming they had just about defeated the resistance alliance, known as Taliban.

But the war was far from being ‘almost won.’ The US-installed puppet regime in Kabul of President Ashraf Ghani, a former banker, holds on only thanks to the bayonets of US troops and the US Air Force. Without constant air strikes, the US-installed Ghani regime and its drug-dealing would have been swept away by Taliban and its tribal allies.

So the US remains stuck in Afghanistan. Obama lacked the courage to pull US troops out. Always weak in military affairs, Obama bent to demands of the Pentagon and CIA to dig in lest the Red Chinese or Pakistan take over this strategic nation. The US oil industry was determined to assure trans-Afghan pipeline routes south from Central Asia. India has its eye on Afghanistan. Muslims could not be allowed to defeat the US military.

Look what happened to the Soviets after they admitted defeat in Afghanistan and pulled out. Why expose the US Empire to a similar geopolitical risk?

With al-Qaida down to less than 50 members in Afghanistan, according to former US defense chief Leon Panetta, what was the ostensible reason for Washington to keep garrisoning Afghanistan? The shadowy ISIS is now being dredged up as the excuse to stay.

This longest of wars has cost nearly $1 trillion to date – all of its borrowed money – and caused the deaths of 3,518 US and coalition troops, including 158 Canadians who blundered into a war none of them understood.

No one has the courage to end this pointless war. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Afghans are being killed. Too bad no one at the Democratic or Republican Conventions had time to think about the endless war in forgotten Afghanistan.

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Relations between Ankara and Washington are deteriorating rapidly following the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, which the Turkish government believes was supported by the Obama administration. In a series of stunning statements on Friday, delivered from the bombed-out ruins of a police base in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan directly accused the US government of backing the coup.

Erdogan denounced statements by top US military and intelligence officials attending a security conference in Aspen, Colorado who criticized him for launching a purge of the Turkish army in the aftermath of the coup. US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper rebuked Erdogan for arresting Turkish military officers close to Washington. “Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested,” he fumed. “There’s no question this is going to set back and make more difficult cooperation with the Turks.”

Gen. Joseph Votel, the chief of the US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, warned that the purge was “something to be very, very concerned about” because it could harm the campaign against the Islamic State (IS) militia in Syria. NATO Supreme Commander General Curtis Scaparrotti declared, “Some of the officers that we have our relationships with in Turkey are now either detained, in some cases retired as a result of the coup. We’ve got some work to do there.”

Erdogan angrily charged Votel with supporting the coup, saying,

“The US general stands on the coup plotters’ side with his words. He disclosed himself via his statements… Is it up to you to decide on this? Who are you? Instead of thanking the state for repelling the coup attempt, you stand with the coup plotters.”

Referring to the US-based Turkish Islamist Fethullah Gülen, whom he accuses of organizing the coup, Erdogan said:

“The coup plotter is in your country. You are nurturing him there. It’s out in the open.” He added, “My people know who is behind this scheme… they know who the superior intelligence behind it is, and with these statements you are revealing yourselves, you are giving yourselves away.”

The Turkish president attacked US and European ruling circles for expressing concern that escalating arrests of army officers would harm Turkey’s future. He pledged to continue the crackdown in the army. “What are their concerns?” he asked. “They are concerned about the suspensions, detentions, arrests and the like and the increase in them. Are they going to increase? If the people are guilty, they will.”

The statements by both Erdogan and the US officials underscore the drastic deterioration in relations between Washington and Ankara that had already occurred prior to the coup. Far from welcoming Erdogan’s survival, Washington is attacking a government that narrowly survived a coup attempt that claimed over 270 lives and nearly led to Erdogan’s assassination.

The coup has exposed the explosive tensions growing behind the scenes within the NATO alliance, of which Turkey is a member state. The attempted putsch took place against the backdrop of a warming of relations between Turkey and Russia that cuts across US policy in the Middle East, in particular, US plans to undermine Russian influence by orchestrating the overthrow of Moscow’s sole surviving Arab ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Turkish government recklessly shot down a Russian jet involved in fighting US-backed rebels in Syria. In the aftermath of that incident in November of last year, Turkey has become increasingly concerned that the Syrian war is strengthening the position of separatist Kurdish forces. Under those conditions, Ankara intitated a broad shift in its foreign policy this spring. It signaled that it might cease backing the Syrian war, which it had agreed to support shortly after Washington launched it five years ago.

After the ouster of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in May, his replacement, Binali Yıldırım, proposed to bring Turkish foreign policy back to the “good old days.” He said he intended to “increase the number of friends and reduce the number of enemies.”

In June, Erdogan sent Moscow a letter calling Russia “a friend and a strategic partner.” The letter stated, according to the Kremlin, “We never had a desire or a deliberate intention to down an aircraft belonging to Russia.”

Coincidentally or otherwise, Davutoglu has made statements indicating that he gave the shoot-down order in November–though he later retracted them–and the pilot who shot down the Russian warplane in November flew a rebel F-16 fighter over Ankara during the failed coup.

On July 13, two days before the coup, Yıldırım even included Syria in the list of countries with which Turkey intended to improve ties. He said, “I am sure that we will return ties with Syria to normal. We need it. We normalized our relations with Israel and Russia. I’m sure we will go back to normal relations with Syria as well.”

Since 2001, US imperialism has laid waste to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria in order to install pro-US puppet regimes, crush Russian influence and dominate the Middle East. It takes little imagination to recognize that powerful sections of the American bourgeoisie, which historically backed three successful coups in Turkey (1960, 1971 and 1980), might have at least tolerated last month’s coup attempt in order to cut off developing ties between Russia and Turkey.

The US foreign policy establishment is, moreover, deeply disturbed by the policies Erdogan outlined after the coup, indicating that he was considering an alliance with Russia and Iran. In a telephone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani a few days after the coup, Erdogan said that Turkey is now “even more determined to work hand-in-hand with Iran and Russia to resolve regional issues and strengthen our efforts to return peace and stability to the region.” Erdogan is now scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on August 9.

US officials in Aspen insisted that such alliances were unacceptable to Washington. Clapper accused Moscow of trying to “drive a wedge between Turkey and the West, specifically Turkey and NATO.”

As for Scaparrotti, he declared,

“We will watch closely how this relationship develops. I would be concerned if they were departing from the values that are the bedrock of the Washington Treaty [which founded NATO]—the rule of law.”

Under these conditions, US claims that Washington had no advance warning of the coup are simply not credible. Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which hosts more than 5,000 American soldiers and is the main base for the US-led bombing campaign against Syria and Iraq, was the organizing center of the putsch. Pro-coup fighter jets flew in and out of Incirlik as the coup unfolded. Shortly after the coup failed, the base commander, General Bekir Ercan Van, was arrested along with other pro-coup soldiers at the base.

Given that Incirlik is the site of dozens of US nuclear weapons, no credibility can be given to claims that US intelligence was unaware that a coup against Erdogan was being organized from there. Were that truly the case, it would represent a CIA intelligence breakdown of stunning proportions.

It is now being reported that Ankara received warning of the coup and Erdogan escaped assassination only because of reports from Russian forces that US-linked assassins were on the way to kill him.

Russian forces at the nearby Khmeimim airbase in Syria reportedly intercepted coded radio signals containing information about preparations for a coup and shared them with the Turkish government. Erdogan left a hotel in Marmaris only minutes before 25 rebel soldiers descended on the hotel and began shooting. Ultimately, hundreds were killed and thousands wounded as rebel army units bombed the Turkish parliament and attacked pro-Erdogan protesters and loyal military and police units.

A pro-coup officer captured by the Turkish government, Lieutenant Colonel Murat Bolat, told the conservative Yeni Savak newspaper that his unit was designated to detain and possibly murder Erdogan after receiving precise information on Erdogan’s location from US sources.

“A person in the meeting, whom I guess was an officer from the Special Forces, said, ‘Nobody will be allowed to rescue the president from our hands,’” he said, indicating that this meant Erdogan was to be shot after he was captured if the forces who had arrested him faced any counterattack.

Yeni Safak also identified US General John F. Campbell as the “man behind the failed coup.” According to the newspaper, the former commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces in Afghanistan worked with a team of 80 CIA operatives, distributing $2 billion to pro-US and pro-Gülen elements in the Turkish military to prepare the coup.

  • Posted in Non classé
  • Commentaires fermés sur Erdogan Accuses US of Supporting Failed Coup in Turkey. US General Described as « The Man Behind the Coup »

Un tribunal de Washington a autorisé la Banque mondiale à ne pas répondre de ses actes devant la justice étasunienne |1|. Les plaignants indiens ont déjà fait appel de cette décision qui confère à la Banque mondiale une immunité qui la place de facto au dessus des lois.

Le litige oppose des pêcheurs et des paysans indiens à la Société financière internationale (SFI) – la branche de la Banque mondiale chargée de soutenir le secteur privé – qui a financé à hauteur de 450 millions de dollars la construction d’une centrale à charbon (dans l’État fédéré de Gujarat situé dans la partie ouest de l’Inde). Les plaignants demandent aux juges de Washington, où se trouve le siège de la Banque mondiale, de condamner la SFI (Banque mondiale) à réparer le préjudice social et environnemental causé par cette centrale de charbon construite près des terres où ils vivent et travaillent. Les conséquences néfastes sont multiples : dégradation de l’air et de l’écosystème marin, empoisonnement de l’eau, déplacement de populations, destruction du mode de vie des communautés locales.

Ce qui est reproché précisément à la Banque mondiale est «  sa conduite irresponsable et négligente » à toutes les étapes du projet. La SFI a non seulement financé la centrale à charbon mais a également fourni des conseils et supervisé l’ensemble de sa construction. Pourtant, dès le début de ce projet, la SFI a elle-même reconnu qu’il comportait des risques importants et que ses impacts néfastes étaient potentiellement irréversibles sur les communautés locales et leur environnement. Une plainte en interne a ensuite été déposée par les paysans et pêcheurs indiens auprès du service de médiation de la Banque mondiale : the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO). Ce dernier a donné raison aux communauté locales dans un rapport concluant que la SFI n’a pas respecté ses propres procédures de sauvegarde environnementale et sociale. Mais la banque a décidé de rejeter ces conclusions et de poursuivre la projet.

Cette affaire est loin d’être un cas isolé. La Banque mondiale a admis en mars 2015 que «  la supervision de ces projets était souvent peu ou non documentée, que l’application des mesures de protection ne faisait pas l’objet du suivi nécessaire et que le risque élevé de certains projets pour les populations environnantes n’avait pas été suffisamment évalué  » |2|. Selon une étude d’OXFAM, la SFI « n’a qu’une connaissance limitée des résultats pour les bénéficiaires finaux |3| » car l’évaluation des projets qu’elle finance se base uniquement sur des chiffres transmis par l’institution financière cliente et intermédiaire de la SFI.

Comme l’a souligné le Conseil consultatif belge sur la cohérence des politiques |4|, plusieurs projets financés par la SFI se sont traduits par de graves infractions aux droits humains : accaparement des terres, répression, arrestations arbitraires ou meurtres afin de faire taire les mouvements de protestation contre certains projets financés par la banque. Le cas de la l’entreprise Dinant au Honduras illustre bien cette situation |5|. En 2010, Dinant avait été impliquée dans un conflit foncier au cours duquel six paysans avaient été abattus par les forces de sécurité privée de la firme. L’enquête subséquente du CAO de la Banque mondiale a démontré que la SFI était au courant des problèmes entourant les activités de Dinant. Mais aucune condamnation n’a suivi. Citons également l’enquête de terrain réalisée dans quatorze pays, couplée à un travail d’analyse de milliers de rapports par le consortium international de journaliste d’investigation (ICIJ) |6|, qui révèle que les projets financés par la Banque mondiale ont contraint près de 3,4 millions de personnes à quitter leur domicile depuis 2004, parfois avec le recours des policiers armés chargés de les expulser.

Constatant toutes ces violations, le Rapporteur spécial de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme et l’extrême pauvreté Philip Alston a présenté devant l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU le 4 août 2015 un rapport cinglant consacré à la Banque mondiale, affirmant que « la Banque mondiale s’assied sur les droits humains, elles les considère davantage comme un maladie infectieuse que comme des valeurs et des obligations universelles |7| ».

