L’ennemi commun des peuples. Les États-Unis illettrés.

septembre 18th, 2016 by Chris Hedges

Nous vivons dans deux États-Unis. Une partie des États-Unis, maintenant minoritaire, qui fonctionne dans un monde lettré basé sur l’écriture imprimée et qui est en mesure de faire face à la complexité et possède les outils intellectuels pour différencier l’illusion de la vérité.

L’autre partie des États-Unis, qui est majoritaire, évolue dans un système basé sur la non-réalité elle-même basée sur la croyance. Elle est dépendante des images habilement manipulées pour son information. Elle s’est écartée de la culture basée sur l’écriture imprimée. Elle ne sait pas différencier les mensonges de la vérité. Elle est informée par des narratifs et des clichés simplistes et puérils. Elle est assujettie au désarroi par l’ambiguïté, la nuance et l’autoréflexion. Cette fracture, plus que la race, la classe ou le sexe, plus que le rural ou l’urbain, le croyant ou l’incroyant, « Républicain » ou « Démocrate », a divisé le pays en entités radicalement distinctes, infranchissables et antagoniques.

Il y a plus de 42 millions d’adultes étasuniens, dont 20% détiennent un diplôme d’études secondaires, qui ne peuvent pas lire, ainsi que les 50 millions qui ont un niveau de lecture de huitième ou de septième [9 ou 10 ans]. Près d’un tiers de la population du pays est illettrée ou peu lettrée. Entretemps il est estimé que leur nombre croît de 2 millions par an. Mais même les soi-disant lettrés reculent en grand nombre dans l’existence basée sur l’image. Un tiers des diplômés du secondaire, ainsi que 42% des diplômés du collège, ne lisent jamais de livre après la fin de leurs études. L’an dernier [2007 – NdT] 80% des familles étasuniennes n’ont pas acheté de livre.

Les illettrés votent rarement, et quand c’est le cas ils le font sans la capacité de prendre des décisions fondées sur des informations textuelles. Les campagnes politiques étasuniennes ont appris à communiquer dans l’épistémologie réconfortante des images et de contourner les vraies idées et la politique, contre des slogans dérisoires et des narratifs personnels rassurants. La propagande politique a maintenant la mascarade comme idéologie. Les campagnes politiques sont devenues une expérience. Elles ne nécessitent pas de compétences cognitives ou autocritiques. Elles sont conçues pour enflammer les sentiments pseudo-religieux d’euphorie, d’autonomisation et de salut collectif. Les campagnes qui réussissent sont des instruments psychologiques soigneusement fabriquées qui manipulent le public par l’inconstance de son humeur, de ses émotions et de ses impulsions, dont beaucoup sont subliminales. Elles concoctent une extase publique qui annule l’individualité et favorise un état d’abêtissement. Elles nous plongent dans un éternel présent. Elles répondent à une nation qui vit maintenant dans un état d’amnésie permanente. C’est du style et du récit, pas du contenu et de l’histoire ou de la réalité, qui informe sur notre politique et nos vies. Nous préférons les illusions heureuses. Et cela fonctionne parce qu’une tellement grande proportion de l’électorat étasunien, y compris ceux qui devraient le mieux savoir, jette aveuglément ses bulletins de vote pour des slogans, des sourires, des tableaux familiaux joyeux, des narratifs, pour l’impression de sincérité et l’attractivité des candidats. Nous confondons ce que nous sentons avec la connaissance.

Les illettrés et semi-illettrés, une fois les campagnes terminées, restent impuissants. Ils ne peuvent toujours pas protéger leurs enfants des écoles publiques dysfonctionnelles. Ils ne peuvent toujours pas comprendre le caractère prédateur des offres de prêt, les subtilités des documents hypothécaires, les accords de carte de crédit et les lignes de crédit renouvelable qui les conduisent aux saisies et aux faillites. Ils s’empêtrent toujours avec les tâches les plus élémentaires de la vie quotidienne depuis la lecture des instructions sur les des flacons de médicaments, au remplissage des formulaires des banques, des documents de prêt de voiture, de prestations et d’assurance chômage. Ils regardent, impuissants et sans comprendre que des centaines de milliers d’emplois disparaissent. Ils sont otages de marques. Les marques viennent avec des images et des slogans. Les images et les slogans c’est tout ce qu’ils comprennent. Beaucoup mangent dans les restaurants rapides, non seulement parce qu’ils ne sont pas chers, mais parce qu’ils peuvent commander à partir d’images plutôt que de menus. Et ceux qui les servent, également semi-illettrés ou illettrés, tapent les commandes sur une caisse enregistreuse où sont dessinés sur le clavier des symboles et des images. Voilà notre nouveau monde.

Les dirigeants politiques dans notre société post-lettrée n’ont plus besoin d’être compétents, sincères ou honnêtes. Ils ont besoin seulement de paraître avoir ces qualités. Ce qu’ils ont besoin le plus c’est d’une histoire d’un narratif. La réalité du narratif est sans importance. Il peut être complètement en désaccord avec les faits. La consistance et l’attrait émotionnel de l’histoire sont primordiaux. La compétence la plus essentielle dans le théâtre politique et la culture de consommation est l’artifice. Ceux qui sont les meilleurs dans l’artifice réussissent. Ceux qui ne maîtrisent pas l’art de l’artifice échouent. À l’ère des images et du divertissement, dans un âge de gratification émotionnelle instantanée, nous ne recherchons, ni nous voulons l’honnêteté. Nous demandons à être satisfaits et divertis par des clichés, des stéréotypes et des récits mythiques qui nous disent que nous pouvons être qui nous voulons être, que nous vivons dans le plus grand pays du monde, que nous sommes dotés de qualités morales et physiques supérieures et que notre glorieux avenir est prédestiné, à cause de nos attributs comme étasuniens ou parce que nous sommes bénis de Dieu, ou les deux.

La capacité à magnifier ces simples et puérils mensonges, de les répéter et de les faire répéter en boucles de cycles d’information sans fin, donne à ces mensonges l’aura de vérité incontestée. Nous sommes continuellement nourris de mots ou d’expressions comme oui nous le pouvons, anticonformisme, changement, pro-vie, espoir ou la guerre contre le terrorisme. On se sent bien à ne pas avoir à réfléchir. Tout ce que nous avons à faire c’est de visualiser ce que nous voulons, croire en nous-mêmes et sommer ses ressources intérieures cachées, qu’elles soient divines ou nationales, et faire en sorte à ce que le monde se conforme à nos désirs. La réalité n’est jamais un obstacle à notre avancement.

The Princeton Review a analysé les transcriptions des débats Gore-Bush, les débats Clinton-Bush-Perot de 1992, les débats Kennedy-Nixon de 1960 et les débats Lincoln-Douglas de 1858. Il a examiné ces transcriptions en se servant d’une évaluation de vocabulaire courant indiquant le niveau minimum d’instruction requis pour un lecteur à comprendre le texte. Au cours des débats de 2000, George W. Bush a parlé à un niveau scolaire de la sixième [11 ans] et Al Gore à un niveau de cinquième [12 ans]. Dans les débats de 1992, Bill Clinton a parlé à un niveau de la cinquième [12 ans], alors que George H.W. Bush a parlé à un niveau de la sixième [11 ans], comme l’a fait H. Ross Perot. Dans les débats entre John F. Kennedy et Richard Nixon, les candidats ont parlé en langue utilisée en seconde [15 à 16 ans]. Dans les débats d’Abraham Lincoln et Stephen A. Douglas les niveaux étaient respectivement de la première [16 à 18 ans] et de la terminale [17 à 18 ans]. En bref, la rhétorique politique d’aujourd’hui est conçue pour être compréhensible d’un enfant de 10 ans ou d’un adulte avec un niveau de lecture de septième. Elle est adaptée à ce niveau de compréhension, parce que la plupart des étasuniens parlent, pensent et se divertissent à ce niveau. Voilà pourquoi le cinéma, le théâtre et d’autres expressions artistiques sérieuses, de même que les journaux et les livres, sont mis de côté par la société étasunienne. Au 18ème siècle le personnage le plus célèbre était Voltaire. Aujourd’hui, le « personnage » plus célèbre est Mickey Mouse.

Dans notre monde post-lettré, parce que les idées sont inaccessibles, il y a un besoin constant de stimuli. Les informations, le débat politique, le théâtre, l’art et les livres sont jugés non pas sur la puissance de leurs idées, mais sur leur capacité de divertir. Les produits culturels qui nous forcent à nous examiner nous-mêmes et notre société sont condamnés comme élitistes et impénétrables. Hannah Arendt avait averti que la marchandisation de la culture conduit à sa dégradation, et crée ainsi une nouvelle classe d’intellectuels célèbres, quoique eux-mêmes bien lus et informés, voient leur rôle dans la société comme étant de convaincre les masses que « Hamlet » peut être aussi divertissant que « Le roi Lion » et peut-être aussi éducatif. « La culture », écrit-elle, « est détruite afin de produire du divertissement. »

« Il y a beaucoup de grands auteurs du passé qui ont survécu à des siècles d’oubli et de négligence », avait écrit Arendt, « mais la question est encore ouverte de savoir s’ils arriveront à survivre à une version divertissante de ce qu’ils ont à dire. »

Le changement d’une société basée sur le texte imprimé en une société basée sur des images, a transformé notre nation. Des segments énormes de notre population, en particulier ceux qui vivent dans l’étreinte de la droite chrétienne et de la culture de consommation, sont complètement largués de la réalité. Ils manquent de capacité à rechercher la vérité et d’affronter de manière rationnelle nos croissants maux sociaux et économiques. Ils cherchent la clarté, le divertissement et l’ordre. Ils sont prêts à utiliser la force pour imposer cette clarté sur d’autres, en particulier sur ceux qui ne parlent pas comme ils parlent ou qui ne pensent pas comme ils pensent. Tous les outils traditionnels de la démocratie, y compris la vérité objective scientifique et historique, des faits, des nouvelles et un débat rationnel, sont des instruments inutiles dans un monde qui n’a pas la capacité à les utiliser.

Au fur et à mesure que nous sombrons dans une crise économique dévastatrice, une que Barack Obama ne peut pas arrêter, il y aura des dizaines de millions d’étasuniens qui seront impitoyablement poussés sur le côté. Alors leurs maisons seront forcloses, leurs emplois perdus, et ils seront obligés de se déclarer en faillite et d’observer leurs communautés s’effondrer, et ils reculeront davantage dans le fantasme irrationnel. Ils seront conduits vers des illusions luisantes et autodestructrices par nos Pied Pipers* modernes – nos annonceurs des grandes multinationales, nos charlatans prédicateurs, nos nouvelles télé-célébrités, nos gourous de l’auto-assistance, notre industrie du divertissement et de nos démagogues politiques – qui offriront des formes d’évasion de plus en plus absurdes.

Les valeurs fondamentales de notre société ouverte, la capacité à penser par soi-même, de tirer des conclusions indépendantes, d’exprimer la dissidence quand le jugement et le bon sens indiquent que quelque chose ne va pas, d’être autocritiques, de défier l’autorité, de comprendre des faits historiques, de séparer la vérité du mensonge, de plaider en faveur du changement et de reconnaître qu’il existe d’autres points de vue, différentes manières d’être, qui sont moralement et socialement acceptables, sont en train de mourir. Obama a utilisé des centaines de millions de dollars de fonds de campagne pour séduire et manipuler cet illettrisme et cet irrationalisme à son avantage, mais ces forces se révéleront être ses ennemies le plus mortelles une fois qu’elles entreront en collision avec la réalité terrible qui nous attend.

Chris Hedges

 

Article original en anglais :  America the Illiterate, Truth Dig, 4 septembre 2016.

Traduction Alexandre Moumbaris (Démocrite), relecture Marie-José Moumbaris pour le Comité Valmy

 

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Il est difficile de mettre en symbiose les paroles et les actions de Benjamin Netanyahu : il est l’un des principaux initiateurs de la loi du 19 juillet 2016 qui autorise le parlement israélien, la Knesset, d’exclure à une majorité des deux-tiers un de ses membres dont il ne partage pas les vues.

Intitulée la Loi d’exclusion, elle est envisagée comme un moyen pour les partis juifs de la Knesset d’exclure les parlementaires représentant l’importante minorité palestinienne puisque un sur cinq israéliens est palestinien. Or, une semaine plus tard, Netanyahou s’était excusé sur les médias auprès des Palestiniens, en anglais et en hébreu, des commentaires désobligeants qu’il avait faits l’an dernier au cours des élections législatives en Israël. Il avait alors appelé ses partisans à se rendre aux urnes car les « Arabes, » – 1,7 million de citoyens palestiniens- « iraient voter en masse ».

Netanyahou a prétendu que ses propos avaient été mal interprétés et assuré que « les citoyens arabes devaient participer en masse à la société : travailler en masse, étudier en masse, prospérer en masse… Je suis fier du rôle des Arabes dans la réussite d’Israël. Je veux que vous y jouiez un rôle encore plus grand ». 

La loi d’exclusion va considérablement restreindre le rôle des parlementaires palestiniens à la Knesset, seule institution publique véritablement transparente. Selon Adalah, un centre de droit représentant la minorité palestinienne, cette loi n’a aucun précédent dans aucun Etat démocratique mais, en Israël, elle fait partie d’un ensemble de lois visant à circonscrire strictement les droits de cette minorité afin de tarir les divergences. D’autres craignent qu’elle ne vide la Knesset des partis politiques palestiniens.

« Cette loi viole toutes les règles de la démocratie et le principe que les minorités doivent être représentées » dit Mohammed Zeidan, directeur de l’Association des Droits de l’Homme (Human Rights Association) de Nazareth « et envoie le message en direction du public qu’il est possible, et même souhaitable, qu’il n’y ait seulement qu’une Knesset juive ».

La coalition des quatre partis palestiniens au parlement du nom de Joint List (Liste Commune), a publié une lettre ouverte le 22 juillet affirmant que Netanyahu et son gouvernement « veulent une Knesset sans Arabes ». Selon Zeidan, « cela pourrait advenir très rapidement car « il suffirait de l’expulsion d’un seul député palestinien ce qui conduirait à des pressions énormes sur les autres pour qu’ils démissionnent en protestation». Il est à noter que la Liste constitue le troisième parti au parlement avec 13 sièges sur les 120.

Yousef Jabareen, député de la Liste commune, à la Knesset, pense que la loi a créé « un parlement en liberté surveillée » le forçant au silence « ou bonne conduite » car « la menace de l’exclusion sera une tactique pour réduire le parlement au silence et entraver les capacités de la Liste à remplir le mandat que lui ont confié les électeurs ». 

La première cible de la loi a été Haneen Zoabi, du parti Balad , ennemie jurée des membres juifs du parlement- d’où le nom donné à cette loi, la loi Zoabi.- pour avoir attaqué le pacte de réconciliation conclu entre Israël et la Turquie. Des membres juifs de la Knesset l’avaient agressée dans l’enceinte même de l’assemblée. Elle les avait outragés en qualifiant de « meurtre » la mort de dix militants par des commandos israéliens en 2010, lors de l’assaut dans les eaux internationales, de la flotte se dirigeant vers Gaza à laquelle elle participait.

Au lieu de blâmer les parlementaires juifs, Netanyahou déclarait « qu’elle avait dépassé toutes les bornes» et qu’elle « n’avait plus sa place à la Knesset». De la même manière, Herzog dirigeant de l’opposition, avait requis la censure des discours de Zoabi. Et Netanyahou, lors de l’adoption de la loi, avait, sur les médias sociaux, déclaré que « ceux qui soutiennent le terrorisme en Israël et ciblent ses citoyens, n’ont plus leur place à la Knesset ».

Zeidan qualifie la loi d’ « escalade dangereuse » pour nourrir la haine « nous entrons dans une ère nouvelle. Avant, nous avions des lois et des politiques racistes, maintenant, nous nous dirigeons rapidement vers un fascisme caractérisé ». « Les provocations permanentes du premier ministre à l’encontre de la minorité palestinienne descendent dans la rue où il y aura plus de violence et d’attaques de citoyens palestiniens par le public juif».

Une procédure contre un membre de la Knesset peut être initiée par 70 parlementaires. Une exclusion en demande 90 si ceux pensent que le politicien a incité au racisme ou soutenu la lutte armée contre Israël bien qu’il n’y ait aucune définition juridique de ce que constitue un « soutien ». La Knesset pourra prendre en compte les déclarations dudit politicien – et particulièrement leur interprétation- et pas simplement les actes ou les buts affichés. Jusqu’à présent, un député ne pouvait être exclu que pour un crime sérieux.

…(…)…

Zahalka, dirigeant du parti Balad, pense que les membres palestiniens de la Knesset vont devoir faire face à « une situation extraordinaire ». « Dans tous les pays, l’immunité parlementaire confère à son titulaire des droits plus importants que ceux du simple citoyen, pour qu’il puisse mener à bien ses tâches législatives. En Israël seulement, les représentants du peuple auront une liberté de parole et d’action plus limitée que celle du citoyen ordinaire. » 

La Loi d’exclusion fait suite à l’interdiction du Mouvement Islamique du nord, le mouvement le plus largement présent au sein de la minorité palestinienne dont le chef, le Cheikh Raed Salah, est considéré comme un leader spirituel par une grande partie de celle-ci. A l’époque, Netanyahou avait insinué qu’il était mêlé à des « activités terroristes » mais des fuites de ministres du gouvernement à Haaretz avaient révélé que les services de sécurité n’avaient rien trouvé.

Il est vrai que la droite israélienne s’est battue, depuis un certain temps, pour évincer les partis palestiniens de la Knesset. Au cours des 15 dernières années, le Comité central pour les élections, dominé par les partis juifs, a tenté d’interdire aux Palestiniens de la Knesset de se présenter aux élections. Cependant, la Cour Suprême a cassé les décisions en appel.

En 2014, le gouvernement a essayé un autre tour de passe-passe : il a voté une loi dite la Loi du Seuil qui augmentait la proportion de voix nécessaires pour être élu, proportion impossible à atteindre pour les quatre petits partis palestiniens. La manœuvre prit l’eau car la réponse de ces partis fut de s’unir en formant la Joint List (La liste commune) qui est devenue un des plus grands blocs de la Knesset à la suite des élections de l’an dernier.

Asad Ghanem, professeur de politique à l’Université de Haïfa, souligne que la Loi d’exclusion pourrait conduire au but déclaré de Netanyahou, à savoir décourager la population palestinienne de participer aux élections, puisque l’abstention, avant la création de la Joint List, avait atteint plus de 50% de votes de la minorité.

« Si les attaques contre la représentation arabe à la Knesset continue, les électeurs pourront avoir l’envie de conclure qu’ « assez, c’est assez » et qu’il est temps de se retirer du jeu politique ». 

 Jonathan Cook

 

Titre original: The Nakba Continues: The Expulsion Law: This Is What Israeli Democracy Looks Like

Traduction et Synthèse : Xavière Jardez

Jonathan Cook est un journaliste basé à Nazareth. Il a obtenu le Prix Spécial pour le Journalisme de Martha Gellhorn et est l’auteur de Blood and Religion, Israël et le clash des civilisations. https://twitter.com/jonathan_k_cook

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Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron is consistent in just one thing – jumping ship when the going gets tough. He announced his resignation   in the immediate wake of the 23rd July referendum in which Britain marginally voted to leave the EU, a referendum which he had fecklessly called to appease right wing “little Englanders”, instead of facing them down.

He lost. The result is looming financial catastrophe and the prospect of unraveling forty three years of legislations (Britain joined the then European Economic Community on 1st January 1973.) No structure was put in place for a government Department to address the legal and bureaucratic enormities should the leave vote prevail. There is still none.

Cameron however committed to staying on as an MP until the 2020 general election, vowing grandiosely: “I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed”, he said of the small island off Europe which he had potentially sunk, now isolated from and derided by swathes of its continental neighbours – with the sound of trading doors metaphorically slamming shut reverberating across the English Channel.

David Cameron has now jumped again, resigning unexpectedly and immediately as an MP on Monday 12th September, giving the impression that he was not in agreement with certain policies of his (unelected) successor, Theresa May. He stated: “Obviously I have my own views about certain issues … As a former PM it’s very difficult to sit as a back-bencher and not be an enormous diversion and distraction from what the Government is doing. I don’t want to be that distraction.” What an ego.

Over the decades of course, the House of Parliament has been littered with former Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers who have remained constituency MPs without being a “distraction.”

DEVASTATING INDICTMENT

The following day the real reason for his decision seemed obvious. Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee released their devastating findings on Cameron’s hand in actions resulting in Libya’s near destruction, contributing to the unprecedented migration of those fleeing UK enjoined “liberations”, creating more subsequent attacks in the West – and swelling ISIS and other terrorist factions.

“Cameron blamed for rise of ISIS”, thundered The Times headline, adding: “Damning Inquiry into Libya points finger at former PM.” The Guardian opined: “MPs condemn Cameron over Libya debacle” and: “Errors resulted in country ‘becoming failed state and led to growth of ISIS.’ ”

The Independent owned “I”: “Cameron’s toxic Libya legacy”, with: “Former PM blamed for collapse in to civil war, rise of ISIS and mass migration to Europe in Inquiry’s scathing verdict” and “Cameron ignored lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan …”

The Independent chose: “Cameron’s bloody legacy: Damning Report blames ex-PM for ISIS in Libya.”

No wonder he plopped over the side.

The Report is decimating. The Foreign Affairs Select Committee concluding: “Through his decision-making in the National Security Council, former Prime Minister, David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy.”

The disasters leading to that final verdict include the UK’s intervention being based on “erroneous assumption” an “incomplete understanding” of the situation on the ground, with Cameron leaping from limited intervention to an: “opportunist policy of (entirely illegal) regime change”, based on “inadequate intelligence.”

Once Gaddafi had been horrendously assassinated, resultant from the assault on his country: “ … failure to develop a coherent strategy … had led to political and economic collapse, internecine warfare, humanitarian crisis and the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in North Africa.”

After his death, Gaddafi’s body, with that of his son, Mutassim, was laid out on the floor of a meat warehouse in Misrata. (“I”, 14th September 2016.)

“We came, we saw, he died”, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton told the media, with a peal of laughter. (1) Just under a year later US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three US officials were murdered in Benghazi. Payback time for her words, taken out on the obvious target?

Muammar Gaddafi, his son Muatassim and his former Defence Minister were reportedly buried in unmarked graves in the desert, secretively, before dawn on 25th October 2011. The shocking series of events speaking volumes for the “New Libya” and the Cameron-led, British government’s blood dripping hands in the all.

The UK’s meddling hands were involved from the start. France, Lebanon and the UK, supported by the US, proposed UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

Britain was the second country, after France, to call for a “no fly zone” over Libya in order to: “to use all necessary measures” to prevent attacks on civilians. “It neither explicitly authorised the deployment of ground forces nor addressed the question of regime change or of post conflict reconstruction”, reminds the Committee.

Moreover: “France led the international community in advancing the case for military intervention in Libya … UK policy followed decisions taken in France.” Former Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder confirmed to the Committee: “Cameron and Sarkozy were the undisputed leaders in terms of doing something.” (Emphasis added.)

The US was then “instrumental in extending the terms of the Resolution” to even a “no drive zone” and “assumed authority to attack the entire Libyan government’s command and communications network.”

INSTITUTIONAL IGNORANCE

On the 19th March 2011, a nineteen nation “coalition” turned a “no fly zone” into a free fire zone and embarked on a blitzkrieg of a nation of just 6.103 million (2011 figure.)

All this in spite of the revelation to the Committee by former UK Ambassador to Libya Sir Dominic Asquith, that the intelligence base at to what was really happening in the country: “… might well have been less than ideal.”

Professor George Joffe, renowned expert on the Middle East and North Africa, noted: “the relatively limited understanding of events” and that:  “people had not really bothered to monitor closely what was happening.”

Analyst Alison Pargeter: ‘expressed her shock at the lack of awareness in Whitehall of the “history and regional complexities” of Libya.’

Incredibly Whitehall appeared to have been near totally ignorant as to the extent to which the “rebellion” might have been a relatively small group of Islamic extremists.

Former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Richards was apparently unaware that Abdelhakim Belhadj and other Al Qaeda linked members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were involved. “It was a grey area”, he said. However: “a quorum of respectable Libyans were assuring the Foreign Office” that militant Islam would not benefit from the rebellion. “With the benefit of hindsight, that was wishful thinking at best”, concluded his Lordship.

“The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Militant connections with transnational militant extremist groups were know before 201l, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda”, commented the Committee. (Emphasis added)

Iraq revisited. Back then it was the “respectable” Ahmed Chalabi, Iyad Allawi and their ilk selling a pack of lies to the seemingly ever gullible, supremely unworldly Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Much was made by William Hague, Foreign Secretary at the time and by Liam Fox, then Defence Secretary, of Muammar’s Gaddafi’s threatening rhetoric. The Committee pointed out that: ”Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

Further, two days before the 19 nation onslaught: ‘On 17 March 2011, Muammar Gaddafi announced to the rebels in Benghazi, “Throw away your weapons, exactly like your brothers in Ajdabiya and other places did. They laid down their arms and they are safe. We never pursued them at all.”

Subsequent investigation revealed that when Gaddafi’s forces re-took Ajdabiya in February 2011, they did not attack civilians. “Muammar Gaddafi also attempted to appease protesters in Benghazi with an offer of development aid before finally deploying troops.”

Professor Joffe agreed that Gaddafi’s words were historically at odds with his deeds: “If you go back to the American bombings in the 1980s of Benghazi and Tripoli, rather than trying to remove threats to the regime in the east, in Cyrenaica, Gaddafi spent six months trying to pacify the tribes that were located there. The evidence is that he was well aware of the insecurity of parts of the country and of the unlikelihood (that military assault was the answer.) Therefore, he would have been very careful in the actual response…the fear of the massacre of civilians was vastly overstated.”

In June 2011 an Amnesty International investigation failed to find corroborative evidence of mass human rights violations by government troops but did find that: “the rebels in Benghazi made false claims and manufactured evidence” and that: “much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events …”

CONDEMNATION; AIDING ISIS

The Committee wrote damningly:

We have seen no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya. It may be that the UK Government was unable to analyse the nature of the rebellion in Libya due to incomplete intelligence and insufficient institutional insight and that it was caught up in events as they developed.

It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime; it selectively took elements of Muammar Gaddafi’s rhetoric at face value; and it failed to identify the militant Islamist extremist element in the rebellion. UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence.

Moreover: “The deployment of coalition air assets shifted the military balance in the Libyan civil war in favour of the rebels”, with: “The combat performance of rebel ground forces enhanced by personnel and intelligence provided by States such as the UK, France, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.”  Lord Richards informed that the UK “had a few people embedded” with the rebel forces.

Arms and tanks were also provided to the rebels by members of the “coalition” in contravention of Resolution 1973.

Was the aim of the assault regime change or civilian protection? Lord Richard said: “one thing morphed almost ineluctably in to the other.”

The Committee summarized: “The UK’s intervention in Libya was reactive and did not comprise action in pursuit of a strategic objective. This meant that a limited intervention to protect civilians drifted into a policy of regime change by military means.” (Emphasis added.)

The Cameron-led UK government had “focused exclusively on military intervention”, under the National Security Council, a Cabinet Committee created by David Cameron.

The Committee’s final observation is:

We note former Prime Minister David Cameron’s decisive role when the National Security Council discussed intervention in Libya. We also note that Lord Richards implicitly dissociated himself from that decision in his oral evidence to this inquiry. The Government must commission an independent review of the operation of the NSC … It should be informed by the conclusions of the Iraq Inquiry and examine whether the weaknesses in governmental decision-making in relation to the Iraq intervention in 2003 have been addressed by the introduction of the NSC.

Cameron who said he wanted to be “heir to Blair” seems to have ended up as just that, pivotal cheerleader for the butchery of a sovereign leader, most of his family, government and the destruction of a nation.

Muammar Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa . However, by the time he was assassinated, Libya was unquestionably Africa ‘s most prosperous nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy in Africa and less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands. Libyans did not only enjoy free health care and free education, they also enjoyed free electricity and interest free loans. The price of petrol was around $0.14 per liter and 40 loaves of bread cost just $0.15. Consequently, the UN designated Libya the 53rd highest in the world in human development. (2)

End note: David Cameron jumped ship yet a third time – he refused to give evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

The full text of the Committee’s findings: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/119/11905.htm#_idTextAnchor023

Notes

  1. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/clinton-on-qaddafi-we-came-we-saw-he-died/
  2. http://www.countercurrents.org/chengu120113.htm

 

 

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Award Winning Author and Scientist Dr. Vandana Shiva

India is steeped in synthesised controversy, created by Monsanto on the first GM crop supposedly-approved for commercialisation in India. Engaged in litigation on many fronts, Monsanto is trying to subvert our Patent Law, our Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act, our Essential Commodities Act , our Anti Monopoly Act (Competition Act). It is behaving as if there is no Parliament, no Democracy, no Sovereign Laws in India to which it is subject. Or, it simply does not have any regard for them.

In another theatre, Monsanto and Bayer are merging. They were one as MOBAY (MonsantoBayer), part of the Poison Cartel of IG Farben. Controlling stakes of both Corporations lies with the same private equity firms.

I.G. Farben board member Fritz ter Meer (fifth from right) explains to Adolf Hitler the significance of synthetic rubber, Berlin, 1936, © National Archives, Washington, DC (image right)

The expertise of these companies are those of war. IG Farben – Hitler’s economic power and pre-war Germany’s highest foreign exchange earner – was also a foreign intelligence operation. Herman Shmitz was President of IG Farben, Shmitz’s nephew Max Ilgner was a Director of IG Farben, while Max’s brother Rudolph Ilgner handled the New York arm of the ‘VOWI‘ network as vice president of CHEMNYCO.

Paul Warburg – brother of Max Warburg (Board of Directors, Farben Aufsichsrat) – was one of the founding members of the Federal Reserve System in the United States. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Max Warburg and Hermann Schmitz played a central role in the Farben empire. Other “guiding hands” of Farben Vorstand included Carl Bosch, Fritz ter Meer, Kurt Oppenheim and George von Schnitzler. Every one of them were adjudged ‘War Criminals’ after World War II, except Paul Warburg.

Monsanto and Bayer have a long history. They made explosives and lethally poisonous gases using shared technologies and sold them to both sides in both  World Wars. The same war chemicals were bought by the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers, from the same manufacturers, with money borrowed from the same federated reserve bank.

MOBAY (MonsantoBayer) supplied ingredients for Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. 20 million gallons of MOBAY defoliants and herbicides were sprayed over South Vietnam. Children are still being born with birth defects, adults have chronic illnesses and cancers, due to their exposure to MOBAY’s chemicals. Monsanto and Bayer’s cross-licensed Agent Orange Resistance has also been cross-developed for decades.

Wars were fought, lives were lost, countries carved into holy lands – with artificial boundaries that suit colonisation and resource grab – while Bayer and Monsanto sold chemicals as bombs and poisons and their brothers provided the loans to buy those bombs.

More recently, according to Monsanto’s website Bayer CropScience AG and Monsanto Co. have “entered into a series of long-term business and licensing agreements related to key enabling agricultural technologies”. This gives Monsanto and Bayer free access to each other’s herbicide and the paired herbicide resistance technology. Through cross licensing agreements like these, mergers and acquisitions, the biotech industry has become the IG Farben of today, with Monsanto in the cockpit.

The Global Chemical and GMO industry – Bayer, Dow Agro, DuPont Pioneer, Mahyco, Monsanto and Syngenta – have come together to form Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII)  to try and become bigger bullies in this assault on India’s farmers, the environment , and democratically framed laws that protect the public and national interest.This is in addition to the lolly-group ABLE, the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises, which tried to challenge India’s Seed Price Control order issued under the Essential commodities Act, in the High Court of Karnataka. The case was dismissed.

The new Group is not “seed Industry”, they produce no seeds. And they try to stretch patents on chemicals to claim ownership on seed, even in countries where patents on seeds and plants are not allowed by law. This is the case in India, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and many other countries.

All the Monsanto cases in India are related to Monsanto un-scientifically, illegally and illegitimately claiming patents on seed, in contempt of India’s laws, and trying to collect royalties from the Indian seed industry and Indian farmers. The FSII is an “IG Farben 100 Year Family Reunion”, a federation is a coming together of independent and autonomous entities.

The Farben family chemical cartel was responsible for exterminating people in concentration camps . They embody a century of ecocide and genocide, carried out in the name of scientific experimentation and innovation. Today the poison cartel is wearing G-Engineering clothes, and citing the mantra of “innovation” ad nauseum. Hitlers concentration camps were an “innovation” in killing. 100 years later, the Farben Family are carrying out the same extermination, silently, globally, much more efficiently.

Monsanto’s “innovation” of collecting illegal royalties and pushing Indian farmers to suicide is also an innovation in killing without liability, indirectly. Just because there is a new way to kill does not make killing right, or a right. “Innovation” like every human activity, has limits – limits set by ethics, justice, democracy, the rights of people, the rights of nature.

I G Farben was tried at Nuremburg. We have national laws to protect people, their right to life and public health, and  the environment. India’s Biosafety laws and Patent, and Plant Variety Act are designed to regulate greedy owners of corporations – with a history of crimes against nature and humanity.

Industry is getting ready to push its next “gene” the  GM-Mustard (DMH-11). The GM mustard being promoted as a public sector “innovation” is based on barnase/barstar/ gene system to create male-sterile plants and a bar gene for Glufosinate Resistance.In 2002 Pro-Agro’s (Bayer) application for approval for commercial planting of GM Mustard based on the same system was rejected.

Although banned in India, Bayer finds ways to sell Glufosinate, to the tea gardens of Assam and the apple orchards of Himachal Pradesh, illegally. Sales agents show the Glufosinate sales under the ‘other’ category to avoid regulation. These chemicals are finding their way into the bodies of our children without government approval. Essentially all key patents related to the bar gene are held by Bayer Crop Science which acquired Aventis Cropscience, which itself was created out of the Genetic Engineering divisions of Schering, Rhone Poulenc and Hoechst. Then Bayer acquired Plant Genetics Systems, and entered into cooperation agreement with Evogene – which has patents on genome mapping.

Before any approval is granted to the Genetically Engineered Mustard, the issue of limits to patentability needs to be resolved on the basis of Indian law, patents on plants and seeds and methods of agriculture must not be allowed, because they are not allowed.

Pental, a retired professor and GM-Operative, will not commercialise GM Mustard seed. His Commanding Officers at Bayer/Monsanto/MOBAY will.

Given our experience with GMO cotton, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is considering the option of putting in place guidelines for socio-economic assessment to judge proposed GM varieties on the basis of factors such as economy, health, environment, society and culture.

http://m.thehindubusinessline.com

At the core of socio economic assessment is the issue of monopolies and cartels and impact on small farmers. Even though patents on seeds are not allowed, for more that one and a half decade Monsanto has extracted illegal royalties from Indian farmers, trapping them in debt, and triggering an epidemic of farmers suicides. Monsanto’s war on India’s foot soldiers – farmers – is a war being waged by the Farben Family, on our Earth Family.

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To me, the most simple, unanswered question of 9/11 is, did the 19 hijackers act alone or were they assisted by someone in the United States?…My motivation is to try to answer that question….Did they act alone or did they have a support structure that made 9/11 possible?

-Senator Bob Graham, April, 2015 (As quoted in the New York Times.) [1]

While the Washington Post acknowledges the links between ISI Chief Mahmoud Ahmad and Osama Bin Laden, it failed to dwell on the more important question: What were Rep. Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham and other members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees doing, together with the alleged money-man behind 9/11, at breakfast on Capitol Hill on the morning of September 11?

-Professor Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War On Terrorism (p.141)

 

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The Global Research News Hour continues its 15th anniversary retrospective on the 9/11 attacks by exploring two attempts at re-directing the conversation around some inconvenient facts.

In the first half hour, we explore the drama around the anthrax letter attacks which were conducted around the same time the Bush Administration was ramping up its fear campaign around the so-called “War on Terrorism” and refining its propaganda efforts around the PATRIOT ACT and the October military intervention in Afghanistan. Five people died in these attacks which suspiciously were directed exclusively at Democrats and media representatives.

Professor Graeme MacQueen of McMaster University is the founder of the McMaster’s Centre of Peace Studies in Canada and its War and Health programme, He was a member of the organizing committee of the Toronto Hearings held on the10th anniversary of 9/11 and is co-editor of The Journal of 9/11 Studies. He is also author of the 2014 book The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy. In the first half hour of the program, MacQueen expands on the significance of a now mostly forgotten episode in the war on terrorism, the connection with the likely architects of 9/11, and the need to shift the propaganda campaign away from Al Qaeda and Iraq toward a ‘lone wolf’ based within the United States Military industrial complex. The full interview with Professor MacQueen is visible below. 

(This video produced with the assistance of Videographer and technical consultant Paul Graham)

Following the Anthrax interview, we hear about the notorious 28 previously classified pages from the report of the congressional Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11. This documentation was officially declassified on July 15, 2016, just before the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The 28 pages ostensibly spell out connections between the 9/11 hijckers and officials, royal family members and intelligence operatives within Saudi Arabia.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, founder of the Centre for Research on Globalization, editor of Global Research and award-winning author addresses the disclosure of these 28 pages. In particular, Chossudovsky touches specifically on Bob Graham, the former Democratic Senator from Florida and former co-Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. As Professor Chossudovsky points out, Graham’s allegations of Saudi connections to 9/11 is a ‘red herring’ and explains his reasoning in this interview.

Finally, Toronto-based veteran broadcaster, and media critic Barrie Zwicker commemorates the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with his own personal reflections on the way he has seen media effectively conceal the truth around 9/11. Barrie Zwicker was one of the first people in the world to publicly question the U.S. government’s role in 9/11, is the author of Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11, and the host-producer of The Great Conspiracy: The 9/11 News Special You Never Saw. (Complete Video embedded below).



 

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca 

Notes:

  1. Carla Hulse (April 13, 2015); “Florida Ex-Senator Pursues Claims of Saudi Ties to Sept. 11 Attacks”; New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/world/middleeast/florida-ex-senator-pursues-claims-of-saudi-ties-to-sept-11-attacks.html?_r=0 

 

Despite the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, the U.S. blockade remains present. 

Cuba presented a report on Friday that claims the U.S. blockade on the island nation has cost it US$4.7 billion over the last year and US$753.7 billion over the last six decades.

To change Cuba is up to Cubans,” said Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as he read the report on U.N. General Assembly Resolution 70-5 entitled “Necessity to End the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade Imposed by the United States.

Rodriguez highlighted the fact that despite the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, the U.S. blockade remains present in all areas supported with “absurd legislation » like the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Cuba

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla speaks during a news conference in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 9, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

“If the ban on trade continues, it will be very hard to make things visible, the investment of U.S. companies remains prohibited, imports and exports are prohibited … a Cuban bank is prohibited from opening an account in a U.S. bank and that makes economic relations difficult,” Rodriguez said.

Regarding the relations between the island and Washington the diplomat said that it is always good to look ahead, “but you can not forget history and Cuba’s independence will never be negotiated,” he said.

Last year the U.N. General Assembly voted 191-2 to condemn the U.S. blockade of Cuba, with only the U.S. and Israel opposed. However, there has been no change and Washington maintains its economic blockade on the island.

Washington imposed the blockade in 1960, after the victory of the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro, which overthrew the regime of Fulgencio Batista, a U.S.-backed dictator.

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Libyans who mounted a revolution against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi now miss the stability provided by the old order because of the savage violence into which the country has descended, it is reported.

The testimony has emerged in a number of on-the-ground interviews carried out by the Daily Mail and comes only days after a Commons Defence Committee report placed blame for the country’s collapse and the emergence of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) firmly on the shoulders of David Cameron.

The former PM, who stepped down as an MP hours before the report was published, faces calls from fellow Tories to appear before the committee to account for the “ill-conceived” 2011 war, which even US President Barack Obama is alleged to have privately written off as Cameron’s personal “sh*t-show.

Five years on from the conflict, Libyans are lamenting the violence, blackouts, shortages, refugee crisis and general descent into chaos of the formerly stable North African state.

“I joined the revolution in the first days and fought against Gaddafi,” a former anti-regime fighter named Mohammed told the Mail.

Before 2011 I hated Gaddafi more than anyone. But now, life is much, much harder, and I have become his biggest fan,” the 31-year-old said.

An oil worker named Haroun said getting rid of Gaddafi “was clearly a mistake because we weren’t ready for democracy and we needed support from the international community, which just wasn’t there.

Political activist Fadiel told the paper that although “it should be better than Gaddafi’s time now,” all that remained is “chaos and everyone fighting each other, it’s just a mess.

Entrepreneur Nuri, from Tripoli, said: “It’s not so much about being pro-Gaddafi because he was a crazy leader who was actually quite embarrassing internationally. It’s just that people’s lives are so difficult now compared to under Gaddafi.

Benghazi, Libya © Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Medical student Salem, 26, also from Tripoli, said hopes had been quickly crushed in the wake of the US-led war in which the UK played a major part.

Far more people have been killed since 2011 than during the revolution or under 42 years of Gaddafi’s rule combined. We never had these problems under Gaddafi.

“There was always money and electricity and, although people did not have large salaries, everything was cheap, so life was simple,” he added.

Cameron did not give evidence in the committee report and has so far not responded to calls to give testimony on what the investigation has branded an “ill-conceived” operation.

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Though the following article by Italian anti-militarist Manlio Dinucci takes up the question of deployment of new U.S. nuclear weapons from the point of view of the deployment’s impact on Italy, it remains a condemnation of U.S. imperialist aggression and its dangers for the world. 

The B61-12, the new U.S. nuclear bomb intended to replace the B-61 deployed in Italy and other European countries, was “officially authorized” by the National Nuclear Security Administration. The NNSA is the agency of the U.S. Department of Energy that is “responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.” (nnsa.energy.gov)

After four years of design and testing, the NNSA gave a green light to the engineering phase that prepares mass production of the weapons.

The many components of the B61-12 are designed and tested in national laboratories at Los Alamos and Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., and produced (using parts of the B-61) in a series of plants in Missouri, Texas, South Carolina and Tennessee. Added to these is the tail section for precision guidance, provided by Boeing.

The B61-12, the cost of which is expected to run about $8 billion to $12 billion for 400 to 500 bombs, will begin to be mass-produced in fiscal 2020, starting on Oct. 1, 2019. Starting in 2020, it will begin to replace the B-61.

According to Federation of American Scientists estimates, the U.S. today maintains 70 B-61 nuclear bombs in Italy, 50 at Aviano Air Force Base [in the Friuli region north of Venice] and 20 at Ghedi-Torre AFB, [near Brescia, west of Venice]; 50 in Turkey; 20 each in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands — for a total of 180.

But no one knows exactly how many there are. At Aviano there are 18 bunkers capable of holding over 70. On this base and in Ghedi, changes have already been made, as shown in satellite pictures FAS published. Similar preparations are under way in other bases in Europe and Turkey.

The NNSA confirmed officially that the B61-12, called a “fundamental element of the U.S nuclear triad” (land, sea and air), will replace the current B61-3, B61-4, B61-7 and B61-10. This confirms what we have already documented.

The B61-12 is not simply a modernized version of the previous weapons, but actually a new weapon: It has a nuclear warhead allowing selection of four power options, with an average blast power equal to that of four Hiroshima bombs.  It has a guidance system that allows it to be launched a long distance from the target, and it has the ability to penetrate into the earth to destroy the bunkers of control centers in a surprise nuclear attack.

The new bombs, which the U.S. is preparing to install in Italy and other European countries as part of its threat escalation against Russia, are weapons that lower the nuclear threshold or make the launching of a nuclear attack more likely.

The 31st Fighter Wing, the squadron of U.S. F-16 fighter-bombers stationed in Aviano, is ready for a nuclear attack around the clock.

Even Italian pilots, as FAS showed, are being trained to carry out nuclear attacks under U.S. command with Tornado fighter-bombers deployed in Ghedi, while they await the arrival of F-35 fighter planes. The U.S. Air Force plans to equip all F-35s in Europe with nuclear capability. The first squadron of F-35s, stationed at Hill AFB in Utah, was officially declared “combat ready.” (defensenews.com, Aug. 2)

The U.S. Air Force says it does not predict when the squadron of F-35s will be combat-proven, but that it is probably during one of its overseas deployments at the beginning of 2017.

Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti is hoping that Italy, which has already been “chosen” by the U.S. to install the Muos [a satellite military communications system] that “other nations wanted,” will again be chosen.

With the B61-12, the F-35 and Muos on its territory, Italy will also be chosen, by the country under attack, as a priority target of nuclear retaliation.

The article was published in the Italian web newspaper Manifesto on Sept. 13 and was translated by Workers World managing editor John Catalinotto.

Article in italian :

Obama nucléaire

La Bomba è autorizzata

 

Translation :  John Catalinotto

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The Russian government is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The Russian government keeps making agreements with Washington, and Washington keeps breaking them.

This latest exercise in what Einstein defined as insanity is the latest Syrian cease fire agreement. Washington broke the agreement by sending the US Air Force to bomb Syrian troop positions, killing 62 Syrian soldiers and wounding 100, thus clearing the way for ISIS to renew the attack.

Russia caught Washington off guard in September 2015 when the Russian Air Force was sent to bomb ISIS positions in Syria, thus enabling the Syrian Army to regain the initiative. Russia had the war against ISIS won, but pulled out unexpectedly before the job was done. This allowed the US or its agents to resupply ISIS, which renewed the attack.

So Russia had to return to Syria. In the interval Washington had inserted itself. Now the Russian air attacks on ISIS are more complicated, as is the sky over Syria. Russia notifies Washington of its planned attacks on ISIS, and Washington warns ISIS and perhaps Turkey which shot down a Russian plane. Nevertheless, the Syrian Army gained ground.

But each time victory was stymied by “peace talks” or a “cease fire,” during which the US supported forces would regroup. Consequently, a war that Russia and Syria could have already won continues, and with a new element. Now Washington has directly attacked the Syrian army.

The US military claims it thought it was striking ISIS. Think about that a minute. The US claims to be a military superpower. It spies on the entire world, even on the personal emails and cell phone calls of its European vassals. Yet, somehow all this spy power failed to differentiate a known Syrian Army position from ISIS. If we believe that, we must conclude that the US is militarily incompetent.

This is what has happened: Priot to the current “cease fire,” the Russians could attack the US-supported jihadists, but the US could not attack Syrian forces directly, only through its jihadist proxies. The US has used the “cease fire” to create a precedent for US direct attacks on the Syrian Army.

The Russians, who almost had the war won, have shifted their focus to “peace talks” and “cease fires” that the US has used to introduce Washington’s direct participation into the conflict.

It is a mystery that the Russian government believes Washington and Moscow have any common interest in the outcome in Syria. Washington’s interest is to remove Assad and put Syria into the chaos that rules in Libya and Iraq. Russia’s interest is to stabalize Syria as a bulwark against the spread of jihadism. It is extraordinary that the Russian government is so misinformed that it thinks Moscow and Washington have a common interest in fighting terrorism, when terrorism is Washington’s weapon for destabilizing the Middle East.

How can the Russian memory be so short. Washington promised Gorbachev that if he permitted the reunification of Germany, NATO would not move one inch to the East. But the Clinton regime placed NATO on Russia’s border.

The George W. Bush regime violated the ABM Treaty by pulling out of it, and the Obama regime is putting missile bases on Russia’s border.

The neoconservatives deep-sixed no first use of nuclear weapons and elevated them to pre-emptive first strike in US war doctrine.

The Obama regime overthrew the Ukrainian government and installed a US puppet government in a former constituent part of Russia. The puppet government launched a war against the Russian populations in Ukraine, causing secession movements that Washington has mischaracterized as “Russian invasion and annexation.”

Yet, the Russian government thinks Washington is a “partner” with whom it has common interests.

Go figure.

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

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Ô combien de fois a-t-on a entendu l’an dernier, « N’importe qui, sauf Harper ». L’heure est au bilan. Mais on dirait que certains préfèrent continuer à faire les mamours avec celui à Ottawa qui a profité le plus du slogan « N’importe qui, sauf… » que de regarder froidement le bilan de M. Photo-Op.

Un travailleur de l’automobile et militant du puissant syndicat l’UNIFOR vient de sonner l’alarme dans Counterpunch.org. Réagissant au tapis rouge déroulé pour Justin Trudeau au congrès de l’UNIFOR en août dernier et aux accolades que lui ont accordées le président Jerry Dias et le président du Congrès du travail du Canada, Hassan Yussuff, James Napier a cité une blague préférée de feu Tommy Douglas sur la terre des souris et le choix qu’ils avaient entre un gouvernement dirigé par un chat noir et celui d’un chat blanc. Une souris a demandé : pourquoi élire un chat quand on pourrait élire un gouvernement dirigé par des souris comme nous? Selon la légende, Tommy Douglas a terminé en disant qu’on a accusé cette souris de bolchévisme pour ensuite l’envoyer en prison. Selon Napier, les « souris » qui dirigent ces deux syndicats aiment être dirigés par un chat. J’ajouterais qu’ils ne sont pas les seuls.

Napier cite plusieurs cas où le monde du travail se fait ignorer royalement par Trudeau. Les postiers, par exemple, se battent courageusement contre une société d’État fédérale pour maintenir un régime de pensions à prestation déterminée pour les futures générations. Pourtant, il s’agit aussi d’un enjeu clé pour les membres de l’UNIFOR.

En ce qui concerne le Partenariat Transpacifique (PTP) et l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG) entre le Canada et l’Europe, Napier souligne que le gouvernement Trudeau reprend à peu près la même position que celle de Harper. Or ces deux ententes représentent pour les travailleurs et travailleuses une menace économique importante ainsi qu’un transfert du pouvoir de décision vers les conseils d’administration d’entreprises multinationales.

En politique étrangère, faire la distinction entre la politique de Trudeau et celle de Harper nécessite une loupe. En Syrie, Trudeau, comme Harper, continue à appuyer la politique des États-Unis visant un changement de régime – encore illégal – par l’entremise de « rebelles modérés » mieux connus sous le vocable de « terroristes ». Il appuie Israël sans réserve, comme Harper : son parti a voté en faveur d’une motion conservatrice condamnant le mouvement Boycott, Désinvestissement, Sanctions (BDS) alors que ce mouvement est un moyen pacifique de s’opposer à l’occupation illégale de la Palestine.

James Napier aurait pu aller bien plus loin. Sur Énergie-Est, c’est le cafouillage total au gouvernement Trudeau. Éric Pineault, auteur de Le piège Énergie-Est, Sortir de l’impasse des sables bitumineux (Écosociété) a dit en entrevue qu’on a troqué un premier ministre des pétrolières pour un premier ministre des banquiers de Bay Street. Or les banques comme les pétrolières ont investi non seulement leur chemise mais toute leur garde-robe dans les sables bitumineux. Ils ne les abandonneront pas de sitôt. Voilà ce qui explique le cafouillage à Ottawa.

Quant au Québec, Trudeau est le digne fils de son père.  S’il daigne reconnaître notre existence, c’est pour s’en moquer ou pour l’insulter. Aussi, comme Harper, son gouvernement se joint à la cause visant à affaiblir la portée de la loi 99 qui établit le droit inaliénable du Québec de disposer de lui-même, droit pourtant reconnu en droit international.

Le vote stratégique au Canada comme au Québec, celui du moindre des maux et qui a porté  Trudeau au pouvoir, mène au cul-de-sac. Que vive le gouvernement des souris, par les souris, pour les souris!

Robin Philpot, éditeur

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Libye : Sarkozy, Cameron et BHL en route vers la CPI ?

septembre 18th, 2016 by Maître Gilles Devers

Photo : BHL et Sarkozy

Ce massacre organisé en Libye était visible dès les premiers jours, avec l’activisme insensé de Bernard-Henri Lévy, et ses amours fugaces avec Sarko. À l’époque, Martine Aubry, première secrétaire du PS, approuvait cette réussite… Et Blanco en était tout excité… En effet, le but était, selon la propagande, de chasser un dictateur et d’établir la démocratie… avec quelques inévitables petits inconvénients secondaires. Air connu…

Devant le désastre, la France a organisé une commission parlementaire afin d’identifier l’ensemble des responsabilités politiques… Non rassurez-vous, la France n’a rien fait. Le consensus national est total pour, quoi qu’il arrive, légitimer ce que fait la France pour garder sa place en Afrique, son empire jamais décolonisé.

Il n’y a donc eu aucune commission parlementaire, et ce pour une raison simple : c’est parce que c’est un sujet sérieux, et en cherchant des responsabilités, on risque de les trouver. Non, il faut mieux exciter les foules sur les trois burkinis de Nice, et les discours sur la peur.

C’est la Grande-Bretagne qui a mis en place une commission parlementaire, laquelle vient de déposer son rapport sur l’intervention de 2011.

Cameron et Sarkozy

Pour le rapport, cette intervention était fondée « sur des suppositions erronées et une compréhension incomplète du pays et de la situation ». Les décisions ont été prises en exagérant la menace contre les civils de Bengazi – une opération militaire minimale stoppée en 24 heures – et en ignorant que les plus actifs de la rébellion étaient les islamistes. Les conclusions sont claires : la campagne de bombardements a causé l’effondrement politique et économique de la Libye.

Selon, Sidney Blumenthal, conseiller d’Hillary Clinton, les objectifs de Sarko étaient de cinq ordres :

– Obtenir une plus grande part de la production de pétrole libyenne ;

– Accroître l’influence française en Afrique du Nord ;

– Permettre aux armées françaises de réaffirmer leur position dans le monde ;

– Répondre aux projets de Kadhafi de supplanter la France en Afrique francophone ;

– Améliorer sa situation politique en France.

Les parlementaires soulignent que quatre de ces cinq facteurs correspondaient à l’intérêt de la France, alors que le cinquième « représentait l’intérêt politique personnel du président Sarkozy », un an avant la présidentielle de 2012, dans « une attitude proactive en Méditerranée censée répondre aux préoccupations des électeurs en matière d’immigration ».

Alain Juppé, alors ministre des affaires étrangères de Nicolas Sarkozy, avait été tout aussi incompétent et dangereux : « La situation sur le terrain est plus alarmante que jamais. Il nous reste très peu de temps, c’est peut-être une question d’heures. » Ah oui, papy ? Selon le rapport, les menaces pesant sur les habitants de Benghazi « ont été grossièrement exagérées ».

Il reste juste à souhaiter que les populations libyennes s’organisent et déposent plainte contre Sarkozy, Cameron et BHL devant la Cour pénale internationale. La France et la Grande-Bretagne ayant ratifié le traité, ses agents doivent assumer leurs responsabilités lorsqu’ils s’engagent dans un conflit armé international. La loi est la même pour tous, non ?

Gilles Devers

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Des membres du Parlement européen manifestent leur soutien au bateau des femmes pour Gaza

septembre 17th, 2016 by European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine

Le 14 Septembre, lors de la session plénière de Strasbourg, des membres du Parlement Européen appartenant aux formations GUE/NGL ont organisé une action de solidarité avec le bateau de femmes pour Gaza qui a quitté Barcelone hier soir, en route pour arriver à Gaza le 1er octobre.

La députée européenne suédoise Malin Björk, qui embarquera sur le bateau, est l’une des 20 femmes connues en tant qu’actrices politiques, militantes, artistes et représentantes des media du monde entier qui s’y trouvent.

Le bateau des femmes de Gaza fait partie de la Flottille de la Liberté, une mobilisation pacifique de la société civile contre la passivité et la complicité de la communauté internationale, en particulier des gouvernements occidentaux, face à la situation inhumaine que connaît Gaza à cause du blocus illégal.

Voici le commentaire de Björk : « Je suis très fière de partir sur le bateau des femmes pour Gaza. Ce navire vogue dans l’espoir de faire passer le message que nous avons un besoin urgent d’un avenir plus souriant pour les femmes et les enfants de Palestine. Et pour cela, il faut briser le blocus de Gaza ».

« J’étais à Gaza il y a quatre ans, en tant que conseillère du Parlement Européen. J’ai rencontré des organisations de femmes et nous avons visité des écoles et des centres de formation. J’ai vu de mes propres yeux à quel point la destruction est massive et comment la vie est difficile sous le blocus et les attaques israéliennes ».

« Les femmes sont au cœur de la résilience des communautés dans les conflits et les souffrances telles que celles de Gaza. Les femmes sont aussi la clef de tout processus de paix et de réconciliation. L’occupation et l’oppression israéliennes doivent cesser. Les femmes seront des actrices centrales de ce processus et je suis convaincue que dans un avenir pas très éloigné les femmes palestiniennes montreront la voie de la construction d’un État palestinien démocratique et libre. »

« Cette Flottille de la Liberté met spécialement en lumière le courage et la force des femmes palestiniennes, en particulier à Gaza. J’y participe pour montrer que je suis de tout cœur solidaire de ces femmes » conclut Björk.

En soutien à cette action, 55 députés européens de GUE/NGL, des Verts/EFA, S&D et ALDE ont signé une lettre ouverte à Federica Mogherini, la Haute Représentante de l’Union pour les Affaires Étrangères et la Politique de Sécurité, vice-présidente de la Commission. La lettre appelle l’Union Européenne à :

-Agir pour assurer que la flottille arrive saine et sauve à Gaza ;

-Faire pression sur Israël pour la levée de son blocus illégal sur Gaza ; et

-Insister pour qu’Israël se conforme au droit international à titre de premier pas vers la reprise du processus de paix au Proche Orient.

 

Source originale : ECCP

Traduction : SF pour l’Agence Media Palestine

 

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Les secrets de l’accord Pizza-Vodka

septembre 17th, 2016 by Israel Shamir

L’accord récent sur la Syrie, signé à Genève par Kerry et Lavrov, qui passera probablement à l’histoire comme l’accord « Pizza-Vodka » (parce que c’est ce que chaque camp a servi aux journalistes tout le temps qu’ils ont attendu les résultats) comportait cinq documents, outre les points divulgués par les deux ministres des Affaires étrangères. Les US ont insisté pour en garder secret le contenu, malgré l’insistance russe pour les faire connaître. Voici ce que nous en avons appris, tant sur le contenu des documents secrets en question, que sur le processus de négociation, à partir de nos sources arabes et israéliennes habituellement fiables.

Les documents secrets décrivent ce qui devrait se passer en Syrie une fois que le cessez-le-feu sera effectif. Le premier jour du cessez-le-feu est appelé le Jour J. Les Russes voulaient qu’il débute à midi, mais les Américains préféraient le coucher de soleil du lundi 12 septembre 2016. C’est le point de vue US qui a prévalu. Après les deux premiers jours, soit J + 2, si le cessez-le-feu tient toujours, Russes et Américains le prolongeront pour une durée plus longue. Effectivement, le 14 septembre, c’est ce qui est ressorti d’un échange téléphonique entre Lavrov et Kerry, le 14 septembre même. Ils ont prolongé la trêve de 48 heures. Si cela tient une semaine, on peut espérer que cela sera prolongé pour une durée indéfinie, et qu’on pourra passer à l’étape suivante.

Les deux parties délimiteront alors les territoires contrôlés par EILL, par al-Nosra, et par les modérés. Après quoi EIIL et al-Nosra se verront bombardés à mort par les forces aériennes russes et US, tandis qu’on laissera les modérés en paix. La délimitation, ou tri entre moutons et chèvres, les Russes la réclamaient depuis longtemps, mais les Américains renâclaient toujours. Enfin, maintenant, ils ont promis de s’en occuper. Pour EILL, ce ne sera pas trop difficile, mais al-Nosra est la force d’opposition la plus solide en combat, et elle est en contact avec presque tous les autres groupes rebelles. Sans al Nosra, le reste des rebelles ne peut guère tenir.

C’est pour cette raison qu’un gros groupe rebelle du  nom de Ahrar al Sham a insisté pour que le cessez-le-feu s’étende au territoire contrôlé par al Nosra, et a refusé de se plier au régime de cessation des hostilités. D’autres groupes rebelles sont également très angoissés par les malheurs d’al Nosra.

Mais il n’y pas que les rebelles ; le Pentagone et les Israéliens aussi veulent garder al Nosra comme leur principal rempart contre Damas. Ashton Carter, secrétaire US à la Défense, a activement participé à la préparation du document en essayant de le bloquer ou de l’infléchir à la fois. Comme les Israéliens, Carter veut encore plus de guerre en Syrie. C’est l’un des ténors anti russes les plus énergiques dans l’administration Obama, et il serait ravi d’humilier la Russie en Syrie. C’est le président US qui a eu in extremis le dernier mot, et l’accord a pu être signé (très difficilement) mais il  règne une impression d’insatisfaction du côté du Pentagone, et il ne regrettera nullement si l’application s’avère être un échec. Carter a même fait connaître son déplaisir aussitôt que l’accord a été signé.

Un accord Kerry-Carter serait une excellente chose ; peut-être que le Département d’Etat et la Défense pourraient aussi se mettre d’accord pour une cessation des hostilités, plaisantaient les négociateurs. Le Pentagone est de mèche avec les rebelles et essaie de se faire bien voir d’eux, disait Lavrov. Cette remarque avait rapport à l’étape précédente des négociations, avec la mauvaise surprise offerte par Michael Ratney. L’envoyé US pour la Syrie avait ouvert aux quatre vents la cuisine diplomatique alors que les Américains et les Russes avaient mijoté un accord secret. Nos négociations « ne sont pas basés sur la vérité », avait dit poliment l’émissaire ; il accusait les Russes et leurs alliés de Damas d’agir « de mauvaise foi », et soulignait que « Les US n’ont pas commencé à coordonner leur action avec la Russie en Syrie, ni militairement ni autrement, quoi qu’en disent les Russes. »

Les Russes étaient effondrés. Que vos délibérations confidentielles se voient aussitôt à la portée de chacun, Arabe ou autre, c’est déjà pénible ; qu’on vous accuse de mauvaise foi et qu’on vous traite de peu fiable, c’est encore pire. Et enfin, le comble, c’est que l’on tergiverse les positions russes. Ratney prétendait que les Russes allaient renforcer la zone de non survol pour les forces aériennes gouvernementales, et l’étendre à tout le territoire, et qu’ils allaient mettre fin au siège d’Alep.  Bachar al Assad était estomaqué. L’opposition basée à Ryad ajoutait à l’offense l’injure, en réclamant « un changement de régime », et en s’égosillant encore sur le mode « Assad doit partir » au moment où les US présentaient ce groupe particulier de l’opposition comme la représentation légitime du peuple syrien.

Ratney exigeait une « cessation complète des opérations militaires, le retrait des véhicules du gouvernement et des armes lourdes, l’ouverture d’Alep et le blocage des avions du régime au sol ». Il voulait qu’Alep reste accessible, non seulement pour l’aide humanitaire, mais aussi pour les armes. Les Russes insistaient pour qu’il y ait des  points de contrôle gouvernementaux sur la route d’Alep, Carter et Ratney étaient contre.

Nous pouvons vous dire que selon l’accord qui a été signé, c’est le point de vue russe qui a triomphé. La circulation vers Alep par la route de Castello sera filmée et contrôlée. Les chargements humanitaires seront inspectés au point de chargement des camions, et scellés. Plus de points de contrôle sur la route vérifieront que les sceaux ne sont pas brisés en chemin,  jusqu’à ce que les camions déversent leur contenu dans les entrepôts de l’Onu à Alep. L’idée est d’empêcher que des armes soient acheminées dans les convois humanitaires, ce qui s’est passé abondamment, avec les livraisons en provenance de Turquie.

Les inspections seront faites par le Croissant rouge arabo-syrien, puis, plus tard, par une agence de l’Onu. Les rebelles et les forces du gouvernement ne vont pas faire main basse sur les territoires l’un de l’autre, et ne vont pas renforcer leurs positions sur la zone qui leur est allouée.

Le Pentagone a exigé une zone de non survol étendue à toute la Syrie, pour l’aviation syrienne, mais, selon les termes de l’accord, elle n’arrêtera ses missions de combat que sur les aires désignées. Les Russes disent que cette condition ne diminuera pas leur force, car l’aviation militaire syrienne est de toute façon une force négligeable en comparaison avec les Forces aérospatiales russes, et les Russes continueront leurs survols. Ils ont testé ce point le 14 septembre, en chassant par un bombardement une force rebelle qui avait pris des positions constituant une menace pour Palmyre.

Tous les Syriens peuvent quitter Alep, y compris les combattants rebelles en armes, librement, par la route de Castello, pour toute destination. C’est un point important. S’ils veulent se battre, qu’ils sortent de la ville. S’ils en ont assez de la guerre et veulent rentrer chez eux, libre à eux. C’était le point de vue russe, tandis que le Pentagone insistait pour garder des groupes armés et combatifs à Alep. Ce qui va advenir des combattants qui ne sont pas Syriens n’est pas clair ; peut-être qu’ils parviendront à quitter la zone en déposant leurs armes.

Après une semaine sans hostilités, Américains et Russes mettront sur pied le JIC, Centre pour la mise en actes coordonnée, où ils partageront leurs informations et des missions aériennes conjointes, contre ISIL et al Nosra.

Et peu après, le processus politique reprendra, sous les auspices de Staffan de Mistura, l’envoyé de l’Onu en Syrie, ce qui n’est pas moins problématique que la partie militaire.

Chaque côté a des vues bien différentes : les US et leurs alliés préfèrent apparemment retailler la Syrie en plusieurs petits Etats, l’un sunnite radical, un autre kurde, et la partie postérieure de la Syrie, contenant les territoires alaouite et chrétien avec les bases russes. De l’autre côté, Damas et Moscou préfèrent garder la Syrie unie.

Quelle que soit l’issue, le sort d’Alep, la deuxième ville de Syrie, sera décisif. Certains succès limités de l’armée syrienne  et de ses alliés russes et iraniens à Alep (ils coupent les routes d’approvisionnement à destination de la partie de la ville tenue par les rebelles) avaient déjà créé une crise dans les relations américano-russes. Les interventionnistes avaient cru sentir du vent dans leurs voiles, et avaient publié des images émouvantes de civils suppliant l’Occident d’intervenir « pour sauver les gens d’Alep ». Il flottait dans l’air des échos en termes d’« ultimatum » tandis que l’administration US essayait de battre un nouveau record de danse sur la corde raide. Le gouvernement de Damas espérait libérer Alep et consolider les territoires sous son contrôle, tandis que les Américains voulaient garder au moins la moitié d’Alep aux mains des rebelles pour empêcher une victoire d’Assad.

Le point culminant a été atteint lors de la discussion entre Obama et Poutine à Hangzhou. La rencontre avait été tendue. Les dirigeants ont échangé un regard mortel, bien accentué par photoshop. Le Washington Post a dit qu’Obama avait lancé un ultimatum à la Russie, une proposition sans appel ; les Russes étaient furieux, en particulier par ce que la rencontre avait été précédée et suivie de deux tournées  de « sanctions » supplémentaires, le Ier septembre et le 6 septembre.

Malgré ces problèmes, il y a eu accord. La suite ? Après que la cessation des hostilités sera bien implantée, il devrait y avoir des négociations entre le gouvernement et l’opposition en Syrie, mais les US et leurs alliés voudraient garder le gouvernement de Bachar al Assad en dehors des négociations. Ils préfèrent en fait que celles-ci se déroulent seulement entre les différents groupes de rebelles, à les entendre. Le président Bachar al Assad a perdu sa légitimité, disent-ils. Les Russes ne sont pas d’accord: les représentants du gouvernement siègent à l’Onu, il y a des ambassadeurs et des ambassades à Damas. Vous pouvez ne pas aimer Assad, cela ne lui ôte en rien sa légitimité, a dit Lavrov à Kerry.

Le cessez-le-feu, au demeurant, ne se passe pas en douceur. Le personnel de l’Onu qui devrait exercer les contrôles devrait obtenir des visas ; mais Damas refuse de donner des visas aux Britanniques, en disant que ce pourraient être des espions. Ils veulent bien des Indiens, ou d’autres nationalités neutres. L’Onu et le Croissant rouge ont attendu d’avoir des garanties pour leur sécurité de la part du gouvernement et des rebelles, et apparemment aucune n’est venue. Les rebelles renâclent à quitter leurs positions, et les troupes du gouvernement attendaient de leur côté pour bouger. Mais le niveau général de violence a grandement été abaissé.

Succès ou échec sont encore en balance. Al Nosra fait profil bas dans le Nord, mais incite d’autres groupes à refuser le cessez-le-feu. Le Pentagone traîne les pieds pour partager ses informations avec les Russes. Et les Russes ne peuvent pas faire la paix tout seuls. De l’autre côté, les Syriens en ont vraiment assez de la guerre, et ils sont heureux de la moindre accalmie. Les prochains jours vont nous montrer si cet accord conduira vraiment à la paix, ou s’il va être mis à profit par les deux côtés pour consolider chacun ses positions avant la nouvelle reprise des combats, comme en février dernier.

En attendant, les forces du gouvernement ont un nouvel ennemi (ennemi d’ailleurs de longue date) : Israël. Les Israéliens soutiennent les forces d’al Nosra près de la ligne d’armistice entre la Syrie et les hauteurs du Golan syrien occupées par Israël. Al Nosra a combattu contre l’armée gouvernementale, certains obus ont franchi la ligne et sont tombés sur le territoire du Golan. Les Israéliens en ont pris prétexte pour attaquer l’armée syrienne. Les Syriens disent qu’ils ont abattu deux avions israéliens, un avion de combat et un drone, grâce à leurs bons vieux missiles anti-aériens d’origine russe. Les Israéliens contestent cette version avec une véhémence inhabituelle. Il semblerait qu’un drone israélien ait été abattu, tandis qu’un jet, touché, a pu rentrer à sa base.

Le gouvernement syrien a donné beaucoup de publicité à cette rencontre pour souligner que les rebelles combattent du côté israélien contre leurs frères arabes. Mais l’amitié entre al Nosra et les Juifs n’est pas un secret : les images montrant les Israéliens aidant les combattants d’al Nosra sont appares dans les médias israéliens autant qu’arabes. Et cette assistance ne se borne pas au domaine médical ; les Israéliens sont décidés à garder l’armée syrienne bien au large de ses frontières.

 Israël Shamir

Article en anglais :

U.S.-Russia-Syria

The Geneva Syria “Ceasefire” Agreement: Pizza and Vodka “Secrets” Coming Out…

Publication originale: http://www.unz.com/ishamir/pizza-and-vodka-secrets-coming-out/

Traduction : Maria Poumier, plumenclume.org

Pour joindre l’auteur : [email protected]

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Islam de France ou Islam en France ? Un débat récurrent

septembre 17th, 2016 by Chems Eddine Chitour

« Devenons le changement que nous souhaitons voir dans le Monde » Gandhi 

Encore une fois les musulmans à leur corps défendant sont invités dans le débat qui   fait rage partout dans le monde que faire de ces musulmans pris dans leur globalité et qui posent problème à l’occident. Manipulés en tout sens, ils sont victimes de manipulations des puissances des ténèbres, qui les font représenter par un Islam sanguinaire qui leur donne toutes les légitimités au nom de la responsabilité collective de faire des musulmans des parias . En effet et pour ne prendre que l’exemple de la France, la menace terroriste et une campagne électorale qui a fait du maillot de bain intégral musulman ou “burkini”, un des principaux sujet de débats en France.

Exit les vrais problèmes de la France, une croissance nulle, une dette qui explose à près de 2000 milliards d’euros soit près de 95%  un déficit qui dépasse les 3% des critères de Maastricht, des dividendes pour les patrons du CAC 40 à près de  6000 euros par jour   contre une moyenne  de 47 euros/jour pour le citoyen lambda qui sue sang et eau  (140 fois plus). Dit autrement le patron du CAQ 40 gagne en trois jours le gain annuel du  citoyen Lambda  Curieusement ce n’est pas cela qui est débattu mais l’Islam, les migrations la menace terroriste  Même  les Nations Unies ont défendu le droit à porter le burkini.

Une véritable logorrhée journaliste et du même coup à une anamnèse où tout le «politiquement incorrect» a refait surface transcendant les clivages partisans et a permis du même coup de saisir la réalité du vivre-ensemble en France s’agissant des Français assignés chaque foi à faire mea culpa pour des fautes commises par d’autres Français Cette boîte de Pandore que l’on découvre n’est en fait que la traduction brutale d’un lent travail de sape de tout ce qui aurait pu constituer justement le ciment du vivre ensemble à l’ombre des lois de la République.

On croit aussi à tort que les instigateurs sont les Finkielkraut, Bruckner, BHL, et autres Zemmour Houellebecq  qui dressent les Français contre d’autres Français de confession ou de culture musulmane allant même jusqu’à prédire une France islamisée en 2022 à moins que comme il est fortement suggeré fortement de  procéder sans tarder à une «Reconquista». En déportant les cinq millions de musulmans Mutatis mutandis les Musulmans du XXIe siècle risquent de vivre les mêmes affres que les juifs au XXe siècle.

Les dérives entretenues : Les musulmans et les futures nuits de cristal

Le New York Times a compilé plus de mille témoignages recensant la souffrance quotidienne des femmes musulmanes en Europe, plus particulièrement en Belgique et en France. Plus d’un millier de femmes ont répondu, «de France, de Belgique et d’ailleurs», faisant part de leur détresse et des discriminations quotidiennes dont elles font l’objet parce qu’elles sont musulmanes – voilées ou non. : «Peur un jour de porter une lune jaune sur mes habits» Charlotte étudiante de 23 ans à Toulouse explique ainsi : «On m’insulte, me crache dessus (littéralement) tous les jours dans le métro, le bus, mon école. Pourtant, je n’ai jamais insulté, frappé quelqu’un. Non, je suis juste musulmane. Je pense sérieusement partir vivre ailleurs, où le regard des autres ne me fera plus pleurer chaque soir dans mon lit. J’ai peur un jour de porter une lune jaune sur mes habits, comme l’étoile de David pour les Juifs   (…) Pour Assia Boukhelifa, 22 ans,  étudiante en sciences politiques à Lille. « Je trouve fou que les Français ont l’air de découvrir l’islam et nous parlent encore d’intégration alors qu’on en est aujourd’hui à la 3e voire 4e  génération de maghrébins musulmans en France»(1).

Qui est  Jean Pierre Chevènement ?

Jean Pierre Chevènement pressenti pour mettre en place un Islam de France est un homme politique connu pour ses idées et qui les assume. C’est lui  le fameux créateur d’une sentence  qui résume la condition d’un ministre : « Un ministre ,ça ferme sa gueule ou ça démissionne. C’est à notre connaissance le seul homme politique à démissionner de son poste pour de ministre au nom de ses idées notamment sur la guerre contre l’Irak dans le sillage de Georges Bush père, alors qu’il était ministre la défense. On dit que c’est l’ami des Arabes mais avant tout un patriote ou un nationaliste qui a une haute idée de son pays, bref un de Gaulle de gauche sauf qu’à force de vouloir toujours donner des leçons aux autres, il  indispose ses amis qui  croient reconnaitre dans ses propos les injonctions coloniales :

Joseph Confavreux a analyser le pourquoi de l’acceptation par Jean Pierre Chevènement de diriger une instance qui doit réfléchir sur ce que devrait être l’islam de France . Nous l’écoutons :

« Entre ses propos sur la « nationalité disparue » à Saint-Denis et ceux appelant les musulmans à la « discrétion », le choix de Jean-Pierre Chevènement pour prendre la tête de la Fondation pour l’islam de France s’avère de plus en plus inquiétant. (…) semble inapte à se départir d’une vision au mieux paternaliste et autoritaire, au pire essentialiste et rigoriste, vis-à-vis des musulmans. (…) Le député et maire de Belfort est alors connu pour s’intéresser à la culture arabo-musulmane et avoir précocement installé dans sa ville, au milieu des années 1980, un Centre des cultures méditerranéennes, inauguré en grande pompe par Jacques Berque, titulaire de la chaire d’histoire sociale de l’islam contemporain au Collège de France de 1956 à 1981.    Nous devrons parvenir à trouver les modalités pratiques de nos rapports, ce qui suppose l’existence d’un interlocuteur légitime, ou du moins considéré comme tel par le plus grand nombre. (…) Il nous faudra trouver aussi réponse à la question des lieux du culte musulman. Les religions dont l’implantation en France est ancienne disposent d’un patrimoine immobilier conforme aux exigences de leur liturgie. Tel n’est pas le cas de l’islam. Il n’est pas décent que des musulmans soient contraints de se réunir pour prier dans des lieux incompatibles avec leur dévotion. Je sais les difficultés juridiques qui entravent en ce domaine l’intervention de l’État. »(2)

Progressivement conclut l’auteur, il y  eut un glissement vers le souverainisme et au lieu d’accompagner l’Islam  pour qu’il devienne gallican pour reprendre l’expression de Jacques Berque,  Jean-Pierre Chevènement est donc devenu une figure centrale d’un républicanisme teinté de nationalisme, qui a irrigué aussi bien à gauche qu’à droite, en s’enfermant dans une conception exagérée des menaces religieuses et identitaires et une obsession » (2)   

La vraie place  de l’Islam en France

On dit qu’il y a près de 5 millions de personnes nées musulmanes pratiquantes à des degrés divers  ou non pratiquantes pour la majorité nées en France et à ce titre qui devraient être des Français à part entière au nom du droit du sol. Il est vrai que la France traverse  actuellement une crise sociale, économique importante.  Les hommes politiques jouent avec le feu en attisant les tensions La malheureuse affaire du burkini a été amplifiée par des médias  partiaux qui jettent de l’huile sur le feu et qui ne font parler que ceux qui diabolisent  l’islam

Gilles Devers  écrit à ce propos que l’on invente rien :

« Islam de France », c’est un concept sarkozyste, que l’on retrouve logiquement dans les bagages de ce soldeur de la Gauche qu’est Hollande, comme c’était écrit dès 2012.  (…) Ah oui un Islam Bleu-Blanc-Rouge ? Avec un gouvernement qui organise un culte dans un pays qui professe la séparation de l’État et des cultes, faites-moi rire… Dans le bazar actuel, ou l’excité du burkini veut changer la Constitution de 1958 pour régler la vie des plages, le discours d’un Cazeneuve devient presque un bienfait. (…) c’est la même logique, la même volonté de domination : à coups de bâton ou avec de gentilles lois, il faut mater le muslim ».   (3)

Gilles Devers pointe le vrai problème peut on être citoyen français et avoir sa propre religion sans que cela ne pose problème :

« C’est la vraie ligne de fracture : êtes-vous capable de considérer ou non une personne parce qu’elle est musulmane et qu’elle a donc une vie spirituelle autonome ? De Droite ou de Gauche, Juppé compris – qui nous fait le coup de la charte –Incapables de comprendre le monde tel qu’il est.   Sur ce point, je ne peux que déplorer de voir le staff dirigeant français de l’Islam courir comme une dernière bouée de secours au service de ce colonialisme sans fin… Les musulmans incapables de s’organiser par soi-même ? Seul l’air des préfectures serait-il bon pour l’avenir de l’Islam ?   Qui les connaît quand ils vont dans les quartiers? Y vont-ils? » (3)

S’agissant de Jean-Pierre Chevènement, pour Gilles Devers rien ne le distingue de Zemmour dont on connait les idées infectes de la surrepresentation des Arabes et des noirs dans tout ce qui est délit :

«  le tout neuf président   a cité l’exemple de Saint-Denis en affirmant que « 80% des enfants en primaire ne maîtrisent pas la langue française » dans cette ville et qu’elle comptait « 135 nationalités mais il y en a une qui a quasiment disparu », sous-entendu la nationalité française.   …  Donc, le nouveau génie de « l’Islam de France » adopte les théories de Zemmour : « Les musulmans ont leur code civil, c’est le Coran, et ils vivent entre eux, dans les banlieues. Les Français ont été obligés de s’en aller. Je pense que nous nous dirigeons vers le chaos. Cette situation de peuple dans le peuple, des musulmans dans le peuple français, nous conduira au chaos et à la guerre civile. Des millions de personnes vivent ici, en France, mais ne veulent pas vivre à la française. » (Se faire discret, en langage Chevènement).  Très bien. Sauf que, pour ces propos, Eric Zemmour a été condamné jeudi 17 décembre 2015 à 3 000 euros d’amende pour provocation à la haine envers les musulmans.  (…)  D’un côté, le langage franc et direct de Zemmour et Sarko ; de l’autre la politique ouateuse et puante de Chevènement et Cazeneuve. ». (3)

Comment organiser le culte musulman ?

Christophe Girard propose  pour sa part de prendre exemple sur ce qu’a fait Napoléon en 1807 dans le sillage de la révolution de 1789 période pendant laquelle le marquis de Clermont Tonnerre laissa cette fameuse phrase : « Il faut refuser tout aux Juifs en tant que nation, et accorder tout aux Juifs comme individus » :

« Et si l’on s’inspirait écrit-il  du mode d’intégration et de protection des Juifs dans la France du XIXe siècle pour faire de l’Islam une religion républicaine au XXIe siècle ? Il n’est pas trop tard mais il est urgent d’agir.  « Il s’agit de la réunion de soixante-et-onze rabbins chargés de définir les principes du culte israélite et d’approuver la prééminence de la loi commune sur la halakha, la loi religieuse juive. Ils eurent à traiter un certain nombre de questions concernant la polygamie, la répudiation, le mariage, la fraternité, les rapports moraux, civils et politiques, et les professions exercées par les Juifs. Le préambule du procès-verbal de la réunion du 8 mars 1807 concluait : «  Ces ordonnances apprendront aux nations que nos dogmes se concilient avec les lois civiles sous lesquelles nous vivons, et ne nous séparent pas de la société des hommes.    (…) »  (4)

S’agissant de l’Islam, Christophe Girard avance que du temps a été perdu dans la normalisation de la France :

« Ces décisions fortes, ces initiatives novatrices, la France aurait dû les prendre dès les années 1960, après la décolonisation.  La France où, depuis 1905, l’État n’a plus coutume de se mêler de religion, a alors raté le coche, « délégant » le financement et la gestion de l’Islam aux pays d’origine des fidèles, et laissant toute latitude à la diffusion des idées les plus rétrogrades, portées par les subventions de certains pays du Golfe, avec les conséquences que l’on connaît. Mais, à l’instar du franco-judaïsme il y a deux siècles, on peut encore susciter l’émergence d’un Islam de France, organisé et moderne, authentiquement républicain » (4)

Les raisons profondes

En fait, beaucoup de Français refusent le métissage avec l’Islam. Pourtant il  est connu qu’une personne appartenant à une minorité a quatre fois plus de risques d’être au chômage qu’un Français dit «de souche». Véronique Anger explique cela par la peur et par le comportement de meute vis-à-vis de celui qui est différent:

«Cette expression ‘de souche » me fait doucement rigoler car si les Français qui se prétendent « de souche » avaient la curiosité -ou l’honnêteté- de rechercher leurs origines ethniques dans un test ADN, ils seraient nombreux à tomber des nues en découvrant qu’ils ont du sang coloré dans les veines… (…) Quand on a peur de manquer, on est moins disposé au partage et on favorise donc son groupe d’appartenance, sa ‘meute » (ses enfants et le cercle familial élargi puis le groupe social, ethnique, religieux,… auquel nous appartenons. (…)Et faire France a un sens aussi pour tous ces enfants issus de l’immigration qui en ont assez qu’on leur demande, sous prétexte de la couleur de leur peau ou de leur nom à consonance étrangère: «De quelle origine es-tu?» quand ils sont nés à Lyon ou à Marseille et, parfois, ne parlent même pas la langue de leurs parents et qu’ils se sentent Français à part entière».(5)

Ce qu’en pense le recteur de la Mosquée de Paris

Le docteur Dalil Boubekeur a tenu à mettre les pendules à l’heure s’agissant de toutes ces certitudes martelées en boucle sur ce que devrait être la place de l’Islam  la nécessité d’un Islam de France ; Il rappelle le rôle pionnier de l’Algérie et l’islam maghrbin tolérant Ecoutons le :

« L’Algérie a une longue tradition et des années de rapports cordiaux avec la France. Et si l’Algérie connaît la France, la France connaît également l’Algérie. La France connaît la qualité des professeurs de ce pays, l’islam qui est pratiqué dans ce pays et ses institutions ; puisque la Grande Mosquée de Paris a été créée ici même à Alger et non à Paris. L’islam pratiqué en Algérie est un islam modéré, du juste milieu. C’est cet islam pratiqué par une majorité de musulmans vivant en France, puisque la communauté algérienne est de loin la communauté musulmane la plus représentée en France. Nous avons entamé, depuis longtemps, la diffusion d’un islam de tolérance et du juste milieu ; un islam algérien, maghrébin. Mais vous n’entendrez jamais parler de cela. Dès qu’un nervi commet un attentat ou un acte de violence, tous les médias et les politiques s’emparent de l’événement » (6).

S’agissant des moyens dont dispose l’Islam, il fait le parallèle avec les autres religions :

« Puis, il ne faut pas oublier que l’islam est la religion de France qui bénéficie le moins d’institutions et de moyens. Ce n’est qu’en 1999 que les Français ont commencé à entendre parler de la fonction d’imam, par exemple. Personne, en dehors des musulmans, ne connaissait cela auparavant. Les courants radicaux, le wahhabisme et le salafisme, occupant actuellement le terrain, ce n’est que maintenant que les responsables commencent à évoquer ces questions. A cela, il faut ajouter un élément fondamental : en dehors d’une partie de la droite républicaine (Chirac, Sarkozy…) qui a toujours affiché une volonté de travailler avec nous, les autres partis politiques préfèrent soit ne pas en parler, soit s’associer exclusivement avec le régime marocain dont le roi finance des mosquées et des associations. Cela a porté préjudice à notre action » (6)

S’agissant de la création de la Fondation pour l’islam de France. Le Docteur Dalil Boubekeur avoue n’avoir pas été consulté alors qu’il représente l’Islam en France :

«  Je dois dire que nous n’avons pas été consultés. Nous aurions aimé que celui qui coordonne ce travail soit issu de la communauté musulmane (c’est l’ancien ministre de l’Intérieur, le socialiste Jean-Pierre Chevènement qui préside cette institution, ndlr). Ce n’est malheureusement pas le cas ». (6)

Il ne pense pas à décoder son témoignage que c’est La solution :

« La question qu’il faut se poser est celle de savoir si ce nouvel organisme aura plus de moyens, plus d’argent. On ne peut pas trouver de solution à un problème aussi énorme si l’on n’a pas suffisamment d’argent pour sensibiliser, construire des mosquées ou payer des imams et autres intervenants. Et encore ! Des aumôniers perçoivent des traitements de misère par rapport à ceux d’autres communautés religieuses. Un islam de France est une arlésienne. Il existe un seul islam. Il est valable partout. Il se trouve que ce culte est le deuxième de France. Par contre, il y a lieu d’expliquer que nous pouvons pratiquer un islam de notre temps. Un islam de paix, de tolérance et non celui de la violence. Le rite malékite a toujours été une religion de paix, de compromis. Nous pouvons véritablement rappeler aux jeunes qu’ils peuvent vivre leur religion tout en adoptant le mode de vie de leur temps ».(6)

Enfin s’agissant de la burka et du burkini , il en appelle à la liberté de conscience comme cela existe partout ailleurs en Occident. :

« Admettons que la burka, le burkini et le hidjab soient des vêtements qui ne plaisent pas à la société française, il aurait fallu être clair dès le départ et dire ce que nous voulons et ce que nous ne voulons pas. Mais, non seulement il n’y a pas eu de scandale, ce phénomène (de l’habit islamique) est répandu en Angleterre, en Allemagne ou dans le monde musulman, ces vêtements existent. En quoi cela gêne ? Pourquoi désigne-t-on, à chaque fois l’islam ? Il ne s’agit pas de la religion. Cela relève de la liberté individuelle. Chacun est libre de s’habiller comme il veut Une femme qui porte le burkini, c’est comme l’Indienne qui met le sari, le moine qui met la soutane ou le sikh qui met le dastar. C’est stupide. Ce sont de faux débats comme on en aime tant dans la société française. Les gens ont d’autres problèmes qui, eux, sont sérieux : l’économie en crise, le chômage, la situation des banlieues, la détresse des jeunes». (6)

Conclusion

Que peut-on dire ? C’est un fait le débat est loin d’être serein et l’atmosphère est encore chargée. Je veux retenir le beau message suivant  Dans une belle lettre à sa fille Le prix Nobel Jean Marie Le Clezio à sa fille, dans laquelle il explique, en creux les racines de la mal-vie des Français musulmans:

« J’entends dire qu’il s’agit d’une guerre. Sans doute, l’esprit du mal est présent partout, et il suffit d’un peu de vent pour qu’il se propage et consume tout autour de lui. Mais c’est une autre guerre dont il sera question, tu le comprends: une guerre contre l’injustice, contre l’abandon de certains jeunes, contre l’oubli tactique dans lequel on tient une partie de la population en ne partageant pas avec elle les bienfaits de la culture et les chances de la réussite sociale. Le premier souffle de vengeance qui passe les a embrasés, et ils ont pris pour de la religion ce qui n’était que de l’aliénation. (…)Il faut remédier à la misère des esprits pour guérir la maladie qui ronge les bases de notre société démocratique.»(7)

Comme il n’ya pas de catholicisme de France  ou de judaïsme de France, il ne peut y avoir d’Islam de France, car dans ce cas on tomberait  dans des immixtions du temporel dans le spirituel  aboutissant à un Islam laîco-compatible  sans épaisseur , mondain et qui à force d’accommodements déraisonnables  perdrait…son âme

Tant que la République ne sera pas équidistante des cultes, tant que le racisme du fond rocheux persiste, tant que le plafond de verre reste une réalité, il y aura malvie. Les Français nés musulmans pratiquants ou pas sont des citoyens comme les autres. Ils ont le droit de vivre leur   espérance à l’ombre des lois de la République qui doit plus que jamais manifester une forte volonté d’intégration – par notamment la possibilité de même chance pour évoluer socialement- pour un vivre ensemble  à conforter chaque jour par une vigilance sans faille

Professeur Chems Eddine Chitour

Ecole Polytechnique enp-edu.dz

 

1.http://www.slate.fr/story/122967/temoignages-femmes-musulmanes-europe#xtor=RSS-2

2.https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/300816/chevenement-et-lislam-plus-quun-malentendu

3.Gilles Devers http://lesactualitesdudroit.20minutes-blogs.fr/

4. Christophe Girard https://blogs.mediapart.fr/christophe-girard/blog/310816/pour-un-islam-de-france-republicain.

5.http://veroniqueanger.blogspot.com/2009/07/racisme-ordinaire.html

6.Dalil Boubakeur « L’islam de France une arlésienne» http://www.elwatan.com/actualite/l-islam-de-france-une-arlesienne-03-09-2016-327963_109.php

7.http://www.lemonde.fr/livres/article/2015/01/14/lettre-a-ma-fille-au-lendemain-du-11-janvier-2015-par-jmg-le-clezio_4556225_3260.html#oU8l6XPCJ2r52FRV.99

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  • Commentaires fermés sur Islam de France ou Islam en France ? Un débat récurrent

The French and the Chinese may be celebrating the UK’s decision to press ahead with the Hinkley C ‘nuclear white elephant’, writes Oliver Tickell. But the deal is a disaster for the UK, committing us to overpriced power for decades to come, and to a dirty, dangerous, insecure dead end technology. Just one silver lining: major economic, legal and technical hurdles mean it still may never be built.

Hinkley is a project from a dying era, which would saddle Britons with eye-watering costs for decades, and radioactive waste for millenia. Renewables, smart grids and energy storage are the fleet-footed mammals racing past this stumbling nuclear dinosaur.

The UK’s energy department, BEIS, today announced the go-ahead for the controversial Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power plant in Somerset.

Hinkley C - it now looks as if the UK may not be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF.

Hinkley C – it now looks as if the UK may be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF.

Only weeks ago Theresa May’s government delayed the signing of the deal with EDF to confirm its subsidy package which is likely to cost UK energy users anywhere from £30 billion to over £100 billion for 35 years after it opens.

The surprise move was widely welcomed due to a broad range of concerns about the HPC project, including:

  • its very high cost, more than double the current wholesale power price and far more than the current cost of even high-cost renewable power from offshore wind;
  • security concerns over China’s involvement in core UK infrastructure;
  • the lack of any single example of a working EPR reactor anywhere in the world;
  • the severe delays, cost overuns and technical problems at all EPR construction sites;
  • the low value of HPC’s contribution to UK energy supply in the new decentralised ‘smart grid’ era;
  • and, common to all nuclear power, the continued absence of any solution to the nuclear waste problem.

Pre-announcement spin indicated that the HPC deal would be subject to a number of« significant conditions » that would address these problems. But in the event energy secretary Greg Clarke is giving the go-ahead for HPC to almost precisely the same deal that was on the table before.

Ther only difference to be found in the energy department announcement is that arrangements have been put in place to allow the Government to « prevent the sale of EDF’s controlling stake prior to the completion of construction, without the prior notification and agreement of ministers. »

In particular the price remains unchanged.

Great for France, China – but what about us? The Brexit effect

Mrs May is known to have come under strong pressure from both French and Chinese governments to give HPC the go-ahead. Both governments have strong interests in seeing the project going ahead.

In the French case, the EPR reactor has cost EDF and Areva – both companies controlled and mostly owned by the French state – uncountable billions of euros. Four EPRs are under construction, in France, Finland and China. All are running very late and billions of euros over budget, while the French reactor at Flamanville may never open due to a faulty reactor vessel.

That means that HPC represents France’s last chance to present the EPR as a viable reactor for the lucrative nuclear export market, re-establish credibility, and regain value for its so far utterly failed investment in the EPR.

The deal also offers EDF a very high return on investment of over 10% based on the expected construction cost of €24 billion, making it (and UK energy consumers) a valuable ‘cash cow’ for the highly indebted company for many decades to come.