Ce comportement de la banque est en total décalage avec ses obligations juridiques. En effet, la Banque mondiale a non seulement l’obligation de respecter ses règles internes (comme les procédures de sauvegarde environnementale et sociale) mais aussi toute règle pertinente du droit international général incluant les instruments de protection de droits humains. Comme l’a rappelé récemment le Comité de l’ONU pour les droits économiques, sociaux et culturels dans une déclaration officielle datée du 24 juin 2016 |8|, la Banque mondiale comme toute autre organisation internationale doit impérativement respecter la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme, les principes généraux du droit international et les Pactes de 1966 sur les droits humains |9|. De plus, la Banque mondiale et le Fonds monétaire international (FMI), en tant qu’agences spécialisées de l’ONU, sont liés par les objectifs et principes généraux de la Charte des Nations Unies, parmi lesquels figurent le respect des droits humains et des libertés fondamentales |10|. Par conséquent, il leur est interdit d’imposer des mesures qui empêchent les États de se conformer à leurs propres obligationss nationales et internationales en matière de droits humains |11|.

La Banque mondiale agit donc dans l’illégalité lorsqu’elle finance des projets, tels que la centrale à charbon en Inde, qui ont des conséquences préjudiciable sur les droits humains et l’environnement mais aussi lorsqu’elle fixe avec le FMI des conditionnalités à leurs prêts, qui vont à l’encontre des droits humains. Le droit à l’eau est, par exemple, régulièrement violé par les privatisations imposées dans ce secteur tout comme le droit à la santé est bafoué par les réductions de dépenses publiques dans la santé. Autre exemples, les conditionnalités visant la dérégulation du marché du travail et le démantèlement des système publics de protection sociale vont directement à l’encontre du droit au travail et à la protection sociale. Ces droits sont aussi sérieusement mis à mal dans le rapport « Doing Business |12| » publié tous les ans par la banque. Dans ce rapport, tous les États sont évalués et classés en fonction de la facilité à y « faire des affaires », sur base d’une batterie d’indicateurs comme l’indicateur « employing workers » qui considère que toute forme de législation protégeant les travailleurs est un obstacle au « business » |13|. Dans le secteur agricole, l’amélioration du « climat des affaires » encourage fréquemment l’accaparement des terres. A titre d’exemple, les réformes ayant permis aux Philippines d’améliorer sa position dans ce classement de la Banque mondiale ont permis aux « investisseurs » dans ce pays de développer des monocultures au préjudice des communautés locales, qui ont été expulsées de leurs terres ancestrales. Dans le domaine agricole toujours, la Banque mondiale publie un autre rapport intitulé « Enabling the Business of Agriculture |14| » qui encourage les gouvernements à privatiser des filières agricoles au détriment notamment des petits producteurs |15|.

Alors qu’un principe élémentaire du droit est de réparer le dommage qu’on a causé du fait de sa propre faute, les juges de Washington ont rendu une décision qui va à l’encontre de ce principe puisqu’ils considèrent que la Banque mondiale jouit d’une immunité en tant qu’organisation internationale. Ce qui lui garantit une impunité pour toutes ses actions qui violeraient les droits des populations. Pire, plus ses actions illégales sont nombreuses et plus les juges étasuniens la protègent, au motif que la multiplication d’actions en justice contre la banque risquerait d’entraver le bon déroulement de ses activités. C’est ce qu’indique le raisonnement des juges de Washington.

En effet, lorsque les avocats des plaignants indiens invoquent à juste titre l’article 7 section 3 |16| des statuts de la Banque mondiale qui prévoit explicitement que la banque peut être poursuivie en justice sous certaines conditions, les juges rétorquent que cette possibilité de poursuivre en justice ne vaut que dans les cas où ces poursuites sont dans l’intérêt de la banque ! Selon les juges, il faut appliquer cet article 7 section 3 en tenant compte de l’article 7 section 1 des statuts, qui indique que la banque a renoncé à son immunité dans le but de remplir ses fonctions |17|. Ce qui fait dire aux juges que la Banque mondiale a eu l’intention de lever son immunité uniquement dans les cas où cela lui profite |18|. Lorsque les avocats des paysans indiens répondent que cette action en justice aura comme effet positif d’inciter la Banque mondiale à respecter ses propres procédures de sauvegardes sociales et environnementales et donc à agir de façon responsable à l’avenir, le tribunal rejette cet argument en disant que le « bénéfice » pour la banque est marginal comparé aux « coûts substantiels » qu’entraînerait la levée de cette immunité |19|. Accepter de juger ce cas de violation de droits humains aurait de trop lourdes conséquences pour la banque car cela ouvrirait la « boîte de pandore » avec d’autres actions en justice contre elle. Rappelons, en effet, que la Banque mondiale tout comme le FMI n’ont jamais eu à rendre de compte devant la justice, en plus de soixante ans d’existence ?

Alors que plusieurs rapports épinglent les multiples violations de droits humains par la Banque mondiale – ce qui devrait logiquement inciter les tribunaux à (enfin) sanctionner ces violations – les juges étasuniens font l’inverse en renforçant la Banque mondiale comme « zone exempte de droits de l’homme » comme l’a qualifiée le Rapporteur spécial de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme et l’extrême pauvreté |20|.

Face à ce jugement, les communautés indiennes affectées ne baissent pas les bras et ont déjà fait appel. Le CADTM les soutient pleinement dans leur lutte et appelle à multiplier les procès à chaque fois que cette banque cause des dommages à la population et l’environnement. L’impunité de la Banque mondiale n’a que trop duré.

Renaud Vivien

 

Notes

|1| Jam v. International Finance Corporation, No. 1:15-cv-00612. https://www.earthrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/jam_v_ifc_-_order_granting_mtd.pdf

|2http://www.banquemondiale.org/fr/news/press-release/2015/03/04/worldbank-shortcomings-resettlement-projects-plan-fix-problems

|3| Oxfam (2015). The suffering of the others, Oxford : Oxfam GB, p. 2. https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/suffering-others

|4| Voir son avis portant sur « le mandat de la Belgique au sein de la Banque mondiale » accessible sur http://www.ccpd-abco.be/. Le Conseil consultatif sur la cohérence des politiques a été créé en avril 2014. Il a pour mission principale de donner des avis aux autorités fédérales belges pour plus de respect de la cohérence des politiques en faveur du développement. Ces avis sont préparés par des experts du monde syndical, des ONG et du monde académique réunis dans une ‘commission thématique’. Ils sont ensuite étudiés et validés par le Conseil consultatif sur la cohérence des politiques présidé par Olivier De Schutter. Le CADTM Belgique a participé à l’élaboration de cet Avis sur la Banque mondiale.

|5| Cette société hondurienne productrice d’huile de palme était le troisième client de la banque hondurienne Ficohsa, dans laquelle la SFI a investi 70 millions de dollars en 2011. 
Lire l’article « Comment la Banque mondiale finance le massacre de dizaines de paysans » http://www.cncd.be/Comment-la-Banque-mondiale-finance

|6http://www.lesoir.be/852058/article/actualite/monde/2015-04-15/enquete-internationale-34-millions-personnes-expulsees-par-banque-mondiale

|7http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/70/274
Lire aussi l’article « La Banque mondiale sous les feux de la critique du Rapporteur Spécial de l’ONU sur l’extrême pauvreté et les droits humains » http://www.cadtm.org/spip.php?page=imprimer&id_article=12427#nb1

|8| E/C.12/2016/1 « Public debt, austerity measures and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ». Statement by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights :

Extrait : « The Lenders themselves have obligations under general international law. As any other subjects of international law, international financial institutions and other international organisations are ’bound by any obligations incumbent upon them under general rules of international law, under their constitutions or under international agreements to which they are parties’.They are therefore bound to comply with human rights, as listed in particular in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that are part of customary international law or of the general principles of law, both of which are sources of international law »
https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/2743668/1005740263/name/Conditional%20lending%20E_C-12_2016_1_8064_E%2Epdf

|9| Cour internationale de justice, Interprétation de l’accord du 25 mars 1951 entre l’OMS et l’Égypte, avis consultatif du 20 décembre 1980, CIJ Rec. 1980, para 37, pp. 89-90.

|10| Charte des Nations Unies, articles 57, 63, 1(3) et 55(3).

|11| Commission du droit international. (2011). Projet d’articles sur la responsabilité des organisations internationales, adopté par la CDI à sa 63e session (A/66/10, para. 87), art. 16.

|12http://www.doingbusiness.org/

|13http://www.cncd.be/Doing-Business-un-rapport-au

|14http://eba.worldbank.org/

|15| Letter from the UN Rapporteur on Right to food and the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt to World Bank to 
President World Bank, 9 octobre 2012.

|16| « La Banque ne peut être poursuivie que devant un tribunal ayant juridiction sur les territoires d’un État membre où elle possède un bureau, a désigné un agent chargé de recevoir les significations ou notifications de sommations ou a émis ou garanti des titres. Aucune action judiciaire ne pourra cependant être intentée par des États membres ou par des personnes agissant pour le compte desdits États, ou faisant valoir des droits cédés par ceux-ci. Les biens et avoirs de la Banque où qu’ils soient situés et quel qu’en soit le détenteur, seront à l’abri de toute forme de saisie, d’opposition ou d’exécution tant qu’un jugement définitif n’aura pas été prononcé contre la Banque ». http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/ACCUEILEXTN/EXTABTUSFRENCH/0,,contentMDK:20405772 menuPK:866224 pagePK:64094163 piPK:64094165 theSitePK:328614,00.html#article7section7

|17| « En vue de mettre la Banque en mesure de remplir les fonctions qui lui sont confiées, le statut juridique, les immunités et privilèges définis dans le présent article seront accordés à la Banque sur les territoires de chaque Etat membre ». http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/ACCUEILEXTN/EXTABTUSFRENCH/0,,contentMDK:20405772 menuPK:866224 pagePK:64094163 piPK:64094165 theSitePK:328614,00.html#article7section7
voir également le jugement « Mendaro contre la Banque mondiale », US Court of Appeals, D.C Cir., Sept. 27, 1983 ( 717 F.2d 610)

|18| Extrait du jugement : ‘when the benefits accruing to the organization as a result of the waiver would be substantially outweighe d by the burdens caused by judicial scrutiny of the organization’s discretion to select and administerts programs, it is logically less probable that the organization actually intended to waive its immunity.’” (…) The relevant question is thus “whether a waiver of immunity to allow this type of suit, by this type of plaintiff, would benefit the organization over the long term.
https://www.earthrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/jam_v_ifc_-_order_granting_mtd.pdf

|19| Extrait du jugement : «  This Court will not completely dismiss the possibility that a waiver could provide some incentive for IFC to adhere more scrupulously to its policies, over and above the pressure already applied by the CAO. But that marginal benefit must be weighed against the relevant costs which, in suits like this by these kinds of plaintiffs ,remain quite substantial. In the Court’s view, for all the reasons reviewed above, suits like plaintiffs’ are likely to impose considerable costs upon IFC without providing commensurate benefits. Hence, IFC has not waived its immunity to this suit ». 
https://www.earthrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/jam_v_ifc_-_order_granting_mtd.pdf

|20http://www.un.org/press/fr/2015/agshc4142.doc.htm

Renaud Vivien : Co-secrétaire général du CADTM Belgique, juriste en droit international. Il est membre de la Commission pour la Vérité sur la dette publique de la Grèce créée le 4 avril 2015.
  • Posted in Francais @fr
  • Commentaires fermés sur Banque mondiale, une zone de non-droit protégée par des juges

The Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has carried out with tens of thousands of participants a peace march from the Donbass up to Kiev. Just outside the city the procession was stopped. The government, which considers the march very suspicious, has so far responded with a sense of proportion. However, right-wing extremists might try to escalate the situation through provocations.

Tens of thousands of people had come to the monument for the baptism of the medieval Kievan Rus, according to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. This Thursday the christianization more than 1000 years ago in the former Soviet Union is remembered. The competing Orthodox Kyivan Patriarchate invites their believers to prayer service as well.

Eyewitnesses reported of up to 20,000 supporters of the church, praying for peace and the preservation of Ukraine. Previously two peace marches with hundreds of pilgrims from the West and East of the country already came together in Kiev.

For the religious peace march the Ukrainian government prohibited people from arriving as a closed group in the capital, the German State broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) reported.

Ukrainian nationalists accusing the participants of the march of “spying activities” for Moscow. On June 27, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate had called for a Christian peace march for the Eastern Ukraine. However, up until now the government has sensibly responded in this case and allowed the march. Participants will be allowed to march in smaller groups to the final event.

The peace march began on July 3rd in the Donetsk region and is performed daily. The march is joined every day by thousands of priests, monks, nuns and families, reports Larissa Voloshin from the online newspaper Kyiv.ua. The photos from the march show that numerous young males participate as well.

While one march started in the eastern part of the country, the other one started in Ternopil Oblast.  Ternopil is located in western Ukraine. Both processions were to meet in Kiev on 27 July.