China is also intent on capturing its share of the global export market for nuclear power and HPC is its ‘way in’ to it. As part of the deal, Chinese nuclear company CGN is to get preferential treatment to build a new nuclear power station at Bradwell in Essex to its new, untested ‘Hualong’ reactor design that it intends to promote to international buyers.

So, plenty of good reasons for China and France to want to progress the deal. But what’s in it for the UK? Answer: Brexit. By sucking up to France, the government hopes to win over France as an ally in negotiating a better deal for the UK in Brexit negotiations.

And as far as China is concerned, the UK is desperate to reach a trade deal with what is now by some measures the world’s largest economy and a major exporter to the UK. In particular the UK is seeking tariff-free access to the fast-gowing Chinese economy for UK manufactures, and the powerful financial services industry.

We can be sure that both countries leaders and ministers put the frighteners onto Theresa May and her entourage at the recent G20 summit to go ahead with HPC – and that she succumbed to that pressure at enormous cost to the UK, failing to win even the smallest concession on price.

Widespread condemnation

The UK’s craven acceptance of the disastrous HPC deal was been widely condemned. Simon Bullock, senior climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth said: « Hinkley is a project from a dying era, which would saddle Britons with eye-watering costs for decades, and radioactive waste for millenia.

Renewables, smart grids and energy storage are the fleet-footed mammals racing past this stumbling, inflexible nuclear dinosaur. The PM should act in Britain’s interests and invest in a renewable, non-nuclear electricity grid – it will give us more jobs and less pollution, at lower cost. This is blatantly the wrong decision from the PM.

Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said: « It is truly absurd that the Government plans to plough billions of taxpayers’ money into this vastly overpriced project, and has done so without informing Parliament of the true costs. It is even more absurd that they are doing so at the same time as reducing support for cheaper, safer and more reliable alternatives.

Instead of investing in this eye-wateringly expensive white-elephant, the government should be doing all it can to support offshore wind, energy efficiency and innovative new technologies, such as energy storage.

Even Labour’s energy spokesman Barry Gardiner – who has supported HPC against the wishes of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn under pressure from big unions – complained that the price was « far too high » and that the guaranteed price of £92.50 per MWh (in inflation-proof 2012 £) should be « tapered ».

But Lucas retorted: « Labour’s position on Hinkley is deeply disappointing. On the one hand they say that they want a decentralised energy system, yet they now back the building of this hugely overpriced, centralised piece of energy infrastructure. If Corbyn is serious about building an energy system for the future then he should reverse his party’s support for this antiquated energy source. »

It still might never happen

But despite today’s announcement there remains considerable uncertainty as to whether HPC will actually be built – among them legal challenges in the European Court to the unbelievably generous subsidy package for the project which appears to be incompatible with the EU’s ‘state aid’ regulations.

In addition both EDF and CGN, poised to take a 33.5% share in HPC, are unlikely to commit significant further capital to HPC until the Flamanville situation is resolved, and there is at least one working EPR to demonstrate that the design is constructable and operable – something that is still years away.

The highly risky (if potentially very profitable) project is also widely opposed within EDF as if it fails to ever generate power, or to operate reliably, it is likely to bankupt EDF. Also the company has yet to to line up the £16 billion (or more) it will need to finance its share of the project.

« This decision is unlikely to be the grand finale to this summer’s political soap opera », said Greenpeace executive director John Sauven. « There are still huge outstanding financial, legal and technical obstacles that can’t be brushed under the carpet.

There might be months or even years of wrangling over these issues. That’s why the Government should start supporting renewable power that can come online quickly for a competitive price.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), added:« Despite this being called a ‘final decision’ to build Hinkley C, other hurdles, including technical and legal challenges, may well lie ahead for the project.

French trade unions don’t like it, nor do some of the likely candidates for the French Presidential Election next year, EDF’s finances are not the healthiest, and the French nuclear regulator is examining flaws in steel used for a similar reactor being built in France. So it may turn out not to be quite as ‘final’ as it looks now.

Although China is reportedly happy with the new position, questions also remain over its main ambition – building its own nuclear reactors at Bradwell in Essex as a route into the Western market. The Chinese reactor hasn’t even begun the process of gaining UK safety approval, which usually takes four years, so negotiating a contract for Bradwell would fall to the next UK Government, not this one.

And by then, electricity from other sources might look a whole lot cheaper than it does now.

Oliver Tickell is contributing editor at The Ecologist.

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As one might expect, during a war, misunderstandings are often driven by interested parties. In the case of Syrian refugees in Europe a US based organisation called ‘The Syria Campaign’ has helped drive some of these, including a claim that most of the refugees are ‘Fleeing Assad’. ‘The Syria Campaign’ is a Wall Street Public Relations creation and one of several interlocked, US-based groups (Avaaz, Purpose, the White Helmets) which have campaigned for a Libyan-style ‘no fly zone’ in Syria. That is, they work for NATO intervention on the side of the jihadist groups (see Sterling 2015). In any case, a careful look at the evidence allows us to see through this ‘refugees fleeing Assad’ scam.

The Syria Campaign (2015) commissioned a poll in Germany which was apparently carried out by German academic Heiko Giebler. In it, 889 Syrian refugees were said to have been interviewed in Berlin, Hanover, Bremen, Leipzig and Eisenhüttenstadt. Candidates ‘were approached on entering or leaving registration centers’. However the survey does not specify how sampling choices were made (TSC 2015). This is important because sampling error can easily undermine the representative nature of a poll. Indeed if there is no sampling error, as in this case, there is no way to assert to what extent the survey represents a broader population. The results are then almost useless, except as anecdotes.

The poll cover note, headline and graphics highlight a claim that ‘70% of refugees are fleeing Assad’. To begin with, this is a false characterisation of the actual survey (TSC 2015). It had no question at all about fleeing Assad, nor anyone else. It did have questions on whom the respondents blamed for the violence and of whom they were afraid. Of the 30 survey questions the three relevant ones seem to be number 9 (‘Who was responsible for the fighting?), number 14 (‘Who did you fear getting arrested or kidnapped by?’), and number 18 (‘What was the main reason for you to leave Syria?’). Observe that question 18 does not specify any particular threat while in questions 9 and 14 (as is made clear in the survey report) there were multiple options, so results in both cases tally to much more than 100.

The Syrian Campaign’s cover note, headline and graphics have drawn, very loosely, on some combination of those three questions. In response to question 18 69% said that ‘the main reason’ for leaving Syria was an ‘imminent threat’ to life, but without an identified source of that threat. In Question 9, 70% identified ‘Syrian Army and allied groups’ as ‘responsible for the fighting’. However as this was a multiple option question we also see that 82% have identified other armed groups (ISIS, al Nusra, FSA, YPG, other rebels). If we remove the Kurdish YPG, which has generally fought in coordination with the Syrian Army, the total is 74% anti-government armed groups. Question 14 shares the ‘multiple option’ structure of Question 9. Here 77% said they feared ‘getting arrested or kidnapped by’ the ‘Syrian Army and its allied groups’. However the combined total of anti-government groups is 82% and, if we add the YPG, 90%. The answers to both questions suggest these respondents feared the anti-government armed groups slightly more than they feared the Syrian Army. Most likely, many feared getting caught in the crossfire.

So, even before we examine the representative validity of the poll, there is no basis in any of those three questions – or anywhere else in the poll – for saying that ‘70% of refugees are fleeing Assad’. To the contrary, the poll shows that more are fleeing anti-government, jihadist armed groups. This contradicts The Syrian Campaign’s quite dishonest headline, underlined by its lead in: ‘the results are crystal clear’. A Deutsche Welle report faithfully noted: ‘Survey leaves no doubt: Syrians are fleeing Assad’ (Fuchs 2015). Apparently this reporter did not read the survey.

Further internal analysis, combined with UNHCR (2016) data for 2015 on the wider Syrian refugee population, shows The Syrian Campaign’s survey to have been quite unrepresentative, and therefore no basis for claims about the wider Syrian refugee population. As Table 2 shows, the respondents in Germany had massive over-representation from men and young men. Put together we see a 1.76 over-representation of males and a 2.25 over-representation of people between 15 and 55 (UNHCR: 18-59; TSC: 15-55). Women and children barely exist in the TSC poll. The poll also shows that 51% came alone to Europe, 61% have no children and that 68% (0.78 x 0.88) are young men between 15 and 35 years old.

 

Table: Syria refugee population profile, 2015
 

UNHCR, Syrian refugee registration (4.8 million)

TSC survey, Germany, October (889)

Male

50%

88% (1.76 over-rep)

15-35 years old

n.a.

78%

15-55 / 18-59 years old

44%

99% (2.25 over-rep)

 

Other data within the poll indicates that 74% were from areas held by anti-government armed groups, as they reported government shelling. There is no credible evidence that suggests the Syrian Army shells areas which do not contain armed anti-government groups. That is reinforced by Question 1 on area of origin, which shows hardly any respondents (just 19 people) from Tartus, Latakia and Sweida, areas which in 2015 had a combined population (swollen, from internal refugees) of at least 5 million. Respondents from Damascus (170 or 19%) are also seriously under-represented. Damascus in 2015 held over 7 million, or one-third of Syria’s population. There were many displaced people in all these areas, controlled by the Government.

On the other side, we can see an over-representation of respondents from Hasakah (164 or 19%). There are certainly a lot of refugees from the Hasakah district, in large part due to the presence of ISIS and Turkish-Kurd clashes; but its population of half a million, less than 10% that of Damascus, is represented equally in survey respondents to that of the capital. In other words, the TSC survey has a very large over-representation of men and young men, many from anti-government held areas. Quite a number of them are likely to be ex-fighters.

Putting this all together we can conclude that the poll commissioned by The Syrian Campaign (2015) did not show anything like ‘70% fleeing Assad’. To the contrary, results of the poll (TSC (2015) suggested that slightly more amongst that cohort were fearful of anti-government armed groups. On top of that, that poll was quite unrepresentative of the Syrian refugee population, as it contained a very large group of young men from anti-government (i.e. jihadist) held areas, some of them likely former fighters, and many of whom had indeed come under Syrian Army fire. Reasons for corruption of the data most likely include a combination of biased selection in Germany (selection was made by the associates of a partisan group) and a possible over-representation of young men and former fighters amongst the actual cohort of refugees arriving in those German cities. The absence of an explicit sampling process and a stated sampling error simply underlines the unprofessional nature of this survey.

Little of this seems to have registered on the western media. Like the Deutsche Welle reporter, most seem not to have even read the survey. One version or another of the fake headline ‘70% of refugees fleeing Assad’ provided by the Wall Street PR group was copied by much of the corporate media, including The Times (UK); The Huffington Post; the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.

Sources

  1. Fuchs, Richard (2015) ‘Survey leaves no doubt: Syrians are fleeing Assad’, Deutsche Welle, 11 October, online: http://www.dw.com/en/survey-leaves-no-doubt-syrians-are-fleeing-assad/a-18775789
  2. Sterling, Rick (2015) ‘Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators’, Dissident Voice, 9 April, online: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/04/seven-steps-of-highly-effective-manipulators/
  3. The Syria Campaign (2015) ‘Care about refugees? Listen to them’, 9 October, online: https://diary.thesyriacampaign.org/what-refugees-think/
  4. TSC (2015) ‘Listen To Refugees – First Survey of Syrian Refugees in Europe’, survey results spreadsheet, The Syrian Campaign, online: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WYn4N7STdP2eW3EYdX86Gsb6lxE4VrcNvZ4aEczsFwI/edit#gid=833561282
  5. UNHCR (2016) ‘Syria Regional Refugee Response’, last updated 4 September, online: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php

 

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A group of U.S. intelligence veterans chastises the mainstream U.S. media for virtually ignoring a British newspaper’s account of the gripping inside story on how the CIA tried to block the U.S. Senate’s torture investigation.

 

MEMORANDUM FOR: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: U.S. Media Mum On How Your Committee Faced Down Both CIA and Obama

We write to thank you for your unwavering support for your extraordinarily courageous and tenacious staff in (1) investigating CIA torture under the Bush/Cheney administration and (2) resisting CIA/White House attempts under the Obama administration to cover up heinous torture crimes like waterboarding.

The CIA seal in the lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The CIA seal in the lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

We confess to having been shocked at the torture detailed in the version of the executive summary your Committee released on December 9, 2014.  We found ourselves wondering what additional behavior could have been deemed so repugnant that the White House and CIA insisted it be redacted; and if the entire 6,700-page investigation – with whatever redaction might be truly necessary – would ever see the light of day. We think you could take steps now to make it less likely that the full report be deep-sixed, and we will make some suggestions below toward that end.

With well over 400 years of intelligence experience under our collective belt, we wondered how you managed to get the investigation finished and the executive summary up and out (though redacted). We now know the backstory – thanks to the unstinting courage of the committee’s principal investigator Daniel Jones, who has been interviewed by Spencer Ackerman, an investigative reporter for The (UK) Guardian newspaper. The titanic struggle depicted by Ackerman reads like a crime novel; sadly, the four-part series is nonfiction:

I. “Senate investigator breaks silence about CIA’s ‘failed coverup’ of torture report

II. “Inside the fight to reveal the CIA’s torture secrets

III. ” ‘A constitutional crisis’: the CIA turns on the Senate

IV. “No looking back:  the CIA torture report’s aftermath

Ackerman’s reporting on Jones’s tenacity in facing down the gorilla CIA makes abundantly clear how richly deserved was the encomium you gave Jones when he left the committee staff in December 2015.

You noted, “Without his indefatigable work on the Intelligence Committee staff, the Senate report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program would not have been completed, nor would its 525-page executive summary have been released to the public.”

It seems equal praise might well be due to any Snowden-like patriot/whistleblower who “inadvertently” included the “Panetta Review” in the reams of material given your committee by the CIA.

Remarkably, a full week after The Guardian carried Ackerman’s revelations, none has been picked up by U.S. “mainstream” newspapers. Not the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post – not even The Hill.

(As for alternative media, Charles P. Pierce’s timely piece for Esquire whetted his readers’ appetite for the gripping detail of the Guardianseries, explaining that it would be “unfair both to Ackerman’s diligence and Jones’s courage” to try to summarize even just the first installment. “Read the whole damn thing,” Pierce advises.)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

And so, the culprits who should be hanging their heads in shame are out and about, with some still collecting book royalties and some blithely working for this or that candidate for president. As if nothing happened. Sadly, given the soporific state of our mainstream media – particularly on sensitive issues like these – their silence is nothing new, although it does seem to have gotten even worse in recent years.

The late William Colby, CIA director from 1973 to 1976, has been quoted as saying: “The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” Whether or not Colby was quoted correctly, the experience of the past several decades suggests it is largely true. Better sourced is a quote from William Casey, CIA director from 1981 to 1987: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

In these circumstances, we know from sad experience that there is no way any of us can get on any of the Sunday talk shows, for example – despite our enviable record for getting it right. Nor does it seem likely that any of the “mainstream” media will invite you to discuss the highly instructive revelations in The Guardian. We respectfully suggest that you take the initiative to obtain media exposure for this very important story.

One additional request: As you and your investigators know better than anyone, it is essential to safeguard the integrity not only of the unredacted executive summary but also of the entire 6,700-page committee report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

And, again, you are aware that as soon as Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, took the gavel from you, he took steps seemingly aimed at ensuring that the full report never sees the light of day. Could you ask him why, as soon as he became chair, he asked the executive branch to transfer their copies to the Senate Intelligence Committee?

Many interpreted that as an ill-disguised attempt to thwart holding accountable those responsible for the abuses. Moreover, if the report cannot be reviewed by those who might be asked to participate in activities like torture in the future, how is it even possible for anyone to learn from the prior unfortunate experience?

The public is entitled to the entire story about the CIA torture program and its lies to Congress, the White House, and to us. Any attempt to bury the fullest investigation of the torture program – an investigation that provides an example of Congressional oversight at its best – would undermine the democratic accountability that is supposed to be provided by the separation of powers.

Furthermore, as you were quoted in the Guardian series, the agency searches “may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function . . .”

Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, was exactly on point: “You either have oversight and separation of powers with the checks and balances that come with that, or you don’t. It’s amazing that, once again, no one at the CIA was held accountable.”  Consequently, the issue now is not only the cover-up of torture by the CIA but – at least equally important – the “unbridled agency that spied on Americans (including Senate Intelligence Committee staffers) as eagerly as they spied on foreign adversaries,” as the Guardian described it in referring to the Church Committee investigation in the 1970s.

Does American democracy deserve any less than an intense investigation of the CIA’s obstruction of the democratic process in the 2000s?

The Guardian revelations make it still more difficult for the kind of excuses made by those who can hardly pretend to be disinterested observers – former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, for example – who wrote Rebuttal: The CIA Responds to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of Its Detention and Interrogation Program, published on September 9, 2015. We published our own (VIPS) critique of “Rebuttal” five days later. And before the final vote on John Brennan’s nomination to become CIA director, we tried to warn you not to trust him.

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

We believe you will agree that more needs to be done to replant the moral moorings of honesty that must anchor the intelligence profession to which we have given so many years. And we think that one step in that direction would be for you to seize this new opportunity to give prominence to the edifying story of how your committee and its staffers stepped up so effectively to their responsibilities in investigating and exposing the very sad and delicate chapter of CIA torture.

The play-by-play provided by the Guardian series, with its appropriate focus on the top investigator Daniel Jones, has created an opportunity we hope will not be squandered; a chance to tell a truly uplifting story sure to encourage others to behave in similarly exemplary manner.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Jean Maria Arrigo, PhD, member of 2005 American Psychological Association task force evaluating the role of psychologists in U.S. intelligence and military interrogations of detainees (associate VIPS)

Eugene DeFriest Betit, Ph. D., DIA, US Army (ret.)

Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA

Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel (USA, ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary (associate VIPS)

Valerie Plame Wilson, former CIA Operations Officer

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)

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The United States and Russia exchanged allegations of ceasefire violations against both of their respective proxies on September 15th.  According to Moscow, US-led forces has violated the ceasefire 32 times.

Russia shared unprecedented live footage from one of their reconnaissance drones flying over Aleppo to monitor the ceasefire conditions below.

The Syrian Arab Army began withdrawing from the Castello Road in order to create a ‘weapons-free-zone’ in the contested region.

The Kurdish YPG forces raised the flag of the United States over Tell Abyad at the Syrian-Turkish border. The reported purpose behind the flag-flying was to discourage Turkish airstrikes.

The Islamic State dealt a blow to the Kurdish PKK in Shaddadi, killing approximately 70 troops, including their commander, “Tabur Solar.”

The terrorists also launched several rockets, which landed outside of Jayroud, Damascus.

The Islamic State suffered its own losses at the receiving end of Russian airstrikes on al-Mayadeen, outside Deir ez Zor. The terrorist militants reported 15 killed and 40 injured.

Syrian warplanes delivered a series of airstrikes in northern Hama, repelling advance of local jihadi groups on the government-controlled areas. Airstrikes were reported near Taybat Al-Imam, Souran, Kawkab, Al-Lataminah, and Kafr Zita.

There are rumors that the Syrian government forces are preparing a large-scale offensive in the area in order to re-take from terrorist groups the territories that they had lost within last 3 weeks.

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

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Statements from Sen. Orrin Hatch suggest lame-duck Senate vote is not off the table

As President Barack Obama gathered high-profile supporters of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) for a meeting at the White House on Friday, the corporate-friendly trade agreement was dealt a blow as Vietnam’s parliament deferred its long-expected ratification.

Reuters reported from Hanoi Friday that Vietnam will not include ratification of TPP on its agenda for its next parliament session, which begins October 20.

This adds « to uncertainty over the future of…Obama’s signature trade deal, » the news agency wrote. « As arguably the biggest beneficiary of the deal covering 40 percent of the global economy, Vietnam was expected to be among the first to ratify the TPP, the prospect of which helped spur record foreign investment last year in its booming manufacturing sector. »

According to Reuters, Vietnamese newspaper Thanh Nien cited Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, the parliament chairwoman, as saying Vietnam’s ratification would depend on the ruling Communist Party, « the global situation, » and the outcome of the U.S. election.

Both major party nominees are opposed to the trade deal, along with many Democrats, some Republicans, and wide swaths of civil society.

But Friday’s meeting « is an effort by the White House to show that support for the agreement also crosses party lines, » The Hill wrote, and « the latest effort by Obama togenerate support for the pact, which would be the largest free trade deal in history and is a centerpiece of his administration’s so-called ‘pivot’ to Asia. »

Among those scheduled to be in attendance: failed Republican presidential candidate John Kasich, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former George W. Bush administration Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and others. A press briefing is expected to follow the meeting.

CNN reports that Kasich « defended the prospect of Obama pushing the TPP toward passage in a ‘lame duck’ session of Congress »—a possibility that TPP opponents are actively workingto prevent.

« Frankly, if I have to come down here and spend some time lobbying my Republican colleagues, I’m more than glad to do that, » Kasich said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared last month that the Senate would not vote on the current agreement this year, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has said: « As long as we don’t have the votes, I see no point in bringing up an agreement. »

But watchdogs have warned that the TPP « is not dead, unfortunately. » Indeed, Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach argued earlier this month that GOP leaders are in fact « negotiating for changes to obtain even more corporate goodies—longer monopoly protections for pharmaceutical firms’ high medicine prices, elimination of an exception protecting some tobacco regulations from TPP attack, and more. »

She wrote:

The GOP leaders are not only trying to pressure the White House to meet their demands, but are trying to scare the other TPP countries off of their current positions that no changes are possible.

If the GOP leaders get what they want, they will be pushing hard to pass an even more damaging TPP in the lame duck session, despite their insincere political posturing over the unpopular agreement leading up to the elections.

Sure enough, news outlets reported this week that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) « is working with the Obama administration to resolve several lingering issues that could ultimately pave the way » for lame-duck passage of the TPP, as The Hill put it.

Inside U.S. Trade reported Friday that Hatch « said the Obama administration has promised to satisfy his demand of including 12 years of market exclusivity for biologics in the implementing bill for the [TPP], but noted that he is waiting to receive that pledge in writing. »

« They said they’d satisfy me, » Hatch told the publication on Friday.

However, Glyn Moody explained for TechDirt: « The final TPP text specifies eight years, and because of the Fast Track authority that [Hatch] worked so hard to put in place, there is no way for Hatch to get the text changed now that it has been finalized. »

That has not seemed to deter Hatch, who has floated a number of work-arounds including « binding side agreements » with TPP countries or development of a « methodology » he believes « honorable » countries will follow.

« That’s really pretty extraordinary, » Moody wrote.

« After nearly eight years of tough negotiations, concessions were made and a final text agreed by all the countries involved. And now Hatch says it’s not good enough, that the U.S. has some special right to ask for yet more, and that countries refusing to up their protection for biologics data to 12 years won’t be part of the TPP deal. »

In turn, environmentalists, public health advocates, and labor groups aren’t going to sit idly by.

« Why are we nervous? Well, we’re nervous because we’ve been here once or twice before, » Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told reporters Wednesday on Capitol Hill. « When you have the Business Roundtable and virtually every multinational corporation saying they want this, we understand that’s real power. »

Still, as Common Dreams reported Wednesday, people power was also on display this week, when a coalition of progressive organizations coordinated a national call-in day to voice their TPP opposition.

« While the president is cloistered with corporate chieftains planning how to use a lame duck session to try to pass a TPP only they love, » Wallach said, « Congress’ phones are ringing off the hook with anti-TPP calls. »

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In all countries socialists renounced the class struggle and proceeded instead to go to war for their fatherland and their people. Jacques R. Pauwels, The Great Class War 1914-1918, p. 69

War is anathema. I hate war and I am sure the majority of humanity does. So why does war still happen? Earlier wars continue to evoke a mythology that pervades the public discourse. Since much of humanity remains mired in war, it is crucial to cut through the crap of disinformation that beguiles people and involves them in wars that they don’t want. If indeed a knowledge of history prepares humans to avert the mistakes of the past, then for the sake of present and future humanity learning about critical past events is important. People must also learn how to discern what best approximates the truth. When seeking to identify the etiology of monstrous events such as wars, the requisite question is: who benefits?

GCW_DVIn his book The Great Class War 1914-1918 (Lorimer, 2016), historian Jacques R. Pauwels lifts the fog of war. The Great Class War 1914-1918 identifies those who want war, those who scurrilously manipulate information, consciousness, and the citizenry to wage war.

Pauwels examines the war among nations and among classes within a nation. WWI (what Pauwels refers to as the Great Class War, and one understands what he means, but because of the double entendre, I prefer to avoid calling a war “great”) has its roots much further back in history. Pauwels takes the reader back to the French Revolution, an uprising against the aristocrats and bourgeoise, and he brings readers to the time of the Paris Commune and up to WWI and beyond.

Pauwels presents the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand as a pretext for war. However, the war was launched by elitists1 who feared the hoi polloieating into profits by forming unions and demanding higher wages, and demanding greater democracy. There was also competition among nation states to grab colonies and gain economic advantage. The elitists believed that a war would crush revolutionary zeal, aspirations for democracy, and replace socialism with nationalism.

The Great Class War discusses factors antebellum and year-by-year through WWI, the immediate aftermath and postbellum, even discussing the casus belli for WWII and connecting events to the present day. The focus throughout the book is on the classism at the root of the war. Pauwels’ thoroughly compelling narrative leads the reader to the ineluctable conclusion that elitists have been manipulating and leading the masses, unwilling or not, to the killing fields.

Lincoln in Dali-vision

Lincoln in Dali-vision

Pauwels draws on myriad threads in weaving his marvelous portrait of the class war. He draws from art, film, song, poetry and other writings. He hits at the various angles to the war, likening this to Salvador Dali’s “Lincoln in Dali-vision.” He praises Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory as a vivid depiction of classist conditions within the French military. I was spurred to watch the film, which I would urge others to watch as well.2

Pauwels explores the many-sided tensions/rivalries/fights at play: socialism vs capitalism, internationalism vs nationalism, union leadership vs the rank-and-file (“… union leaders travelled around the country to encourage the rank-and-file not to strike but to volunteer for the army.” p. 196), conservative political parties vs social democrats vs communists, officers vs soldiers, civilians vs military, feelings of one country’s troops about another country’s troops, etc. The author looks at language, propaganda (“Civilians appeared to swallow whatever authorities and the ‘yellow press’ told them…” p. 357), imperialism, monarchism, colonialism (“In many ways, the first World war thus functioned as the last phase of the “scramble for Africa.’” p. 293), religion (“The gospel of patriotism and bellicosity was preached from the church pulpits…,” p. 186), Social Darwinism, revolutions, counterrevolution, the Russian Revolution, dirigism, why the USA entered the war (“If the United States stayed out of the war, it would not be present when the Chinese prizes were distributed among the victors…” p. 449), and much more than can be a book review can do justice to. So get the book.

The Great Class War 1914-1918 is a magnificent opus. After reading it, I have to read Pauwels’ Myth of the Good War which looks at the US role in WWII.

Notes

  1. Pauwels called them “elites,” but that is another word that I would prefer to avoid since it paints people of wealth and power as being of the highest class. But the actions of these “elites” in using the peasants as cannon fodder to further enrich themselves and crush socialism and revolutionary agitation indicates that these people are “elitists” — believing that they are better than others. There is nothing elite about people who are morally bankrupt. 
  2. The film can be viewed online
Kim is former co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: [email protected].
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If Hillary’s Not Able, There’s Always Tim Kaine

septembre 17th, 2016 by Eric Draitser

If internet speculation is to be believed, Hillary Clinton is suffering from everything from epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease to adverse reactions to chemotherapy and Zika-West Nile-SARS-swine flu. The problem is that, like bellybuttons, everyone’s got a theory; and, again like bellybuttons, most theories are useless. Whatever the case may be with Hillary’s health, the fact is that she remains the likely winner of the presidential election, which means that a potentially sick woman will become the Commander-in-Chief.

So that raises an obvious question: what next? Put another way, the American people deserve to know who the hell Tim Kaine is, and what he would do as president. Because, after the initial “Tim who?” round of questions, citizens will want to understand who this underwhelming ex-Governor and Democratic Party hack is, and what sort of policies he’d pursue.

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So boys and girls, break out the crystal balls and glimpse a future with President Kaine. It may seem like some Quaalude-induced waking nightmare to envision this scenario – Clinton and Trump presidencies are, of course, already the ultimate bad acid trips – but this bitter reality must at least be considered, if not prepared for.

President Kaine: Chronicle of Many Deaths Foretold

Despite the Madison Avenue fustian about Hillary’s running mate being a “capable” and “adequate” future vice president – anyone who has ever been called “adequate” knows the implication of that back-handed insult – Kaine is, in fact, a typical Democratic Party apparatchik: self-serving, corrupt, and a liberal imperialist with all the humanitarian trimmings. And the question before millions of Americans is whether or not the country, and indeed the world, can survive another imperial presidency fronted by leaders for whom mass killing is a matter of focus groups and electoral demographic research.

History has shown the danger of mush-headed vice presidents serving under ailing presidents. When Franklin Roosevelt died and the racist mass murderer Harry Truman inherited the presidency, the door was permanently shut to peaceful cooperation with the Soviet Union and the expansion of New Deal-era economic rights, to say nothing of the death sentence for millions of innocent Japanese annihilated by atomic bombs solely to send a message to Moscow. In other words, Roosevelt’s death put in power a man who had no business running a dirt farm, let alone the most powerful country in the world. Similarly, Americans must consider just what President Kaine would do.

On the question of foreign policy – a focal point for Kaine who has served on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees – Kaine aligns perfectly with the war hawk Clinton and her neoconservative imperialist brethren. In Syria, Kaine has advocated forcefully for No Fly Zones and “safe zones” (as if there’s a difference) which would signify a de facto declaration of war by the US in Syria. He has cheered for regime change against the Assad government, and pressed for a full declaration of war against the Islamic State. One shudders to think of the staggering level of pompous ignorance required to advocate for what would amount to the rekindling of Bush’s disastrous and criminal open-ended “War on Terror.”

In what amounts to a running theme with the Clinton-Kaine campaign, the Democratic ticket has essentially embraced every single foreign policy position of the neocon movement. As I noted previously, this Clinton-Kaine administration would be the imperial frankenstein, Obama’s head on Bush’s body. No HopeTM. No ChangeTM. But more and bigger wars.

Of course, Kaine doesn’t limit himself to warmongering on Syria alone. In Ukraine, Kaine has come out as a vocal supporter of the Kiev Government and the fascist death squads and paramilitaries under its control. He was rather hawkish on the issue in 2014 when the Senate approved a massive aid package to Ukraine. He was also rather blunt in his condemnation of Russia as an aggressor in Ukraine, despite a massive outpouring of support for Russia and anti-Kiev activism that took place in Eastern Ukraine after the coup in February 2014. He also made no mention of how he would react if he were president and half his navy were under threat from a hostile putsch government backed by a superpower.

But the critical, and very worrying, fact is that a President Kaine would have to deal with a Kremlin that may forgive but certainly never forgets. And, considering the danger of the moment, with a potential world war looming on the horizon, the danger of escalating a crisis due to pig-headed political point scoring is very real. Never underestimate the power of a Clintonista to make a bad situation disastrous.

But perhaps nothing illustrates Kaine’s neocolonial mentality in all its blood-soaked glory better than his position, or lack thereof, on Honduras. Considering the fact that he spent an extended period of time as a Jesuit missionary in Honduras in the midst of US-sponsored death squad wars in Central America, and has never bothered to comment about it, is certainly suspicious. Moreover, he now is the wing-man for the womandirectly responsible for the bloodshed and political repression now a daily norm in Honduras after the Clinton-managed coup in 2009 removed the Chavista former president Manuel Zelaya. As President, Kaine would need to account for his actions in Honduras, and apologize on behalf of himself, his colleagues, and the rest of the Democratic Party for backing a right wing dictatorship committing war crimes every single day. I won’t be holding my breath for that.

Crooked Clinton, Krooked Kaine

Aside from the apocalyptic vision of a foreign policy that speaks like an asshole and carries a big stick of dynamite, Americans should also consider the fact that Kaine has a long track record of Washington corruption: yet another subject of comradeship with Saint Hillary that likely makes for fascinating dinner conversation.

Kaine and Clinton might laugh over dinner and drinks when discussing the fact that, as Governor, Kaineaccepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from high-powered lobbyists. You can almost see Hillary, shrimp cocktail dangling from her mouth, as she cackles at the paltry sum that Kaine could be bought for. “Timmy my boy,” she might say, “It’s time for you to step up to the big leagues…maybe you should consider giving some Wall Street pep talks…or starting a foundation.”

And the retort would undoubtedly please the Goldman-Sachs girl as Timmy Two-Face would remind Hillary that he’s a banker’s boy through and through. He might recall how, as noted by The Intercept, in 2016 he:

Signed onto two letters, one to federal banking regulators and the other to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, urging them to loosen regulations on certain financial players…In the letters, Kaine is offering to support community banks, credit unions, and even large regional banks. While separate from the Wall Street mega-banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, these financial institutions often partner with the larger industry to fight regulations and can be hostile to government efforts to safeguard the public, especially if it crimps their profits. They also represent a key source of donor funds, one that has trended away from Democrats.

And just in case any liberal navel-gazers care to pretend that Kaine was simply defending the “little guy” banks, consider the fact that the second of the two letters was aimed at helping, “major firms including Capital One, PNC Bank and U.S. Bank, all of which control hundreds of billions of dollars in assets,” as noted by Huffington Post and Common Dreams. In other words, Kaine swore his oath of fealty to Wall Street and its junior partners in order to show his allegiance to Hillary and Bill, the svengalis of finance capital’s political vaudeville act.

Many Americans undoubtedly feel that Clinton’s health issues might just mean that the country could dodge a bullet for the next four or eight years. And while that sentiment is understandable given her track record of coming, seeing, and murdering, it is a false hope – a mirage distorting the vision of anti-war, anti-Wall Street crusaders.

Because, right behind Hillary is Tim Kaine, the man whose politics and ethics were made in Her image.

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According to hacked emails reviewed by LobeLog, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged Israel’s nuclear arsenal, an open secret that U.S. and Israeli politicians typically refuse to acknowledge as part of Israel’s strategy of “nuclear ambiguity.” Powell also rejected assessments that Iran, at the time, was “a year away” from a nuclear weapon.

The emails, released by the hacking group DCLeaks, show Powell discussing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before a joint meeting of Congress with his business partner, Jeffrey Leeds.

Leeds summarizes Netanyahu as having “said all the right things about the president and all the things he has done to help Israel. But basically [he] said this deal sucks, and the implication is that you have to be an idiot not to see it.”

Powell responded that U.S. negotiators can’t get everything they want from a deal. But echoing a point that many Iran hawks have questioned, Powell said that Israel’s nuclear arsenal and rational self-interest make the construction and testing of an Iranian nuclear weapon a highly unlikely policy choice for Iran’s leaders.

Powell wrote:

Negotiators can’t get what he wants. Anyway, Iranians can’t use one if they finally make one. The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands. As Akmdinijad (sic) [said], “What would we do with one, polish it?” I have spoken publicly about both nK and Iran. We’ll blow up the only thing they care about—regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?

Israel, which isn’t a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has long maintained ambiguity about the size, and even the existence, of its nuclear weapons program.

Later in the email chain, Powell acknowledged Iran’s right to enrich uranium for nuclear power, said that sanctions alone wouldn’t be enough to “break” Iran, and pointed out that the assessment that Iran could make a dash for the bomb and construct a nuclear weapon within a year was exaggerated.

Powell wrote:

They say, correctly, that they have every right to enrich for energy. Russians helped build a power reactor at Busher. Can’t get enough sanctions to break them. Lots of bs around about their progress. Bibi likes to say “a year away,” as do our intel guys. They say it every years. I ain’t that easy to do.

Powell ultimately supported the nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration, telling Meet The Press that “It’s a pretty good deal,” on September 6, 2015. In the lead up to his endorsement, Powell had harsh words for foreign policy experts who stayed on the sidelines or opposed the deal.

On August 30, 2015, Powell wrote to Ken Duberstein, President Ronald Reagan’s former chief of staff, who suggested that Powell might refrain from endorsing the deal in a television interview where he would face questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Powell said he could handle the political questions, defended the deal to Duberstein as a “good one for the country,” and blasted Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass and Ret. Gen. David Petraeus for publicly remaining undecided about the agreement. Powell told Duberstein:

The Iran deal is a good one for the country and our alliances. Retired generals and admirals popping off. I have studied it pretty thoroughly…I have done emails before on tv. Have to deal with ISIS. Richard] Haass, Petraeus et all claiming to be undecided. BS, they are just protecting their future options. I don’t have or want any. Baker, Shultz know what’s right, as does Henry. Brent showed some guts.

But even Duberstein, who had urged Powell to avoid a high-profile endorsement of the deal and hasn’t publicly spoken about the deal, couldn’t resist sharing with Powell his assessment of former George W. Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton’s fundraising email, which described the nuclear deal as “the single largest global security crisis.”

Duberstein forwarded the email to Powell, adding a succinct message at the top: “Haha! What is he smoking?”

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent New Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.

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The United States and South Korea resorted to tough talk and shows of force in the immediate aftermath of North Korea’s most recent nuclear test, but commentary in western and South Korean media suggests more people are beginning to recognize the futility of continuing down the same path of sanctions and escalating military tensions.

North Korea conducted its fifth underground nuclear test last Friday, merely four days after it test-launched three rounds of ballistic missiles. This is the first time that North Korea conducted a missile launch and a nuclear test in the same week, and the country says it successfully managed to put a warhead on a ballistic missile. According to North Korean state media, the country’s leader Kim Jong-un directly oversaw the September 5 missile launch conducted by “the DPRK’s strategic Hwaseong artillery unit, tasked with striking the bases of the U.S. imperialist forces in the Pacific theater in the event of a contingency.”

In response, President Obama has vowed more sanctions, and the United States flew two nuclear-capable supersonic B1-B bombers over South Korea in a show of force on Tuesday.  For her part, South Korean President Park Geun-hye accused the North of “maniacal recklessness,” and the South Korean military rolled out the “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” plan involving commandos and preemptive attacks with large numbers of missiles to target the North Korean leadership in a punitive and retaliatory strike at the slightest sign of a North Korean nuclear threat.

North Korea’s Nuke Test Sparks Calls for Diplomacy over Sanctions

North Korea scoffed at U.S. threats of more sanctions as “laughable” and defended its right to conduct nuclear tests in order to “protect our dignity” amid threats of “nuclear war” from Washington.  “The group of Obama’s running around and talking about meaningless sanctions until today is highly laughable, when their ‘strategic patience’ policy is completely worn out and they are close to packing up to move out,” said a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman. “As we’ve made clear, measures to strengthen the national nuclear power in quality and quantity will continue to protect our dignity and right to live from augmented threats of nuclear war from the United States,” he added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying also had strong words for the United States on its role in the nuclear crisis. “Mr. Carter was being unnecessarily modest,”she said, referring to U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who had pointed to China as being primarily responsible for the nuclear crisis with North Korea.

“The cause and crux of the Korean nuclear issue rest with the US rather than China,” Hua continued, “The core of the issue is the conflict between the DPRK and the US. It is the US who should reflect upon how the situation has become what it is today, and search for an effective solution. It is better for the doer to undo what he has done. The US should shoulder its due responsibilities.” To fundamentally resolve the crisis, she said, “An approach that addresses all parties’ security concerns and leads to enduring peace and stability of the Peninsula must be found through dialogue.”

Growing Calls for Diplomacy

Commentary in western and South Korean media in the aftermath of last week’s North Korean missile and nuclear tests suggests more people are realizing the futility of sanctions and prefer diplomacy as a way to resolve the crisis.

The latest nuclear test by North Korea proves that economic sanctions against the regime have failed utterly,” writes Simon Jenkins in The Guardian.  Pointing out that sanctions have had the exact opposite of their intended effect in North Korea, that they have driven the country to militarize its society and hasten the acquisition of high-profile weaponry, Jenkins proposes, “The sane alternative is to do everything to open North Korea, to flood it with trade, promote cultural exchange and hope one day that, like east Germany, it will reunite with its neighbor.  This will never happen under sanctions. Ending sanctions cannot cause more harm than what is happening now. It would probably do good. So end the sanctions.

Nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker, who has visited North Korea frequently to assess its plutonium and uranium enrichment programs at the Yongbyon nuclear facility, agrees. In an article published on 38 North, he writes, “The latest nuclear test demonstrates conclusively that attempting to sanction the DPRK into submission and waiting for China to exert leverage over Pyongyang’s nuclear program do not work.”  Warning that adding missile defenses in South Korea will only make China less likely to cooperate, he concludes, “What’s missing is diplomacy as much as Washington may find it repugnant to deal with the Kim regime.”

As repugnant as Washington might find the North Korean regime, its leadership is quite sane, assures the New York Times.  Political scientists have repeatedly concluded that “North Korea’s behavior, far from crazy, is all too rational,”writes New York Times columnist Max Fisher.  “Its provocations introduce tremendous danger, but stave off what Pyongyang sees as the even greater threats of invasion or collapse,” he adds. Indeed, missing in the flurry of media commentary about North Korea’s latest nuclear test is any mention of Ulchi Freedom Gardian, the massive twelve-day U.S.-South Korean combined military exercises that just ended earlier this month. The war games involved 25,000 U.S. military personnel and 50,000 South Korean troops under U.S. command and reportedly included simulated exercises to “decapitate” the North Korean leadership.

The Hankyoreh, critical of what it calls failed hardline approaches to North Korea, urges a fundamental solution.  “Of the five nuclear tests to date, four happened while Seoul was carrying out hard-line North Korea policies,” it notes and says denouncing and pressuring Pyongyang will get us nowhere. Urging all parties to move past “Cold War-style logic,” the Hankyoreh writes, “Instead of pinning vague hopes on a North Korea collapse scenario – an approach that is both dangerous and unrealistic – we need a strategic approach that can lead to a comprehensive solution.”

Civil society groups in South Korea and the United States, as well as former U.S. officials, including former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea James Laney, have advocated for a formal end to the Korean War and a peace treaty to replace the 1953 armistice. Writing for NK News, Donald Kirk cautiously raises this as a possibility.  “What about if the U.S. were to sue for peace – that is to say: ‘at last we’d like to discuss your demand for a ‘peace treaty’ marking the formal conclusion of the Korean War?’” he asks.

Priority for the Next President

Whatever the comprehensive solution may be, many seem to agree that North Korea needs to be a top priority for the next U.S. administration.  “Beyond sanctions, any lasting solution will almost certainly require some kind of negotiations, though Republicans in Congress are certain to resist such a move,”writes the New York Times in an editorial.  Noting that the Kim government issued a statement in July that could be viewed as an overture for talks, the New York Times concludes, “Since far too little has been done to contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in the past decade, this accelerating threat will require the urgent attention of Mr. Obama’s successor.”

Former U.S. diplomat and arms control expert Mark Fitzpatrick apparently agrees.  Speaking to Kirk for NK News, Fitzpatrick said the next U.S. president “will have to put North Korea at the top of the agenda. … He or she will have to use all the tools of American policy-making.”

If Clinton becomes our next commander in chief, picking up where her husband left off in 2000 wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Bill Clinton signed the historic joint communique, in which the United States and North Korea declared “no hostile intent” toward each other and agreed to improve bilateral relations based on the principle of “mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.” He sent then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Pyongyang to discuss normalizing relations but ran out of time in his administration to finish the deed.

Hillary’s recent comments, which referred to North Korea’s nuclear test as a “reckless action” and its determination to develop a deliverable nuclear weapon a “direct threat to the United States” that she “cannot and will never accept” indicate that she’s still working off of an old script. Setting the next administration on the path of dialogue towards a comprehensive resolution will likely be an uphill battle. But commentary in western and South Korean media following last week’s North Korean nuclear test gives one cautious optimism that the political landscape may be gradually changing in a direction that will make dialogue, even a peace treaty, a more palatable option.

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Syria: CIA Vetted « Rebels » Chase U.S. Forces Out Of Town

septembre 17th, 2016 by Moon of Alabama

According to the WSJ the U.S. agreed to join a further invasion of Syria by Turkey and its proxy forces:

The U.S. has agreed to send about 40 special-operations troops to work alongside Turkish forces to fight Islamic State in northern Syria, U.S. officials said.

The joint mission will take the forces east toward the northern Syrian town of Dabiq, a symbolically significant Islamic State stronghold. U.S. special-operations forces will operate as combat advisers and generally under the same guidelines as other special -operations forces are working inside Syria, U.S. officials said.

Ankara first proposed the idea of U.S. special -operations forces accompanying Turkish troops late last month as it planned a joint mission into Syria’s northern city of Jarabulus.

One can reasonably assume that the planned presence of U.S. forces amid a Turkish invasion has the sole purpose of deterring Russian or Syrian moves against it. With U.S. forces around the Russian command will have to think twice before bombing any Turkish advance beyond the borders of  their agreement with the Russians.

The deployment of some 40 U.S. special forces to Al Ra’i did not go well. The Turkish « Free Syrian Army » proxies threatened to kill the U.S. forces. They called them « unbelievers » and « crusader pigs » and the U.S. forces had to retreat under Turkish cover (video). Some FSA spokesperson later claimed that the dispute was over U.S. support for the Kurdish dominated SDF, which at times had fought against the FSA. Unconfirmed reports now say that the special forces are back in Al Ra’i after certain FSA groups were ordered out of the area. There are alsoreports claiming the U.S., after the special forces were chased out of town, « accidentally » bombed some FSA group in Al Ra’i. Ooops.

However, the hostile FSA forces will be around and U.S. Special Forces are obviously seen as their enemy. If the U.S. forces proceed together with the other FSA groups they will certainly have to watch their back at any and all times.

The Turkish supported sectarian « moderate » FSA groups are the very same groups the CIA has « vetted » and provided with TOW missiles and other weapons. But nobody should be astonished that such groups, driven by religious zeal, eventually turn on their sponsors. They have done so in each historic parallel one can think of.

The current ceasefire in Syria is already breaking down. U.S. media claim that Russia and Syria are blocking UN aid to the al-Qaeda ruled areas in east-Aleppo but other media say that the « rebels » are the ones threatening the convoys. In east-Aleppo al-Qaeda demonstrators held a rally (vid) against UN aid.

Russia says that the U.S. is trying to fudge on the terms of the ceasefire agreements and pushes the U.S. to publish the full accord. That is blocked by the State Department:

On Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington that the full text of the deal worked out with Russia on the truce in Syria will not be made public. “It does deal with sensitive issues that we believe, if made public, could potentially be misused,” he said.

Translation: « It is more difficult to cheat on the agreement if the terms are public. »

The U.S. supported opposition forces are using the ceasefire to prepare for new attacks on Hama and in the north of Aleppo city. I expect those to start at the beginning of next week. They will meet prepared defenses and ferocious attacks by Syrian and Russian air forces.

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Western Media Credibility In Free Fall Collapse

septembre 17th, 2016 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The latest from the Gallup Poll is that only 32% of Amerians trust the print and TV media to tell the truth. 

http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx 

Republicans, 18 to 49 year old Americans, and independents trust the media even less, with trust rates of 14%, 26%, and 30%.

The only group that can produce a majority that still trusts the media are Democrats with a 51% trust rate in print and TV reporting. The next highest trust rate is Americans over 50 years of age with a trust rate of 38 percent.

Distinguished author Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (right)

The conclusion is that old people who are Democrats are the only remaining group that barely trusts the media. This mistaken trust is due to their enculturation. For older Democrats belief in government takes the place of Republican belief in evangelical Christianity. Older Democrats are firm believers that it was government under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt that saved America from the Great Depression. As the print and TV media in the 21st century are firmly aligned with the government, the trust in government spills over into trust of the media that is serving the government. As the generation of Democrats enculturated with this mythology die off, Democratic trust rates will plummet toward Republican levels.

It is not difficult to see why trust in the media has collapsed. The corrupt Clinton regime, which we might be on the verge of repeating, allowed a somewhat diverse and independent media to be 90% acquired by six mega-corporations. The result was the disappearance of independence in reporting and opinion.

The constraints that corporate ownership and drive for profits put on journalistic freedom and resources reduced reporting to regurgitations of government and corporate press releases, always the cheapest and uncontroversial way to report.

With journalistic families driven out of journalism by estate taxes, the few remaining newspapers become acquisitions like a trophy wife or a collector Ferrari. Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of amazon.com, handed over $250 million in cash for the Washington Post. Jeff might be a whiz in e-commerce, but when it comes to journalism he could just as well be named Jeff Bozo.

On September 12, Washington Post reporter Cindy Boren dropped the Washington Post below the level of the supermarket tabloid, National Enquirer. One must wonder where her editor was. Drunk perhaps? The Washington Post actually reported that a Nigerian MD, Bennet Omalu, “whose credentials and tenacity are well known,” has concluded that Hillary Clinton’s obvious medical problems could be due to her being poisoned by a Putin-Trump conspiracy.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/09/12/the-man-who-discovered-cte-thinks-hillary-clinton-may-have-been-poisoned/

One could possibly conclude that Cindy Boren and her Washington Post editor were having fun with Omalu, except that the article repeated the unfounded allegation that circumstantial evidence according to a UK inquiry associates Putin with the poisoning death of Litvinenko.

In other words, first Litvinenko, now Hillary.

If circumstantial evidence is to be the Washington Post’s guide, then clearly that evidence suggests that the neoconservatives, well-ensconced in high government positions and desperate for a New Pearl Harbor in order to launch their wars of hegemony in the Middle East, are responsible for 9/11.

Yet the Washington Post has a full-time reporter whose job is to disparage conspiracy theories while the Washington Post itself launches the conspiracy theory of the century: Putin And Trump Conspiracy Poisons US Democratic Candidate for President.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/09/15/washington-post-grasps-crazy-conspiracy-theory-support-hillary-clinton.html

If intelligence, or perhaps simply sufficient time in Americans’ lives to investigate the news, were not in such short supply, possibly Americans would reflect on what the benefit is of being driven by Washington into conflict with Russia and China.

It most certainly will not be victory in war, as we all will be dead.

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

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Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Revolution in Banking?

septembre 17th, 2016 by Ellen Brown

Several central banks, including the Bank of England, the People’s Bank of China, the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve, are exploring the concept of issuing their own digital currencies, using the blockchain technology developed for Bitcoin. Skeptical commentators suspect that their primary goal is to eliminate cash, setting us up for negative interest rates (we pay the bank to hold our deposits rather than the reverse).

But Ben Broadbent, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, puts a more positive spin on it. He says Central Bank Digital Currencies could supplant the money now created by private banks through “fractional reserve” lending – and that means 97% of the circulating money supply. Rather than outlawing bank-created money, as money reformers have long urged, fractional reserve banking could be made obsolete simply by attrition, preempted by a better mousetrap.  The need for negative interest rates could also be eliminated, by giving the central bank more direct tools for stimulating the economy.

The Blockchain Revolution

How blockchain works was explained by Martin Hiesboeck in an April 2016 article titled “Blockchain Is the Most Disruptive Invention Since the Internet Itself« :

The blockchain is a simple yet ingenious way of passing information from A to B in a fully automated and safe manner. One party to a transaction initiates the process by creating a block. This block is verified by thousands, perhaps millions of computers distributed around the net. The verified block is added to a chain, which is stored across the net, creating not just a unique record, but a unique record with a unique history. Falsifying a single record would mean falsifying the entire chain in millions of instances. That is virtually impossible.

In a speech at the London School of Economics in March 2016, Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent pointed out that a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) would not eliminate physical cash. Only the legislature could do that, and blockchain technology would not be needed to pull it off, since most money is already digital. What is unique and potentially revolutionary about a national blockchain currency is that it would eliminate the need for banks in the payments system. According to a July 2016 article in The Wall Street Journal on the CBDC proposal:

[M]oney would exist electronically outside of bank accounts in digital wallets, much as physical bank notes do. This means households and businesses would be able to bypass banks altogether when making payments to one another.

Not only the payments system but the actual creation of money is orchestrated by private banks today. Nearly 97% of the money supply is created by banks when they make loans, as the Bank of England acknowledged in a bombshell report in 2014. The digital money we transfer by check, credit card or debit card represents simply the IOU or promise to pay of a bank. A CBDC could replace these private bank liabilities with central bank liabilities. CBDCs are the digital equivalent of cash.

Money recorded on a blockchain is stored in the “digital wallet” of the bearer, as safe from confiscation as cash in a physical wallet. It cannot be borrowed, manipulated, or speculated with by third parties any more than physical dollars can be. The money remains under the owner’s sole control until transferred to someone else, and that transfer is anonymous.

Rather than calling a CBDC a “digital currency,” says Broadbent, a better term for the underlying technology might be “decentralised virtual clearinghouse and asset register.” He adds:

But there’s no denying the technology is novel.  Prospectively, it offers an entirely new way of exchanging and holding assets, including money.

Banking in the Cloud

One novel possibility he suggests is that everyone could hold an account at the central bank. That would eliminate the fear of bank runs and “bail-ins,” as well as the need for deposit insurance, since the central bank cannot run out of money. Accounts could be held at the central bank not just by small depositors but by large institutional investors, eliminating the need for the private repo market to provide a safe place to park their funds. It was a run on the repo market, not the conventional banking system, that triggered the banking crisis after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Private banks could be free to carry on as they do now. They would just have substantially fewer deposits, since depositors with the option of banking at the ultra-safe central bank would probably move their money to that institution.

That is the problem Broadbent sees in giving everyone access to the central bank: there could be a massive run on the banks as depositors moved their money out. If so, where would the liquidity come from to back bank loans? He says lending activity could be seriously impaired.

Perhaps, but here is another idea. What if the central bank supplanted not just the depository but the lending functions of private banks? A universal distributed ledger designed as public infrastructure could turn the borrowers’ IOUs into “money” in the same way that banks do now – and do it more cheaply, efficiently and equitably than through banker middlemen.

Making Fractional Reserve Lending Obsolete

The Bank of England has confirmed that banks do not actually lend their depositors’ money. They do not recycle the money of “savers” but actually create deposits when they make loans. The bank turns the borrower’s IOU into “checkable money” that it then lends back to the borrower at interest. A public, distributed ledger could do this by “smart contract” in the “cloud.”

There would be no need to find “savers” from whom to borrow this money. The borrower would simply be “monetizing” his own promise to repay, just as he does now when he takes out a loan at a private bank. Since he would be drawing from the bottomless well of the central bank, there would be no fear of the bank running out of liquidity in a panic; and there would be no need to borrow overnight to balance the books, with the risk that these short-term loans might not be there the next day.

To reiterate: this is what banks do now. Banks are not intermediaries taking in deposits and lending them out. When a bank issues a loan for a mortgage, it simply writes the sum into the borrower’s account. The borrower writes a check to his seller, which is deposited in the seller’s bank, where it is called a “new” deposit and added to that bank’s “excess reserves.” The issuing bank then borrows this money back from the banking system overnight if necessary to balance its books, returning the funds the next morning. The whole rigmarole is repeated the next night, and the next and the next.

In a public blockchain system, this shell game could be dispensed with. The borrower would be his own banker, turning his own promise to repay into money. “Smart contracts” coded into the blockchain could make these transactions subject to terms and conditions similar to those for loans now. Creditworthiness could be established online, just as it is with online credit applications now. Penalties could be assessed for nonpayment just as they are now. If the borrower did not qualify for a loan from the public credit facility, he could still borrow on the private market, from private banks or venture capitalists or mutual funds. Favoritism and corruption could be eliminated, by eliminating the need for a banker middleman who serves as gatekeeper to the public credit machine. The fees extracted by an army of service providers could also be eliminated, because blockchain has no transaction costs.

In a blog for Bank of England staff titled “Central Bank Digital Currency: The End of Monetary Policy As We Know It?”, Marilyne Tolle suggests that the need to manipulate interest rates might also be eliminated. The central bank would not need this indirect tool for managing inflation because it would have direct control of the money supply.

A CBDC on a distributed ledger could be used for direct economic stimulus in another way: through facilitating payment of a universal national dividend. Rather than sending out millions of dividend checks, blockchain technology could add money to consumer bank accounts with a few keystrokes.

Hyperinflationary? No.

The objection might be raised that if everyone had access to the central bank’s credit facilities, credit bubbles would result; but that would actually be less likely than under the current system. The central bank would be creating money on its books in response to demand by borrowers, just as private banks do now. But loans for speculation would be harder to come by, since the leveraging of credit through the “rehypothecation” of collateral in the repo market would be largely eliminated. As explained by blockchain software technologist Caitlin Long:

Rehypothecation is conceptually similar to fractional reserve banking because a dollar of base money is responsible for several different dollars of debt issued against that same dollar of base money. In the repo market, collateral (such as U.S Treasury securities) functions as base money. . . .

Through rehypothecation, multiple parties report that they own the same asset at the same time when in reality only one of them does—because, after all, only one such asset exists. One of the most important benefits of blockchains for regulators is gaining a tool to see how much double-counting is happening (specifically, how long “collateral chains” really are).

Blockchain eliminates this shell game by eliminating the settlement time between trades. Blockchain trades occur in “real-time,” meaning collateral can be in only one place at a time.

A Sea Change in Banking

Martin Hiesboeck concludes:

[B]lockchain won’t just kill banks, brokers and credit card companies. It will change every transactional process you know. Simply put, blockchain eliminates the need for clearinghouse entities of any kind. And that means a revolution is coming, a fundamental sea change in the way we do business.

Changes of that magnitude usually take a couple of decades. But the UK did surprise the world with its revolutionary Brexit vote to leave the EU. Perhaps a new breed of economists at the Bank of England will surprise us with a revolutionary new model for banking and credit.

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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President Obama has gotten a pass for almost eight years from self-styled anti-war elements that back his proxy war against Syria. Phony anti-warriors blame the Syrian government for resisting jihadist head-hunters in the pay of Washington and its allies. They have become supporters of state terror, and cannot comprehend that “there would not be bombs of any kind, sieges, starving children, or refugees” if the Obama had not launched his war.

There is only one question now: when will America tell its minions to stop fighting?

American and NATO aggressions must be opposed wherever they surface in the world. That statement ought to be the starting point for anyone calling themselves left, progressive, or anti-war. Of course the aggressors always use a ruse to diminish resistance to their wars of terror. In Syria and elsewhere they claim to support freedom fighters, the moderate opposition and any other designation that helps hide imperialist intervention. They label their target as a tyrant, a butcher, or a modern day Hitler who commits unspeakable acts against his own populace. The need to silence opposition is obvious and creating the image of a monster is the most reliable means of securing that result.

The anti-war movement thus finds itself confused and rendered immobile by this predictable propaganda. It is all too easily manipulated into being at best ineffectual and at worst supporters of American state sponsored terror.

For five years the United States, NATO, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and Turkey have given arms and money to terrorist groups in an effort to topple Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Some of those bad actors felt flush with success after overthrowing and killing Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. They had high hopes of picking off another secular Arab government. Fortunately, Assad was hard to defeat and the barbarians cannot storm the gates. Most importantly, Russia stopped giving lip service to Assad and finally provided military support to the Syrian government in 2015.

American presidents, beginning with Jimmy Carter, have all used jihadists at opportune moments when they want regime change.

The United States government is responsible for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria. The so-called barrel bomb doesn’t kill more people than conventional weapons provided by the United States and its puppets. There would not be bombs of any kind, sieges, starving children, or refugees if the Obama administration had not given the green light to the rogues gallery.

Whatever their political beliefs or feelings about Assad, Syrians did not ask the United States to turn their country into a ruin. They don’t want ISIS to behead children, as they infamously did on camera. American presidents, beginning with Jimmy Carter, have all used jihadists at opportune moments when they want regime change. The name of the country under attack changes but the story ends with massive human suffering.

Instead of siding unequivocally with America’s victims some in the anti-war movement instead live in greater fear of being labeled “pro Assad.” Assad didn’t invade Iraq and kill one million people. George W. Bush did that. Assad did not give support to jihadists to destroy Libya, kill 50,000 people, ignite a race war and create another refugee crisis. Barack Obama did that. The list of human rights abuses carried out by the American government is a long one indeed. There is torture in the United States prison system, the largest in the world. American police are given tacit permission to kill three people every day. Yet the fear of being thought of as an Assad supporter is so powerful that it silences people and organizations who should be in the forefront of confronting their country domestically and internationally.

Of course American propaganda is ratcheted up at the very moment that sides must be chosen. Any discussion or debate regarding Syria’s political system was rendered moot as soon as the United States targeted that country for destruction. There is only one question now: when will America tell its minions to stop fighting?

The fear of being thought of as an Assad supporter is so powerful that it silences people and organizations who should be in the forefront of confronting their country domestically and internationally.

Obama didn’t start a proxy war with an expectation of losing, and Hillary Clinton makes clear her allegiance to regime change. The United States will only leave if Syria and its allies gain enough ground to force a retreat. They will call defeat something else at a negotiating table but Assad must win in order for justice and reconciliation to begin.

Focusing on Assad’s government and treatment of his people may seem like a reasonable thing to do. Most people who call themselves anti-war are serious in their concern for humanity. But the most basic human right, the right to survive, was taken from 400,000 people because the American president decided to add one more notch on his gun. Whether intended or not, criticism of the victimized government makes the case for further aggression.

The al-Nusra Front may change its name in a public relations effort, but it is still al Qaeda and still an ally of the United States. The unpredictable Donald Trump may not be able to explain that he spoke the truth when he accused Obama and Clinton of being ISIS supporters, but the anti-war movement should be able to explain without any problem. Cessations of hostilities are a sham meant to protect American assets whenever Assad is winning. If concern for the wellbeing of Syrians is a paramount concern, then the American anti-war movement must be united in condemning their own government without reservation or hesitation.

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

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Le bilan carbone des départements et régions d’Outre-mer est désastreux. Il serait même l’un des pires au monde, estimait Ericka Bareigts, la nouvelle ministre des Outre-mer, lorsqu’elle était députée. La raison ? La production d’électricité y dépend très majoritairement du pétrole et du charbon, malgré l’abondant potentiel d’énergies renouvelables, du soleil à la géothermie en passant par la houle. La Guadeloupe et la Martinique figurent aussi parmi les départements français qui connaissent le plus de coupures d’électricité. EDF persiste pourtant à privilégier les investissements dans les énergies les plus polluantes. Seules quelques collectivités locales tentent d’agir. Enquête.

En matière d’électricité polluante, les territoires d’Outre-mer français sont « au rang des plus mauvais élèves mondiaux, comme la Chine ou l’Inde ». Ce sévère constat avait été dressé par Ericka Bareigts, la nouvelle ministre des Outre-mer, lorsqu’elle était députée, dans un rapport parlementaire co-signé avec Daniel Fasquelle (Les Républicains) [1]. La nouvelle ministre, nommée le 30 août, fera-t-elle mieux que ses prédécesseurs pour améliorer les infrastructures énergétiques et l’accès à l’électricité au sein des départements et régions d’Outre-mer (Drom) ? Il lui sera en tout cas difficile de faire pire. Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, Réunion et Mayotte, ces cinq territoires sont tous confrontés à des difficultés persistantes dans l’accès à l’énergie [2].

Avec le Grenelle de l’environnement, la France s’était engagée à un vaste plan pour l’autonomie énergétique des territoires d’Outre-mer. Le Grenelle prévoyait d’atteindre, dès 2020, 30 % d’énergies renouvelables dans la consommation finale à Mayotte et 50 % au minimum dans les autres collectivités. Des objectifs affichés ambitieux. En termes de chiffres, la Guyane s’approche du but, mais avec des conséquences désastreuses pour l’environnement. D’autres, comme la Martinique ou Mayotte, en sont bien loin. Et dépendent toujours principalement des sources d’énergie particulièrement polluantes, comme le charbon et le fuel. Un comble pour des territoires très ensoleillés, où le potentiel de géothermie – grâce à l’activité volcanique – et d’énergies marines est également abondant.

Le choix du charbon et du fuel : plus polluant et plus cher

Aujourd’hui, sur les cinq collectivités, quatre (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion et Mayotte) dépendent en grande majorité de centrales thermiques fonctionnant au charbon ou au fioul. Ces installations entrainent de nombreux inconvénients, en premier lieu une dépendance extrême aux énergies fossiles et la fluctuation de leur cours. Le coût de la production électrique à partir du fuel et du charbon est d’ailleurs parmi les plus chers : entre 150 et 200 euros pour produire un MWh avec une centrale thermique au charbon, de 200 à 250 euros, et jusqu’à 300 euros à Mayotte, pour un MWh dans une unité au fioul. À titre de comparaison, en métropole, le coût de production d’un MWh se situe entre 55 et 60 euros.

Pour contrebalancer ces tarifs et lisser les prix de vente de l’électricité sur l’ensemble du territoire français — ce que l’on appelle la péréquation tarifaire — les surcoûts de production des territoires d’Outre-mer sont pris en charge par la Contribution au service public de l’électricité, un supplément payé par chaque consommateur sur sa facture. Cette solidarité est indispensable pour compenser le coût élevé de production de l’électricité dans les territoires insulaires ou les zones qui ne sont pas connectées avec le reste du réseau, alors même que la consommation y est bien moindre [3].

69 jours de coupure par an en Guadeloupe, 103 en Martinique !

Autre problème : la production ne garantit pas la fiabilité de l’approvisionnement. Les coupures électriques y sont monnaie courante : en moyenne 457 heures de coupures entre 2008 et 2013 contre 79 heures seulement sans électricité pour la métropole. Dans certains territoires, les temps de coupures battent même des records : jusqu’à 1 655 heures, soit 69 jours, en Guadeloupe en 2009 et même 2 482 heures, soit 103 jours, en Martinique en 2011 ! La Guyane et la Réunion, qui disposent de barrages hydrauliques, font en revanche figure de bons élèves, preuve que les énergies fossiles ne garantissent pas une meilleure stabilité de l’approvisionnement pour les habitants.

La Guyane fait face à un autre problème : certaines zones ne sont même pas connectées au réseau électrique. Dans les territoires intérieurs, les habitants dépendent de groupes électrogènes. EDF laisse à la charge des communes et collectivité le soin d’assumer elles-mêmes leur production. Pour les communautés les plus isolées, l’approvisionnement en matières premières est même pris en charge par les habitants eux-mêmes, qui sont obligés d’acheter à des prix très élevés du carburant acheminé par bateau le long des fleuves.

EDF continue d’investir dans les énergies fossiles

Dans ce contexte, EDF, seule entreprise habilitée à distribuer l’électricité en Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyane, Réunion et investisseur minoritaire à Mayotte, pourrait saisir la chance des énergies renouvelables pour ses réseaux insulaires. Et bien non. L’entreprise, qui est encore détenue à plus de 80 % par l’État, a fait le choix de « rafraîchir » une partie de son parc de centrales thermiques. Entre 2012 et 2014, trois nouvelles unités fonctionnant au fioul sont entrées en service dans les territoires ultra-marins : Port-Est à la Réunion, Bellefontaine en Martinique et Pointe Jarry en Guadeloupe. Elles représentent un investissement total de 1,5 milliard d’euros.

À l’inverse, EDF n’a pas hésité à enterrer un ambitieux projet caribéen de géothermie. En 2013, sous la présidence d’Henri Proglio, la société à capitaux publics s’est désengagée d’une vaste opération de construction d’une centrale géothermique d’électricité en Dominique, suivi d’un réseau d’interconnexion avec les îles de la Guadeloupe et de Martinique. Dans les îles volcaniques d’Outre-Mer, la géothermie, une chaleur puisée dans les couches profondes de la terre, représente pourtant une alternative prometteuse face aux énergies fossiles.

L’usine géothermique aurait permis de couvrir les besoins électriques de la Dominique et 20 % de la consommation dans ses voisines françaises. Voilà l’occasion de réduire la dépendance aux énergies fossiles dans les Antilles. Montant de la facture : entre 500 et 600 millions d’euros, pose des câbles sous-marins comprise. Impossible à mener sans le soutien d’EDF. Mais, après des mois d’hésitation, le groupe français a finalement décidé de faire marche arrière. Les coûts de production de cette énergie renouvelable seraient un obstacle : 10 centimes le kWh, un prix pourtant deux fois inférieur à ceux des centrales au fuel, de 21 centimes le kWh. EDF préfère prendre d’énormes risques financiers en continuant d’investir dans la filière nucléaire (lire ici).

Géothermie : l’État tourne le dos à une énergie prometteuse

Les énergies renouvelables sont en effet plus abordables que l’électricité issue du fuel et du charbon. « Le fioul coûte autour de 200 euros le MWh. Nous rachetons l’éolien entre 150 euros et 170 euros, la géothermie à 105 euros et le solaire entre 110 euros et 120 euros »déclarait en 2013 l’ancien directeur d’EDF Guadeloupe, Pascal Mithois. Pourquoi alors EDF n’aurait-elle « pas la vocation d’investir dans la géothermie », comme l’entreprise le déclarait à l’époque, pour justifier l’abandon du projet dominicain ?

La même année, EDF a aussi tourné le dos au Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières (BRGM), établissement public propriétaire de l’unique centrale électrique à géothermie en fonctionnement en France, à Bouillante, en Guadeloupe. Face à des difficultés d’exploitation, le BRGM cherchait un investisseur pour soutenir cette production. Refus d’EDF. Ségolène Royal et le gouvernement ont finalement décidé de vendre cette centrale à une entreprise privée. L’installation avait pourtant fait ses preuves depuis sa création en 1986. Elle fournit actuellement 8 % de l’électricité de l’île et pourrait augmenter sa production si elle menait une série de travaux de rénovation [4].

Électricité de houle, climatisation marine ou biomasse de canne à sucre

Certaines initiatives menées dans ces zones insulaires laissent pourtant entrevoir de vraies solutions pour une production d’énergie plus verte et moins onéreuse. Plusieurs fermes éoliennes ont été montés et connectées aux réseaux. Les équipements photovoltaïques des quatre départements de la Réunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe et Guyane cumulaient une puissance de 330 MW début 2014. La Réunion a choisi de miser sur sa ressource marine : houle, énergie thermique, climatisation marine, osmose… L’île préparait même une première mondiale, un système d’utilisation directe des eaux froides des grandes profondeurs pour alimenter un réseau écologique de climatisation. Confié à Engie (ex-GDF Suez), le projet devait être opérationnel en 2017 et permettre de réaliser 75 % d’économie sur l’électricité consommée par les systèmes de climatisation classique. Mais il a été reporté sine die par Engie début 2016, pour des raisons de rentabilité, et paraît au point mort. Montant de l’investissement : 150 millions d’euros [5].

Autre projet : une centrale d’électricité thermique maritime au large de la ville du Port. Selon l’Ademe, « une centrale d’énergie thermique des mers de 10 MW permet d’économiser en moyenne 1,97 million de tonnes de CO2 sur sa durée de vie par rapport à une centrale thermique fonctionnant aux énergies fossiles ». L’agence gouvernementale cherche à développer cette technologie sur la France entière et vise la construction de 25 centrales d’ici 2030. La construction d’« houlomoteurs » — d’énormes bouées qui, sous l’effet de la houle, actionnent un piston puis une turbine pour produire de l’électricité — sont aussi à l’étude.

À Marie-Galante, petite île au sud de la Guadeloupe, les habitants se sont fortement impliqués pour concrétiser un projet de centrale biomasse. Mise en réseau avec les deux fermes éoliennes que comptait déjà l’île, l’énergie totale produite serait portée à un total avoisinant les 20 MW, bien plus que la consommation de ce territoire d’environ 12 000 habitants. Mais la Guadeloupe ne se tourne pas toujours vers des projets aussi vertueux. Si la collectivité a bien pris conscience de la ressource énergétique que représente la bagasse, le résidu fibreux de la canne à sucre, le choix a été fait, sur la centrale de Le Moule, de l’associer au charbon plutôt qu’à une matière renouvelable comme le bois.

EDF mise avant tout sur les grands barrages

Mal pensés, les projets d’énergies renouvelables peuvent vite montrer leurs limites. Le pire exemple reste le barrage de Petit-Saut, en Guyane. Il assure environ deux tiers des besoins en électricité du département. Mais représente une véritable bombe écologique. Mis en service en 1994 pour parer à l’explosion de la consommation électrique dans ce territoire français situé au nord du Brésil, l’ouvrage a entrainé la submersion d’un territoire de forêt vierge de 365 km2 (plus de trois fois la surface de Paris). Aujourd’hui, la décomposition de la biomasse dans ces eaux pose de gros problèmes environnementaux.

Cette expérience désastreuse n’empêche pas EDF, son exploitant, de continuer à s’intéresser à cette technique. L’idée d’un second barrage émerge peu à peu. Celui-ci pourrait être trois fois plus étendu que Petit Saut [6]. L’argument mis en avant : un nouveau barrage permettrait de combler les besoins d’une population en pleine expansion (180 000 habitants sur le littoral annoncés pour 2020). En fait, il pourrait surtout approvisionner de grandes compagnies minières, et fournir le Brésil voisin, empêtré dans le scandale du chantier du méga barrage de Belo Monte [7]. Et bien que la ministre de l’Environnement, Ségolène Royal, n’y soit pas favorable, elle s’est contentée l’année dernière de renvoyer les discussions à un échelon régional.

Morgane Thimel


Photo CC Raïssa

 

[1] Leur rapport d’information « sur l’adaptation du droit de l’énergie aux Outre-mer » de septembre 2014, à lire ici.

[2] Cet article ne traite que des DROM, mais les « collectivités d’Outre-mer » (Polynésie française, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, etc.) ainsi que la Nouvelle-Calédonie sont confrontées à des défis similaires. Dans les DROM, EDF a conservé son mode de fonctionnement « pré-libéralisation », intégrant tous les métiers de la production à la distribution en passant par les réseaux, sans séparation de ces activités dans des filiales distinctes. En Polynésie française, c’est Engie, via EDT (Électricité de Tahiti), qui contrôle le service public de l’électricité. En Nouvelle-Calédonie, ce rôle revient à Enercal, une société d’économie mixte détenue à majorité par les pouvoirs publics, avec EDF, Engie et Eramet comme actionnaires minoritaires.

[3] Entre 1,24 et 4,27 MWh par habitant contre 6,84 en métropole.

[4] Voir notre article.

[5] Le projet est développé par les collectivités locales et l’Ademe ; l’exploitation en était confiée à Engie (ex-GDF-Suez).

[6] Voir notre article.

[7] Voir notre article.

 

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Pendant que Washington et Moscou convenaient mercredi de prolonger un accord de cessez-le-feu durant encore 48 heures, les déclarations des huiles civiles et en uniforme du Pentagone ont soulevé des questions sérieuses quant à savoir si les haut-gradés de l’armée américaine sont prêts à se conformer à l’accord.

Derrière ces divisions il y a non seulement des préférences tactiques divergentes pour la poursuite des intérêts impérialistes américains en Syrie, mais aussi des questions beaucoup plus graves au sujet des tensions militaires croissantes entre les États-Unis et la Russie elle-même.

L’accord de trêve, qui est entré en vigueur lundi, fut négocié entre le ministre américain des affaires étrangères John Kerry et le russe Sergueï Lavrov lors de pourparlers prolongés à Genève à la fin de la semaine dernière. Il appelle à un cessez-le-feu de sept jours, à être renouvelé toutes les 48 heures dans la mesure où il y a une cessation des violences.

Après cela, les forces américaines et russes commenceraient à coordonner leurs opérations en Syrie, mettant en place un « centre conjoint de mise en œuvre » et le partage des renseignements de ciblage pour les frappes contre à la fois l’État islamique (ÉI) et le Front al-Nusra, affilié d’Al-Qaïda en Syrie, qui s’est récemment rebaptisé Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, ou Front pour la Conquête de la Syrie.

L’accord a ravivé les vives tensions au sein du gouvernement Obama au sujet de la guerre par procuration de l’impérialisme américain pour le changement de régime en Syrie. Ces divisions ont violemment fait surface précédemment sur le fait que le président Barack Obama n’a pas utilisé une plus grande puissance militaire pour faire respecter sa demande que le président Bachar al-Assad quitte le pouvoir et, en particulier, en septembre 2013, après que les États-Unis ont reculé après leur menace de mener un assaut « Shock-and-awe » (choc et effroi) sur Damas avec comme prétexte la fausse accusation selon laquelle le gouvernement Assad aurait utilisé des armes chimiques contre des civils. Washington préféra accepter un accord négocié par la Russie pour le désarmement chimique de la Syrie.

Plus récemment, quelque 50 fonctionnaires du ministère des affaires étrangères ont émis une note de dissidence interne en juin, demandant que les États-Unis lancent des frappes aériennes contre le gouvernement syrien, prétendument comme moyen de mettre un terme à l’effusion de sang des cinq ans de guerre que Washington lui-même a provoqués pour obtenir un changement de régime.

Les désaccords actuels sont beaucoup plus inquiétants, cependant, opposant les commandants militaires d’active américains à la politique du gouvernement, ce qui pose implicitement un défi au principe constitutionnel du contrôle civil de l’armée.

Selon un rapport publié mercredi dans le New York Times, le secrétaire américain à la Défense Ashton Carter a été le premier à exprimer l’opposition de l’armée la semaine dernière lors d’une conférence téléphonique dans laquelle Kerry préconisait l’acceptation de l’accord avec la Russie. Kerry « est devenu de plus en plus frustré » au fur et mesure que le débat se prolongeait pendant des heures avant qu’Obama ait finalement approuvé l’accord, a rapporté le Times.

Même après que l’administration a décidé de cette politique, les commandants supérieurs en uniforme ont ouvertement exprimé des réserves, sinon une opposition catégorique.

Interrogé dans une téléconférence de presse si les militaires se conformeraient aux termes de l’accord et partageraient des renseignements avec les Russes après la fin de la trêve de sept jours, le lieutenant général Jeffrey Harrigian, le commandant du Commandement central des forces aériennes des États-Unis, qui dirige la campagne de bombardements en Irak et en Syrie, a répondu : « Je pense que… il serait prématuré de dire que nous allons sauter en plein dedans. Et je ne dis pas oui ou non. La décision de l’armée va dépendre de ce que le plan sera finalement », a-t-il indiqué.

Harrigian a dit des Russes, « Je ne vais pas dire que je leur fais confiance ».

Cette position a été soutenue par le général Philip Breedlove, qui a quitté le poste de Commandant suprême des forces alliées de l’OTAN en mars dernier seulement. « Je reste sceptique sur quoi que ce soit à voir avec les Russes », a-t-il déclaré au Times dans un entretien. « Il y a beaucoup de préoccupations au sujet de ce que nous ferons là où nos gens se trouvent ».

Par « nos gens », Breedlove faisait apparemment référence aux diverses milices islamistes que Washington, en collaboration avec ses alliés régionaux, l’Arabie Saoudite, la Turquie et le Qatar, a payées et armées. L’une des principales pierres d’achoppement de l’accord de cessez-le-feu est que les États-Unis sont censés faire en sorte que leurs forces par procuration se séparent des forces d’Al-Qaïda avec lesquelles elles sont alliées et desquelles, dans de nombreux cas, elles sont indiscernables.

Le ministère russe des Affaires étrangères a rapporté que dans une conversation téléphonique avec Kerry mercredi, Lavrov « a souligné que Washington devrait tenir sa promesse d’écarter les groupes de ‘l’opposition modérés’ des groupes de l’ancien Front al Nosra et d’autres qui ont littéralement fusionné avec celui-ci. » Ces forces par procuration ont exprimé leur opposition à une telle séparation et il est loin d’être clair qu’ils puissent survivre sans être intégrés aux milices d’al-Qaïda, qui constituent l’épine dorsale des soi-disant « rebelles ».

Ces déclarations ont été suivies mercredi d’un discours prononcé à l’Institut pour l’étude de la guerre à Washington par un général de l’armée, Joseph Votel, le commandant du Commandement central des États-Unis, qui a exprimé des réserves similaires au sujet de l’accord de cessez-le-feu syrien.

« Nous devons voir comment cela va se présenter d’abord […] voir la direction que ça va prendre […] si oui ou non cela se matérialisera effectivement, je ne sais pas », a déclaré Votel. Il a ajouté : « Il y a un déficit de confiance avec les Russes. Leurs objectifs ne sont pas clairs pour nous. Ils disent une chose et puis ils ne s’y conforment pas forcement. »

Des sentiments similaires ont été exprimés la veille dans un discours prononcé devant le Conseil de l’Atlantique par le sous-secrétaire de la Défense pour le renseignement Marcel Lettre, qui a mutilé la traduction anglaise du proverbe russe répété sans cesse par Ronald Reagan au cours des négociations avec l’Union soviétique dans les années 1980 sur les traités d’armes nucléaires.

« Méfiance mais vérification », a déclaré Lettre. « Cela peut s’appliquer un petit peu dans ce cas ». Il a convenu que les « services de renseignement et le ministère de la Défense soutiennent fortement le nouvel accord, » tant que « les étapes se déroulent selon notre façon de voir les choses ».

En réponse à ce roulement des tambours d’opposition militaire, Kerry a prononcé une modeste défense de l’accord qu’il a négocié dans un entretien avec la National Public Radio mercredi insistant pour dire qu’Obama soutient l’accord et est prêt à le mettre en œuvre.

« Eh bien, le président des États-Unis est prêt et je pense que l’armée sera donc prête », a-t-il dit. « Personne ne demande aux gens d’abroger nos principes, mais il est important pour nous de respecter notre engagement dans l’accord ».

Le ministre américain de la défense « pense » que le Pentagone est prêt à se conformer à un accord approuvé par le président américain, tout en soulignant qu’il ne demande pas aux huiles militaires d’« abroger leurs principes. » Les remarques de Kerry expriment les relations réelles au sein de l’appareil d’État américain, l’influence prépondérante de l’immense appareil militaire et de renseignement et sa capacité à exercer de fait un droit de veto sur les responsables civils élus du pays.

Si Kerry et les militaires sont à couteaux tirés, c’est lié aux priorités contradictoires dans la poursuite par les États-Unis de leur politique impérialiste à l’échelle mondiale. Le soutien de Kerry et d’autres pour le cessez-le-feu n’est motivé par aucun souci humanitaire pour l’effusion de sang en Syrie, mais par leur désir d’utiliser la collaboration avec la Russie comme un moyen de sauver au moins une partie des forces par procuration qu’ils ont soutenues, lesquelles sont au bord d’une déroute complète aux mains des forces gouvernementales soutenues par la Russie. Ils espèrent pouvoir employer une combinaison de diplomatie et de menaces militaires pour faire pression sur Moscou de sorte qu’il se résigne à quelque chose qui ressemblerait au changement de régime que Washington a recherché avec son intervention sanglante en Syrie au cours des cinq dernières années.

Pour leur part, les couches décisives du commandement militaire américain se concentrent de plus en plus sur les préparatifs d’un conflit militaire direct avec la Russie. Des réserves concrètes ont été soulevées quant aux partage des informations permettant de viser des cibles de l’État islamique et du Front al Nosra – en dehors du fait que ce sont les principaux combattants soutenus par les États-Unis pour renverser le régime – car cela pourrait fournir à la Russie des renseignements sur les protocoles militaires des États-Unis que Moscou pourrait utiliser pour se défendre contre des frappes aériennes en Russie ou dans son voisinage proche.

Dans des conditions où les États-Unis renforcent leurs forces depuis l’Europe orientale et les anciens États baltes jusqu’à la mer Noire dans un encerclement de la Russie de plus en plus agressif, c’est devenu une préoccupation majeure.

L’hystérie anti-russe générée par les médias capitalistes américains – avec en tête le New York Times – au sujet d’une implication supposée du Kremlin dans le piratage du Parti démocrate et d’allégations que Donald Trump serait manipulé par Poutine est entièrement liée à ces préparatifs de guerre.

L’émergence de divisions entre l’armée et le gouvernement Obama sur l’accord convenu avec Moscou sur la Syrie constitue un avertissement urgent que le risque de guerres encore plus sanglantes, et même d’une conflagration nucléaire, ne cesse de croître.

Bill Van Auken

Article paru en anglais, WSWS, le 15 septembre 2016

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Ainsi, un séisme majeur, de magnitude 7 sur l’échelle de Richter, mettrait à genoux l’industrie canadienne de l’assurance, selon une étude de l’Institut C.D. Howe réalisée par l’ancien surintendant des institutions financières du Canada. C’est un risque généralement ignoré par les Québécois, bien que la région sismique de Charlevoix soit l’une des plus actives de l’Amérique du Nord.

La probabilité qu’un séisme important causant des dommages aux bâtiments se produise dans les 50 prochaines années est en effet estimée à 9 % à Montréal et jusqu’à 26 % à Rivière-du-Loup. C’est énorme. Conscient de ce risque, nous avons posé avec insistance la question des conséquences d’un séisme majeur sur l’intégrité de l’infrastructure de l’oléoduc Énergie Est au cours des audiences du Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) sur le projet, notamment au regard de la réévaluation à la hausse de l’intensité du grand tremblement du 5 février 1663. Nous n’avons pas eu de réponse satisfaisante de la part du promoteur. Expliquons.

Les ingénieurs de TransCanada témoignent d’une grande confiance dans la résistance des pipelines aux tremblements de terre. L’évaluation géotechnique du projet Énergie Est, réalisée par la firme Golder Associates, en donne la raison et la limite : « Les oléoducs modernes, fabriqués d’acier ductile à joints soudés, se comportent bien lors de conditions de séisme, mais les phénomènes liés à la liquéfaction, tels que l’affaissement, peuvent créer des effets de déformations du sol significatifs et permanents susceptibles d’exercer des contraintes bien supérieures sur l’oléoduc à celles découlant des secousses sismiques elles-mêmes. »

La palme au Québec

Le géorisque le plus important pour un oléoduc est donc celui de la liquéfaction et de l’affaissement du sol. Or Golder dit aussi ceci : « Le potentiel de développement de glissements de terrain de grande taille, se produisant rapidement, dans les dépôts marins de la mer de Champlain constitue une condition inhabituelle qui n’est pas observée dans la plupart des régions d’Amérique du Nord. »

La conclusion coule de source : les géorisques les plus menaçants pour l’oléoduc Énergie Est se retrouvent tous au Québec. Toutes les zones de sols potentiellement liquéfiables à risques élevés ou modérés se retrouvent au Québec, dont les conditions de géorisques sont quasi uniques en Amérique du Nord.

Les 11 zones à risque élevé de glissement de terrain du tracé Énergie Est, sur les 4600 kilomètres du projet, se trouvent sur les rives de 10 traversées de rivières et ruisseaux, dont les rivières du Loup, Champlain, Batiscan, Sainte-Anne, Portneuf, Aulneuse, Pénin et Etchemin.

Golder affirme néanmoins « qu’aucune mesure particulière de mitigation n’est vraisemblablement requise pour l’oléoduc enfoui proposé ». La raison ? Les oléoducs modernes sont « essentiellement non endommagés » par des ondes sismiques d’intensité 7 ou moins sur l’échelle modifiée de Mercalli (échelle d’intensité des effets des ondes, à ne pas confondre avec leur échelle de magnitude dite de Richter). Cela tombe bien, cette valeur « est à peu près équivalente » aux intensités maximales des séismes passés au Québec et à celles envisagées pour ceux du futur.

Le séisme de 1663

Mais cette appréciation ne tient pas compte de la réévaluation à la hausse de la puissance et de l’intensité des effets du séisme du 5 février 1663, exposée par Jacques Locat, professeur de géologie et de géotechnique à l’Université Laval et lauréat en 2015 de la médaille Leggett décernée par la société canadienne de géotechnique.

Dans un article publié en 2011 dans la Revue canadienne de géotechnique, intitulé « La localisation et la magnitude du séisme du 5 février 1663 (Charlevoix) revues à l’aide des mouvements de terrain », M. Locat démontre de façon convaincante que le séisme en question a atteint une magnitude minimale de 7,2 et maximale de 7,8 sur l’échelle de Richter, et une intensité de VII à IX sur l’échelle modifiée de Mercalli.

L’un des témoins fiables de l’époque, le père Lallemant, décrit ainsi les effets du séisme de 1663 dans la région de Québec : « La guerre semblait même être entre les montagnes, dont les unes se déracinaient pour se jeter sur les autres, laissant de grands abîmes dans le lieu d’où elles sortaient. » Et dans la région de Trois-Rivières : « L’on voit de nouveaux lacs là où il y en eût jamais, on ne voit plus certaines montagnes qui sont engouffrées : plusieurs sauts sont aplanis ; plusieurs rivières ne paraissent plus… »

Tempête parfaite

La survenue d’un séisme de puissance et d’intensité approchant celui de 1663 constituerait donc le scénario de la tempête parfaite pour Énergie Est. Vu ce qui précède, il serait susceptible de causer de graves dommages à sa structure. Les bouleversements géomorphologiques du terrain qu’il entraînerait, sur la rive nord du Saint-Laurent et à Lévis, modifieraient complètement la géométrie du pipeline.

Or les vannes de sectionnement de l’oléoduc sont calées sur le relief afin de minimiser les fuites éventuelles. Les volumes de pétrole déversés en cas de fuites, potentiellement multiples, seraient donc bien plus importants que le pire cas possible évoqué par le promoteur au BAPE. D’autant que les équipes d’intervention subiraient elles-mêmes le chaos provoqué par un tel séisme.

La fréquence des séismes majeurs (M6 et +) de la région sismique de Charlevoix est de 65 ans en moyenne. Le dernier eut lieu en 1988. Si Énergie Est voit le jour en 2020, le prochain se produira sans doute pendant sa durée d’exploitation, qu’on peut estimer de 40 à 80 ans. En l’état, il ne resterait plus alors qu’à prier pour que ce séisme ne s’approche pas de la magnitude et de l’intensité de celui de 1663. Et à prier pour qu’il ne se produise pas en hiver…

Alain Brunel

Alain Brunel : Cofondateur et conseiller climat énergie de l’Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA)

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Warring hotspots all over the world are flaring up in 2016 in what amounts to preparation for World War III between the military forces of the US led Western Empire against the forces of the Eastern axis led by Russia and China joined by Iran and North Korea. Let’s be clear – the globalists are the puppet masters behind the Western forces intentionally provoking catastrophic world war.

We live in a time when the earth’s ruling elite has willfully created this foreboding, seemingly suicidal endgame scenario, using US Empire to prod, orchestrate, and push the world into two enemy camps in a West vs. East showdown. Global war timed with the inevitable collapse of their Ponzi-schemed global economy will open the floodgate to unbridled tyranny brought on by their long plotted one world government. The systematic destruction of the West and its First World affluence is but part of this sinister scheme to destabilize every region on the planet in order to engineer such dire, devastating conditions that the surviving global masses will automatically seek refuge and protection from deep state’s one world governance as their only means of staying alive. Meticulously creating the conditions most ripe for war, ecological degradation leading to disease and famine ensures that the elite’s eugenics depopulation agenda will leave a slave class of a half to one billion people on earth to serve the diabolical ruling class.

Thus as the only means of escaping this horrific outcome, it’s extremely important to expose this nightmarish globalist agenda that’s using the US Empire-NATO war machine to aggressively provoke rising world tensions and hostilities as precipitating pre-WWIII events. Per last year’s UN Global Trends Report, at near 60 million, 2014 saw more people being displaced around the world than any previous time in recorded history. The elite’s carefully engineered global hotspots cover every corner of the globe, from the US-induced political and economic unrest creating havoc now in Brazil and Venezuela; a stepped up war in Ukraine flanked by the built-up deployment of hostile NATO troops at the Russian border; ongoing war with no end in SyriaIraqLibyaAfghanistanYemen, and prewar skirmishes, flare-ups and small scale wars in SomaliaPakistanNagorno-KarabakhSouth SudanBurundi and Central African Republic all the way eastward to the rising tensions in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula as well as stretching northward to the Arctic Circle, the West’s push for confrontation, aggression and domination against the Eastern alliance is making global war eminent and virtually unavoidable.

Russia, China, Iran and even North Korea do not want war. And neither do all the people living in the West. But the Western crime cabal in charge never cares what the people want. As Kissinger says, we are all just “useless eaters,” taking up precious space and consuming their “nearly depleted” 19th century energy sources. The elite has made sure the masses stay stuck in the dark, unable to get their hands on or wrap their minds around free energy technologycancer curesantigravity technology or the global capacity to wipe out hunger and starvation to feed a world population up to 11 billion. All because a very powerful handful amongst the near 7.5 billion people on our planet want nearly all of us dead. And they are the driving force that controls the warmongering Western despots frothing at the mouth for global war and total planetary destruction.

The US Empire has maintained an unending agenda to stir up and keep hostile relations hot between US-backed South Korea and the Chinese-backed North Korea, otherwise known as George W’s “axis-of-evil” member. As part of the post-WWII contrived divide and conquer cold war of US-led “free world” versus those “nasty evil Commies” Russia and China, the globalists who ideologically have always leaned far closer towards Communist totalitarianism than free enterprise democracy have been carving up and splitting nations, pitting humans belonging to the same ethnic group against each other from Europe to Asia into two distinct warring camps.

Be it US backed and controlled West Germany versus Soviet backed and controlled East Germany, US backed and controlled Western Europe versus Soviet backed and controlled Eastern Europe, Soviet backed and partially controlled China versus US backed and controlled Taiwan, US/French backed and US controlled South Vietnam versus Soviet/Chinese backed and controlled North Vietnam to US backed and controlled South Korea versus Soviet/Chinese backed and controlled North Korea. For centuries the globalist agenda has ruthlessly and systematically torn apart nation after nation, literally down to tearing apart family after family just to keep wars and the threat of human self-annihilation alive and US global hegemony thriving at the rest of humanity’s expense.

This presentation will focus on just one of these countless hotspots that could at any time trigger World War III. Heightened tensions this week on the Korean Peninsula have brought Cold War 2 to the near boiling point between US puppet South Korea and China’s wayward puppet North Korea. The latest North Korean launch of last week’s nuclear missile test, the second this year, has the US and South Korea ready to up their anti-North Korean ante. Despite economic sanctions supposedly intended to dissuade a targeted nation to curb its militarized activities, sanctions have only had the opposite effect on North Korea.