What the protesters want to show that the East and the West of the country are forming the State and that the war in the eastern Ukraine should end.

Voloshin reported that the peace march also has to do with a power struggle in the Ukraine.

The Kiev government wants to get the Ukrainian Orthodox Church « out of the control » of the Moscow Patriarchate,  but the Church is defending itself against this and wants to maintain its ties to Moscow.

Translated from German by South Front, minor edits by Global Research

  • Posted in Non classé
  • Commentaires fermés sur Ukraine, Prayer for Peace: Peace March of Orthodox Church Reaches Kiev

The Syrian Army has seized a major militant warehouse in the recently liberated Aleppo neighborhood of Bani Zeyd.

Most of captured weapons are from the US and Turkey and include such things as advanced US anti-tank missiles and launchers (BGM-71 TOW).

.

Video by Anna News (Russian)

CooCQIAXYAA73wkCooCRMPWgAQsOfoCooCSWYXYAAv4R7CooCT5dXEAAsKbgCooLuXaWIAAohEH

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  • Commentaires fermés sur Syrian Army Captured Major ISIS-Daesh Warehouse, Weapons Made in USA

On Friday evening, the New York Times published a lead story under the headline, “Russian Spies Said to Hack Systems Used in Clinton’s Run,” alleging that hackers associated with the Russian government infiltrated computer systems linked with the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

This inflammatory piece was the latest in a series of articles and columns that have appeared over the past several days in the Times and other news outlines claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin is involved in an attempt to influence the 2016 election.

Friday’s report, like those that have preceded it, contained not a single fact to support the explosive allegations made in its headline.

It is not until the end of the article that the reader learns that all of its claims are based on the statements of a source that insists on remaining anonymous. There is no reason to believe that this so-called source has provided the Timeswith any information to back up his or her claims. No one knows who this person is, assuming he or she even exists, or whether this information was not made up out of the whole cloth by the Times.

Earlier last week, the Times declared that American intelligence agencies had “high confidence” that “the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee,” based on similar statements from unnamed, anonymous sources. The DNC emails were released by WikiLeaks.

This campaign fits the classic definition of an amalgam; a series of disconnected assertions about unsubstantiated events usually for the purpose of framing up a targeted party or parties.

The ongoing campaign to present the release by WikiLeaks of documents showing widespread election fraud by the DNC is aimed at attacking the candidacy of Donald Trump from the right by portraying him, in the words of Times columnist Paul Krugman, as a “Siberian candidate” beholden to Putin.

It is bad enough that the Times is seeking to whip up anti-Russian sentiment for the purposes of swaying the results of an election, but its campaign is even more sinister. The Times, and the section of the ruling class for which it speaks, is seeking to exploit the supercharged electoral environment to instigate popular hostility to Russia, which in turn is aimed at providing a broader popular base for full-sale American intervention in the Middle East.

The ongoing anti-Putin propaganda campaign comes in the aftermath of a number of developments that have sharpened US tensions with Russia. First, last month’s attempted military coup in Turkey, which clearly had American backing, was thwarted by 11th hour intelligence provided to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by Russia.

In the weeks leading up to the coup, Erdoğan had made a rapprochement with the Putin government, going so far as to apologize on June 27 for the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber last November, and declaring Russia a “friend and strategic partner.”

Simultaneously with its overtures toward Russia, Turkey has backed off from its support for “rebels” fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, many of whom were affiliated with the Islamic State.

“Turkey has been cracking down on some of the transit of foreign fighters who are flowing into as well as out of Turkey,” John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, complained to Yahoo News two days after Erdoğan’s apology to Russia.

The closure of Turkey as an avenue for Islamist fighters to flow into Syria, together with ongoing Russian operations against ISIS forces and US-backed rebels, has led a to series of reversals for the CIA’s Islamist proxy forces in Syria. Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, is on the verge of being cleared of ISIS/rebel forces by the Syrian government.

In 2013, the Obama administration decided to pull back from its threat to intervene more directly in Syria in the face of divisions within the ruling class and overwhelming popular opposition to the instigation of yet another war.

Now, however, the entire CIA-sponsored insurgency is facing comprehensive defeat without a rapid and massive escalation of American military involvement. This would be a major political setback for American efforts to dominate the Middle East.

As the Times put it last week, “The fall of eastern Aleppo to government forces would be a major turning point in the war and would solidify Russia’s place as the most prominent foreign power involved in the conflict.”

It is to be noted that in recent days the US media has been trumpeting the imminent fall of Aleppo as a human rights disaster, while saying virtually nothing about recent American bombings in nearby cities that have resulted in the loss of hundreds of civilian lives.

The Democratic Party platform includes a bitter denunciation of Russia, which it accuses of “propping up the Assad regime in Syria, which is so brutally attacking its own citizens.” The Platform declares that a Clinton administration “will not hesitate to stand up to Russian aggression.” This is the sort of rhetoric that was associated with the the extreme right-wing Goldwater faction of the Republican Party at the height of the Cold War. It is now being used by the Democratic Party, and this must be viewed as an indication that its policy makers are planning a major escalation of US military operations.

In the lexicon of American politics, there is something known as an “October surprise:” the deliberate provocation of a foreign policy crisis to rally the population around the flag, galvanize public support for military intervention and ensure the victory of the candidate favored by the party in power.

There may be in these events the making of an October surprise; or perhaps one that takes place in September… or even August.

Even as the issue of war has been kept deliberately in the background of the 2016 elections, hardly mentioned at the conventions of either party, the escalating and increasingly virulent denunciations of Russia make it clear that the stage is being set for an escalation of direct military involvement in Syria, possibly resulting in a war with Russia, a nuclear-armed power.

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Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law  and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is a criminal defense attorney at the trial and appellate levels.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: In spying on entire planet through the NSA, as revealed by Edward Snowden, does the US government fight terrorism as he claims or is it an excuse to spy on activists who are against the imperialist policy of the United States? Are this phone-tapping legal?

Pr. Marjorie Cohn: The US government is really trying to fight terrorism but the use of metadata to target people with drones is unreliable. The US government may have a cell phone number that belongs to a « suspected terrorist », but the target may have given his phone to anyone (his mother, etc.), so the targeting is notoriously imprecise. Surveillance is used within the United States to monitor suspected terrorist activity, but can also be abused to spy on dissidents.

As jurist, do you think that with these phone-tapping and this massive espionage, the United States can again speak about democracy and about freedom of speech? Aren’t we in fascism?

The extensive surveillance occasioned by advances in technology is used to target and curtail constitutionally protected activity in the United States. Edward Snowden provided an important service when he revealed the extent of the surveillance. More recently, a member of the intelligence community provided « The Drone Papers » to The Intercept. The source, who has remained anonymous because of the Obama administration’s aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers, said, « It’s stunning the number of instances when selectors are misattributed to certain people » characterizing a missile fired at a target in a group of people as a « leap of faith ». According to « The Drone Papers », during a five-month period almost 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.

How do you explain that the United States supports both Israel, has created Al Qaeda – according to Hillary Clinton’s confessions – and armed and trained Daesh? When will we see the end of the neocons’ creative chaos, in your opinion?

The U.S. uncritically supports Israel in order to provide a « friendly » base of operations in the Middle East. George W. Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq and Obama’s regime change in Libya created vacuums that led to the rise of the Islamic State. Hillary Clinton, who is supported by many neocons, will likely continue the extend the policies of the Obama administration, including no-fly-zones and regime change in countries such as Syria.

Why does the American administration hide the war crimes of Israel?

The U.S. government sees Israel as a critical ally in the Middle East which is why it continues to provide Israel with more military aid than it supplies to any other country. By providing this assistance, U.S. leaders are aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity Israel has committed against the Palestinians, most recently in the summer of 2014. U.S. leaders rarely criticize the policies of the Israeli government as it continues its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

Is the weight of the Zionist lobby in the USA always determining in the major political decisions?

The pro-Israel AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is probably the most powerful lobbying organization in the United States. But in concluding the recent Iran nuclear deal, the Obama administration stood up to both AIPAC and the Netanyahu government, which vigorously opposed the deal.

The US presidential election offers us Hillary Clinton faced Donald Trump, don’t you think that these two characters are dangerous for humanity? How do you explain the political vacuum that allowed these two candidates holders of all dangers?

Donald Trump poses a real danger to the United States and probably other countries as well. He is a proven racist, sexist, and exploits his workers. He was described by the ghostwriter of their book « The Art of the Deal » as a sociopath, that is, a person with no conscience. He has promised to appoint Supreme Court justices like the late Antonin Scalia, who opposed reproductive rights, universal health care, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, labor rights, LGBT rights and environmental protection. Trump could move the high court radically to the right for decades to come.

Although Hillary Clinton is much better than Trump on all these issues, she has advocated a hawkish foreign policy, which will likely mean the use of more military force in other countries, such as Syria. Many neocons support her candidacy.

As a renowned jurist, do you think that modern man can judge the leaders who have failed in their mission and have caused wars and crimes, like George W. Bush and Tony Blair? Can we judge today western politicians?

George W. Bush and Tony Blair committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, including illegal wars of aggression and torture. They should be brought before a tribunal and tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The most likely venue would be in other countries under « universal jurisdiction », in which a country can bring foreign nationals to justice for the most heinous crimes.

We see that the ICC only judges African leaders. Why does it not judge the war criminals among the western ruling political class who enjoy a peaceful existence?

There is tremendous political pressure on the ICC to avoid prosecuting officials in western countries, including the United States and Israel. Even though the U.S. and Israel are not parties to the Rome Statute, their leaders can be prosecuted in the ICC if they are arrested in the territory of a country that is a party to the treaty. The Bush administration threatened some 100 countries (parties to the ICC) with the withholding of foreign aid if they sent U.S. nationals to The Hague for trial in the ICC.

How do you explain the words of Henry Kissinger who promises a total war?

Henry Kissinger is a war criminal who did significant damage to world peace when he was U.S. secretary of state.

You are an anti-war activist since the Vietnam War. Since that time, the imperialist wars continued, the mobilization of peoples has declined or disappeared. What is your outlook on weakness in the anti-war resistance today?

A month before Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, 11 million people around the world protested in the streets. That movement was not sustained. But the Occupy Movement followed by the Bernie Sanders movement has mobilized millions of people. Although they have not yet focused on foreign policy, that will likely happen, assuming the movement can be sustained.

The US imperialism and its Western allies don’t stop giving lessons to the whole world on democracy, freedom of speech, etc. Don’t you think that it is hypocritical on the part of these countries that have committed genocides? It’s hard to mention all the examples: Vietnam, Cambodia for the USA, Algeria for France, Iraq for GB and USA, etc.?

The U.S. government has indeed been hypocritical when it selectively criticizes other countries for human rights violations. I say ‘selectively’, because the U.S. does not criticize countries like Saudi Arabia, an important U.S. ally, for its egregious violations of human rights. The CIA overthrew democratically elected leaders in Iran, Guatemala and Chile, to name a few.

Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught from 1991-2016, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She lectures, writes, and provides commentary for local, regional, national and international media outlets. Professor Cohn has served as a news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV, as well as a legal and political commentator on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and Pacifica Radio.

The author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Lawand co-author of Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice(with David Dow) and Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent(with Kathleen Gilberd), Professor Cohn is editor of and contributor to The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, andDrones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

Her website:http://marjoriecohn.com/

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Le 14 juillet 2015, à Vienne, l’Iran et le groupe P5+1 (Etats-Unis, France, Grande-Bretagne, Russie, Chine et Allemagne) ont signé l’accord sur le nucléaire qui a mis fin – du moins sur le papier – à l’embargo frappant le pays. 

Depuis, non seulement les Américains rechignent à l’appliquer, mais ils tentent à nouveau de renverser le régime islamique avec le soutien de leurs alliés occidentaux et locaux – Israël et l’Arabie saoudite – et avec toujours en perspective la partition du pays. 

Il y a quelques mois, l’ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Guide de la Révolution islamique iranienne, a reçu des familles de Gardiens de la Révolution islamique tués en Syrie et en Irak et leur a déclaré que leurs enfants avaient donné leur vie pour protéger des lieux saints chiites de la destruction, les populations de ces pays, et pour que l’Iran n’ait pas à combattre demain le même ennemi « à Kermanshah, à Hamadan et dans d’autres provinces ».

En tête des « ennemis » menaçant la sécurité intérieure de l’Iran : l’Etat islamique bien sûr, mais aussi des organisations locales – djihadistes et/ou séparatistes – surtout actives dans les régions frontalières.