The six nation diplomatic talks with North Korea to curtail its pursuit of a nuclear bomb broke down eight years ago and the “most sanctioned nation on earth” as George W Bush called North Korea has been sanctioned and re-sanctioned ad nauseam to no avail. Yet recent calls for more diplomacy rather than confrontation and escalation appear to be falling on deaf ears. When North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un rightly believes that US-led forces pose a grave nuclear threat to North Korea’s very survival, no sanctions will deter a nation from doing what it believes it must do to survive.

After last Friday’s nuclear test detonation estimated to be twice the strength of Hiroshima’s blast, the international community once again lambasted the North Korean dictator. Though portrayed by Western press as an unpredictable, highly volatile, paranoid madman, US aggressions historically have forced Kim and his Pyongyang government to expend their limited resources almost exclusively on expanding its military self-defense. The much maligned so called nation pariah is simply doing what it believes is necessary to survive in an increasingly hostile world led by US Empire. An objective examination of North Korea’s history will demonstrate the veracity that it’s not North Korea that’s been the true aggressor but the US Empire.

For over five centuries from 1392-1910 under the Josean Dynasty, Korea remained a united nation with one culture and one language. Then from 1910-1945, Korea became a colonial victim of Japanese imperialism. Once Japan was defeated in WWII, since the Philippines had already been an imperialistic possession of the US and Japan itself was the vanquished enemy, they were both placed directly under postwar control of the US Empire. With Korea a lesser priority, by convenient expediency, the Korean people were once again re-victimized, arbitrarily divided by the two occupying military forces at the close of WWII, the Soviets in the north and Americans in the south.

With US interests represented by two Army colonels working as junior State Department officials, one Dean Rusk, the future Secretary of State under John Kennedy, just five days prior to Japan’s surrender in August 1945, without input from any Koreans, their nation was severed roughly in half at the 38th parallel, ensuring that the capital Seoul would remain under US auspices. The provisional South Korean government sought friendly relations with all nations, independence, social and land reform and ultimate reunification. These democratic principles and policies that were beneficial to the South Korean citizens stood in stark contrast with the imperialistic design that US military control would accept and the provisional government in September 1945 was quickly disbanded. Eventually in its place was inserted an anti-Communist oppressive dictator that suited US interests. The Truman Doctrine essentially took over where Japanese imperial rule occupation left off in both East and South East Asia. Empire’s sphere of influence included Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), Formosa (Taiwan) and Indonesia.

By the original postwar mandate the two Koreas were supposed to be reunified by 1948, but because the globalist designed cold war was already in full swing, the puppet regime in the north controlled by Stalin didn’t trust the US installed South Korean anti-Communist puppet dictator who wantonly murdered democratic opposition movements especially from the left. Stalin’s boy to the north was just as bloodthirsty. Like trained cock fights, both world powers encouraged and promoted espionage and covert aggression against the other. So by imperialistic design, Korea was never liberated and for over a century now has remained a divided and conquered people living in an occupied and divided nation for over seven decades.

Former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles organized a series of covert incursions by South Korean provocateurs into North Korean territory in 1949 and 1950 prior to the start of the Korean War. This offensive tactic of probing and war baiting is a familiar strategy in US false flag history designed to intentionally trigger wars. This same sort of false flag was used as the precursor that President Johnson jumped on to falsely accuse North Vietnam of firing upon a US Navy vessel in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964 in order to jump start the Vietnam War that his predecessor JFK had vowed to avoid. But less than 9 months after co-conspirator LBJ murdered Kennedy, he ignited what would become America’s longest running war in history, that is until the same cloak and dagger neocons came to power this century to secure their own “endless war on terror.”

With the Rockefeller funded and founded Council on Foreign Relations as well as the United Nations actively co-opted by the US government, a prior arrangement had been secretly made that authorized UN troops (of course consisting almost exclusively of US military) to come to South Korea’s aid if it was determined that North Korea attacked South Korea. Thus, the US-led incursions north of the 38th parallel were designed to provoke North Korean forces to retaliate and the case of North Korea invading South Korea could be bogusly claimed. From June 1950 until July 1953, an estimated sum of 3 million Korean civilians (some estimate as high as 4-5 million) were killed, two thirds in North Korea although North Korea cites up to one third of the total population in the north were killed as forgotten victims of US crimes against humanity. No other war has inflicted so many casualties on any one nation in history.

The nonstop carpet bombing and firebombing of North Korea with napalm mercilessly pulverized its 78 cities and countless villages in both North and South Korea. And within less than six months of the war’s outset, the US Empire began threatening the north with atomic bombs, a constantly used ultimatum weapon America has been clubbing Pyongyang with for the last two-thirds of a century. In violation of the Armistice Agreement, in 1958 the US began installing nuclear warhead missiles in South Korea aimed directly at North Korea. In 1974 South Korea (otherwise known as Republic of Korea or ROK) began preparing its own nuclear development. And over the decades Empire has upgraded and augmented its nuclear weapons systems both in and outside South Korea to destroy North Korea (otherwise known as Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK). These nukes obviously pose a direct threat to both DPRK and China. Is it any wonder then that North Korea has invested so heavily in efforts to acquire a nuclear arsenal as its only deterrent to protect itself from the nuke-powered world bully possessing the dubious distinction of being the only nation on earth to callously use such heinous WMD’s on two large human populated cities?

Korea’s “undeclared war” tripled the Pentagon budget, expanded NATO power and its anti-communist false flag Gladio operations in Europe, fueled exponential growth of the military industrial complex that Eisenhower would later warn America against, and recruited the UN as an imperialistic partner-in-crime whose co-conspiring role carries on even more so to this day. Then with the Chinese Red Army entering the conflict alongside North Korea in 1951, US war involvement fell into its first military quagmire reaching a trench war stalemate forcing a negotiated 1953 Armistice Agreement to cease hostile operations and retain the original 38th parallel demilitarized zone as an intractable artificial wedge dividing Koreans. The agreement is not a peace treaty as only military leaders from the US, China and North Korea signed it leaving out South Korea entirely. Plus it technically leaves the two nations legally in a continual state of war. A grass roots peace movement in South Korea has emerged calling for the ROK and its northern neighbor DPRK to implement a finalized peace treaty that includes stipulations for concrete steps toward reunification.

During the more than six decades since the Korean Armistice, the US Empire has operated the only permanent garrison in Asia stationed along the world’s most armed border. Under a false UN mandate, the US has continually maintained a hefty troop size from the current 28,000 to 37,000 American soldiers as South Korea’s permanent fixture occupying force. General Vincent Brooks as the recently assigned top ranking US commander in the Republic of Korea outranks even the South Korean president and top South Korean general. The entire 625,000 active duty soldiers and nearly 3 million on active reserve status comprising the ROK defense forces are also directly under US military command. According to both public print and CIA sources, South Korea’s military strength and firepower is rated 11th in the world compared to North Korea’s 25th position. Yet for US imperialistic and hegemonic reasons alone, forever colonized South Korea remains subjugated to its high command master.

The biggest arms importer in the world at last count in 2014 is none other than South Korea buying $7 billion of its $7.3 billion worth from you guessed it America. That’s 96% of its war-making materials coming from the US military industrial complex… yet another boondoggle reason the Empire will never leave South Korea. And South Korea will never be an independent sovereign nation nor will it ever reunify with its neighbor. The war-making American Empire will make certain that never happens. Neither peacemaking nor reunification have ever been part of the Empire’s foreign policy agenda. Thus, nonstop US military presence in South Korea drives the most powerful wedge against the two Koreas ever reunifying. Clearly the US stands in the way as the biggest impediment to ever achieving a lasting, peaceful, unified Peninsula with a united Korean people.

Just as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is currently flashing his “Yankee go home” card demanding the American military leave his country, so too should South Korea. But that’s simply out of the question since Seoul as a US puppet depends on US might to buffer and counter Kim’s bombastic bite. Plus way too much money is at stake. Additionally, South Koreans have been sufficiently brainwashed into believing that America is necessary to protect them from their so called menacing threat to the north.

Ever since the Korean War the United States has ensured that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains politically and economically isolated from the rest of the world. With layers of inhumane sanctions piled on top of one another, the US has torpedoed North Korea’s national economy including its industrial base, its agriculture and foreign trade. As a recent example of how the US manipulates and controls the United Nations, in March this year the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2270 raining yet more crippling sanctions down on the beleaguered DPRK. The basis for the latest sanctions are unfounded since they are a consequence of bogus testimony of alleged human rights violations that have been proven false. The “eyewitness” testimony came from DPRK defectors who were paid to lie as confirmed by articles in both The New York Times and The Guardian.

This overly punitive UN resolution prohibits 50% of North Korea’s export sales of its minerals like gold, titanium, vanadium and other precious minerals and metals. Moreover, the resolution bans other UN nations from teaching North Koreans advanced computer science, physics, geospatial navigation, nuclear engineering and other advanced academic and technological disciplines, effectively impoverishing the people of DPRK from learning skills required for modern development and sound medical treatment, relegating the nation to primitive healthcare service and last century technology.

Since 1998 North Korea has carried out five nuclear tests and launched six rocket carrying satellites, the latest test a week ago and the second since last January. While US Empire has vowed it will never allow DPRK to gain possession of a single nuclear weapon, since 1998 the US has been busily developing new precision guided nukes, built more non-nuclear WMD’s and spends $8 billion each year to maintain and upgrade its vast 7,100 nuclear warhead arsenal. And even though official US statements assert that all American and South Korean nuclear weapons have been removed from ROK a quarter century ago, it’s a meaningless, misleading gesture because of US capability to launch its warheads against North Korea and China from the continental United States as well as from any strategic nuke-powered submarine.

Meanwhile, a number of other nations have recently shot satellites into orbit and even tested long range ballistic missiles. Yet North Korea and to some extent Iran are the only nations singled out and attacked by the world community of course led by Empire. A blatant double standard exists when so called Western allies like Israel are given carte blanche to continue stockpiling its nukes but when countries on Empire’s shit list exercise their rights to defend themselves, they’re customarily demonized. The apartheid Jewish State just finagled a near billion dollar a year boost in US military aid to expand its nuclear threat and genocidal policies against Palestinians and the Arab world with an obscene $38 billion commitment at US taxpayer expense over the next decade. In response to near a half century of nuclear threats with US nukes aimed directly at North Korea, the DPRK withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and as such, no international law prohibits North Korea from developing nuclear weapons nor firing rockets carrying satellites into orbit. The pile-on of sanctions and hypocritical saber-rattling rhetoric against North Korea are both groundless and morally untenable.

In July Empire and ROK were at it again, instigating yet more threats to not only North Korea’s national security but Russia and China’s as well with the unveiling of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to be located inside South Korea. With its implementation in NATO members Romania and Poland on Russia’s western front already well in progress, this sophisticated radar system and ballistic missile interceptor is construed by the three targeted Eastern nations as one more reckless act of US belligerence and confrontation on the path to world war.

Like a tag team wearing down an opponent, Empire is betting on a strategy that helped bring the Soviet Empire to its knees and eventual ashes. By continuing to escalate provocation and threat by rolling out more potent weaponry like the THAAD missile defense system as part of an unbeatable arms race that an impoverished North Korea cannot begin to match, the objective is to bankrupt and destroy the poorest country in Asia. This same strategy already proved successful once against the Soviet Union. The neocons today are confident that it will once again work against DPRK. Knowing that the North Korean government will sacrifice everything in order to bolster its military capabilities to keep up with US-ROK at the expense of its own people, creating such extreme economic hardship on a destitute population, Empire’s banking on a desperate people in North Korea to rise up in rebellion triggering regime change.

This year the US and South Korea have dramatically stepped up their joint military exercises practicing war against their North Korean enemy from once a year to twice a year. And they’re bigger than ever.  Last spring’s annual drill was extended to two months in length. Three months later more war games began late last month and just ended two weeks ago. Seeing the US aggressively militarizing their homeland like never before, the latest round of drills was met by protests from antiwar peace groups within South Korea that recognize practicing preemptive war strikes on the Korean Peninsula is not making them any safer or more secure but only increasing the risk of an epic scale war and massive carnage. A growing number of Koreans on both sides of the border realize that these US-ROK war games are not about defensive deterrence at all, but are geared to launch first strike attacks on North Korean nuclear and missile facilities and to take out the Pyongyang leadership. In response, the North Korean foreign minister issued this statement:

The military drill is an unpardonable criminal act of pushing the situation of the Korean peninsula to the brink of a war as the situation there has become unprecedentedly unstable due to the US introduction of nuclear strategic bombers, THAAD and other strategic assets into the peninsula and its vicinity.

In preparation for the coming war to take out North Korea, the US military has been quietly moving its fleet of nuclear bombers to nearby Guam. In an unprecedented display of air power, last month both B-1 and B-2 Spirit stealth bombers were dispatched to join B-52 bombers for a triple joint air operation for the first time. Understandably, the Pyongyang government interpreted it as evidence of a US plan to preemptively drop nuclear bombs on North Korea. Both the Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) and the Bomber Assurance and Deterrence Deployment (BAAD) operations being conducted now in the Pacific are indisputably connected to offensively targeting North Korea. Yet the world media ignores Empire transgressions that cannot hide its intent to start a nuclear war against DPRK. If the roles were reversed, all the world would be reacting with sheer outrage over such brazen acts of warmongering aggression. Again, always the double standard.

Then earlier this week to take it up a notch in a grand show of force designed to intimidate Pyongyang, Empire again flexed its airpower muscle with a staged flyover of strategic nuke-powered bombers just 50 miles from North Korea so all the world could see. Sanctions, saber-rattling and more threats have never worked on this poorest outcast nation on the Asian continent. DPRK is determined to exercise its right to defend itself with whatever means is necessary, and though it cannot compete in the Empire ruled nuclear arms race, for its survival it will not back down from seeking a semblance of nuclear parity.

While every North Korean action to defend itself against impossible odds is indignantly portrayed as raw aggressive insanity that must be stopped at all cost, in contrast the far deadlier, far more provocative machinations committed by the US and its ROK puppet ally are always favorably slanted as righteous efforts to protect the world by keeping the lawless rogue state in check.

Pure deceit is how the US and its globalist masters continue getting away with mass murdering our planet, multiple targeted nations at a time. Using nonstop war propaganda through mainstream media, the Empire that’s always clearly been the biggest single threat to the entire world is constantly twisting reality around to ensure that the tiny nation of North Korea is perceived to be the out of control demon bent on destroying not just ROK and US but the whole world.

The US has sought to create and maintain barriers between not only both Korean nations but also exploit potential conflicts that might weaken ties between DPRK and its closest ally China as well as Russia. Indeed a major reason why the US stations so many of its troops and weapons in ROK is to militarize South Korea as part of its aggressive “Asian pivot” strategy to encircle its other Eastern enemy China. And so status quo of yet another dissected nation and divided people prevails as American Empire remains at war really with both Koreas, subversively sabotaging whatever mutual effort or will each may possess to want to reunify and live in peace.

Growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula are but one example of the hectic pace of destabilizing events unfolding around the globe. They are near daily reminders of just how dangerous our world is becoming. The hostilities in a dozen hotspots are soaring and the likelihood of another global war has never been closer. Continuing to deny this tragic and alarming reality is suicide. The dire warnings that we realists are shouting from the rooftops are not the raving mad rants of the Chicken Littles of the world as the CIA and gov.corp would have us believe.

Since the JFK assassination whitewash, the CIA labeled those of us who question deep state lies as conspiracy theorists as its highly effective strategy to dismiss the dark truth from ever reaching the light of day. Sticking our heads in the sand playing passive and powerless will allow billions to needlessly die in the coming years. We have no choice but to stop these traitorous killers from committing the unthinkable – human genocide and slaughter of nearly 7 billion humans currently living and breathing on this planet right now. Acting purely in self-defense and self-preservation, we must imprison the guilty to save ourselves, our children, future generations and our precious planet from complete ruin. With the stakes never higher in history, it’s do or die time on planet earth.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field with abused youth and adolescents for more than a quarter century. In recent years he has focused on his writing, becoming an alternative media journalist. His blog site is at: http://empireexposed.blogspot.co.

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Flag-map_of_Syria.svg

In Solidarity with the People of Syria: The Mercenary Terrorists are Losing.The Historic Significance of Defeating the West’s Dirty War…

By Mark Taliano, September 16 2016

Many people have wished me well and wished and wished me a safe journey.  Some people have donated money.  I am grateful for the best wishes, and the donations. In many respects, we’re all in this together.  The plight of Syria and Syrians is entwined with us as well. If the West and its proxies successfully destroy Syria as they did to so many other countries, including Iraq, and Libya, and Afghanistan, then the next country on the list will be Iran and so on.

white helmets

“Stop Supporting Terrorists in Syria”: Netflix and “White Helmets” (Fake NGO), “Hand in Hand with Al Qaeda”

By Vanessa Beeley, September 16 2016

Has Netflix revealed itself to be another deep state conscript? The recent Syria White Helmet promotional movie has caused uproar among people awakened to the US, UK state and intelligence agency involvement in this pseudo ‘first responder’ faux NGO outfit that has infiltrated Syria on behalf of its funders and donors based in the US and NATO neocolonialist “regime change” command centres.

U.S.-Russia-Syria

The Geneva Syria “Ceasefire” Agreement: Pizza and Vodka “Secrets” Coming Out…

By Israel Shamir, September 16 2016

The recent Syria agreement signed in Geneva by Kerry and Lavrov (probably it will be remembered as “Pizza and Vodka deal”, as the journalists have been served these delicacies by the negotiating teams during the time they had to wait for the results) beside the points disclosed by the foreign ministers included five documents. The US insisted on keeping the content secret, despite Russian insistence to make them known. Here is what we learned about the contents of the secret documents and the negotiation process from our usually reliable Arab and Israeli sources.

By South Front, September 16 2016

The Russian Aerospace Forces have eliminated 250 ISIS terrorists and 15 vehicles armed with machine guns near the Syrian city of Palmyra, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported on September 14. Russian warplanes conducted airstrikes north of the city where a group of terrorists was preparing offensive on the Syrian army positions.

ASSAD-SYRIE

Assad’s Death Warrant

By Mike Whitney, September 16 2016

The US wants to install a puppet regime in Damascus so it can secure pipeline corridors in the East, oversee the transport of vital energy reserves from Qatar to the EU, and make sure that those reserves continue to be denominated in US Dollars that are recycled into US Treasuries and US financial assets. This is the basic recipe for maintaining US dominance in the Middle East and for extending America’s imperial grip on global power into the future.

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Observatoire des conséquences des mesures d’austérité au Québec nous fait découvrir chaque jour à quel point nous reculons collectivement. On nous annonce comme une fatalité, si ce n’est comme un appel à la raison, ici la fin du transport scolaire, là la fermeture d’un centre d’aide aux toxicomanes, quand il ne s’agit pas de contraindre une municipalité à abandonner sa caserne de pompiers ou à des établissements de santé publique à supprimer des postes de psychologues, d’infirmières ou de travailleurs sociaux. Les décisions du gouvernement du Québec, appuyées sur une thèse idéologique prétendant au nécessaire abandon des responsabilités sociales de l’État, cruellement appliquée par tous les gouvernements qui l’ont précédé depuis 20 ans, rendent notre pays méconnaissable. Nous atteignons un point de non-retour.

Les représentants de l’État semblent pourtant jubiler lorsqu’ils indiquent à la population, souvent avec condescendance, que les coffres sont vides, qu’il faut faire preuve de rigueur, de raison, de pragmatisme… Ils oseront même en ces circonstances s’attribuer du « courage ».

Appauvrissement et paradis fiscaux

On sait que, hormis les décisions de classe qui sont à l’origine de ces choix budgétaires, les paradis fiscaux comptent au nombre des causes qui expliquent l’appauvrissement des États. Aujourd’hui, un député qui aurait honte de faire partie de l’Assemblée législative qui préside au démantèlement de l’État social québécois, surtout si le gouvernement est issu de ses rangs, saurait que bien des espoirs de redressement résident dans la lutte contre les paradis fiscaux. Car ils nous coûtent collectivement très cher : les grandes institutions financières et les entreprises multinationales — quand elles ne sont pas partiellement imitées par des structures plus petites — ont appris à délocaliser facticement au Panama, à la Barbade, au Luxembourg ou à Hong-Kong, notamment, des dizaines et des dizaines de milliards de dollars, de façon à réduire presque à néant leurs revenus chez nous. Devant ces entreprises qui prétendent ne dégager aucun revenu chez nous, nos gouvernements se contentent d’imiter les paradis fiscaux où elles transfèrent abusivement leurs fonds. À l’abolition de taxes et à la réduction d’impôts s’ajoutent des subventions à la recherche et un aménagement du territoire sur mesure, comme à l’époque coloniale, faisant d’elles les principaux assistés sociaux du pays.

En manque de revenus, nous devons ensuite leur emprunter avec intérêts l’argent qu’il nous manque pour boucler le budget, puisque nous ne les imposons presque plus. Arrivent alors les tarifs accompagnant les services et la mise sous pression du personnel d’État… Si les conséquences au recours aux paradis fiscaux par les grandes entreprises se calculent, elles sont exponentielles.

L’aberrant accord de 1980

Sur cet enjeu, nous avons eu droit longtemps au Québec à la rhétorique de dirigeants qui se disaient, d’une part, indépendantistes — et attendaient le Grand Soir pour agir —, ou fédéralistes — en se recroquevillant sur ce qu’ils estimaient être les seules prérogatives d’un moins qu’État —, se révélant ainsi provincialistes.

Ainsi, toutes ces années, personne n’a critiqué Ottawa quant à des politiques internationales sur les enjeux fiscaux qui occasionnaient de sérieuses pertes pour le Québec. L’aberrant accord de non double imposition que le Canada a signé avec la Barbade en 1980 a fait artificiellement de ce pays de la taille de la ville de Gatineau la deuxième destination en matière d’investissements de la part des entreprises canadiennes. L’article 11 de son règlement 5907 sur la fiscalité prévoit que toute entreprise canadienne peut faire circuler des fonds par un paradis fiscal avec lequel Ottawa aurait signé un accord d’échange d’informations afin de les rapatrier au Canada sous forme de dividendes en franchise d’impôts. Le gouvernement canadien a signé de téméraires accords de libre-échange avec les foyers de criminalité financière que sont la Colombie ou le Panama…

Non seulement des entreprises québécoises se sont-elles saisies de ces échappatoires sans jamais que ne s’ensuivent ces proverbiaux investissements garants d’une création d’emplois que nous promettent les théories zombies d’experts monologiques, mais le manque à gagner qu’entraînent ces pratiques à Ottawa a nécessairement eu pour effet de réduire les transferts de fonds aux provinces.

Or, le Québec est déjà maître chez lui en matière fiscale, comme en témoigne le fait que nous soyons les seuls au Canada, printemps après printemps, à signer non pas une mais deux déclarations de revenus. La fédération canadienne en son état prévoit que le Québec perçoive seul et directement les impôts qui ont trait à ses champs de compétence.

L’économiste Gilles N. Larin, épaulé par Lyne Latulippe, Marwah Rizqy et Carmina Chan, l’a rappelé dans un mémoire soumis à la Commission d’examen sur la fiscalité québécoise en 2015, hélas relégué à la marge. Cela signifie que le Québec, en ce qui regarde sa propre administration fiscale, n’a pas à reconnaître les conventions, accords, traités et autres mesures par lesquels le gouvernement fédéral s’est empressé ces dernières années de rendre légales des opérations d’évitement qui trahissent pourtant on ne peut plus clairement l’esprit de la loi fiscale.

Si les autorités fédérales feignent encore de ne pas comprendre qu’elles ont favorisé au fil des décennies l’évitement fiscal, le Québec a d’ores et déjà toute latitude pour agir indépendamment d’elles.

Il pourrait même innover en imposant les multinationales sur la base de leur bilan consolidé la part qui relève de leurs activités chez nous. En cela participerait-il aux concerts de décisions qui sont prises dans le monde pour lutter contre l’évitement fiscal et ses dehors abusivement légaux.

Lutter contre ce phénomène à l’échelle internationale ne suppose pas d’adopter une position messianique ; les choses ne se régleront pas par on ne sait quelle alchimie mondiale. Cela suppose au contraire, à la faveur d’une conjoncture comme celle que nous observons depuis quelques années, que chaque autorité marque des avancées à son échelle.

La commissaire européenne Margrethe Vestager a su contraindre des multinationales telles qu’Apple à payer leur dû sur la base de principes politiques simples, tandis que le gouvernement d’Île-de-France, toute entité régionale qu’elle soit, a décidé de ne faire affaire comme entité qu’avec des institutions financières n’ayant pas de dossiers noirs dans les paradis fiscaux. La preuve est faite que, quelle que soit leur taille, les gouvernements peuvent agir.

Alain Deneault 

Alain Deneault : Chercheur au Réseau pour la justice fiscale, membre de Échec aux paradis fiscaux et auteur notamment d’«Une escroquerie légalisée» (Écosociété)

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La Chine fait monter les enchères en mer de Chine du sud

septembre 16th, 2016 by Pepe Escobar

Photo Shutterstock.com

Les exercices Joint Sea-2016 ont commencé ce lundi. Il s’agit du cinquième exercice naval annuel sino-russe, mettant en vedette les piliers des deux marines en action dans les eaux à l’est de Zhanjiang, dans la province de Guangdong, le QG de la Flotte Nanhai de l’Armée de libération du peuple (PLA).

Considérant que c’est la première fois que l’exercice conjoint se passe en mer de Chine du Sud, les alarmes apocalyptiques des suspects habituels ne pouvaient être plus prévisibles – et complètement rejetées par les dirigeants de Pékin.

L’exercice Joint Sea-2016 intervient juste après une poignée de main tout à fait significative qui a eu lieu la semaine dernière au Laos. Les mains en question ne sont rien moins que celles du premier ministre chinois, Li Keqiang, et du président philippin Rodrigo Duterte, alias The Punisher, vêtu pour l’occasion en complet-costume et cravate tie regalia.

Il y avait de bonnes raisons pour une telle camaraderie. Après tout la Chine et l’ASEAN ont convenu que le cadre d’un code de conduite juridiquement contraignant en mer de Chine du Sud sera en vigueur avant la fin de l’année. Singapour a fait pression vigoureusement pour ce développement majeur. Pékin considère Singapour comme «un partenaire clé pour la coopération dans la région», selon les termes employés par Lia à Xinhua. Le propre secrétaire de presse de The Punisher, Martin Andanar, a résolu la quadrature du cercle : «Notre président [philippin] a également exprimé son approbation de disposer d’un cadre pour un code de conduite.» Le lieu – au Laos – ne pouvait pas être plus stratégiquement approprié pour la Chine. Depuis trois ans maintenant, la Chine est le plus grand investisseur au Laos – principalement dans l’énergie et l’exploitation minière, y compris la construction du Nam Ngiep 1, un projet hydroélectrique de $868 millions. Les autres principaux projets prévus comprennent la zone économique spéciale (ZES) Luang Zone Marsh près de Vientiane pour $1.6 milliards, et – quoi d’autre – un chemin de fer de 472 km entre Kunming dans la province du Yunnan et Vientiane, avec une extension vers la Thaïlande, qui sera achevée en 2021. Ce sera la branche sud-est asiatique des Nouvelles routes de la soie.

Bombarder le Laos avec la rhétorique

Le Laos a été le cadre de la première rencontre face à face entre un haut dirigeant chinois, le Premier ministre Li Keqiang et les dix chefs d’État de l’ASEAN, juste avant le sommet de l’Asie de l’Est − la réunion annuelle de l’ASEAN plus la Chine, la Corée du Sud , le Japon, l’Inde, l’Australie, la Nouvelle-Zélande, les États-Unis et la Russie.

Lors du sommet de l’Asie de l’Est, le président américain Barack Obama, pour sa dernière visite – tout à fait mélancolique – en Asie, à l’endroit où son administration était supposée pivoter, a déclaré que la décision de La Haye au sujet des revendications territoriales de la Chine en mer de Chine méridionale était exécutoire. C’était non seulement faux – mais énoncé par un prix Nobel de la Paix, avec sa liste [hebdomadaire le mardi matin, NdT] de permis de tuer, en visite au Laos des décennies après que la nation a été réduite en cendres par les bombardements de la «nation indispensable», qui dit maintenant avec un visage impassible que tout va bien se passer. Les Asiatiques, pour le moins, n’étaient pas impressionnés.

La raison de la visite d’Obama était effectivement, une fois de plus, de vendre le pivot vers l’Asie, en tandem avec son bras commercial de l’OTAN, le Traité de partenariat trans-pacifique (TPP).

Obama a insisté : «Le TPP est un pilier central du rééquilibrage de l’Amérique et de l’Asie-Pacifique. Le commerce et la croissance qu’il soutient, renforceront les alliances de sécurité entre l’Amérique et ses partenaires régionaux, ajoutant, ne pas aller de l’avant avec le TPP n’aura pas seulement des conséquences économiques, mais remettra en question le leadership de l’Amérique dans cette région vitale.»

Pékin pour sa part privilégie la diplomatie à la rhétorique vide lorsqu’il traite avec une ASEAN en mutation, traversée par une diversité absolue de ses dix pays membres. L’Indonésie et la Thaïlande, par exemple, s’employaient à construire des ponts diplomatiques, mais maintenant Jakarta s’est concentré sur ses affaires intérieures et les politiques de Bangkok sont en transition.

La Maison Blanche comptait sur Manille pour appuyer sa stratégie de confrontation [avec la Chine] car Manille est censé être un rouage essentiel dans la machinerie du pivot vers l’Asie. Pourtant, même quand il en parle au Premier ministre japonais Shinzo Abe, Duterte – le président philippin – souligne que les problèmes de la mer de Chine du Sud doivent être résolus par des moyens pacifiques, et Manille maintiendra le dialogue avec Pékin.

Et puis, pour «célébrer» cette rencontre pan-Asiatique – et en même temps le 68eanniversaire de la fondation de la République populaire démocratique de Corée (RPDC) – Pyongyang a infligé une dose de réalisme à tout le monde en procédant à son cinquième essai nucléaire.

Quittez le TPP, prenez le TGV

La Chine, quant à elle, continue d’accumuler des «faits sur la mer» – avec beaucoup d’actions, sous la forme de patrouilles en mer, en provenance de Sansha, une ville-préfecture mise en place en 2012 pour administrer les îles Spratleys, Paracel Islands et Macclesfield Bank – que les Chinois appellent îles Zongsha.

Ces «faits sur la mer» sont irréversibles, la préfecture de Sansha a fait en sorte que les îles, atolls, récifs, rochers, bancs – quelle que soit la terminologie – tout ce qui se trouve en mer de Chine du Sud soit considéré comme une question de sécurité nationale, politique et stratégique, pour Pékin.

Dans la mesure où la dynamique de l’ASEAN est concernée, la Thaïlande peut conserver le statut de pivot stratégique pour les intérêts américains. Mais maintenant, Washington doit tenir compte de l’équation politique délicate – et extrêmement complexe – qui se profile au sujet de la succession royale, avec la puissance d’une armée thaïlandaise renforcée par une nouvelle dynamique d’élargissement de son commerce et de ses relations politiques avec la Russie et la Chine.

Pourtant, le seul discours émanant de Washington se résume à l’obsession du Pentagone pour une confrontation en mer de Chine méridionale et l’obsession de la Maison Blanche avec son TPP, le bras commercial du pivot.

Kishore Mahbubani, doyen de Lee Kuan Yew, l’École de politique publique à l’Université nationale de Singapour, a été assez intelligent pour proposer un moyen de s’en sortir : et si Washington acceptait une contribution chinoise en termes de technologie ferroviaire à grande vitesse – comme un moyen de relancer l’économie américaine du Pacifique à l’Atlantique ? Ce partenariat sino-américain dans les infrastructures serait, selon Mahbubani, un «accord au paradis». L’American Society of Civil Engineers a estimé un besoin de financement de l’investissement à hauteur de $1.440 milliards aux États-Unis entre 2016 et 2025 – provoquant une énorme traînée sur les entreprises, les exportations et les revenus. La Chine aurait la capacité financière et institutionnelle pour construire cette infrastructure indispensable. Le TPP est une impasse. Peut-être Mahbubani devrait-il envoyer sa proposition à Donald Trump ?

Pepe Escobar

Article original en anglais : China Ups the Game in the South China Sea, Sputnik News, le 12 septembre 2016

Traduit et édité par jj, relu par Cat 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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‘Syngenta and Bayer have a substantial amount of influence in the debate,’ said one neurobiology researcher in response to a Greenpeace analysis of corporate corruption in pesticide research.

Pesticide manufacturers have spent millions influencing researchers who are investigating the role of neonicotinoids, a nicotine-like chemical found in many major pesticides, in bee die-offs, according to a recent analysis by Greenpeace.

The analysis arrives just weeks after scientists released the results of a long-term study that shows neonicotinoids are extremely dangerous to wild bees in the United Kingdom.

A bumble bee perches on rape blossoms near Munich, southern Germany. A new study shows that scientists funded by pesticide makers downplayed the role pesticides had in decimating worldwide bee populations.

A bumble bee perches on rape blossoms near Munich, southern Germany. A new study shows that scientists funded by pesticide makers downplayed the role pesticides had in decimating worldwide bee populations.

Bayer and Syngenta, two of the world’s top manufacturers of neonicotinoid-based pesticides, gave over £2 million (over $2.6 million) to British universities engaged in research on pesticides and plant sciences between 2011 and the start of 2016, reported Joe Sandler Clarke, a journalist for Greenpeace’s Energydesk, on Aug. 29.

“Syngenta and Bayer have a substantial amount of influence in the debate,” Dr. Christopher Connolly, a reader in neurobiology at Scotland’s Dundee University, told Clarke.

Energydesk sent Freedom of Information requests to 135 universities, requesting details on studies funded by Bayer or Syngenta, and heard back from 70 institutions. Among the top recipients of corporate funding were Nottingham University, which received £557,500 from Syngenta for research into plant sciences between 2011 and 2015, and Reading University, which received £587,952 for similar research during the same period.

Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at Sussex University, acknowledged that it’s difficult to measure the exact extent of corporate influence in his field. However, he told Clarke:

It does seem to be the case that research funded by agrochemical companies rarely seems to find evidence that their products harm the environment, while independently-funded research often finds major adverse effects caused by the same products.

He further acknowledged: “Scientists are under huge pressure to obtain research funding and so are naturally likely to be keen to keep their funders happy.”

Scientists increasingly confident that ‘neonicotinoids are harmful’

While it appears some researchers were taking corporate money to follow an agribusiness agenda, others continue to document the harm caused by neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoid pesticides were banned from use on all flowering plants in the European Union in 2013. A team of seven scientists recently compared wild bee populations to levels of neonicotinoid use on oilseed rape crops in the U.K. between 1994 and 2011. The study, published Aug. 16 in the science journal Nature Communications and led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, showed that the populations of dozens of wild bee species declined significantly as the use of neonicotinoid pesticides increased, with the populations of one species down as much as 30 percent.

“[T]he average decline in population across all 62 species was 7.0 percent, but the average decline among 34 species that forage on oilseed rape was higher, at 10 percent,” reported Kate Kelland, a Reuters journalist who attended a press conference led by Ben Woodcock, who co-led the study.

Woodcock told reporters:

Prior to this, people had an idea that something might be happening, but no one had an idea of the scale. [Our results show that] it’s long-term, it’s large scale, and it’s many more species than we knew about before.

Connolly, the neurobiologist interviewed by Greenpeace, has also authored important research into the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides. In April, he and seven other researchers released a study in the journal Scientific Reports which showed two major neonicotinoids, Bayer’s imidacloprid and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam, haveharmful effects on bee populations and the brain cells of individual bees. Surprisingly, a third chemical, Bayer’s clothianidin, appeared to actually increase the number of queens produced by a colony.

Connolly, who supports an ongoing ban on all neonicotinoid pesticides, including those containing clothianidin, praised the recent study by Woodcock and company. “The evidence against neonicotinoids now exists in key bee brain cells involved in learning and memory, in whole bees, entire colonies and now at the level of whole populations of wild bees,” he told Kelland.

Overall, there seems to be growing consensus among scientists that neonicotinoids pose a threat to bees. Dr. Nick Isaac, lead researcher of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology’s study, told Greenpeace’s Clarke:

“Neonicotinoids are harmful. We can be very confident about that.”

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Syrie, Obama / Poutine – Ça passe ou ça casse!

septembre 16th, 2016 by Oscar Fortin

Le président Obama sait très bien que pour le président Poutine le principe de non-intervention dans les Affaires intérieures d’un autre pays est sacré. Il sait également que ce principe doit s’appliquer tout autant en Syrie que dans tout autre pays. Le président Poutine sait, pour sa part, qu’Obama s’octroie le droit d’intervenir dans d’autres pays selon qu’il en juge  la pertinence, en tant que leader du monde. C’est dans cet esprit qu’Obama exige le départ de Bachar el Assad de la présidence de l’État syrien pour le remplacer par une opposition, formée et armée par les États-Unis. Ce sont là deux approches aux antipodes l’une de l’autre.

Lors du G-20, récemment réalisé en Chine, ces deux chefs d’État ont eu l’occasion de se rencontrer pour trouver un terrain d’entente en vue de mettre fin au conflit en Syrie, mais aussi en Ukraine. L’heure qu’ils ont pris à échanger n’a pas suffi à trouver un terrain d’entente. M. Obama a demandé, entre autres, à M. Poutine qu’il intervienne auprès du Président Bachar El Assad pour que ce dernier cesse de bombarder et d’attaquer les forces armées de l’opposition syrienne, soutenues par les États-Unis et l’OTAN.  On peut également supposer que  M. Poutine a demandé au président Obama de s’abstenir de toute intervention en Syrie sans l’accord préalable du président Bachar Al Assad et, par la même occasion, lui rappeler qu’il appartenait au peuple syrien de décider de ses dirigeants.

Cette confrontation entre la Russie de Poutine et les États-Unis d’Obama a ceci de particulier : le soi-disant leader du monde a devant lui, Vladimir Poutine, un autre leader qui a la force de caractère et la puissances des armes pour résister aux pressions de ce dernier.  Les sanctions, les menaces, les ultimatums n’arrivent pas à ébranler ce Président qui fait du respect du droit international une référence incontournable à ses engagements internationaux. Les beaux discours n’ont d’écho en lui que dans les décisions prises. Avec Vladimir Poutine, les enrobages sont vite décodés et les objectifs poursuivis, vite mis à nue.

Vendredi, le 9 septembre, la diplomatie a fait un nouvel effort avec cette rencontre de plus de dix heures entre John Kerry et Sergueï Lavrov. Seul l’avenir nous dira si les décisions prises sont pour gagner du temps et/ou permettre de scruter encore davantage les stratégies de l’adversaire.  Ils en sont venus à une entente de cessez-le-feu que le ministre des Affaires extérieures de Russie décrit ainsi :

« Nous nous sommes entendus sur les régions dans lesquelles nous effectuerons des frappes aériennes. En accord avec les dirigeants syriens, seules les Forces aérospatiales russes et la Force aérienne des États-Unis auront le droit de travailler dans ces régions. En ce qui concerne les Forces armées syriennes, elles opéreront dans d’autres régions non concernées par la coopération russo-américaine », »

Il est intéressant de noter le fait que l’intervention des États-Unis, dans le cadre de cet accord, se réalisera avec l’accord du gouvernement syrien. Un accord, en somme, qui respecte le droit et les prérogatives de l’État syrien, seul mandataire du peuple syrien. De part et d’autre, on gagne du temps, mettant de nouveau à l’épreuve les véritables intentions des uns et des autres. On peut être assuré que cette fois, le ravitaillement des terroristes et de l’opposition armée syrienne sera observé de très près. Les interventions concertées des États-Unis avec  la Russie seront scrutées à la loupe.

Je soupçonne Vladimir Poutine de vouloir prendre tout son temps pour s’assurer que tous les moyens diplomatiques ont été épuisés et que la guerre à venir frappe là où ça fera vraiment mal à l’adversaire. Il sait que l’humanité entière souffrira d’une telle guerre et, qu’une fois commencée, il n’y aura plus de marche arrière possible. À ce jour, les provocations n’ont pas manqué pour l’entraîner dans cette guerre. Il s’y est résisté, non pas par faiblesse, mais par sens des responsabilités et par détermination à être celui qui demeure maître de son agenda de guerre.

Oscar Fortin
Le 10 septembre 2016
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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and The Arab Peace Initiative

septembre 16th, 2016 by Prof. Alon Ben-Meir

Senator Bernie Sanders’ call during the primaries for a new approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was on-point and necessary. However, his plea for the US to adopt a policy of even-handedness in dealing with Israel and the Palestinians will not suffice. In fact, even if the incoming administration changed its approach by coercing Israel to make important concessions and stop its settlement enterprise, this will not produce the necessary conditions to make peace at this particular juncture of the conflict.

Furthermore, any new approach by the EU during the current UN General Assembly meetings to restart the talks in the traditional way, either directly or through mediation, will not lead to an agreement regardless of the pressure or incentives that may be employed to persuade Israel and the Palestinians to resume negotiations in earnest.

A process of reconciliation must precede any formal negotiations for about two years, because the conditions on the ground have dramatically changed for the worse since the Oslo Accords. For the Palestinians, hopelessness has set in, mutual distrust has deepened, and extremists on both sides have gained significant traction. Perhaps most important, the political landscape has shifted to the right in both camps, making it highly unlikely to resume peace talks with any prospect of reaching an agreement.

There is no doubt that Palestinian acts of violence against Israelis are a direct result of 50 years of occupation that continues to frustrate and incite them. Consequently, the Palestinians feel they have been left with no option but to resort to violence in an effort to end the occupation and pave the way for the establishment of their own state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Conversely, the Israelis can also make a persuasive argument that the Palestinians cannot be trusted. The Second Intifada in particular was a turning point in the mind of most Israelis, which further deepened their distrust and heightened (albeit often to exaggeration) their national security concerns.

Unfortunately, successive right-of-center Israeli governments, especially those led by Netanyahu, exploited security concerns to expropriate more Palestinian territory and build new and expand existing settlements to create so-called “secure borders.”

To change the dynamic of the conflict, reconciliatory people-to-people measures becomes central to creating fertile ground for negotiations to succeed.

Such measures of reconciliation should include but not be limited to: facilitating mutual visitation, joint women activism, sporting events, student interaction, travelling art exhibitions, encouraging public discourse, hosting forums to discuss conflicting issues, and imploring the media to promote such shared initiatives.

Additional steps can be taken by leadership on both sides, including: halting mutual acrimonious public narratives, modifying textbooks, taking no provocative actions (i.e. halting settlement expansion during the period of reconciliation), and maintaining security cooperation between the two sides.

These measures are central to changing the psychological dynamic of the conflict and sociopolitical environment between them by mitigating the problem of mutual distrust, national security, and the illusion that either can rule over all of mandated Palestine. Only by adhering to such a process will they demonstrate their commitment to peace, which has been lacking but is essential to making the necessary concessions to reach an agreement.

As the process of reconciliation gets underway, the United States and the European Union should make a supreme effort to reinvigorate the Arab Peace Initiative (API) and pressure both Israel and Hamas to embrace it. The Arab Peace Initiative remains the only practical framework for peace, as it contains common denominators between Israel and the Palestinians (including Hamas) that will facilitate successful peace negotiations.

Moreover, the API is the only framework that will lead to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in the context of a comprehensive Israeli-Arab peace, which the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians are seeking in order to achieve long-term stability and progress.

Finally, the turmoil in the Middle East indeed offers an opportunity to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly now that the Arab world is keener than ever before to make peace with Israel because of the common Iranian threat and the violent rivalry between Sunnis and Shiites over regional hegemony.

The United States and the EU (the only powers that can bring an end to the conflict) and certainly moderate Israelis must exploit this window of opportunity and put an end to the longest and most debilitating violent conflict in modern times.

Russian President Putin’s invitation to Netanyahu and Abbas to visit Moscow (which they have accepted) means little and will produce even less. For Putin, the invitation offers an opportunity to exploit the vacuum resulting from US disengagement; for Netanyahu, it will (falsely) demonstrate that he is committed to peace; and for Abbas, he simply doesn’t want to be perceived as an obstacle.

Given that the United States was and remains the main player, neither Abbas nor Netanyahu can dismiss it. The new administration must support France’s initiative, which seeks to convene an international conference to resume peace negotiations, and change its previous approach in the search for a peace agreement based on a two-state solution.

There is no doubt that the US must play a more assertive role toward Israel, especially because the US is genuinely concerned about Israel’s national security. Providing Israel with $38 billion in military aid over a period of 10 years is unprecedented and only attests to the US’ commitment.

The next administration must stop enabling Israel to pursue policies which are to its detriment and insist that Israel genuinely engage in the process of reconciliation, which Netanyahu and Abbas, who profess to seek a two-state solution, will be hard-pressed to reject.

In this regard, the EU is well-placed to push the peace process forward by focusing first on reconciliation and giving time to the new administration to join the French initiative, which is largely consistent with the US’ traditional position.

The new administration, jointly with the EU, must also make it abundantly clear that a two-state solution provides, more than any other security measure, the ultimate guarantee of Israel’s national security while allowing the Palestinians to live in dignity in an independent state.

After seventy years of continuing violent conflict, the time has come to end the hellish conditions that the Israelis and Palestinians have created for themselves before they are ultimately consumed by it. As Thomas Hobbes is purported to have said, “hell is truth seen too late.”

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

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A DeSmog investigation has revealed the possibility that a front group supporting the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) — the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) — may have created fake Twitter profiles, known by some as “sock puppets,” to convey a pro-pipeline message over social media. And MAIN may be employing the PR services of the firm DCI Group, which has connections to the Republican Party, in order to do so.

DeSmog tracked down at least 16 different questionable Twitter accounts which used the #NoDAPL hashtag employed by protesters, in order to claim that opposition to the pipeline kills jobs, that those protesting the pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s encampment use violence, and that the pipeline does not pose a risk to water sources or cross over tribal land.

On September 13, people began to suspect these accounts were fake, calling them out on Twitter, and by September 14, most of the accounts no longer existed.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is set to carry oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from the Bakken Shale basin in North Dakota across the Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois. Its owner, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), says it plans to talk to the Obama administration and “reiterate [its] commitment to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline into operation.” It will do so despite the administration requesting that the company halt construction “voluntarily — particularly around the contested sacred tribal sites located 20 miles east and west of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River — until further notice.”

In his memorandum announcing his company’s plans to do so, ETP CEO Kelcy Warren espoused many of the same arguments that were deployed by the Twitter sock puppets, which calls into question whether his company helped spearhead the social media campaign behind the scenes in order to create the appearance of grassroots support, a technique known as “astroturfing.”

In that memo, Warren said his company plans to engage more aggressively in the PR sphere.

“It has not been my preference to engage in a media/PR battle,” wrote Warren. “However, misinformation has dominated the news, so we will work to communicate with the government and media more clearly in the days to come.”

Vicki Granado, a spokesperson for the company, did not respond to a request for comment.