Menaces djihadistes et séparatistes

Ces dernières semaines, des affrontements violents ont opposé le Corps des Gardiens de la Révolution islamique (CGRI) à des groupes armés au Kurdistan, Sistan-Balouchistan, Azerbaïdjan oriental, Khouzistan (Ahwaz):

 Depuis que Massoud Barzani a décidé, en mars dernier, de relancer le séparatisme kurde, mis en sommeil en Iran depuis 1996, les peshmerga du Parti Démocratique du Kurdistan Iranien (PDK-I) – dirigé par Mustapha Hijri – tentent de s’implanter dans les zones montagneuses et les villes proches de la frontière avec l’Irak. La tension est telle que le général Pakpour – commandant des forces terrestre des CGRI – menace d’intervenir militairement au Kurdistan irakien si l’ordre n’est pas donné de rappeler les combattants. Comme Barzani ne s’est pas lancé dans cette aventure sans assurances de laCIA et du Mossad, la situation ne peut que dégénérer. D’autant plus que selon l’agence Stratfor – surnommée la CIA bis – Mustapha Hijri veut maintenant réunir toutes les organisations séparatistes iraniennes en un « Congrès des nationalités pour un Iran fédéral »

 Le 20 juin dernier, l’amiral Ali Chamkhani – secrétaire du Conseil suprême de la sécurité nationale – a révélé que ses services ont déjoué « l’un des plus importants complots terroristes » ourdi par des organisations djihadistes qui « envisageaient de mener des attentats-suicides à Téhéran ». Du jamais vu !

 Le 22 juin, six séparatistes de la GAMO (South Azerbaïdjan National Army) ont été arrêtés en Azerbaïdjan iranien en procession de « documents sensibles et d’informations destinés à une puissance étrangère « .

 Le 23 juin, plusieurs équipes de saboteurs ont été arrêtées dans la province pétrolière du Khouzistan, dont le Mouvement de lutte arabe pour la libération d’Ahwaz (ASMLA) réclame l’indépendance.

– Le 10 juillet, un commando du Parti pour une vie libre au Kurdistan (PJAK) – lié au PKK turc – a blessé un député et un préfet iranien dans une embuscade tendue dans la province de Kermanchah, et tué leur chauffeur.

 Le 21 juillet, 40 personnes se préparant à attaquer deux « importants centres militaires et de sécurité de Khash », dans la province du Sistan Baloutchistan, ont été arrêtés. Il s’agit de rebelles appartenant à Jeïch al-Adl (L’Armée de la justice), un groupe armé sunnite baloutche qui a pris la suite de la Jundallah (L’Armée de Dieu), en grande partie démantelée après l’arrestation et la pendaison de son chef – Adel Malek Rigi -, le 20 juin 2010.

Selon plusieurs médias occidentaux, la Jundallah était financée, entre autres, par le Mossad qui, pour ne pas gêner ses interlocuteurs islamistes baloutches, faisait passer ses agents… pour des membres de la CIA !

« Feu » Massoud Radjavi…

Le 9 juillet dernier, lors du rassemblement annuel de l’Organisation des Moudjahidine du Peuple (OMPI), groupement iranien d’opposition aujourd’hui proche des néoconservateurs américains et d’Israël, le prince saoudien Turki al-Fayçal – ancien chef des services secrets et ancien ambassadeur à Washington – a jeté un pavé dans la mare en laissant clairement entendre que Massoud Radjavi, fondateur de l’OMPI, était décédé. On imagine l’embarras de Myriam, son entreprenante épouse, devenue chef de l’organisation depuis la disparition inexplicable et inexpliquée de son mari.

Myriam Radjavi devrait démentir la mort de Massoud Radjavi et prouver qu’il est bien vivant… ou confirmer son décès et, dans ce cas, dire dans quelles circonstances il a perdu la vie et pourquoi elle n’a pas annoncé sa mort. Y aurait-il quelques « vilénies » à camoufler? La « légitimité » de la dirigeante en dépend.

Cela dit, tout le monde a compris que l’OMPI bénéficie officiellement du soutien de l’Arabie, ce qui était jusqu’ici un secret de polichinelle.

Vers un remake de la guerre Iran-Irak ?

La recrudescence actuelle d’activités subversives en Iran n’est pas sans rappeler 2007, période où George W. Bush et Dick Cheney comptaient renverser le régime iranien grâce à des bombardements précédés d’attentats à caractère ethnique et religieux. A l’époque, le projet avait été différé, sans considération pour la vie des militants séparatistes qui y avaient cru… et Mahmoud Ahmadinejad avait été réélu triomphalement deux ans plus tard.

Les attaques dont l’Iran est victime préfigurent-elles le déclenchement d’un nouveau conflit arabo-perse? L’« Alliance islamique contre le terrorisme », a-t-elle été créée dans cette perspective ? Ceux qui ont écouté le prince Turki à l’Académie diplomatique internationaleen janvier dernier, se le demandent, étonnés de l’hommage qu’il y a rendu au chrétien orthodoxe Michel Aflaq, «grand penseur de l’arabisme », fondateur du parti Baas, omettant, sans doute à dessein, de signaler que ce dernier se serait converti « clandestinement » à l’islam sunnite à la fin de sa vie.

Gilles Munier

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Un hélicoptère russe Mi-8 a été abattu dans le province d’Idlib en Syrie, rapporte le ministère russe de la Défense. Les cinq soldats russes à bord de l’hélicoptère sont morts. Le groupe terroriste Jaish al Fatah a revendiqué cette attaque.

« Après avoir livré de l’aide humanitaire à Alep, un hélicoptère Mi-8 de transport militaire qui rentrait dans la base aérienne Hmeimim a été abattu le 1er août par des tirs depuis le sol dans la province d’Idlib. Trois membres de l’équipage et deux officiers du Centre russe de réconciliation des parties en conflit en Syrie se trouvaient à bord de l’hélicoptère », indique le message du ministère précisant que le sort des passagers était en train d’être déterminé.

« D’après les informations dont nous disposons de la part du ministère de la Défense, les hommes qui se trouvaient dans l’hélicoptère sont morts. Ils sont morts en héros parce qu’ils ont essayé de diriger l’appareil en minimisant le nombre de victimes au sol », a déclaré le porte-parole du Kremlin Dmitri Peskov.

Le porte-parole a ajouté que le Kremlin présentait ses sincères condoléances aux proches des militaires morts.

L’attaque a été revendiquée par le  Jaish al Fatah, coalition militaire syrienne composée de nombreuses factions rebelles islamistes actives dans les provinces d’Idleb, de Hama et de Lattaquié.

 

Rappelons que la Russie et le gouvernement syrien ont lancé une opération humanitaire de grande envergure à Alep. Le Centre russe pour la réconciliation des parties en conflit en Syrie avait déjà ouvert plusieurs corridors humanitaires à l’intention des civils retenus en otage par les terroristes et des combattants ayant exprimé la volonté de déposer les armes.

Le 8 juillet, Daech a abattu un hélicoptère Mi-25 syrien piloté par deux officiers russes. L’équipage, qui avait reçu l’ordre de frapper des terroristes de Daech en cours de progression, a contrecarré leur assaut au prix de leur vie.

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Wounds have opened; recriminations are all around. The Rio Olympic Games, even before the first act, has already shown how it will be one of the more interesting ones for all the wrong reasons. (Eventually, such wrong reasons tend to seem right.)

A glaring feature of the latest ruckus lies in the administration (or maladministration) of international sport.  Disagreement, for instance, about regulating doping regimes and taking action about them, is particularly fractious.  Multiple deals, often of a trans-national nature, have been made over the years. The cover-up is very much in.

No notable international organisation has been sparred bungling on the issue, or succumbing to the temptations associated with the crooked path.  Football’s world governing body FIFA remains mired in the rot, in search of the redemptive powers of reform. (The current head, Gianni Infantino, was implicated in the Panama Papers scandal, which revealed co-signed offshore deals with an indicted official made by Europe’s football governing body, UEFA.)

The athletics governing body IAAF has not proven itself an angel of cleanliness, having been put through the WADA wringer as well.  Earlier this year, the IAAF former president Lamine Diack was found to have “sanctioned and appeared to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and extortion of athletes carried out by the actions of the illegitimate governance structure he put in place.”[1]  This suggests an enduring tension between on-track or field events, which have a dynamic of their own, and the pen pushing, buck passing antics behind the scenes.

Volleys have been traded by the International Olympic Federation and World Anti-Doping Agency, the former claiming they have been left with a mess, the latter that the IOC should have shown more backbone. The ever present issue here is Russia.

The IOC is certainly cutting it fine on the event, having claimed on Sunday night that a final ruling on the expulsion of Russia’s athletes may well be delayed until hours prior to this Friday’s opening ceremony.  Assistance to that end would be provided by a three-member panel of executive board members.

IOC President Thomas Bach suggested that it was “very obvious” that the “timing” of the WADA-commissioned report investigating state-doping allegations on the part of Russia, was poor.  Nor was the IOC responsible for accreditation, or supervision of laboratories tasked with detecting cases of doping.

“The IOC cannot be made responsible neither for the timing nor for the reasons of these incidents we have to face now and which we are addressing and have to address just a couple of days before the Olympic Days.”[2]

The IOC, most notably Bach, has also received a good deal of opprobrium from European papers and various officials in the business, arguing that he has an unhealthy proximity to Moscow.  The Daily Mail speculated about how Bach had “enjoyed a coffee” with the Russian President, assuming sharing such fluids would somehow qualify as evidence why he might be soft on the Russians.[3]

The German paper Bild went in determined fashion for the jugular, calling Bach “Putin’s poodle” while the Daily Mail went for a toothless theme, a coward incapable of throwing his weight around.  Matt Lawton indignantly suggested on July 25 that the IOC had “destroyed the Olympics” by its qualified decision.[4]

Not baring the entire Russian team was deemed by such critics a logical necessity, indispensable for cleaning the sport.  Much of it, in fact, smacked of colossal slothfulness, the classic behaviour of those incapable of exercising the judgment of natural justice.  It also provided another conclusion: having found its bogeyman, international sports could go forth blissfully aware that drug taking was still taking place.  Eventually, things would settle down.

Invariably, the discussion sounds of giddying high morality and principle.  Within the Olympic camp itself, the Australian Olympic chef de mission Kitty Chiller has also taken it upon herself to wage what can only be a crusade against everything connected with Russia. Her mood has not been helped by a fire that started in the basement of the Australian building that forced team members to evacuate the premises, the theft of Zika-protective shirts during that evacuation, and the loss of a laptop.

On Russia, a cranky Chiller had little time for the legal niceties of prizing the drug cheat from the untainted athlete.  A degree of deep, near fire and brimstone puritanism has characterised her approach to the sporting event.  On Thursday, she insisted that Moscow’s efforts to organise a separate event featuring the banned athletes was nonsensical, sending “the wrong message.”[5]

Chiller’s comments have to also be considered as part of a more specific, self-interested exercise.  Australian teams have been on stand-by waiting for a blanket ban on Russia.  Exit Russia, and then, in some cases, enter those teams that would not have otherwise qualified.  The women’s eight rowing crew has already gotten lucky on that score.

Bach’s point, for all the problems typical of the IOC pigsty, is that caution must be exercised.  It was not according the athlete any degree of solid justice to “punish an individual for the failures or manipulations of your government”.  Whether that exercise is done credibly before the opening ceremony is quite another matter.  The waters have already well and truly been poisoned.

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

Notes

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton continued her bid for support from right-wing elements disaffected with her Republican opponent Donald Trump, giving her first post-convention interview to Fox News, the semi-official cable network of the Republican right.

Her campaign kept up its criticism of Trump from a right-wing, patriotic standpoint with a series of Clinton surrogates attacking Trump as unfit to be commander-in-chief and suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin was intervening in the US election on his behalf. (See “Democratic Party seeks to turn elections into referendum on aggression against Russia.”)

Clinton’s one-on-one interview Sunday with Chris Wallace, the host of Fox News Sunday, was her first appearance on the right-wing cable network since she declared her candidacy more than 15 months ago.

Fox has waged a furious campaign against Clinton over that period, centered on allegations that she was responsible for the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, at the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, and claims that her use of a private email server while secretary of state had compromised US national security.

Significantly, however, Sunday’s interview by Wallace began with a question on Democratic Party claims that Russian intelligence agencies had hacked into the computer system of the Democratic National Committee and released emails from DNC officials showing that they had collaborated with the Clinton campaign to undermine her main challenger for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Do you think that Vladimir Putin wants to defeat you or see you defeated and Donald Trump elected president?” Wallace asked.