In the meantime, as all stakeholders in the debate await a definitive next move from the Obama administration, protests both on-site and nationwide have continued, with a militarized police presence at the Sacred Stone Camp intensifying. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke at a September 13 Washington, DC protest against the pipeline, while U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) that same day called for a congressional oversight investigation of the hotly contested permitting issues which have arisen in the ongoing saga over the pipeline’s future.

With that backdrop, in came the “sock puppets” for their own September 13 day of action on Twitter — and with MAINlikely pulling the strings.

The Sock Puppets

The sock puppet profiles had names such as Ashley Lovinggood, Garnett Vreeken, Yong Fetner, and Ying Baars, and all of the profile pictures featured women. Besides tweets promoting the Dakota Access Pipeline, what links all of the bogus profiles together is that they all “follow” (similar to “liking” a page on Facebook) the company Hootsuite.

Hootsuite serves as a social media platform management tool which allows an administrator for many different social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, to toggle quickly between accounts and send out posts in the form of tweets and other status updates. One of those accounts, that of Angla Dullea, formerly followed MAIN — and like all of the other pages — also followed Hootsuite; that is, until the account became suspended.

Dullea’s profile photo bore an identical resemblance to the Twitter profile for Palma Mackerl, another bare-bones Twitter account.

Dullea also retweeted a tweet from a group called Standing Rock Fact Checker, which on its website describes itself as a project of MAIN. The website also states it is “dedicated to promoting the truth” and battling “misinformation about the approved — and nearly complete — Dakota Access project.” Five other suspicious Twitter profiles also shared Fact Checker tweets.

MAIN members include the South Dakota Petroleum and Propane Marketers Association, North Dakota Petroleum Council, Petroleum Marketers, Convenience Stores of Iowa, and others.

Reverse photo searches on Google revealed that the pictures used for other sock puppet profiles also appeared on a dermatologist website, a mail order bride website, and a hairstyle website featuring a photo of Eva Longoria, as well as images of Chinese model Crystal Wang Xi Ran, singer Keri Hilson, and the late singer Amy Winehouse.

Eva Longoria doppelgänger; Photo Credit: Twitter | Oliver Keyes

The use of political bots and sock puppets is nothing new and in fact, has become normalized by political factions worldwide, explained Norah Abokhodair of the Political Bots research program based at the University of Washington and Oxford University.

“There are many ways in which social bots can disrupt or influence online discourse, such as, spamming, phishing, distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), or other nefarious activities,” Abokhodair explained, pointing to examples such as the Syrian Civil War bots and bots used in Turkey. “They can also be deployed for sophisticated activities like astroturfing, misdirection (botnet that tries to get the audience to attend to other content by spamming the hashtag) and smoke screening (serves to hide or provide cover for or obscure some type of activity).”

MAIN and DCI Group

MAIN was the only industry group to issue a press release in response to the Obama administration’s September 9 announcement halting construction on a portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Its press release contained a statement attributed to spokesperson Craig Stevens. Stevens also recently did an interview with KVLY-TV, the NBC and CBS affiliate for Fargo, North Dakota. When on TV, however, he was billed as the “spokesperson for a pipeline sort of group, if you will” by segment host Chris Berg.

Despite the lack of disclosure by KVLY and Berg, it turns out that Craig Stevens actually works as Media Affairs and Crisis Management Lead for DCI Group. His DCI Group contact information is listed for MAIN’s profile page on the website PR Newswire.

Image Credit: PR Newswire

DCI is a PR firm tied to the GOP and with roots in creating front groups on behalf of Big Tobacco, spearheading the modern Tea Party movement, and representing oppressive dictatorial regimes such as that of Burma and oil- and gas-soaked Azerbaijan. Stevens formerly worked for the George W. Bush presidential campaign, served as spokesperson for U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman for the George W. Bush Administration, and also worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 Republican Party presidential campaign.

Jim Murphy, the political director for Donald Trump’s Republican Party presidential campaign, formerly served as President and Managing Partner for DCI Group. Beyond the DCI Group connection, Continental Resources — whose founder and CEO Harold Hamm is one of Donald Trump’s top energy advisers and a potential candidate for U.S. Secretary of Energy under a Trump presidency — said in a recent investor statement that a significant chunk of the company’s Bakken oil will flow through Dakota Access.

Before DCI Group began working on Standing Rock-related projects for MAIN, it appears the PR firm LS2Group maintained the PR account for Dakota Access. A MAIN press release from November 2015 lists LS2’s Kayla Day as the contact person and her LS2 work number is also listed, while metadata for the press release’s PDF shows the document was last saved by former LS2 staffer Alex Shaner.

DCI’s Role

As DeSmog has previously revealed, LS2 also did PR work in support of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. The group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement published emails from 2014 (obtained via a public records request) showing LS2 also doing advocacy work in support of Dakota Access.

LS2’s Day told DeSmog that LS2 still does some work on behalf of MAIN, but declined to comment further on how the work is divvied up between LS2 and DCI Group. Stevens was first listed as a spokesperson for MAIN in a September 6 press release, two days after the now-infamous dog biting incident took place at the protesting Standing Rock Siuox Tribe’s Sacred Stone Camp. The Standing Rock Fact Checker website was registered the day before, and it also sent out its first tweet that same day.

Standing Rock Fact Checker

Image Credit: WhoIs.net

Stevens declined to comment on who funds MAIN, referring to the membership list and confirming he was brought on in the past couple weeks to do PR work on behalf of the coalition, “as the whole public discussion has increased and been elevated” surrounding the pipeline. He also confirmed he runs the Fact Checker portal.

Asked about whether his firm or MAIN had anything to do with the sock-puppet tweets, Stevens denied he or MAIN had any involvement.

“It’s frustrating to me because we’re working to be respectful in tone and fact-based and any tactics like these are a distraction for what we’re trying to do and that’s to bring facts and contexts to this discussion,” Stevens said. “I don’t know about the tactics themselves and I don’t know who or what is behind it, but as someone who’s trying to get facts out and trying to be respectful in tone, it was incredibly frustrating that this was going on. As far as I know, and think I know, the MAIN Coalition had nothing to do with them.”

However, noted environmental advocate and co-founder of climate group 350.org, Bill McKibben, doubts the authenticity of such claims from PR firms with a record like DCI, saying:

“There’s a word for this kind of thing, and that word is: lying. The invention of fake people to make fake arguments perfectly exemplifies the tactics Big Oil has been reduced to. They can’t win an argument on the merits, so they’ve given up trying. Instead, they literally make things up. The contrast with the steadfast straightforwardness of the tribes, and of the climate scientists, couldn’t be more stark.”

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The Russian Aerospace Forces have eliminated 250 ISIS terrorists and 15 vehicles armed with machine guns near the Syrian city of Palmyra, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported on September 14.

Russian warplanes conducted airstrikes north of the city where a group of terrorists was preparing offensive on the Syrian army positions.

Photos of the Syrian S-200 air-defense system deployed in southern Syria appeared in pro-government social media accounts on September 14. According to reports, the same system was used against Israeli aircraft on September 13 when Syria claimed to down an Israeli drone and a warplane over the country. However, the claim of the Syrian military has not been confirmed with video or photo proofs.

 

On September 19, the Syrian Air Force will stop to carry out combat flights in accordance with terms of the US-Russian agreement on Syria, a senior US official said during a special briefing for press held on the phone on September 13. At the same time, the US side noted that in the current period, the Syrian Arab Air Force is still technically allowed to strike on Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. After the joint US-Russian integration center will be created, new restrictions will come into force. Then the air force of the regime will not be able to strike on Jabhat al-Nusra.

The statement came amid reports that Russian and US defense officials even have not agreed a plan for military cooperation in Syria. According to Spokesman for the Pentagon, Peter Cook, the aim of recent discussions was to strengthen security measures to avoid incidents in the Syrian airspace. In this case, it’s hard to say when the US-Russian joint center will be de-facto launched.

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In many respects, we’re all in this together.  The plight of Syria and Syrians is entwined with us as well. If the West and its proxies successfully destroy Syria as they did to so many other countries, including Iraq, and Libya, and Afghanistan, then the next country on the list will be Iran and so on.

But the mercenary terrorists are losing.  I suspect that now the diplomats are looking for a way to help the US save face and to usher the West diplomatically out the door.  I hope this is the case.  The carnage in the Middle East, especially after the 911 false flag, is testament to the fact that a unipolar world is too dangerous for humanity.

Author and Anti-war activist Mark Taliano

Listening to diplomats can be confusing though. The Dirty War of aggression against Syria was planned well in advance.  The lies and diplomatic scripts were wrapped around the invasion plans once the plans were complete. Intelligence agencies decided well in advance to use so-called “Islamic Militants” to fight the war.  Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the West, is an incubator for these mercenaries, and Israel needs them as well to create their dream of a Greater Israel.

The story of the White/al Qaeda Helmets is particularly brazen. The White Helmets are a creation of Purpose Inc., and they, like all the fake NGOs, are embedded with the terrorists, and serve to advance the terrorist cause of regime change. Yet it is this same group that is vying for a Nobel Peace Prize.  If they win their award, it will be further testament to the contamination of the Western mind-set, to the success of fake NGOs, and to the effectiveness of Public Relations “perception managers”.

All of the different names for terrorist groups are part of the psychological operation. Syrians trying to live their lives refer to them all as “Daesch”.  Syrian writer Afraa Dagher, for instance, calls ISIS fiction.  She’s right.  It is well-documented that there are not and that there never were “moderate” terrorists.

Al Qaeda is the designated scape-goat to mislead the Western public, and to serve as a pretext to invade the world in a “war on terrorism”, which is itself a war for terrorism (since terrorists are the Western assets).

In Syria, the designated enemies are al Qaeda, ISIS etc. when in reality they are the “strategic assets”.  This is well-documented using admissions and documents from Western sources.

It is also well-documented that the West has a long history of creating, using, and supporting un-Islamic “Islamic Militants”.   Al Qaeda were proxies for the West in Afghanistan, in Bosnia, in Libya, in Iraq and now in Syria. The West calls them al Nursra Front in Syria.  The West uses these proxies as ground troops with a view to maintaining “plausible deniability” and distancing themselves from their assets’ crimes. The West has always claimed that it fights for freedom and democracy, and now for “humanitarian” reasons — but they are all Big Lies, and they always were.  The West is trying to destroy Syria because Syria is deemed to be an impediment to the West’s global hegemony and its projects for parasitical corporate globalization.  Public assets, including free education, free public healthcare, and values such as equality, and democracy, are enemies to corporate globalists.

This puts me in a somewhat awkward position in Syria.  Canada’s unspoken allies are the terrorists – all of them – so informed Syrians who haven’t read my articles may resent the Canadian flags on my luggage.  Terrorists, on the other hand, might welcome the sight of my flags, since the Canadian government supports the terrorists, but I have no intention to befriend terrorists operating in Syria, and every intention to befriend those who oppose the terrorists — the Canadian government doesn’t represent my views on this matter.

 

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David Cameron, Libya and Disaster

septembre 16th, 2016 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

The UK Foreign Affairs Committee was a long time coming with this judgment, but when it came, it provided a firm reminder about how far the 2011 intervention against the Gaddafi regime was not merely flawed but calamitous in its consequences.  There had been no coherent strategy on the part of the Cameron government; the campaign had not been “informed by accurate intelligence.”

For members of the committee, it was clear that the then UK prime minister, David Cameron, had to carry a rather large can on the issue.  “Through his decision-making in the National Security Council, former prime minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy.”

The consequential nature of this bloody and ultimately catastrophic blunder of international relations triggered continental instability, with a foul global aftertaste. The collapse of Libya into territories battled over with sectarian fury and the death of Muammar Gaddafi unsettled the ground in Mali.  It also propelled violence through North African and the Middle East.

It is hard to rank the levels of severity in what went wrong in the aftermath of the Libyan collapse.  Could a finger be pointed at the militia hothouse that was created within the state? (Tripoli alone currently hosts somewhere up to 150.)  What of the external outrage stemming from it?

Near the top must be the conflict in northern Mali, precipitated by members of the Tuareg ethnic group who had long supplied Gaddafi with soldiers.  Armed to the teeth, the MNLA, with the assistance of such Islamist groups as Ansar Dine, commenced a separatist action that in turn encouraged interventions by al-Qaeda sponsored Islamist groups.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb eventually became one of the big and most menacing players, busying itself with operations beyond Mali, including Algeria, Niger, Mauritania, Tunisia and Morocco.

Meshed between these skirmishing groups were a French-led intervention in 2013 that petered out, followed by a continuing peace keeping operation which has long since ditched the word “peace” in its equation.

Not even the presence of 12,000 UN soldiers under the mission known as MINUSMA has done much to prevent the fraying of that land, despite the June 2015 peace deal. Since 2013, the mission has taken over a hundred casualties, a deal of it occasioned by the ubiquitous landmine and roadside bomb.

While Mali burned with fury, other African states felt the aftershocks, notably through a huge, easily accessible arms market that was not brought under control after Gaddafi’s fall.  Marty Reardon, Senior Vice President of The Soufran Group, a US-based security consultancy, surprised no one in telling The Independent that Libya’s implosion led to the arming of “well-armed and militant groups” in Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt.[1]

In this belligerent free for all, jihadi groups jostle and scratch for gains, creating a further pool of radicalised fighters who will, in time, find nowhere else to go.  The Libyan collapse, in other words, has created a certain type of roving tourist jihadi, notching up points with each campaign.

Crispin Blunt, who chaired the committee, scoldingly suggested that the 2011 intervention was based on “erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the country.”  This kindergarten world view did not stop there.

Having made a right royal mess, it was incumbent on France and the UK to right the ship, with a “responsibility to support Libyan economic and political reconstruction.”  This responsibility was also a muddled one, with British and French institution builders profoundly ignorant about local matters.  Having pushed Humpty Dumpty over, they showed scant knowledge on how to put him back together.

The sense of culpability for Cameron is further compounded by the nonsense the intervention made of such international humanitarian doctrines as the responsibility to protect. There was always a sense that the French-UK led mission was struggling for a plausible alibi, but recourse to the nonsensical notion of civilian protection reared its head.

That door was opened by the hoovering effect of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorised “all necessary means” to protect that most wonderful contrivance, irrespective of what those in the host state thought.[2] Find the civilians and save the day.

While it remains the most insidious of contrivances at international law, that responsibility to protect could be said to have been discharged rapidly – after the initial round of strikes.  In the words of the MPs, “If the primary object of the coalition intervention was the urgent need to protect civilians in Benghazi, then this objective was achieved in March 2011 in less than 24 hours.”

This was not to be. Instead, the intervention ballooned into a monstrous matter of regime change, with no attempt made to “pause military action” when Benghazi was being secured.  “This meant that a limited intervention to protect civilians drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change by military means.”  Docks in international criminal courts should be warmed by such adventurous men.

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

Notes

 [1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/libya-report-britain-uk-gaddafi-civil-war-david-cameron-responsible-terrorism-isis-al-qaeda-mali-a7309821.html

[2] http://www.elac.ox.ac.uk/downloads/Welsh%20Civilian%20Protection%20in%20Libya.pdf

 

 

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Avions, drones, navires de guerre… pour les Etats-Unis, tout est bon pour tester le système de défense iranien. Mais Téhéran se dit prêt à réagir aux provocations et arrive même à moderniser les drones US qu’il capture. Les Etats-Unis profitent de toutes les occasions pour espionner l’Iran, a déclaré mercredi à Sputnik Emad Abshenass, rédacteur en chef du journal Iran Press, commentant les récents incidents impliquant des matériels iraniens et américains près de la frontière iranienne.

« Les Américains utilisent les méthodes les plus sophistiquées après la signature de l’Accord historique sur le programme nucléaire, en vue de provoquer une réaction dure de l’Iran (…). Il est évident que l’objectif principal des Etats-Unis est l’espionnage », a indiqué M.Abshenass. 

En août dernier, un drone furtif américain volant près de la frontière iranienne a déclenché une alerte sur une base de défense militaire dans l’est de l’Iran. Le drone s’est éloigné de l’espace aérien iranien après un avertissement. Le commandement iranien a déclaré qu’il s’agissait sans doute d’une mission d’espionnage.

Fait étonnant, les militaires iraniens arrivent même à moderniser les équipements d’espionnage américains qui tombent entre leurs mains, d’après l’expert.

« Un jour, des drones espions américains ont fait irruption dans l’espace aérien iranien. Les forces de sécurité iraniennes les ont fait descendre sans les endommager, en vue d’en faire des copies exactes. Leurs clones des drones américains se sont avérés plus performants et professionnels que les originaux américains. Le président Barack Obama a même demandé à l’Iran de lui rendre les restes des drones espions américains », a noté M.Abshenass. 

En janvier 2016, les militaires iraniens ont arraisonné deux vedettes de l’US Navy qui se trouvaient dans les eaux territoriales iraniennes. Le même mois, un drone de reconnaissance iranien a survolé un bâtiment de guerre américain dans le Golfe persique pour prendre des photos.

Selon M.Abshenass, l’Iran perfectionne toujours son système de sécurité électronique et de détection rapide des cibles aériennes ennemies et réagit aux provocations.

« Si les militaires iraniens n’arrivent pas à faire descendre un objet ennemi intact, ils l’abattront pour des raisons de sécurité », a martelé M.Ashenass.

Le journaliste a en outre rappelé que certains militaires de haut rang américains qualifiaient de « non professionnelle » les actions de leurs collègues iraniens qui préfèrent avertir les intrus avant de les frapper. Il s’agit d’une réaction tout à fait appropriée, d’après lui. L’incident américano-iranien le plus récent remonte au week-end dernier. Les chaînes de télévision CNN et Fox News ont annoncé que l’Iran avait mis en garde les équipages d’un avion de patrouille maritime et de lutte anti-sous-marine américain Boeing P-8 Poseidon et d’un EP-3 Aries de ne pas violer l’espace aérien iranien au risque d’être abattus. Les avions américains se trouvaient à 13 milles de la côte iranienne, à proximité de la frontière.

« Imaginez que des avions iraniens ou russes effectuent des manœuvres dans les eaux territoriales ou l’espace aérien des Etats-Unis. Est-ce que les forces armées de ce pays fermeront les yeux sur ces manœuvres et les surveilleront sans réagir? C’est à ce moment qu’on verra qui réagit d’une manière professionnelle », a conclu l’expert.

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The recent Syria agreement signed in Geneva by Kerry and Lavrov (probably it will be remembered as “Pizza and Vodka deal”, as the journalists have been served these delicacies by the negotiating teams during the time they had to wait for the results) beside the points disclosed by the foreign ministers included five documents. The US insisted on keeping the content secret, despite Russian insistence to make them known. Here is what we learned about the contents of the secret documents and the negotiation process from our usually reliable Arab and Israeli sources.

The secret documents describe what should happen in Syria after the cease-fire will come into effect. The first day of cease-fire is called Day D. The Russians wanted it to begin at noon, while the Americans preferred sunset on Monday September 12, 2016. The American view prevailed. After first two days, at D+2, if cease-fire holds, the Russians and the Americans will extend it for a longer time. This actually happened on September 14, in a telephone conversation between Lavrov and Kerry. They extended it for another 48 hours. If it will hold for a week, hopefully the sides will extend it indefinitely and proceed to the next stage.

The sides will go into delineation of territories controlled by ISIL, Nusra and the moderates. Then ISIL and Nusra will be bombed to smithereens by the Russian and American Air Forces, while the moderates will be left in peace. The delineation, or the separation of sheep from goats is an old Russian demand that the Americans never fulfilled. Now, at least, they promised to do it. While ISIL could be “delineated”, Nusra is the strongest fighting opposition force in Syria, and it is connected with almost all other rebel groups. Without Nusra, the rest of rebels have little chance.

That is why a biggish rebel group called Ahrar al Sham insisted on extending the cease fire over Nusra-held ground, and refused to join the Cessation of Hostilities regime. Other rebel groups are also much distressed over Nusra’s misfortune.

Not only rebels; the Pentagon and Israelis also want to keep Nusra as their strongest force against Damascus. Ashton Carter, the US Secretary of Defence actively participated in preparation of the document by trying to block it or derail it altogether. Like the Israelis, Carter wants more war in Syria. He is one of the strongest anti-Russian voices in the Obama administration, and he would be very happy to humiliate Russia in Syria.

During the negotiations in Geneva, Kerry called the Pentagon and the White House every few minutes. The negotiators could not proceed with even the smallest amendments without approval by Carter or Obama. And Carter tried to improve upon the preliminary agreement of Obama and Putin concluded in Hangzhou. Eventually the last word was that of the US president and (with great difficulty) the agreement has been signed, but the feeling is that the Pentagon is unhappy with it and won’t regret it if the agreement fails. Carter even made his displeasure known as soon as the deal was signed.

A Kerry-Carter agreement would be a good thing; perhaps the State Department and the DoD can also agree to a cessation of hostilities, the negotiators joked. The Pentagon is in cahoots with the rebels and tries to curry favour with them, said Lavrov. This remark was connected with the previous stage of the negotiations, with the nasty surprise served by Michael Ratney. The US Syrian envoy threw open the door to the diplomatic kitchen where the Americans and the Russians had cooked a secret deal. Our negotiations “aren’t based on trust”, said the polite envoy; he accused the Russians and their Damascus allies of acting “in bad faith”, and stressed that “The United States has not begun to coordinate with Russia in Syria, militarily or otherwise, whatever the Russians say”.

The Russians were properly annoyed. It is bad enough to see your confidential deliberations made known to every Tom, Dick and Abdul; it is worse to be accused of bad faith and to hear about lack of trust. The worst was the misrepresentation of the Russian positions. Ratney claimed Russians will enforce the no-fly zone for the government air force all over Syria; they will end the siege of Aleppo. Bashar Assad was stunned. The Riyadh-based opposition added insult to injury demanding “regime change” and “Assad must go”, while the US presented this particular opposition group as the legitimate representative of Syrian people.

Ratney demanded a “complete cessation of military operations”, withdrawal of government’s vehicles and heavy weapons, opening of Aleppo and then “stopping the regime planes from flying”. He wanted to keep Aleppo accessible not only for humanitarian aid, but for weapons as well. The Russians insisted on Syrian government checkposts on the road to Aleppo; Carter and Ratney were against it.

We can tell you that according to the signed agreement the Russian point of view prevailed. The traffic to Aleppo by Castello Road will be monitored and checked. The humanitarian loads will be checked at the point of loading into the trucks and sealed. More checkpoints on the road will check that the seals aren’t broken until the trucks unload their stuff at the UN warehouses in Aleppo. The idea is to prevent arms being delivered in the humanitarian convoys, as it happened many times with deliveries from Turkey.

The checks will be done by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and later by a UN agency. The civilian, humanitarian and commercial traffic will be able to roll to and fro Castello Road freely, subject to checks. The rebels and the government forces will not snatch each other’s territories, will not improve their positions in the designated areas.

The Pentagon demanded a no-fly zone for the Syrian air force all over Syria, but by the agreement, the Syrian air force will stop flying battle missions only over designated areas. The Russians say this condition will not undermine their strength, as the Syrian military aviation is anyway a negligible force in comparison with the Russian Air Space Force, and the Russians will keep flying. They proved this point on September 14, as they bombed away a rebel force that took positions threatening Palmyra.

Any Syrians including armed rebel fighters can leave Aleppo by Castello Road freely to any destination whatsoever. This is an important point. If they want to fight, let them get out of the city. If they are tired of war and want to go home, let them. This was the Russian view as well, while Pentagon insisted to keep the armed and fighting groups in Aleppo. It is not clear what will happen with non-Syrian fighters; perhaps they will be able to get out after laying down their weapons.

After one week of no hostilities, the Americans and the Russians will set up the JIC, the Joint Implementation Center, where they will share information and jointly fly missions against ISIL and Nusra.

And in a short while, the political process will resume, under auspices of Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy in Syria. This is no less problematic than the military part.

The sides hold very different views: the US and its allies apparently prefer to carve Syria into a few statelets: a Sunni statelet, a radical Sunni statelet, a Kurdish statelet, and the rump-Syria containing the Alawite and Christian territories with the Russian bases. On the other hand, Damascus and Moscow prefer to keep Syria united.

Whatever is the outcome, fate of Aleppo, the second biggest city of Syria, is paramount. Some limited successes of the Syrian army and its Russian and Iranian allies in Aleppo (they cut supply routes to the rebel-held part of the city) already had caused quite a crisis in the Russian-American relations. The liberal interventionists felt fresh air in their sails and published touching pictures of suffering civilians calling for Western intervention “to save people of Aleppo”. The harsh word “ultimatum” hovered in the air, while the US administration tried to make a new record of brinkmanship. The Damascus government hoped to liberate Aleppo and consolidate the territories under its control, while the Americans wanted to keep at least half of Aleppo in the hands of the rebels to prevent Assad’s victory.

The turning point was the Obama and Putin discussion in Hangzhou. The meeting had been tense. The leaders exchanged a stare of death, much photoshopped. The Washington Post said Obama gave Russia an ultimatum, make or break proposal; Russians fumed, especially as the meeting has been preceded and followed by two rounds of additional “sanctions”, on September 1st and September 6th.

Despite these problems, the agreement was reached. What next? After the cessation of hostilities will be established, there should be negotiations between the Government and Opposition in Syria, but the US and its allies would like to keep the government of Bashar Assad out of negotiations. They actually prefer to limit negotiations to the different groups of rebels, as they say, President Bashar Assad had lost his legitimacy, he said. The Russians disagree. They say: the government representatives sit in the UN, there are ambassadors and embassies in Damascus. You may dislike Assad, but that does not make him illegitimate, said Lavrov to Kerry.

Now the arrangements of the cease fire are not proceeding smoothly. The UN personnel supposed to man checkposts should get visas; Damascus does not want to give visas to the British: they could be spies, they say. They agree to Indians, or other neutrals. The UN and the Red Crescent waited for assurances of their safety from the government and the rebels, and apparently none were forthcoming. The rebels are reluctant to move away from their positions, and the government troops were waiting for them to move. But the general level of violence has been greatly reduced.

The chances for success or failure are more or less even. Nusra keeps a low profile in the North, but they instigate other groups to refuse the cease fire. Pentagon is not keen to share information with the Russians. And the Russians can’t make peace alone. On the other side, the Syrians are very tired of war, and they are happy to have even a lull in violence. The next few days will show whether this agreement will lead to peace, or will it being used for the sides to consolidate and improve their positions for the next outbreak of fighting, as it happened in February.

Meanwhile the government forces have a new (or rather old) enemy: Israel. Israelis support Nusra forces in the vicinity of the armistice line between Syria and Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. As Nusra fought against the government army, some shells flew over and fell on the Golan territory. The Israelis used it as a pretext to attack Syrian army. The Syrians said they downed two Israeli planes, a fighter and a drone, by their old reliable Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles. Israelis deny that with unusual vehemence. It seems that an Israeli drone has been downed, while a jet, even if it was hit, succeeded in returning home.

The Syrian government gave a lot of publicity to this encounter in order to stress that the rebels fight on Israeli side against their Arab brothers. But friendship between Nusra and the Jews is hardly a secret: pictures showing Israelis helping Nusra fighters appeared in the Arab and Israeli media. And this assistance is not limited to medical help: Israelis are determined to keep the Syrian army farther away from its borders.

Israel Shamir can be reached at [email protected]

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Here is a polling question for history fans: If the election were held today and the candidates were Republican Nero, Democrat Catherine de Medici, and Libertarian Timothy Leary, for whom would you?

An impossible match up but, in some ways, a real one. None of these are credible or beloved characters from history – at least when we think of the Black Box with the button, making a nationwide television address, or attending the G8 Summit.

But today we have the moral equivalent of each and the polls clearly reflect the public’s revulsion toward this race.

As I have noted before, there is really no good reason why this race for the presidency is even close. Hillary Clinton is running for President Barack Obama’s “third term” and voters don’t seem to mind that idea, Even though only a third or fewer voters feel the country is headed in the right direction,

Obama’s approval rating is at a respectable 52%, the unemployment rate is less than half of what it was when he entered the White House eight years ago, there is finally some credible upward movement on wages and salaries, and the country has mainly extricated itself from two disastrous and protracted wars.

Besides, the GOP has no real plan to make things better except that they will do things differently and “Make America Great Again”.  Add to that the demographic advantages and Electoral College history since 1992, and this race is the Democrats to lose.

And the problem the Democrats face is that Clinton seems, at least up to now, to be rising to the occasion to do just that. Her favorable ratings are worse than when the campaign started and she is mired in the high thirties and low forties in both the nationwide and state horse race samples. I said earlier in the campaign that there was little she could do to actually improve her image.

She has been around so long, is the best known active political figure in the country, has few people who are undecided about her, and lacks the nimble political personality needed to change her image to one that is perceived as beloved. In this context, she decided to expose Trump and his supporters.

But this year has been so different. Trump actually exposes himself, is “in your face” about how ridiculous and dangerous he can be, and has actually kept his numbers within Clinton’s range right along. Attacks from someone who is less likable than him seem to have done him no harm.

But this week has been nothing short of a crisis for Clinton and her campaign. As I wrote recently, the “basketful of deplorables” statement revealed an arrogance, a meanness, and a lack of willingness to understand her opposition that raises serious questions about her ability to govern. She has yet to adequately deal with that yet. It will haunt her.

Then the entire fainting and pneumonia issue is nothing short of a disaster and raises many questions beyond her (and her campaign’s) capacity for truthfulness.

It actually makes voters consider whether she possesses the judgment to be our President. She knew she had pneumonia on Friday, decided to not tell the American people (who would have understood), proceeded to collapse and lie to the press on Sunday, then announce she had the illness. And there is much more to all of this.

Anyone paying attention heard her staff say that she was resting and “playing with her grandchildren”, then came out later and tenderly hugged a five year old. Adorable – except she has PNEUMONIA. It is contagious, after all. And to the ardent supporters who have been telling me that she is “past the contagious phase”, then why did she pass out?

This has all been badly done. New polls have come out today that show Clinton down 5 points in Ohio, down in Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Iowa – and none of these polls reflect more than just one day’s sample. A new CBS Tracking Poll now shows her leading Trump 42% to 40%. I probably shouldn’t speculate but I suspect she will lose a few more points.


But the real crisis here is how she gets back on track.

She will most likely have a good debate performance on September 26. But then she still have to deal with the “deplorables” thing because of what it reveals about her and her supporters. And then the release of her emails in October.

She is in a tough spot.

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Entrevue de Bernard Thibault par l’Observatoire des multinationales.

L’adoption de la loi travail en France affaiblira celles et ceux qui se battent partout dans le monde pour faire progresser les droits sociaux, avertit Bernard Thibault. Ancien dirigeant de la CGT, il siège désormais à l’Organisation internationale du travail et vient de publier un ouvrage intitulé La troisième guerre mondiale est sociale. Il y décrit les conséquences de la quête de rentabilité immédiate : mondialisation du travail précaire informel et du chômage endémique, accidents mortels du travail en masse, persistance du travail forcé… Dans ce monde de brutes, la France et son modèle social font encore rêver, et servent de point d’appui pour faire avancer les régulations sociales. Plus pour longtemps ?

Que vous inspire le traitement réservé à la CGT depuis quelques semaines par plusieurs médias et personnalités politiques ? Avez-vous connu une telle stigmatisation lorsque vous étiez à la tête de la fédération des cheminots puis secrétaire général de la CGT de 1999 à 2013 ?

Bernard Thibault  [1] : Je n’ai pas souvenir d’une séquence médiatique aussi violente, voire hargneuse, envers le mouvement social. Même pendant les grèves de 1995, alors qu’aucun train ne roulait. Nous avions alors souffert de la pression médiatique pendant huit jours « seulement ». Nous étions les preneurs d’otages de tout le pays ! Quand un sondage a été publié montrant que 70% des Français soutenaient les cheminots en grève, la tonalité des commentaires médiatiques a changé… Ce qui est exceptionnel aujourd’hui, c’est la longueur avec laquelle les médias tapent sur le mouvement social et le degré de personnalisation des critiques : voyez le nombre d’articles mettant en cause Philippe Martinez. La presse, dans sa majorité, accompagne la stratégie du Premier ministre.

La CGT a déjà été mise en cause, mais jamais avec une telle intensité. Ce mouvement est unitaire, mais on se focalise sur un seul syndicat, à dessein bien évidemment ! Certains ont pris leurs désirs pour des réalités : la CGT serait quasi moribonde. Cela révèle une forte méconnaissance de la réalité syndicale. Une période de flottement au sein de la direction confédérale ne signifie pas que la CGT, composée de multiples organisations et fédérations, est asphyxiée [2]. La force des mobilisations locales depuis trois mois le prouve.

« La troisième guerre mondiale est sociale », dites-vous. Assiste-t-on avec la loi Travail et sa contestation à une bataille cruciale de cette guerre sociale ?

Oui. L’écho international de ce qui se passe en France est considérable. Les mobilisations sociales y ont une résonance particulière. La France fait partie de ces pays repères : c’est l’un des pays où les droits sociaux sont les plus élaborés. Et un marqueur du type de régulation sociale qui sera mise en œuvre demain. Pensons notamment à la sécurité sociale, qui nous semble normale, mais dont est privée 73% de la population mondiale ! La moitié de la population mondiale vit également dans des pays qui n’ont pas ratifié les conventions internationales sur la liberté syndicale ou le droit de faire grève. Si la France, avec sa réputation internationale, s’affiche comme l’un des lieux où les droits des travailleurs reculent et participe au mouvement de dumping social, cela envoie un signal négatif et affaiblit tous ceux qui souhaitent faire avancer leurs législations sociales. De nombreux pays verront disparaître leurs points d’appui. C’est pourquoi la réforme du code du travail français aura une portée qui ira bien au-delà de nos frontières.

Êtes-vous surpris qu’une réforme si violente du droit du travail soit menée sous un gouvernement socialiste, après dix ans de gouvernement de droite ?

La plupart des manifestants d’aujourd’hui sont des électeurs de François Hollande en 2012. Il est d’ailleurs paradoxal de voir comment la CGT est critiquée par le gouvernement, alors qu’il nous était reproché par d’autres d’avoir trop pris position en faveur de la non réélection de Nicolas Sarkozy. Nous ne souhaitions pas l’échec de ce gouvernement. Il y a parmi les manifestants un sentiment de trahison alors que l’aspiration à un mieux être social était très forte parmi celles et ceux qui ont élu François Hollande. Et le sentiment que le gouvernement n’écoute pas ceux qui ont contribué à la victoire de 2012 ; alors que le patronat est, lui, plus écouté que jamais.

Selon les promoteurs de la loi, améliorer la compétitivité des entreprises et la flexibilité du marché du travail serait une manière de mieux placer la France dans la « guerre mondiale sociale » dont vous parlez dans votre ouvrage, et de réduire le chômage. Que leur répondez-vous ?

Mon livre vise à mieux faire comprendre la situation des droits sociaux dans le monde. Cela nous éclaire sur cette quête sans limite de compétitivité par le coût du travail, ce moins disant social auquel contribue la loi El-Khomri. Cette mise en compétition aboutit à ce que la moitié de la population mondiale n’a pas de contrat de travail ! Le travail non déclaré prend des proportions colossales. Cela signifie qu’aucun salaire n’est fixé, qu’aucun horaire de travail n’est précisé, que le contenu du travail n’est pas défini. Dans ces situations ultimes, tout débat sur les droits du travail est impossible !

La photographie sociale de la planète, c’est une précarisation croissante. Seulement 28% des femmes peuvent, par exemple, bénéficier d’un congé maternité. 168 millions d’enfants travaillent, dont la moitié dans des travaux dangereux. Le travail forcé persiste, notamment dans les émirats du Golfe. Deux millions de travailleurs meurent chaque année dans le monde du fait d’un accident ou d’une maladie liée au travail [3]. Pour illustrer le caractère massif et tragique des atteintes à la santé des travailleurs, des syndicalistes chinois m’ont rapporté que, chaque jour, ils dénombraient 114 doigts coupés dans les usines de la seule province chinoise de Guandong [4]. En 2015, le chômage touchait 197 millions de personnes, soit près d’un million de plus que l’année précédente. Seulement 12% des chômeurs sont indemnisés dans le monde, contre 40% dans ce pays encore repère qu’est la France.

S’il s’agit d’une guerre, quels en sont les belligérants ? Et le « dialogue social » est-il encore possible dans ce contexte ?

Il existe une nouvelle hiérarchie des pouvoirs. Les multinationales impriment davantage les règles que les États nationaux. Regardez l’Afrique et la gestion des matières premières : les multinationales accèdent à peu de frais à ces ressources et les extraient dans des conditions de travail déplorables ! Autre exemple, l’industrie textile a imposé les conditions sociales de sa délocalisation vers l’Asie, avec comme conséquence la tragédie du Rana Plaza. Aujourd’hui 500 000 multinationales emploient 200 millions de travailleurs. Avec la sous-traitance, un travailleur sur cinq dans le monde est concerné par leur activité. Leur critère principal de gestion est soumis à la pression de la rentabilité financière la plus immédiate possible.

Face à ce pouvoir, la mission de l’Organisation internationale du travail (OIT) est de promouvoir la justice sociale. Mais les États ont confié à d’autres institutions la définition et l’encadrement des règles du commerce international. Il y a une vraie hypocrisie : le Fond monétaire international (FMI), l’Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC), le G20 ne conditionnent pas le commerce au respect des droits sociaux. L’OMC sera bientôt plus soucieuse du droit des animaux que des droits sociaux au travail ! Le respect des normes sociales internationales reposent sur le bon vouloir des États nationaux. Certains sont volontaristes, d’autres n’en ont rien à faire, d’autres encore sont dans l’incapacité politique ou administrative de faire respecter ces règles. La solution est que l’OIT, où siègent États, représentants des travailleurs et représentants des employeurs, puisse elle aussi contrôler les circuits économiques et les multinationales. Il faut qu’une multinationale en infraction sur les droits sociaux puisse, par exemple, se voir privée d’accès aux marchés publics.

Le FN « fait mine de reprendre certaines revendications syndicales dans son programme électoral », écrivez-vous. Comment le FN arrive-t-il à profiter de cette « guerre sociale » ?

Face à l’incapacité politique de penser la mondialisation économique sur d’autres bases que la rentabilité financière, il ne faut pas s’étonner que les partis nationalistes et les replis identitaires progressent. Ces partis, dont le FN, ont comme seule réponse d’opposer les individus entre eux. C’est un leurre ! Aucun pays, replié sur lui-même, ne peut prétendre à l’autosuffisance sur l’ensemble des biens produits. On ne peut confiner les droits sociaux à la seule échelle nationale : on ne pourra pas garder notre système de protection sociale, nos congés payés, si le reste de la planète n’en dispose pas ! Ces replis identitaires ne changent rien. Ils permettent juste de ne surtout pas discuter du système économique qui prévaut. L’approche économique du FN est d’ailleurs plutôt néolibérale. Il n’y a qu’à constater son énorme flottement sur la loi El-Khomri. Il la critique aujourd’hui parce que les sondages continuent d’indiquer que 60% des Français y sont opposés.

Le défi écologique interroge fondamentalement la manière de produire et l’avenir des industries les plus polluantes, donc de celles et ceux qui y travaillent. Le syndicalisme devra-t-il demain intégrer la protection de l’environnement et de la santé dans ses revendications ?

Pendant des années, les syndicats et les associations environnementales ont vécu chacun de leur côté. Le mouvement syndical a progressé en réfléchissant aux liens entre les conditions de travail et la nature de ce qui est produit. Le mouvement environnemental a aussi appris à intégrer la dimension sociale. Nous avons besoin de croiser davantage les expertises de chacun. Les travailleurs sont souvent les mieux à même pour savoir comment produire d’une autre manière. Encore faut-il que les salariés ne soient plus soumis à la menace de la précarité et du chômage.

Je me souviens avoir visité un jour une usine de plasturgie dans l’Ouest de la France où les conditions de travail étaient épouvantables. Les gens n’avaient aucune protection, l’usine n’était pas équipée de filtres ni de systèmes d’aspiration. Les ouvriers respiraient des poussières de plastique très néfastes pour leur santé. S’ajoutait à cela une absence totale de traitement des déchets. Les bidons de produits chimiques s’entassaient derrière l’usine et commençaient à suinter. A proximité d’une école ! C’était stupéfiant. J’en ai parlé à des membres du comité d’hygiène, de sécurité et des conditions de travail (CHSCT). Mais certains salariés m’ont répondu : « Attention, il ne faudrait pas qu’ils ferment la boîte parce que nous sommes trop exigeants ! » Il y a un réel dilemme chez ces ouvriers. La précarité rend les salariés dépendants des processus de production actuels. Quand ils en sont libérés, ils sont les premiers à se mobiliser.

Propos recueillis par Ivan du Roy et Nolwenn Weiler


Photo : inmediahk CC

– La troisième guerre mondiale est sociale, Ed. de L’Atelier, avril 2016, 15 euros.

 

[1]Cheminot dès l’âge de 17 ans puis syndicaliste, Bernard Thibault a dirigé la CGT de 1999 à 2013. Il est aujourd’hui membre du conseil d’administration de l’Organisation internationale du travail (OIT). Son ouvrage La troisième guerre mondiale est sociale, a été rédigé avec le concours de Pierre Coutaz, et publié par les éditions de l’Atelier.

[2]Le 22 Mars 2013, Thierry Lepaon a été élu à la tête de la CGT en remplacement de Bernard Thibault. Début 2015 il est contraint à la démission suite à des révélation sur le montant élevé – 130 000 euros – des travaux de rénovation réalisé dans son domicile de fonction. C’est Philippe Martinez qui lui succède.

[3]Selon l’OIT, 2,3 millions de travailleurs décèdent chaque année du fait d’un accident ou d’une maladie liée au travail, soit plus de victimes que dans tous les conflits et guerres réunies au cours d’une année.

[4]La province chinoise de Guandong accueille de nombreuses multinationales du textile et du jouet.

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In yesterday’s post, The Death of Mainstream Media, I noted:

At the end of the day, I have concluded that my focus on Hillary as of late (vs. Trump) has as much to with my disgust for the mainstream media as anything else. To see these organs, which have destroyed this country by keeping the people uninformed for decades, now rally around a sickly, corrupt, oligarch coddling politician as the empire enters the collapse stage is simply too much to stomach…

The only positive thing to happen during this election season is the death of mainstream media. With their insufferable propaganda fully exposed, there is no coming back. 

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Then today, we learned the following from Gallup:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.

Here’s a chart.

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If that’s not a trend, I don’t know what is.

Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.

While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.

Meanwhile, if there is any hope for the future, it can be found here.

Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say they trust the media, but trust has declined among both age groups this year. Currently, 26% of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36% last year) and 38% of those aged 50 and older (down from 45%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.

In 2001, younger Americans (55%) were more likely than older Americans (50%) to express trust and confidence in mass media. This gap emerged again in 2005 when 53% of 18- to 49-year-olds had trust and 45% of those 50 and older expressed the same sentiment. Yet in the past decade, older Americans have mostly had more confidence than younger Americans, and this year, the gap between these age groups is 12 points. And 2016 marks the first time that confidence among older Americans has dropped below 40% in polling since 2001.

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Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.

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On September 9, the United States and Russia announced a fresh Syrian ceasefire agreement. Some media already said that they agreed to a joint plan for ending the war in the Arab country. However, until the official text of agreement is not published, it will be premature to make far-reaching conclusions. The basic idea initially promoted by open sources is for the US and Russia to get the so-called “moderate opposition” and the Syrian government to stop fighting each other. So, the US and Russia can start jointly attacking both ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria more effectively. Another key part of the deal is to provide humanitarian aid for besieged areas across the country with special attention to Aleppo city.

The separation of “moderate opposition” from terrorists is likely the main soft-spot of the deal. In practice, it means that Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam and other groups have to separate from the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) terrorist group. The first problem is that Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam military HQs and local commanders are deeply integrated into Fatah al-Sham’s military structure. This is why the suggested terms of ceasefire have been already rejected by over 20 opposition groups. Syrian experts believe that any agreements between Russia and the US will not lead to such a separation because they have no peaceful options to force the opposition to do this.

The second problem is that the main sponsor of Fatah al-Sham, Saudi Arabia, will likely continue to support the terrorist group. By now, Fatah al-Sham and its allies have been a pillar of the kingdom’s foreign policy in Syria. If it’s destroyed, all efforts of Riyadh will be wasted and the Iranian position in the region will be strengthened. Many in Saudi Arabia elites will call such result a total failure of the whole police over the conflict.

Generalizing the situation, it’s possible to suggest that the so-called “moderate opposition” will continue to operate hand by hand with terrorists despite the political agreement between Washington and Moscow. Some experts believe that the only solution of this problem is a constant full-scale military pressure on terrorists and their allies and massive diplomatic pressure on Ankara. Turkey is remaining the main logistical hub for military supplies to the terrorists despite the recent rapprochement with Russia. Turkey pursues its own interests in Syria creating a buffer zone between Jarabulus and Azaz in order to oppose creation of a Kurdish autonomous region there.

In the negative scenario, supplies of humanitarian aid to Aleppo city will strengthen the terrorist forces based there and the US will be able to sabotage the start of joint actions against the terrorists because moderate groups are not able to separate from Fatah al-Sham, again. In this case, the ongoing ceasefire is just a tactical pause before further military and diplomatic escalation over the Syrian crisis.

Will Moscow be able turn the tide in favor of the practical solution of the problem and push the US-led anti-Assad block to real cooperation against terrorists? This depends on Russia’s ability to actualize the recent military and diplomatic success in Syria and, for sure, on the unreleased parts of the US-Russian agreement.

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Selon les calculs de l’ONG britannique Global Justice Now, sur les 100 premières entités économiques mondiales, 69 sont désormais des multinationales, et 31 des États. Un phénomène qui est en train de s’accélérer puisque l’année dernière seulement, ces chiffres étaient respectivement de 63 et 37.

Notre monde est-il de plus en plus dominé par une poignée de multinationales ? C’est un lieu commun que de pointer la montée en puissance des pouvoirs économiques et l’affaiblissement des États. Une étude réalisée par Global Justice Now, une ONG britannique, montre qu’en termes purement économiques, ce déséquilibre est bien réel… et qu’il tend à s’aggraver.

Il s’avère ainsi que les 10 principales entreprises mondiales (Walmart, Apple, des géants du pétrole comme Shell, Sinopec, China National Petroleum, BP et Exxon ou de l’automobile comme Toyota et Volkswagen, et l’entreprise d’électricité chinoise State Grid) sont plus riches que les 180 pays les plus « pauvres » de la planète ensemble (parmi lesquels l’Irlande, Israël, l’Indonésie et l’Afrique du Sud…). Sur les 100 premières entités économiques au niveau mondial, 67 sont des multinationales (dont les français Total, Axa, BNP Paribas et Société générale), contre seulement 63 il y a un an seulement. Sur les 200 premières, 153 sont des entreprises. Walmart, première entreprise mondiale, pèse davantage financièrement que l’Espagne, l’Australie ou les Pays-Bas [1].