Clinton replied,

“We know that Russian intelligence services, which is part of the Russian government, which is under the firm control of Vladimir Putin, hacked into the DNC. And we know that he arranged for a lot of those emails to be released.”

No serious evidence has actually been presented in support of the allegation that the Russian government is responsible for the theft and leaking of the DNC emails, and not a shred of evidence has been put forward to back the claims of a Trump-Putin alliance. These charges have been widely promoted by the New York Times to create a political climate in which Clinton can attack Trump from the right, presenting herself as an advocate of a more belligerent and militarist policy towards Russia.

Clinton continued,

“And we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin, whether it’s saying that NATO wouldn’t come to the rescue of allies if they were invaded, talking about removing sanctions from Russian officials after they were imposed by the United States and Europe together because of Russia’s aggressiveness in Crimea and Ukraine.”

She added, in truly McCarthyite fashion,

“for Trump to both encourage that and to praise Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to try to affect the election I think raises national security issues.”

Clinton went on to outline a generally right-wing perspective on economic and social policy, rebuffing suggestions from Wallace that she was “offering more government programs” and “more spending, more entitlements, more taxes.” She answered “no, no, no” to these claims, adding that her so-called “jobs program,” based on infrastructure spending (along lines already backed by the current Republican Congress) was “going to be public/private sector. I mean, I’m looking for ways to start an infrastructure bank, seed it with federal dollars, but bring in private investors who want to make those commitments.”

In a subsequent panel discussion, Julie Pace of the Associated Press reported that the Clinton campaign was seeking to line up prominent Republicans and retired military figures who would vouch for the Democratic candidate to Republican voters. The Democrats’ strategy was to portray Clinton as “a steady hand on foreign policy, a steady hand on commander-in-chief, someone who understands military threats, threats from abroad, that could be what leads some of these people to line up behind her.”

This is combined with an effort to present Trump as an unpatriotic critic of the US military, initially based on his comments at campaign rallies and at the Republican convention that the US military was “a disaster.” The criticism of Trump as insufficiently pro-military was expanded to a full-scale media barrage over Trump’s crudely racist and anti-Muslim comments about the family of Humayun Khan, a US Army captain who was one of the first Muslim-American soldiers killed in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, an immigrant from Pakistan and a lawyer in the Washington, DC area, spoke at the Democratic National Convention on its final day, as one of a series of speakers chosen to portray Trump as unfit to play the role of commander-in-chief for US imperialism.

Khan denounced Trump’s frequent anti-Muslim slurs and his call for a complete ban on Muslim immigration, which would have prevented his own family from moving to the United States in 1980 and thus deprived the US military of the services of his son in the Iraq war 24 years later.

Trump responded in character to Khan’s convention appearance in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News recorded Friday for broadcast Sunday morning. He directly attacked the family, noting that Ghazala Khan, the young soldier’s mother, who appeared at the Democratic convention side-by-side with her husband in traditional Muslim garb, “had nothing to say.” Trump continued: “She probably—maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me, but plenty of people have written that.”

The clear insinuation of this slur was that Mrs. Khan had been forbidden to speak by her husband or was otherwise barred by her Islamic faith from speaking publicly because of her sex. The truth was that Ghazala Khan has high blood pressure and does not speak in public about her son’s death, as she explained in a statement to the press this weekend.

The Khan-Trump controversy was the main subject of discussion on the Sunday television interview programs, with NBC, ABC and CNN all airing interviews with Khizr Khan, while Trump himself, his campaign manager Paul Manafort and a leading surrogate, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, were all grilled on the issue.

Much of the media punditry consisted of declarations that Trump had “crossed the line” by publicly smearing a “Gold Star mother” (the mothers of US soldiers killed in action may join the Gold Star Mothers Club, a congressionally chartered patriotic support group). The effect of this line of criticism was to transform Trump’s anti-Muslim smear into an attack on the military and allow the Democrats to wrap themselves in the flag, which is Clinton’s apparent strategy for the final 100 days of the presidential campaign.

Even more reactionary was the appearance of retired Gen. John Allen on the same program that broadcast Trump’s comments about Ghazala Khan. Allen was a major speaker at the Democratic National Convention—a highly unusual role for a retired Marine Corps general and former commander of US forces in Afghanistan.

He gave the main indictment of Trump as unfit to be commander-in-chief during the Thursday night session of the convention, in the same group of speakers that included Khizr Khan, in the hours leading up to Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech.

Allen appeared on ABC Sunday to respond to Trump’s criticism of him as a “failed commander” in the US war against ISIS. (After retirement, Allen was a presidential envoy in the Middle East, coordinating the US-led “coalition” now at war with Islamic State forces in both Iraq and Syria.)

Allen declared that Trump had no credibility on military policy, since he had never been to either Afghanistan or Iraq. He went on to denounce Trump’s criticism of the Obama administration as though it was an attack on the US military. “He’s called it a disaster,” Allen said. “He says our military can’t win anymore. That’s a direct insult to every single man and woman who’s wearing the uniform today.”

The retired general continued that a President Trump would order US soldiers to engage in war crimes:

“He’s talked about needing to torture. He’s talked about needing to murder the families of alleged terrorists. He’s talked about carpet-bombing ISIL. Who do you think is going to be carpet-bombed when all that occurs? It’s going to be innocent families.”

No one should conclude from this that General Allen is genuinely outraged at the prospect of US forces carrying out torture, murder and the carpet-bombing of innocent people. Such practices have gone on every day in US-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. What concerns him is Trump’s pledge to proclaim such methods as the official policy of the US government—a declaration sure to spark even greater resistance to US forces in the Middle East, as well as politically undermining US allies.

More significant—and ominous—was Allen’s response when Stephanopoulos asked him what US military officers would do in response to an order from a President Trump enshrining torture and carpet-bombing as US policy.

The retired general declared, “That’s a great question, George. And I think we would be facing a civil-military crisis, the like of which we’ve not seen in this country before.” He went on to repeat the phrase “civil-military crisis” three more times, expressing the hope that a quiet conversation might dissuade President Trump from issuing such orders, while leaving unstated, but open, the possibility of outright military defiance.

Allen’s comments are truly extraordinary. They give expression to the increasing tendency on the part of the American military to free itself from civilian authority. While presented in this case as the military balking at illegal orders to commit war crimes, the far more likely scenario is one in which the military brass demands that its nominal civilian overseers drop any restrictions on the unlimited use of military violence against its enemies.

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Dear Senator Sanders,

Last summer you said you would not run as a third party candidate if you did not win the Democratic nomination. You said, “the reason for that is I do not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican to be president of the United States.” This was before the unexpected and unprecedented success of your grassroots campaign where you won 22 states and almost half of the delegates in a primary process that was stacked against you every step of the way.

We take you as a man of your word and we certainly don’t want Trump to be president either. A Trump presidency would be a terrible step backwards for working people, people of color, immigrants, students, retirees, the LGBTQ community, the environment, and the entire world, which is why more than ever we need you to reconsider the situation and make a third party run.

Polls show that Hillary Clinton, the official Democratic nominee, is an incredibly weak candidate in the general election. Even after spending $57 million in ads (vs. $4 million by Trump) she is trailing slightly, and Trump is actually leading in several important swing states. Frankly, Hillary Clinton does not have the credibility to take on the dangerous appeal of Donald Trump.

For a variety of reasons, many justified and some not, people don’t trust her. We are now faced with two of the most disliked presidential candidates in the history of the country. Unfortunately, too many people are disillusioned with politics and the lack of inspiring viable candidates will only hurt voter turnout. If there was ever an opportunity to break the corporate two party duopoly, this is it. So, we respectfully ask you to consider Jill Stein’s offer of a united Green Party ticket.

A Sanders/Stein campaign would be more popular than Hillary Clinton and more successful against Trump. If polling shows you in the lead before the election, we trust that Secretary Clinton would do the right thing and not be a spoiler.

The stakes are too high. If Donald Trump wins, all the progressive change we have fought for will vanish. Secretary Clinton’s recent vice presidential pick makes us question that she will run the kind of economically populist campaign it will take to defeat Trump. Furthermore, in light of the platform committee discussions, it makes us question where she really stands on important issues such as the TPP, fracking, single payer healthcare, war and military spending, Israeli occupation of Palestine, financial regulation, and money in politics.

With your steadfastness and consistency in talking about the issues, you educated us and inspired a whole generation to get involved in politics. We look forward to continuing the political revolution and working with your successor organizations, however right now the country still needs you to run for president.

In Solidarity,

Ace Acosta, Field Organizer (NV)
Rolando Aguirre, Regional Field Director (NV, AZ), Delegate Team (WA)
Betsy Avila, Deputy Digital Outreach (NV)
Rob Byrne, National LGBT Outreach Coordinator
Ricky Cárdenas, Field Organizer (NV, WA), Regional Field Director (CO, CA)
Carol Čizauskas, Field Organizer, Outreach Coordinator (NV)
Alicia De Toffoli, National Women’s Outreach Coordinator
Giulianna Di Lauro, National Latino Strategist, Field Director (Puerto Rico)
Benjamin Erkan, Field Organizer (KS, WY, NY, CA)
MacKenzie Ewing, Regional Field Director (IA), Field Director (NE), Constituency Outreach Coordinator (OR), Field Organizer (CA)
Anthony Garcia, Regional Field Director (NV), Deputy Field Director (AK)
Matthew Glasgo, Field Organizer (NV, MN)
Austreberto Hernandez, Field Organizer (NV)
Wesley Irwin, Field Organizer, Chair of the Caucus Advisory Group (WA)
Phillip Kim, Labor Outreach (NV, WA, CA)
Marc Leonard, Field Organizer (NV, UT, CA)
David Lewis, Field Organizer (IA, KS, MO, WY, IN)
Laura Llamas, Outreach Coordinator (NV)
Billie McFadden, Field Organizer (NV)
Alonso Montes, Deputy Field Organizer (NV)
Kevin F. Solis, Outreach Coordinator (NV), Field Organizer (WA, CA)
Andee Sunderland, Outreach Coordinator (NV)
Caesar Vargas*, National Latino Outreach Deputy Director

*current staff

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US Cyberwar on Russia?

août 1st, 2016 by Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, Tass reported what looks like Washington’s dirty handiwork, perhaps complicit with its NATO allies, saying:

Russia’s “Federal Security Service (FSB) revealed virus software for cyber-spying in computer networks of about 20 organizations located in Russia.”

The attack targeted “information resources of the state authorities, scientific and defense companies, enterprises of the defense industry and other objects of the country’s critically important infrastructures.”

(C)learly, it was a targeted virus spread, planned and made professionally. Specialists say the malicious software, judging by the style of programming, names of files, parameters of their use and by methods, is similar to the software, which was used in much-spoken-about earlier revealed cyber-spying, revealed both in territory of the Russian Federation and around the globe.

The newest sets of the said software are made individually for every ‘victim,’ on the basis of unique features of attacked machines.

The virus is spread by target attacks on computers by sending an electronic message, containing a malicious attachment.

As the software gets inside the system, it launches necessary modules and becomes able to intercept the network traffic, listen to it, make screenshots, turn on web cameras and PC microphones, mobile devices, to record audio and video files, reports on use of keys and so forth.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), ministries and authorities are taking all necessary steps to minimize damage and restore targeted agencies to proper working order.

An FSB statement said operations infected include “IT assets of government offices, scientific and military organizations, defense companies, and other parts of the nation’s crucial infrastructure…”

Cyberattacking Russia followed hacked DNC emails, revealing electoral rigging to anoint Hillary party nominee – Moscow baselessly blamed, no evidence presented suggesting its involvement.

An attack this sophisticated and extensive had to have been planned long before DNC emails were hacked, a convenient pretext to launch it.

Provocative US anti-Russian policies perhaps now include cyberwar. Did Washington declare war on Russia (as well as China) without anyone noticing, paying attention or reporting it?

Will things turn red hot if Hillary succeeds Obama?

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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On March 31st, Le Devoir, the last independent daily newspaper in Quebec, reported that Montreal would host the next World Social Forum (WSF) in 2016. The article refers to the recent decision of the International Council (IC) of the World Social Forum announced with great fanfare in Tunis. It also specifies that it is the first time that a Social Forum is to be held in the Northern hemisphere, after numerous past successes in the South in Latin American countries and in post-revolutionary Tunisia.

Though the proponents of the Montreal proposal welcomed with the greatest joy the International Council’s green light, several fundamental questions remain unanswered, especially regarding the plausibility of their aims. Core issues are still unresolved, namely the level of local and international participants, funding sources and, most importantly, the real political impact of the magnitude of required resources on social groups and movements already grappling with many difficulties in Quebec and in the rest of Canada. The stakes and the risks are high. It is time for the proponents of the event, if they are serious about turning it into a real political success, finally address the issues raised by their project.