Bien entendu, les chiffres utilisés par l’ONG sont à relativiser, car il est difficile de comparer d’un côté le chiffre d’affaires d’une entreprise et de l’autre les revenus publics d’un État. En théorie, pouvoir économique et pouvoir politique ne sont pas de même nature. Il n’en reste pas moins dans un monde de plus en plus dominé par une froide logique comptable et financière, y compris au niveau de la gestion des États, les chiffres mis en avant par Global Justice Now parlent d’eux-mêmes.

L’étude est publiée à l’occasion du lancement d’une pétition internationale, ciblant en particulier les leaders européens, pour qu’ils soutiennent le processus d’élaboration d’un traité contraignant sur la responsabilité des multinationales au niveau des Nations unies (sur ce processus, lire nos articles ici et ).

En France, cette pétition est relayée par Peuples solidaires : à signer ici.

Olivier Petitjean


Photo : Mason CC

 

[1] Voir la totalité des données (fichier Excel) ici.

 

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Assad’s Death Warrant

septembre 16th, 2016 by Mike Whitney

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria. — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria, Politico

The conflict in Syria is not a war in the conventional sense of the word. It is a regime change operation, just like Libya and Iraq were regime change operations.

The main driver of the conflict is the country that’s toppled more than 50 sovereign governments since the end of World War 2.  (See: Bill Blum here.) We’re talking about the United States of course.

Washington is the hands-down regime change champion, no one else even comes close. That being the case, one might assume that the American people would notice the pattern of intervention, see through the propaganda and assign blame accordingly. But that never  seems to happen and it probably won’t happen here either. No matter how compelling the evidence may be, the brainwashed American people always believe their government is doing the right thing.

But the United States is not doing the right thing in Syria. Arming, training and funding Islamic extremists — that have killed half a million people, displaced 7 million more and turned the country into an uninhabitable wastelands –is not the right thing. It is the wrong thing, the immoral thing. And the US is involved in this conflict for all the wrong reasons, the foremost of which is gas. The US wants to install a puppet regime in Damascus so it can secure pipeline corridors in the East, oversee the transport of vital energy reserves from Qatar to the EU, and make sure that those reserves continue to be denominated in US Dollars that are recycled into US Treasuries and US financial assets. This is the basic recipe for maintaining US dominance in the Middle East and for extending America’s imperial grip on global power into the future.

The war in Syria did not begin when the government of Bashar al Assad cracked down on protestors in the spring of 2011. That version of events is obfuscating hogwash.  The war began in 2009, when Assad rejected a Qatari plan to transport gas from Qatar to the EU via Syria. As Robert F Kennedy Jr. explains in his excellent article “Syria: Another pipeline War”:

The $10 billion, 1,500km pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey….would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey… The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. ….

In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria “to protect the interests of our Russian ally….

Assad further enraged the Gulf’s Sunni monarchs by endorsing a Russian approved “Islamic pipeline” running from Iran’s side of the gas field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline would make Shia Iran instead of Sunni Qatar, the principal supplier to the European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran’s influence in the Mid-East and the world…

Naturally, the Saudis, Qataris, Turks and Americans were furious at Assad, but what could they do? How could they prevent him from choosing his own business partners and using his own sovereign territory to transport gas to market?

What they could do is what any good Mafia Don would do; break a few legs and steal whatever he wanted. In this particular situation, Washington and its scheming allies decided to launch a clandestine proxy-war against Damascus, kill or depose Assad, and make damn sure the western oil giants nabbed the future pipeline contracts and controlled the flow of energy to Europe. That was the plan at least. Here’s more from Kennedy:

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.

Repeat: “the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline”, he signed his own death warrant. That single act was the catalyst for the US aggression that transformed a bustling, five thousand-year old civilization into a desolate Falluja-like moonscape overflowing with homicidal fanatics that were recruited, groomed and deployed by the various allied intelligence agencies.

But what’s particularly interesting about this story is that the US attempted a nearly-identical plan 60 years earlier during the Eisenhower administration. Here’s another clip from the Kennedy piece:

During the 1950′s, President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers … mounted a clandestine war against Arab Nationalism — which CIA Director Allan Dulles equated with communism — particularly when Arab self-rule threatened oil concessions. They pumped secret American military aid to tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon favoring puppets with conservative Jihadist ideologies which they regarded as a reliable antidote to Soviet Marxism….

The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949 — barely a year after the agency’s creation…. Syria’s democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Kuwaiti, hesitated to approve the Trans Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria. (so)… the CIA engineered a coup, replacing al-Kuwaiti with the CIA’s handpicked dictator, a convicted swindler named Husni al-Za’im. Al-Za’im barely had time to dissolve parliament and approve the American pipeline before his countrymen deposed him, 14 weeks into his regime…..

(CIA agent Rocky) Stone arrived in Damascus in April 1956 with $3 million in Syrian pounds to arm and incite Islamic militants and to bribe Syrian military officers and politicians to overthrow al-Kuwaiti’s democratically elected secularist regime….

But all that CIA money failed to corrupt the Syrian military officers. The soldiers reported the CIA’s bribery attempts to the Ba’athist regime. In response, the Syrian army invaded the American Embassy taking Stone prisoner. Following harsh interrogation, Stone made a televised confession to his roles in the Iranian coup and the CIA’s aborted attempt to overthrow Syria’s legitimate government….(Then) Syria purged all politicians sympathetic to the U.S. and executed them for treason. (Politico)

See how history is repeating itself? It’s like the CIA was too lazy to even write a new script, they just dusted off the old one and hired new actors.

Fortunately, Assad –with the help of Iran, Hezbollah and the Russian Airforce– has fended off the effort to oust him and install a US-stooge. This should not be taken as a ringing endorsement of Assad as a leader, but of the principal that global security depends on basic protections of national sovereignty, and that the cornerstone of international law has to be a rejection of unprovoked aggression whether the hostilities are executed by one’s own military or by armed proxies that are used to achieve the same strategic objectives while invoking  plausible deniability. The fact is, there is no difference between Bush’s invasion of Iraq and Obama’s invasion of Syria. The moral, ethical and legal issues are the same, the only difference is that Obama has been more successful in confusing the American people about what is really going on.

And what’s going on is regime change: “Assad must go”. That’s been the administration’s mantra from the get go. Obama and Co are trying to overthrow a democratically-elected secular regime that refuses to bow to Washington’s demands to provide access to pipeline corridors that will further strengthen US dominance in the region.  That’s what’s really going on behind the ISIS distraction and the “Assad is a brutal dictator” distraction and the “war-weary civilians in Aleppo” distraction. Washington doesn’t care about any of those things. What Washington cares about is oil, power and money. How can anyone be confused about that by now?  Kennedy summed it up like this:

We must recognize the Syrian conflict is a war over control of resources indistinguishable from the myriad clandestine and undeclared oil wars we have been fighting in the Mid-East for 65 years. And only when we see this conflict as a proxy war over a pipeline do events become comprehensible.

That says it all, don’t you think?

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

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The fate of Frieder Wagner is a peculiar example of what happens when you stand up to the establishment’s injustice. A notable director who won the prestigious German Grimme Award, responsible for numerous documentaries for the ARD and ZDF channels, he quickly became a pariah after making a movie called Deadly Dust (Todesstaub) about the use of depleted uranium (DU) shells by NATO forces in the Middle East and in the former Yugoslavia.

In an exclusive interview with Sputnik, Wagner explained that Deadly Dust is based on an earlier documentary called The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children (Der Arzt und die verstrahlten Kinder von Basra) that he filmed for WDR. In April 2004 the movie was screened during the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But even though that autumn it received the ÖkoMedia award, it was never screened again. And no matter what ideas he came up with, the TV channels that he previously worked with stopped sending him new orders for some reason.

« I contacted a head of the WDR editorial office whom I’d worked with before and asked him what happened. He paused for a second and then told me « The WDR editorial office considers you a ‘difficult’ person. And most importantly, the topics you suggest are especially hard. Right now I’ve got nothing more to tell you », » Wagner explained.

He added that about a year ago he met with Siegesmund von Ilsemann, an editor at Spiegel magazine who wrote a comprehensive report about the ‘deadly dust’ and its effects, and who revealed to the astonished director that the use of depleted uranium by the military literally became a taboo subject in Germany.

« He told me that the issue of DU munitions use and its consequences became taboo in Germany. And no TV channel or newspaper would allow even him – a person who worked on this subject for a long time – to publish anything related to it, » Wagner added.

DU shells are made of byproducts of uranium enrichment. Their superior armor-piercing capabilities make them a potent anti-tank weapon, especially considering that when an armored vehicle gets hit by such a shell, the impact and subsequent release of heat energy causes it to ignite, incinerating the target’s interior. But it’s the ‘deadly dust’ produced by a DU shell detonation that is probably the most insidious aspect of this type of ordnance.

« At such a high temperature the substance – depleted uranium – burns down to nano-particles, each of them a hundred times smaller than a red blood cell. And due to their extremely small size, these particles ‘travel’ through a human body, infiltrating brain, lungs, kidneys, placenta, bloodstream and even sperm and egg cells which causes severe developmental diseases in newborns, » Wagner said.

According to him, US forces actively used DU munitions in Kosovo, Somalia, Libya and during both Iraqi campaigns, not to mention that they keep using them in Afghanistan up to this day.

« I’ve travelled to Iraq and Kosovo myself. We collected soil, water and tissue samples. All tissue samples contained depleted uranium particles, and even worse, they contained the so called uranium-236 which can only be produced artificially, » he said.

He also pointed out that the families of 16 out of 109 Italian soldiers who died of cancer sued the Italian government. During the trials, which the plaintiffs won, it was established that the fatal disease in all cases was caused by the use of DU munitions in Iraq and Kosovo.

And yet, much to Wagner’s surprise, no global wave of outrage spearheaded by the UN, Amnesty International and similar organizations took place over these developments.

« It should’ve happened a long time ago. In 2001 in Germany and in many other European nations the press wrote a lot about the first deaths among the Spanish and Portuguese soldiers in Kosovo. The then-Defense Minister of Germany Rudolf Scharping nearly lost his position. But then NATO and the UN decreed that this topic must be removed from the media – and they succeeded, » Wagner surmised.

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Deux jours avant le sommet post-Brexit à Bratislava vendredi, le Président de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, a prononcé son discours annuel de l’état de l’Union européenne. Prenant la parole devant le Parlement européen, il a averti que l’Union européenne est confrontée à « une crise existentielle » et a précisé que l’élite dirigeante européenne n’a rien à offrir à la classe ouvrière européenne en dehors de l’austérité, du nationalisme, du renforcement de l’État policier et de la guerre.

« Je ne me présente pas devant vous aujourd’hui pour vous dire que maintenant tout va très bien. Ce n’est pas le cas, » a-t-il dit. « Je suis témoin de plusieurs décennies d’intégration européenne, mais je n’avais jamais vu auparavant si peu de points communs entre nos États membres. Tellement peu de domaines où ils sont d’accord pour travailler ensemble […] Notre Union européenne est, au moins en partie, dans une crise existentielle. »

Juncker a reconnu que la crise historique de l’UE reproduit les mêmes divisions nationales et l’effondrement politique qui ont plongé le continent dans deux guerres mondiales au XXe siècle. « Je n’ai jamais vu auparavant des gouvernements nationaux à ce point affaiblis par les forces du populisme et paralysées par le risque de la défaite aux prochaines élections, » a-t-il averti.

« Les douze prochains mois seront décisifs si nous voulons ré-unir notre Union, » a ajouté M. Juncker. Il « propose donc un agenda positif des actions européennes concrètes pour les douze prochains mois. »

En réalité, il n’y a pas d’« agenda positif ». Juncker a pratiquement admis que les politiques de l’UE ont privé toute une génération d’un avenir meilleur. « Je ne peux pas et je n’accepterai pas que la génération du Millénaire ou la génération Y, puissent être la première génération en 70 ans à être plus pauvres que leurs parents ». Venant d’un homme qui a supervisé des années d’austérité profonde qui ont réduit les salaires et le niveau de vie en Grèce et dans toute l’Europe, c’est d’un cynisme absolu.

Dans une tentative de dissimuler le caractère de classe de l’UE, et de canaliser la colère croissante parmi les travailleurs européens dans une direction antiaméricaine et nationaliste, Juncker a allégué : « L’Europe n’est pas le  »Far West », mais une économie sociale de marché. En Europe, les consommateurs sont protégés contre les cartels et les abus des entreprises puissantes. Cela vaut pour les géants comme Apple aussi. »

De qui Juncker se moque-t-il ? Ceux qui sont protégés dans l’Europe capitaliste – comme dans l’Amérique capitaliste – ce sont les super-riches et les banques ! Après des années de déréglementation et d’austérité, au bout du compte les travailleurs européens sont confrontés aux mêmes conditions dévastatrices que leurs frères et sœurs de classe aux États-Unis. Lorsque Juncker critique Apple, qui est impliqué, comme la plupart des grandes entreprises, dans la fraude fiscale à grande échelle, cela n’a rien à voir avec la protection des travailleurs européens. Au contraire, il souligne les tensions croissantes au moment où l’UE cherche à faire valoir ses propres intérêts de manière plus indépendante des États-Unis voire directement contre ce dernier.

« L’Europe ne peut plus se permettre de profiter de la puissance militaire des autres, ou de laisser la France seule à défendre son honneur au Mali, » a déclaré Juncker, appelant pratiquement à une escalade majeure des forces militaires européennes dans les guerres en cours en Afrique et au Moyen-Orient.

Juncker a également promis une importante escalade militaire : « Pour que la défense européenne soit forte, l’industrie européenne de défense doit innover », a-t-il dit. « Voilà pourquoi nous allons proposer avant la fin de l’année un Fonds européen pour la défense, afin de donner un effet de turbo à la recherche et de l’innovation. »

Juncker a confirmé les plans de l’UE, de longue date, ravivés par les ministres de la Défense, Ursula von der Leyen pour l’Allemagne et Jean-Yves Le Drian pour la France, dans leur proposition, émise dans le cadre des préparatifs du sommet, de transformer de fait l’UE en un État policier et militaire.

« L’Europe a besoin de s’endurcir, » a déclaré Juncker. « Nulle part n’est-ce plus vrai que dans notre politique de défense. Le Traité de Lisbonne permet aux États membres qui le souhaitent, de mettre en commun leurs capacités de défense sous la forme d’une coopération structurée permanente. Je pense qu’il est temps de faire usage de cette possibilité. »

Juncker a appelé de ses vœux : « une stratégie européenne pour la Syrie » et que Federica Mogherini, Haut-Commissaire de l’UE pour la politique étrangère, devienne : « notre ministre européen des Affaires étrangères, par l’intermédiaire de laquelle tous les services diplomatiques, de grands et petits pays semblables, mettent en commun leurs forces pour atteindre l’effet de levier dans les négociations internationales. »

Ce plan à lui seul en dit long sur la stratégie réactionnaire de l’UE. Mogherini a dirigé la poussée de l’UE pour des politiques militaire et étrangère communes pour l’Europe après le vote du Royaume-Uni de se retirer de l’UE. Lors du premier sommet de l’UE sans la participation britannique à la fin de juin, elle a présenté un document intitulé « La stratégie mondiale pour la politique étrangère et sécuritaire de l’Europe. » L’objectif au cœur de cette stratégie était que l’UE devienne une puissance militaire agressive capable de faire la guerre indépendamment des États-Unis.

L’Europe « doit être mieux équipée, formée et organisée pour contribuer de manière décisive à ces efforts collectifs, ainsi qu’agir de manière autonome si et quand c’est nécessaire, » exige ce document. Il fait appel à un programme de réarmement massif et montre clairement qu’il n’y a pratiquement pas de limite géographique à la portée potentielle d’une force militaire de l’UE. Bruxelles se réserve le droit d’intervenir non seulement dans les régions déchirées par la guerre en Afrique du Nord, Moyen-Orient et Europe de l’Est, mais partout dans le monde.

Les intérêts déclarés de l’UE comprennent « la garantie de routes océaniques et maritimes ouvertes et protégées qui est critique pour le commerce et l’accès aux ressources naturelles. » À cette fin, « l’UE contribuera à la sécurité maritime mondiale, en tirant parti de son expérience dans l’océan Indien et la Méditerranée, et explorera les possibilités dans le Golfe de Guinée, la mer de Chine méridionale et le détroit de Malacca. »

La poussée pour empêcher l’éclatement de l’UE en préparant des guerres mondiales est instiguée surtout par Berlin. « Le Livre blanc 2016 sur la politique de sécurité allemande et l’avenir de la Bundeswehr » publié récemment par l’Allemagne accueille explicitement : « la nouvelle stratégie globale des politiques étrangère et sécuritaire de l’Union européenne, » tout en indiquant qu’elle « apportera une contribution importante au renforcement de la capacité de l’UE à agir dans le domaine des politiques étrangère et sécuritaire. »

« Dès le début, l’Allemagne a joué un rôle actif dans le soutien du développement de cette nouvelle stratégie », se vante la doctrine officielle de la politique étrangère de Berlin.

Les plans franco-allemands actuels, tels que la création d’un quartier général militaire unifié de l’UE, ont également été énoncés d’abord dans le livre blanc de Berlin. À moyen terme, un « siège opérationnel permanent civil et militaire » est nécessaire, déclare-t-il, avec une « planification et une capacité de commandement et de contrôle au niveau civile et militaire ». Ce n’est que de cette manière, que le « poids politique des pays de l’Europe » peut être maintenu à long terme, ainsi que les « intérêts sécuritaires de l’UE », compte tenu « des changements géopolitiques et de l’évolution démographique mondiale ».

La poussée, surtout par la classe dirigeante allemande, pour organiser l’Europe militairement après le Brexit afin de défendre ses intérêts géostratégiques et économiques à l’échelle mondiale ne fait qu’augmenter les tensions entre les puissances européennes et le risque d’une nouvelle grande guerre entre les puissances impérialistes.

L’Amiral britannique Lord West a été cité par le tabloïd The Sun la semaine dernière : « À cause du Brexit, je pense que l’Europe est dans une situation délicate, je pense qu’il est regrettable que nous ne soyons pas restés dedans, parce qu’ils ont vraiment besoin de notre expertise militaire. Je peux voir des bouts de l’Europe en train de se briser et quand l’Europe se retrouve dans le pétrin, deux fois dans le passé nous avons dû aller là-bas pour y mettre un terme avec une immense perte de sang et de vies. »

Johannes Stern

Article paru d’abord en anglais, WSWS, le 15 septembre 2016

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US Renews Sanctions and Keeps Blockade on Cuba

septembre 16th, 2016 by Telesur

U.S. President Barack Obama renewed on Tuesday for another year the Trading with the Enemy Act, extending the economic blockade originally imposed on Cuba more than 50 years ago.

« I hereby determine that the continuation for one year of the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba is in the national interest of the United States,” Obama said in a statement.

The restrictions will remain in effect until Sept. 14, 2017.

In Dec. 2014, Obama announced the normalization of relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of hostilities. The two countries reopened their respective embassies in July 2015, but the blockade remains in effect.

The law maintains the economic embargo on the island, which ultimately can only be lifted by the U.S. Congress.

President John F. Kennedy first imposed the economic blockade against Cuba in 1962. It has since been renewed every year by the following nine presidents.

Cuba presented a report last week that claims the U.S. blockade on the island nation has cost it US$4.7 billion over the last year and US$753.7 billion over the last six decades.

Last year the U.N. General Assembly voted 191-2 to condemn the U.S. blockade of Cuba, with only the U.S. and Israel opposed.

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Has Netflix revealed itself to be another deep state conscript? The recent Syria White Helmet promotional movie has caused uproar among people awakened to the US, UK state and intelligence agency involvement in this pseudo ‘first responder’ faux NGO outfit that has infiltrated Syria on behalf of its funders and donors based in the US and NATO neocolonialist “regime change” command centres.

Funded to the tune of over $60 million by the US, UK and EU member states, these mercenaries in beige clothing have a base of operations in Turkey, but appear to operate exclusively in terrorist-held zones in Syria, and can also be seen running ‘mop-up’ operations for Al Nusra Front and other terrorist fighting groups.

For a further reading on the White Helmets and their role in the Dirty War on Syria read 21st Century Wire’s comprehensive compilation of the most important investigations into NATO’s latest fifth column creation: Who are the Syria White Helmets

The ‘White Helmets’ documentary premiered today at the Toronto International Film Festival, and on Netflix streaming website.

The following are a few examples of the comments being left on the Netflix trailer for their White Helmets “documentary” trailer:

Dear Netflix:

STOP SUPPORTING TERRORISTS. The so called White Helmets are a transparent construct of NATO to take over Syria by stealth in the guise of “do gooders”. NO serious journalists who have been to Syria believe they are doing what this film suggests. Only journalists too lazy to think for themselves believe this. NO locals in Syria have seen these white Helmets in their white helmets – except when their very expensive cameras turn up to film them for propaganda.

And shame on any news outlet who has bought any of that footage and bought their story hook line and sinker without investigating their known connections to Al Nusra and Al Qaeda.Syrian men trying to really save children are hindered from doing so by inhumane sanctions and by the White Helmets blocking roads and villages. Local heroes have no supplies, they do not have a 90 million pound budget to get food, and first aid or digging equipment, yet nobody makes a film about these people… the real Syrian people.

Local people say these are mercenaries who wear ordinary clothes, are not Syrian, and are committing atrocities and keeping food and supplies from reaching cities and villages. Paid terrorists loaded with weapons and supplies and a 90 million pound budget from EU and NATO countries who have an obsession with illegally deposing an honestly elected president of a nation state. It is another way to take over a regime…  without using bombs..  by stealth, this is a Trojan Horse and these men are not heroes at all but murderers and thieves. ASK THE PEOPLE OF SYRIA. GO TO SYRIA and see for yourself. Do not just use footage made by terrorists and spread it all over the world when it is the opposite of the truth.

netflix-final

Image creation: Cory Morningstar of Wrong Kind of Green

« Pure propaganda.”

« In Aleppo, the most important thing to remember is that all life is precious”. So precious that the White Helmets are ready to take the dead bodies away after Al-Qaeda executes them, while the camera is still rolling!!”

“When the saint go marching in”, White Helmets are not saints, they are terrorists. When not in front of a camera, they take off their white helmets and strap on their guns.”

The white helmets are a media blitz project created by the US & UK in which they received monies from the state department & billionaires who made their fortune in the oil and gas industry.

21WIRE will be bringing you more detailed reports on the funding of the Netflix operation and of course further information on the REAL Syria Civil Defence that journalist Vanessa Beeley has recently met with and interviewed in Syria – in Aleppo, Lattakia, Tartous and the Head Quarters in Damascus.

Here is an excellent alternative to the Netflix official trailer made by Steve Ezzeddine forHands Off Syria, Sydney. Watch:

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Un nouveau rapport de l’Université Brown fournit une indication de plus du prix terrible payé par les travailleurs américains et du monde entier pour les crimes de l’impérialisme américain. Washington aurait gaspillé près de 5 mille milliards $ depuis le 11 septembre 2001 sur des guerres lancées sous prétexte de combattre le terrorisme.

Ce 15e anniversaire du 11 septembre, 10.000 soldats américains sont toujours en Afghanistan, 15 ans après l’invasion américaine de ce pays, ainsi que 6.000 en Irak. De plus, des centaines de soldats des forces spéciales se battent en Syrie, où les Etats-Unis luttent pour renverser le régime en une alliance de fait avec les filiales syriennes d’Al-Qaïda, organisation censée être la cible principale de la dernière décennie et demie de guerres.

Le coût financier des guerres est énorme, presque insondable. Toutefois, l’auteur du rapport, le professeur Neta Crawford de l’Université de Boston, les place à juste titre dans leur contexte plus large, et plus horrible, c’est-à-dire la traînée de sang et de destruction qu’elles laissent derrière elles :

« (Le) vrai bilan de toute guerre ne peut être enregistré dans les colonnes d’un comptable. Des civils blessés ou déplacés par la violence, aux soldats tués et blessés, aux enfants qui jouent des années plus tard sur des routes et des champs couverts d’engins explosifs et de bombes à sous-munitions, aucune série de chiffres ne communique le bilan humain des guerres en Irak et en Afghanistan, ou comment elles ont envahi les pays voisins, la Syrie et le Pakistan, et sont revenues hanter les États-Unis et leurs alliés dans la forme d’anciens combattants et de mercenaires blessés ».

Certaines pertes sont quantifiables et effroyables : plus d’un million de vies irakiennes perdues à cause de l’invasion américaine de 2003 ; plus de 12 millions de réfugiés chassés de pays dévastés par des guerres: l’Afghanistan, l’Irak, le Pakistan et la Syrie ; près de 7.000 soldats américains morts en Irak et en Afghanistan, ainsi qu’un nombre à peu près égal de mercenaires privés ; 52.000 blessés et d’innombrables centaines de milliers d’autres qui souffrent de lésions cérébrales traumatiques, de syndrome de stress post-traumatique ou d’autres problèmes mentaux pour avoir combattu dans de sales guerres néo-coloniales.

Néanmoins, le rapport explique de façon convaincante que il faut également faire une évaluation sérieuse et complète des coûts financiers réels de ces guerres.

Le coût global des guerres de l’impérialisme américain comprend les 1.700 milliards $ affectés par le Congrès pour mener de prétendues Opérations de contingence à l’étranger (OCO). C’est un supplément du budget de base du Pentagone, qui totalise quelque 6.800 milliards $ de 2001 à 2016.

En traitant ces guerres de OCOs, le Congrès et les Administrations Bush et Obama ont agi comme si c’étaient des situations d’urgence budgétaire imprévisibles, alors qu’elles perduraient depuis une décennie et demie. Ainsi, ils se libéraient de toute forme de responsabilité financière normale et menaient leurs guerres sans attribuer d’impôts ou d’autres recettes pour les payer.

Le rapport cite également les coûts des soins et d’invalidité des anciens combattants, les allocations pour la Sécurité intérieure, les intérêts sur les crédits de guerre du Pentagone, et les coûts futurs des soins des anciens combattants.

Ce dernier coût est évalué à un montant d’au moins 1.000 milliards $ d’ici 2053. La raison de cette évaluation s’explique par quelques statistiques alarmantes.

À la fin de 2015, plus de 1.600 anciens combattants en Irak et en Afghanistan ont subi d’importantes amputations. En 2014, on avait détecté des lésions cérébrales traumatiques chez 327.000 anciens combattants de ces guerres ; la même année, 700.000 des 2,7 millions de personnes déployées sur ces zones de guerre avaient été classées comme handicapées à 30 pour cent ou plus.

Selon le rapport, le Département des Anciens combattants serait le département du gouvernement américain qui croît le plus rapidement ; son personnel a presque doublé en 15 ans, pour atteindre 350.000. Pourtant, selon un autre rapport récent, il « manque encore de fonds pour combler des milliers de postes vacants de médecins et d’infirmiers, et pour financer des réparations très nécessaires de ses hôpitaux et cliniques ».

En plus, à moins que le Congrès ne modifie les modalités de financement, les intérêts cumulés sur les crédits de guerre accordés seulement jusqu’à exercice fiscal de 2013 équivaudront à la somme stupéfiante de 7.900 milliards $ en 2053.

Le rapport rappelle que quand l’administration Bush se préparait à lancer sa guerre en Irak, on a dénoncé son conseiller économique, Lawrence Lindsey, pour avoir dit que la « limite supérieure » des coûts de la guerre serait de 100 ou 200 milliards $. Du secrétaire à la Défense Donald Rumsfeld aux députés démocrates, qui ont avancé le chiffre de 50 milliards $, toute la classe politique a vivement rejeté cette estimation. C’était en fait environ le centième du coût réel de la guerre.

Dans la criminalité de leur justification, de leurs méthodes et de leur financement, ces guerres sont le fidèle reflet du parasitisme et des spéculations destructrices qui dominent le fonctionnement du capitalisme américain dans son ensemble.

Avec un financement « hors comptabilité officielle » et une armée composée de volontaires, la classe dirigeante américaine espérait également atténuer l’hostilité populaire à la guerre.

Le rapport ne tente pas d’estimer l’impact plus large de la guerre sur l’économie et sur les conditions de vie des travailleurs américains. Un rapport publié il y a deux ans par Harvard a prudemment estimé que le coût des guerres en Irak et en Afghanistan s’élevait à 75.000 $ par ménage américain.

Le rapport évoque des études antérieures, selon lesquelles les guerres auraient détruit des dizaines de milliers d’emplois et sabré dans le financement des infrastructures. Les vastes sommes détournées vers la destruction du Moyen Orient et de l’Asie centrale auraient suffi à financer les 3.320 milliards $ que nécessitera la réparation des ports, des autouroutes, des ponts, des trains, et de l’infrastructure électrique et d’eau des USA, et à rembourser toutes les dettes des étudiants américains, évaluées à 1.260 milliards $.

Mais les élus des deux grands partis capitalistes insistent constamment qu’il n’y a pas d’argent pour l’emplois, les salaires, l’éducation, les soins et d’autres nécessités de base, tout en dépensant des sommes monstrueuses sur le militarisme et la guerre. Ils compter faire payer la facture à la classe ouvrière, en intensifiant les mesures d’austérité.

Le bilan humain et financier des guerres des 15 dernières années n’est d’ailleurs qu’un avant-goût de la catastrophe dont l’impérialisme américain et ses alliés européens menacent le monde, par leur escalade militaire visant les 2e et 3e puissances nucléaires, la Russie et la Chine.

Bill Van Auken

Article paru en anglais, WSWS, le 14 septembre 2016

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Suspending a course in the middle of a semester is one of the most serious actions a university can take. On Sept. 13, Dean Carla Hesse of the University of California at Berkeley did exactly that to a student-taught DeCal class about Palestine.

DeCal stands for Democratic Education at Cal, an old-fashioned tradition where undergraduate students teach 1 or 2 unit courses, pass/fail, to their peers. The instructors, called facilitators, plan their own courses, which must be approved by a faculty committee and the chair of a department.

In a statement, Paul Hadweh, the student facilitator, declared:

I complied with all policies and procedures required for creating the course. The course was vetted and fully supported by the faculty advisor, the department chair, and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI).

The university suspended the course without consulting me, the faculty sponsor, the chair of the department, or the Academic Senate’s COCI, which is responsible for approving all UC Berkeley Courses. The university did not contact us to discuss concerns prior to suspending our course.

Universities should never suspend courses in the middle of a semester except under the most dire circumstances, where a course has been proven to violate university policies and cannot be fixed, or some kind of extraordinary fraud has occurred.

Nothing like that exists in this case. In fact, nothing like that has even been alleged by the administration, which relies upon bureaucratic snafus to justify suspending this course.

On Sept. 14, UC Berkeley Assistant Vice Chancellor Dan Mogulof wrote to me that “The administration was first made aware of this issue last week when students, faculty and staff noticed posters for the course and expressed concern about the syllabus and, among other things, its compliance with Regents policy.”

InsideHigherEd likewise reported:

However, the public clamor was not the tipping point for Hesse’s decision, Mogulof said. She began her inquiries into the course last week, after a colleague raised concerns about the course to the dean internally. This occurred before public criticism began.

But it was two weeks ago, on Sept. 1, that Mogulof was quoted in a Jewish newspaper responding to concerns about the course from critics.

(UPDATE: Mogulof reports that his original timeline reported in the press was inaccurate, and that the administration first heard about the course on Aug. 26 from a faculty member. But this raises still more questions about a course that began on Sept. 6. If there were legitimate academic concerns about the syllabus, why not contact the instructor about them? Why wait 19 days and then suddenly ban the course? Hesse’s whole complaint is that the failure to deposit a copy of syllabus with her office deprived her of the opportunity to examine it for problems. Now we find out that she had 11 days before the course started to examine the syllabus and she did nothing.)

The administration seems anxious to claim that their decision was made in reaction to the concerns of students, faculty, and staff on campus. But the truth is that Berkeley faced a global onslaught of organizations attacking them for allowing this course. In a letter to Chancellor Dirks on Sept. 13, 43 Jewish, civil rights and education advocacy organizations declared that the class was “intended to indoctrinate students to hate the Jewish state and take action to eliminate it:”

But interestingly, even these organizations did not call for suspending the course; they were solely focused on preventing a similar course from being approved in the future.

By this point, though, Hasse appeared to have a plan to save Berkeley from the bad publicity and put the blame on the student who proposed the course for failing to follow proper procedures. A few hours later on Sept. 13, she emailed the instructor and the faculty who approved the course, informing them that she had suspended the course. It was the first time she had contacted the student instructor.

Berkeley was quick to alert the press about the news, and to blame the student instructor.

Chancellor Dirks’ office emailed critics on Sept. 13:

It has been determined that the facilitator for the course in question did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the normal academic review and approval of proposed courses for the Decal program.

The San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 13 reported:

The campus letter says the student teaching the course “did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the normal academic review.” A spokesman for Dirks said the student did not show his course proposal to the dean of the College of Letters and Sciences, Carla Hesse, as required.

Almost the same exact explanation was given to InsideHigherEd in its Sept. 14 story:

The university suspended the course because its proposal was never submitted to Dean Carla Hesse of the College of Letters and Sciences, said Dan Mogulof, executive director for communications and public affairs at Berkeley.

Although the dean is not required to approve the course, students must still send her a copy of the proposal. That way, she can review the course and speak to colleagues or the department chair — who is required to sign off on the course — before it is taught.

“When the dean was made aware of the course, she had serious concerns,” Mogulof said. “And she was surprised because she had not previously heard about it.”

But there was a big problem I uncovered. The DeCal website explicitly states that the Dean of Letters & Science does not need to get a copy: “Note that DeCals in the College of Letters & Science no longer need to submit a copy of their proposals to the Dean starting Fall 2014.” (UPDATE: Dean Hesse explained in an email that apparently the head of the Undergraduate Studies made this decision in 2014 without informing the other division heads in Letters & Science or the Dean of Letters & Science.)

When I contacted the Berkeley administration, Dan Mogulof got back to me with a new explanation:

The Executive Dean of Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science was never informed of any change in the review policy for Decal courses, and would not have approved of any change that would withhold information about course proposals from the Dean’s office. In addition, it has also been determined that a department chair with the authority to grant approval for courses in the fall did not review and approve this course. The existing policy of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses and Instruction explicitly states that the relevant department chair or the Dean must approve new courses, and that “a copy of the approved proposal form” must also be provided to the Dean. Neither of these steps were completed in this instance.

This is incorrect. What Mogulof calls a “policy” is actually a “Department Chair Checklist for Student-Facilitated 98 and 198 Courses.” It includes three sections: the first two involve verifying the substance of the course, while the “next steps” at the end are bureaucratic procedures. This checklist refers to providing copies of the “approved proposal” to various people, including the dean. This wording would indicate that the faculty, not the dean, make the decision to approve a course, which is how it should be. If the dean doesn’t have the power to approve courses, then she doesn’t have the power to suspend courses, even if she isn’t given a copy because that’s exactly what the DeCal program website says to do.

It’s notable that no Berkeley policy gives Dean Hesse the authority to suspend a course. According to Mogulof, “The course was suspended as per the Dean’s assessment of how best to handle a situation where rules and policies were not adhered to.” This is extremely alarming: the Dean asserts that if “rules and policies” are not followed, the Dean can arbitrarily suspend a class, without a hearing.

After trying to blame the suspension on the student facilitator’s failure to follow proper procedures, it is now clear that the student (and the faculty) followed the written procedures. It would be terrible to ban a class over an innocent bureaucratic error. It is far worse when there was no error at all, and the student and faculty (who are the ones responsible for informing a dean) had no way of knowing that a dean had to be informed when the official university website for the DeCal courses said precisely the contrary.

Now the administration has quickly invented a new explanation to justify why the course must be suspended. According to Mogulof: “there was an acting chair over the summer who did not have the authority to approve courses for the fall.”

Since an acting chair is normally acting as the chair, it would be very strange to say that the acting chair lacks the power of a chair to approve DeCal courses. I asked Mogulof if there is any written policy that says acting chairs cannot approve DeCal courses, and how DeCal courses would get approved in a department if no one has the authority to do it, but he hasn’t responded to those questions yet.

All of these procedural excuses cannot possibly justify suspending the Palestine class. But is there a substantive reason for objecting to the course? No.

The Regents Policy on Course Content denounces “Misuse of the classroom by, for example, allowing it to be used for political indoctrination…” The Regents Policy on Course Content is a terrible policy because a ban on “political indoctrination” is so vague and ill-defined, and can be abused to punish controversial political opinions. But it has no relevance to this controversy because political indoctrination cannot be determined solely by looking at a syllabus.

There appear to have been no complaints about the course by students enrolled in it, and no one in the administration attended the class.

Although a syllabus can reveal some indications of bias, it is almost impossible to conclude that a course is “political indoctrination” without evidence from the way that it is taught. Even a syllabus with one-sided readings can be taught without political indoctrination, if the instructor is open to encouraging dissenting viewpoints.

Nor is the course a violation of the Regents Policy against intolerance “in which dissenting viewpoints are not only tolerated but encouraged.” Actually, this policy is being violated by the Berkeley Administration in its efforts to ban this class.

The policy goes on to declare: “Freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry are paramount in a public research university and form the bedrock on which our mission of discovery is founded. The University will vigorously defend the principles of the First Amendment and academic freedom against any efforts to subvert or abridge them.”

Yet the Berkeley administration is demanding changes to the content of the course already approved by faculty.

Hadweh reported that at a meeting on Sept. 13, Dean Hesse told him three things he needed to do to have her reconsider her decision and approve the course, although approval was not guaranteed even if he did them.

First, she said that he would need to “prove that it’s balanced” because she felt it was “unbalanced.” Second, he reported that she said it was “seeking to politically mobilize students” and that was not allowed. Third, he reported that he would need to justify having the class as Ethnic Studies rather than Near East Studies or Global Studies.

There is no requirement that classes at Berkeley (or anywhere else) are “balanced,” nor should there be such a requirement for such a vague goal. There is no requirement that classes at Berkeley cannot seek to politically mobilize students (although there’s no evidence this class did that). And it is bizarre to challenge the particular department approving the course, especially since that has nothing to do with the course.

According to Berkeley’s website, Hesse’s expertise is “Early Modern Europe; 16th-20th century France; European Intellectual History, 17th-20th century.” Her books are The Other Enlightenment: How French Women Became Modern and Publishing and Cultural Politics in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1810. She appears to have no scholarly expertise at all about Israel and Palestine. So it is strange that Hesse would evaluate a syllabus and order changes without any input from the faculty involved, after suspending it without any input from the faculty involved.

The InsideHigherEd article reported:

The dean will now work with the Berkeley Academic Senate to review the course and examine whether it meets the university’s academic standards. The review process will also determine whether it complies with Berkeley’s intolerance policy, which was revised in March to condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

But rather than consulting with faculty, Hesse is demanding changes to fit her personal beliefs. Yet none of these changes required reflect anything that would justify suspending the course. If Hesse wanted to encourage him to alter and improve the class, she was free to do that without suspending the class. If Hesse wanted to publicly denounce the class, she was free to do that. Instead, Hesse abused her authority to ban a class without due process and without any sound justification.

Once a course has been approved and is underway, a heavy burden must be on the administration to prove that there is something fundamentally wrong with it, so completely wrong that it must be immediately halted without further review. Berkeley has not met this high standard; in fact, it has not even attempted to try to meet this standard, and does not even allege that this standard has been violated.

It is absolutely shocking that a university would ban a course under political pressure, using the violation of bureaucratic procedures as an excuse for its censorship. It is even more shocking because there was no violation of bureaucratic procedures.

If there was a breakdown in bureaucratic procedures (and there is no evidence of it), then it is the obligation of the university to fix those procedures in the future, not to ban a course and punish a facilitator and his students who reasonably followed every written rule.

This decision sends a clear message to the campus: controversial speech will be punished, especially if it is critical of Israel.

This course suspension is absolutely indefensible, completely unacceptable, and purely motivated by politics and public relations. It is a violation of academic freedom, shared governance, UC-Berkeley’s guidelines, the Regents Policies, and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

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“Since the founding of this nation, the United States’ relationship with the Indian tribes has been contentious and tragic. America’s expansionist impulse in its formative years led to the removal and relocation of many tribes, often by treaty but also by force.” Cobell v. Norton, 240 F.3d 1081, 1086 (D.C. Cir. 2001). This case also features what an American Indian tribe believes is an unlawful encroachment on its heritage. More specifically, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has sued the United States Army Corps of Engineers to block the operation of Corps permitting for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). – (opening paragraph of STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE, et al., v. U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, et al., Civil Action #16-1534 (JEB))

After seeming to quote sympathetically another judge’s oblique acknowledgement of historic injustice (above), a U.S. District Judge went on to issue an opinion perpetuating that injustice, as required by law. On September 9, 2016, Judge James E. (“Jeb”) Boasberg issued his order based on his self-described cursory review of the record (“digging through a substantial record on an expedited basis” [emphasis added]). This cursory review is again acknowledged in the judge’s conclusion that “the Corps has likely complied with the NHPA [National Historic Preservation Act] and that the Tribe has not shown it will suffer injury that would be prevented by any injunction the Court could issue.” The judge took 58 pages to justify his ruling on a likelihood rather than a finding of fact, which was not easily found given the spotty state of the evidence. Judge Boasberg’s lengthy exposition of the case is filled with surmises and, as a whole, suggests that few, if any, of the participants have consistently acted in good faith.

Judge Boasberg’s decision, to deny an injunction halting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), appears reasonable enough on its face since the pipeline is already about half built (on private land) and the Standing Rock Sioux made no specific representations of culturally significant sites that would be irreparably damaged in the absence of an injunction, at least according to the judge, who wrote: “These people created stone alignments, burial cairns, and other rock features throughout the area to conduct important spiritual rituals related to the rhythms of their daily life. Along the region’s waterways in particular, the prevalence of these artifacts reflects water’s sacred role in their deeply held spiritual beliefs.” His decision to discount these non-specific monuments (“at least 350”) was more of apsychological defeat than a legal one for the tribe, since the Standing Rock Sioux had, from the beginning, wanted the Army Corps of Engineers to treat the entire pipeline as a single project. The Corps insisted that its legal jurisdiction applied only to unconnected bits and pieces totaling about 12 miles along the route of the 1,172-mile pipeline. Although Congress has regulated natural gas pipelines, it has passed no law putting oil pipelines under federal jurisdiction, even when a pipeline, like DAPL, passes through several states.

U.S. Justice Dept. plays both sides of pipeline issue

Whatever impact Judge Boasberg’s ruling had didn’t last long. Apparently the U.S. Justice Dept., having represented the Corps of Engineers in the Standing Rock Sioux case, had anticipated Judge Boasberg’s decision. And the Justice Dept. also apparently had mixed feelings about the likely decision, having prepared to render it moot if the injunction was denied. Within minutes of the judge’s ruling, the Justice Dept. issued a joint statement that began:

We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain. Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps….

The first step was effectively to impose a non-injunction injunction that halts construction on at least some of the contested areas where the pipeline approaches or encroaches on waterways. For now, the Corps of Engineers will withhold the permits necessary for construction to continue, pending the resolution of cultural site issues along the pipeline as well as the larger issue of how the U.S. relates to the supposedly sovereign tribal governments. This three-agency federal intervention has all the look of an attempt at political de-escalation of a situation threatening to get out of hand. Starting in April 2016 and increasing at the end of summer, thousands of Native Americans from a number of tribes across the country have gathered near Lake Oahe as “protectors of the waters,” using nonviolent direct action techniques to block pipeline construction. Both the pipeline company and the state of North Dakota have responded with force and violence, as well as apparently illegal violations of the protesters’ rights. As the Justice Dept. statement of September 9 put it:

… we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities. The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.

In recent days, we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.

Despite the reasonable rhetoric, the only action proposed by the Justice Dept. is to “invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations.” This is an ancient paradigm that has rarely turned out well for the tribes. The Justice Dept. agenda for the consultations has just two items: (1) “to better insure tribal input” into decisions affecting tribal lands and rights “within the existing statutory framework,” and (2) to consider proposing new legislation to Congress. Implicitly, the first point contradicts Judge Boasberg’s conclusion that the Corps of Engineers “likely” complied with the law. But what the Justice Dept. proposes will take a long time to reach any satisfactory solution, if it ever does. This is in direct opposition to pressures on the ground, where the white population (roughly 90% of North Dakota) is restive and the owner of the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, faces a contractual obligation to start delivering oil in early 2017. There is no middle ground here.

Once again, it’s the American empire versus interfering outsiders

Energy Transfer Partners represents the tip of the corporate oligarchy that has no profitable stake in alleviating climate change. The international banks (38 of them according to Bloomberg) that have put up more than $10 billion for DAPL and other oil projects are, in reality, underwriting the burning of more and worse fossil fuels as far as the planet is concerned. Mainstream media coverage, when it exists, typically focuses on protest and confrontation over the local water issue, without meaningful context and without going deeper into underlying issues. For detailed coverage of both events on the ground and wider context, Democracy NOW has been covering the story in depth since early August, as tensions were building.

On July 25, 2016, the Corps of Engineers issued an environmental assessment that found that the pipeline would have “no significant impact” on the tribe’s burial grounds or other cultural landmarks. The Corps also instituted a “Tribal Monitoring Plan,” under which DAPL was required to notify the tribes when working on sensitive areas so that the tribe could monitor the work. This was roughly seven years since work began on the pipeline, by which time almost half the pipeline had already been built without monitoring.

On August 4, the tribe filed for an injunction to stop work on the pipeline. Judge Boasberg held a hearing on the motion on August 24, promising a decision on September 9. The judge noted that 90% of the clearing and grading, the work most damaging to tribal sites, had been completed in North Dakota. He added: “One of the few exceptions is the crossing leading up to the west side of Lake Oahe, which has not yet been cleared or graded.”

On September 2, the tribes filed a supplemental declaration with Judge Boasberg, identifying a number of cultural sites both within and near the pipeline route, areas that had been untouched by construction. The following day, Saturday, September 3, DAPL bulldozers moved in and plowed up the area, without regard for any tribal sites in their way. To get this done, DAPL brought in private security forces from out of state. Local and state law enforcement withdrew and watched, or went away. Caught by surprise, tribal protesters belatedly but peacefully swarmed the site to stop the bulldozers. There they were met by aggressive private security forces who used dogs and pepper spray, as well as personal violence, to hold protestors at bay while the bulldozers finished their work. An unknown number of protestors were hit, shoved, pepper sprayed, maced, bitten by dogs, and otherwise attacked by DAPL workers and security. And the state of North Dakota responded by issuing a warrant for the arrest of journalist Amy Goodmanfor criminal trespass.

In his ruling a week later, Judge Boasberg covered this event in a single sentence: “The next day, on Saturday, September 3, Dakota Access graded this area.” In the same section, Judge Boasberg went to much greater lengths to minimize the findings of previously unidentified cultural sites. He also conflated them with others that were not in areas that needed permits. His writing sounds like a brief for the pipeline, showing not the slightest displeasure with DAPL’s actions. Another judge, faced with pre-emptive bulldozing of property in active litigation might have had a word or more to say about actions in contempt of court.