1- Who will be the 80,000 people expected at the WSF 2016?

The proponents of the WSF in Montreal announced a record mobilization of 50,000 to 80,000 people. However, this estimate appears unrealistic considering, first, the last WSF experience in Tunis that gathered 48,600 people and, second, the past Canadian experiences of Social Forums. A quick look at the number is revealing. In In 2007, 5,000 people joined the first Quebec Social Forum in Montreal. In 2009, they were only 3,500. In August 2014, the first Peoples Social Forum held in Ottawa brought together between 5,000 and 6,000 people from Quebec, Canada, and First Nations. The issue of the number of participants is important because it is an indicator of the political success of the event but also the finances, since every participant pays registration fees.

According to the global statistics of the World Social Forum, compiled after every event, local participants systematically constitute 80% of the total participation. Moreover, past forum experiences in Quebec teaches us that on average, the province is only able to mobilize 4,000 people each time. Therefore, to be able to reach the estimated 50, 000 to 80,000 participants, the Montreal WSF would need to mobilize between 40,000 and 64,000 Quebecers. That would represent quite a challenge as it would need to boost the average participation by a 1000% to 1500%.

The level of international participation for the event is another layer of uncertainty. Because of Canadian visa restrictions, high costs of transport and accommodation for those coming from overseas during in the high tourist season, many international participants will face great obstacles before being able to attend. Given the importance of those barriers, proponents of the WSF in Montreal admitted the problem in their own original presentation of Montreal’s candidacy to the International Council. As a “solution”, they suggested a “massive use of the Internet’s potential to foster 1,000 simultaneous remote Social Forums in the four corners of the world ». By their own volition, they were proposing to “solve” the potentially lacking international participation by discouraging their physical presence in Montreal. Yet, international participants represent 20% of the expected participation. Since the last IC meeting in Tunis, proponents of the Montreal WSF have adjusted their solution and decided to launch a major campaign demanding that the Canadian government reduces the level of visa restrictions. However, since the current Conservative government is currently doing exactly the opposite, it seems highly uncertain that this campaign, as important as it is, will facilitate the entry in Canada of participants from the Global South.

The Canadian (outside Quebec) and Aboriginal participation is also a huge challenge given the size of the Canadian state. For the People Social Forum in August 2014, a solidarity fund of nearly 40,000$ had been set up mainly to allow the participation of indigenous communities and people from the West and Maritimes who otherwise would never have been able to participate. Even at the preparatory meetings, such funds had been put forward with the same goal in mind, which is to ensure their participation. Will this be the case of the WSF 2016? The question must be raised and addressed since it seems no resources were set up to facilitate participation from outside Quebec during the initial assemblies held in Montreal.

2- Who will pay the 2.4 million that the project requires?

The proponents of the Montreal WSF are proposing a total budget of 2.4 million, including 1.6 million from participants registration fees, sponsorships, and government programs. They also spoke of a total of $830,000 in services and facilities that they hope to receive for free from volunteers, universities and colleges as well as the city of Montreal.

The financial analysis of the previous three Social Forums held in Canada, however, reveals problems with each of these budget lines.

First, with an average turnout of 5,000 people for the three previous forums in Canada, none of them could gather more over $100,000 from the registration fees. More importantly, previous experience has taught us that the money generated by the Forum itself (the registrations of participants, groups and activities) never exceeded 40% of total revenues. In Ottawa, for the People Social Forum, only 25% of the total budget came from those sources. This is far from the 66% announced by the promoters of the Montreal WSF 2016.

Worse, should there be a deficit, who will be held accountable? In Tunis in March 2015, the organizers reached a deficit of at least 30 000 euros caused by a level of participation lower than expected. In 2009, the low participation levels at the 2nd Quebec Social Forum imposed on the organizers a deficit of more than $20,000 dollars. At the end, civil society groups, namely the labor sector in the Canadian experience, have to endorse the bill. In a context of austerity, placing the bet that local civil society groups will be able to absorb any deficit resulting from the Montreal 2016 is a dangerous move and one that social movements do not need right now.

Secondly, the budget involves nearly a million in voluntary services that would be offered, for free, to the event. However, volunteers do not come freely. At the very minimum, they need to be housed, transported, and fed. Reserving venues and spaces is also an issue. The WSF 2016 proponents expect to have access to two universities, one college, the Palais des Congrès, (Montreal’s Convention Centre) as well as some outdoor sites. Even if all those venues are available, any experienced organizer know that a « free space » actually costs money to cover security, insurance, technical assistance, equipment, furniture, permits and much more.

Third, despite the existence of letters of support from various levels of government (Canada, Quebec, and the City of Montreal), the involvement of these authorities is not at all guaranteed. Social forums are political: they aim to mobilize and organize those who are fighting against increasingly restrictive and neoliberal policies promoted by those specific authorities. To assume that the federal and provincial governments and the municipality would support an initiative whose final aim is to organize the struggle against their reactionary policies is a highly unrealistic position. More importantly, if the authorities do not, with little surprise, decide to invest money in the project, are we going to impose the burden on trade unions and social groups to financially supporting an event with estimated costs five times exceeding that of the latest experience?

3- What are the political objectives of the WSF 2016?

If the issues of money or participation could be seen as “technicalities” by some, the main question raised by the possibility of a WSF in Montreal is much more fundamental. It is articulated around the very political objectives of the project. According to its proponents, the aim of the process is to “boost local social struggles by giving them international resonance”. Though the intention appears honourable, even considering the excepted difficulties regarding the mobilization in Quebec, Canada and internationally, the usefulness of this “international resonance” remains to be demonstrated for social movements in Quebec and Canada who are already involved on multiples fronts against the provincial and federal governments. In that context, we must ask the question of the proportionality of the human and financial investments required by the WSF 2016 in relation to the expected benefits for the very social movements it aims to boost.

So far, on the question of the very purpose of the Forum and the expected results, the documentation offered by proponents of the WSK 2016 only manages to provide vague logistical answers. They tell us of long demonstrations that will open and close the event, “1500 self-organized activities” will happen within a “World Social Territory” of “3 km from UQAM to Concordia University” with “gathering places” on the “premises of these two universities, the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal (a college), the Emilie Gamelin Place, the Place des Festivals, the Victoria Square and the Convention Centre. That is certainly a lot of space. But it doesn’t answer the question as to the expected or desired outcomes of the event for the social struggles here. The WSF 2016 only exists for the event and will not survive its own process.

To highlight the importance of a clear political project behind a Social Forum, it serves to look at the initial goals of the 2014 People Social Forum. Thirty months were required to build, through social movements, a social forum with the aims of creating historical alliances between Quebec, Canada, and First Nations. It was an innovative project in the context of an all-out attacks by the federal government against all spheres and sectors of civil society. The premise was – and still is – that different groups and movements from Quebec, Canada, and First Nations must learn to work together because they have a common enemy. Those links and alliances must be nurtured, not discarded.

So far, the project of the Montreal WSF appears without any purpose. The event does not seem to address any political issue other than its own occurrence in August 2016. Moreover, the achievements of the People Social Forum are ignored as demonstrated by the lack of willingness to involve or retain any commitment from the sheer number of social groups and movements who were involved in the People Social Forum. It is revealing to compare the list of groups that supported each event. As far as the Montreal WSF is concerned, there is a blatant lack of representation from movements in English Canada and indigenous movements. There is even a stark absence of important groups in the Quebec civil society, the very basis, at least in theory, of the Montreal WSF. Where are the important women’s rights groups? The students? Where are environmental groups and citizens active on the climate justice front? The labour groups and the unions? Not only did those important groups have not yet expressed support for the Montreal WSF, but the overwhelming majority of them have not been approached or consulted on the matter of the political orientations of the event.

4- Is the WSF 2016 rooted in social movements?

The lack of prior consultation with local social movements and others social justice actors speaks to the disconnection between the WSF project and the people. The fact that those behind it chose to first convince the International Council of the merit of their project before convincing local movements, who are supposed to be at the heart of the process and are supposed to be the main beneficiaries of it is another indicator of that disconnection. The majority of those involved in the WSF 2016 main organizing body are individuals neither connected to local social movements nor representing any of them.

The same mistake was done in 2009 when organizing for the second Quebec Social Forum. At that time, social movements were barely consulted during the process. As a result, most of them chose to simply sit idly without engaging. In the end, there was a significant decline in the 2009 forum compared to the 2007 one. Unfortunately, the same recipe for a forum without connections to social movements is still presented to us for 2016.

After the death of the Quebec Social Forum in 2009, the idea of a new social forum in Canada was revived during the People Social Forum as bridges between French Canada, English Canada and Indigenous movements were built. Yet, the work done during that process, though it was unprecedented, doesn’t seem to have left traces as, only 18 months later, we find ourselves in a process focused mainly on Quebec. It may constitute a desirable side track for some members of the large nationalist Quebec left who do not wish to bother themselves with endless conversations with the anglophones or the indigenous communities. How can we claim to be ready for a World Social Forum in Canada if not a single debate with those two groups were held?

5- How to hold a real WSF 2016 on those conditions?

Several fundamental concerns remain unanswered here. Will the social groups and movements mobilize for the event? What expectations should we have in terms of support to local struggles? What is real involvement from outside Quebec, including indigenous movements and from overseas? What are the financial implications for movements already struggling on many fronts, both at the provincial and federal levels? What are the long-term prospects?

We can ask many others questions, like regarding the real risk that the occurrence of the Montreal WSF damages a world process that is already reflecting on its own difficulties, with the latest Tunisian experience having received a very mixed assessment. But the fundamental question here is: How to move forward? Is it really possible, or even necessary, to hold a WSF when we know that it is not connected to any social base and that it might turn into the faulty Quebec Social Forum experience.

For reasons of its own, the International Council decided to support the Montreal initiative of the WSF 2016. But the Council is neither Quebec nor Canada. It knows little about realities and struggles here. The fact that they approved the project should not be enough, by itself, to impose through magical thinking a world social forum on local grassroots groups and social movements with unreasonable expectations, important investments and murky benefits.

If the Montreal WSF project is to move forward, then these questions must be answered now.

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What’s especially interesting there, is that in all of these missions, except for Iraq, the U.S. was doing it with the key participation of the Saud family, the royals who own Saudi Arabia, and who are the world’s largest buyers of American weaponry.

Since Barack Obama came into the White House, the operations — Libya, Yemen, and Syria — have been, to a large extent, joint operations with the Sauds. ‘We’ are now working more closely with ‘our’ ‘friends’, even than ‘we’ were under George W. Bush

Here are before-and-after pictures, of what the U.S. government has achieved, in the Middle East:

https://twitter.com/MAL0mt/status/701077438525263873/photo/1,

 

As President Obama instructed his military, on 28 May 2014:

When issues of global concern do not pose a direct threat to the United States, when such issues are at stake — when crises arise that stir our conscience or push the world in a more dangerous direction but do not directly threaten us — then the threshold for military action must be higher. In such circumstances, we should not go it alone. Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action. We have to broaden our tools to include diplomacy and development; sanctions and isolation; appeals to international law; and, if just, necessary and effective, multilateral military action. In such circumstances, we have to work with others because collective action in these circumstances is more likely to succeed.

So: ’we’ didn’t achieve these things only on our own, but instead in alliance with the royals of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, and other friendly countries, which finance jihadists everywhere but in their own country. And, of course, all of ‘us’ are allied against Russia, so we’re now surrounding that country with ‘our’ NATO partners before we do to it what we’ve previously done to Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. America is becoming even more ambitious, because of ‘successes’ like these in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine.

The United States has been the great champion of ‘democracy’ throughout the world. And these are are some of the results of that ‘democracy’. ‘We’ are spreading it abroad.

‘Our’ latest victory has been ‘our’ spreading it to Ukraine. No country is closer to Russia than that.

Inside America, the term that’s used for referring to anyone who opposes this spreading of ‘democracy’, is ‘isolationist’, and this term is imported from the meaning that it had just prior to America’s joining World War II against Hitler and other fascists. Back in that time, an “isolationist” meant someone who didn’t want to defeat the fascists. The implication in the usage of this term now, is that the person who is an ‘isolationist’ is a ‘fascist’, just as was the case then. It’s someone who doesn’t want to spread ‘democracy’.

To oppose American foreign policy is thus said to be not only ‘right wing’, but the extremist version of that: far right-wing — fascist, perhaps even nazi, or racist-fascist. (Donald Trump is rejected by many Republicans who say that he’s ‘not conservative enough’. Democrats consider him to be far too ‘conservative’. The neoconservative Democrat Isaac Chotiner, whom the Democratic neoconservative Slate hired away from the Democratic neoconservative The New Republic, has headlined at Slate, “Is Donald Trump a Fascist?” and he answered that question in the affirmative.) George Orwell dubbed this type of terminological usage “Newspeak.” It’s very effective.

Studies in America show that the people who are the most supportive of spreading ‘democracy’ are individuals with masters and doctoral degrees (“postgraduate degrees”). Those are the Americans who vote for these policies, to spread American ‘democracy’, to foreign lands. They want more of this — more of these achievements. (Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders nationwide among the “postgraduate” group.) Some of these people pride themselves on being “technocrats.” They claim that the world needs more of their ‘expertise’. Lots of them come forth on the ‘news’ media to validate such invasions as Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Syria after 2011, etc. Almost all of them possess doctoral degrees. This shows what they have learned. They are the most employable, the highest paid, the most successful, in their respective fields.

After all: ‘democracy’ is not for amateurs. It’s only for people who take instruction, and who do what they are told. But, told by whom? Whom are they obeying? Do they even know? In any organization, when an instruction is issued, is it always easy to know who issued it? And what happens to a person who doesn’t carry it out? There is a winnowing process. The constant survivors are the ones who rise from that process, and who ultimately win the opportunity to issue some of the instructions themselves. These people are the wheat; everybody else is chaff, which gets discarded, in a ‘democracy’.

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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Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein has gotten more media coverage than ever before since Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton and hundreds of Bernie delegates walked out of the Democratic National Convention chanting « JILL NOT HILL. » Stein still faces exclusion from the nationally televised presidential debates and steep ballot access barriers in many states. I spoke to Rick Lass, the Stein campaign’s ballot access coordinator, who said the campaign expects to spend half a million dollars just getting on the ballot.

Ann Garrison: Rick Lass, could you give us a summary of the state of Jill Stein’s ballot access drive now?

Rick Lass: Definitely, we’re movin’ right along. Things are goin’ quite well. We’ve, since we last talked, got on the ballot in a couple more states and August is our big month. We’ve got seven filings on August 1st and 2nd, another couple on August 10th, and another 15 between August 10th and Sseptember 9th. We’re actively petitioning in every state we haven’t filed in already, and things are lookin’ good.

Dr. Jill Stein addressed the Black Men for Bernie rally at the Democratic National Convention. The group now supports Dr. Stein.

AG: I heard that one state you didn’t manage to get on in was Oklahoma?

RL: That’s right. They had a really high requirement of 40,000 signatures and a mid-July deadline. So there’s actually three states that we’re definitely not on. Oklahoma, North Carolina and Indiana. We will be write-in candidates in North Carolina and Indiana, but Oklahoma doesn’t allow write-ins.

AG: That means that Jill will be officially registered as a write-in, so that a write-in vote for Jill will be counted, right?

RL: In Indiana and North Carolina, right, but not Oklahoma.

AG: What about Georgia, which also had really high signature requirements before a legal decision lowered them?

RL: In Georgia we turned in 10,000 signatures, a little more than that, and we need 7500 to be valid. So we’re waiting, it’s been three weeks now almost since we filed, and we haven’t heard anything. They have a very rigorous test, just like the State of Nevada, where we filed 8500 and needed 5500 to be valid. And they actually compare the signature on the petition to the signature that they have on file that they’ve scanned of the person’s original voter registration form. And they use that to disqualify certain signatures, which just seems absurd if you consider the person may have registered to vote 10 years ago or 15 years ago, or they might be signing the petition in 110 degree heat in Las Vegas in a shopping center parking lot somewhere and not be quite so careful as if they’re in a government office signing an official form. So, in Nevada we’ve actually appealed the decision. They said we fell short by 600, and in Georgia, we’re waiting to hear but we’re very optimistic.

AG: OK, so are you optimistic that Jill Stein will be on the ballot in most states?

RL: Well, most definitely. I still think we’re gonna be on in 46 states.

AG: Now I believe that Jill would have to get 15% in a major, nationally recognized poll to be able to get into the presidential debates. Is that right?

RL: I think you need three major recognized polls, and that’s why there’s a lawsuit that was filed almost four years ago against the Commission on Presidential Debates for their exclusive, monopolistic way of handling what used to be done fairly by the League of Women Voters. I was never a huge fan of Ross Perot but due to the fact that Ross Perot was on the debate stage back in ’92, he got a very good percentage of the votes because people realized they had another choice and, instead of sitting home, they went out and voted to overturn the two-party system. And ever since then, they have not allowed a so-called third party candidate on the debate stage.

AG: OK, I’ll try to catch up with you again to see how it goes in the critical month of August.

RL: Thanks for getting in touch and keeping people informed.

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist who contributes to the San Francisco Bay View, Counterpunch, Global Research, the Black Agenda Report and the Black Star News, and produces radio for KPFA-Berkeley and WBAI-New York City.  In 2014, she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize by the Womens International Network for Democracy and Peace.  She can be reached at [email protected].

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Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it. John Lennon

The American Empire is playing a dangerous game with its nuclear weapons arsenal. The US-NATO and Israel alliance has declared directly and indirectly that Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are a threat to world peace and security.

Let’s be clear on who is the real threat to world peace and it is not the countries I just mentioned, it is Washington’s geopolitical ambitions to bring its enemies under their sphere of control. Washington’s geopolitical moves are antagonizing its enemies which can ignite a catastrophic world war that can go to nuclear at a moment’s notice. The threat of a nuclear war is at almost the same level of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, but if you listen to the main-stream media (MSM) you may never know what is really going on concerning world events.

The first woman and U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has threatened Iran with nuclear strikes while Israel maintains its own nuclear weapons arsenal which is also a threat to its neighbors in the Middle East, especially Iran.

Washington is placing NATO troops and Missile Defense Systems close to Russia’s borders and giving the U.S. Navy the green light to a possible confrontation with China’s naval fleet in the South China Sea. Washington’s bellicose actions are indeed provocative. As I mentioned in a 2013 article ‘Hawaii: 120 Years of US Occupation: Militarism and “America’s Pacific Century’ Hillary Clinton who was Secretary of State at the time wrote an article in 2011 titled ‘America’s Pacific Century’ for Foreign Policy Magazine where she defined what the U.S. role would be in the Pacific region:

Strategically, maintaining peace and security across the Asia-Pacific is increasingly crucial to global progress, whether through defending freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, countering the proliferation efforts of North Korea, or ensuring transparency in the military activities of the region’s key players

America’s strategy in the South China Sea is to isolate China at all costs while empowering their vassal states in the region with political, economic and military support. According to a July 12th article by The Guardian, China has rejected a ruling by an international tribunal in The Hague which claims that the Philippines has legal rights in the South China Sea “over strategic reefs and atolls that Beijing claims would give it control over disputed waters of the South China Sea.”

The ruling is a moral justification for the U.S. Navy to patrol the South China Sea while advancing Washington’s strategic goals. First it allows Washington to block any trade or cooperation agreements between China and its neighboring countries which can leave Western business interests out of the loop which is why the Obama regime continues to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) which gives US corporations unlimited power in the region. The TPP is one of the agreements under Obama’s “Asian Pivot” that puts corporate power over government’s who sign on to the TPP. Under the TPP, laws that protected the working-class people and labor unions before their governments sign on to the TPP would be diminished.

The agreement will also end regulations that effect health, safety and environmental standards and the list goes on. Corporations like Monsanto would become a major benefactor in agriculture sector throughout the entire region. Second, it gives Washington an excuse to remain in the South China Sea to protect its corporate interests and its allies from the “China Threat” following the objective of “Full-Spectrum Dominance” in the Asia-Pacific region.

Washington’s propaganda campaign against China reinstates the willingness and insanity of provoking a war against a nation who has a relatively strong military force of over 2.3 million troops on land, sea and air including its own nuclear arsenal. Not to mention China is America’s creditor which means in short “don’t bite the hands that feeds you!” Washington’s aggressive foreign policy stance has accelerated since Obama got into the White House.

The Obama administration (and a possible Hillary Clinton presidency to follow) is also risking a possible conflict with Russia. In the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton said that “I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia” following the same path as her “Neocon” supporters. Clinton’s speech shows what she will most likely do in Washington and that is to risk countless lives to further advance U.S. strategic goals.

The elites or the “Armchair Warriors” (because they instigate war from the comfort of their mansions where they throw costume parties wearing animal heads or from their offices in the White House, Downing Street, Tel Aviv and the Pentagon) do not in any way fight wars themselves, but support and even lobby for war that benefits the Military-Industrial Complex. We can also call them “Chicken Hawks” which are those who support and advocate for war as many do in Washington, but avoid any form of military service or draft (Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) when called upon to serve. Washington’s politicians are quick to use their own populations for their military adventures who are mostly from poor and in some cases from the middle class and their favorite “undocumented immigrants” (who are promised American citizenships) from Latin America. The U.S military and the Washington-backed NATO troops are pawns of unwinnable wars that can escalate into a thermo-nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia.

Wall Street, the Military-Industrial Complex, corporations and the politicians are willing to lead the world into an Armageddon-type scenario. Washington is confident that they can defeat its adversaries with their military power but the U.S. has never faced countries like Russia, China or Iran. Russia has more advanced military technologies including its air and missile defense systems known as the S-500 which can counter any US-NATO missile or fighter jet at a moment’s notice. Irrational decisions made by Washington’s establishment means two things, first, they must be really politically and historically ignorant on Russia’s stance when it comes to its sovereignty and they must really despise humanity, but one thing is certain; they want the U.S. to remain as the world’s standing superpower. Wars after war, countless lives have been lost on all continents over the last 250 years or so. War is America’s pastime. Wars contribute to the spread of disease and famine. Countless Western interventions in the last 100 years alone have caused chaos, economic despair for many nations who lay victim to Western Imperial agendas.

From Banking to GMO’s: The Armchair Warriors want Humanity under their Control

The armchair warriors advocate for economic policies that essentially enslave humanity with their banking institutions such as Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the International Bank for International Settlements (BIS), JP Morgan Chase, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Goldman Sachs is one of the financial institutions that managed to steer the world into debt peonage. Jose Manuel Barroso was an EU bureaucrat and President of the European Commission was just hired by Goldman Sachs is a prime example of the revolving doors between government and corporations.

Why are we as human beings subjected to this madness and despair so that the top 1% can control our natural resources and our lives? Western politicians, top-level military men (General Breedlove), think tanks such as the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) or the Heritage Foundation, the Main-Stream Media (MSM) and multinational corporations are leading the world to destruction and chaos. They advocate the need to control humanity’s healthcare with their prescription drugs and vaccines that hurt and kill thousands of people annually. They advocate for Genetically Modified foods (GMO’s) and support corporations such as Monsanto who are producing the unhealthiest foods for public consumption. GMO foods do lead to future health problems which do guarantee permanent patients so that Pharmaceutical corporations can continue to earn profits from their “legal” drugs. A monopoly made in Washington.

The West will Suffer Major Consequences of a Nuclear War

Russia and China are prepared for any confrontation with the United States if any peace agreement were to fail (obviously, Washington does not want peace). Russia will not hesitate to retaliate if Washington and its NATO patsies were foolish enough to launch a pre-emptive strike on Russian soil committing the world to a nuclear war. China recently announced that preparations are underway for any possible confrontation with the U.S. and any of its allies in The Global Times; a Chinese-government source clearly states what is at stake concerning U.S. maneuvers in the South China Sea:

China should speed up building its military capabilities of strategic deterrence. Even though China cannot keep up with the US militarily in the short-term, it should be able to let the US pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force. China is a peace-loving country and deals with foreign relations with discretion, but it won’t flinch if the US and its small clique keep encroaching on its interests on its doorstep. China hopes disputes can be resolved by talks, but it must be prepared for any military confrontation. This is common sense in international relations

Washington is also placing NATO Missile Defense Systems in Europe that threatens Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin faced off with Journalists in the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum  on June 17th and said the following in regards to a possible war with the West:

The “Iranian Threat” does not exist but the NATO Missile Defense System is being positioned in Europe. That means we were right when we said that their reasons are not genuine, they were not being open with us. Always referring to the “Iranian Threat” in order to justify this system, once again they lied to us, now the system is functioning and being loaded with missiles. As you (Journalists) should know these missiles are put into capsules, which are used in the Tomahawk long range missile system.

So, these are being loaded with missiles that can penetrate territories within a 500km range, but we know that technologies advance, and we even know in which year the U.S. will accomplish the next missile…this missile will be able to penetrate distances of up to 1000km, and then even further… And from that moment on, they will start to directly threaten Russia’s nuclear potential.