Tribal suffering makes a great panopticon for shows of caring

Later in his decision, where he finds that the tribe will suffer no irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction, Judge Boasberg wrote without apparent irony of “the likelihood that DAPL’s ongoing construction activities – specifically, grading and clearing of land – might damage or destroy sites of great cultural or historical significance to the Tribe.” The judge does not consider whether this is exactly what happened on September 3. Instead, in a growing fog of mock respect, the judge quotes the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council chairman, Dave Archambault II:

History connects the dots of our identity, and our identity was all but obliterated. Our land was taken, our language was forbidden. Our stories, our history, were almost forgotten. What land, language, and identity remains is derived from our cultural and historic sites…. Sites of cultural and historic significance are important to us because they are a spiritual connection to our ancestors. Even if we do not have access to all such sites, their existence perpetuates the connection. When such a site is destroyed, the connection is lost.”

With breath-taking sanctimony, the judge then ignores not only the future possibility of irreparable harm from DAPL construction, but also the actual irreparable harm of September 3 as well. Judge Boasberg writes: “The tragic history of the Great Sioux Nation’s repeated dispossessions at the hands of a hungry and expanding early America is well known. The threat that new injury will compound old necessarily compels great caution and respect from this Court in considering the Tribe’s plea for intervention.” Whereupon the judge exercised no caution whatsoever, denied the request for an injunction, and left the tribe at the mercy of the pipeline company (until the Justice Dept. intervened). In his order, the judge then justified his choice with an argument of inevitability as to the destruction of tribal sacred sites: “any such harms are destined to ensue whether or not the Court grants the injunction the Tribe desires.” [emphasis added] But later the judge admitted that “there may be many sites that … the Court has missed.”

Judge Boasberg, whatever his personal qualities, appears here as an agent of the state, a state that has been hostile for centuries to those who lived here before. Despite his lip service to Native American suffering, Judge Boasberg is little different in cultural representation from Jack Schaaf, 60, the white, angry, North Dakota rancher who is mad at the tribes for legally trying to defend their rights, as reported inthe New York Times September 13, showing no awareness of self-contradiction:

Mr. Schaaf said he had no problem with people standing up for a cause, but he was tired of navigating a police checkpoint if he wanted to drive into Mandan for a pizza. He complained that closings at Lake Oahe had prevented him from boating. And he said the protesters had no right to march on a public highway. “I think it’s totally wrong,” he said. “If they want to protest, they should be in the ditch.”

This, like Judge Boasberg, is the voice of the conqueror whose denial of who he is requires him to deny the conquered their rights. This is class war and race war. This is the power to attack the living and disturb the dead without remorse, without hesitation, without even awareness. This is the continuity of American genocide that underlies everything America says it wants to stand for. This is the bedrock of American entitlement. This is entitlement that sees no contradiction in denying some of the public access to public roads. This is entitlement that enables law officers to lie about pipe bomb threats when tribal leaders talk about loading up their peace pipes. This is entitlement that shows itself in the actions of a pipeline company that, while waiting for a judge to rule on the protection of a burial ground, sends in its goons and bulldozers to rape the land and then argue that there’s no burial ground left to protect. It’s like the boy who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.

Entitlement that robs a grave for a skull to use in ritual kissing

This is the deeply pathological American entitlement that has no difficulty sharing blankets laced with smallpox, no difficulty wiping out men, women, and children at Sand Creek or Ludlow, Colorado, no difficulty slaughtering guards and prisoners at Attica, and no difficulty waging war crimes in countries sorely in need of disentitlement, at least in American eyes.

And strangely enough, Judge Boasberg has been beautifully cast by fate as the embodiment of the American pathology as it attacks the tribes once more. Jeb Boasberg is a child of American privilege. From St. Albans School to Yale to Oxford to Yale Law School and on up the federal judicial ladder, there is nothing apparent in his published life story that prepares him even to understand tribal realities, much less deal fairly or compassionately with them.

Judging by Jeb Boasberg’s answers to the U.S. Senate before being confirmed for his next federal judgeship, he is the antithesis of an activist judge. He had no objection to mandatory sentencing. He wrote: “I have not presided over cases in which my desired outcome was contrary to the law.” He answered that he does not consider his own personal values (unstated) relevant. With regard to the right to bear arms and to the death penalty, he said he would follow current law as determined by the Supreme Court. He said he does not believe the U.S. Constitution is a living document that can evolve with society. He said a federal judge must do as the Supreme Court says. He said more, much of it repetitive, none of it suggesting any inclination to deviate purposely from current legal doctrine, whatever it might be.

These answers create an impression of a legal automaton, insofar as it’s possible for a human to be robotic. Judge Boasberg portrays himself as a man who only follows orders. He does not bring up the way “only following orders” runs against the Geneva Conventions (but he is not a soldier being ordered by judicial authority to make fundamental moral choices, the same choices he flees from). Asked for his view of “the role of a judge,” he answered: “A judge should fairly and impartially uphold the law as it is written and apply it to the cases that appear before him or her.” With perfect consistency, he does not address the problem of how to uphold the law fairly when the law itself is unfair (a longstanding, common problem with American law).

The ruling class does as the ruling class does

The ruling class writes the law and the ruling class is not concerned with the law’s fairness to others than themselves. Jeb Boasberg, when he was at Yale College, was a member of a secret society of the ruling class, Skull and Bones (familiarly known as “Bones”), founded in 1832 by William H. Russell, heir to an opium-trade fortune. A great many of its members have served the American empire, especially in the CIA. Bonesmen as President include William Howard Taft and both Bushes (and their father/grandfather Prescott Bush). Other Bones alumni include William F. Buckley, William Sloane Coffin, Averill Harriman, Lewis Lapham, Henry Luce, and Secretary of State John Kerry among a long list of other notables.

Judge Boasberg’s deference to law, to government agencies, to oil pipeline companies is all consistent with his membership in a ruling class club. What is especially neat about this club is that, by credible legend, it has long been directly involved in Native American grave desecration. As the story goes, Prescott Bush was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1918. The Apache warrior Geronimo had died at Fort Sill in 1909. Bush and fellow Bonesmen dug him up and brought his skull and other bits back to the Tomb, the New Haven home of Skull and Bones. A lawsuit in 2009, seeking the return of Geronimo’s skull to his heirs, ended in dismissal by a federal judge before the truth of the skull could be established. The judge ruled that the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, under which the suit was filed, did not protect any graves desecrated before 1990, when the law was passed. That let Skull and Bones off the hook. And left Geronimo in limbo, or New Haven.

Assume the legend is literally true: then, as a Yale senior joining Skull and Bones, Jeb Boasberg kissed Geronimo’s skull. Metaphorically, that act of atavistic triumphalism shines through in his legal decision against the Standing Rock Sioux. Kissing the skull of an enemy is just another way of showing who’s in control here, whose burial is sacred, and whose is not.

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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Israeli Crimes against Humanity: Remembering the Sabra and Shatila Massacre

septembre 16th, 2016 by Institute for Middle East Understanding

Commemorating Sabra and Shatila .This article was first published in 2012

On September 16, 1982, Christian Lebanese militiamen allied to Israel entered the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra in Beirut under the watch of the Israeli army and began a slaughter that caused outrage around the world. Over the next day and a half, up to 3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, mostly women, children, and the elderly, were murdered in one of the worst atrocities in modern Middle Eastern history. The New York Times recently published an op-ed containing new details of discussions held between Israeli and American officials before and during the massacre. They reveal how Israeli officials, led by then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, misled and bullied American diplomats, rebuffing their concerns about the safety of the inhabitants of Sabra and Shatila.

Lead Up

  • On June 6, 1982, Israel launched a massive invasion of Lebanon. It had been long planned by Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, who wanted to destroy or severely diminish the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was based in Lebanon at the time. Sharon also planned to install a puppet government headed by Israel’s right-wing Lebanese Christian Maronite allies, the Phalangist Party.
  • Israeli forces advanced all the way to the capital of Beirut, besieging and bombarding the western part of city, where the PLO was headquartered and the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra are located.
  • Israel’s bloody weeklong assault on West Beirut in August prompted harsh international criticism, including from the administration of US President Ronald Reagan, who many accused of giving a « green light » to Israel to launch the invasion. Under a US-brokered ceasefire agreement, PLO leaders and more than 14,000 fighters were to be evacuated from the country, with the US providing written assurances for the safety of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians left behind. US Marines were deployed as part of a multinational force to oversee and provide security for the evacuation.
  • On August 30, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat left Beirut along with the remainder of the Palestinian fighters based in the city.
  • On September 10, the Marines left Beirut. Four days later, on September 14, the leader of Israel’s Phalangist allies, Bashir Gemayel, was assassinated. Gemayel had just been elected president of Lebanon by the Lebanese parliament, under the supervision of the occupying Israeli army. His death was a severe blow to Israel’s designs for the country. The following day, Israeli forces violated the ceasefire agreement, moving into and occupying West Beirut.

The Massacre

  • On Wednesday, September 15, the Israeli army surrounded the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra in West Beirut. The next day, September 16, Israeli soldiers allowed about 150 Phalangist militiamen into Sabra and Shatila.
  • The Phalange, known for their brutality and a history of atrocities against Palestinian civilians, were bitter enemies of the PLO and its leftist and Muslim Lebanese allies during the preceding years of Lebanon’s civil war. The enraged Phalangist militiamen believed, erroneously, that Phalange leader Gemayel had been assassinated by Palestinians. He was actually killed by a Syrian agent.
  • Over the next day and a half, the Phalangists committed unspeakable atrocities, raping, mutilating, and murdering as many as 3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, most of them women, children, and the elderly. Sharon would later claim that he could have had no way of knowing that the Phalange would harm civilians, however when US diplomats demanded to know why Israel had broken the ceasefire and entered West Beirut, Israeli army Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan justified the move saying it was « to prevent a Phalangist frenzy of revenge. » On September 15, the day before the massacre began, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin told US envoy Morris Draper that the Israelis had to occupy West Beirut, « Otherwise, there could be pogroms. »
  • Almost immediately after the killing started, Israeli soldiers surrounding Sabra and Shatila became aware that civilians were being murdered, but did nothing to stop it. Instead, Israeli forces fired flares into the night sky to illuminate the darkness for the Phalangists, allowed reinforcements to enter the area on the second day of the massacre, and provided bulldozers that were used to dispose of the bodies of many of the victims.
  • On the second day, Friday, September 17, an Israeli journalist in Lebanon called Defense Minister Sharon to inform him of reports that a massacre was taking place in Sabra and Shatila. The journalist, Ron Ben-Yishai, later recalled:

    ‘I found [Sharon] at home sleeping. He woke up and I told him « Listen, there are stories about killings and massacres in the camps. A lot of our officers know about it and tell me about it, and if they know it, the whole world will know about it. You can still stop it. » I didn’t know that the massacre actually started 24 hours earlier. I thought it started only then and I said to him « Look, we still have time to stop it. Do something about it. » He didn’t react. »‘

  • On Friday afternoon, almost 24 hours after the killing began, Eitan met with Phalangist representatives. According to notestaken by an Israeli intelligence officer present: « [Eitan] expressed his positive impression received from the statement by the Phalangist forces and their behavior in the field, » telling them to continue « mopping up the empty camps south of Fakahani until tomorrow at 5:00 a.m., at which time they must stop their action due to American pressure. »
  • On Saturday, American Envoy Morris Draper, sent a furious message to Sharon stating:

    ‘You must stop the massacres. They are obscene. I have an officer in the camp counting the bodies. You ought to be ashamed. The situation is rotten and terrible. They are killing children. You are in absolute control of the area, and therefore responsible for the area.’

  • The Phalangists finally left the area at around 8 o’clock Saturday morning, taking many of the surviving men with them for interrogation at a soccer stadium. The interrogations were carried out with Israeli intelligence agents, who handed many of the captives back to the Phalange. Some of the men returned to the Phalange were later found executed.
  • About an hour after the Phalangists departed Sabra and Shatila, the first journalists arrived on the scene and the first reports of what transpired began to reach the outside world.

Casualty Figures

  • Thirty years later, there is still no accurate total for the number of people killed in the massacre. Many of the victims were buried in mass graves by the Phalange and there has been no political will on the part of Lebanese authorities to investigate.
  • An official Israeli investigation, the Kahan Commission, concluded that between 700 and 800 people were killed, based on the assessment of Israeli military intelligence.
  • An investigation by Beirut-based British journalist Robert Fisk, who was one of the first people on the scene after the massacre ended, concluded that The Palestinian Red Crescent put the number of dead at more than 2000.
  • In his book, Sabra & Shatila: Inquiry into a Massacre, Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk reached a maximum figure of 3000 to 3500. 

Aftermath

Israel

  • Following international outrage, the Israeli government established a committee of inquiry, the Kahan Commission. Its investigation found that Defense Minister Sharon bore « personal responsibility » for the massacre, and recommended that he be removed from office. Although Prime Minister Begin removed him from his post as defense minister, Sharon remained in cabinet as a minister without portfolio. He would go on to hold numerous other cabinet positions in subsequent Israeli governments, including foreign minister during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term in office. Nearly 20 years later, in March 2001, Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel.
  • In June 2001, lawyers for 23 survivors of the massacre initiated legal proceedings against Sharon in a Belgian court, under a law allowing people to be prosecuted for war crimes committed anywhere in the world.
  • In January 2002, Phalangist leader and chief liaison to Israel during the 1982 invasion, Elie Hobeika, was killed by a car bomb in Beirut. Hobeika led the Phalangist militiamen responsible for the massacre, and had announced that he was prepared to testify against Sharon, who was then prime minister of Israel, at a possible war crimes trial in Belgium. Hobeika’s killers were never found.
  • In June 2002, a panel of Belgian judges dismissed war crimes charges against Sharon because he wasn’t present in the country to stand trial.
  • In January 2006, Sharon suffered a massive stroke. He remains in a coma on life support.

The United States

  • For the United States, which had guaranteed the safety of civilians left behind after the PLO departed, the massacre was a deep embarrassment, causing immense damage to its reputation in the region. The fact that US Secretary of State Alexander Haig was believed by many to have given Israel a « green light » to invade Lebanon compounded the damage.
  • In the wake of the massacre, President Reagan sent the Marines back to Lebanon. Just over a year later, 241 American servicemen would be killed when two massive truck bombs destroyed their barracks in Beirut, leading Reagan to withdraw US forces for good.

The Palestinians

  • For Palestinians, the Sabra and Shatila massacre was and remains a traumatic event, commemorated annually. Many survivors continue to live in Sabra and Shatila, struggling to eke out a living and haunted by their memories of the slaughter. To this day, no one has faced justice for the crimes that took place.
  • For Palestinians, the Sabra and Shatila massacre serves as a powerful and tragic reminder of the vulnerable situation of millions of stateless Palestinians, and the dangers that they continue to face across the region, and around the world.
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The Existential Madness of Putin-Bashing

septembre 16th, 2016 by Robert Parry

Official Washington loves its Putin-bashing but demonizing the Russian leader stops a rational debate about U.S.-Russia relations and pushes the two nuclear powers toward an existential brink, writes Robert Parry.

Arguably, the nuttiest neoconservative idea – among a long list of nutty ideas – has been to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia by weakening its economy, isolating it from Europe, pushing NATO up to its borders, demonizing its leadership, and sponsoring anti-government political activists inside Russia to promote “regime change.”

This breathtakingly dangerous strategy has been formulated and implemented with little serious debate inside the United States as the major mainstream news media and the neocons’ liberal-interventionist sidekicks have fallen in line much as they did during the run-up to the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Except with Russia, the risks are even greater – conceivably, a nuclear war that could exterminate life on the planet. Yet, despite those stakes, there has been a cavalier – even goofy – attitude in the U.S. political/media mainstream about undertaking this new “regime change” project aimed at Moscow.There is also little appreciation of how lucky the world was when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991 without some Russian extremists seizing control of the nuclear codes and taking humanity to the brink of extinction. Back then, there was a mix of luck and restrained leadership, especially on the Soviet side.

Plus, there were at least verbal assurances from George H.W. Bush’s administration that the Soviet retreat from East Germany and Eastern Europe would not be exploited by NATO and that a new era of cooperation with the West could follow the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Instead, the United States dispatched financial “experts” – many from Harvard Business School – who arrived in Moscow with neoliberal plans for “shock therapy” to “privatize” Russia’s resources, which turned a handful of corrupt insiders into powerful billionaires, known as “oligarchs,” and the “Harvard Boys” into well-rewarded consultants.

But the result for the average Russian was horrific as the population experienced a drop in life expectancy unprecedented in a country not at war. While a Russian could expect to live to be almost 70 in the mid-1980s, that expectation had dropped to less than 65 by the mid-1990s.

The “Harvard Boys” were living the high-life with beautiful women, caviar and champagne in the lavish enclaves of Moscow – as the U.S.-favored President Boris Yeltsin drank himself into stupors – but there were reports of starvation in villages in the Russian heartland and organized crime murdered people on the street with near impunity.

Meanwhile, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush cast aside any restraint regarding Russia’s national pride and historic fears by expanding NATO across Eastern Europe, including the incorporation of former Soviet republics.

In the 1990s, the “triumphalist” neocons formulated a doctrine for permanent U.S. global dominance with their thinking reaching its most belligerent form during George W. Bush’s presidency, which asserted the virtually unlimited right for the United States to intervene militarily anywhere in the world regardless of international law and treaties.

How Despair Led to Putin

Without recognizing the desperation and despair of the Russian people during the Yeltsin era — and the soaring American arrogance in the 1990s — it is hard to comprehend the political rise and enduring popularity of Vladimir Putin, who became president after Yeltsin abruptly resigned on New Year’s Eve 1999. (In declining health, Yeltsin died on April 23, 2007).

Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Putin, a former KGB officer with a strong devotion to his native land, began to put Russia’s house back in order. Though he collaborated with some oligarchs, he reined in others by putting them in jail for corruption or forcing them into exile.

Putin cracked down on crime and terrorism, often employing harsh means to restore order, including smashing Islamist rebels seeking to take Chechnya out of the Russian Federation.

Gradually, Russia regained its economic footing and the condition of the average Russian improved. By 2012, Russian life expectancy had rebounded to more than 70 years. Putin also won praise from many Russians for reestablishing the country’s national pride and reasserting its position on the world stage.

Though a resurgent Russia created friction with the neocon designs for permanent U.S. world domination, Putin represented a side of Russian politics that favored cooperation with the West. He particularly hoped that he could work closely with President Barack Obama, who likewise indicated his desire to team up with Russia to make progress on thorny international issues.

In 2012, Obama was overheard on an open mike telling Putin’s close political ally, then-President Dmitri Medvedev, that “after my election, I have more flexibility,” suggesting greater cooperation with Russia. (Because of the Russian constitution barring someone from serving more than two consecutive terms as president, Medvedev, who had been prime minister, essentially swapped jobs with Putin for four years.)

Obama’s promise was not entirely an empty one. His relationship with the Russian leadership warmed as the two powers confronted common concerns over security issues, such as convincing Syria to surrender its chemical-weapons arsenal in 2013 and persuading Iran to accept tight limitations on its nuclear program in 2014.

In an extraordinary op-ed in The New York Times on Sept. 11, 2013, Putin described his relationship with Obama as one of “growing trust” while disagreeing with the notion of “American “exceptionalism.” In the key last section that he supposedly wrote himself, Putin said:

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’

It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Offending the Neocons

Though Putin may have thought he was simply contributing to a worthy international debate in the spirit of the U.S. Declaration of Independence’s assertion that “all men are created equal,” his objection to “American exceptionalism” represented fighting words to America’s neocons.

Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy

Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy

Instead of engaging in mushy multilateral diplomacy, muscular neocons saw America as above the law and lusted for bombing campaigns against Syria and Iran – with the goal of notching two more “regime change” solutions on their belts.

Thus, the neocons and their liberal-interventionist fellow-travelers came to see Putin as a major and unwelcome obstacle to their dreams of permanent U.S. dominance over the planet, which they would promote through what amounted to permanent warfare. (The main distinction between neocons and liberal interventionists is that the former cites “democracy promotion” as its rationale and the latter justifies war under the mantle of “humanitarianism.”)

Barely two weeks after Putin’s op-ed in the Times, a prominent neocon, Carl Gershman, the longtime president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, issued what amounted to a rejoinder in The Washington Post on Sept. 26, 2013.

Gershman’s op-ed made clear that U.S. policy should take aim at Ukraine, a historically and strategically sensitive country on Russia’s doorstep where the Russian nation made a stand against the Tatars in the 1600s and where the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, the devastating 1941 invasion which killed some 4 million Soviet soldiers and led to some 26 million Soviet dead total.

In the Post, Gershman wrote that “Ukraine is the biggest prize,” but made clear that Putin was the ultimate target: “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

To advance this cause, NED alone was funding scores of projects that funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Ukrainian political activists and media outlets, creating what amounted to a shadow political structure that could help stir up unrest when the Ukrainian government didn’t act as desired, i.e., when elected President Viktor Yanukovych balked at a European economic plan that included cuts in pensions and heat subsidies as demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

When Yanukovych sought more time to negotiate a less onerous deal, U.S.-backed protests swept into Kiev’s Maidan square. Though representing genuine sentiment among many western Ukrainians for increased ties to Europe, neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist street fighters gained control of the uprising and began firebombing police.

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

Despite the mounting violence, the protests were cheered on by neocon Sen. John McCain, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland, the wife of neocon stalwart Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, which was a major promoter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In a speech to Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, Nuland reminded them that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations.” By early February 2014, in an intercepted phone call, she was discussing with Pyatt who should lead a new government – “Yats is the guy,” she declared referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Nuland and Pyatt continued the conversation with exchanges about how to “glue this thing” or “midwife this thing,” respectively.

A Western-backed Putsch

The violence worsened on Feb. 20, 2014, when mysterious snipers opened fire on police and demonstrators sparking clashes that killed scores, including police officers and protesters. Though later evidence suggested that the shootings were a provocation by the neo-Nazis, the immediate reaction in the mainstream Western media was to blame Yanukovych.

Though Yanukovych agreed to a compromise on Feb. 21 that would reduce his powers and speed up new elections so he could be voted out of office, he was still painted as a tyrannical villain. As neo-Nazi and other rightists chased him and his government from power on Feb. 22, the West hailed the unconstitutional putsch as “legitimate” and a victory for “democracy.”

The coup, however, prompted resistance from ethnic Russian areas of Ukraine, particularly in the east and south. With the aid of Russian troops who were stationed at the Russian naval base in Sevastopol, the Crimeans held a referendum and voted by 96 percent to leave Ukraine and rejoin the Russian Federation, a move accepted by Putin and the Kremlin.

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

However, the West’s mainstream media called the referendum a “sham” and Crimea’s secession from Ukraine became Putin’s “invasion” – although the Russian troops were already in Crimea as part of the basing agreement and the referendum, though hastily organized, clearly represented the overwhelming will of the Crimean people, a judgment corroborated by a variety of subsequent polls.

Ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine also rose up against the new regime in Kiev, prompting more accusations in the West about “Russian aggression.” Anyone who raised the possibility that these areas, Yanukovych’s political strongholds, might simply be rejecting what they saw as an illegal political coup in Kiev was dismissed as a “Putin apologist” or a “Moscow stooge.”

While Official Washington and its mainstream media rallied the world in outrage against Putin and Russia, the new authorities in Kiev slipped Nuland’s choice, Yatsenyuk, into the post of prime minister where he pushed through the onerous IMF “reforms,” making the already hard lives of Ukrainians even harder. (The unpopular Yatsenyuk eventually resigned his position.)

Despite the obvious risks of supporting a putsch on Russia’s border, the neocons achieved their political goal of driving a huge wedge between Putin and Obama, whose quiet cooperation had been so troublesome for the neocon plan for violent “regime change” in Syria and Iran.

The successful neocon play in Ukraine also preempted possible U.S.-Russian cooperation in trying to impose an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement that would have established a Palestinian state and would have stymied Israel’s plans for gobbling up Palestinian territory by expanding Jewish settlements and creating an apartheid-style future for the indigenous Arabs, confining them to a few cantons surrounded by de facto Israeli territory.

Obama’s timid failure to explain and defend his productive collaboration with Putin enabled the neocons to achieve another goal of making Putin an untouchable, a demonized foreign leader routinely mocked and smeared by the mainstream Western news media. Along with Putin’s demonization, the neocons have sparked a new Cold War that will not only extend today’s “permanent warfare” indefinitely but dramatically increase its budgetary costs with massive new investments in strategic weapons.

Upping the Nuclear Ante

By targeting Putin and Russia, the neocons have upped the ante when it comes to their “regime change” agenda. No longer satisfied with inflicting “regime change” in countries deemed hostile to Israel – Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran, etc. – the neocons have raised their sights on Russia.

Billionaire currency speculator George Soros. (Photo credit: georgesoros.com)

Billionaire currency speculator George Soros. (Photo credit: georgesoros.com)

In that devil-may-care approach, the neocons are joined by prominent “liberal interventionists,” such as billionaire currency speculator George Soros, who pulls the strings of many “liberal” organizations that he bankrolls.

In February 2015, Soros laid out his “Russia-regime-change” vision in the liberal New York Review of Books with an alarmist call for Europe “to wake up and recognize that it is under attack from Russia” – despite the fact that it has been NATO encroaching on Russia’s borders, not the other way around.

But Soros’s hysteria amounted to a clarion call to his many dependents among supposedly independent “non-governmental organizations” to take up the goal of destabilizing Russia and driving Putin from office. As a currency speculator, Soros recognizes the value of inflicting economic pain as well as military punishment on a target country.

“The financial crisis in Russia and the body bags [of supposedly Russian soldiers] from Ukraine have made President Putin politically vulnerable,” Soros wrote, urging Europe to keep up the economic pressure on Russia while working to transform Ukraine into an economic/political success story, saying:

…if Europe rose to the challenge and helped Ukraine not only to defend itself but to become a land of promise, Putin could not blame Russia’s troubles on the Western powers. He would be clearly responsible and he would either have to change course or try to stay in power by brutal repression, cowing people into submission. If he fell from power, an economic and political reformer would be likely to succeed him.

But Soros recognized the other possibility: that a Western-driven destabilization of Russia and a failed state in Ukraine could either bolster Putin or lead to his replacement by an extreme Russian nationalist, someone far-harder-line than Putin.

With Ukraine’s continued failure, Soros wrote, “President Putin could convincingly argue that Russia’s problems are due to the hostility of the Western powers. Even if he fell from power, an even more hardline leader like Igor Sechin or a nationalist demagogue would succeed him.”

Yet, Soros fails to appreciate how dangerous his schemes could be to make Russia’s economy scream so loudly that Putin would be swept aside by some political upheaval. As Soros suggests, the Russian people could turn to an extreme nationalist, not to some pliable Western-approved politician.

Protecting Mother Russia

Especially after suffering the depravations of the Yeltsin years, the Russian people might favor an extremist who would take a tough stance against the West and might see brandishing the nuclear arsenal as the only way to protect Mother Russia.

Still, Official Washington can’t get enough of demonizing Putin. A year ago, Obama’s White House – presumably to show how much the President disdains Putin, too – made fun of how Putin sits with his legs apart.White House spokesman Josh Earnest cited a photo of the Russian president sitting next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “President Putin was striking a now-familiar pose of less-than-perfect posture and unbuttoned jacket and, you know, knees spread far apart to convey a particular image,” Earnest said, while ignoring the fact that Netanyahu was sitting with his legs wide apart, too.

Amid this anything-goes Putin-bashing, The New York Times, The Washington Post and now Hillary Clinton’s campaign have escalated their anti-Putin rhetoric, especially since Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has offered some praise of Putin as a “strong” leader.

Despite the barrage of cheap insults emanating from U.S. political and media circles, Putin has remained remarkably cool-headed, refusing the react in kind. Oddly, as much as the American political/media establishment treats Putin as a madman, Official Washington actually counts on his even-temper to avoid a genuine existential crisis for the world.

If Putin were what the U.S. mainstream media and politicians describe – a dangerous lunatic – the endless baiting of Putin would be even more irresponsible. Yet, even with many people privately realizing that Putin is a much more calculating leader than their negative propaganda makes him out to be, there still could be a limit to Putin’s patience.

Or the neocons and liberal hawks might succeed in provoking a violent uprising in Moscow that ousts Putin. However, if that were to happen, the odds – as even Soros acknowledges – might favor a Russian nationalist coming out on top and thus in control of the nuclear codes.

In many ways, it’s not Putin who should worry Americans but the guy that might follow Putin.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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monsanto_bayer_750

Monsanto and Bayer: Why Food And Agriculture Just Took A Turn For The Worse

By Colin Todhunter, September 15 2016

The mergers would mean that three companies would dominate the commercial agricultural seeds and chemicals sector, down from six – Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Monsanto and DuPont. Prior to the mergers, these six firms controlled 60 per cent of commercial seed and more than 75 per cent of agrochemical markets.

australian-flag

Australia’s Global ‘Exit’: Tribalism and International Institutions

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, September 15 2016

It all begins with a promise. A promise, less for a better future than a reclaimed past.  Reclamation of the familiar, in fact, being the fundamental idea.  “As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I’m here to discuss with the chamber and the Australian people how we will rebuild our great nation.” These words from the inaugural speech of One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts set the trend in the Australian Senate Chamber.

Strange Washington Post “Conspiracy Theory”: Renowned Medical Doctor Claims that Putin or Trump Could Have Poisoned Hillary Clinton

By Timothy Alexander Guzman, September 15 2016

The Washington Post published an article claiming that a well-known doctor is accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump of possibly poisoning Hillary Clinton. Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered ‘Chronic Traumatic encephalopathy’ (CTE) in the brains of deceased players of the National Football League (NFL). CTE is a degenerative disease caused my repeated blows to the head that effects athletes involved in contact sports such as boxing and American football.

Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front gesture as they drive in a convoy touring villages in the southern countryside of Idlib

Al Qaeda’s Ties to US-Backed Syrian Rebels

By Gareth Porter, September 15 2016

The new ceasefire agreement between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which went into effect at noon Monday, has a new central compromise absent from the earlier ceasefire agreement that the same two men negotiated last February. But it isn’t clear that it will produce markedly different results.

Ocean

Record High Temperatures: Toxic Slime Spreads Across Oceans as Climate Disruption Continues

By Dahr Jamail, September 14 2016

It is August 30. I’m in Anchorage, Alaska, and it’s hot. Very hot. In fact, it’s the fourth straight day of record high temperatures, amidst a year that has seen record high temperatures becoming normalized across the entire state. Two days ago, this city (the most populous in Alaska) saw a record high temperature of 78 degrees, which beat the previous record by a whopping seven degrees.

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Depuis plusieurs semaines, les Sioux de la réserve de Standing Rock, dans le Dakota du Nord, organisent la résistance contre un projet d’oléoduc géant, le Dakota Access Pipeline, qui menace leurs terres et leurs sources d’eau. L’affaire est en train de prendre une envergure nationale aux États-Unis. Les grandes banques françaises – BNP Paribas, Crédit agricole, Natixis, Société générale – sont toutes impliquées dans le financement de l’oléoduc.

[Article mis à jour le lundi 12 septembre à 9h30.]

La mobilisation des Sioux (Lakota) de la réserve de Standing Rock contre la construction d’un oléoduc géant, qui passerait à quelques centaines de mètres à peine des limites de leur réserve, ne cesse de prendre de l’ampleur aux États-Unis. De nombreux Amérindiens d’autres tribus et des militants de la justice climatique ont rejoint le gigantesque campement de tipis et de tentes organisé par les opposants. Les Lakota craignent une contamination de leurs sources d’eau potable et la destruction de sites sacrés. Ils dénoncent aussi, plus globalement, la destruction de leurs terres et le mépris dont ils font encore l’objet par les entreprises et l’administration américaine.

Le projet Dakota Access Pipeline a été moins médiatisé que le projet d’oléoduc KeyStone XL car il a fait l’objet d’une procédure d’autorisation accélérée, qui lui a évité les déboires administratifs rencontrés par ce dernier. Il est néanmoins comparable en termes de tracé (1800 kilomètres) et d’enjeu : en l’occurrence, acheminer le pétrole de schiste extrait dans la formation de Bakken jusqu’à l’État de l’Illinois et, au-delà, jusqu’aux raffineries du Texas et la côte Est des États-Unis.

Comme le montre une étude réalisée par l’ONG Food and Water Watch, le projet Dakota Access Pipeline et les entreprises qui le portent sont soutenus financièrement par une ribambelle de grandes banques internationales, parmi lesquelles – sans surprise – les groupes bancaires français, extrêmement investis dans le financement des énergies fossiles (lire nos articles). BNP Paribas, le Crédit agricole, Natixis et la Société générale figurent parmi les banques qui ont directement financé le projet Dakota Access Pipeline, et toutes sauf la Société générale ont en outre accordé des crédits permanents aux firmes parties prenantes du projet. BNP Paribas est engagée à hauteur de près de 450 millions de dollars US, le Crédit agricole à hauteur de presque 350 millions de dollars, Natixis de 180 millions et la Société générale de 120 millions. Soit plus d’un milliard de dollars en tout.

La tension a monté d’un cran sur le terrain au cours du mois d’août avec l’arrestation de leaders indiens, puis le 3 septembre avec le début des travaux, qui a donné lieu à des affrontements. Les agents du shérif ont même lâché les chiens sur les manifestants (un enfant a été mordu) et les ont gazés. Une première décision de justice provisoire a fait cesser temporairement les travaux dans une partie seulement des terres que les Lakota souhaitent protéger. Elle a été suivie, vendredi 9 septembre, par une autre décision, négative cette fois, d’un tribunal de Washington. Mais l’administration Obama a aussitôt annoncé une suspension des travaux sur la partie la plus contestée du pipeline, afin de réétudier ses impacts sur l’environnement et les droits des Indiens.

Nous publions ici le témoignage de Winona LaDuke, militante et femme politique amérindienne, initialement paru sur le site Yes Magazine ! sous licence Creative Commons. Traduit de l’anglais par Susanna Gendall.

Nous sommes en 2016, et les intérêts des grandes entreprises américaines font sentir leur poids sur la rivière Missouri, la « Rivière Mère ». Cette fois, au lieu du 7e régiment de cavalerie, ou de la police indienne envoyée pour assassiner Sitting Bull, ce sont Enbridge [entreprise canadienne impliqué dans de nombreux projets d’oléoducs controversés, NdT] et le Dakota Access Pipeline.

À la mi-août, le président tribal de Standing Rock, Dave Archambault II, a été arrêté par la police de l’État, avec 27 autres personnes, pour son opposition à l’oléoduc Dakota Access. Dans le même temps, le gouverneur du Dakota du Nord Jack Dalrymple demandait des renforts de police.

Tout projet d’oléoduc ou de gazoduc de quelque envergure en Amérique du Nord ne peut que traverser des terres indigènes, le pays indien. C’est un problème.

La route qui va vers ces contrées est peu fréquentée. La plupart des Américains ne font que passer en avion au-dessus du Dakota du Nord, sans le voir.

Laissez moi vous y emmener.


J’ai la tête plus claire à mesure que je m’approche en voiture. Ma destination est la patrie des Oceti (Sioux) Hunkpapa, la réserve de Standing Rock. C’est le début de la soirée, la lune est pleine. En fermant les yeux, 50 millions de bisons – jadis le plus important troupeau itinérant de la planète – vous reviennent à l’esprit. Le battement de leurs sabots faisait vibrer la Terre, et pousser l’herbe.

Il y avait alors 250 espèces d’herbe. Aujourd’hui, les bisons ont disparu, remplacés par 28 millions de têtes de bétail, qui ont besoin de grain, d’eau, et de foin. Une grande partie des champs sont cultivés avec une seule variété OGM, tellement imbibée de pesticides que les papillons monarques meurent. Mais dans ma mémoire, l’ancien monde est toujours là.

En continuant votre route, vous arrivez à la rivière Missouri.

« L’ancien monde est toujours là »

Appelée Mnisose, la grande rivière tourbillonnante, par les Lakota, c’est une puissance de la nature. Elle vous coupe le souffle. « La rivière Missouri a une place inébranlable dans l’histoire et la mythologie » des Lakota et des autres nations indigènes des Plaines du Nord, explique l’écrivain Dakota Goodhouse.

À l’époque d’avant Sitting Bull, la rivière Missouri était l’épicentre de l’agriculture du Nord, en raison de la fertilité de son lit. La région était le Croissant fertile de l’Amérique du Nord. C’était avant que les traités ne réduisent le territoire des Lakota. Mais le Missouri continuait à figurer dans les traités : le dernier, signé en 1868, désignait la rivière comme frontière.

Survinrent ensuite les vol de terres par le gouvernement des États-Unis et l’appropriation des Black Hills en 1877, en partie en guise de représailles suite à la victoire de Sitting Bull à la bataille de Little Big Horn. Bien avant le mouvement Black Lives Matter et son homologue indigène Native Lives Matter, de grands leaders comme Sitting Bull et Crazy Horse ont été assassinés par la police.

« Le peuple Lakota a survécu beaucoup de choses »

Une vérité demeure : le peuple Lakota a survécu a beaucoup de choses.

Forcés à mener une existence confinée dans leur réserve, les Lakota s’efforcèrent de stabiliser leur société, jusqu’à ce qu’arrivent les barrages. En 1944, le projet Pick Sloan entraîna la submersion de territoires appartenant aux tribus de la rivière Missouri, prenant aux Mandan, aux Hidatsa, aux Arikara, aux Lakota et aux Dakota leurs meilleurs terres basses. Plus de 800 kilomètres carrés des réserves de Standing Rock et de Cheyenne River furent à leur tour submergées par le barrage Oahe lui-même, entraînant non seulement des déplacements de population, mais la perte d’une partie du monde Lakota. La retenue d’eau créée par les barrages Garrison, Oahe et Fort Randall contribua à la destruction de 90% du bois et 75% de la vie sauvage dans les réserves.

C’est ainsi que l’on appauvrit un peuple.

Aujourd’hui, bien plus de deux tiers de la population de Standing Rock vit au-dessous du seuil de pauvreté – la terre et la Rivière Mère sont tout ce qui reste, la seule constante, pour ce peuple. Ce sont précisément elles qui sont aujourd’hui menacées.

« La terre et la rivière sont tout ce qui leur reste »

Enbridge et ses partenaires se préparent à forer sous le lit de la rivière. L’oléoduc Dakota Access a reçu les autorisations officielles du côté est comme du côté ouest. Sa portion nord a été déplacée, pour ne pas affecter l’approvisionnement en eau de la ville de Bismarck, vers les sources d’eau de Standing Rock. Pas de chance pour les Lakota.

Malgré les recours juridiques et réglementaires de ces derniers, la construction du Dakota Access Pipeline a commencé en mai 2016. S’il est achevé, cet oléoduc sinuera à travers le Dakota du Sud et du Nord, l’Iowa et l’Illinois, où il fera sa jonction avec un autre oléoduc, long de 1200 kilomètres, jusqu’à Nederland, au Texas

Plus de 570 000 barils de pétrole brut en provenance du gisement de Bakken y seraient quotidiennement acheminés, soit plus de 245 000 tonnes métriques de carbone – suffisamment pour parachever la combustion de notre planète.

L’oléoduc doit franchir 200 cours d’eau, et dans le seul Dakota du Nord, il traverserait 33 sites historiques et archéologiques. Enbridge vient de faire l’acquisition de ce projet d’oléoduc, constatant que son autre projet – l’oléoduc Sandpiper, qui acheminerait 640 000 barils de pétrole par jour vers le Minnesota – est désormais en retard de trois ans sur les prévisions.

Fin juillet, la tribu Sioux de Standing Rock, représentée par l’organisation Earthjustice, a déposé plainte devant un tribunal de Washington contre l’US Army Corps of Engineers [l’administration fédérale en charge de nombreux grands projets d’infrastructures, NdT]. Standing Rock a également déposé un recours auprès de l’Organisation des Nations-Unies, en coordination avec l’International Indian Treaty Council [une organisation internationale de peuples indigènes, NdT].

« L’US Army Corps of Engineers et les entreprises ont ignoré nos droits »

Comme l’explique le président Archambault dans les colonnes du New York Times :

« Aussi bien l’Agence fédérale de protection de l’environnement, le Département de l’Intérieur que le Conseil consultatif national sur le patrimoine historique ont soutenu le renforcement de la protection du patrimoine culturel de notre tribu, mais le Corps of Engineers et Energy Transfer Partners [le consortium qui porte le projet Dakota Access Pipeline, NdT] ont ignoré nos droits. La première version de l’évaluation du tracé proposé à travers nos terres ancestrales et protégées par traités, réalisée par l’entreprise, ne mentionnait même pas notre tribu.

« Le Dakota Access Pipeline a bénéficié d’une procédure d’autorisation accélérée dès le premier jour, appelée Nationwide Permit nº12, qui exempte l’oléoduc de toutes les évaluations environnementales requises requises par le Clean Water Act et le National Environmental Policy Act [importantes lois sur l’eau et l’environnement, NdT] en le traitant comme une série de petits chantiers.

« Le projet a été approuvé en un éclair, sans plus d’examen, par les quatre États concernés. »

Dans l’Iowa, où la construction de l’oléoduc a démarré, trois incendies se sont déclarés, endommageant sérieusement les équipements, pour un coût estimé d’un million de dollars. Selon le shérif du comté, les enquêteurs soupçonnent un incendie volontaire. En octobre 2015, trois agriculteurs de l’Iowa ont déposé plainte contre l’entreprise Dakota Access LLC et l’administration de l’Iowa pour essayer d’empêcher le recours au droit d’expropriation pour utilité publique de leurs terres pour la construction de l’oléoduc.

Menace pour la rivière Missouri

Il n’est tenu aucun compte de la santé de la rivière Missouri.

Depuis que celle-ci a été couverte de barrages, de nouveaux projets sont venus affecter davantage son état écologique. Aujourd’hui, le Missouri est la septième rivière la plus polluée des États-Unis. Les rejets agricoles et, désormais, la fracturation hydraulique ont contaminé la rivière. Ma sœur a pêché un brochet crocodile, une espèce préhistorique de poisson géant, dans cette rivière ; il était couvert de tumeurs.

Un seul exemple : suite à un accident survenu sur un oléoduc en janvier 2015, une fuite massive d’eau saline a atteint le Missouri. Avec l’aplomb coutumier aux agences fédérales ou d’État, le directeur de la Santé du Dakota du Nord David Glatt a déclaré qu’il ne s’attendait pas à des effets dommageables pour la vie sauvage ou l’approvisionnement en eau potable, car cette eau serait diluée. Comme dit le dicton, « la solution à la pollution est la dilution ». Pratique. Sauf que ce n’était pas vrai. Deux rivières, Black Creek et Little Muddy River, se sont retrouvées contaminées par presque 11 millions de litres d’eau saline, présentant des taux élevés de chlorures. Tout était dilué. Mais on a tout de même trouvé ce brochet avec ses tumeurs.

Il y a des oléoducs partout, et moins de 150 inspecteurs dans l’administration chargée de la surveillance de ces ouvrages, la Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration ou PHMSA, dans tout le pays.

S’y ajoutent désormais les risques du pétrole.

Les entreprises qui gèrent les oléoducs se vantent généralement de leur taux de sûreté de 99%. Une ancienne éditrice du magazine Scientific American, Trudy Bell, rapporte que les données de la PHMSA de 2001 à 2011 suggère qu’en réalité, l’oléoduc moyen « présente, sur une période de dix ans, une probabilité de 57% de subir une fuite majeure, avec des conséquences se chiffrant à plus d’un million de dollars ».

Les probabilités sont contre nous.

État d’urgence

À Standing Rock, alors que le nombre de manifestants passait de 200 à 2000, les forces de police de l’État décidèrent de mettre en place un checkpoint pour filtrer les arrivées et de détourner du trafic vers l’autoroute 1806 allant de Bismarck à Standing Rock, afin de dissuader les venues et mettre sous pression le Prairie Knights Casino, situé dans la réserve, et desservie par cette même route.

Nous venons de dépasser celui-ci en voiture ; la route est somptueuse. Et à mesure que les soutiens arrivent en masse, l’hôtel et les restaurants du casino sont pleins à craquer.

Tandis que les autorités du Dakota du Nord cherchent ainsi à punir les Lakota, le président Archambault, lui, exprime sa préoccupation pour tout le monde : « Je suis ici pour informer quiconque voudra m’écouter que le projet Dakota Access Pipeline est dommageable. Il ne sera pas seulement dommageable pour mon peuple, mais son objectif et sa construction nuiront également à la qualité de l’eau dans la rivière Missouri, qui figure parmi les rivières les plus propres et les plus sûres de tous les États-Unis. Contaminer l’eau, c’est contaminer la substance de la vie. Tout ce qui bouge a besoin d’eau. Comment peut-on parler de délibérément empoisonner l’eau ? »

Dans le même temps, le gouverneur du Dakota du Nord Jack Dalrymple a déclaré l’état d’urgence et mobilisé de nouvelles ressources « pour gérer les risques pour la sécurité publique liés aux manifestations actuelles contre le Dakota Access Pipeline ». Il pourrait bien avoir outrepassé ses prérogatives en violant les droits humains et civils, dont le droit à l’eau.

Selon les termes du président Archambault, « il n’y a peut-être que dans le Dakota du Nord, où les élus bénéficient des largesses des magnats du pétrole, et dont le gouverneur, Jack Dalrymple, est un conseiller de campagne de Donald Trump, que les autorités d’un État et d’un comté peuvent jouer ainsi le rôle d’agents armés des intérêts des multinationales ».

« Les gens se souviennent de leur histoire »

De nombreuses personnes présentes aujourd’hui à Standing Rock se souviennent de leur histoire et notamment de la longue confrontation de Wounded Knee en 1973 [1]. De fait, il y a parmi les militants de Standing Rock des gens qui étaient déjà en 1973 à Wounded Knee, une lutte similaire pour la dignité et l’avenir d’une nation.

Je ne sais pas à quel point le Dakota du Nord souhaite la construction de cet oléoduc. S’il doit y avoir une bataille à propos de ce projet, c’est ici qu’elle aura lieu. Face à un peuple qui n’a plus rien que sa terre et sa rivière, je ne parierai pas forcément sur ses chances.

Le grand leader Lakota Mathew King a dit naguère que « la seule chose plus triste qu’un Indien qui n’est pas libre, c’est un Indien qui ne se souvient pas ce que c’est d’être libre ».

Le campement de Standing Rock représente cette même lutte pour la liberté et pour l’avenir d’un peuple. De nous tous. Si je me posais la question « Que ferait Sitting Bull ? », la réponse est claire. Il nous rappellerait ce qu’il disait il y a 150 ans : « Réunissons nos esprits pour voir quel avenir nous pouvons construire pour nos enfants. » Le moment est venu.

Winona La Duke


Photos : Joe Brusky CC

 

[1] NdT : Site du massacre de centaines d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants Sioux en 1890, Wounded Knee fut occupée en 1973 pendant plus de deux mois par des militants indigènes encerclés par la police et l’armée. La confrontation a fait deux morts.

 

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