We know year by year what’s going to happen, and they know that we know. It’s only you that they tell tall tales to, and you buy it, and spread it to the citizens of your countries. You people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger — this is what worries me.

“How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? While they pretend that nothing is going on. I don’t know how to get through to you anymore”

Washington’s insanity will for sure destroy Western civilization with Europe taking the first nuclear strikes when Russia retaliates after a U.S. led NATO strike. Are the armchair warriors going to the front lines to fight alongside US-NATO soldiers? Of course not because they have their pawns in place that will be killed or seriously maimed if a war or a nuclear war was to take place, but no worries because they have the pharmaceutical drugs that will heal your life crippling wounds. Not only is the Obama administration threatening Russia’s borders, Hillary Clinton has threatened Iran in the past with a nuclear strike against any action they may take against Israel or “violate” any terms within the nuclear deal between the P5 +1 (Russia, China, France, the UK and the U.S. plus Germany) and Iran in 2015. Is a nuclear war inevitable?

The Aftermath of a Nuclear War: The Top 1% and the Mission to Mars

In 2015, the main-stream media, in this case Newsweek published an article titled ‘Star Wars’ Class Wars: Is Mars the Escape Hatch for the 1 Percent? It claims that wealthy billionaires are planning an escape from planet earth and leave the rest of the human race behind:

It’s nice to know Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have a plan. They will help the richest people in the world go to Mars and start over, leaving the other 99 percent to suffer on a dying, warring planet. The only solace for those of us left here will be that the Biebs should be prosperous enough to go with them

But those who have the political power and most of the world’s wealth at their disposal are in the midst of creating a plan to leave Earth in case of an apocalyptic scenario whether by a world war or an unstoppable life-threatening disease or any other catastrophe. They have it all figured out. The billionaire founder of Space X, Elon Musk and others like him have an ambitious dream and that is to colonize planet “Mars.” Yes, you heard this right the next planet closest to the sun. Maybe they want to step out into the sun and get an instant sun tan instead of heading out to their private beach or their local overpriced sun tan salons? Living on Mars does not seem like something the average human being would like to do at some point in their lives, maybe visit as a tourist but to live for the rest of their lives? I highly doubt it.

Perhaps Musk is not the only elite multi billionaire who would want to live on another planet or in space far away from the madness of our planet. Besides many of the financial and political elite created the situation that led to war, poverty and disease in the first place for their own benefit whether it was financial or political. According to an interesting article on Elon Musk’s vision of colonizing mars by www.science.com titled ‘Now Is the Time to Colonize Mars, Elon Musk Says’ quotes Musk who addressed an audience at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and said“now is the first time in the history of Earth that the window is open, where it’s possible for us to extend life to another planet,” he continued “That window may be open for a long time — and hopefully it is — but it also may be open for a short time,” he added. “I think the wise move is to make life multiplanetary while we can.”

According to Newsweek, Musk wants humans to become a “multiplanet species” and maintain an outpost as an “insurance policy” if something catastrophic were to occur on earth:

Colonizing Mars has long been a passion of Musk’s. Indeed, the entrepreneur has repeatedly said that he founded SpaceX in 2002 primarily to help make humanity a multiplanet species. Having a self-sustaining outpost on the Red Planet would serve as an insurance policy, making humanity’s extinction unlikely even if something goes terribly awry here on Earth, Musk said Tuesday. Colonizing Mars would have other benefits as well, he added; the effort would greatly advance science discoveries and technological capabilities, and it would help inspire and excite people from all walks of life and from all around the globe 

I do agree that colonizing mars would “advance science” but that is as far as I would go for such a project. Musk’s plan to send “people from all walks of life and around the globe” sounds nice but in all actuality is unrealistic. Who would reach Mars? Those with wealth and fortune from mainly the West not the 99 percent will get to go to Mars (and of course if you are willing to live the rest of your life on the red planet).

Hollywood has produced several films on the subject on the concept of living in space, whether on another planet or on a spaceship (Star Trek). The 2013 film “Elysium” starring Matt Damon as a former convict named Max da Costa who works on an assembly line for a company that produces weapons and robots that monitors Earth under a police state controlled by Elysium, a spaceship that circles in the Earth’s orbit. Elysium is home to the ultra rich and politically powerful and under the supervision of the Secretary of Defense ‘Delacourt’ played by Jodie Foster (who reminds me of Hillary Clinton). The film takes place in the year 2154; Earth is “overpopulated” with all of the people living in extreme poverty and starvation with no technology or a healthcare system to cure them from sicknesses and life-threatening diseases. Elysium has all the technology for their own people (the ultra rich and the political establishment) that can prolong their lives in relative comfort while humans who live on earth suffer from various diseases. I will not tell you about how the film ends. However, the film examines how those in power would control planet earth from space with surveillance systems that monitor human activity along with robots and drones to keep the order in place. The film depicts the future of humanity living under a dictatorship while rotating the earth’s orbit. I would not at all be surprised that some of the elitists in Western circles would jump on an opportunity to control earth from a spaceship.

War and Chaos Really Scares the Elites

Creating chaos is orchestrated by those in power who have enormous influence in the financial, military and political sectors of society. It is quite bizarre in understanding how the global elite would want to dominate the world and control humanity so that they can enjoy their vast fortunes and power of control because they are entitled to because of who they are. The elite or the armchair warriors want to enslave society with their financial manipulations which they call “capitalism” or more like “Crony Capitalism.”

 Chaos is a formula for restoring order, an order that imposes control over people. We can also say that it is a divide and conquer strategy which allows the rulers to control both sides of the fight. Once they lose that control, they panic for their own safety. Isn’t that pathetic? They start the wars, impose debt slavery on the population and then social unrest becomes uncontrollable. So what is the solution for the elites? Live on a distant planet because the environment they created on Earth is now far too dangerous for them to cope with.

Personally, I prefer planet earth as to living on Mars; I would not want to live on Mars even if it was remotely possible. I like planet earth, its beautiful oceans and lakes, its people, its beaches and its various cultures etc. Mars is a dream for Musk and it won’t happen anytime soon. For now New Zealand might be their only option. An interesting article by The Guardian in 2015 with a headline title that says it all ‘As inequality soars, the nervous super rich are already planning their escapes’ regarding an interview at the Davos Economic Forum with Economist Robert Johnson, president of the Institute of New Economic Thinking said that

 “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”  

The “armchair Warriors” or the “chicken hawks” or whatever you prefer to call them have been in preparation for an economic depression, social unrest or a nuclear war for some time because of the situations they themselves created. Humanity needs to stop these maniacs from destroying us and we can by continuing to inform the public on the dangers of US-NATO and Israeli alliance and its network of vassal states (including Gulf State Monarchies for example) who pose the real threat to humanity. I do believe that we can win this battle and that the criminal elitist cabal who rule our earth will face an unprecedented resistance in the months and years to come. I am optimistic. There is still time and hope for a peaceful solution to emerge, but time is running out.

 

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More than 90,000 people have fled Sirte and the clutches of IS. Many left with nothing other than the stories of desperate conditions inside the city

At the back of a carpet shop in Tripoli Street, one of the main roads through Misrata, citizens collect essential items for refugees. There are shoes, clothes, mattresses, books and games for children and even food baskets for young couples who cannot afford a wedding lunch.

The donations will be shared among the tens of thousands of civilians who have fled Sirte and the clutches of the Islamic State group. The UN says more than 90,000 have left – two thirds of the city’s population – including 35,000 in the two months since the start of a Libyan offensive to take back the city. Among them are 3,000 children under the age of three.

Misrata, Beni Walid and Tarhouna have taken in the vast majority, many of whom arrived with nothing other than the clothes on their backs and stories of their break for freedom from desperate conditions inside the city.

Fatima is in line at the carpet shop with her 13-year-old daughter Aisha, one of her five children. Until a few months ago they lived in Sirte.

« My husband is blind and has a heart problem, » Fatima told Middle East Eye. « When we were in Sirte we lived with his family, sharing the food and expenses, and as long as I could work my salary was enough to guarantee children what they needed. »

Then Islamic State arrived, and the end of our lives began. They took possession of all aspects of our lives.

Holding a picture of her eldest son, Ali, 15, Fatima said: « They wanted to recruit our children. We knew there were spies everywhere who controlled the boys who went to their lessons. Young people were forced to listen to their sermons. »

The situation became desperate for Fatima as food and medicine began to run out.

At that point my husband and I began to think of escape. We were afraid of being stopped at a checkpoint and kidnapped, as we knew it was happening to many others.

But one night we took courage and we fled. I did not want my son to be corrupted by their ideology, but at the same time I was afraid they would kill him. For this, we fled.

‘I tried to resist till the end’

Another refugee, Ibrahim, met with MEE in a hotel in Misrata. He asked to remain anonymous for fear IS would kill his brother, whom they abducted and forced to fight.

They took him from our home, at night, after having ransacked everything. The same thing happened to many other young people.

They forced them to train, we know that around Sirte there are several training camps and we saw weapons arriving all the time during these months.

« I tried to resist till the end. I did not want to leave Sirte without my brother, but when the bombing started I convinced my mother to flee, » he said.

Ibrahim recounted the punishing conditions inside Sirte after IS arrived in 2014, and the reign of terror exacted on its population.

They controlled everything: the port, the air base, the radio station, they stopped all communication with the outside, they closed banks. They taxed my shop, my family was starving.

They forced citizens to attend public executions. Many people were beheaded and hanged on a scaffold on the roundabout in Zafran.

I was forced to attend public executions seven times… they passed in the street with loudspeakers threatening retaliation for those who did not attend.

They killed innocent people, accusing them of witchcraft, blasphemy, or spying.

I can never forget the faces of my fellow citizens killed. I will never forget the pain of their families and the fear of all of us.

‘The soldiers were mainly foreigners. Judges were Nigerian’

The IS fighters were mostly foreign, he said.

The largest group was Tunisian, and there were soldiers from Yemen, Chad, Nigeria. Their judges were mostly Nigerians. The leaders were not Libyans – they were mostly Syrians and Iraqis.

They were carrying lots of currencies; there were Libyan dinars but also euro and so many dollars.

There was a prison in a school, in the Ribat area, and another at the central bank, we were all terrified of their Islamic police, terrified of ending up on their lists.

A friend of mine was sentenced to be publicly flogged because the Islamic police claimed to have seen him smoking in public.

He said he hated fleeing, but there was no alternative.

And I pray for the civilians left in Sirte. Because I fear that they are used as human shields.

Many people ask me why I had not run away before. I answer: because Sirte is my home, because I wanted my brother back, because I was hoping that someone might save us.

Forces loyal to the Libyan unity government, based in Tripoli, have been inching towards Sirte for two months. Reports from the front lines suggest British and American forces are directing the Libyan campaign, but progress is slow.

And the many thousands who have fled death must find a new way to live until their city is liberated.

« Now I’m here in Misrata and I pray every morning to find a job to feed my mother, » Ibrahim said.

Fatima is also struggling. « We feel deeply alone, » she said. « I have three jobs to pay the rent of the house we found, but if I pay the rent little or nothing remains to buy food.

I had to ask Aisha to start working with me. I do not want her to do menial work too. I clean houses and ask her just to cook.

 

Libyan forces launched a counter-offensive around Sirte two months ago (AFP)
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Bolivian President Evo Morales on Friday accused the United States of continuing to plot against his government via embassy personnel.

Bolivia expelled Philip Goldberg, the U.S. ambassador to La Paz, eight years ago, saying the envoy conspired to strengthen Bolivia’s right-wing political opposition against Morales’ progressive left-leaning government.

« Despite the expulsion…the U.S. government doesn’t stop in its zeal to conspire against our democratic and cultural revolution, » Morales said through his Twitter account.

The complaint comes a day after Interior Minister Carlos Romero met with U.S. Charge d’Affaires Peter Brennan, who acknowledged having met with opponents to the government.

According to the Bolivian News Agency (ABI), Romero told Brennan that the meetings with opposition leaders « antagonized » the bilateral relationship and were considered interferring in domestic affairs.

On Thursday, minister of the Bolivian Presidency, Juan Ramon Quintana, was on hand for the presentation of a book titled « BoliviaLeaks, » on U.S. attempts to derail Morales’ first term (2006-2010).

As Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Morales launched major reforms to empower the indigenous population, including nationalizing the oil industry, which had been under the control of foreign multinationals.

The United States considers Bolivia a nightmare, fearing our « process of reforms can spread to other countries on the continent, » said Quintana.

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